Twenty-four, and in love.

Because I had to say this, even if no one out there is listening…

I’ve seriously fallen in love with Wang Lee Hom (王力宏), an American-Taiwanese singer currently living in Taiwan.

It may just be a phase, because I’m finally really understanding Chinese music after learning Mandarin in China. But this feels a lot different from my phase with F4, which was a time in my life where I was too caught up in the Meteor Garden series to actually really say that was learning Mandarin. Which brings me to this point, I’m already 24 (turning 25 this year), yet I’m still star-struck  over some pop-singing sensation who has over 25 million people following him on Weibo, and who knows how many others in the Western world, who adore him.

Every time I see him on my computer screen, I just get giddy all over. He’s such an adorable geek. Looking at him, he’s nothing like the normal pop star. He’s cute, but sometimes he’s so geeky and so into what he’s doing, you wouldn’t imagine that he’s actually past his mid-30’s. He puts himself so much into his music, and even though he’s singing pop or some romantic Chinese song, all of it just reaches out to you. The amazing thing about him, besides his ability to sing, is his ability to compose music and arrange the music composition of his songs. As a fellow writer, I can relate to his writing, and admire and envy his talent at the same time. But finding out that he can compose his own music and arrange the composition of the songs he makes, AND he plays musical instruments. I’m just totally head-over-heels. Add to that the fact that he can speak English, and wears glasses. Physical appearance-wise, he is definitely my type. But not only that, LeeHom exudes an aura of innocence and humility. He speaks his mind, but is always polite, he’s funny and sweet, and he’s really down-to-earth. Those are the kinds of personalities I find really attractive in a guy.

I had a friend before who was really into Jay Chou (周杰伦), and I couldn’t understand why she was so into him, besides the fact that my Mandarin at that time was really poor. Now though, I am starting to understand her feelings.

Unlike most other fans, I cannot say I am obsessed. Most of what I know comes from reading about him on wikipedia and whatever source I might find, as well as listening to his music (and trying to understand what the Chinese words mean),  and the few months that I’ve come to realize how attracted to him and his music I am. I barely know him compared to other fans, but it doesn’t mean that my admiration and respect for him is any less. Looking back at when it started though, it must have been when I went to visit my friend Jerry back when I was living in Beijing, and he had the music channel on. I heard LeeHom’s “春雨里洗过的太阳” (The sunshine washed by the spring rain) and just loved how the music flowed so well, besides it being catchy and nothing too exuberant. I loved it so much that I sang it for my speaking class when we went KTV-ing for our midterms.

I know I should have done this more seriously back when I was still in High School – find a Chinese singer that I really liked and translate their songs into English, or at least use their songs to inspire me to do better in Chinese. But as they say, it’s never too late to start anything, and it’s never too late to fall in love. And so, recently, I listen to Lee Hom’s music and slowly, step by step, try to understand what he’s singing…though I sometimes need the use of my dictionary.

He’s quite amazing though. Musically talented and he speaks Chinese so well. I wonder how he got to become so good in speaking Mandarin, even though he grew up in the US. Unless his parents spoke to him in Mandarin at home, but still, I can only hope that my Mandarin improves more and more, just like him.

Oh my, I am hopelessly in love. I even had a dream of him recently, where we accidentally met on the street and became good friends, and even fell in love. Of course, it all felt so real in the dream (especially since I did meet him by accident – in the dream), that I woke up wanting to go back to sleep. Well, as they say in Tagalog, libre lang naman mangarap, which just means that dreaming doesn’t cost you a thing (so keep dreaming/wishing).

Time to go back to my dreams and to my hopes that I can dream about Wang Lee Hom again.




Sticky Note girl

Today, the world celebrates women everywhere. Happy International Women’s Day. Here in China, it’s called 三八妇女节 (Sānbā fùnǚ jié). In my 23 years of existence as a woman, I had yet to experience the joy of being a woman through a day dedicated to well..women. Sure, mothers have the “Happy Mother’s Day” celebration, but seeing as I’m not yet a mother, I have yet to enjoy that.

I was reminded by a friend of mine yesterday how today is Women’s Day. Apparently here in Xiamen University, students enjoy the day by hosting an activity where women can place requests on post-its, asking for anything they’d like (whether it’s material goods like toys, flowers, food; something more meaningful like a tour guide or a date, or even a language partner or a boyfriend). So women sign up on this sheet with their name and cellphone number, and are handed a corresponding code. With each post-it, one can write down any request they’d like, including their code (like let’s say A0001), and they can put it on the activity board of the said event area. Guys and girls alike can look at the post-its and if they feel like they can fulfill the request, they take down the post-it and hand it to the activity members, who will then write down the number of the girl requesting the said task, and then it’s up to the two to discuss how to go about the request.

Actually the said activity started a couple of days ago, and my friend did mention it last week (I just didn’t understand the concept) and supposedly was going to end yesterday but I’m happy that they decided to continue it till today since I wanted a chance to post something on the board. Some random things I asked for was a Wang Lee Hom poster (王力宏的招贴) , a pet fish or plant(一个小鱼或者植物), chocolate cake(巧克力蛋糕), a Panda stuffed toy(我可以包着的熊猫), and either a Panda or Frog bag(一个熊猫或者青蛙书包). Hopefully I’ll get a text tonight or maybe tomorrow, I really want some of the things that I asked for. After all, how often can I participate in an activity like this. Makes me wish Ateneo had something like this back home, this is such a cute event. 🙂

Also, there are lots of promos and celebrations for today. I even got a text from our family friend about celebrating today. I also called my aunt to greet her a happy  三八妇女节 🙂

Things like this make me so thankful that I was born a girl, though there are times when I think differently.

Again, happy international women’s day!

Me and Adeline Yen Mah, just a computer away

I don’t know if most of you know, but back in my days in elementary school…I hated studying Chinese. It was one of those daunting tasks you had to do at school because it was a class. It was one of those classes that you never really took seriously, where most of the stuff that we were tested on were a bunch of Chinese words we memorized before the exam and forgot after the tests. Or well for most, that’s what it felt like. Because we only spoke English at home and didn’t even practice Hokkien when speaking to one another, I felt like Mandarin was something that wasted my time. I remember spending hours and hours with my tutor, trying to memorize the words and answers to the vocabulary, comprehension, and Q&A parts of the quizzes and exams. It was hell. Of course, not knowing Hokkien made it worse because I couldn’t compare words and ideas to their Hokkien counterparts which would have probably made studying a tad easier.

That was my frustrated Chinese phase in life. Even being Chinese was hard because I felt like I didn’t look the part, and besides practices like wearing red on birthdays, eating noodles on birthdays, wearing white for wakes, me and my family weren’t really Chinese-Chinese. And then in the 6th or 7th grade, I discovered Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah. It was actually from my mom’s library, and it was just lying around the house so I took it and began reading it. That’s where it began. After that, I discovered my mom’s copy of Falling Leaves (by the same author), and later on other Chinese-related books by Amy Tan and Lawrence Yep.

That’s where it began. I started taking Chinese lessons in High School much more seriously. I tried speaking more Mandarin with my tutor, tried conversing with my Dad in Hokkien, even volunteered to talk to my Chinese relatives once in a while. And in one of my years in High School, I even accompanied my dad to Xiamen (my first time on the Mainland)!

Basically, to cut the long story short, I discovered I liked Chinese. I liked learning about Chinese history, reading about Chinese culture and traditions, reading English books about China, and so on and so forth. Heck, I even took up Chinese Studies as my major in university!  I can distinctly say that one of the sources of my discovering my love for all that, all began with Adeline Yen Mah and her books.

Continue reading

Under lock and key

3 weeks since my last post. It seems like such a long time ago considering the adventures I have here in Beijing.

3 weeks ago, about an hour after my previous post, I encountered a slightly unnerving situation here in Beijing. Specifically, in my flat. I discovered soon after my post that I had been locked inside my flat. Seemingly impossible you may think, but here in China…it’s not quite that impossible as my experience now indicates. Deciding to stay home while the rest of my flatmates went out shopping in a somewhat distant area from where we currently live, my friends decided to let me sleep in as they left our flat. They did the usual routine of locking what we call our zombie-apocalypse door as they left.

Sometime after they left, I woke up and indulged myself with a few movies, some yogurt and some blogging. When my stomach called out to me for lunch, I decided to further indulge myself with some McDonald’s delivery. After calling and indicating my order, I did a few chores around the “house”. You know, the usual things being independent calls for and whatnot. McDonald’s called me again to verify my address as they had gotten a bit lost, so in my somewhat basic Mandarin, I did my best to direct the caller towards my place of residence. Thought that was it, my food would be arriving soon. As I went to do my laundry, I heard a knock at the door and checked to see if it was my McDonald’s delivery. Sure enough it was, so I proceeded to get my wallet and open the door. That was when the incident happened.

After unlocking the bolt, I discovered that I could not open the lock. Various tries, pulling and re-locking/unlocking the bolt, I came to the conclusion that I had really been locked in my flat and could not open the door. As I was re-thinking how I could have been locked in, it dawned on me that when my flatmates locked the door from the outside, they had turned the key twice, not only normally locking the bolt (one turn is enough to lock it shut whilst still allowing it to be opened from the inside), but locking the door from the outside as to secure it (thus locking me in). So in my very lacking Mandarin, I tried to tell the delivery guy that I could not open the door due to some lock problems. I even called up the English hotline for the McDonald’s Beijing delivery service and tried to explain to the Chinese girl on the other side about my dilemma and how I wanted the delivery guy to go back because I couldn’t ask him to wait till my landlord got there (I had called my landlord to ask him to unlock the door from the outside) plus the smell of my food was wafting in through the cracks and I could feel it would take a while. I had just told the girl that I would just pay double for my next order as I also didn’t want to eat food that wasn’t that ‘fresh’.

Thirty minutes to an hour later, I heard a knock from the outside and assumed it was my landlord. Looking through the keyhole, I discovered it was someone else and thought it might be a locksmith or something. Using my cellphone to call my friends, I asked my flatmate to try to translate what the guy on the other side of the door was saying. After some confusion, I deciphered that he was telling me to give my friend’s cellphone number so he could talk to her directly. Speaking again with my friend, I discovered that it was the McDonald’s delivery guy on the other side and my friend directed me to throw the delivery guy my keys from the window so he could unlock me from the other side. So that’s just what happened.

Luckily, my flat is on the 4th floor so it’s not that far from the ground. Also, my flat is located towards the front of the building so throwing the keys from the window/patio would not be a big deal as it faces the road of the apartment complex. After throwing my keys and seeing it land on some grassy area, the McDonald’s delivery guy unlocked the door and I finally got my food (and got un-locked in).

Over-all, it was a strenuous event, but quite temporary really. I’m really not good with doors and locks in China as I’ve encountered quite a number of situations where-in I’ve gotten locked out of my room/flat. This was the first time I had been locked in though. Not quite the last though as during my recent trip to Inner Mongolia, I was temporarily locked inside my yurt. But that’s a story for another time.

Not the time to say goodbye

As if fate has (to some extent) been cruel enough by taking my labrador away from me last month, she has surprised us once again by now taking away my dachshund. From 4 dogs to 2 dogs, my pre-Beijing trip has left me grieving for two beloved pets. It was quite unexpected. Sudden. She (my dog Yumi) was doing well when I saw her and played with her last Saturday, but Sunday struck us with an unfortunate occurrence as she started defecating blood. Without our driver at home and my dad out of the country, my mom had to make an emergency call to her brother to help us bring our dog to the vet.

I thought everything was going fine, and Monday, I was at a friend’s for our discussion and review session supposedly for Beijing. Things took a turn for the worse that late afternoon, right as I was about to go home, when I received a text announcing that our dog had died. She had had leptospirosis (though looking at wikipedia, she didn’t seem to have any of the symptoms that would make the sickness noticeable) and her liver and kidney was failing, till she had passed away that Monday.

No amount of  grief or tears can relieve the sadness that has overwhelmed us. Physically, we’re doing well and moving on, but it’s hard to forget someone when they are suddenly taken away from you. No warning whatsoever, no time to say good-bye, no moment to ready yourself for the pain that is to come. Just like that, death takes someone you love away, and nothing can ever bring them back. Those moments that you play together, talk together, spend together, it all becomes a memory that time will slowly fade into nothing but pieces.

For now, we’re moving along, trying to think of other things to distract us. With this whole Beijing thing going on, it’s somewhat easy to distract myself. But those few moments that I have to myself, to think about things that I have to say good-bye to, those are the moments that I cannot seem to fill in. It’s not only us who are feeling the loss. My other dachshund, Yugi, Yumi’s brother who was born from the same litter and her “mate” as you could call it, has been whimpering as if trying to call her to him. He misses her, though we are not sure if he knows she has already passed. We didn’t even let him smell her body as we buried her in our garden. To say goodbye, is such a difficult thing.

Remembering Taka

Pets are like family. For the most part, we watch them grow up. We feed them, care for them, and love them. And in return, we are loved by them as well, and they give us comfort and protection. A pet, no matter how big or how small, becomes an important member of the family. Gaining them is like gaining a family member, or a best friend. Also, losing them is like losing a family member, and a best friend.

At times like this, I remember clearly the saying that a dog is man’s best friend. For me, my 8 year old baby Labrador Retriever Taka was my best friend. He passed away last week, July 14, amidst the storm that hit the country.

Taka came to us when he was only around 2 months old. His mother was my uncle’s pet, and my dad finally allowed us to have a big furry dog at home. It was special for me as all my other siblings were still in the province on vacation, so I got to pick a dog from the litter of puppies of Maxine (my uncle’s dog). They were all cute and furry and really excitable. How I picked one from among all of them, I cannot remember. But there was so much excitement in bringing home a dog that was mine. His first night at home was not a very good night. As I was getting ready to go back to bed, I could hear a soft crying sound, it was my new puppy. He was lonely and wanted someone with him. So I stayed until he had fallen asleep and went back to bed. Minutes later, the crying ensued again. It was like that for most of the night till I finally decided to sleep by him on the couch.

Naming him was difficult. As I was a very avid Japan fan at that time, I decided to name him after my favorite character from the anime Fushigi Yuugi, Tamahome. But the vet had told me that it was too long a name for a dog to remember, so I shortened it to Taka, Tamahome’s re-incarnation in the anime. Another thing that I recall about Taka’s childhood was this lump on his forehead which he had since we had gotten him. It had to be surgically removed by the vet.

One thing notable about Taka even until recently, is how much of a strong dog he is. He’s gotten into so many scrapes and messes over the years, that it makes him hard to forget how old he really has become. Once when he was younger, as one of our cars was going out of the driveway, he ran out unto the road and got hit by an incoming car. Luckily, only his leg was hit, but he had to go to the vet for stitches. Another time, I remember coming home from High School and greeting him like I always do. After going up to my room to do normal teenage stuff like surfing the net and whatnot, I remember one of our maids screaming that Taka had been covered in blood. As it turns out, he had a huge gash on his side. We discovered that the license plate on one of our cars had folded outward a little, and the space between that car and our patio was usually the space he would go through when getting to us. He tried to squeeze himself in and accidentally got cut. That I remember, was one hell of a night. I was crying in the car, all the way to the vet as the vet had to drug him and told us to leave him with them for the night.

Taka was also one heck of a runner. When he was much younger, he would run around the yard, in-between cars and across the driveway. We would often play games to see who was fastest when running from the gate to the patio. Sometimes I would get there first, sometimes he would. It makes me wonder if he had slowed down for my sake.  Taka, was also a very smart dog. He was a quick learner and understood people. When he became much bigger and much older, we would have to lock him up in the garage whenever friends and family would come over. It came to a point that even when people weren’t inside our yard yet, as long as you motioned for him to go into the garage, he would automatically bark. Of course, he was also a very jealous dog. One time when we had gotten new dachshunds, he became possessive and without-my-knowledge (as I was standing next to him), he peed on me.

Despite that, his good traits and his flaws, Taka was kind and obedient. He was sweet and caring. He was, really, man’s best friend. Oftentimes when I was in High School, I would come home from school and just sit beside him in the garden. I’d talk to him, pat him, sometimes even use his stomach as a pillow. He always knew where to sit, which was either beside me or by my legs, even without being told to do so.

Throughout my High School and College years, Taka was always beside me. He grew up with me and endured with me, he loved me and cared for me. He was there during the tumultuous times of my teenage life. He was indeed a pet like no other. So last Wednesday, as I had just gotten back to bed after waking up early in the morning just to have breakfast, my maid told me that Taka had passed away. I rushed to the patio and found him there, as if sleeping. I poked him like I always do to check, but he didn’t react. Even when I patted him on the head and rubbed his nose, he lay three lifeless. It’s not something I hadn’t been expecting, but it was still a sad surprise. Taka had not been feeling well for the last few months, and constant visits to the vet still produced the same results, he was still barfing up most of his food and getting thinner. I was actually very worried that I would leave for Beijing and would just find out abroad that Taka had already passed away without me being by his side. Still, seeing him sleeping as I said my last goodbyes was one of the hardest things. The coming of the typhoon could have weakened Taka’s body and he had just died in his sleep. I don’t know. I can only hope that his last few moments  were without pain or suffering. Like the death that I someday wish for myself, I hope that I can just go to bed and have God take my soul away. To die in one’s sleep, I think is one of  the greatest last wishes anyone can hope to receive.

As I end this entry, I want to remember the happy times I spent with Taka. While the pain is still fresh, remembering only brings tears, but it will someday allow me to remember the dog that brought me so much happiness. I will add here to the ending the post I made on my facebook, “I believe dogs go to heaven. To my baby, I miss you and hope you’re in a better place. Thank you for the 8 wonderful years.”

Someday, I’ll see him again. Thank you, and goodbye, Taka. I will love you always.

R.I.P. Taka

March 22, 2002 – July 14, 2010

No, I would not like a cockroach.

While on my trip to Dumaguete last month, I was able to encounter a disturbing but funny experience while shopping for some summer clothes for our sudden trip to Siquijor. Thought to just share it, to add some light posts to my otherwise stress-filled entries.

My family decided spur-of-the-moment to go to Siquijor as a bonding for us cousins and for my aunts and uncles. Since it was a sudden trip, while accompanying my cousin on her errand, I decided to go to this certain store to buy beach shorts and maybe some nice tops. So while in the store, I was looking around for shorts to buy for the trip. The owner of the store asked me if I was shopping for leisure or for work (OMG, I look like I’m in the working class) and so I told her what it was for. She also asked me about the style of tops I prefer, so she took out a couple of blouses. Told her what style I liked and pointed to a blouse and told her that a style similar to that is what I’d like.

As I’m browsing through other parts of the store, she goes to this one row of hangers and pulls out a shirt asking if I’d like “this one”. As I turn to look at the top she has pulled out – a green top by the way, I am met by the disgusting sight of a roach, a huge one, right on the front of the blouse. Worse thing is, the store owner brings the blouse closer to me (though I’m sure that she’s unaware of the huge roach dangling on the blouse). It was probably a good thing I wasn’t standing so close to her, so the moment I noticed the roach, there was a few seconds of silence before I began pointing to the blouse and shouting, “Ipis, ipis!*” (*Roach, roach!) By this time, the roach had started making its way up the blouse, and the store owner who still hadn’t seen it, shakes it so the roach loses its grip and falls to the floor. She then steps on the roach with a resounding crunch and asks her helpers to get a tissue.

I know it’s in the province and all so I guess there’s a lot more roaches and insects as compared to the city, or well, more that are obvious at least, but it was still so disgusting to be handed a blouse with a huge roach on it.

My Starbucks 2010

As most of you might already know, I already have my Starbucks 2010 planner! Yey! It’s all thanks to my friend Bong (check his blog on my links tab at the right side of my blog page) who offered me his Starbucks card which had a ton of stickers already on it. He had already gotten his planner a few weeks back and was already quickly filling in a new card so it was very kind of him to offer his to me.

So together with my card which had a few stickers on it, plus his, all I needed was one more sticker to finally get my planner. I rushed to the Starbucks branch closest to me at that time, which was the one at Robinson’s Galleria (me and a few blogger friends were at Goodles having dinner) and bought my last remaining drink before I traded my cards in for my planner. Luckily, I was able to get the planner cover I had wanted.

Actually, a few weeks back, me and my blockmates were discussing the Starbucks planners. A friend of mine, Jayvee, had gotten the cover he wanted. He got the berry cover with a furry surface. Me and my other blockmate weren’t into the cover design, but as soon as my other blockmate saw how nice the cover of the “Berry” one was, she decided to shift her aim at that planner cover instead and got it a few days after. Me on the other hand,  I much prefer the “Roast” cover, even without the furry feel. I actually like how the cover feels, it’s quite classic, and a little on the serious side.

Seriously, I cannot imagine myself without a planner. Even with my Nokia E63 phone, where I place all my schedules for meetings and such, I still cannot live without a planner. Here, I pencil in all my small things like quizzes, details to meetings and deadlines, birthdays, things I’ve done and such. I cannot imagine a life without a planner by my side, and for the past 5 years, my planner has always been a Starbucks planner.

Oh and yes, I’m very much OC. Haha.

Ateneo Task Force Ondoy

Official Statement from Sanggunian, COA, and OSA

As of 12:30AM, September 28, 2009, Monday

To all: The Ateneo de Manila University would like to inform its students that classes are suspended on September 28-29 (Monday-Tuesday) due to Typhoon Ondoy. Relief Operations are ongoing and will continue for the following days.

The Ateneo is accepting donations, both in kind or in cash/check. The center of relief operations is the Ateneo College Covered Courts. Most needed are ready-to-eat food, canned goods, drinking water, clothes, mats, and blankets. Those who wish to donate or volunteer for Ateneo Task Force Ondoy are welcome to go to the College Covered Courts, where they will be directed, assisted, and briefed.

For cash donations, direct deposits can be made to:
Bank of the Philippine Islands (Loyola-Katipunan Branch)
BPI Peso Checking Account Number: 3081-111-61
BPI Dollar Savings Account Number: 3084-0420-12

Checks may be addressed to Simbahang Lingkod Bayan as well. For GCASH users, you may send your donations by typing: DONATE_<Amount>_<4-digit pin>_SLB and send to 2992.

Operations start at 6AM daily, and deployment to the areas start at 1PM. Volunteers are welcome to help by signing up for three-hour shifts each, starting at 6AM ending at 12AM. For easier monitoring, people are highly encouraged to come at the start of the three-hour intervals. For volunteers, please wear comfortable working clothes. Bring umbrellas, jackets, extra shirts, and water. Please wear blue.

We are also consolidating a list of missing people and evacuation centers around Metro Manila. Please visit and update http://ateneotaskfo If you know people who are missing or who are at evacuation centers, please add their names and contact information at the website. The site is currently still down, but please check back in an hour or so. We are still finishing uploading files into the site.

Just today, September 27, we were able to raise Php 83,000 in monetary donations to aid the relief victims. 8,000+ food packages and 609 clothing packages have also been sent to Upper Brangka Bliss.

For inquiries, please contact Gio Tingson at 09178807427 or Kacci Morales at 09279818811.

As reposted from the online bulletin for students

Random Act of Kindness

There’s an area in Katipunan that always seems to have lots of beggars. It’s along the intersection of Katipunan Ave and Santolan (heading to C-5). Every time the cars that pass stop at the light, you’ll always see a group of people heading for the cars to beg. Or in the morning, you can see a group of street kids staying by the side of the street. Beggars are a common thing in some areas; they knock on your window when your car stops at the light. It’s always such a sad sight to see.

Last Thursday, on my way home, I saw a group of people crowded at the gas station along that same intersection. Upon closer inspection (as my car passed by), I saw that there was a group gathered beside a car, having a sort of small meal. What I saw was that the driver of the car (a Vios, or an Altis) had stopped by the station, opened his trunk, and revealed a can or container of food which he was sharing to those on the street. It was a random act of kindness that touched my heart. I wish more people would take the time to do this kind of thing, not only for special occasions like Christmas, but even on normal days throughout the year.

I was telling a friend of mine a few days ago, giving money to beggars is not a bad thing, but when these beggars are kids, it seems a better option to give them food instead of money. Why? Sometimes, these kids are parts of syndicates, or are forced by their parents to beg on the streets. Of course, a person would pity a child more and give them more money. Thing is, sometimes these kids are abused, and the money does not go to food but to buy other things like vices and such. Also, what’s so wrong about giving food instead of money? It’s an assurance that the food you’re sharing will go to these kids, and that at least they’re eating the right kind of food.

It made me remember how a long time ago, I used to help my mom wrap pulvoron and other small foods into this green cellophane paper which we’d wrap and bundle with yarn. Mom would then take us to Santolan-Ortigas/Gilmore where we’d give the food to the street kids who were stationed there. Yeah, that place has a lot of beggars too. 😦

Sigh. Sometimes, seeing people who help other people out, just makes my day feel a bit better, even if it reveals a sad side to reality. A Random Act of Kindness is really a wonderful thing indeed.