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Another year has passed.

Would this post go down as one of those in the New Year’s bandwagon of topics – resolutions, fireworks, past year’s blessings?

Well, yes! I will reserve the first two in other posts but today, I think, my 2010 blessings would take on the spotlight.

There were so many things that has happened in 2010, so many blessings received- big or small – I am very thankful for every single one. And here are the top ten 2010 blessings I received:

1. Topping the list is another chance to still be with James, counting for more than nine years of being together as of date. 2010 saw the worst fights, several severe break-up moments, but we were given a chance to get through the storm – for our love to see us through.
2. Samantha, our dear Pomeranian dog-daughter, completely healing from her pyometra episode which she had after aborting her puppies in the last quarter of 2009. Now, Sam is as active as ever, and who knows, probably, she can have another attempt at having puppies in 2011!
3. Meeting a new set of friends in circumstances which could have been so impossible if only it happened earlier. This group, made up of young, vibrant, happy but insightful people was very kind enough to take me in during one of my worst nights ever. That led to one activity after the other and it is one of the rarest chances that you’ll meet people who have the potential to be your very good friends in the future, in parties and in the last days of the year!
4. Learning that no matter how much you have done, how much you have contributed, everyone, as in everyone, should still have their feet firmly on the ground. I know this sounds more of a lesson than a blessing but learning this, being reminded of this, has blessed me to move on from what had depressed me in 2010, making the year that was one of the most empowering.
5. Spending an estimated P50,000 on gifts in 2010’s Christmas celebration! I am not bragging, please, but someone who had been so blessed this year, this is a small amount to share to the people I love! Plus the fact I am catching up on them since I gave no gifts in 2009!
6. Being on the deepest waters I’ve been in my life! El Nido’s hidden beach required me in 2010’s summer outing to forget about my fear of water and just jump (with floaters and four men assisting) in the water to see one of Palawan’s secrets!
7. Being given the opportunity to handle three different processes within the year. They say, if you get transferred, it’s either you are not performing well on your process or that you are good enough to be given harder responsibilities. I believe it is more of the latter. From performing financial services to the big markets in China to handling services for most of Asia Pacific, I was given the opportunity to land in one of the most challenging tasks of the year – advising for recharges in the whole Asia Pacific region! And so far, despite some mistakes, I think I was able to deliver results in 2010!
8. 2010 was also the year when I took off all my apprehension and just accepted engagements that I truly enjoy doing – speaking in seminars and hosting shows! I’ve been doing this in The Firm before but I decided to keep a low profile in The Bank for me to enjoy my private life. But the call of the spotlight cannot be endured anymore, so together with a group of very good people, we launched a series of seminars that touched the lives of new joiners, and before the year ended, I accepted a year-long invitation to host, together with other friends, our domain’s biggest show in 2010!
9. Shoes! Shoes! Shoes! 2010 saw me coming back to the shoe-fetish scene after laying low in 2009. Store after store, I bought shoes that brought me great satisfaction and I just hope the shopping streak continues in 2011!
10. Lastly, before the year ended, after my self-confidence went below zero in some parts of 2010, I had proven that many people actually loves me – dami ko kasing gifts na natanggap! From wooden bangkitos from Baguio to colorful shirts to wine to coffee beans to travel accessories to Shiseido eye creams to The Face Shop body wash and facial masks to Lion phone holder – sabi ko nga sa FB post ko minsan : nasa Dean’s List ata ako ni Santa!

To everyone, I wish you all a sexier and happier new year!

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We learn our lessons everyday via each decision we make, big or small. I usually ask advice from people that matter to me before I make some of the life-changing decisions I make but I know ultimately, it will be my ideas, my beliefs, my priorities, which will determine which path I’ll choose.

Below are the top ten hardest decisions I had to make in my 27 years.

10. To take up accounting or mass communications? I took up accounting.

9. To stay or to leave a preacher’s sermon on the sinful nature of homosexuality? I stayed for reasons of courtesy.

8. To get braces or not get braces? After so much deliberation on my financial statements, yes, I got my braces.

7. To stay and wait for promotion or leave? I chose to leave and I think I am in a better place now.

6. To read or not to read? Most often I read and curiosity kills the cat more often than not.

5. To believe or not to believe? I once questioned my faith and now I choose to believe that there is such a phenomenon as the power of believing.

4. To take or not to take the board exams? I took the exams and passed it. It was then or never again.

3. To give up or work things out? I, we, chose to work things out because the love to stay and continue is still much stronger than the love to let go.

2. To give or not to give? It’s oftentimes tiring to just give and give but I still choose to give as long as I still have something to give.

1. To swallow or not to swallow? Sometimes, I choose to swallow…my pride!

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I know it’s not yet Halloween but I just thought it might be nice to share some of the scariest paranormal experiences I had. I have what people call the ‘third eye’ and I think I got it from my mom. Although my extra-sensory abilities do not go as far as seeing the vivid details of how a person actually died from his ghost (a friend’s friend can because he enrolled in a class which would supposedly open your ‘third eye’ even ‘bigger’), it is normal for me to see ghosts or other elementals walk by from time to time. Some say these ghosts are but manifestations of one’s negative thoughts or feelings to which I agree, because I often see more of them when I am sad or depressed.

So for the readers who might want to have an advanced Halloween treat, please enjoy the following list.

10. I was lying on my bed in Pasig with the lights turned off and the street lamp casting shadows in my room but I could still see the electric fan and its four buttons in front of my bed. I was staring at it when I saw the button that was pushed down (number 2) was pushed up and the fan was turned off. Suddenly, my window slammed shut without any strong wind. It was my grandfather’s death anniversary that day.

9. I was in a friend’s house for a sleepover for our flight was scheduled very early the next morning. While I was sitting in the dining room area, I saw an old lady in the stairs looking down on us and then she went up. I told my friend that she did not tell me there was an old lady in the house and that we were very noisy. She told me that she was the lessor and that she passed away the previous year!

8. I was watching TV in our home in Pasig when I saw a black figure go to our kitchen from our bathroom then from the bathroom to our front door. Dedma lang ako dahil maganda yung palabas.

7. Back in college, I studied until the wee hours of the morning but only until 3AM for by that time, someone (I could not tell if it is a he or a she) would appear on the stairs, stoop down and look at me as if waiting for me to stand up. The scary thing – you would pass by it in going to my room and every time I’ll look back, it is no longer there!

6. Audit life meant you doing things on a certain time out of the norm. I went home at around 2AM and saw that my cacti were too dry and decided to water them. Only my mom and I were at home then. While stooping low to reach the lower levels of the plant ledges, I saw at the corner of my eye two dirty feet up to its knees with yellow basketball shorts. The man had no slippers and I thought I didn’t lock the gate and someone got in. It was burglary! Instantly, I stood up and went straight to our door when I saw those feet and legs ran behind the car. I shouted to my mom but bravely waited outside so I’ll see where would he go and get to protect my mom who was inside the house. I stared at the car and when my mom got out; we both looked behind the car and saw nothing. But it was one of the clearest visions I had.

5. When I got home from work, our driveway was not lit so it was a bit dark with street lamps casting shadows everywhere. Then I saw a young child run from one big plant to another obviously hiding. She did not hide well because I could still see her skirt peeping out of the big pot. When I got nearer, I saw nothing but plants. The next day, we learned that my uncle’s wife died and was buried that night.

4. When we moved to Cainta, I was busy getting all the things in order inside my room. Tired, I sat down and chatted with my favorite aunt over the phone. I lied down and saw this lady made out of black smoke looked at me from above with her face getting closer to mine. I was stunned and it took a minute after the vision was gone before I heard my aunt’s voice shouting at me from the other end of the line.

3. We were on our way home from Quezon via a forested road in Laguna when my friends in audit joked about elementals or engkanto in the forests around us. The driver admonished them as the place is known for its share of paranormal activities. Knowing about them, I kept my mouth shut only to find a lady sitting in front of me inside the van. Another friend saw her and she just flew out of the van. All along the trip, we were quiet for we can see her and some few more gliding along with our van!

2. My sister always went home late. We shared the same room in San Juan. She occupied the top bed while I slept on the pull-out bed under. After saying my prayer, I went down to sleep, certain she was not there. Hours before dawn, I woke up feeling someone stepping on my bed and thought it was my sister getting to her bed. I looked at her bed and saw her back turned to the wall and her long black hair. By morning my mom woke me up and was looking for my sister. With eyes closed, I told her she was on her bed and when I opened my eyes, no one was sleeping and that the bed was still made up. My sister went home three days later and I still wondered who did I saw that morning.

1. I saved the scariest bit for the last entry. I was praying inside my room, with lights turned off, kneeling in front of my window and looking at the sky. My lola was sound asleep in a far bed. After saying ‘I love you Jesus!’ at the end of my prayer, someone, something, whispered in my right ear, complete with breath, saying ‘I love you Jesus!’ in a very low, guttural voice! I quickly went under the covers and prayed even more. That never happened again.

Without pulling your legs, I have goose bumps just by telling you these stories.

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My mom always said that she doesn’t have any material riches that she can give us but if there is one thing that she is proud to have given me is the love for books. My mom is a college undergraduate but she is very smart about science, math and current events because she reads a lot. So for this Wednesday, allow me to share with you my top ten most favorite books of all time.

1. Cost Accounting by Barfield – a very thick accounting book that I think is the only accounting subject I excel in.
2. The Brothers Bishop by Bart Yates – a story of two gay brothers and how their love for each other would keep them sane after their mother’s death.
3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy especially the Two Towers – almost blinded me for the text was so small, the words were so old English and the names so hard to remember!
4. Kept – a story of prostitution, love and misery of a lady escort
5. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown – the details of objet d’art and architecture brought me to those places.
6. A Memoir of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – I read the shorts from time to time because it gets to be a little too predictable but enjoyable just the same
7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – I remember this story whenever I get to feel any discontent with whatever I have
8. Malate by F Sionil Jose – a perfect story of rising from poverty and taking revenge the classy way
9. Harry Potter Series especially The Half-blood Prince – do I need to say more?
10. The Bible – it softens even the hardest hearts, it solves even the most profound problems, it inspires even during the darkest hours.

Now, I would have to get a reservation for Ilustrado by Syjuco!

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Watched Inception last night and since it’s too late for any review of some sort (because it has run for one week and received very important and critical reviews already), so let me just fuse my MR series with my Wednesday Top Ten, para maiba naman!

1. My mind’s projections would all be wearing feathers, fur coats and high-heeled boots ala Carnaval!

2. My architect would ensure that the dream would have sprawling gardens complete with menagerie.

3. If indeed there is someone who is capable to steal secrets from dreams, I would be safer in audit for auditors never sleep.

4. If indeed there is someone who can get inside my head, I’ll ask him to record my dreams so I can watch it like a show on TV.

5. My subconscious is telling me – ‘Ingat sa pagtulog sa FX, baka nakawin ang secret recipe mo ng pudding!’

6. My weirdest dream was when I was a child with me as a grown-up making love with Ate Vi!

7. There were so many times that I looked at the eyes of my ex-crushes with my subconscious telling me ‘konti na lang, makaka connect na ako sa subconscious nya!’ And then, biglang nawalan ng signal!

8. They say we only use a fraction of our brain power and that the subconscious holds most of the information. Kaya pala I almost got kicked out because of Algebra!

9. I wonder whether would a very vile man still has some kindness locked up in his subconscious?

10. My subconscious admitted that it only suffers from one nightmare that goes on and on every night, a nightmare about an event that happened one cold night that changed our lives forever. Would the nightmare pave way to a wonderful dream, or just disappear into the dead of the night?

And then my alarm went off. Ain’t sure if I really watched the movie, or was it all just a dream?

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I always note that children nowadays have a very different way of building friendship with one another. When I was a kid, my playmates and I would play so many games every afternoon starting at 4pm and until 6pm, right before my lola scolds us for being late and dirty for dinner.

All those games taught me lessons that would later on be useful in my adult life. Here are the top ten games I played as a kid and the valuable lessons they taught me.

1. Patintero – learned how to get around stingy people whose sole purpose is to drag you out of your chosen path. Also, learned how to avoid snatchers in Recto, Sta. Mesa and Cubao!

2. Taguan – learned that no matter how much you try, secrets would soon be known by everyone sooner or later. So I keep secrets for a lifetime, unless the person involved is the first one to spill. At least, sa kanila nanggaling, di sa akin.

3. Black 1, 2, 3 – learned how to be brutally competitive in getting staff for my engagements!

4. Monkey, monkey – learned how to stay still, or quiet, when the situation demands it.

5. Langit, lupa, mahuli taya – learned that being successful is the best defense against discrimination.

6. Names, things, animals, places – learned that knowing trivial things can get you somewhere good.

7. Pusoy dos – never ever trust a person’s innocent-looking face, for oftentimes behind it lies the most cunning mind.

8. Millionaires – never envy those who have more money and properties than you, there will always be someone better than you.

9. Barbie! – babae sya, bakla ako. Iba yun at kailanman di ako pwedeng maging babae pero pwede ako maging isang kagalang-galang na bakla. Bow!

10. Bahay-bahayan – learned that kapag masarap kang magluto, masarap kang mag alaga, magkakaboyfriend ka! Learned later on, may isa pa palang sarap na kailangan, landi!

Kayo, anong laro ang nilaro nyo?

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Since joining The Bank, FX is my usual transportation in going to and fro the office. This morning, I fell in line before 7AM and got to get inside an FX en route to Global City at past 8AM! So this is a tribute to the ever dependable FX – my top ten most memorable experiences.

1. I was third and James was fourth on the line. An old, grumpy-looking man was the first one. An FX came and parked so that the door of the seats beside the driver was in front of me. In the name of efficiency, I got in beside the driver and the old man came up to me and said ‘ako ang nauna sa pila!’. Out of irritation, I blurted out while getting down ‘it’s all yours! Enjoy!’. Apparently, the man was my neighbor.

2. James and I used to go to Pasig’s FX terminal even though we were already living in Cainta. One morning, there was no line and an FX was parked so it meant that there are still slots. The barker told us that there are still two available seats in the middle row. It was very obvious that he was speaking to us. Then a lady swooped past me and got inside the middle row, leaving only one seat left. Good thing, there was still another one at the back. The whole trip, I ensured that that lady was very uncomfortable with the way my elbow sunk into her, with the way I looked at her and the way my body hit her when the FX swerved. I am a very vengeful person.

3. There was this driver who never stopped talking during the trip. You really need to drown him out with earplugs and Lady Gaga songs.

4. One FX driver was so handsome, as in World Cup handsome, I always make sure that we sit beside him, even if the aircon in front does not work well.

5. One time, a voluptuous lady sat facing me at the back of an FX. As usual, I tried to sleep and I suddenly felt my lips dry. I wet my lips with my tongue and when I opened my eyes, she was looking at me with revulsion. She was eating a big bar of chocolate and my tongue movement probably told her I was hungry as hell. Hay naku, feeling ka!

6. A lady got inside the middle row of the vehicle and there was only a small slot left. A big man tried to go in and the lady, with no hesitation said ‘Dapat yung maliit ang uupo dito!’ The man left and just waited for another FX. So much fuss over size!

7. Our audit manager once joined us in an FX because she used to live in a village in Pasig and we were of the same route. James, the manager and I were at the back when suddenly she hit a female passenger’s head with her hand saying ‘dito ka pala!’ When the passenger looked around, our manager said ‘Oh my gosh, I am so sorry, I thought you were somebody else!’ She thought the girl was our partner’s secretary. The girl just smiled and we spent the whole travel apologizing. Buti na lang walang boyfriend na kasama kundi basag na mukha namin!

8. Back when I was still with James in The Firm, going home at 3AM was an ordinary thing. We sat behind the driver, paid our fare, and just fell asleep. I dreamed of someone tugging my legs and shouting at me. I woke up and saw the driver waking me and James as we were the only ones left in the FX. Lagpas na kami sa stop at nasa dulong byahe na kami. After apologizing, we rode a jeep home. This time, we made sure not to sleep!

9. One evening, while falling in line, two not-so-good-looking guys were endlessly talking. For me, that is the biggest turn-off for a straight guy, to chat like women who have nothing else to do. We thought they were just chatting to amuse themselves as the line was getting longer. When we got inside the FX, they continued the chat. Though I tried but with their booming voices, I can’t help but hear their topic – womanizing! Now that really got me! Given the way they look and speak, they can still manage to cheat! The nerves! Solution: ear plugs!

10. I saved the best for last. One guy from an office in Tiendesitas got inside the back part of the FX and sat in front of me. Nothing out of the ordinary until he took out his nail clipper and started trimming his nails in front of me! His cut nails fell on my thighs, flew to my arms and I closed my mouth fearing the worst! I looked at him and showed him how I would brush his nails off from my thighs. He just looked at me and continued trimming his nails! James told me I was still lucky, he only did his hands!

What’s your FX story?

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