Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The annual year-ender entry.

Back in 2008, Betty and I would always say that 2009 will be our year. Well, to tell you the truth, every time another new year comes around the corner, I do feel optimistic, but I always say that half-heatedly. I guess I've been so used to not expecting too much so everything good will come out as a surprise. But of course, I'm not that too pessimistic either, hahaha.

2009 had its good and bad moments, and I have to say that every year is always a blast no matter what.

As usual, I spent the first day of the new year with Tad's family from his mother's side for their annual family reunion. This was also the month that PJ and Joy finally got married. It was great to see a lot of the Hogi Hall there, and we also took a side trip to good old De La Salle Zobel (as Iam had persisted) and hung out and talked with Brother Ceci. As we promised him that we'd come back and share our own stories with him, little did we know back then that that was the last time we'll ever talk to him. In school, I tried checking out the Crossroads Festival as a spur-of-the-moment decision and got casted in Pragres as Marina by default, ahahaha. Nakakahiya bigla ako kay Labli, ahehe.

I ditched most of the Pasinaya festivities this year to hang out with Lawyn and a bunch of others from Spring Awakening (they had a preview at the event, along with Spelling Bee) and Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, talking the afternoon away in Harbour Square and part of the evening with Lawyn and Mae in Westgate. And yes, Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Musikal made a comeback with a bigger cast this month. Valentine's day was a simple dinner with Tad in between Zaturnnah shows. As for our "work in pragres," like I told the kids, being 2nd best isn't so bad, as it's still one of the best.

Another little project that I auditioned for earlier during the term suddenly came back into existence. I thought that I didn't get in, because I didn't hear from any of the people in charge for about a month. I only heard from them again the day after Crossroads had ended, and yep, I was in. I thought it was just a simple thesis production with students in the cast, but when I first walked into the first reading rehearsal of Summer's Nights, Summer's Dreams (Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, translated in Filipino), I almost walked back out in intimidation when I found out that I was the resident novice in the group. This month was when I also heard this phrase from Betty: "Kung walang opportunity, then make the opportunity." The term "Last Full Show" suddenly came up while Betty, Opa and I were talking over a Jollibee dinner. Ended the month by attending 9 Works Theatrical's Songs For A New World press conference.

Despite the fact that I had Summer's Nights, Summer's Dreams as an outlet, I was still filled with regret because I couldn't enroll in Sir Dennis' Rehearsal and Performance Techniques workshop for the 2nd year in a row due to schedule conflicts during the first two weeks of workshop. I had a blast anyway with the thesis prod's cast and creative team, and even though I already knew most of them as friends, it was quite a new experience to work with them as co-actors. Ended the month by opening the book on Nemesis again with Betty and Opa.

More plays, more fun. I worked under 9 Works Theatrical's production of Songs For A New World as their front-of-house head, and things went pretty smoothly, especially with our fearless production manager that was ever-present at the lobby. In between weekend shows, Betty, Opa and I did an adaptation of Nemesis at the Avellana Art Gallery during Joey Cobcobo's exhibit. This was also the month when I got hooked on shrink plastic, ever since I saw blog posts by Cecile (of Chuvaness) and Reggie about Saizen. Near the end of the month, Lara had hired me to be a guest artist for both showcases of the Make Believe classes that she was teaching. It was a blast, and I ended up also sharing with the pre-teen girls stuff I've learned from my own workshops, plus I learned how to deal with the younger kids. I was really flattered when Mads let out a whoop when I said that I would want to come back next year.

Lost 2 loved ones this month. First was Tita Nila, my mom's older sister. We had celebrated her birthday earlier in the month, and we had no idea that that was going to be her last birthday. Brother Ceci had also passed away this month. Anyway, like the TP workshops, I never got to be part of this year's Virgin Labfest. Despite my regrets about not working with Tuxqs for the second year in a row, I had to decline immediately to focus on other things. A mini-reunion of sorts with 2 N's punctuated the month, and despite certain sentimentality, I didn't realize that I was finally learning how to let go of some attachments.

In exchange for not being busy with a Labfest play this year, I got involved in another thesis production, this time a film. I think I was referred by Audz, one of the members of the thesis group of Summer's Nights, Summer's Dreams. It was a period film called La Cancion Del Olvido (The Song of Oblivion), and we got to shoot the entire thing at the set of Zorro in Bataan. During meetings and reading rehearsals prior to the shoot, we called the prospect of going to Bataan a "paid vacation" because we were told that there was a beach nearby. Unfortunately we never got to go to the beach. Ended up waiting and hanging out and eating during the first couple of days of the shoot, and it was suddenly lagare mode after that. Despite the last part of our stay being so hectic, I had a blast making new friends regardless of age. We even went crazy and had an inuman session on the last night (or wee hours) of our stay there. Opa's debuted onstage this month as Sepa in UPPT's Sepang Loca, and I was so darn proud of that bald girl (ahehehe) as her eyes spoke volumes.

This month was pretty uneventful except a reunion with Shan the day after her birthday. I had missed this girl that we spent an entire afternoon until evening at her house, just pigging out and talking the hours away. Another significant event was a coffee shop session with Drei and Nikki, beginning with trivial questions and pondering, and ending with road trip request. A crazy road trip to Tagaytay with Drei and Carla was one of the best random days I had. And yes, that entire day was so random.

Ed flew from Canada for his annual visit during this month, but it was a pretty short trip. It was still great to see him again, though, as I never got to see him the year before. Hopefully it will be a long trip next year. Got to watch Trumpets' production of N.O.A.H. at the Meralco theater this month, thanks to Joe. Haha, we got to sit in the gallery seats to get the "backstage effect" but I got a little distracted by the things happening in the wings (especially Carlos, hahaha). I also got to attend Atlantis' bloggers conference for Spring Awakening. Inspired by a chat with Nicco, I posted general interviews of him and some of his co-actors as a little extra publicity for them on my blog, hehe. Near the end of the month, Tad and I were supposed to celebrate our two-year anniversary the day that Ondoy hit the country, so that day and the ones that followed were spent at home to keep ourselves safe.

Even though I saw a DTR of Spring Awakening the previous month, I purchased a ticket as well (naks, support) so I could watch the show with Tin and Hilary. It was great to see Hil again, so I made some time hanging out at Starbucks with her and Tin, plus Hil's brother Erik and their friend Iya. Hil finally got to meet her crush, hehehe. I also got to spend some quality time with another "long lost" friend, Carmella. I never knew that wedding prep meetings were super fun until that day, as we talked, joked and bonded over frozen yogurt and Jenga. Rent auditions were also this month, and over 300 auditionees came from all over the metro and even beyond. I also discovered a friend's "stalker" this month, hahaha! On a serious note, a bunch of conversations over chat made me realize that I really should learn to detach and let go, and yet not forget about what had passed. But as per a friend's point, possible pa rin gawin ang "friendship's over" if all efforts have already been exhausted. That made me think.

Spent the first day of the month with Tad, as a belated birthday celebration for him. And as a birthday treat, we decided to check out Peaberry Cafe together for the first time. As Aris had finally come home from Senegal, he held a get-together at his house one night, which evolved into conversations about high school revelations. This was another month of realization, I was telling myself to detach some strings. Not just some, but a lot, judging from everything that was invested in some of these people. Instead of merely brooding, I got annoyed with a friend when I heard that convenience was this friend's priority about relationships and friendship. I couldn't exactly call it the last straw, but that was when it hit me that I should finally give up. I realized that I didn't need anymore bullshit. And it was apt that the following month made it more final.

Temporarily returned to Atlantis as an usher for their Christmas run of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. As an extra thrill, I was partly given the task (along with Johanna) of briefing guest spellers before every show, hehehe. Celebrated my birthday with Tad during the day, and with the Rent gang during the evening, and I was practically eating the whole day. A Starbucks session was made memorable with Betty, Jenny and Opa due to brainstorming punctuated with bear-with-salmon gestures. For the 2nd year in a row, someone in our family got married, and this time it was Ate Ching.

A lot of different events had happened this year, some good, and some bad. I'm grateful for both the good and the bad, because it wouldn't be a learning experience without both of these.

Lara had sent me this text message last year: "I drew out a card for you. WHEEL OF FORTUNE. A sudden change of fortune. May be good or bad but brings growth and a new phase of life." So I lessened my pessimism. But I never waited for anything good to come. I just did what I wanted to do. As the year comes to a close, I came to realize that the change of fortune wasn't literally about wealth or luck, but the wealth of experience and certain luck about your progress through life.

Over dinner at Dencio's this month, someone had said that she admired Betty's walang plastikan attitude, to which she replied that she was already too old for bullshit. As an afterthought, I said to myself, kailangan ba nating maghintay na tumanda tayo lalo para maging transparent? It seems na parami ng parami ang mga plastic na tao ngayon eh. Pati ang mga kapwa kaibigan, nagpaplastikan na sa isa't isa.

I'm sick and tired of all the efforts when it comes to friendship. Tigilan na ang kaplastikan, tigilan na rin ang gamitan. There are some friends who practically live on the compliments that people give to feed their ego. Others naman, andyan lang pag kailangan ka, or andyan pag pinupuri mo lang. Nawawala pag may iba nang ka-jive. There are friends who think that other friends are only there for a short time, so bahala na ang ibang tao. Eh pano kung hindi na babalik yung mga iniwanan mo? Yes, dito nanaman papasok ang term ni Betty na "peripheral friends." "I could live without these people but I would just die without them." It seems as if the way they're acting now, parang wala na eh. I guess it's high time to let them go kung pagod ka na mag-effort. Unless they show otherwise, that is.

But in November, I had learned that despite how long you've known your loved ones, you still learn something new about them every day, which builds up your relationship with them even more.

So as 2009 draws to a close, it's time for me to decide whether certain people are worth keeping. It's also time for more new things in 2010. I've learned to let go, so let the new things come knocking.

To those who I've spent an awesome time with in 2009, I had a blast. Here's to us in 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Trio time.

As our barkada's annual post-Christmas get-together got postponed to January, Rosa had decided to move our trio dinner (to celebrate her birthday) from the 29th to yesterday. Considering it was a Sunday, we decided on lunch instead of dinner for more time to hang out together.

Headed to ATC a little before noon, and waited for Rosa to get out after the 11 am mass at St. Jerome. Iam was still on the road, so I decided to kill some time at Hobbes (yes, Carms, I'm thinking of you, hahaha!). After dismantling all those 3D puzzles and checking out all the new versions of old school board games and of course, Jenga, I got a text from Rosa, who said that the mass had finally ended. We waited for Iam at the same entrance, and got an "Eto" text from her. Hahaha, Rosa phone call to Iam didn't make enough sense either, so we waited for her at the parking area where Rosa's car was parked.

Off to Kanin Club in Westgate. There was quite a line so we had to wait to be seated. We sat on the grass outside and checked out Iam's new phone while we waited. Hahaha, now we found out why Rosa got Iam's weird "Eto" text. We also borrowed a menu so we can already decide on what to eat before we get a table. Aligue rice, sinigang na hipon and crispy dinuguan. Yummm. I have never eaten dinuguan all my life because of the fact that it was made from pig's blood. But crispy dinuguan is a pretty good first experience. My goodness, having a second serving of the aligue rice was a mistake, hahaha. But it's still the Christmas season, so it's alright, ahehehe. Thank you, Rosa!

Headed across the street to Bona Coffee for caffeine fix after the dose of cholesterol we just had. Took advantage of the free wifi so we can test more of Iam's phone.

Funny chat with Aris (Iam typing, Rosa and I looking over her shoulders):
Aris had just said that the outing was moved.
Iam: (typing) Si Rosa ander, si Hogi baka may Rent na. Ako naman wala ata--
Rosa: (interrupting) "--wala ata akong panty." Hahahaha!

Of course, Rosa just had to check out Facebook, and was disappointed that she couldn't play Farmville via Iam's phone. When we had a trio photo taken and tried to upload it, Iam then uploaded it to a different album by mistake, hahaha.

There was also another group of friends in the coffee shop. There was Matt, Jammi... and Chrissy! I had no idea she's back here in Manila! Great seeing you guys!

Headed to Festival Mall after coffee and more chitchat so Rosa can buy a certain pair of jeans for a friend. Window-shopping and a bit of actual shopping all over, then when we were getting thirsty, we decided to head over to ATC. Aris had followed after hearing mass because he didn't want to go home yet. Settled at Food choices and Aris had dinner while we were contented with sipping our drinks of choice. After a little more walking around, we finally called it a night.

Iam and I hitched a ride home with Aris. By the time we had reached the Friendship gate outside our village, I suddenly decided to buy a cheeseburger to go at Peaberry. Ronelli was there, as usual, and greeted me a belated happy birthday before heading inside to have dinner. While waiting for my burger, one of the employees handed me a Peaberry mug wrapped in blue cellophane, saying it's from Ronelli. Yay, thanks, Peaberry Cafe and Ronelli!

Yup, I love days like these that are well-spent with my best friends.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another December wedding.

December of last year, my brother got married to Ate Maui. This year is Ate Ching's turn. As of yesterday, she's now Mrs. Pacita Cadlum-Carillo. Or should I say, Dra. Pacita Cadlum-Carillo? =)

Her wedding was yesterday afternoon in Tagaytay, and my dad was given the task to give her away, to represent the late Tito Ely, Ate Ching's dad. Tita Beng was one of the principal sponsors. My mom decided to stay home (as she doesn't want to leave our house empty at all times), so I ended up going as well as an ordinary guest. Haha, I was so relieved not to be a bridesmaid like Ate Shang, because I honestly don't like having a dress made in a color that I don't usually wear (the motif was fuschia pink with a touch of ivory).

Dad, Tita Beng and I, along with Tita Des, had planned to leave for the Tagaytay early (the wedding was at 3pm), and decided to just get ready and change into our clothes at the reception venue, where the bride was doing her final prep touches as well. We got Kuya Arnold to drive us, and because he didn't know the entire way, we convoyed with Tita Lyn, Ate Shang and Kuya Butch and Dep.

We arrived at Casablanca an hour before the wedding, and Tita Beng and I dashed into one of the rooms to dress up. Thank goodness Tita Beng had her hair and makeup done already, and I opted to do mine (a rare moment! Congratulate me, hahaha!) before we had to leave the house, so we were ready within 10 minutes. Dashed to the church, which took us a long while as well because the traffic was really bad, arg. Eventually the wedding got delayed for half an hour because of the darn traffic jams. The funniest part of the entourage was MM as the ring bearer. He refused to wear his barong because the material was too itchy, so Kuya Bobot had to carry him down the aisle (while still in his sando) along with the pillow for the rings.

The ceremony was quick and simple, right on up to the photo ops in front of the altar. Dad, Tita Beng, Tita Des, Kuya and Arnold and I immediately headed back to Casablanca for the reception because the parking area was super limited. Tita Tess, Dave and Nitz (who were late so they didn't make it to the ceremony) were already there when we arrived.

At first, the prospect of attending a wedding and reception in Tagaytay thrilled me because I love the cool weather. But at that time, when the sun was already setting, I suddenly realized that it's sort of a bad idea to have an outdoor reception, especially in December. By the time the sun had completely set, we were freezing. Thank goodness I brought my bolero jacket to cover my bare shoulders. Dave and I gave Nitz a great alternative. We untied one of the pink chair accents and handed it to her to use as a shawl. Aside from that, we asked the caterers if they were serving any hot drinks, such as coffee or tea. Nope, they weren't. So Dep requested for cups of water for our table. Anything to keep us warm, hahaha!

Aside from being frozen at the reception, I had a blast being with my cousins and relatives again. The only odd thing I noticed was that I was getting closer to those cousins that I never thought I'd be closer with, and getting distant to the ones I used to be close with.

Sounds familiar. It's like the relationships with some of my friends. Oh well.

Congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Johnny and Dra. Pacita Carillo!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas celebrations.

First of all, Merry Christmas, everyone!

I was planning to post a year-end entry, but I decided to put it off for another day. Maybe the day after tomorrow when there's nothing planned for the day, hehe.

Last Wednesday, my mom and I went to Tita Elvie's annual Christmas party, which was held at her house in Indang, Cavite this year. We didn't get to go to last year's party because we were so busy with my brother's wedding.

Ate Luz left my mom in charge of thinking of parlor games for the people to play, and my mom in turn asked for my help. I kept drawing blanks, so I would sometimes ask friends online, hahaha. Eventually we came up with a bunch that were still subject to Ate Luz's approval. We headed over to Ate Luz's after lunch so we can all ride from there. While waiting for Ate Gringa, Kuya Roger, their kids, and Kuya Gil, my mom showed Ate Luz her list of parlor games for her to approve, then we got to talk to Kuya Totoy, who was calling from Jeddah. More waiting, so I snacked on a chicken leg and slices of bread, which eventually evolved into 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hahaha. Finally left for Indang at around 3:30, and I managed to sleep in the car because I knew we were in for a long night.

There were already lots of people at the Indang house, Tita Elvie included. Her workers (a whole bunch of men who sew uniforms for the Philippine Marines) were all over the place, cooking and making all necessary preparations for the party so Tita Elvie didn't need to lift a finger. Aside from relatives, people living nearby were invited to the party, as there were lots of food, plus prizes for the raffle and games later that night.

One requirement for the party was that everyone has to wear red. It was pretty nice seeing everyone decked out in red shirts and blouses. I changed into my red candy-cane hoodie after grabbing my first plateful of food.

There were a lot of people already gathered near the buffet area and the videoke, and after my mom and Ate Luz had gotten the neighborhood kids to sing a Christmas song, everyone gathered together for a prayer, and finally it was time to let loose for the parlor games. My mom made this kids play this sort of follow the leader game, which didn't fan out very well in my point of view, so after a break, Ate Luz got them to play musical chairs. Things got even crazier when she got the adults to play their own round of musical chairs. Every time there were only 2 chairs left, she would grab both and make a run for it when the music stopped, hahaha!

After musical chairs, we took a break from the games for a while. All this time, while I was watching, my mom would always see me heading to the buffet to grab another piece of lumpia or another drink. 'Tis the season to be chubby, hahaha. Because there wasn't much to watch by then except for a couple of people at the videoke machine, I headed up to the balcony with a book. Yes, I can still be such a nerd sometimes.

When I heard that Nina and the rest of her family arrived, I finally put away my book (heck, I was only reading for about 15 minutes anyway) and joined them at the buffet. But by the time Nina, Twinkle, Sunshine and Ate Cherry had filled their plates, they were called out by Ate Luz to come join the apple dance contest. And they drafted me to join as well, hahaha. Arg, the apple dance. The one parlor game I used to hate because either the apples were rigged with oil, or they get smooshed from too much pressure being lodged between 2 foreheads. I was one of the first set of pairs to drop out from the game, hahaha.

Us girls went up to the balcony and decided to finally have some alcohol, but that was when we noticed that they were only serving Red Horse and gin. Nina and I got Bob to drive us to the nearest 7-Eleven for some vodka and Shakers. Yay, drinking time. Nina, Twinkle, Sunshine and I were joined by Ate Cherry and Kuya Bong. But before we were about to pour the drinks, it was time for to toss out the random gifts (plus money) from the balcony to the guests. So Ate Luz got all of us to help toss them out so there would be a lot going on at the same time.

Inuman time! Huwaw, si Sunshine pa talaga ang pinaka-sunog baga sa amin, hahaha! While we were taking turns, she would even take a photo of each of us. By the time we were almost finished with the vodka, we were told to come downstairs, where everyone was already taking their turns at the videoke machine. I was already feeling a buzz, thanks to the balcony's spiral stairs, and I wanted to get rid of it. Before I knew it, I found myself grabbing the microphone for a turn at the videoke. That was when Tita Elvie turned it into a contest between us girls and her workers. Hahahaha, it was so crazy. Sunshine was super competitive, jokingly taunting the guys with us behind her all the time. Eventually the videoke contest evolved into a dance contest, and Sunshine was still at the top of her game, hahaha! I love this kid.

It was well into the wee hours of morning when it was time for them to go back home, as Nina still had early morning duty. So while they were in one of the bedrooms prepping up to leave, I gave Nina, Twinkle and Sunshine the shrink plastic earrings I made for them. Thanks to Nina, I found out what the other 2 girls' favorite colors were, hehe.

My mom and I were staying overnight at Indang, and we stayed in Tita Elvie's room with her. Fell asleep at around 3 in the morning, and woke up four hours later to my mom's voice telling me to get a move on because everyone else was already getting ready for breakfast.

It's been years since I had attended one of Tita Elvie's parties, and I had forgetten how loud, crazy and fun they always were for both young and old alike.

Our Christmas at home was way, way quieter. No Noche Buena on Christmas eve, just a simple dinner with my mom and aunt, as my dad had to serve at the Christmas mass. We celebrated Christmas dinner this evening, with the usual menu of steak and green salad, plus these huge shrimps and red wine. Yum.

More celebrations await tomorrow, because my cousin Pacita (Ate Ching) is getting married. Yay! Too bad our annual barkada Christmas get-together/outing got postponed, but at least I'm still getting together with my 2 best friends on Sunday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Starbucks days, brainstorming, and so-called peripheral friends.

Nikki and I met up in ATC last Sunday afternoon so we could hang out and talk again after ages. She's been so busy job-hunting and she actually started work on the day of my birthday, hahaha. Anyway, I told her that Lea has a mall show (with the DLSZ and Woodrose chorales) in ATC that day to further entice her, but of course, she still wants to hang out either way, hehe.

I was starving by the time I finally arrived at the mall after enduring a bit of traffic jams along the way, and thank goodness Nix had first suggested that we eat first. Yaaay. Off to Razon's we go for some good ol' cheap sisig for two. We were thinking of having halo-halo as dessert but after that sisig and rice, I guess we were full enough.

The mall was really crowded, packed with Christmas shoppers, mall rats, Lea fans, Zobel and Woodrose people coming to support their respective schools, and other typical spectators. We braved the crowd and found a spot with a good view at the playground area, where Pam and Rod had also situated themselves. Rawr, I really hate crowds. So after Lea had sang a handful of songs, Nikki and I gave up and decided to hang out at Starbucks and chat. Talked about how she started at her new job on the day of my birthday, and what other business we could come up with, beginning with shrink plastic that I only consider a hobby, hahaha.

By the way, was Lea wearing that yellow gown that she wore in the "My Life On Stage" concert?

I love running into friends, so it was great seeing Pam, Rod, Ari (it was nice to finally meet Annex, even though it was pretty brief, hahaha) and Lara with her siblings, all scattered around the mall.

Met up with Betty, Jenny and Opa at yet another Starbucks yesterday afternoon, this time at Harbour Square. Brainstorming day for a little project for January before Jenny goes back to New York. Betty paid for our drinks as a Christmas treat, and I distributed my Christmas gifts to them, which were (what else?) shrink plastic earrings.

By the way, one shrink plastic project fail was that I first used poster paint on Jenny's stained-glass-inspired earring design. It took a while painting the plastic, and when I fired it up in the oven, the paint crumbled and the whole thing was ruined. Oh well, back to good old colored pencils and pens, hahahaha.

I love it that the four of us got together. But yes, there's never a dull moment whenever you're with any one of these ladies. And it's sure to be a blast pag kasama mo sila ng sabay-sabay. Betty with her bastos moments, Opa with her surprising strokes of genius, and of course, Jenny with her bear-with-salmon gesture that evolved the entire afternoon and well into the evening.

Discussions galore about the material we have, courtesy of Jenny. Interesting concept, and the first time I read it, we knew that was it.

At one point in the afternoon, a Starbucks employee came up to us with a tray of cakes.

"Para sa inyo po, ma'am," he said.

"Ha?!?" was our response.

"Pinabibigay po sa inyo."


"Siya po," the guy replied, pointing to a man who was still standing at the counter.

The man turned to look at us, and then Betty realized that it was the same guy whose wallet she found in the restroom a few minutes earlier. He bought the cakes for our group as gratitude for Betty finding his wallet which he thought that he lost. Thank you!

More talk as the bear-salmon gesture evolved, and we sort of got sick of tasting all the sweet stuff, so we decided to have dinner at Dencio's. More talk, this time mostly about indie films and plays, and those quips about method acting, hahahaha.

Oh, these friends are what makes your precious time with them so memorable.

Speaking of memorable, Betty once wrote about writing a year-ender note. Basically about the memorable events that had happened this past year. I do that at the end of every year, and I haven't even thought about my own year-ender entry yet. But there was one part of Betty's note that I liked. After mentioning a misunderstanding with a friend that wasn't quite much a of a loss, she said "That they are my peripheral friends kung kaibigan nga ang matatawag mo sa kanila because I could live without them but would just die without these people."

Peripheral friends. Interesting term. I have lots of those. And now I find that I also have friends who used to be super close with me, but now, it's better that I live without them. Weird, huh? Nakakapagod kasi kung ikaw ang mage-effort sa isang friendship that you'd already invested in but is now one-sided and totally not worth the effort anymore.

Text from a friend sometime earlier this year:
"You know, it's a bit sad when people you're really close to don't exert any effort to fortify and preserve the friendship you share. Makes you realize that the friends that you have right now aren't the true friends you thought them to be. Wala lang, random thought... Ka-sad lang kasi all my efforts are for naught pag tina-try ko makipag-reconnect sa mga old close friends eh. Yung tipong todo effort na sila pa ang dadayuhin mo sa malayo pero wala pa rin. Parang wala kayong pinagsamahan sa pagdededma sa iyo."

What's funny was that the same friend who texted that is now turning out to be one of those aforementioned so-called friends. Pfft.

I don't want to be cynical, but in some cases, siguro tama nga ang sabi ni Jenny dati. Parang lalabas na rin na "friendship over" na lang if the worse comes to worst. I have to agree with her that I'd also rather want to be with genuine people who don't have clique issues.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rent rehearsal sneak peek.

I spent the evening of my birthday at the Rockwell Club to catch the special sneak peek of a Rent rehearsal. I was invited to usher for it when Peachy had texted me last week, but I had to decline because my plans for the day was pretty tentative until the day before.

I was planning to just be a mere spectator of the event, so I sat in the very end of the row of chairs while the cast was rehearsing a couple of songs. When the bloggers and press people starting coming in, Jon-Jon then distributed the press kits, and even handed one to me. Ooh, I get a press kit too? Okay, hahaha. It would be fun to blog about it, anyway.

While the cast was still rehearsing as the media people watched, Toots then asked if he could take my chair and if I could transfer and sit next to the bloggers. I willingly obliged, and asked Bek for a pen so I could scribble away.

So Robbie then gave a bit of opening remarks, a brief summary and background of Rent, then introduced the cast.

When one member of the audience asked the theater newbies about their first-time venture into the business, I actually liked what Nicole Asensio had said. Her 3 biggest challenges were commitment [of the actors], support [from the cast], and discipline, which, according to her, has a big difference between performing in theater and in bands (which was her initial forte).

Even more interesting was when Robbie talked about the casting, because most or some of you may have heard news on how casting was made. He had said that it would've been easier to cast veterans for the lead roles, but it's harder to find those at the age that the characters are in. Hence the reason he casted theater veterans in the ensemble, and somewhat fresh people as the leads. It provided opportunities for new people to come out, to be discovered, and to be trained.

Of course, one common question was "What can the audience expect from this production?" When it comes to the staging, Robbie had said that they can't veer away too much from the original, as it might not work if it was modernized. The musical was set in the 1990's, hence it can be considered a "period piece," but more elements will be added in terms of staging. Hmmm... I hope we won't be disappointed then, Rob. =)

Having mentioned that Rent is set in the 90's, there are a lot of people in the cast who never really got to experience what it was really like in the 1990's, as they were possibly still too young to remember. Robbie then mentioned that they have this sort of "immersion of 90's stuff." Fred had also added, "It doesn't have to be a memory... It can be an experience... There are other ways to get into a character... materials and stuff."

And yes, the eternal question... "Why Rent?" Haha, I've been hearing from Peachy that most of them, and yes, including Robbie, was against it from the very beginning, and they admitted it again at the sneak peek. The musical was already gasgas and over-exposed when it was first staged here. And I myself have to admit that it became even more overrated when the film version came out. But Robbie had a good answer. Maybe in our generation, we got tired of it already. But people who were too young will now be able to appreciate it.

Hmmm... interesting. My ears perked up when they had mentioned immersion. Ang masasabi ko lang, please don't just rely on the 90's stuff that's being provided. Get to know the world of the play, like Sir Dennis had told us before. Masaya ang mundo na yan. I loved the 90's, and it's fun to look back and research on. Hahaha, I dunno, I'm still trying to hype myself up "because it's Rent."

By the way, I was amused at the fact that Nicole (who will be playing Mimi) looks so much like Hilary. They could pass of as sisters, hahahaha.


Catch 9 Works Theatrical's production of Rent at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza on all weekends of February 2010. For tickets, call 557-5860 or Ticketworld at 891-9999.

A birthday of food trips, and a sneak peek.

When it comes to my birthday, I always opt for simple celebrations. I never liked parties, eating out with at least 20 nearest dearest friends (so yeah, I can be stingy, hahaha) and all that.

So after hearing mass during the early morning, I had a quiet brunch at home with my parents (where we always rely on take-out if there's someone having a birthday), then off I went to meet Tad in the early afternoon.

We had a late lunch and much-needed quality time at Harbour Square. Haha, he just had to tease me about my having to walk in my shoes, as I haven't worn anything with high heels in ages. Hey, I used to teeter and run around in heels. Minsan lang ako maging girly-girl no, hehehe. Girly-girl, but with my top, I think I resembled a candy cane because of the red and white stripes, hahaha!

Because Tad had an event to attend to in the early evening, I checked my watch and noticed that I still had time to make it to the Rent sneak peek, which Peach had initially asked me to usher. Of course I declined then, but yesterday I figured, hey, maybe I'll check it out anyway.

Off I went to Rockwell Club. By the time I had stepped inside, I immediately asked where the dance studio was, but then I heard someone call my name. Haha, there was Ed and Nico standing by the event's sign. As it turned out, they were the ushers for the night.

Found some of the cast emerge from the elevators, and as it turned out, they were on break until 7pm. Joined them at Jollibee where I was greeted a happy birthday, and seeing them order made me hungry again, so I got something to eat as well. After eating, we all headed back to the dance studio, and they started prepping up for the event. They were rehearsing a couple of songs when the bloggers and press people started trickling in.

(Blog entry about the sneak peek to follow.)

After the preview, I got one of the Rent shirts that were being worn by the cast as well as part of the giveaways for the press. Huwaw, weird female shirt sizes. The size I got was large, but it fit me perfectly, hahaha.

Joined Bek, Ed and Nico up to the poolside where the complimentary food was being served. Yes, I didn't pass and still ate. Man, I've been stuffing myself silly the whole day. Anyway, after all the chika and photo ops, we finally called it a night.

I wasn't really planning to attend the sneak peek, but I was glad I did. It's a pretty good birthday treat. =)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trying out Mugshots.

As a Christmas gift, Lawyn bought Mugshots and distributed them to us this past weekend. Ever since I saw this in Kristine's Multiply, I was so curious about those little cakes in a bottle, and was thinking of buying a whole bunch myself. When Lawyn laid out the bottles on the FOH table, I immediately picked out the strawberry flavor, and thought of saving it to eat on my birthday.

My mom was asking for a snack this afternoon, so I decided to make some pasta. Then I thought it might be bitin, so heck, why not make the strawberry Mugshot now?

I was too lazy to make carbonara, so I resorted to Lucky Me's instant Mac and Cheez. Because the cheese sauce was a wee bit salty, I used one pack of cheese sauce for 3 packs of pasta noodles, then I added a different kind of cheese to mix in with the one pack of cheese sauce. Anyway...

I was a bit hesitant to pour out the contents of the Mugshot, because it looked so pretty just sitting there inside its little bottle. Oh well, I just hope it's good as Lawyn had said. I poured out the contents into a mug, then popped it in the microwave.

It only took 2 minutes for the Mugshot cake to bake in the microwave.

Yay, early little strawberry-flavored birthday cake for me!

I have to say, it does taste good. I even drizzled it with chocolate syrup, hehe.

Curious about Mugshots? Check out The Fundamentals' Multiply account!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Final Bee weekend.

A 2-week stint as an usher for the Christmas run of Atlantis' 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is finally over. Because I'm not able to attend the Atlantis Christmas party this very evening, my consolation was a couple of new pairs of shoes as a birthday gift for myself, hahaha. (Naman, pagbigyan niyo na ako. I hardly shop for shoes, as I practically live in my Chuck Taylors.)

What I enjoyed most about just being an usher instead of manning the entire front-of-house is that I'm not tied down at the table, handing out guests' complimentary tickets, and also selling tickets and other merchandise. At least I get to walk around and mingle with the guests while waiting for the celebrity guest spellers to arrive (though some celebrity spellers can stress you out because they're super late). I can be hyper when I want to, and kulang na lang is mag-tumbling ako all over the lobby whenever I'm on a sugar rush, hahaha (like that time Claire gave me the leftover cake that they had in the office). I love it when I see friends watching the show, especially those that you'd never expect.

Just last Friday, I was so thrilled to see Tricia and Dandan watching the same show. I haven't seen these two since the old forum days, and in my excitement to see them, I sent text messages to our common friends. Of course, every time I text Tita Sherbs about seeing our friends, she would always reply, asking for a reunion, hahahaha.

Speaking of reunions, I didn't get to attend DLSZ's alumni homecoming last Saturday because of Spelling Bee. But I don't think it's a big loss, really. I was actually uncertain about attending the homecoming, plus the upcoming 10-year reunion of our batch. And hey, Jericho Rosales was our celebrity speller along with Sarah Meier during the evening show that day, hahaha.

Other than that, Marnie also watched the Bee's Saturday evening show. Some of you may laugh, but I have to say that she was my first musical theater idol, as I've always looked up to her when I was a kid. I was actually starstruck by this Ang TV alumna every time we cross paths in school, and I was content enough that she knew me even as just one of the chorus kids in our school musical production, because the only things we have in common is that she's in the same class as my brother, and we're both into theater (though I hadn't realized it yet at that time).

So when I saw her in the lobby last Saturday, I was inches away from her yet I reverted back to my shy, 7th-grade self until she noticed me (and I was grateful that she still knows me) and we said hi to each other. Haha, ayun, natuwa naman ako when she gave me a hug and agreed to have a picture taken (after a bit of small talk about my brother who lives in Canada).

(Thanks to Lawyn for letting Ceejay and me use her camera to have pics taken with Sarah, Echo and Marnie, hahaha.)

By the way, I heard from Red that a restaging of Summer's Nights, Summer's Dreams might happen. Is this true?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lea's "Your Songs" DTR.

Last Thursday, my initial plans were to go with Lara to Marillac but things fell through because of the usual house rules. I was already bummed about not going out that day, and I was still brooding over someone who didn't even try to invite me to some event that was going on that same night. Oh well.

Then I got a text from Lawyn and Claire at the same time, asking if I was free at 8pm that night for the DTR of Lea's concert. Haha, of course, I just had to go. When they said I could bring one friend, I immediately thought of Tin. I asked if she already has a ticket to the concert, and she said that she didn't buy a ticket. So I invited her as my plus one. She was the obvious choice among my hardcore Lea-fanatic friends because the rest can even afford to buy tickets to both concert dates anyway.

Headed to Harbour Square to have dinner before the agreed-upon time of 7:30pm. I was also texting Gino, who had messaged me earlier that morning that he was at CCP for some event. As it turned out, he was still there in the area, along with Vanie and Jobe. Met up with Gino at Jollibee, then followed him and Vanie to Reyes Barbecue where Jobe and their other friend were waiting. Had dinner there until they had to return to CCP the same time I had to meet with Tin (who had just texted that she had just arrived in the area).

It was almost 7:30 when Tin arrived, but she was starving so I accompanied her to Jollibee for a quick bite before we walked to PICC. So many people were already there, but I easily found Claire, Lawyn and Mae outside. They were still waiting for a whole bunch of people which included the Spelling Bee cast, because they were holding their tickets. Waited for the rest in the lobby with Ate Sally, Ate Janine, Kuya Boni and a bunch of others, then we decided to fall in line.

That line was longer than those anaconda-like lines of the MRT stations. It took ages for the line to move, so Tin and I kept chattering away. Minutes later, I even noticed a familiar-looking girl... Marnie? I never got to confirm if that was her, because she suddenly disappeared into the crowd.

The concert began an hour and a half later than scheduled. Well, forgivable, as it's just a technical dress rehearsal. At least Tin and I got to talk the whole time we were waiting. Basta pag si Tin ang kausap, walang quiet moments, hahaha.

I have to say, the show was a blast. I was a little thrown off by the Philippine All-Stars, though. Parang out of place sila. Anyway, the choice of song requests were pretty awesome. As for the contest for getting to sing a duet with Lea, we were treated to watching both winners (one for each concert date), even if it meant hearing the same song twice. I actually liked the first guy better, as the second guy tended to sing like Brad Kane a wee bit too much.

And of course, who wouldn't love having Richard Poon and Ai-Ai De Las Alas as special guests? Panalo si Ai-Ai when she came in as Annie, complete with that balloon dog, hahaha. And the Aegis duet was awesome! It was totally refreshing to hear Lea sing Aegis, plus it reminded me of Mimay.

My favorite guest would have to be the surprise guest in the form of Jett Pangan, hahahaha. I never get sick of hearing "Salamat" over and over again, and when I heard a different voice come out from the speakers and Jett came onstage, I was cheering ever so loudly. Awesome anthem, that "Salamat."

I guess I already sort of expected the song "Defying Gravity" from Wicked to come up along with the rest of the musical theater songs, but it was still pretty good. Hahaha, I was sitting between Tin and Theody and they were both cheering at the edge of their seats, and they were contagious.

Congratulations to Lea! Bobby and Chari too, of course! The show was worth waiting for an hour and a half, and it was a good excuse to hang out with Tin, hahaha! =)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hello, Christine.

Whenever I take an FX to Quezon City, I always take the route that passes along Espana instead of taking the MRT route. Without fail, every time I pass by UST, I always remember that brief time of independence during that one year of studying there. The memories of boarding houses and dormitories (and moving from one dorm to another), my first experience of budgeting my own money to fit in one to 2 weeks, having no parents or guardians to nag me all the time, plus learning how to discipline myself without guardians.

It was also the time that I was known as Christine (or even Tin-tin). Not Hogi.

In high school, I've been used to being called Hogi by my close friends. When it was time to move to UST, I decided to switch back to being called Christine because it was safe, no one knew me, the name wasn't as common as there were too many people with lots of different names, and of course it will take a long time to explain why I was called Hogi. When I transferred to a new school, I had decided to still keep calling myself Christine, but that lasted for about a minute in the first day of orientation, because a new blockmate happened to be a common friend that I was first introduced to as Hogi. Oh well.

So now, I'm thinking again about switching back to being good old Christine. Weird, isn't it? Sure, Hogi's unique, practically everyone now knows be as that, and I can easily tell if I'm the one being called. But I have to admit, I actually miss being called Christine.

Monday, December 7, 2009

P-R-O-P-O-S-A-L: My Favorite Moment of the Bee.

"You're back???" Miss Bernice had asked when I was the one who greeted her at the door at Atlantis' 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee's preview show.

Nope, I'm not back with Atlantis. I'm just ushering for this run of Spelling Bee. Charo, the usual head usher, had gone to the US, so Lawyn's sister Johanna and I took her place, alternately briefing the celebrity and audience guest spellers for each show.

I have to say, it's been a while since I've been with ushers from Blue Rep, but every batch is equally quirky, and I get pretty amused just watching them.

And so far, I have to say that last night's show was pretty eventful. First of all, there were no pasaway guest spellers unlike the previous ones since preview, hahaha. (Oh, the horror of those spellers from adult night.) Nikki had already been briefed the night before while I was chatting with Geli on YM. And Jinky? She followed everything to the letter, but she was laughing so hard while she was onstage that she was practically in tears, hahaha! Nice to know that she hadn't changed a bit after years of not seeing her.

Other than that, there's one special moment that made last night's show very memorable. Joel had proposed to Emy in front of the entire Spelling Bee audience! Woohoo!

But let me backtrack a bit.

Sometime last week, before one of Spelling Bee's preview shows, Lawyn and I were sitting in the audience just hanging around and waiting. Joel was talking in hushed tones with Bobby and Chari several rows in front of us. I accidentally overheard something that Bobby had said and tried to tune it out. I suddenly remembered this one guy who had also proposed to his girlfriend at Spelling Bee's previous run. Interesting.

Then another time, Joel approached the front-of-house and asked Ate Sally if he could let her accommodate a couple of his friends who just want to watch the curtain call of one show. The hushed conversation I accidentally saw slipped from my mind, and just assumed that these friends probably just wanted to see the Christmas medley that the cast performs for this run, hahaha.

(Maybe I'm just rationalizing, but I can't help but include this. The night before the proposal, I had a dream that I was being proposed to also. Weirdness.)

Anyway. I found myself slipping inside the theater during mic check before Sunday's evening show (to look for Lawyn, I think). I saw Joel, Bobby and Chari talking again in hushed tones, and this time with Cathy. I slipped back out of the theater so as not to be rude, but I was suddenly thinking, could this be the day? My question was answered when Bobby and Chari handed cameras to Lawyn to cover the show's curtain call. Lawyn's look confirmed what was going to happen. Hahaha, it was all super secretive, that even the cast (save for Cathy, of course) didn't know. Lawyn was even looking over a seat plan to find which seats were vacant so she could position herself there with the cameras. Because Lawyn was tasked to take photos and video, she handed me the video recorder so she won't harass herself doing both.

Before the show was about to end, Chari instructed us to cover the Christmas medley as well so we won't miss a single moment of the whole thing. So during the final song, Lawyn and I positioned ourselves into 2 vacant orchestra seats that had a decent view of everything. My gahd, funny thing was that my hands were getting clammy. Hahahaha, pati ako kinabahan kasi baka shaky ang pagkuha ko ng video.

Anyway, so after the Christmas medley, I was still recording and Lawyn was still snapping away. Cathy (still in character as Miss Peretti) then made an announcement concerning an audience member about some confiscated item, and called Emy up onstage. Murmurs and whispers filled the air, and once Joel had assisted Emy to center stage and went down on one knee, even the cast members' jaws dropped to the floor! Despite my giddiness, I'm still hoping right now that the video I recorded of the proposal wasn't too shaky, ahahaha.

Of course, because this was Joel, there had to be a classic Joel Trinidad moment. When he was about to slip the ring on Emy's finger, he had no idea which hand, hahaha! "It's my first time to do this." HAHAHAHAHA!

Congratulations to Joel Trinidad and Emerita Alcid! We're all so happy for you! And we're also glad to witness this awesome moment with you.

After the show, that's when I started thinking again about that dream I had. I once had a dream that I was pregnant, and it turned out that someone I knew was also pregnant. And strangely enough, I had a recurring dream of childbirth, but unfortunately, the same friend suddenly had a miscarriage. And now, I had a dream of a marriage proposal, and someone I know proposes to his girlfriend.

I was pondering over it with Nicco last night and he said na may powers daw ang dreams ko, hahaha. Labo. Hehe, sige, doncha worry, bro. If I dream of Glee's Jenna Ushkowitz, I'll be sure to let you know, hahahaha!