wedding congressMy 41 year old baby brother in Missouri (I still call him baby brother because I took care of him) wants me to be his wedding coordinator for a church [tag]wedding[/tag] in the Philippines. My brother and his wife did not have a church wedding 14 years ago due to financial challenges. Now that he is a successful neurologist, he dreams of a marriage with God’s blessing. He has indeed been blessed through the years with 4 lovely children, a lucrative medical parctice and a devoted wife. I told him that weddings in the Philippines is not the same as it used to be. I started to look around for wedding fairs. The last time I attended a wedding bazaar was in 2004 for Lauren’s debut plans. Just looking at the prices for photography, venue, catering , cake and other perks for Lauren’s debut could easily cost 150,000 pesos ($2,500.00) at the least. My daughter dubbed it “A not so typical debut celebration” and happily, the total expenses were only 80,000 pesos ($1,500) for 100 guests. Divisoria is my friend. My brother was impressed that I coordinated a “sort-of-grandiose” celebration . But weddings are different! There are a 101 considerations. I told him that I would shop around for a wedding events coordinator who will coordinate with me.

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I have been tagged by Niceheart to list down six weird things about myself. Yet another [tag]meme[/tag].

So here are 6 weird things or habits about me. Beware I am obsessive compulsive in most of these weird habits.

1. I like my books to be arranged neatly in the bookshelves from tallest to shortest. Mind you, the books have to be aligned in a straight line too. Something like this


Actually, when I trained our helper to fix books from tallest to shortest , she did an even better job. I think she became even more OCD than me. Or was it she got contaminated with my obsessive disorder?

2. I want my bedspread carefully folded on the bed with very little crease. I have to pull it together with my other helper on the other end to attain an “ironed look”. I drive my daughters crazy by telling them to do this. I’ve since left them to fix their dorm beds the way they want it to be but at home, I end up pulling it for that “ironed look” when they are gone. Something like this:


I never used to have this strange habit but like number 1, my helper did a better job and I got hooked on that no-crease bedspread look.

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kay warrenkay warrenWhile on my way to Kay Warren’s Women Talk seminar, I pondered over her topic “How to be Joyful No Matter What“. Kay Warren is a two-time cancer survivor, a homemaker, and a pastor’s wife (the wife of Rick Warren, author of Purpose Driven life). Her favorite passage of Scripture is John 6:1-14 . In that famous passage, Jesus feeds 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish that a little boy offered Him. These verses confirm the truth that God uses ordinary average people to accomplish great things when their lives are totally surrendered to Him. It was God’s idea that Cathy give me tickets for the “Women Talk” yesterday so I could share it here.

kay warrenCan life still be joyful even if one has experienced the worst nightmare any parent can have? What do I tell the bereaved mothers of The Compassionate Friends that life can be joyful inspite of the loss of their child. For newly bereaved, there are days and weeks that can drag on and on without any infusion of light and joy. Kay Warren defines joy as the , ““The unshakeable assurance that God is in control of all the details in my life. It is the quiet confidence that ultimately everything will be alright; and the determined purpose to praise God in all things.” Some newly bereaved lose their faith in God . I too lost my faith in God. It’s all a matter of choices. It was my choice to be miserable early on in my grief journey. While listening to Kay, I knew I had to undergo so much pain to discover God again in my life. We can control our choices. I chose to surrender to God during my deepest darkest despair and that’s when I found joy back in my life. How? I didn’t know it then but Kay Warren best explains the practical ways on finding joy everyday.

1. Put the humor in Life.
2. Practice Gratitude
3. Choose to be a giver than a taker
4. Live in the moment
5. Find the “bless in the mess”

You can read more details of “How to be Joyful No Matter What“. in “Cathy’s entry.

So what do I tell the newly bereaved? I will tell them that life is full of choices. Grief is inevitable but misery is optional. Every day, each of us decides how to spend our time–each hour, each minute, each second. Do I spend those moments grieving? Not all of them. As the years go by, I find fewer moments of grief and more moments of joyful activity. Trust God that we are going to be joyful

1. Inspite of
2. In the middle of
3. Even if

Joy has returned to my life and to my home.

This image of a colorful fruit cart would normally be posted at my Photo Blog. There is one fear I have and that is the fear of heights. This photo calmed down my fear of heights temporarily. Fear of heights is a common and sometimes appropriate feeling. There are, according to psychologists, two natural fears – fear of loud noises and fear of heights. I don’t think I have acrophobia (severe fear of heights). It’s just that I feel woozy when I walk or drive past mountain roads, cliffs, windows overlooking the street floor. I cannot drive in the Tagaytay ridge without feeling nauseated. While strolling at the second floor of the Powerplant Mall, at Rockwell Center, I glanced briefly at the basement and saw the fruit cart. Nice! The pattern and colors of the tropical fruits were amazing but I suddenly felt dizzy. I didn’t dare look at the basement floor for fear of wretching and spewing vomit all over the basement. So I zoomed my camera and just stared at the LCD screen . *snap* Wonderful. I didn’t puke.

annulment philippinesHome alone every lunch time is a routine I face during the week days. While the household is devoid of the girls’ babblings and pitter patter, the ghosts at the second floor pace restlessly. I turn on the TV to distract me from unwanted ghostly apparitions. At least I can hear human voices. While watching Korina’s talk show , the topic of the Philippine state of annulment caught my interest. In my husband’s family, 3 out of 6 siblings’ marriage are either annulled, divorced or separated. Take your pick. I won’t go through the reasons for their separation but I believed they gave it their best shot before resorting to legal action or no legal action. Once upon a time, I also considered separation but thank God for this second chance at love and a more meaningful marriage. Now I am just wondering how the Supreme Court junked Amy Perez’ annulment petition.

The Supreme Court denied with finality the petition filed by actress Maria Armida “Amy” Perez asking for an annulment of her marriage to estranged husband Brix Ferraris, ANC reported Thursday.

In an eight-page resolution, the high court said the psychiatrist’s testimony failed to prove that Ferraris was suffering from psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. The court also ruled that alcoholism, sexual infidelity and abandonment are not enough grounds to declare a marriage null and void.

Is it just bad luck that Amy’s case landed in the wrong court? Or is it because the psychiatrist’ testimony is inadequate? I thought it was easy to get an annulment as I have heard of favorable annulment decisions from friends. My ex-sister in law was able to get the court’s favorable decision in less than a year. Was it because she was a lawyer? The Supreme Court found Perez’s husband’s alleged mixed personality disorder, the “leaving-the-house” attitude whenever they quarrelled, the violent tendencies during epileptic attacks, the sexual infidelity, the abandonment and lack of support, and his preference to spend more time with his band mates than his family were not rooted in some debilitating psychological condition but a mere refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Is that so?

What about alcoholism in some marriages?

In a 1992 JAMA article, the Joint Committee of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the American Society of Addiction Medicine published this definition for alcoholism: “Alcoholism is a primary chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, mostly denial. Each of these symptoms may be continuous or periodic.”

The debate continues that alcoholism is a personal conduct problem, rather than a disease even in the US. I bet our courts don’t buy alcoholism either as a ground for psychological incapacity. Alcoholism needs to be established prior to their marriage. However, there is a way out to Amy’s annulment problem. If she converts to another citizenship her divorce will be recognized in the Philippines. I don’t think that will be easy as it take years. Meantime, she is not free to remarry or even date as it could be viewed as adultery.

Examples of psychologically incapacitated person ” as drafted in the Family Code was not defined. The committee gave judges a leeway to interpret the provision on case to case basis. It’s just tough luck for rejected annulment cases. And wow, what a waste of lawyer fees!

white ladyThe only reason we watched Regal Film’s thriller movie, The White Lady was because Joel Nunez (writer for the movie) is a batchmate of my husband at the College of Law. “Let’s show some support to my friend’s endeavor”, my hubby goes. After watching Sadako in “The Ring“, no other hororr movie beats it. Scary for means literally holding on to your seat. Inspired by the famous urban legend about the ghost that haunts Balete Drive, “White Lady” has been reinvented and relocated to some liberal arts school in UP Los Banos. There, the school’s most popular students meet horrific fates one by one, realizing that they are the target of a vengeful ghost. “The White Lady” plot was predictable for me and the “computer graphics” needed a bit more tweaking. Some of the animated CG’s came out too stiff. I’m so out of the loop when it comes to young Filipino movie stars. I recognized Boots Anson Roa only. This new half-Korean starlet, Iwa Moto had too much makeup for a school setting but she played the bitchy role to the hilt. Now I can’t imagine how college students could be so mean. The plot reeks of high school’s mean Queen Bees. The urban legend “White Lady” in Balete Drive seemed more spooky than this remake. However, if you’re looking for entertainment, the movie gave enough of that .

It’s a rare occurence for me to watch Tagalog movies. I think the last Filipino movie I watched was Cesar Montano’s Visayan movie, Panaghoy sa Suba. Being a Cebuana, the Visayan dialect brought so much childhood memories. Every scene flowed smoothly into the next, thus allowing audiences to further appreciate the film’s captivating cinematography. Much as I want to support Philippine movie industry, the plot is just not interesting enough to hold my attention. During the mid seventies, Filipino films were at its best. Remember, Lino Brocka’s Maynila: Sa mga kuko ng liwanag (Manila in the Claws of Light) in 1975? The movie was picked by 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, a fantastic resource for film lovers. That’s how excellent the movie is. The acting was not that remarkable, but the simple plot and storyline made each character as memorable as the next. Those were the days when the plot was character driven . Too bad, the Philippine Culture and Information official website did not classify the movie as “World Class Filipino Movie” (as of 1997).

In this new millenium, which movie classifies as world class Filipino movie?

sulong negosyonegosyoMy purpose for attending the Sulong Negosyo at Market! Market! was to meet Lynn, the owner of Crazy Choco. She sells Chocolate Fountain and fondue set and I’ve been meaning to buy the latter. See, I took photos of her Crazy Choco booth in Fil-Negosyo Expo 2006 last month. Fortunately for her, two customers surfed my photo gallery and saw the chocolate fountain photo flowing with Belgian Chocolate. Yum. The good news was these gallery visitors bought from her. I was hoping she’d give me a discount on the fondue set which is priced at 1,200 pesos. So anyway, armed with my digital camera and fresh from my gym workout, I headed towards the exhibits.

sme centerpear2.netThe Sulong Negosyo at Trade Hall A, Bonifacio Global City is sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry. Over 100 exhibitors showed various products from all over the Philippines. When I saw the expo, I totally forgot about my purpose there . I was fascinated with the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME ) EXPO’s barangay/village fiesta concept that simulated a small community with a barangay hall where business name registration, business counseling and advisory services were undertaken. Even supportive banks. There was also a town plaza concept where video programs promoting the services offered by various institutions to SMEs can be viewed. There’s a seminar rooms where skills and managerial briefings useful to would-be and existing entrepreneurs are conducted . And lastly a commercial area (Pamilihan) was setup for participating SMEs to retail their products and/or promote their franchise businesses.

Today, the government is actively supporting our micro entrepreneurs with their One Town One Product (OTOP) .This was merely a concept when I worked for the Small Scale industry in the early 1980s. If you’re interested to start a business one day, one should attend Guide to RA 9178 Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Act of 2002 to be held on Friday , at 5:00 to 6:00 PM. This is a remake of previous laws in the past but the classification of a micro business’ asset has now been raised to 3 million pesos.

Research on small and medium scale enterprises development was my pet project before I settled down to become a mother and home maker in 1987. I can see that there is indeed some progress through the years. We can’t rely solely on overseas employment income to sustain our economy. Together with the development of Information technology sector, agro-industries, and our small and medium and micro-enterprises, our country’s economy will surely boom.

View the photo gallery of the Sulong Negosyo-SME EXPO at Market! Market!

jollibee.gifThe Jollibee Earthworm burger rumor is old news but to see the keywords in their website is news. View the HTML source of Jollibee Hamburger website. And what do you see?

META NAME=”object” CONTENT=”jollibee food corporation, earthworm, earthworm hamburger, earthworm hamburger issue, earthworm hamburger patties, earthworm meat, earthworm meat price, earthworm price, earthworms, earthworms price, eating fast food, jollibee food corporation, earthworm, earthworm hamburger, earthworm hamburger issue, earthworm hamburger patties, earthworm meat, earthworm meat price, earthworm price, earthworms, earthworms price, eating fast food, jollibee food corporation, earthworm, earthworm hamburger, earthworm hamburger issue, earthworm hamburger patties, earthworm meat, earthworm meat price, earthworm price, earthworms, earthworms price, eating fast food, jollibee food corporation, earthworm, earthworm hamburger, earthworm hamburger issue, earthworm hamburger patties, earthworm meat,………….”

Now I don’t know if their website got hacked or the webmaster purposely placed earthworm hamburger keywords . Whatever for? When I told my girls, they nearly puked .

Earthworm hamburger. Now before you go ewww….read this

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J. Angelo Racoma entry on PayPal: One Great Way to Improve the Philippine Economy makes sense.

If only we had PayPal in the Philippines, then I think we would be able to open to the world better means to access to our pool of talent.

Having PayPal in the country would greatly benefit the following people:

  • Web developers,
  • Designers,
  • Photographers,
  • Writers,
  • Pro-bloggers,
  • and virtually anyone else who can render services remotely while corresponding via the Internet. Their correspondents can pay simply by clicking a few buttons, and that’s it.

    This would be a great opportunity for both sides, as it will open up access to the supply of good talent, and as well as open up access to those who are on the demand-side.

    Some possible reasons that Paypal won’t deal with us are the following :

    1. With regards to anti-Money Laundering, the Philippines is still in the list of non-cooperative countries.
    2. Security issues in our banking system.
    3. Banks asking for a big share in Paypal transactions.

    Having an online business for global markets require a payment gateway. Paypal is known to have the lowest sales transaction but it’s not available in the Philippines. I can’t even get hold of a credit card merchant account in the Philippines’ financial institutions what with the exhorbitant rates and restrictions required. I availed to resell my services . One can be a vendor with a $49 signup fee.

    Technically, one can get a Paypal account if you have an accomodating relative in a paypal enabled country like the USA to do the paypal transactions for you. The problem is Paypal recognizes the Philippine IP address if you intend to login their Paypal website. This is not a long term soluution to having a paypal account.

    What we can do is :

    lobby for inclusion as a PayPal enabled country with our senators, congressmen or politicians.

    Support Paypal for the Philippines

    Read other related blogs on the Paypal inclusion of the Philippines

    dmcwriters2.jpgWeekends are now reserved for the girls as it is the only time that they are home during the week. Today started out on a sad note. After reading twisted lies about a 6 year old incident, my husband and I were enraged. So? What more bad news can we get anyway? My husband and I resolved to let it go for now by watching a movie. And what better movie than Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest? Great escapism movie full of playful and dizzyingly entertaining adventure. What really comforted me tonight is the memory of my dad’s resonating laughter. The [tag]Pirates of the Caribbean[/tag] was the first theme ride I took in Disneyland with my daddy many moons ago. I still remember my dad’s enthusiastic face as he insisted on hanging on to the long queue of the theme ride. “It’s worth it…you’ll see“. Minutes after sitting beside my dad on the boat ride, I heard the thundering of a waterfall,and suddenly a plunge and a yelp of surprise escaping from my lips. AHHHHHH! Dad roared with that infectious laughter. He must have laughed so hard that he held on to his tummy. Dad practically enjoyed seeing my surprised reaction. And then came the second hair-raising plunge further into the depths of an underground grotto. More laughter! Haha, this time we laughed together. Being entertained by the movie and reliving the memory of my dad’s laughter brightened my spirits. Butch wants to watch it a second time around.

    And what about the news we received earlier today?

    Properly warned ye be… Dead Men Tell No Tales!