Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Power Failure part X --

A few days ago, my dad spotted the electric post across the street from my house sparking and then catching fire. We immediately contacted PECO and they informed us that their ONLY troubleshooter was on call. We also called the Fire Department and, within a few minutes, they were there. It took a few more phone calls to PECO before they eventually sent their repair crew over.

By then, a line had broken off and was on fire, dangling a few feet above the ground.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Life in Iloilo --

This morning, Johann and I and my parents attended a mass with our "new" friends, R & F who were celebrating their first wedding anniversary today. They're my youngest bro's batchmates and our families are quite close so, when I came back to Iloilo, we got in touch with each other and became friends. ^_^

After the mass, we joined their family for breakfast at Sarabia Manor's Salvatore restaurant. It was a wonderful morning and a wonderful breakfast. Johann and I really enjoyed watching the egg guy make the omelettes. ^_^

It was also fun talking to R & F who are also expecting their first child. F and I have been exchanging notes about our pregnancy experiences and about our concerns about childbirth.

It's wonderful having someone who can relate to you about the things you are going through. ^_^

Chatting with F made me realize something about Johann and myself -- we are too bookish. Not that that's a bad thing -- whenever we encounter something new, our first instinct is to find books and/or articles and read up.

This is us with R & F at the breakfast this morning. My mom took this picture. ^_^
* * *

Busy --

Despite my own perception that life in Iloilo would be slow and "blah", I find that my days move quickly here and they're filled with things to do and errands to accomplish.

We've slowly adapted to a schedule here of breakfast, morning errands, lunch, afternoon errands and dinner -- we get time for ourselves in between the work that we do.

The pace is different, everything is more relaxed because time is not a big issue. From my house to the city usually takes 7 to 12 minutes. Heavy traffic usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes to go through.

We're more relaxed and feel less hurried but, at the end of the day, we realize that we've accomplished so much.

What pleases me the most is being able to see how our help has freed up some of my parents' time. They're able to go out and enjoy themselves and not have to worry about the work that usually gets piled up for them.

* * *

The downside --

I've been here for a month and I've experienced more power failures in that month here than I have in my stay in Metro Manila. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration -- but there have been a LOT of power failures in Iloilo lately.

Last week, during the bagyo (Caloy), the power went out and PECO (Panay Electric Company) decided NOT to entertain the phone calls and inquiries from the people. Mayor Trenas was really upset over this and publicly reprimanded PECO.

* * *

Missing Manila --

What I miss most about Manila are the movie theaters. The lovely seats. The lovely popcorn. ~sigh~

I also miss being able to cook -- I don't like our kitchen here because I feel like I'm trespassing. I think about making cheesecake sometimes or even katsudon.

And, yes, I miss my sibs and my friends in Manila. Thank goodness there's Y!M and PLDT's PhP10 per phone call and mobile phones.

* * *

Another photo --

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Johann and I at F's birthday dinner a week ago

Friday, May 19, 2006

Coldplay in Singapore --

July 10, 8pm

I want to go and so does my hubby!

... but we can't.

* * *

On trying to watch the Da Vinci Code in Iloilo --

We only have 2 decent cinemas in Iloilo -- one of which is SM, which has stood by its ground not to show any movies Rated R-18.

Last Thursday, Johann and I went to Robinson's Place to try to catch the first show of the Da Vinci Code at 1030am. We got in line at around 1015 and was surprised to see that they hadn't started selling tickets yet. 1030 came and went and still no tickets to sell.

At around 1045, someone in line decided to ask the person at the ticket booth what was holding up the line.

Apparently, they only had HALF the reel and they didn't have the permit to show the movie yet.

Johann and I decided to leave -- we should've left a lot earlier. The movie people should've informed the queued people of what was happening instead of letting us line up like that.

We tried again today -- after making sure that they had the entire movie and the permit to show. We caught to 1030 show, which actually started at around 11 -- but we didn't mind.

Next week -- X-Men!

* * *

One more thing --

We now have DSL!!! Hurrah!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Today I learned a lot --

Johann and I woke up REALLY early today to go to the local SSS branch to update his status (from Single to Married) and to get our SSS IDs.

Today I learned that:
- the SSS loves black ink. We had to redo our application forms because we had filled them out using blue ink.
- they have a record of EVERYTHING so you can't lie about not losing your old ID. Apparently, I had a digital ID issued to me last April 27, 2000 but I lost it. I had to go and accomplish an affidavit of loss and pay the PhP150.00 replacement fee before I could get my new ID.
- 2 IDs is key. More is better. So bring an original copy of your birth certificate, your marriage license, etc. etc.

It was a tedious process and I'm glad we went early enough so we were able to finish everything that we needed to do.

So why did we go through the trouble of getting our IDs?
Because SSS benefits are excellent.
- After a minimum of 120 payments, when you hit 60, you get a monthly pension FOR LIFE. (You are guaranteed enough money for groceries and whatnot for as low as PhP282.00/month in SSS remittances.)
- You have maternity, disability and sickness benefits, provided you are vigilant in filing your claims. (I recently calculated my maternity benefit and went "wow!")

For people curious about their SSS status, you can check it online.

* * *

The other thing I learned --

The SSS office is very near the NSO office and, as early as 7, there was a loooooong line at the NSO office. They were people getting their birth certificates and other documents that the NSO keeps.

You can get these documents online as well. You'll have to pay a little bit more for the convenience but, hey -- it beats standing in line for half the day.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Saying goodbye --

Today Johann is saying goodbye to our beloved PC in Manila. When we decided that I was going to come home to Iloilo to give birth, we knew we couldn't take our PC with us so we sold it to a friend and bought parts that I used to build a new PC here in Iloilo.

Our friend is getting the PC today. I'm not there to say goodbye, but I feel the loss of such a trusty companion -- that PC was the very first thing we purchased with our own money and it was a PC built to serve our needs. There were no compromises and shortcuts when that PC was built.

The new PC is actually much better, infinitely faster and has a better graphics card -- but it really is a bittersweet moment having to say goodbye to something that was an integral part of our daily lives.

* * *

I miss DSL --

Didn't realize how much I miss having DSL and how I took for granted such a wonderful service until I had to deal with dial-up.

Something as simple as updating my blog takes a few minutes longer -- having to wait for pages to load. Window shopping on Amazon.com is next to impossible because it takes forever for pictures to load.

I don't even have Y!M yet because it wouldn't download properly (and I can't tie up the phoneline =P)

In the continuing quest for DSL here in Iloilo -- I've made a habit of calling every other day to check on my application. I finally got a breakthrough last Wednesday when I spoke to a person who actually knew her job.

I finally have a service order and installation is pending availability of a line.

Am hoping that we get DSL by the end of the month.

* * *

Funny things you read in the paper --

Saw this on the ad for the movie "Apoy sa Dibdib ng Samar" --

Oo, inaamin ko sila ay mga yakal, lawaan, apitong at narra at kami ay saging lang.
Pero maghanap kayo ng puno sa buong Pilipinas -- Saging lang ang mga puso.

* * *

Sunday is --

Mother's Day. I am quite pleased with what I got for my mom (on behalf of my sibs) -- a pair of capri pants, a nice cotton top and funky wedges to complete the outfit. I didn't break the bank for this outfit, though -- decided to go to SM Department store and bought everything there. ^_^

We were walking around a mall yesterday and she _was_ looking for new clothes.

My dad also asked me to get my mom something (from him) and this one took a lot longer to find. My dad is practical and I don't think he would've appreciated it if I spent his money on something "frivolous" <-- am not quite sure what counts as frivolous for my dad. I finally decided to get a "coin purse" (can actually fit bills) in green Chinese silk -- Green is my mom's favorite color and she needs a wallet that's more accessible. It wasn't so expensive either, so my dad can just buy something else if he doesn't like the idea of giving that to my mom.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

TV Shows I watch --

I really enjoy watching "How Clean is Your House" on ABC5 every Monday at 7pm. The show's two hosts, Aggie and Kim, are really witty and they offer very good practical tips on cleaning.

I enjoy shows where places get cleaned and organized -- it really appeals to the OC in me. ^_^

The other show I really like is "Child of Our Time" on Hallmark, which tackles the whole Nature vs Nurture discussion regarding child development. The last show I watched had to do with gender identities and "brain gender" --

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Posting from Iloilo --

So I'm currently in Iloilo preparing to give birth to my son.

At the airport last Thursday, I encountered the party of Dennis Rodman and, like every other person at the airport, I took out my phone and started taking pictures of him.

When I arrived in Iloilo, the first thing I did was contact the local PLDT office to apply for a DSL line. I was initially impressed with how efficiently they handled my call -- I was informed that there were available lines in my area and that they would send someone over the next day with the application form.

The next day, the person from PLDT arrived late -- affecting our schedule for the entire day. After filling out the form, I was told that it would take 3 to 5 days for activation.

That was the start of the Labor Day weekend --

When I called back last Wednesday to ask for an update of my application, I was informed that they ran out of DSL lines in my area and that it would take between two weeks to two MONTHS for them to give me a line. I told them to keep my application on priority and that I would call to follow up the application in a few days.

I was given a different number and was given the impression that my application would be filed in their database.

I called again last Friday just to make sure that I was already in their database. This is my conversation with the person who handled my call:

Me: Hi, my name is ... and I would like to check on my application for a DSL line.
PLDT: What's your phone number?
Me: It's 3xx-xxxx. The line is under my mom's name ...
PLDT: Ma'am, I don't see your application in my records.
Me: That's strange. I spoke to Eden and she said she would handle it.
PLDT: I'll give you Eden's cellphone number so you can ask her about your application.
Me: Um... isn't that your job? Could you please ask Eden regarding my application? I'll call in an hour to find out the status.


Thirty minutes later, I get a call from Eden and she explains that she gave my form to her boss who is currently out of the office for a meeting. I asked her why my application wasn't placed in the database yet and she just gave me a roundabout answer about how she gave the form to her boss and that her boss is at the office.

I told her that I wanted that application processed and that I would check on Monday to make sure that they've done their job.

In the meantime, I was stuck with an old laptop with a faulty modem you have to tilt at an angle in order to get a dialtone.

I took matters into my own hands and asked for a Philips-head screwdriver, opened the laptop and fiddled with the modem. And here I am.

* * *

Labor Day weekend --

Last weekend, my father-side relatives from Manila and Cebu decided to spend the long weekend with us. I was a bit worried about how I would entertain my cousins as there really isn't much to do in Iloilo. I packed some board games with me, hoping that would help pass the time.

We played Carcassonne, Fluxx and Landlord -- while munching on "snacks" like pan de sal (from a bakery that's been around since 1896), macopa (which I don't eat, but my cousins seemed to love), baye-baye (I can't explain this one, basta it's yummy), peanuts and pistachio.

I was especially thankful that I got to spend some time with my cousin who is currently based in Cebu -- we were able to talk about my impending motherhood and how she handled the changes and challenges in her life (she's married and has a 3-year old and they moved to Cebu a year ago).

* * *

On the Reading front --

I FINALLY finished reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice after 3 years of starting and stopping. It was an enjoyable and rewarding experience. I went to National Bookstore and picked up a copy of Sense and Sensibility.

Since the movie is coming out in two weeks, I also reread Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code -- it really is an exciting read and I wonder if Ron Howard et. al. would be able to do it justice.