Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome 2012!

2011 was like a trip to the carnival for me. There are parts of it that I enjoyed so much like taking a ride on a ferris wheel or bump car, it’s high it’s bumpy but so much FUN! There are some rides that I ‘m just not so fond of but have to get on it anyway because that’s what families do, take the journey and experience together. It’s a ride that makes you scared or makes you frown but you do it, for love.

This year is like a roller coaster ride but, nonetheless, I’m thankful for so much blessings.

I’m thankful for our careers that keep on flourishing. Recently hubby got an award for innovation and I got an Out of the Box award for a special project on Rizal and for other projects launched. It feels so good to be recognized for hard work.

I’m thankful for all the material blessings. It’s like God always checks our list of goals and wishes and provides us the means to achieve them. There are so many blessings this year it’s just overwhelming. Next year sana ganun ulit :)

I’m thankful for the continuous good health of my parents and in-laws. They are important to me and I always pray to God to make them live longer. I want my kids to grow up with a special bond with their lolos and lolas.

For the family that keeps my heart beating and inspires me to be better person everyday. To my adorable and smart kids who loves me and makes me proud all the time. For my very loving husband and bestfriend; I’m thankful that this year is the time when hubby finally quit smoking. That is such a blessing for us.

Let’s toast to 2011! It has been one hell of a roller coaster ride but it was memorable and enriching. Let's leave our hang ups, anger, spite, resentment and all negativities to 2011 and embrace 2012 with positive and happy thoughts. May the year of the Dragon bring us better economy, better health and more blessings.

Be safe as you greet the new year and have a prosperous 2012 everyone! :0

Happy Holidays from the Garcias :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Celebration 2011

Last December 23, our family drove to the City of Pines to spend Christmas. This is a yearly thing for my in-laws and it always excites us especially the kids. They're just that lakwatsero much :)

This year also, I decided to find something new to share from my Baguio trip. Last year it was the trip to Tam-Awan Village and the Ukay-ukay experience. This time, food trip naman.

Jack's Restaurant
This restaurant is located inside the same building as the Empire Cinema in Session road. There are other branches of Jacks along Baguio City but this one was the nearest we found from Burnham Park. It's very *uhm* old (literally) and has the carinderia ambience to it. So was the food... and that's a compliment.
Sabi nga nila, kung gusto mo ng mura at masarap, ask the taxi drivers for the best turo-turo and carinderia and they'll point you to the right direction. Well, hindi kami nagtanong sa taxi driver but it's one of those well recommended for affordable yet yummy dish. A meal will only cost you P80, with rice and stir fried veggies na. There's something about the chicken that will make you think of home and Max's. The taste is very uncomplicated and deep fried. Best of all, there's just so much veggies in each plate.
Jack's Rice with Veggies, P80
Seafood Fried Noodles, P140

My cousin-in-law ordered Tenderloin tips and the verdict was that it looks dry but it's not. Everyone was happy with their orders.
If you're along Session and want to try this place, you have to find the Empire Cinema sign. The resto is located on the second floor. 

 The inside of the building reminded me of the old cinemas in Pasay when I was young, with giant wooden wall decors. 

Cafe By the Ruins
Now this was a totally different experience. After the affordable lunch at Jack's, we decided to treat ourselves with coffee and desert. We actually went here the previous day but since it was Christmas day, the place was closed. Boohoo for me because I coaxed them to walk from SM Baguio to Shuntug Street (near City Hall) just for coffee and it was closed :( Anyway, on the 26th we went back and it's open. Yay!

This place was the ruins of a garden theatre which later became the house of then Benguet Gov. Whitmarsh. The place  is very cozy, has a chillax ambience. 

We ordered the drinks first, the Ruins blend coffee (P80) with cinnamon and tira tira sweetener. If you're a child of the 80's, you know tira tira very well. This coffee is nothing I've tasted before, it's a fiesta of different flavors in one sip.

Chocolate de Agua (P80), made of cocoa tablet and water. 

Leche Flan (P60), everything a flan should be
The Chocolate Lava Cake (P180), you have to taste this to know why it's famous. 
the chocolate oozed out of the cake. Yum!

This is another must have, the pan de sal with herbed cheese spread (P80), the richness of the cheese and freshness of the herbs are in perfect harmony. The cayenne pepper gives it a kick. 

My cousin in law saw assumption tart on the menu and immediately ordered it saying this start is a special recipe only sold in Assumption College. 

Cafe by the Ruins is all worth the long walk after all. Although parking is a challenge especially on peak days, I will definitely go back here. I'll try the main dishes next time.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Let's Do This

How was your Christmas? Me, I had a wonderful holiday with my husband, kids and relatives.  Got lovely gifts from family, friends and co-workers. 
It was a busy one but fun, of course. 
I'm sure our brothers and sisters in Mindanao are busy too but in a very very different way and it's no fun at all. 
I'm sharing this call out with you so you too can share your blessings to Sendong victims. I'm glad I was able to become a bridge to those who wish to help through our network. 

This year, I had the means to give special gifts to people I care about the most. I'm thankful to the Lord for giving the opportunity to do that. 
I'm also thankful to the Lord for making me an instrument to help those in need. To extend a hand the best way I can. 
You too can help so let's do this. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So Ready for Christmas!

Bags are finally packed, gifts packed and ready for delivery to family and friends. Some made it to their destinations already. Grocery for the trip packed, toiletries packed. Pak na pak na and ready for the holidays and for Baguio trip tomorrow. Yay!

Just when I thought I could never make it to Christmas without going nuts, I made it after all. Thank God.

I'm down to my last Christmas party tonight, the most demanding party by the way because I'm a talent manager of one of our Ms. Bebot 2011 contestants and the grand coronation is tonight. Haay, mahirap pa lang maging talent manager, magastos na, matrabaho pa! Just this morning I have to buy him (yes, contestant is a him and it has to be a straight guy) fake lashes and stockings. Kaloka! I have to squeeze in ideas for our Bebot in between my gift buying and all other errands. Kailangan talaga sabay sabay, noh?

Anyhoo, I wish you all a Merry Christmas! In case things get totally crazy from here on, I want to be able to greet you all a safe and prosperous Christmas. Let us all remember the reason for the celebration is Jesus. Have a blessed day!

Can Employees Demand Christmas Bonus from Their Employers? - A Repost

This is a repost from which I am subscribed to. This is a very nice-to-know read for those who are part of the working class and look forward to a Merry Christmas bonus from their employers. Because of the global economic crisis, almost everyone is tightening their belts right now especially the big companies who knows better and wants to make sure the business will stay afloat despite the financial turmoil.

It's the time of the year once again when everybody's expenses shoot up and all we have to rely on is the 13th Month Pay mandated by law. Those who have been consistently receiving Christmas bonus (or any additional benefits by any other name given by their employers during the holidays) are lucky because they have additional money to tide them over until the end of Yuletide. But what happens if their employer suddenly decides that it can't afford to give out Christmas bonuses to employees this time? Do employees have any legal recourse?CB
Generally speaking, bonuses are not a demandable and enforceable employer obligation. This means that employees generally cannot demand from their employer that they be given Christmas bonuses. In case they do and the demand is not granted, they also cannot ask the court to compel their employers to do otherwise.
Because it is not mandated by law, Christmas bonuses are typically considered as an act of grace. In the case of Producers Bank of the Philippines vs. National Labor Relations Commission (G.R. No. 100701, March 28, 2001), the Supreme Court defined "bonus" as "an amount granted and paid to an employee for his industry and loyalty which contributed to the success of the employer's business and made possible the realization of profits. It is an act of generosity granted by an enlightened employer to spur the employee to greater efforts for the success of the business and realization of bigger profits. The granting of a bonus is a management prerogative, something given in addition to what is ordinarily received by or strictly due the recipient. Thus, a bonus is not a demandable and enforceable obligation, except when it is made part of the wage, salary or compensation of the employee."
There is, however, an exception to this general rule. In fact, this exception applies to all types of additional benefits beyond the minimum labor standards given by employers to their employees, despite being referred to as "act of grace" or "act of generosity". In many cases where employers unilaterally decided to withhold such additional benefits for different reasons, the Supreme Court had ordered employers to continue giving the benefits if the same has "ripened into company practice" so much so that withholding the same would violate the doctrine of non-diminution of employee benefits. This is called the rule on long practice.
For the rule on long practice to apply to the giving of Christmas bonus, there must be a showing that: first, the giving of the bonus should have been done over a long period of time; and, second, that the act must have been consistent and deliberate on the part of the employer. In the case of Manila Electric Company vs. Secretary of Labor (G.R. No. 127598, January 27, 1999), the Supreme Court upheld the workers' demand for their Christmas bonus (among others) because it was found that Meralco had been giving their employees bonuses during the holidays since 1988, or for almost 10 years prior to the filing of the case. According to the Supreme Court, "the giving of the special bonus can no longer be withdrawn by the company as this would amount to a diminution of the employee's existing benefits."
But how long is "long period of time" before the giving of the benefits can be considered as having already ripened into company practice? Of the decided cases, the shortest period is two years. In the Meralco case state above, however, the Supreme Court separately ruled on the act of giving the Christmas bonus and the amount of Christmas bonus to be given. While it ruled that the giving of the bonus itself has ripened into company practice, the amount of bonus given did not, as it was not constant. The amount of Christmas bonus awarded to the employees was reduced from two months to one month, as this was a more equitable amount, according to the Supreme Court.
If you have questions for Atty. Allen, email

About the author:
Atty. Allen A. Liberato is head of Corporate Legal Affairs at strategic marketing communications firm TeamAsia. She earned her Bachelor's Degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman and her law education from the University of Perpetual Help under Dean Justice Isagani A. Cruz.

Friday, December 16, 2011

GT - Where'd My Money Go?

This week, we've got a pretty interesting topic on GT. It's all about figuring out what happened to all the moolah we got this year.
In retrospect, I'm pretty sure we're they all went: the house, the car and my daughter's education.

Manu on his baptismal day (suddenly a car becomes like a member of the family)
this is pretty much where ALL the money went
 The whole year this year, my husband and I only have one theme song, 'Wake Us Up When September Comes' because that's when all the money will stop pouring out of our lives (aka end of loan payment). Nevertheless, all the sacrifice means also that this year, we got some of our major dreams pinned down :0 Next off, trip to Europe :)

We are actually very happy for all the blessings that came to our lives like the LCD TV that husband recently won in Christmas party raffle, the free phones we get for being loyal network subscribers and I get from work and other blessings we get other investments. If not for all these, we won't have anything new or any additional budget for this year.

Lastly, I recently spent on something big this month (as September already came to pass). It's an investment that's worth the money. I will share about it in another post.

For more GT stories, click on the badge:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eleven Days and Counting: Rushing Through The Holidays

Whoa! Only 11 days before Christmas and there are so many things left to be done, gifts to buy and wrap. To top it all off are the Christmas parties that I have to attend. Goodness, can’t I stretch the days a little more? Parang sa showbiz, kapag hindi pa ready ang next gap or segment, spiel muna si host para ma-stretch ang time. 

What happened to my early August holiday shopping? Suddenly, I’m rushing (again) to get all things done before the family’s Baguio trip on the 23rd. Okay lang sana kung fly ka lang sa Christmas party and have fun. Sophie’s school party, for one, will be done in a home for the aged in Marikina. And the little girl got a little bibbo ang volunteered for a part in three different presentations. Not one, not two, but three parts (!) which only means I need to find her costumes for these three characters. Waaah! Can you sense the panic in me?

I’m sure most working moms are in a panic mode right now. In my industry alone, this is the season also for special projects like Christmas and Yearend specials, departments are preparing for the launch of new programs at the start of 2012 so as much as I need to take a few days off to take care of personal errands, commitments need me to be at work as much as I can.

Right now, I try to survive the holiday rush with a trip to the malls before and after work, good that both malls near my work have extended their operating hours until 11pm. Another thing to be thankful for are the online stores and the very enterprising friends who offer gift-worthy items so I can do quick shop while working (although I think I ended up buying more for me than those on my list, nyak!)

Multitasking is the key but how far can you go in terms of multitasking? I remember one fateful morning at work, I was finishing a brief for a meeting while purchasing our airline tickets for Coron while having my breakfast of coffee and bagel while doing my makeup. By the time I finish, I was practically wasted. 

Sometimes I don't know if my mantra for the holidays should be 'get done with it and fast!' or 'oh Christmas, don't come yet I want to enjoy the spirit to the fullest.' 

Which is yours? :)

Food Share: Alba Restaurant Dinner Buffet

For our anniversary, hubby and I decided to pig out. Considering the horrendous traffic now, we thought it would be practical to find a place within QC area and Alba's T. Morato was top of mind. It's been a while since our last buffet pig out at Yaki Mix. 
Here's some photos of the feast that we enjoyed and made us full until the morning after :0

Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup)
It has a little spice to it that I love, unconsciously finished this off

 the sobrasada (spanish spreadable sausage,  orange) and salchichon (salami) are to die for! I'm ordering these for Christmas

tapas caleintes (hot appetizers) table

 The Paella
they served two types of paellas

Berenjenas al Horno (baked eggplant with three kinds of cheese)
this dish just melts in your mouth. Hubby can't get enough of them.

Lengua Estofado, cooked perfectly

 Lechon and Roast beef station
I skipped this part as I'm not a big fan of lechon bust hubby said it's really tasty 

After coffee I checked out their delicatessen station to check our their gift packs. The sobrasada would have to be ordered on day in advance but all the rest are readily available. 

photo for posterity of a bondat couple. Good thing I wore a pleated dress and jacket* or else, I looked like a pregnant woman. 

* brown pleated shirt dress - For Me
   jacket - thrifted (Baguio)
   wooden clogs - Parisian original
   bag - Franco Sarto
   watch - Cartier tank watch

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For My Friend and Lover

Six years ago, I sat on the corner of my bed in a Linden Suite two-bedroom suite praying for a fine weather and a memorable wedding. That’s it and I surrendered everything to Him. I slept that night with anxiety at how everything else will turn out on December 10 but I never even had the slightest worry that I may be doing the wrong thing or that I may be marrying the wrong guy.

I was sure that my husband is my soul mate, my twin flame or whatever astrologers call it. We’ve been through a lot for 12 years before we finally tied the knot. 

Six years later and 2 children after, nothing has changed. He still is my bestfriend, best critique, best supporter, most avid fan and my soul mate. We have accomplished so much and it’s just a proof of how well we work together. We have more dreams to accomplish and I'm glad that we do good at making them happen :)

To my dearest husband, Happy Anniversary to you. I love you, not even death will change that. (sorry for the late post, I forgot to pick it up from my draft )

Friday, December 9, 2011

GT: Something Old

As the old saying goes, friendship is like wine. They get better as they age. I am happy to still be friends with some of the most cherished people that I have met when I was still in college (uhm, like more than a decade ago) and still see these people although not as often as we want to. This post definitely contains something old  but something to treasure for life.

Here's a picture of me and my college bud Michelle of
We've been through all Comm Arts classes, AB pageants and thesis together. Glad we still see each other once in a while. Oh, I recently got a treat from her. Visit here to know about it. 
Thanks again Che  for the post! Ipamamalita ko ito sa lahat ng kamag-anak, kaibigan, katrabaho, mutiply at FB friends ko :)

thanks Chai for the pic :)
Last Saturday, we attended two birthday parties. The parents of these celebrants being good ol' friends (from college too), we couldn't pass the opportunity to say yes even if we know there might be a conflict with the party schedules. Good thing one party was early lunch and the other in the afternoon so we were able to attend both :)

An early lunch birthday party with puppet show for Wynona Esguerra, daughter of friends from UST Winston and Nia, held at Mom and Tina's in Pasig City. Winston is husband's band mate. See more story here. I have yet to upload our group pic with the rest of the group.
That afternoon we attended naman the 7th birthday party of Nicole, daughter of Doods and Nora. Doods is a  friend from my theater days. 
the parents and celebrant teary-eyed during the speech part
How nice it is to reconnect with old friends once in a while, see how they are and what has been happening in their lives. It's such a fun and nostalgic moment every time.

My share for this week's GT:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thank Goodness for that Nasty Cough

Husband had been a smoker since the tender age of 11. Yes, that young. He sneaked from their house and went to the sari-sari store to buy his poison and smoked there or any place where his dad can't see him. 

stop smoking
He’s been enjoying this bad habit since so that sums to more than 20 years of being a smoker. Until a month ago.

He rarely gets sick (weird for someone with bisyo, right?) but last month he was inflicted with a really bad cough. He had no choice but to stop smoking and since his cough lasted for almost two weeks, he couldn't smoke for quite a while. When the cough subsided, he still abstained from smoking because there are still occasional bouts of coughing.

Then it came to a point when he realized he had not puffed one single stick for 19 days. As they say, it takes 21 consecutive days to form a habit and he promised and tried to reach 21 days cigarette-free.
You see, since Sophie was born he’s been trying to quit smoking saying that he still wants to be alive to watch his kids grow old but the willpower is just too weak. 

Then, that nasty two-week cough happened.

Now it’s been more than a month and going two that he's been puff-free. I was considering on giving him an electric cigarette as one friend of ours who also quit smoking uses it when there is an urge to smoke but husband says he’s not really craving for a puff. Goody, I hope and pray it will be permanent. I hope that the 20 years of bad habit will be overpowered by the 21 days of will power and that he will really go clean for his kids. 

Because he's been a good boy, what would be a nice gift for Mr. birthday boy?

Monday, December 5, 2011

My New Project Entry # 5 plus a New Baby?

Yesterday, was another morning aerobic session. We jogged, stretched, did crunches as the rain continuously poured on. Rain or shine, exercise pa rin. Career talaga.
I think I missed 3 or more sessions of aero because of my busy schedule the past weeks and I think I gained weight again. Darn! I even missed one belly dance class :(
Yesterday, I'm contemplating on taking slimming pills, slimming coffee or drink to help me lose weight. Why can't losing weight be as easy as gaining weight?
Heck, I will try to push my will power to the limit and not succumb to artificial slimming techniques. I really want it as natural as possible because I'm afraid the rebound will be much worse.

Oh and what could be worse than getting pregnant after all the weight lose effort? Husband has been bugging me for baby number three saying that our little boy is no longer a baby (he now smells like a stinkin' 2-year old) so it's high time (daw) for a new baby.
I love babies, I adore my kids but right now they're already a handful just them two. What more with a new baby G.? Anyway, my mind's not yet resigned to only two kids but, maybe a year or two more before I'm ready to carry a little angel again?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ang Lakwatserang Pamilya

What a week! Just before lunchtime today, I came across a client that doesn't know what she's talking about and a client who wants to force a commitment out of me, one that I wouldn't give even if she pushes me off the building. Geessh! Talk about Thursday madness.

Anyway, it's all part of the job. Good thing I ended last week with so many happy notes that I'm still in a positive mood today. First off, finalized our Palawan trip for next year. Husband and I got our flights and accommodations booked. Yay! This will be my birthday gift and I'm so excited especially since it's been a while since we traveled on our own. Remember my last post regarding our Coron trip? Well, this time we're pushing through with it, whatever happens. AS IN. We just booked a 3 day tour, though, because we couldn't leave the kids for more than that. We may get homesick and fly home in the middle of the tour.
We got one more travel itinerary for 2012, this time with the kids but I'll share about it when all is confirmed.
I'm just glad I'm back on the road to lakwatsa. The kids are older now and from our trips to Subic and Baguio, we know that they, too, enjoy our travels to different places. Nobody whines and grunts kapag nasa lakwatsa. Even I get surprised at how behaved my kids are during long-distance trips. Mga mana sa magulang :)

We also got our annual December trip to Baguio all set and just waiting for the dates to arrive. The family is spending the Christmas in the city of Pines and the kids (and yayas) are super excited. Me, I'm just as excited to visit places in Baguio I haven't been to before. Hope to sneak a Sagada trip.

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