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Wished Upon A Star ~*

Star, Qoo White Grape Juice Please! (and a dignified stay in law school)

Life in the Philippines: Part I-A
food/cupcakes//keep calm
Renewal of Driver's License

The recent bombing in Davao City had a lot of bomb scares and leaked police documents circulating in my social media (particularly messaging platforms, because most of them say, top secret, do not share - so obviously, people share). There was one about SM North EDSA being a target, so I had to reconsider having my driver's license renewed there (see previous post).

I called LTO again at around 12:50 pm to ask where else I could have it renewed. Obviously, no one answered. So I decided to wait until after lunchtime.

At 1:30pm, it took me about ten times, dialling different numbers as listed in the website. I finally got through a line. This time, the man obviously knows more than that lady who told me that the SM North EDSA DLRC is open. Apparently, in Quezon City, only LTO Main and La Loma District Office is open. I asked the guy if he knew if the La Loma District Office is really open, because Google said it was not. And then he said he wasn't sure. But LTO Main was open. So I decided to go to that one.

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Living in the Philippines: Part I
star wars/vader//cupcake
Preparing to Renew Driver's License

I really dread having to renew my driver's license. Or doing anything bureaucratic in the Philippines for that matter. So to do it a bit "smarter," I decided to go online and check where I could do my driver's license renewal. Last year, 2015, a lot of the Driver's License Renewal Centers (DLRCs) closed down because the LTO was not able to provide license cards or printers. My fiancé renewed his license last year, and he said when he went to the SM North DLRC, the only thing they were able to do was his medical certification. He was redirected to the LTO La Loma District Office to do the other steps in the renewal process.

So given that information, I started with the LTO website. The website was difficult to navigate. I couldn't even find the information of current DLRCs. You would see the memorandum describing the new process, pero aanhin ko yun diba, kung hindi ko alam kung saan ako pupunta? No way you could make me go to LTO's Main Office in East Avenue. Then I Google-d The LTO La Loma District Office. According to Google, it was closed today and will only be open on Saturday. That was a bit weird. Weirder than the fact that Google had the information, but the LTO Official Website didn't even list opening days/hours of its offices.

I checked the blogs. Blogs are only secondary information, and if government itself could not even bother to provide the information real time in their website, paano mo pa aasahan yung mga bloggers who are just giving their share of experiences? So that was really just a waste of time, but I guess if you read enough, you would be able to get a clue on what else to do.

So, I did what my mother would have done before the rise of the Internet. I called. Of course, I was expecting to stay in the line a long time, getting one busy number after another. But apparently, it's easier to call LTO than the monopolistic cable companies in this country. I called two of LTOs numbers (922-9062 worked for me) before being able to talk to a useful individual. Last time I called the cable company, I was dialing for a solid 30 minutes and no one was answering. And that was a weekday morning, a direct line to the person who is supposed to assist our account. So frustrating, I had to email instead.

Going back to the topic. The LTO woman said that the DLRC SM North Edsa was the best option for me!

I hope it is. I am still paranoid. Maybe I should give them a call first? With all the traffic in this country, you want to get all the information set before getting in an Uber or GrabCar or taxi (or other forms of traditional public transport - I can't drive for obvious reasons). Otherwise, you would have wasted three hours of your life, wandering about with no productivity.

Driving School
food/cupcakes//keep calm
Today after spinning class (my second ever, and I'm still dying), I drove home with my little brother. He got his learner's permit last summer but he hasn't gotten around practicing yet, so I gave it a shot.

Looking back, it might not have been the smartest idea.

I thought I was going to get a heart attack when Gioshua pressed gas and we were too close to a parked van. OMG. I don't even remember what I said.

When I was trying to learn how to drive, my father said he can't do it. He will just get stressed and he will probably just get mad at me. His driver, Kuya Terio, was too nice naman. My boyfriend had no choice but to supervise me. He was actually pretty good. Calm and reassuring. Also he had no choice. He wanted to be relieved of the need to drive me around.

I really wish my brother learns to drive na. His zeal will get me off the hook on minion duties driving around town (literally). One thing I'm sure, I probably am not the best person to teach him. After three years of driving, I still hit immovable posts in the parking lot and reason to my mom that "I had no choice but to hit it!"

An Ordinary Fun Rainbow Day
mean girls/santa's helpers//jingle bell
I want to go back to blogging. I really do.

But it is always a battle. It's so much easier to tweet instantaneous thoughts than to develop it into a full-blown blogged idea. It's so much easier to pic stitch and instagram than do the entire ritual of uploading-editing-and-photo essaying. Social media has evolved to make online expression easier, and well, lazier.

What I miss most about blogging is that it has preserved mundane memories that have not been stored in my long term memory. People forget about what a "regular" fun day is and only remember milestones and significant travels in their lives. It's amazing how an ordinary amusing day could still amuse you when you read about it years after it happened. Even if it doesn't get stored in your long term. Sometimes you forget completely and you only relive the moment through the words you've selected. It's like the pensive in Harry Potter. Only, a bit more manual, and probably not as vivid. But hey, don't underestimate your brain and your imagination.

Yesterday was "first day back." The weekend and the holiday squeezed two workday suspensions due to strong rains and flooding. So that was five solid non-working days. The long holiday was sad not just because a lot of people were victimized by the floods, but in our family, it was sad because Lolo Acio died. The rain not only intensified the grief and drama, but it also made the burial ceremonies extremely difficult. But our family thanks everyone for their condolences and prayers. Lolo Acio did have emphysema but he died in his own terms. He spent seven days in the ICU three years ago, but he passed away in his sleep in his own home. Rest in peace lolo.

But yesterday, compared to the sad weekend, was actually quite amusing. Pat and I decided to look slightly foreign in our OOTDs first day back. I donned a raincoat, and she wore a bunny hat. A random lady from the fifth floor said "Okay get-up mo ha" while we were in the elevator. Pat and I had a mandatory "selfie" at the end of the day, although not so much a selfie because we asked Simoun to take the photos for us.

Rainy Days Jurisprudence

Nikki, Ruby, Simoun, Stef and I went back to Quezon City from Manila together. I taught them one of the "Hollywood Game," wherein the first person mentions a movie, the next person mentions an actor starring in the movie the first person mentioned, and the third person mentions another movie where such actor was part of the cast. Stef, due to age disadvantages, lost. It was a riot playing that game, and it was nice to play it with a new set of people. Learned it in DebSoc, and I think we played it in my law school block.

In law school, Lou, Joni, Candice, Aldous, Cels and I will play a similar game I totally suck at known as the "IMDB Game". I remember the first time I played the game was OLA Orientation. The mechanics for that game is this: the game master mentions an actor, and the players list as much films he/she remembers in that actor's filmography. There is a time limit of one minute, usually. The interesting part of the game is scoring. If everyone else got that movie, that title is cancelled out. The scoring is gradated depending on how "rare" the movie you identified was. You get minimum points if only a few missed the movie. You get maximum points if you are the only player who identified the movie. The other condition of the game is that you cannot count sequels to the film. To give a more appropriate example for the scoring of this game, assume that there are 4 players. Scoring will be like this:

All 4 get the movie = 0 points (title is cancelled out, no one scores)
3 players get the movie = 1 point
2 players get the movie = 2 points
Only 1 player identifies the movie = 3 points

Back to yesterday. When we got to Katipunan, we all hung out at Mom & Tina's wherein we continued chatting. It was really fun. We gossiped like crazy and even got ourselves in a potentially SUPER embarrassing predicament. (For purposes of my future self reading this post, remember how Nikki said "Hindi, everyone knew it as a FACT." You can start laughing again.). Somehow, we always chat in the office but it was nice to be in a different, well-lighted environment with good food. I really liked their raspberry mocha. Note to self, work out after work later!

#AAJon The Apprentice Asia
food/cupcakes//keep calm
I know, I know, I said I wanted to go back to blogging, but I'm doing the best I can. I love my job so much, and I get so engrossed, that after days of grueling writing and re-writing and re-writing and some frustration on the side, I just want to do something other than writing. But now I'm back, and I have a very bloggable topic! :D :D :D

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Mothers' Day 2013
food/cupcakes//keep calm
My brother started reading my blog and apparently, one of my mainstay entries is about Mothers' Day. Recently, before I revived this blog two days ago, I came across my 2005 Mothers' Day entry, and used my photo collage as a gift. It was convenient because my parents never really read my blog, so my mom still found the photo (this time framed in an expensive looking frame) adorable. In memory of the way I discussed it in 2005, let me give you a portrait of my weekend!

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Thanks to Mothers' Day, I ended up buying a gym membership for a year. Hope I can commit to it!

Hair Choice
food/cupcakes//keep calm
Selfie Haircut 2013

A couple of years ago, I remember talking to KC Canales about not going to get my haircut alone ever since I was like... born. That was around 2007. I always had mama to pick up the tab and pay the tip and advice me on what I should go with my hair. And then around 2010, I got a haircut on my own for the first time. It was at Bench Fix in TechnoHub. It was a nightmare haircut. I don't even want to talk about it. Since then, I went back to having mama accompany me with my haircuts. Nimfa Ferrer in Greenhills was her go-to place. At one time though, we took a risk and went to Alex Carbonell in Greenbelt but got a cheaper stylist. Another nightmare haircut. Never again. Thank God mama paid for that haircut, but then I realized that nightmare haircuts is not mutually exclusive to having your haircut alone. It's when you take risks. You feel the risk more lang when you're putting your personal money on it. :P

Now, my mother has been nagging me about a haircut but we've both been busy lately so we haven't had a trip to the salon. So as a "mothers' day" present, I decided to get a haircut at Jessi Mendez in Robinsons Place Manila. I had my hair done yesterday afternoon, and this photo was taken today, the morning after.

Since we were on the topic of haircuts, my cousin, Presh, and I once had a bet not to have our hair cut and the first one to give in owes the other one a venti frappuccino. I won that bet last year and I haven't cashed my frap yet, mainly because venti is a tad bit too much for my recommended daily caloric intake. So Koppiccino na lang. Swerte ni Presh.

Finally, let's talk about boys and hair. Every boy has a preference on how the girl's hair will be like. Carlo's preference is long. I've always been a short-hair type of girl. I always threaten him with a haircut, and he always sways me not to. But when I do shorten my hair, he loves it anyway. Sorry, cheesy true story.

So girls, don't let your boys tell you what to do. You have total body autonomy, and yes, that includes your hair and more. If you're a hard-core anti-RH and you're a girl, think of it this way: the law provides for choice. You choose when you should have children, you choose how many children you could bear. If you choose to have many children, don't force that choice on others. A democracy is designed so that the optimal number of personal choices are accommodated. Don't be selfish.  

Back to Blogging
food/cupcakes//keep calm
On my down time, I fondly look back at my old LJ entries and go on an emotional rollercoaster. Some entries make me smile, some make me irk, yet others make me feel like I want to cry when I see how thin I was in college. Nevertheless, I do appreciate my old, young self for preserving memories that are not in my long term memory. It's like a back-up hard drive. Thank you LJ, amid the countless spam comments.
I have decided to resume blogging. As in the mundane, boring, everyday existence and highlights of my life. Choz! Okay. This is because I am currently holding a job that involves confidentiality and writing, and this is a good way to practice the latter. Readability, contrary to popular belief, is a plus in the legal profession, and I will try to do that as I continue to narrate my daily (or weekly) existence.

Let's start with yesterday, 8th of May (Wednesday).

Wednesday is my designated ZUMBA! day. I love Zumba. My mom and sister love it too. But I love it so much that even if they don't go, I go. I was excited to wear a cute Zumba top my mom got me. Plus, my officemate, Nikki, wanted to inquire about fitness programmes at my gym. So we planned to leave at 4:30pm (acceptable leaving time in our office when you're not busy) so we could get to the gym in time (which is a good 20 km away from our office + traffic).

At around 2:00pm, there was a power outage. We thought it was isolated to the metro, and with the impending elections, some people had their money on COMELEC as the cause of the outage. But apparently, it was due to a mysterious shut down of six power plants due to power tripping. A little past 3, it was announced that everyone who was not involved in the oral arguments enjoy free early dismissal. So Nikki, and another officemate of ours, Ron, took a trip to Taft Avenue, hoping to find a cab. Luckily, we found that the office's shuttle buses were still there! We took the bus and when we got to Quezon City, it was raining. Crazy weather.
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So overall assessment of the day:
Power outage #1 -1
Early Dismissal +1
Catching the shuttle +1
Bonding with mama and Nikki +1
Getting parking at the gym +1
Power outage #2 -2
No Zumba -3
Dinner with the boyfriend +3
Overall Score Today: +1! Good day pa rin naman pala.

💗 Proud Sister Moment (PSM)
hp/hbp//luna gryffindor
I am taking a break from my CrimPro cramming to share how much I love my siblings to bits and pieces.

Yesterday, I volunteered (as tribute!) to bring my brother to school because my mom was busy. The day before that my brother kept on asking me about statutes and executive power which I gladly answered because it was good Poli Law Review. He has this class in school called CSIP and his teacher was substituted by the department head and revealed to me that that was what they talked about. So that morning I continued answering questions with respect to policy-making and shared with him this theory we studied in jurisprudence (as in legal theory) that to make a good law or policy, the policy maker  has to imagine the situation wherein he or she will be reborn and he or she does not know what his or her situation will be in life. The policy maker could be born to be rich or to be the most indigent. That way, the laws will be fair, that no matter what situation you are in life, it won't be that bad. Obviously that's not my idea, and I did say it was just a theory.

As I eavesdropped my mom's conversation to my grandfather, I overheard a really heartwarming tale of my brother who I thought never listens to me and just calls me a penguin or alien or something like that. As part of his school programme, he had to visit a public elementary school. Knowing the conditions of public elementary schools in the Philippines, it is definitely in stark contrast with the private school system. The classrooms are small, messy and there's a shortage of resources. Before my brother and his classmates were turned over to the elementary school children, the principal of the elementary school told them that they should listen to these private school kids because they will be the future leaders of the country. They are made to be congressmen and senators and leaders.

Personally, I was thrown off by this. Public school children can be leaders too! What kind of principal is this guy?!

That aside, the touching part of this narrative is what my brother told my mother. He said, if he will become a congressman, he will enact a law requiring all public officers (appointed or locally or nationally elected) must send their children to public schools without exception. That way you could ensure that politicians make sure that the conditions of the public school system are good, due to the personal stake of their children's welfare.

While the measure is rather a bit draconian and even much harder to implement (although maybe requiring a certification of enrollment with CoCs does not seem constitutionally infirm since the constitution explicitly proscribes a property requirement), I had to smile secretly seems the idea of my brother is not only in genuine, but an inception of what I shared to him. Oh youthful idealism... When can I have you back?

My other sibling is equally awesome in a different sense. No, I am not related to Ruth Guinto running for First Year Batch Rep. My real sister is an awesome third year med student who went to the Forever 21 sale and got me an awesome skirt in one of my favorite colors, mustard yellow! They just make me so happy, I don't know what I do to deserve them. Maybe Gioshua's theory is right. I was the first child so my parent's experimented on me, and got it right na with the two of them. Hahaha. They're more funny too. I love them so much.

Okay this chessey moment should expire, 8:01 na. 😜

Writer's Block: Frozen delights
food/cupcakes//keep calm
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey is BY FAR the BEST ice cream ever.
The best Banana ice cream. I've tried others, this one is extraordinarily creamy and doesn't taste like banana bread.
Perfect balance of walnuts and "fudge chunks, but really, it's nice thin slices of chocolate, kinda like Lindt's thins..

Fans of this ice cream flavor include Drew Barrymore of E.T. and Never Been Kissed fame. ♥

Maybe it's also the fact that they're EXPENSIVE compared to other ice cream brands and has limited accessibility here in the Philippines. I do get a fix from our nearby Shopwise, pero hello, ubos ang allowance.

Whenever I'm abroad, I try to look for a Ben & Jerry's scoopery because a scoop is enough to get a fix. Still pricey for a scoop (HKD 35 in Hong Kong, for example, which is like almost 200 PhP, and now that I think about it, a pint is 380 PhP here in Manila). BUT I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT TO BITS AND PIECES. *sigh* I actually want to franchise a Ben & Jerry's scoopery in Manila, but I don't know if the Tantocos got an exclusive license to distribute it considering I only see Ben & Jerry's in Rustan's Fresh and Shopwise.

(Wow first blogging in almost five months and I do a writer's block entry on ICE CREAM, hahahaha... I'm so fat.)