Ipanema Walks a Green Mile for Haribon

Last March 21, the boys and I headed out to the Fort Strip to join hundreds of people, young and old, to support Ipanema’s Walk a Green Mile for the benefit of Haribon Foundation.

Walk a Green Mile banner Haribon Foundation tent

Ever since the Ipanema launch of its GB Seeds Collection, I had made up my mind to join the walkathon. The cause was impetus enough. The exercise I would get out of it as well as the bonding with bloggers were the icing on the cake.

The boys at registration table

The boys at registration table

M1 & I with Patxi Elizalde of ELRO Corp. (Ipanema distributor)

M1 & I with Patxi Elizalde of ELRO Corp. (Ipanema distributor)

The walk started at a little past 5PM. The Uganda Band began playing Brazilian and African beats. At the starting line, confetti rained upon the participants and we all started the 1-mile hike around the Fort, basically walking to Boni High Street, going all around it, and making our way back to the starting point.

That entire walk took about 40 minutes and everyone made it back happy to have contributed to a worthy cause.

Several blogger friends were spotted and of course, we had the usual blogger photo ops. Click, click, click….

with Melyn & Jon Limjap

with Melyn & Jon Limjap

Met up with Liezl (right) & her friends

Met up with Liezl (right) & her friends

The camwhoring bloggers

The camwhoring bloggers

Karla & Sha

Karla & Sha

A pair of GB sandals personally signed by Gisele Bundchen was raffled off and no other than Melyn Limjap, a blogger, came away with the prize.

The lucky blogger!

The lucky blogger!

Celebrities were around too to grace the occasion. Here are some snaps of them:

All in all, it was an event we enjoyed a lot because I had time to bond with my boys who were attending a semi-blogger event for the first time. The instant dinner we had after the walkathon allowed them to meet some of my blogger friends.

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A Most Romantic Blogger Proposal Happened Today! (complete with bloopers)

It can now be told. A blogger-friend just proposed to another blogger-friend in the most amazing, romantic, unlikely place. And she said YES!

Jay and Aileen are now officially engaged!

aileen_jay

And the moment happened away from Manila — in Davao — at a zipline — in the presence of other bloggers.

Flashback to a couple of weeks ago…

Jay met Dine and me at Bo’s Coffee Katipunan. Dine and I were about to go to the wake of Amiel in Ateneo; he was coming from two TV networks and wanted to drop by and chat. We engaged in small talk for a while till we got around to asking Jay when he planned to pop the question to Aileen.

Jay reminded me of that day in early February when I plurked, wondering what a great marriage proposal line would be. He had replied to that plurk: “I didn’t need a search engine to find you… but i love the top result”. What I did not know then was that Jay was already in the throes of planning the marriage proposal scenario.

You can read Jay’s entire plan HERE. He wanted it to be unusual, away from Manila, a great surprise for Aileen, unexpected, and still romantic. What great timing for the Davao Food Appreciation Tour (FAT) that Blogie was organizing. Jay only told a few people. Drew was the official co-conspirator in Davao because the tarpaulin with his marriage proposal had to be done there. Of course, Blogie was in on the secret too.

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2009 Kuangchi Awardees

Every year, Xavier School selects the Xavier-Kuangchi awardees from among its alumni who exhibit outstanding achievements in their respective fields.

I am very happy to find out that I know 2 out of the 3 awardees for this year.

2009 Xavier-Kuangchi Awardees

Joaquin (or Jake, as we fondly call him) C. Yap, Jr. is someone we consider a relative. His family and that of hubby come from the same town in China. His mother (whom we call Di-kim) calls us on every occasion (Mother’s Day, Christmas, New Year) just to chat and ask about the family. Jake’s sister, Janet, who is now in Australia, was someone I knew even when she was still single.

Jake obtained his Masters Degree in Theological Studes in 1995 from the Loyola School of Theology and his Doctorate Degree in Theology in 2003 from the University of Oxford in England. 

Xavier School calls him one of its exemplary alumni “for his devotion to the Catholic faith, consecrating his life to serve God through his long-term involvement with the university campus apostolate of the Servants of the Word and the teaching ministry of the Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Catholic Charismatic Community.”

Vincent S. Perez (or Vince as we call him) is a dear friend and confidante while we were taking our Masters degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. I have many wonderful memories of Vince and the group of Pinoys I went to school with. Vince always had this never-to-be-forgotten dimpled smile and a listening ear for friends (and as one of his countless friends, I remember hours and hours we spent chatting over the telephone with topics that covered the inane to the dreams). During United Nations Day, both of us managed to borrow 2 bamboo poles from the Philippine Embassy and danced the Tinikling for our foreign schoolmates. Yes, Vince was and still is, a great dancer. Even back then, Vince had always nurtured a deep desire to serve in government and I never really imagined that one day, this friend would return from a successful investment banking career abroad to serve as a Cabinet Secretary.

Xavier School gives him the Xavier-Kuangchi Award “for his commendable service to the country as Secretary of the Department of Energy, setting a high benchmark for achievement and professionalism in government service, and earning the distinction of being the first Xaverian in the Cabinet, and the youngest and longest-serving Energy Secretary to date.”

Congratulations, Jake and Vince. I am so, so proud to know the both of you and to see you accept this award you richly deserve. May this award only serve to spur you both to greater heights for His greater glory.

These exemplary alumni will be formally awarded in “by invitation only” conferment rites on March 13, 2009, Friday, 6.30 PM at the XS Angelo King Multipurpose Center. 

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‘Heaven’s Butterfly’: A Friend’s Book on Helping Children Deal with Grief

Last Feb. 17, 2009 (Tuesday), I purposely went to Ateneo to finally meet (in person) a special online friend who was launching a book she and her daughter collaborated on. “Heaven’s Butterfly” was launched by Cathy Babao-Guballa and daughter P under the umbrella of Anvil Publishing — a Philippine first — a children’s book on how to cope with grief.

Just a little background story on how Cathy and I became friends without ever meeting up.

Our common thread was our friend Noemi Dado. I found out that Noemi and Cathy were involved in a grief support group called Griefshare. I can’t remember exactly when I first contacted Cathy but I started to email her and she responded. We discovered common things. I met her late father way back when he was with the Phinma Group and I was a junior auditor assigned to his company. We discovered common friends, common interests (writing, health and wellness) and were co-parents in our boys’ school at one time. When I was hospitalized due to kidney stones in 2007, Cathy (without even knowing me that well), sent me a wonderful, HUGE health book which I continue to use as a reference. We hooked up via email and would chat whenever we saw each other online. There had been occasions when we would plan to finally meet but our schedules somehow never jelled. Till now.

 

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In her blog, Cathy writes about the inspiration behind Heaven’s Butterfly:

“The book talks about the story of our life in the first year after Migi died. It specifically describes P’s journey from a place of sadness to a place of hope….“Heaven’s Butterfly” was a difficult story to write in the sense that we had to dig up and unearth many emotions from years ago. It is never easy to dredge up the past, more so if the memories are painful. However, it was also liberating because in doing so, we were remembering Migi and all the wonderful memories we had of him during those four, beautiful years that he was lent to us. By sharing part of our journey, we hope to be able to reach out to many more children who have lost loved ones – be it a parent, a friend, a grandparent, or a sibling — all pain is the same. Whenever we lose someone we love, we are forever changed by the experience.

We hope that parents and teachers who read this book will come to realize that grief and loss, when it takes place, cannot just be swept under the rug. Losing someone is a real occurrence in a child’s world and we must allow that child to grieve. As adults and caregivers, we must do everything in our power to help them navigate that journey from sadness to hope.”

 

P, Cathy and me

P, Cathy and me (the online friends finally meet up)

 
The launch was held at Ateneo’s Dela Costa Hall since Cathy teaches in Ateneo. P is also an incoming freshman and a budding doctor-in-the-making.  Heaven’s Butterfly was wonderfully illustrated also by Atenean artist/illustrator, Frances C. Alcaraz.

It was a very close, intimate affair with family and friends of Cathy, P and Panch in attendance. I even got to meet Cathy’s mom, someone I admired from afar for a very long time —  not only as a versatile actress but as a woman who handled her own grief with grace and lives life to the fullest up to now. I was indeed blessed to have the chance to sit down and chat with Caridad Sanchez and her equally vibrant friend, Chit Almario.

 

with Ms. Caridad Sanchez

with Ms. Caridad Sanchez

 

The effervescent friends: Chit Almario & Caridad Sanchez

The effervescent friends: Chit Almario & Caridad Sanchez

“Heaven’s Butterfly” will be available at Powerbooks and National Bookstore starting February 23, 2009. 

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Spa + Theater = BlueWater Day Spa Theater!!!

I have tried several spas. Some were disappointing; others were great experiences that wanted me yearning to go back.

I am a yogini so spas are a welcome winding-down treat after a really great, sweaty yoga class. Many times, the aches and pains I feel are immediately relieved by a great massage. I am an advocate for healthy living and I truly believe that the spas contribute significantly to overall wellness.

As a part-time consultant too, I am not immune to the stress that corporate life brings and last year, I did find myself more often at a spa either for hand/foot treatments or a rub-down just so I could tune out my stress and breathe it out.

But guess what! BlueWater Day Spa has cooked up a winning combination for a spa. This concept is unlike any of the other BlueWater Day Spas you see around the metro. In fact, my office building had a BlueWater Day Spa branch right behind that I patronized. THIS one, definitely a first in the Metro, is a SPA THEATER!

bluewater-day-spa-theater

BlueWater Day Spa Theater is a haven in the heart of the corporate jungle and is located along Ortigas Avenue.

Its look and amenities are unlike any others. Check out these features:

* 621 sq, meters – larger than the usual branch sizes

* A larger reception area with a Modern European look

* A private consultation area so you can be assisted in choosing the right treatment for you

* A theater that can accommodate 28 people at a time and features High Definition cinema projectors with Dolby Sorround 7.1 sounds and BluRay movies

* The 28 Lazy Boy leather-seat sofas have been tailored to lean back at an angle suitable for both movie watching and comfort while being pampered

bluewater-hallway

this awesome hallway makes you feel like floating on water

Read more about the theater’s features and see more photos  HERE.

Of course, they still have the usual private and common rooms if you prefer their individual treatments.

I thought that one unique concept for a spa party at BlueWater Day Spa Theater would be a baby shower-spa party.

I have 4 kids and while they are all in their teens and tweens now, I can still clearly remember what it was like to be pregnant. You felt bloated all the time. Your feet hurt easily and you were in this constant state of fatigue and dizziness. Your tummy was too big for you to see your toes — worse, to even give yourself a decent pedicure. You also felt ugly at times because your officemates were all dressed in their corporate attire while you had to wear flats with a shapeless dress.

So, for the mother-to-be, holding her baby shower in the spa theater would be a chance for her to literally put her feet up, be treated to a great spa treatment while relaxing on a reclining sofa, and made to feel beautiful all over. It would be a treat too for her married friends whose husbands can likewise settle down to a good movie. And for her single female/male friends? Of course, this would be a treat they won’t say no to! The lolos and lolas-to-be would greatly enjoy this treat as well. The movies could either be the mother-to-be’s family videos or wholesome family movies that can keep everyone entertained, relaxed and truly at home. Gift opening would be even more fun since the baby shower celebrant could be videotaped opening her gifts and this could be projected onto the huge theater screen, including clips of the proud daddy-to-be.

I really would love to try this spa theater out.  My home is not far away too so that is a PLUS!

Well, I may no longer be a potential baby shower mommy but I can think of so many excuses reasons to visit BlueWater Day Spa Theater again and again.

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Benjamin Button Quotes I Love

Today, two friends and I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

benjamin-button-poster-cate-medbb_brad_one-sheet_thumb

No, it was not the fact that Brad Pitt was in the movie that got me there. It was because I knew this was another one of those movies filled with life lessons.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is about a man who is born in his eighties and over time, grows younger. The story begins in New Orleans at the end of World War I in 1918 and ends in the 21st century. His life is filled with people he meets, places he discovers, the loves he experienced, the many joys of life, and the sadness of losing people he loved. He also discovered what would last beyond a single lifetime.

The almost 3-hour movie dragged a bit in some places, especially the ones that showed him still aged. But Lynn pointed me to this site that listed some of the quotes that I totally related to:

#1

Benjamin: I was thinking how nothing lasts, and what a shame that is.

Daisy: Some things last.

(my thought bubble: LOVE lasts…)

#2

Along the way you bump into people who make a dent on your life. Some people get struck by lightning. Some are born to sit by a river. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim the English Channel. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people can dance.

(my thought bubble: I’m the mom and the girl who dances!)

#3

We’re meant to lose the people we love. How else are we supposed to know how important they are?

(my thought bubble: Do we need to wait to lose people we love to arrive at this realization? I wish people realized BEFORE loved ones die!)

#4

Your life is defined by its opportunities… even the ones you miss.

(my thought bubble: Oh so true!!!)

#5

I wanna remember us just as we are now.

(my thought bubble: I do exactly what Benjamin does — make a memory imprint whenever I want to remember a person or savor a moment…)

#6

Sometimes we’re on a collision course, and we just don’t know it. Whether it’s by accident or by design, there’s not a thing we can do about it.

(my thought bubble: This has been the story of my life for about 2 years now and this was what I had just blogged about!!!)

#7

You can be mad as a mad dog at the way things went; you can swear and curse the fates – but when it comes to the end, you have to let go.

(my thought bubble: Letting go is really the only way to forgive, move on, and be at peace…)

#8

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

(my thought bubble: This is what I wish for my own life and for everyone…)

If you still have not seen it, I would recommend you going with your spouse, special someone or close friend/s. Somehow, the impact of such a movie is stronger when the people you love watch with you.

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