Our firm just recently moved to a new building.
New furniture, new offices, new work areas...
It was cool, really.
We can even electronically adjust the height of our desk.

So one time, the office manager gave the landlords a tour of the office.

She goes, "These desks are really nice. You can adjust it really high that you can work while standing up."

Now who would want to do that?

Death and Movies

While watching TV...

Joel: Hey look! Steve Irwin has a movie!

Siela: Aww... That's so nice! Was that before or after he died?

Interesting question. Let me guess...


At 7pm, a lawyer, also in our Calgary office, sent me an email for something he needs to be done for his 8am closing the next day.

Since I work from 8:30 am to 4:30pm, I didn't get that email till the next morning, 30 minutes past the deadline.
I assumed that he already had someone else to do it. I mean if you need it by 8 and you can't get a hold of me, the smart thing is to get a hold of someone else right?

Anyway, at 8:45am he calls me up, all upset, asking me for the documents.
He tells me the closing was 8am, Vancouver time (9am in Calgary)
And that I should start hurrying because I only have 15 minutes.

How the hell would I know that?
He is in Calgary.
I am in Calgary.
The document did not mention Vancouver.
And I'm not a psychic.

All I could tell him was...

Well, since we're picking timezone,
I pick Nome, Alaska.
I still have an hour left to do it.
So relax!

Early Education

I heard a woman tell her friend about a conversation she had with her two boys earlier that morning. The boys were six and eight.

It went a little something like this:

Boys giggling at the backseat
Mom: "What's so funny boys?"
Boys: "Mom, what's a blow job?"
Mom: "It's when a girl puts a guy's penis in her mouth."
Boys: "Eewww..."

I predict that in ten years,
the boys will have a different opinion on the topic.


So this female lawyer really scares the hell out of me.
She is 'fierce' personified. Horns would look good on her.

Don't get me wrong, she's not a horrible person.
I don't know her very well, but from our encounters, she is actually kind, sweet and is very funny.
Contrary to what I thought, she won't bite.

She just looks really...
The complete opposite of 'approachable.'

She exudes strength and power.
I find her really pretty.
Although I would suggest less eye makeup to soften her look.
But then again, as a female lawyer, do really want to look SOFTER?

Anyway, one time, she approached me and said,
"Why do you look so scared all the time?"

To which I replied almost automatically,
"Because you scare me."

She laughed.
I guess I wasn't THAT scared of her after all.


I hate street children.

That sounded horrible, I know. But it's true.
But before you make you judgments, I'd like to clarify a couple of points:
I don't hate the individual child.
I feel sorry for the fact that for some twist of fate they ended as such and truly believe that they don't deserve or should be where they are now.
I am aware and I do strongly agree that they should be afforded help or even salvation.
I know poverty is a serious problem which should be dealt with A.S.A.P.

I guess what I really hate is concept of children begging in the streets.
Now if they were PLAYING on the streets instead, I'd love them dearly.

It's all because of this question:

If you give alms, you've given them their next meal thus saving them from starvation.
But then you encourage the begging.
They will never leave the streets.

However, If you don't, they will never leave you alone.
(They are more stubborn than the most persevering marketing person ever.)

I'm still on the fence on how I should deal with street children.
But mostly, I give them change just so they will go and leave me alone.
(Now you can judge me.)

Here in Calgary, it's such a relief that I don't see any street children at all.
But I'm not saying this city is completely free of people begging for money.
Everyday I see this man asking if people can spare him change for COFFEE.
Some ask change to buy CIGARETTES.
Oh. Yesterday, someone asked me for change to buy BEER.

In the Philippines, if you don't have money for coffee, cigarettes or beer,
then don't have it!

(I did give him a bunch of pennies and a couple of dimes only because he was already drunk and he was bigger than me. I could have just ran away but prior experiences taught me that drunk people at train/bus stations are like bears - you shouldn't run when you see them.)

Now I miss the street children in Manila. I don't hate them anymore.


For the past few weeks, I've been watching 'Magkaribal', featuring, who I think is, the hottest and yummiest Filipino actor EVER: Derek Ramsay

One night, after watching an episode wherein Derek took his shirt off, I told my husband, "Jo, why don't you try going to the gym? A buff body might suit you."

He replied, "Sure. I'll work on getting a bigger body. How about you work on getting bigger boobs?"

Life is so unfair.


It's Saturday again and since I've been out and about for the past few weekends, it's time to catch up on my chores.

Which reminded me, my sister's friend once asked her:

"Are chores easier there in Canada?" I knew at once that the answer was not as simple as it seems.

True that dish washing is so much easier here with a dishwasher: you put everything in, add the soap pack, close the door and push some buttons. They then come out dry and all you have to do is put them in the cupboard.

Laundry is way easier too. Put it in, add soap and stuff (if dryer is separate, you might have to transfer) and it comes out dry. All you need to do is fold or hang.

Cleaning the house is not a big task either as things don't get as dusty as they could in the Philippines.

I guess, yes, it is easier here. But come to think of it, in the Philippines, I didn't have chores to do thanks to Ate Lea who cleans, cooks and does the laundry.

So here is my answer to her question: In Canada, chores are easier. In the Philippines, chores are not something I do at all.


When we went to Lake Johnson in Banff National Park, my brother and I decided to go on a hike. The trail was approximately three kilometers, probably an hour walk (on a leisurely pace) around the lake.

About 15 minutes in the trail, I asked:

"What if we see a bear?"

There was silence for a few seconds. Then this conversation:

"Umm... All I know is that we shouldn't run." my brother said.
"Should we play dead?" I asked.
"I don't think that's a good idea." He replied.

Good thing we didn't run into one.

An almost adventure in the Canadian Rockies

As early as February, my mom already had us booked on our Radium Hot Springs, BC trip. She had googled it and she even asked around for the possible activities and other worthy sites around that area - one of which was Lussier Hot Springs.

From the village center of Radium, we drove for about an hour to get to the Lussier Hot Springs - which, according to reports, was an undeveloped pool of hot water. It was so undeveloped that the road that leads to it was called "unknown" by the GPS.

So from the highway we drove into the unknown: a seven kilometer stretch of two way rough road. From the unknown, we turned right to what I would call "nowhere": a single lane of even rougher road that leads to somewhere I'm sure. It was safe to say that at that point, we had no idea where we are and where we are going.

A few hundred meters into "nowhere", surrounded by trees and the fear of possible wild-life encounter, we decided to turn back. This family, so used to the concrete jungle was definitely not ready for the deep woods.

Pointless Loves

“But there are the small pointless loves, too, which the poets and the playwrights never really talk about. You don’t have to save the word 'love' for the special occasions.” – Backwards in High Heels, Tania Kindersley & Sara Vine

Here are my ten pointless loves. I must admit, it wasn’t easy coming up with ten. Halfway on the list, I had to pace back and forth to think of the next. Surprisingly, it took a lot of thought and big part of it is because it’s hard to find the thing worthy of that word ‘love’. I had to distinguish between ‘like’ and ‘prefer’. For example: I like to bake. I don’t think I know it well enough to say ‘I love baking’. I did enjoy baking chocolate cookies, but that’s all I know. Who knows if I’ll still like baking muffins or cakes… I think before you say “I love…” it has to be known very well and time tested. Another example is: I prefer to go shopping alone. I do not love it. If I’m sad, shopping alone would not make me instantaneously happy. Shopping per se would. But it does not have to be done alone.

So here they are in no particular order:

1. I love talking walks. In fact when I need to think, I walk, pace around the room back and forth. I used to work for someone who has a treadmill instead of a chair behind his desk. This, I think, is pretty stupid. It may be a good cardio and it helps you think but what if you want to just sit down and type or read or think or sign papers? Plus it’s really annoying to those working around you. I say treadmill in the office is only good only if have it inside your own office, and it’s on your spare desk. Anyway, some of my favorite locations are: Stephen Avenue, the Plus 15, the Makati Business District on Sundays and of course anywhere with Joel.

2. I love silly AND witty sitcoms. It has to be both. My favorites: Friends, How I Met Your Mother and The Nanny. Now the last one poses a bit of an issue because while I love watching The Nanny over and over, Joel is allergic to Fran Drescher’s voice.

3. I love taking pictures. I remember on the sixth grade, I was allowed to bring a camera for the first time. When we got them developed and my mom was so mad because I wasn’t in any one of them.

4. I love libraries. There’s this soothing feeling about being around so many books. Whenever I’m waiting for someone, I’d prefer to meet and wait for them in bookstores. Because I wouldn’t mind spending time and waiting there. I can spend hours browsing through the shelves. Now in libraries, not only are there a lot of books but you don’t actually have to buy any it (obviously, they are not normally on sale). And now they have DVD’s, CD’s and I heard that you can actually play guitar hero in the downtown Calgary Public Library. (The last one I haven’t verified, so don’t take my word for it.

5. I love bags. In college, when I get a bad test result, I buy a bag. I think I hit my lowest point when I walked in a Liz Claiborne closing shop sale. I was actually going to the ALDO shop next door because I needed new shoes. (Yes. ‘Needed.’ When you’re a size 4, shoe shopping is a task) I never got to go to ALDO that day. But I walked out of Liz Claiborne with 5 bags. (What can I say? Everything is 70% off!)

6. I love Starbucks - the concept, the over-priced coffee, the ambiance, the merchandise…

7. I love my IPhone. I know there’s a lot of smartphones out there that have way better features, and querty typing on a small touchpad screen is a bitch but I’m really happy with the fact that I can check my email, get on YahooMessenger, go on Facebook, surf the web, listen to music, read ebooks, play games, do my banking, check transit schedule, get directions and a million other things with interesting yet sometimes useless array of applications. The thing is, I’m not a really techie person. So I don’t need and even understand many of the technical features that other smartphones have. I don’t need better. I just need something pretty, easy to use and enjoyable. Although... I am tempted to get a Blackberry just because...

8. I love malls. Money or no money to spend. I love everything about it - walking around aimlessly, window shopping, actually shopping, eating at food courts… I just love being in it. I spent 2 months working in one and I just loved it! My notable favorites are SM Southmall and the Glorietta-Landmark-Greenbelt chain in Makati. Southmall because I grew up there and basically you can find everything and anything that you will need there. There are merchandises both expensive and cheap. And of course there’s the grocery, the department store, the food court, the skating rink and the theme park. Also they have the hardware, the appliance center, the car shop, barber shop, parlor, spa, dermatology clinic, eye clinic, medical testing clinic, banks, computer school, driving school… you name it. They have it.

9. I love to pack. For trips, for moving or even just the groceries. But I hate unpacking in all it’s forms and for any of it's reasons.

10. I love writing. Obviously.

Sonya’s Garden – Tagaytay City

More accurately, it’s in the “vicinity of Tagaytay City” as per its website. I guess ‘Alfonso, Cavite’ doesn’t have that same tourism appeal as ‘Tagaytay City.’

So we went there for our honeymoon. On the way there, we almost got lost.
It wasn’t actually hard to go there. From the main road, you turn right at Buck Estate and that road will lead you straight to Sonya’s Garden. Incidentally, there are also a big Sonya’s Garden sign on the main road so you’d know when to turn right. You won’t get lost.
But we almost did. You see, we had no idea where Alfonso, Cavite was. So when we went past Tagaytay, and past Nasugbu, I was worried. Maybe we missed the turn. Maybe we didn’t see the sign. Maybe it was hidden. It was Sonya’s Secret Garden…
So we made a panic right turn. Fortunately, after a few minutes, Joel figured it wasn’t the right, right turn. So we headed back to the main road and waited for the big sign to show up. And it finally did. It was definitely NOT in Tagaytay.

We finally got there and as we were waiting for the person in reception, we noticed that a wedding reception will be held that afternoon. When the receptionist arrived, I guess she noticed the white dress and the barong so she asked us “Are you the newlyweds?”
I had to think before I could answer. We were in fact newlyweds, but I don’t think we were THE newlyweds she was waiting for. And I don’t remember booking the room and telling them that it was for our honeymoon. So I said “no” and wished that it will not be construed as fraud.

So we were led inside. It was amazing.

It felt so natural, as if God merely sprinkled flower seeds and left it to grow. It didn’t feel like a professional landscape architect had a hand on it at all. There was no structure. It was a beautiful and cozy kind of mess. Makes you feel like home, actually.

When we went to our room, I kind of thought that we should have told them we were on our honeymoon because it wasn’t a room, it was a house. While technically it might have been a room, it had 3 king size beds, 2 couches and 2 bathrooms. We weren’t used to all that space. We actually thought of inviting the whole gang to join us.

It was really lovely though – not your typical commercial and impersonal hotel room. On the contrary, it had personality. As if someone actually lives there, like it was someone’s home: some rich Filipino’s ancestral home away from the city. It can even be my home. I could easily imagine my grandma coming out of one of the rooms telling us it's time for dinner. It was that cozy.

And the food was amazing - all grown in their garden. And the china... my dad will go insane as none of them matched. But each piece was exquisite.

While it was a bit expensive, it was truly worth it. One day, I’ll bring my Canadian friends there.

Salsa Don't

I love to dance.
I did ballet when I was nine, pep squad when I was twelve and thirteen, dance group till I was sixteen and clubbing with lots of alcohol until now.
My ballet teacher even told me that I have the ballerina feet. I just don’t have the heart… and the guts to wear a tutu past puberty.

I’m not great. I don’t even think I’m good. It’s just something that I can and love to do. So when my new friends invited me to a Latin Night to dance Salsa, I was more than willing to go – despite the fact I’ve never ever danced Salsa in my life.

Lesson number one: there are basic steps to learn. Unlike clubbing, you can’t just have a bottle or two and feel real good. It needs classes, lots of practice and less alcohol. Needless to say, at my first night to salsa, I felt like an idiot.

So I went to a Salsa class. My friends said I can probably get in to the advance class since I was a fast learner. They taught me a couple of steps to get me through the screening and I actually got in. And here is how the class works: they make you form a circle and partner up; they show everyone the routine; then make you try it; and then again with the next guy. It was supposed to make you be adaptable to different partners which make you learn better, if not faster.

I had varied experience. Some were really nice and gave me tips. Some were less experienced or as clueless as I was so any progress was sheer luck. Some were really old and some even smelled funny. But one person really left an impression. He told me: “You should already know this because you’re in the ADVANCED class”.

So I tried the beginner’s class and that didn’t go very well either.

Lesson number two: it takes two to tango. Apparently, it takes two to Salsa as well. No matter how many times they show you the steps that you can do ‘on your own.’ Because unless you’re with a partner, that’s all the Salsa that you can do. And it’s not a lot of fun.

Lesson number three: the guy leads.

So there I was, at beginner’s class, my partner can barely follow the beat and I’m supposed to let him lead. It’s like the blind leading the deaf. It was painful.

I strongly believe that I am the master of my destiny. I let go of things I can’t control. That's why I feel so frustrated and powerless because my enjoyment is made to depend on the skill of someone else.

That is when I raised the red flag. Salsa is not for me.
I am an independent woman and I don’t need a guy.
I will try belly dancing instead.

Heritage Park, Calgary

To Celebrate Canada Day, we decided to explore Heritage Park - Canada's Largest Living History Museum.

It was lovely. I've always enjoyed museums so I really enjoyed this one. There are lots of exhibits to see and many activities to do.

We rode the SS Moyie...
And the Canada Pacific Steam Train...
Unfortunately we were only there for 3 hours and it wasn't enough. While we went around the park during the train-ride, we weren't able to go inside all the historic buildings, weren't able to go on all the rides, weren't able to shop in the novelty stores... although I think my husband will appreciate that last part.

For sure, we will go back. And you will see more pictures.
And I will shop... for hubby's presents... and a little for me too, of course.

Potipot Island, Zambales

I've been wanting to go to Potipot Island for years now. So when my friends found out that I'm going to Manila, they organized a group outing. But the night before the outing, only 4 of us can go. The group outing became a double date.

And that wasn't the only surprise of the trip. Turns out, they don't cook food for the guests anymore so we had to go panic shopping at the marketplace. Good thing we found where the market was.

So the next morning, we got up really early to go to the island. It was lovely. It was super worth it.

But I don’t think everyone will appreciate the Potipot experience.

First, it’s an undeveloped island. No electricity, no running water, no restaurants and no amenities. It’s like camping – without the RV. So you bring everything with you: gas tank, gas range, cooler filled with ice, cooler filled with food, cooler filled with drinks. I don’t think my mom will enjoy it, unless she brings a maid or a cook with her. Her vacation must be housework free. As for us semi-domesticated yuppies, we did have fun cooking fried chicken by the beach.

And second, maybe it’s the timing, but it tends to get crowded there too. Remember: it’s a small island. Unless you’re spot is too hot, too rocky or is infested by insect, don’t expect seclusion. But for us, we enjoyed the crowd. We watched this dad make a fool out of himself, drunken silly. We saw him fall out of a chair, stumble over his 5-7 year old daughter, throw up on the ocean and pass out at the sunny part of the beach.

Some have called the island “the hidden paradise”. The 7 hour drive from Manila might give you the feeling that it’s hidden, but once your there, seeing all the people there with you. You’d think their giving away the map for free.

As for the paradise part, well I can’t argue with that. The place is beautiful.

On status updates...

"It's not official if it's not on Facebook" - anonymous

Barrio Fiesta, Calgary

So my Canadian friends and I thought about checking out this Filipino restaurant that allegedly played Latin music. They were all into salsa and I was just craving sisig. As we entered the restaurant I was appalled. They had red lights. The fear that a stripper will go out on stage started to creep in.

“So you feel at home?” one of my friends asked.
“Hell no.” was what I wanted to say. But I just laughed in an ‘are-you-kidding-me’ sort of way.

Seriously, if I was in the Philippines I would never in a million years go to a place like that. It’s putting all restaurants in the Philippines in a bad light – red, in particular. Considering the vast diversity in the Filipino art and culture, I feel sad that this restaurant had to choose ‘modern-day-strip-club-near-the-airport’ as its inspiration.

On the upside, the band was fantastic, the staff was super friendly and the food was great. The best part for me was the fact that they serve Red Horse Beer. After 3 bottles, I didn’t mind the red lights.

Weddings and Nike Outlet Stores

In keeping with our true style, our wedding was filled with laughter but completely devoid of public display of affection. Even the ‘you-may-kiss-the-bride’ portion was awkward.

But the whole thing was really funny. Even the judge was trying so hard not to laugh. And while everyone was fighting back laughter, our friend bunny was fighting back her tears.

And speaking of funny, when the judge asked the question about talking the other as husband or wife we answered “Yes Ma’am.”

On the way to our honeymoon, in my white dress and his barong, we stopped by a Nike outlet store and bought running shoes. At least we prepared to run after the wedding, not before and preferably together.

Resurrections and Two-week Wedding Preps

So after more than a year of blogging silence…

Here is what’s up with me:
1.) I’ve spent the last 10 months here in Canada;
2.) Joel and I got married.

Here’s how it happened:

There was no romantic dinner, no serenade, no kneeling and no diamond ring. But there was the ‘we-cannot-do-this-long-distance-relationship-forever-so-let’s-get-married-so-you-can-move-here’ conversation. You may think it’s a marriage for convenience. But let me tell you, it was anything BUT convenient - the 2 hours standing up in line to check-in on the airline; the 15 hour flight; the two-week wedding plan. Yup, there wasn’t anything convenient about it at all. But it was hell of a lot of fun.

So this was how I organized my wedding in a little over 14 days:

Day 1 – Applied for our marriage license. We knew the right people so we got priority on the required seminars and we were able to complete the application process in a day – which may actually take 3 days to a week. Now we have to wait 10 business days for it to be released. There goes your 14 days.

Day 10 – Went and visited the Judge and set the date – although a month ago, we already informed her that we want her to officiate the wedding. Bought the wedding rings – depending on the supply, this step can actually take from 30 minutes to 3 months.

Day 11 – Informed and invited 4 (out of six) of our witnesses to attend the wedding - in four days. (It was the shortest wedding notice ever.) And I was informed that I’d need a wedding dress, a reception venue and a honeymoon venue. Shoot. I haven't thought about that.

Day 12 – Went to the beach and got a tan. (Now I think back, we should have gone to the beach after the wedding. I look so dark on the wedding pictures.) Oh. And booked a room for our honeymoon while on the way to the beach.

Day 13 – Met his grandparents and got a pedicure.

Day 14 – Claimed our marriage license. Drove an hour to go to the court to submit it. Made reservation for 20 people for the reception. Spent a mere two hours shopping for my wedding dress and shoes. And thanks to my wonderful witnesses: got a body scrub, a full-body massage, a sumptuous dinner, a Brazilian wax, chocolate body paint and edible panties. Also, informed our remaining 2 witness about the wedding the next day. (I correct myself. This was the shortest wedding notice.)

An hour before the wedding, while on our way to the court house: put on make-up and confirmed booking/reservation for both reception and honeymoon.

Looking back, it was a miracle we actually got through it. Really, this wedding would not have been possible without faith, family, friends and a lot of luck.