LIFE LATELY | Instagram Wife

LIFE LATELY | Instagram Wife

Jr loves to ham it up for the camera. He loves mascots, and meet and greets, and those movie standees you find in the cinemas. And he loves taking pictures with them. Alone. I rarely join in. But I am happy to snap it. While on our travels, he would stop by something interesting and tells me “Picture mo ko dito.” which I willingly do. One because I find it very hilarious and two, it’s easier for him to buy me a spiffy new camera when the old one breaks down because he knows he’ll be benefitting from it most.

Ladies on insta have instagram boyfriends/husbands. My husband has an instagram wife. But it’s easier to charm my way to a new camera. To each his own. Para-paraan.

This coming new year, JR’s side of the family plans to stay in a hotel for new year’s eve. Jamie, his sister, took it upon herself to do the ocular of the hotels mom is interested in staying in. Also, it’s a nice excuse for a staycation (I, against my will, am accepting that THAT is a word now). Yes, we’re preparing for New Year 2018 this early. January early. Because we are an old married couple with nothing better do to, we tagged along while they checked in at Hotel Jen.

Hotel Jen is the revamped Traders Hotel along Roxas Boulevard, right in front of CCP. It’s now run by the swanky Shangri-la hotels. It’s still a business hotel, but if you book a room on the upper floors, you get checked in on the club lounge on the 19th floor with a sweeping view of the bay area as far as SM Mall of Asia. It’s one awesome panoramic view.

And of course, leave it up to my husband to seize the moment. He positioned himself by the window and told me to use my nice camera.

Picture mo ko dito. Madami akong baon.”

Hotel Jen


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VIDEO | VLOG #022 – Ultimate Tita Moves

VIDEO | VLOG #022 – Ultimate Tita Moves

Welcome to another episode of “Lallie, How TIta Can You Be?”

I have been long suffering from allergic rhinitis. My father has it, my uncles have it, and coupled with pollution and asthma, I got it. I’ve been living with a runny, wait, marathoning nose all my life. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I’m so used to it and I’ve accepted that that’s going to be the case for the rest of my life, unless I want my sinus surgically taken out. I don’t see myself doing that.

It usually creeps at night or in the morning when it’s cold. Or anywhere that’s cold — the cinema, the mall, any restaurant. Basically it strikes anywhere. So I need to have tissue on hand, all the time.

So yes, I’m one of those people who take tissues for restaurants. Call me guilty.

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LIFE LATELY | Titas on Vacation

LIFE LATELY | Titas on Vacation

There was a time when I traveled hard core. I was out for a flight or a long bus ride almost every weekend. Some are planned out, some spontaneous, but no matter how carefully crafted the itinerary is, we’ll most likely be spending the night somewhere cheap. It terms of traveling expenses, the sleeping situation is the least among my priorities. I’ve slept in smelly hostels, hostels with ceilings that are falling apart, rooms where I can get tetanus with one clumsy move. I’ve slept in public health offices, tents, and even a monastery. I always thought, you’ll be out most of the day anyway, it’s just a place to store your things and sleep. You wouldn’t mind the mildew or the curious noise on the roof once you get your shut eye. I never understood why people would spend so much money on a hotel room. You’re on a vacation. You’re supposed to be outdoors.

And then the years rolled in, and I became one of those people.

Gone are the days where I can sleep on cots on wooden bamboo frames or earth mats in camping grounds. Before, I can just go without knowing where I will be sleeping. I can sleep on the bus, on the plane, in a corner in a random room sitting down. Now, one of the first things I have to ask is where will I be sleeping. See, when you hit 30, body parts start hurting. It’s not that I’ve packed up and given up on my adventurous spirit. I just don’t think one night of sleeping on something cold and hard in a cramped fetal position is worth weeks of pain and a trip to the doctor. Plus, as you get older, vacations begin to look more like vacations, and not the amazing race-like itinerary kind of trip your 24 year old self was particularly proud of.

Right now, priority is a comfortable sleep. When my friend, Mabel, on a holiday from cold cold Canada, wanted to go to the beach, I said, ‘let’s’, as long as we stay in a nice resort, maybe Cebu. Choices were thrown in, but considerations were made: I just want a landtrip and do not want the hassle of rushing to make it to the boat schedule. I want it in front of an empty beach, like the resort feels like a private one, with very little to no guests. I want good food, cooked to my liking. And if I’m not sleeping on my own bed for a couple of nights, I want an airconditioned room, with a very comfortable bed.

And that’s why for the second time, we ended up in Hale Manna.

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Get your adventures in while your young kids. When you reach my age, you just want to be on the beach reading the book, and by sunset, take your book on your airconditioned room and sleep.

This is 34.

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LIFE LATELY | All the Feels From La La Land

LIFE LATELY | All the Feels From La La Land

I haven’t read any reviews or any article prior to watching the movie. I knew it got a few awards at the Golden Globes and that it was a musical. I wasn’t really expecting much when I asked JR if he wanted to watch a movie — any movie — at the new mall, Ayala Malls The 30th. I heard the the mall had full recliners so I wanted to try it. I wanted to try the cinema more than watch La La Land, to be honest. It just so happens La La Land was conveniently screening just as we arrived at the mall. We grabbed the last two seats, A1 and A2, nearest the screen. Maybe that’s why I didn’t know what hit me after the end credits rolled. I sat there, turned to Jr and told him, “I loved it!” — sniffing and wiping off tears. I was shookt.

I had zero expectations on the movie. The first sequence on the freeway ramp reminded me of my time in LA. At the end of my two weeks in Los Angeles in 2015, it had me singing a line from John Mayer’s ‘In Your Atmosphere’: “I don’t think I want to go to LA anymore.” I was LA-ed out. I thought, great, I got assaulted with a musical number without any context about the worst thing in LA. We’re off to a horrible start. I’m gonna hate this movie.

And then the story unfolded. And I thought, damn, what is happening? Why am I feeling all these feels? Wait. I can’t keep up. I just can’t.

I was Mia. I was Seb. I was in Griffith Park. I was in Grand Central Market. I want to go back to LA and go everywhere again.

No one was giving Mia the parts she wanted but with Seb’s nudge, she set out to write her own part, not needing the approval of other. I loved her hustle — quitting her job, risking it all and writing her own screenplay. She trudged on, putting up a show and finishing it even if it was in front of just a handful of audience.

You know what you want to do. Sometimes all you need is a small nudge. You do your best, even if no one’s watching. Everyone’s still asleep when the sun rises, but still, everyday, the sun shines.

I loved how Seb knew what he wanted. He just needs to find a way to get there. I love how it shows that sometimes you have to compromise, be a little sell out, but your eyes will always be on the prize. Sure, you’ll have to swallow your ego and pride, but you do not lose sight along the way. In the end, he got his jazz club. It might not be in the location he wanted, but he got it and they were going to play jazz the way they want to.

It might take a long time to get there, but you’ll get there.

I loved the ‘non-musical’, non-star cinema ending. It’s rooted on realism. That sometimes, your dreams are your happy ending, and that people you meet along the way are people who point your way to your happy ending. Seb encouraged Mia to write a screenplay that would land him a casting call of a lifetime, and Mia reminded Seb of his jazz club dreams. These people may not be in your life forever, but there is a reason why they are in your life then.

And you’re always gonna love them.

But what struck me the most are two lines from Mia’s ‘Audition’. We all have dreams. We grow up and priorities realign and some dreams remain dreams. But for the dreams we are brave enough to pursue, we fight, and we fight til it breaks us, and til we break thru. But rarely do we come out the other side unscathed. On our wake are broken relationships and painful sacrifices.

“Here’s to the hearts that ache. Here’s to the mess we make.” That’s my new tattoo.

Yes. I found my new favorite movie of all time.


Ayala Malls The 30th
30 Meralco Avenue
Pasig, Metro Manila

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY | Back To Baguio

FLASHBACK FRIDAY | Back To Baguio

Traveling wasn’t as big as then as is it now. When we were young, there were no budget carriers, cheap hostels or general easy access to information. Today, it’s as simple as entering your destination on the google search bar and there’s a flood of itineraries at your disposal. If you’re not the planning type, there are a whole lot of service providers who, at a minimal cost, can do the planning for you. The places I’ve been to as an adult were just names I had to memorize to fill that blank map during HEKASI tests. The farthest my lola took me as a child was Samar where she hailed from. We’d ride a ship and spend a day on board or we’ll drive the road to roro highway running the eastern side of the country. When I was a kid, the only travel we get was either to Samar… or Baguio.

Baguio is a special place for my family — all my entire father side of the family. All of the brood would go up and spend about two nights at a time. We little cousins will squeeze our tiny butts in my grandmother’s red hi-ace van — in between the baskets of food and the pots and pans. The van looked like a clown car when we get off to a rented transient house. We kids would busy ourselves with playing, or annoying each other — this was pre-dawn of internet and ipads. Lola and my aunties would spend the entire day in the kitchen. They would cook breakfast, clear up, cook lunch, clear up. There was merienda, then they’d clear up, and then dinner, and clear up. I never really noticed it until Jr, who grew up with hotel vacations, brought it up. The women in our family never leave the kitchen on vacations. They are just in the kitchen — cooking, chatting, getting each other caught up with each other lives. Cooking is not a chore in our family. It’s an exhibition of love. And what great, abundant, heart-filling (and clogging) love it is.

We grew up. I discovered I had itchy feet and piso fares and internet became a thing, so I went far. Far — very far from Baguio. It used to be a summer staple, but in the last 10 years, I may have made the trip there 3 times, a couple of times more just because I was en route to somewhere else. Baguio became a keeper of childhood memories, a dusty box tucked in the back of your closet you only reach for when you’re too happy. Or too sad.

Maybe it’s all the noise. You go out and you’re bombarded with noise. You stay home, alone, fire up the net and the noise gets louder. When I was growing up, Papa would always tell me if he had a choice, he’d just raise birds in the backyard. ‘Magpapalaki na lang ako ng itik‘. I always wondered what that meant. I was young, and see all the possibilities in the world. Why would you opt to live simply, raise ducks and expect that to bring you joy?

Well, I guess lately I find myself getting tired of all the noise — seeking a more quiet, simple life. So to speak, ‘gusto ko na lang magpalaki ng itik‘. Baguio was of simpler times. Here I am, desperately crawling back to simpler times.

Good thing, simpler times is a now little over 3 hour drive away. It’s NLEX-SCTEX-TPLEX and then onto Kennon road. You could reminisce about how all your little cousins lined up along the huge Botanical garden wall for a group picture, in the obligatory company of locals in customary garb. You would say things like, “Di naman ganito katraffic dati dito.” or “Andami ng bahay!” or “Punta tayo sa SM na walang aircon.” You now go to Burnham Park to bike and introduce your nieces and nephews to the joy of entertaining yourselves for hours without youtube videos. And then when they grow up, during holidays, no matter how far they will go, they will always be reminded of Baguio — of the good times, of simpler times. Lucky for them, going back is just like a rush hour trip from QC to Makati.

But your own memories will always be those long 8 hour plus drives, where you are cramped in a red hi ace, sleeping with your knee on your chest. Those times when you swore there was a ghost in the transient house you rented in Teachers’ Camp. Those times where Britney Spears will sing her entire album 86 times over, Papa manually flipping the cassette from side A to side B and then switching to Shania Twain on the ride back ‘para makapagpahinga si Britney. Namamaos na.’. Those times when your father had to cross NLEX(!), water bottle in hand, to get water because your Honda was overheating the entire time.

Those memories are your own. Your nieces and nephews can make their own.

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