Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Alone with James Ingram

It all started as one ordinary day. After bringing Gio to school, I parked my car in front of the tennis court, did some warm-up exercises, then started my 5k walk/run. I was happy with my new record: a total of 2.4 k run and 3k walk for 45 minutes flat. Hmm . . . maybe next time I'll run 3k and walk 2k. I'm sure Jaymie (my mentor) will be very proud of me.

At 9 AM, I was already in the bank. I knew the queue will be long because it was pay day so I wanted to be the first in line. Well, I wasn't the first but I was in a good mood so I didn't really mind. I did some errands after that and before I knew it, it was lunchtime for Eia whose class starts at 1 PM. After bringing Eia to school, we went to Starmall to buy Tatay's alkaline water and our favorite sampaloc.

Then it happened. Again. The car just won't start. This time, it was for real. What happened last Friday was just a warning. Or maybe God helped me that time because the children were with me and it was dark and raining. The thought of this actually happening last Friday when we climbed the mountains of Antipolo gave me the shiver.

I walked to the nearest auto repair shop and requested someone to go with me to Starmall to check my car. According to Romy (the mechanic), the car should be brought to the shop for a possible replacement of starter. He called 2 parking boys to push the car so it would start and off we went to the shop. As soon as we arrived there, my celfone rang. It was T. Chad, Eia's former speech therapist who was vacationing from the States. He wanted to meet me later that day to finalize his investment portfolio. I told him I'll just wait for my car to be fixed, pick up Gio and Eia from school then I'll meet him at SM Megamall.

The mechanic had to go to Zapote to buy a replacement for my starter. I informed him that the car should be fixed before 4 PM for my children to be fetched in school. At 3:45 PM, Ate Ella and I were already on our way to Eia's school. T. Chad called again, requesting me to meet him at Kitaro Wack-wack cor. Shaw Blvd. So after bringing the children home, I immediately left to meet T. Chad.

I was jubilant that it only took me 30 minutes to reach the intersection of EDSA and Shaw but I was wrong to presume that I could turn left from EDSA to Shaw. I had no choice but to go ahead and make a U-turn in Ortigas, go back to EDSA and turn right to Shaw. I couldn't believe that it took me ONE HOUR to reach the other side of Shaw!

By now you would think that I was already fuming M-A-D. I promised T. Chad that I'll meet him @5-5:30 PM but I arrived there 6 PM! I was relieved that he was with the very beautiful T. Lua (also a former therapist at UP CAMP). At least, he didn't wait alone.

As for me, I wasn't alone either. I was with James Ingram all the way from Philamlife Village to Wack-wack. My radio just wouldn't work after the replacement of the starter but the CD player worked. It so happened that the only CD in the player was that of James Ingram. Thank God James Ingram kept me company or I already went nuts going through that monstrous traffic.

After a quick meal at Kitaro and finalizing my business transaction with T. Chad, I dropped them off at the MRT Station then started my way back home--with James Ingram serenading me over and over again.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ain't No Mountain High Enough (the Sequel)

(You have to read the previous post in order to appreciate this--sequel nga kasi!)

After experiencing cramps in my hands and feet for driving 3 and a half hours, we finally made it to the very private resort of Buboy (referred to as Leandrino in my previous posts) at 8:30 PM. We headed straight to the rest room and while we were there, I said to Ate Ella that we'll just "Eat and Run". I was too tired to even comb my hair, the thought of asking Mimi where I could lie down and rest did cross my feeble mind.

But when I saw the smiling face of Catsut (Leoncio's nickname), all the pains in my body disappeared! I merrily kissed him and congratulated him on his Silver Wedding Anniversary. He then introduced me to his charming wife Myrna who was too happy to see some of her husband's former classmates. Also present were his Notre Dame High School buddies: Paeng Sunga, the honorable Congressman Doy Pingoy and surprise of all surprises--Nilo! (He didn't know I was coming and I had no idea he already came back from Vietnam)

Nilo and I embraced each other, much to the awe and wonder of my favorite son, Gio. I then introduced him, Eia, and Ate Ella to the crowd. After an exchange of hand shakes, hugs and kisses, we made our way to the buffet table. In between my eating of fresh lumpia, I told Catsut "Kung hindi lang talaga dahil sa yo, hindi ako magtitiis na magdrive ng 3 1/2 hours para pumunta dito. Ikaw lang talaga ang dahilan at nandito ako ngayon."

Buboy then voiced out "Salamat naman Nora sa pagiging truthful mo". With that, the conversation was directed to our elementary grades, when Buboy used to bully me. I assured everybody that although I hated him for six years, he already managed to soften my heart when he visited me at the Coca-Cola Warehouse and asked for forgiveness. Then when I left Coke and took MS IE in CRC, he also visited me there and we indulged ourselves with Red Ribbon's Chocolate Marshmallow cake (cried for days when this was phased out a year later). I remembered we ordered 2 slices but during that time, there was no available cake for slicing. Buboy ended up buying one whole cake and we ate 4 slices at Red Ribbon, the rest I finished in 3 days. When I opened my first shop along Zapote-Alabang Road, Buboy would drop by every time he's in the area. He swore that his mechanic for his sports car in Las Pinas City was the best so he really didn't mind that he had to drive all the way from Antipolo to our place. We would just eat and laugh at each other's life stories whenever we see each other.

So there. For the benefit of everybody concerned, I am officially declaring that what happened between Buboy and me in the past is IN THE PAST. What compelled him to say those nasty things about me in grade school is no longer relevant. I am now happy and relieved that we can talk about the past with humor and laughter.

Going back to our main story, it was a jolly recollection of our elementary experiences--how Leoncio became my constant dance partner from Grade 1 to 6, our crushes, puppy loves and first loves. Then Lorimer came with his son. He was introduced to everybody and when it was my turn to shake hands with him, he was asked if he still remembered me and he answered "How can I forget?" I smiled to myself, thinking how he, his friend Carlito and me posed for several pictures in a photo studio before graduation. It happened 36 years ago and yet I could still remember very vividly that after our photo shoot, they invited me for a light snacks where I honestly admitted (while sipping my 8-oz. bottle of Coke) that my heart belonged to Bert since Grade 3.

After dinner, we joined all the tables (the Elementary Group and the High School Group) and started the Videoke. Of course, our host Buboy initiated the singing spree, followed by Mimi and Nilo. I'm glad I brought Gio with me who belted out "Hero" despite his sore throat (he wanted to sing 'Better Days' but it wasn't included in the list). Lorimer's son also sang and it's no surprise that he had the voice quality of a true artist. He is, after all, a kin of Cesar Banares--the lead male singer of the former ASIN band.

We were having so much fun that we couldn't leave to say goodbye. Nanay called at around midnight, asking me where we were. I told her we were just leaving. True. But then I was told that Buboy's father (our school principal) wanted to see me. I went back inside to say hi to him and he was teary-eyed (out of joy, I hope) when he saw me. He told me "I cannot believe you came here. I always ask Buboy why we don't have visitors from Marbel. Remember the song 'tayo na, sa Antipolo, at doon, maligo tayo?' I can never forget you. You and Buboy always fight". I could have talked with him longer but hey, I have 2 children with me who were dying to get home.

After the long goodbyes and deliberations who will ride in who's car, we left Antipolo with Elsa and Tho (they went with Nilo in his car in going to the resort). We dropped them off at Elsa's office in Ortigas Complex where she left her car. Genevieve, Rod and Kring went with them, since they were going in the same direction. Malou's apartment was our last stop before we finally headed for home. I won't narrate anymore how we went around in circles trying to find Boni Ave. that would end in EDSA. Bottom line, we reached Philamlife Village safe and sound. At 2 in the morning.

Now sing with me:

"Ain't no mountain high enough,
Ain't no valley low enough
Ain't no river wild enough
To keep me from my friends."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Nope. This post is not about Diana Ross. But I did think about her and this song when I drove for 3 and a half hours last Friday, July 27, 2007 with my 2 kids in tow, traversing chaotic traffic and rocky mountains just to see Leoncio, my elementary dance partner whom I haven't seen in 36 years!

When Buboy called last Monday inviting me for our mini-reunion in honor of Leoncio and his wife Myrna, I didn't think twice to say yes although my son was at that moment, terribly sick. Leoncio and his family came all the way from the States to celebrate the couple's Silver Wedding Anniversary in our hometown Marbel, South Cotabato (now known as Koronadal City). They were leaving Saturday so Friday night was our last chance to have a get-together.

Later during the week I suggested to Mimi that we meet at SM Megamall, being the center place for everybody. But since Leoncio's family was staying at Buboy's resort in Antipolo, Buboy was generous enough to invite all the batch mates living in Metro Manila to have dinner at Guillean's Place (you may want to check it out at http://www.guilleansplace.com/). Incidentally, Buboy is actually Leandrino--my ever loyal bully from Grade 1 to grade 6. How we became civil with each other will require a completely different post (maybe I'll write a sequel to this post--on second thought, I definitely will!)

Anyway, I knew it would be a hell of a drive from Las Pinas City to Antipolo, stopping over at Robinsons Place Pioneer Ave. to pick up Malou and then picking up Genevieve along the way. It was already raining at around 5 PM when we left home. I anticipated the ordeal that I was about to hurdle so I took 1 Biogesic tablet just to make sure I won't be dealing with one pestering problem--my migraine (which simultaneously arrives with my "visitor").

As expected, traffic was slow (it was Friday and raining). We were cruising along EDSA when I saw the Robinson's Pioneer Ave. signboard so I signalled to go right to pick up Malou at the entrance. All of a sudden, the engine died. I heard a deafening sound of horn at my back, then "BOOM!" I realized we were on an upward slope so I immediately pulled my brake shift. But I knew I already hit something when we slided back. I immediately called Malou to inform her of our unexpected predicament.

I was still talking with Malou when a man appeared beside my window so I had to go out and see the damage on his car. He was driving a white FX taxi. It was quite dark but I knew his front bumper was barely hit. I begged him with trembling voice: "Mama, pasensya na po. Maawa na kayo sa akin. Huminto po ang sasakyan ko, ayaw pa nga hong umandar. Patawarin nyo na po ako." These, I said while gently holding on to his arm.

He was stunned (probably out of pity for a lady in distress) so I went back inside the car. I stared at my mirror and saw him pulling back and then drove along. I thanked God after heaving a sigh of relief. I made several attempts to start the car but failed. I requested Ate Ella to pray the 'binding and casting' while I 'prayed over' the car so it would start. After what seemed to be eternity, I called Malou that we were already on our way to fetch her.

I was almost tempted to go back to Las Pinas after what happened but I thought of Leoncio--the reason for this trip. Then I thought of the mountains of Antipolo. It's risky to even bring the car up there, with my 2 kids at the back of the car. Then I thought of Diana Ross in the 70's: "Ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no valley low enough, ain't no river wild enough to keep me from you . . . " I smiled to myself and proceeded with extreme caution.

By God's divine intervention, Genevieve and her husband Rod and daughter Kring were travelling almost behind us when we passed by SM Megamall. We just stopped in front of Chow King at Robinson's Galleria and waited for them. It was almost 7 PM when the 8 of us finally settled inside the REVO.

If traffic along EDSA was slow, traffic along Ortigas was worse. I had absolutely no idea where we were going. Malou was the only person who's been at Buboy's resort. But since she was there only once, we had to stop in Antipolo to call Mimi/Elsa for directions. Malou told me that we will be passing through a rough road before reaching the resort but I didn't anticipate it was that rough. I prayed hard that everything will be alright and I praise and thank God that it did.

We miraculously made it to the reunion on the same day, at exactly 8:30 PM. Seeing Leoncio again after 36 years (and of course my other friends from Marbel whom I haven't seen for so long) was after all, worth the trip.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Tribute to my Friends & "Enemies" (Part IV)

I promised a Part IV of this series, so here it is:

1. Thelma

There were only 2 female staff in the Coca-Cola Makati Sales Office--the secretary of the Manager (Thelma) and the Marketing Analyst (yours truly!). Thelma taught me how to wear slight make-up to enhance my beauty(kuno!), aerobic dancing to maintain my Coca-Cola figure, how to talk properly to customers and how not to be intimidated by the 100+ men in the warehouse.

Thelma also encouraged me to run small businesses inside the office:

a) All rank-and-file employees of SMC receive a sack of rice every month. I buy the men's rice allocation for P85/sack and then sell them to outsiders who go to the office for P120/sack.

b) I also buy the route helpers' allowance. What does this mean? After the 30th of the month, the men no longer have money in their pockets (drained by their 2-3 wives). They approach me to buy their allowance. I would pay them P80 and then on the 5th, their P120 allowance will be given to me by the Payroll Master. Failure to fulfill this promise will automatically forfeit their chance to have business with me again, plus I will squeal to the real wife how much he was really receiving (they apply correction fluid on their pay envelopes to lower their take-home pay).

Thank you, Teng, for the wonderful years that you shared with me. Thelma left this world at a tender age of 33. Please join me in offering a short prayer for her . . . One week before her departure, she invited me to celebrate Valentine's Day in their apartment. She was then happily married with her 6-yr old son & a 4-yr old daughter. I was her only guest yet she prepared buttered chicken, kare-kare and fruit salad with corn. We spent the day just catching up on each other's news, talking as if there's no more tomorrow . . . The following week, she was gone. For 5 consecutive nights I was beside her coffin, not ready to let her go. Nanay accompanied me on the day of her burial and it was one of the very rare occasions that I saw my mother cry.

2. Ate Alma

Part of my business was buy and sell of signature pants--name it, I have it. Ate Alma was generous enough to supply me with pants which she brings to my office with a certain minimum order. If my memory serves me right, I buy the pants for P120 in cash and sell them for P180 (payable in 3 gives).

3. My SQP classmates: Dahlia, Gay, Gracie, Marilen, Tess, Vins, Louie, Jessy, Jeyps, Ning, Fernan, Edwin, Ricky

SQP was tough. There were 33 of us when we started and everyday, 2-3 students walked away. As JPE (Jesus P. Estanislao) pointed out, it is called SQP because:

1) it is during Summer when we took it
2) it is taken to Qualify us for IEP and
3) it is a Program.

Thanks to my SQP batch mates, I was able to heal a broken heart (I just broke up with a boyfriend before I entered CRC) and surprisingly made it to the IEP (Industrial Economics Program) proper.

4. Tatay Caloy and Nanay Cel

I can never thank enough these two people who lovingly accepted me in their home when I visited my friend Tess in Cebu. They were simply generous, kind, and thoughtful. The first time I was there, I arrived very late at night coz I took the last flight from Manila. Tatay immediately offered me an ice-cold beer and ordered pizza. I had so much fun there that Cebu became my home away from home year after year. They treated me with so much affection making me feel one of their daughters (Tess was their only daughter).

I remembered one time when we were about to watch a movie, I saw Nanay putting assorted foodstuff inside a native basket. I told her "Nay, akala ko manonood tayo. Picnic pala punta natin?" She laughed, while explaining to me that we will bring the basket full of goodies inside the movie house. She told me Tatay will just sleep inside the theatre if he's not munching on something.

Well, I have followed Nanay's ritual up to this day, but not in a picnic basket. We bring 2 packs of Act II popcorn, 4 packs of Lay's sour cream potato chips, Oishi crackling in a really large bag, bring juice for the kids in a cooler bag and of course, diet Coke in my Coleman filled with ice.

5. My IEP batch mates

Being the oldest, I was the "mother" of my batch. It was a completely new experience for me but I enjoyed every minute of it. My friends had so much fun not only inside CRC but outside CRC as well. Someday I'll write a separate post solely for IEP days.

6. V.C.

I have to correct what I've written in no. 5 above. I was the "mother" of my batch less one person. VC refused to be part of my flock and tried to be "the godfather" of the group. Maybe in the past he was used to lead, not to follow. Anyway, I had nothing against this guy so I couldn't understand why he tried to make my life miserable. But thanks to him I was able to practice self-control. I was able to prevent myself from wringing his neck with my bare hands. Gay and Ning repeatedly told me to forgive and forget. The truth is, there's really nothing to forgive. It's not his fault that he was born to annoy people like me. And I have completely forgotten all about him, except that the title of this post is "A Tribute to my Friends & "Enemies" so I compelled myself to write about him (hah hah hah . . . )

7. Tita Sylv

My mentor and adviser in my garments business. She encouraged me to learn everything first(from fashion designing to cutting and sewing of tailoring and RTW, boutique management, etc.) before starting anything. She gave me the scenario of what lies ahead in the garments business--what to do and what not to do, how to do it. She told me I will be faced with 3 major problems in the workplace: absenteeism, procurement of vale and uninterrupted intrigues among the workers. She showed me how to deal with these problems based from her own experience.

8. Angie and Charo

My two "partners in crime" in the school where I took fashion designing, dressmaking, master cutting, pants making. We would watch movies and eat at Harrizon Plaza whenever we have time.

9. My Contractors who trusted me and believed in me (will try my very best to stretch my memory on this one but I doubt I'll remember everyone from 1988 to 2002.

------Tita Sylv, Olive and Bea for Goulbourn
------George Salud for Kirei
------Elite Garments & Fashion Apparel for 22BC, Ensembles, Krizia
------MARIKO for Sari-Sari and Dalagita
------Rana's Mfg. for Georgetown
------Marj for her different company/school uniform projects
------Lourdes Ong
------Gap, Jordache, Ann Taylor and Macy's
------Sew-Fine Apparel
------Supreme Garments
------Julia's Collection
------Next Jeans

10. My loyal workforce

When I was still single, I only maintained a workforce of 10-13. They were like a family to me. But when my ex-husband took over, he transferred to a 3-storey building and employed 40-45 workers. I still see some of my original staff and sewers from time to time. I wish them well.

11. My loyal Made-to-Order customers

I miss them and our extended talks. One of them was Mimi when she took her residency at Perpetual Help Hospital. Mimi visited me whenever she had the time and we would just chat and laugh our cares away.

12. Cherry and Zeny

We were three's company in the garment subcontracting business: Cherry, Zeny and me. Problems always visit us but we went through them in a breeze because of the support we extended to each other.

When I finally said goodbye to my husband, Cherry expressed her guilt for being instrumental in our love story. But I told her I don't blame her for pairing me off with my ex-husband. The truth is, I am very thankful to her. Because of her, I am now experiencing the joy of having two wonderful children--Gio and Eia. Had she not introduced me to J. and acted as "bridge", I would have missed the opportunity of being a wife and mother. Gio and Eia are more than enough to compensate for the heartaches and pains I went through. Really, Cherry--no regrets.

13. Tho Lidasan

If there's one person whom I owe my life with (literally), it is Tho-- the very loving husband of my friend Elsa.

When I gave birth to my eldest son by caesarian section last Sept. 19, 1997, I desperately needed blood transfusion of 1,500 cc. I was immediately given 500 cc. from the Blood Bank but my obstetrician wanted fresh blood for the succeeding 1,000 cc.

Waves of friends and relatives came to visit me at the hospital but none of them was type "O". Except for Tho. It was a tedious screening process which lasted for 6 long hours. Tho finished all the tests and requirements without any complaint. And Elsa, together with their well-disciplined sons Junji and Seiji patiently waited after everything was completed.

This is one family worth emulating. Despite the fact that Tho and Elsa don't share the same belief (I stood as secondary sponsor in both their Catholic wedding and Muslim Matrimonial rites), their love for each withstood the tests of time. They were able to overcome all obstacles and stayed together as one solid family.

I salute you, Tho and Elsa!

And Tho, thanks a lot for bearing with Elsa's occasional "violent reactions" after all these years! (heh . . . heh . . . heh)

14. All-girls group from Marbel

Whenever Elsa, Gene, Malou, Mimi and I meet somewhere (usually at Sugarhouse Megamall), time is so short to catch up with each other's freshest news. Although we want to meet as often as we can, it seldom happens. But when somebody from Marbel comes to Manila, we always gather and have an instant mini-reunion. Our last meeting was June 14, 2007 when our friend Marichu was in town.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Gildo: Servant of God

This morning was memorable for me and the whole family, most especially for my favorite son, Gio. You know why?

Nah--I didn't join the Milo Marathon with Gio although the idea did cross my mind (inspired by Jaymie & her 6-yr old son). I passed on the opportunity because of one noble reason: It was Gio's 3rd attempt to read the 1st Reading in the 9:15AM Children's Mass at Philamlife Church.

Gio was requested 2 weeks ago but we had to visit Leisure Farms for emergency reasons.

He was all set last week but was feverish Saturday, "lagnat laki" according to Dr. Baet. He totally refused to read the following day for fear that he might collapse while holding the gigantic Holy Bible (an alibi, really).

Yesterday, Gio woke up coughing but was able to play tennis with me 11-12 noon. Since today was the 3rd time that he was scheduled, I told my son last night: "Gio, if you wake up tomorrow with a fever or with a hoarse voice, I want you to go on and offer your sacrifice to the Lord. Not everybody is given the gift of public speaking. God gave you that gift to share with others. Tell the Devil to stay away from you."

At around 4AM, I was awakened by Gio's severe coughing and repeated blowing of nose. Oh no, not again--I told myself. I knew Gio would have wanted to back out, but Tatay and the rest of the family were all telling him not to be defeated by the Devil. And so, we were already in the church before 9AM.

During the Processional March, Gio proudly raised the Holy Bible (which he described as extremely heavy) and gently placed it on top of the alter. He then bowed meekly and proceeded to his assigned seat with serene face and prayerful hands.

While "Glory to God" was being sang, I glanced at his place and I couldn't stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks. I couldn't believe that I now have a son (from a broken marriage) who will serve the Lord. Then I saw Nanay beside me also wiping her tears. I remembered when Gio was born, I couldn't think of any name. Nanay browsed at the Baby Book and told me "Let's name him Gildo, which means Servant of God. I'll pray that he'll be a priest someday or if not, somebody who will serve in the church."

During this time, Tatay and Ate Ella were praying inside the Perpetual Adoration Chapel in supplication for Gio. They stayed there until Gio finished his reading which proceeded very well.

After the mass, Eia hugged her brother and told him "You're very good, Kuya!" I also hugged him and said "You're very good, Anak". I felt he was quite warm so when we got home, I took his temperature and he was indeed running a fever.

I had to leave before lunch for the airport to meet Nanay's friends from Marbel who brought us 1 box of langgonisa. On the way back, Ate Ella texted me that Gio's temperature is now 38.5 so I must buy additional Biogesic before going home. Gio's voice was unrecognizable when I arrived @1:30PM. Surprisingly, he had the appetite to eat again when he knew that the langgonisa from Marbel already arrived. We had fun eating together the langgonisa which we waited for a while to be cooked.

After our delicious meal, I asked Gio to take a nap but as usual, he refused. I dragged him to bed and hugged him so he could sleep. When he woke up, I told him we should go to a laboratory for his CBC. This was Dr. Baet's advice if his temperature will rise again. Of course, he didn't want to go. So I told him "Very well. Let's not go anymore. Maybe you already feel good about yourself. That means you'll go to school tomorrow. No need for the lab. test."

As I expected, Gio immediately dressed up and told me he didn't want to go to school tomorrow. The sad thing is, it was Sunday so all laboratory clinics were closed. We went to Christ the King General Hospital where I requested for CBC and X-ray. Unfortunately, they don't perform X-rays without a doctor's prescription. Well, that could wait for tomorrow when I bring Gio to Dr. Baet's clinic.

I have only written 2 posts for July and now, I have the time to write one because like any dutiful mother, I would stay awake all night to monitor my son's temperature and to give him his paracetamol and antibiotics. I have to take care of Gildo, an aspiring Servant of God.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jaymie's Passion

Ever since I fantasized to run 5k on my 50th birthday, Jaymie has been my constant inspiration and mentor (via her blog and mine). While I run for me to enjoy tennis, Jaymie runs to enjoy herself. Below is an e-mail interview with this remarkable woman who is simply passionate with running. Introducing Jaymie, the bull runner.

1. You're 31. Right? How tall are you and how much do you weigh?

Yes, 31. I'm 5'5" tall. And, my weight on good days is 112 lbs. (that's like after a 10k race) and on bad days (like after an entire weekend of dining out) goes up to 116.

2. Aren't you underweight based on normal standards? Because in my case, my ideal weight is 99-122 lbs. for my height of almost 5'2". My desirable body weight is 110 lbs. which is actually my weight when I wake up in the morning but then shoots up to 116 lbs. before I go to sleep at night!

I don't really follow weight charts. I just base my goal weight on what I think I'll be comfortable at. I still have a few areas to work on, most especially my tummy after having two kids, so after losing a bit of weight through running I know I should focus more on toning up. I'll be happy to lose just a couple of pounds more but I don't obsess about it as much as I used to.

3. Do you follow a strict physical fitness program? What is a typical week for you?

Not rigid really. I run 4x a week. It's not like I pressure myself to do it. I just want to. If I don't, I'll feel awful. I'm planning on taking up either yoga or Pilate's for toning and strengthening but I still can't figure out how I'm going to squeeze it into my tight schedule. I guess that's why running works for me. It's very convenient and it's not very time consuming yet it yields quick results.

4. You call running 4x a week not pressuring yourself? You must be kidding me!!! I couldn't even run 1-2x a week. Where do you get the drive and the stamina?

That's truly not pressuring myself, Nora. I don't need to force myself to wake up at 4:30AM to run nor do I dread those 4 running days. I look forward to them and most of the time get excited about Saturdays when I know it's a long run with my coach and Annie. I still can't understand it when people tell me "Ang tiyaga mo naman" or "Ang sipag mo naman to exercise" because like I told you, I run because I just love it.

5. How about diet? Do you follow a specific diet? Kindly describe.

I don't eat rice. Beef and pork just occasionally. I love oatmeal, orange juice, mangoes, peanut butter and whole wheat bread. Unfortunately, I have a sweet tooth and I love junk food too so I'm still struggling with that part. The good thing with running is that it gave me a lot of freedom with food. I used to practically starve myself and still not get any results. When I started running, I found that I could eat more and pay less attention to the numbers on the scale.

6. Why are you not eating rice? Isn't that unhealthy because our body needs carbohydrates to give us energy? How can you still run 4x a week without carbo? This revelation really drives me crazy. I can't figure it out where you get your untiring energy.

I get my carbo from whole wheat bread, oatmeal, pasta, pizza. Before a race, I can gorge on pad thai or yellow cab pizza or tuna pasta like anything.

7. How long have you been running? When do you run and for how long?

I 'm still a newbie. I started in Dec. 2006. But ever since I did I've been very consistent and religious with my training. I run Tue, Thur, Sat, Sun. Tue and Thur usually on a treadmill at home for 45 minutes to 1 hour unless I have the time to drive myself to Alabang for a road run. Saturday long run of around 12k up with my Coach and Annie at 5:30AM. Sunday solo run in Alabang for over an hour.

That's simply amazing! You only started last December but you already managed to finish 6th in the 10k Run for P.E.A.C.E. last June. I don't think your achievement will qualify you as a newbie. You already made it to the top 10!

8. What were your physical activities in elementary, high school, college, and before you started running outdoors?

Hahaha practically nothing. That's why my family and friends are so surprised that I am so obsessed with running. Well, I was always going to the gym. I'd stop for a few years then go back again depending on how busy my life got at that point. I tried taekwondo and badminton but never fell in love with those as I have with running.

9. So you're telling me you don't have any other sports?

None, Nada, Zilch. I'd love to try duathlon or triathlon, but maybe when my 2-year old daughter is a little older.

10. I can't remember anymore who said "to explain the pleasure of running to someone who has never ran is like describing the colors red, green, and yellow to a blind person". Let's shed some light on this. I know you're a certified RUNAHOLIC. Will you please elaborate why you just love running?

Oooh, I completely agree with that statement so you must know how difficult it must be for me to find the words to describe my passion for running. Ack, how can I describe the feeling I get during a good run? It is simply bliss, euphoria, victory, and genuine happiness rolled into one! When I run, the world is literally at my feet and all for the taking. I feel like I have complete power not just over the course I'm going to take on that run but over everything else in my life. The stresses of the day just melt away. I feel fitter, healthier and stronger. I feel a sense of achievement when I run faster or longer. I pay more attention to the little things--like the wind blowing on my face, the sound of my shoe hitting the pavement, the sun rising--so it allows me to see more beauty in life too. How can one hour of running in a day make such a significant difference in one's life? I don't really know. It just does.

Now it's my turn to agree with you. Very well said. Bravo!!!

11. What is your advice for beginning runners?

Start gradually. Even it you want to go faster or farther and you think your body can cope with it, don't push it. That's probably the quickest way towards getting an injury. (That's what happened to me) Read, research, ask around and inform yourself about the proper way to start running before you begin.

Or they could just visit your blog: http://www.thebullrunner.com/ from time to time for your very useful running tips. That's what I do.

12. What is your ultimate goal in running?

To run until I am old and wrinkled. And also to run the New York marathon before I get old and wrinkled.

If only I could turn back the hands of time . . . too late to wish that now because I am now old and wrinkled hah hah hah.

13. Final question: I read before that a very old man (80, I think) finished a 42k Milo Marathon in Batangas. Do you think you'll still be running through 60 and beyond?

I certainly hope so!

There you are, friends. I hope after reading this interview you'll call, e-mail or text me to signify your intention of running with me 5k next year on my golden birthday celebration (tentatively set on June 7, 2008). As I've said before, proceeds of this run will benefit the DSAPI (Down Syndrome Assn. of the Phils., Inc.). Run with me and help my daughter Eia and the other children with Down Syndrome.

Thanks again, Jaymie! While I was about to give up this morning I just thought about you and I was energized to run some more. You, truly, are an inspiration to me. My only regret is that I could never run with you because you're already a 42k runner (you're running 42k in the upcoming Milo Marathon, right?) while I am still struggling to run 3k. How about a game of tennis?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Three's Company

I have always wanted to write a post about my two dedicated lawyers--Atty. Joy and Atty. Norie, who deserve all the recognition in the world for their untiring service to women like me (they never lost an Annulment case). Well, this is the best time 'coz I just spent 3 1/2 hours of fun and laughter with the two of them.

As I was driving home from Blue Wave where we celebrated our long-awaited victory (the granting of my Petition for Marriage Annulment), I was still grinning from ear to ear about how the three of us enjoy each other's company so much.

It's because we have so many things in common:

1) We are all single mothers although different in origin. Atty. Norie was once happily married to a loving husband but sadly lost his life to the Big C, while Atty. Joy was never married (lucky for her) but chose to take care of a cute baby girl. As for me, my marriage was just declared NULL AND VOID FROM THE BEGINNING (a million thanks to the both of them!).

2) We all vow to remain single for the rest of our lives although deep in my heart, I pray that Atty. Joy and Atty. Norie will find the man of their dreams (or the man of their dreams will find them).   No one for me please!

3) We all love funny movies from "Shrek" to "Music and Lyrics". How we talked about the movies that we enjoyed watching was simply hilarious. Atty. Norie and I also love action movies but when we verbalized our intention of watching Die Hard 4, Atty. Joy jokingly told us that how could we possibly like Bruce Willis when he's already bald and old? Of course, Atty. Norie and I retaliated that Bruce Willis is still Bruce Willis, whether young or old. But we all agreed that Jude Law definitely has the sexiest, most expressive eyes there is. Better watch "the Holiday" if you happen to disagree with the three of us.

4) We are all diet watchers although Atty. Joy and I tease Atty. Norie for being paranoid about her calorie intake. I wanted to have dinner at Blue Bay Buffet but she preferred Kimono Ken for she only wanted to eat Kani Salad! After thorough deliberation,we asked for 3 orders of Kani Salad, 3 Miso Soup, 1 Chicken Teriyaki, 1 Tuna Sashimi and 1 Tempura of 5 pcs. prawns. Upon my prodding, Atty. Norie tried the Green Mango Shake while Atty. Joy remained loyal to the good old water. Of course, I didn't order any drink coz I don't leave home without 1 can of Light Coke in my Coleman.

5) We all want to be physically fit but unfortunately, because of their rat race schedule (being in demand and all) my two lawyer friends lack the time to devote even only 30 minutes a day for exercise. I shared some tips which you might also find helpful:

a) 30 minutes of brisk walking if you have time
b) 15 minutes of going up and down the stairs is equivalent to 30 mins. of walking
c) 15 minutes exercise upon waking up and 15 minutes before sleeping or
d) spread the 30 min. exercise into 3 10-minute exercises during the day. Maybe 10 mins. morning, 10 mins. mid day, 10 mins. afternoon
e) include hula hoop even for only 5 mins. to trim the belly

After we drank coffee at Cheesecake, etc. and indulged in Choco Dome (both of them ate 1/16 each while I had no choice but to finish the remaining 7/8 of the gigantic slice), Atty. Norie and Atty. Joy promised me that when we meet after 3 months, they will surprise me with their new belly-free figures.

I have absolutely no doubt that they will.