Travel: PETRA

If there is one date that I will never forget for as long as I’m breathing, apart from my birthday that is, it would be the 6th of December 2010. The day that I set foot on one of the most beautiful historical places on earth: PETRA. I was in Amman, Jordan in late November for an event and the day before I flew out to Egypt, Sir Mano took me with him to visit Petra. Now, this is the part where I cringe in utter embarrassment because up until that moment, I had never heard of Petra. *facepalm*  I have seen the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but it was so long ago that I had already forgotten most, if not all of it. In fact, the only time it would ever click in my head was when we finally reached the end of The Siq (or narrow passage) – where Al Khazneh (The Treasury), which housed the holy grail in the movie, is finally revealed.

That it took my nearly five months to write about my Petra adventure can only be attributed to the fact that I was this much overwhelmed. Truth be told, I was scared – I still am, as of writing – that I won’t be able to do justice to the awesomeness that is Petra. That my limited vocabulary and unsophisticated writing style will be exposed. But at the same time, I feel I would be doing Petra the greatest injustice by not even trying.

So I beg of you, dear readers, to send a little love my way and be gentle – be very gentle – for this blogger, for only the second time in her life (I will tell you about the first, but then again, I may have to kill you after), is rendered speechless.

Welcome to PETRA

Wiki has this to say about PETRA:

Petra, meaning rock, is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma’an that is known for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited tourism attraction. It lies on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” in a Newdigate Prize-winning sonnet by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.” Petra was chosen by the BBC as one of “the 40 places you have to see before you die”.


Petra is 3 to 4 hours away from Amman, depending on the traffic situation in the capital city of Jordan which, from what we have experienced while there, can get a bit tight especially during rush hours. From the hotel, Sir Mano and I rented a cab that will drive us all the way to our destination. The rate was 100JOD, if I’m not mistaken, which is quite expensive but at least you have the car – and the driver – at your disposal, and you get to travel at your own pace.

That's Sir Mano to my left, and in front of us is what's left of our driver (in the photo, that is), Mohammad

We left the hotel at 7am and made one quick stop at this roadside tea place for… you’ve guessed it right, tea! Now when did you get so smart, love? Arabic coffee is quite popular among connoisseurs, but as most of you who have been to the Middle East would know, tea is still considered the beverage of choice. We made sure to pack sufficiently for the 4-hour road trip – mostly fruits, sandwiches, and bottled water. Actually, I only took a pear and an apple but dear Sir Mano, boyscout to the core that he is, prepared the sandwiches which he would later on share with me – the awkward tourist.

Now you 'tea' it, now you don't!

It was almost noontime when we finally reached Petra and we went straight to the money changer as we were running low in Jordanian dinar. Mohammad showed us where he will be parked while we go around exploring the place. Now let me tell you something about this guy, Mohammad. Back at the tea place, we engaged him in a conversation and among the many things he shared, one glaringly stood out. On the subject as to why he remains unmarried at 28, he said and I quote: ‘There are many beautiful women here, yes, but I want one with a beautiful heart.’ Now I don’t know about you, but isn’t that just the sweetest thing? On hindsight, that is probably why I remain single to this day. Unmarried, that is.

Petra, here I come!

At the entrance, we paid 60JOD each for the ticket. But it being a tourist hot spot, there are guides a-plenty for an additional 50JOD and obviously, we requested for an English-speaking one – because, you know, our French won’t exactly get us very far in that place. And that’s how we met Ahmed.

With our tour guide, Ahmed

The three of us walked to the main entrance of Petra where we had to surrender our tickets and walk a bit to get to the horses’ station. They’re supposed to come for free but you gotta give the horseman a tip, the amount of which depends on how generous you are — or how deep your pocket is. The distance from the horse place and the entrance to The Siq is not that far actually, but we wanted to explore The Treasury as much as we can with the amount of time that we have, so we took one horse each.

Always goofing around, this girl!

That's Sir Mano, admiring the tombs

From goofing around to horsing around

All the king's horses, and all the king's men...that's it, I just wanted to say horses one more time.

We got off at the spot just before we hit The Siq, the narrow passage of about 1.2kms that will lead us all the way to The Treasury.

The seekers of The Siq

Although we had the option to hire a chariot, we opted to walk the 1.2km-stretch instead and bask in the wondrousness of Petra. It was cold at 10 degrees in Jordan that day, but it was sunny right where we were and Petra was just breathtakingly luminous! During our walk, Ahmed would regale us with trivia about the place and every now and then, we would stop to marvel at some stone carvings – usually of idols or gods and goddesses they worshiped before. And of course, to take photos. And more photos.

These people were on their way out as we were on our way in

See how small, almost microscopic, I look against the rock formations?

Lost in thoughts. As I am often.

...while Sir Mano was busy channeling his inner Indiana Jones

So tell me, did you fall for a shooting scar -- the one without permanent scar?

Sir Mano and Ahmed doing a Vicky -- posing for the camera every 2 minutes, that is.

How about I do funny face now?

Almost there...

But wait, can I do one more pose?

And finally, tadaaaaaaah, Al Khazneh! This magnificent structure carved out of stone and rock face is the highlight of Petra. I cannot tell you exactly how I felt when I finally set my eyes on The Treasury but I can tell you about how my throat felt constricted and I was so moved that tears as big as pebbles almost jumped out of my eye sockets. If you ask me, that feeling I felt at that very moment is exactly how I would want to fall in love – white-hot in its power and blinding in spontaneity.

My very first camel ride. Or photo-op, if we are to get really technical about it.

The Treasury

In front of The Treasury are small souvenir shops and a tea place

Beneath the ground we were standing on is a sprawling courtyard which, over time, got buried in the sandstorm

Someone obviously got infected by the Vicky bug (symptoms: one appears as though constantly striking a pose, even when there's no camera around)

Petra has stirred in me something powerful. Strange at best, but definitely potent in force and try as I might, I cannot seem to wrap my head around it. Not completely, at least. Someone once told me he considers himself a force of nature, unbridled and (is) constantly in motion.  On that day, in Petra, I became that person – and more. Someday, I hope to be back.

Here’s a video I took just seconds before we walked towards The Treasury. Enjoy!

Race Event: Run4Life 2011

These days, the world – from individuals to large companies – is all about ‘Making a difference’ or ‘Changing lives’ . In most cases, people or companies actually have a mapped-out plan on how this is to be executed. This explains why corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects are all the rage nowadays. ***Digression: Stuff like Adopt-A-River, Adopt-A-School, Adopt-A-Pet, are pretty common these days. For those who are brave/man enough to take on a tempest, may I suggest Adopt-A-Vicky? I heard it’s a worthwhile and gratifying program. Oh, but that’s probably just hearsay. Now there’s your cue to laugh!*** While in some cases, people leave an indelible mark in others without meaning to. It could be that warm smile you flashed some stranger on your way to the taxi queue that prompted him to, say, donate some portion of his income to some foundation which, in turn, will benefit a good number of indigenous people – on that very same day. You won’t have a way of finding out, of course, but these things can happen. And i’m pretty sure they have.

But if you have time and resources at your disposal to help improve someone’s life, would you do it? Yes? Good. Because there’s an upcoming race event organised by the Lifeline Foundation called Race4Life 2011 which just might be the opportunity you’re waiting for to lend a helping hand. By signing up for the race categories available – 3k, 5k, 10k, and 16k – you are effectively helping the foundation sustain the following projects:

1. Satellite School Program

2. Medical Mission

3. Patient of the Month Initiative

4. Community Library

5. Youth Soccer Program


Incidentally, Reebok Philippines is among the roster of sponsors for the race and Team Reebok Running is currently running an exciting contest where you will have a chance to bring home some Reebok goodies! The mechanics are pretty simple: SIMPLY show us a photo of you or together with your other friends who have already registered for Run4Life. Now, there are three ways of doing it:

Team Reebok supports Race4Life

1. If you’re a blogger, upload the photo on your blog and send us the link

2. If you’re a fan of Team Reebok Running on Facebook, you may simply post the photo on the wall

3. If you follow Team Reebok on twitter, you may simply tweetpic the photo and make sure Team Reebok is tagged

TEAM REEBOK is poised to make a difference. Question is, are YOU?

Vignettes from (the) Holy Week.

At KM0 with Team U Runners.


I just had an incredibly good Holy Week. So good, in fact, I feel as though I’m still traipsing along the happy alley in my fuchsia pink flats. Growing up in our little hometown in Bicol, I have some vague recollection of how  we used to spend Holy Week there – usually with several trips to the parish church and endless stream of prayers. But it’s been nearly two decades since I left my hometown, so maybe things have changed a little, if not drastically. One thing I never got to do while still in Bicol is Visita Iglesia or church visits, which, apparently, is a Filipino Roman Catholic tradition (is it really exclusive to us Pinoys?) of visiting 14 churches in commemoration of the 14 stations of the cross. So when I saw in our running yahoogroup that some people are planning to do a Visita Iglesia run, I immediately signed up. You see, I have not really been making the trips to churches since I became a Christian sometime back.  I backslid a few times, I readily admit, but I always find my way back somehow.

In front of Manila Cathedral.

Malate Church.

Channeling my inner Kenyan by running Totoy's pace - for about 10ft, haha.

Mother or Perpetual Help Parish in Baclaran.

So anyway, we had set the run date for Maundy Thursday at KM0, fronting Luneta Park. But because I didn’t know how to make my way to Luneta, one of the runners picked me up. Thank you, JJ! Not to play damsel in distress or anything like that, but I am totally hopeless when it comes to directions! When we reached our meeting spot, the group was nearly complete. Apart from Totoy and Ronel, both of whom I would see in the few races I would join when not gallivanting elsewhere, the rest of the runners were strangers to me. But obviously, not anymore after the perfunctory introductions and running side by side with them for several hours. After snapping a few group photos, we slowly made our way to church no. 1, the majestic Manila Cathedral. From there, we went to San Agustin Church which is practically right next door to the cathedral, and on to 11 more churches before we capped our visita iglesia run at Santuario de San Antonio. We started at 6:30am and by the time we covered all 14 churches; distance totaled 30 kilometers according to Totoy’s garmin; and it was lunch time already and the sun’s rays were already a bit harsh on the skin. Too bad some of our runner friends did not finish the whole stretch with us, because when we ended, there were only five of us left – happily wolfing down unhealthy stuff at McDonalds! But hey, if you just ran 30kms under the heat of the sun, don’t you think you deserve that Oreo McFlurry? Thought so too.

Somewhere in EDSA.

Huli si Manong! Ang intense naman ng tingin sakin.:p

Don Bosco Parish.

I wore Bruno my ZigNano and once again, I was mightily pleased by his performance. Not even once in those 30kms we ran did I feel any pain or discomfort. Usually, even with my other running shoes the performance of which I can likewise swear by, I would already get blisters or feel as though my toes are being crushed. But Bruno cradled my feet, so I was nice and comfy all throughout.

Heat training for BDM102 next year?:)

Never sacrifice form according to Shaun T.:D

On Good Friday and Black Saturday, I pretty much kept to myself – eating very little and watching Season 2 of this new-ish series I’m completely wild about: Lie To Me. Tim Roth is such a character, don’t you think so? And that accent, my oh my.


Photowalling. After all, photos or it didn't happen, right?:)

II. KAOS the Musical

Then came Sunday and it was better than most of the good Sundays I can trace back to my youth! First, Ro and I attended the Easter Sunday service at The Fort and I could not have asked for a better way to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Though it was still early by the time Church service ended, I decided to go straight to Newport City so I can have a leisurely lunch and get us tickets to the 3pm showing of KAOS. I used some of my ResortsWorld credits to purchase 3 tickets and it’s nice to finally be able to put to good use the points ResortsWorldManila awarded me when I placed second at The Grand Fiesta run sometime in October. One of those races where I majorly lucked out because the elite runners decided to sleep in.

KAOS is a musical extravaganza showcasing some fine points of Broadway and marrying that with what one usually sees in Las Vegas. And no, I’m not talking about exotic performers here. I meant, the extravagance! The glittery lights! The breathtaking daredevil stunts! The fancy costumes!

While waiting for Cris to arrive...

With Princess Flora. My face is swollen because I dared to watch THE CURE the night before and shed copious tears!

Eric cozying up to one of the desperate sisters.

With some members of Kaos cast.

We were very impressed with the production and while sitting on the plush and ultra-comfortable seats at the upper balcony of the 1,500-seat theater – which also boast of the largest LED wall ever build in the Philippines, as well as state-of-the art lights and sounds technology – we couldn’t help but wonder how much was spent in bringing KAOS here. But whatever that is, we can collectively say that the show was worth every bit of the one thousand ++ you pay at the ticket counter.

The girl who played the role of the heroine, Martha Joy, certainly has vocal prowess that on some scenes, her powerful voice would just drown out Gian Magdangal’s. Gian played the role of the Prince who was out to look for that ‘somebody to love’. Oh, incidentally, Martha Joy is half-Pinay and was the youngest to make it to Top 8 of Canadian Idol.

If you haven’t seen KAOS yet or are not planning to, then maybe these treats will make you reconsider:

  • Seasoned acrobats from China and the Power Duo, a world renowned act from Belarus test the limits of physical endurance with their riveting performances and complete muscle control.
  • 5 stunt motorcyclists from Spain defy gravity in the astounding Cycle of Life that later on SPLIT in the middle
  • Wheel of death from Columbia, where one of the guys suddenly decide to jumprope while balancing on the turning wheel!
  • Human Time Machine performers from South America showcase superb balance and synchronization
  • Hip Hop dance champions Philippine All Stars energize the show with their awesome moves
  • Versatile veteran performer Joel Trinidad plays the scheming adviser
  • Live music performed by the Manila Symphony Orchestra
  • Live animals namely Kaos, the white lion; Sito, the white tiger; and Betty, the yellow tiger along with Spanish master illusionist and trainer, Enrique Polo.
So what are you waiting for? Head down to Newport City and treat your family to KAOS! Trust me, it’s just the kind of chaos you will like.
Oh, but before I let you sweet munchkins off the hook, here are some more photos of our KAOS-tic Easter Sunday – which, by the way, ended somewhere in Baclaran. Teeehee.

Photo by Mark Montalban.

I'm too sexy...but only on days ending in Y.:p

I just love this photo by Mark!

Cris liked the menu book so much he was all smiles...until food arrived.

Waiting...waiting...waiting...Our orders took eternity and a day to arrive. And even then, they weren't anything to rave about. Epic fail.

Clearly, one of those wala lang moments.

At least si Eric, may ina-achieve dito sa photo.

One last shot before we go to our final stop.;)


Emperor Eric and the GAG-O cast are at it again!

It all started with this music video.

And then it became a gag show ushered in by a successful pilot run; followed by the second episode which was aired just seven days after.

Here’s the fun part. The day before Emperor Eric, Aldz, and I were to fly to Shanghai with Cris who has yet to grace the set with his presence, we showed up at the studio to shoot the exercise video, Galaw-Galaw. I had just arrived from Malaysia on that day and did what any professional youtube actor would do – dumped my luggage at home; grabbed my costume changes; and met up with the rest of the cast. Ganyan talaga pag pro! Good thing, what initially started as a no-budget production seems to have now come to a little bit of money. Why? Aba nung taping, may KFC bucket and soda na sa set! So kahit straight from the flight and no food in the stomach ang lola nyo, I made it through the very complicated exercise and dance moves – choreographed, of course, by the Emperor himself! So maybe one day Emperor Eric will just surprise us with our TFs and maybe a even a hefty bonus!  Oh how I love surprises! *ROTFL*

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…GALAW-GALAW!

Travel: SHANGHAI (Will Always Love You)

Hecticity Tour Part II made its way to Shanghai, China over the weekend – thanks in large part to Cebu Pacific’s low fare promo and Emperor Eric’s prodding and very efficient planning. This tour, though not as hectic Rampaging in Beijing in October of last year, proved to be a very pleasant surprise for all of us. Not so much with the food (everything swims in oil in this place, no wonder we all gained unwanted lbs in just 3 days – epic fail!) or the breathtaking skyline at The Bund — but the people we’ve encountered. Looking past the language barrier – ordering food is such a hassle for non-Mandarin speaking people like us – everyone was generally nice, sweet and accommodating. We especially love the cute kids and their disarming smile – which were all captured very prettily by Eric using his camera.

Hecticity Tour(ists) hit Shanghai!

Goofing around while Cris fills out his Arrival Card. Lovin my Bose to bits! (Thank you, Babe!)

Welcome to Shanghai! (Guard stopped us from taking photos but we managed to sneak this one out!)

Compared with Beijing, we had lesser photos this trip but that doesn’t mean the fun and frivolity were any less. Eric, Aldz, Cris, and I had a great time and it was just what we needed to recharge.

So how about we go through my list of Things I Love(d) About Shanghai?

1. Lush gardens with flowers of every imaginable color — We were lucky to have arrived at Shanghai just after winter and the flowers have started to come out in full bloom. Cris, being a flower expert himself, knew most of the flower species and it is most entertaining to see his eyes glaze over when he sees his favorite tree or flower. True, we probably only saw Shanghai on the surface – What can we do? Three full days were all that we had! – but that surface, I must tell you, looks very good.  In fact, I think we saw more flowers and trees in Shanghai than in Beijing. With everyone so busy running around in Shanghai working and chasing after dreams of financial wealth, it amazes me how they still find time to work on (the) urban aesthetics.

At the Peoples Park

From Rampaging in Beijing to Shanghai Surprise

Verdant, lush gardens --- winner!

Flower power!

Shanghai romance...not!:D

Tree-lined riverbanks

Channeling my inner horticulturist.

2. Warm and accommodating people — This one’s a very pleasant surprise for us, especially coming from a not-so-pleasant experience with the Beijingians. In Beijing subways, we saw how people would push other people – never mind if they’re old or pregnant – just to make it inside the train before the door closes. In Shanghai, however, people are more considerate and less rough even in the subway. We even saw passengers forming a queue at the SuZhou train/railway station when we went there for a day tour!

Old China

Emperor and KC asking for directions....

Friendly people we met during the tour. Special mention to the honeymooning Indonesian couple Irin and Alex.

3. Which brings us to my third favorite thing in Shanghai, the bullet train! — On our second day, Emperor Eric urged us to go on a day tour in the outskirts of Shanghai to check out some of the cultural sites. We hopped on the bullet train and got off at the SuZhou station where we paid 125RMB each for a tour. The train was very clean; the seats were ultra comfortable; and the leg room is so wide you can play hopscotch if you want to! The train went as fast as 305km/hour and we didn’t even feel a bump! We paid 41RMB each for the train ride – currency well-spent, I must say!

Shanghai Railway Station

Cris, reliving his childhood memories of playing with toy trains!

Inside the train bound for SuZhou station

View from the train

4. Happy, shiny, cute chinky-eyed kids — I love kids but only the really cute ones and the fact that Shanghai gave us this in abundance made this trip a good one for me! Without actually meaning to, Eric was able to create a baby photo album with about 10 Chinese kids in all shades of happiness. They are a natural when posing for the camera – no weird poses or diva attitude most kids these days take to. The parents are exceptionally nice too! They don’t turn us away when we request for photos to be taken of their beautiful kids. They even encourage the young ones to smile for the camera or say xie xie to us after.

One of the many babies Eric would snap photos of.

Baby no. 2

Vicky with the chinese kids

5. Polite cab drivers — We took a few cab rides while there and we never had any encounter with the crocodile kind and that for us is a major plus! We only show the map where we have encircled the place/address we want to go to and off we go! They even give us exact change, how cool is that?!

Okay, we didnt snap photos of the cabbies but we have this! Our friendly tuk-tuk driver.:)

The GAG-O travelogue hosts looking very comfy in their tuk-tuk ride

6. The freshest, yummiest strawberries and grapes I have ever tasted! The photos say it all, I think. One bite and the sweet, fresh juices explode in your mouth like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. And it’s cheap at 10yuan a kilo!

Fruit-y goodness!

Strawberry fields forever...

7. Sights, sounds, and the ultra-vibrant nightlife — Although we’re not much of a partyphile (Aldz and I opted to just stay in the hotel on our first night; I transferred photos to my laptop and crashed out), the glitz and glamour of the city did not escape us. After all, Shanghai is not called the Paris of the East for nothing. On our second night, while temperature was unforgiving at 10 degrees, we went out to the shopping district so Aldz can check out Zara and a few other shops while Cris and I amused ourselves (by) people-watching.

Brrrr, cold!

When darkness falls, Shanghai shines brightly...

Channeling my inner diva --- in fuchsia pink!

9. Set aside the fact that China has over 1 billion people (India is fast catching up, we all know that), it may come as a surprise to many that there are so many places where one can hie-off to and go zen-like. It could be the trees and flowers and temples or the general feeling of security — Shanghai has truly debunked all our pre-conceived ideas and boy are we glad!

View from the temple

Little Venice

Kinda like Sims City, dont you think?

View from the ground

Postcard memories


Tale of the detachable shoe.

10. And lastly, I love Shanghai because it made me do the one crazy thing I NEVER thought I had the intestinal fortitude to do — be strapped on a seat and get thrown waaaay up, only to get plunged back to earth within seconds! And for this, I also give much credit to Cris because he was the one who bamboozled me to do it. I really did NOT want to given that I pee my skivvies at the mere thought of riding a ferris wheel or anything remotely similar, but when he said ‘Sige na! Si Aldz nga sasakay eh!’ I was trapped! I gotta tell you, the thing has not even moved a fraction yet but I was already screaming like a cat giving birth to a pony! And I continued screaming with tears streaming down my face at one point, until the 3-minute ordeal ended.

Cris the culprit!

...and he got Aldz to do it!

After resisting for a bit and in futility might I add, guess what I did next?

Vicky: "Ohmygoddddd!!! Never na!!! My heart!!! Naiiyak nakooo!!!"


Inhale. Shhh, I have a secret. Exhale.

As far back as I can remember I have coveted relationships. Nay, just ONE loving relationship in an ocean of unpredictability, randomness and failed romances. Just as I quiver in anticipation for a new pair of high-heeled shoes every week, I go to bed every night praying for magic, butterflies in the stomach, the proverbial prince and fairy tale ending. And then HE happened. The stress, anger and frustration over past heartaches unleashed by men who shall forever remain nameless, faceless and devoid of form ebbed away. Finally, I am found. By Love.

Total Fitness: Run Injury-free

Be injury-free.

Running injuries are fairly common to both beginners and those who have been pounding endless stretches of the road for a long while.  Most common running injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), shinsplints, or runner’s knee are usually caused by trigger factors namely overtraining, improper shoes, or a biomechanical flaw in body structure and motion.

But don’t let these injuries discourage you because the good news is, they can actually be prevented! Here’s how you can keep yourself injury-free on the road:

  • Most runners become obsessed with gunning for PR or personal record for each race and to achieve this, they tend to over-train. Too much intensity, too many miles, too soon – these are sure-fire ways of getting yourself injured. Your running coach would tell you that it is very crucial to go easy when adding mileage or intensity to your training. You shouldn’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% each week. You can still push your limits, but you’ll have to take a gradual and patient approach. Build up slowly, save yourself pain and frustration, and you’ll be amazed at how beautifully you can reach your goals. Be smart in your training.
  • Choose the right pair of running shoes. Treat your feet right by first making sure that you have the right model and make for your feet and running style. Running on the wrong shoe will only aggravate existing problems and pain. Wearing shoes that have lost their cushioning may also lead to injury. Go to a specialty running shop for gait analysis and let the knowledgeable salespeople evaluate your running style and foot type. When they determine whether you’re an overpronator, underpronator, or neutral runner, they’ll make shoe recommendations for you. To ensure that you are not running on worn out shoes, make sure to replace them every 350-500 miles.
For more tips, get a copy of TOTAL FITNESS April issue today.

Total Fitness: Is It Over? Recognize the signs!

Total Fitness April 2011

When you’ve been in the dating game for quite a while and have had your fair share of relationship highs and lows, chances are, you would have been quite adept at detecting a relationship that’s bound for failure. Especially when it is a relationship you’re involved in. However, most of us tend to play the denial card because relationships are wonderful and being suddenly cut-off from the ‘in a relationship’ club does not look good in your dating resume.

But relationships, no matter how  beautiful and promising they are and usually at the beginning, require a lot of hard work. And before you can even begin to work on your relationship, you have to have a clear understanding of what it is all about. You have probably heard couples say, “We knew the moment we saw each other across the room that this was THE ONE and we have been happily married for 20 years.” Although we all wish we could experience love this way, the reality is that for most of us, relationships go through certain stages.  According to Dr. Marty Tashman, a clinical psychologist, relationships and marriages that evolve successfully generally go through five phases of development: Honeymoon; Accommodation; Challenge; Crossroads; and finally, Rebirth.

But in most cases, relationships often do not survive the storm that rages after the honeymoon stage. As you know, the honeymoon stage is the romantic, passionate, stars-in-the-eyes phase where sex is beyond great and both of you can only think about being with each other and very little else. It’s when you think love is the greatest invention and is convinced beyond shadow of doubt that it’s perpetual. But of course, it’s not, which brings us to Phase  2 – Accommodation. This is when you and your partner are now confronted by the day-to-day realities and unfortunately, they’re not all pretty.  It is here that disillusionment sets in and power struggles become evident. The other person’s habits, needs, anger and withdrawal patterns become uncomfortably clear. Intense conflict has the potential for developing during this stage. This also where the relationship takes the hardest hit and partners find themselves aboard the flight to Splitsville (a popular tourist spot i’ve been told)  because they failed to see the warning signs – or perhaps they chose to remain in denial .

And what are these warning signs? Read on and see if you need to take a long hard look at your current romantic relationship.

  1. Conversation between the two of you has gone monosyllabic and you feel you would rather keep your thoughts to yourself rather than share it with him or her.
  2. He/she says, “I love you,” and you can’t bring yourself to say it back.
  3. You’ve started to notice other men with more interest than before and you make yourself pretty each day, not for him but for others to notice. Or he could be checking out other women more when he thinks you’re not watching.
  4. You no longer talk about the future and in the rare occasion that you do, one of you is obviously disinterested.
  5. You fight moreoften that you have fun.


***To read the complete article, grab a copy of this month’s TOTAL FITNESS magazine from your favorite magazine stand.


GAG-O: In Which We Say ‘Take LIFE and its crazy turns with a bag o’ salt!’


What is GAG-O?

GAG-O! is an online gag show created by Emperor Eric Cabahug just for fun. And to spread peace and goodwill to all men. And to aliens too. Some content may be inspired by real life but everything should be taken with a bag of salt. Enjoy!

GAG-O debuted last 3 April with the wacky Willie Revillame and Sen. Ping Lacson spoof causing fun riot in youtube-dom. The video, which got good reviews from the GrupongRainbow’s army of 500 fans and viewers (the number is steadily escalating, that much we can assure you!), can be viewed here.

Encouraged by teary pleas of fans and believers from all over the world, GrupongRainbow promptly released the follow-up episode titled Sun of a Beach which, according to very reliable sources, is causing temperature to go past boiling point in some parts of the world. I wonder why.

GAG-O Who?

GAG-O boasts of a powerhouse cast of talented personalities deemed as experts in their respective fields. Let’s get to know them one by one starting with:

ERIC CABAHUG is a scriptwriter, songwriter, director, record producer, copywriter, journalist, and photographer. His works include the award-winning ‘DAYO’, the first all-digital feature-length Filipino animated film, a song recorded by multi-platinum recording artist Nina, a photo published in a Lonely Planet travel book, and a string of well-received television commercials featuring some of the most popular celebrities in the Philippines. He is an undercover demi-god.

ALDZ GALANG — A Communication Arts major from De La Salle University. A multi-awarded TV & Radio Commercial Producer. Aldz bagged his 1st TV AD of the YEar award in 1994 for AYALA CENTER WATERS OF MARCH followed by TIDE BABOY in 1999. He won several international recognitions under the creative direction of top creative OMPONG REMIGIO. Currently, Aldz services agencies like Campaigns & Grey, Publicis Manila, Ace/Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett handling Clients like Nestle, P&G, Wyeth, Rockwell Land et al. He worked as Post Production producer at The Post Bangkok. A Megastar calibre performer, singer and actor by heart. Hardcore fashion addict.

VICKY RAS — A woman of insatiable thirst for adventure and an incurable lust for life. She’s got the chronic case of elsewheres but her feet remains planted firmly on the ground. A corporate peon she most certainly is – clocking in an average of 60 hours a week, sometimes more if it includes holidays and weekends – but she keeps her creative side lubricated by writing for Men’s Health and Total Fitness magazines on various topics of interest including but not limited to sex, relationships, fitness, diet, health, and did I mention sex already? Oh yes gummy bears, the all-powerful S word. But try to look past the deadly curves, 23-inch waistline, and well-defined/toned midsection — this woman packs a wallop in the brains department.

BUDDY CARAMAT — Insurance Advisor by day, sought-after multi-talented Stage, TV, and Film Actor by afternoon, night, midnight, and all the way until the wee hours of the morning. Plays Badminton. Yoga Enthusiast.  Swims. One very proud Bikolano. A Student of Life — for life. Recently spotted playing Joni in the highly-acclaimed PETA production CARE DIVAS.



Finally Found My Rhett Butler

Life's little treats.

I have loved once and lost. And a few times after that, deluded myself into thinking I have loved again and, if you ask me, I am glad I took those chances. The men that I dined and coffee-d with while I was looking out for that perfect love and perfect relationship made my existence meaningful, if not adventuresome, even though I couldn’t really give a label beyond the very passé ‘friendship’. But for sure, they will turn up once or twice in the anecdotes to tell and moments to re-live through my grandchildren. (Or grandchild. Philippine Government might suddenly adopt the one-child policy considering the Pinoys’ propensity to mass produce.)

I also know I have not been fair to someone. Maybe two or three of them even. Another time, another place, I’d have loved to care for them, the way caring is meant to be. When everything is so perfect, you tend to seek imperfection and pain. I have become quite adept that it has become sort of my thing.

In retrospect, I am thankful to the guy who turned out to be a lecherous pig and claimed that he is very selfish and an asshole and gave me a list of reasons not to trust him. I am thankful to him for proving his own words. I wouldn’t have known so much of  truth, happiness, love, gratitude, and freedom that I now bask in, if it weren’t for him.

I’ve always wanted a Rhett Butler, the only kind of a guy who would be able to contain the Scarlett O’Hara in me. And just when I was nearly convinced that his kind only exists in a novel, I found him. And now he lives in me, just as I live in him – happily and gloriously content.

Funnily enough, when I look back at the black comedy series that was my past relationships, I don’t really think I have been unjustifiably mean. I hardly even remember that I have ever been hurt.

SOLACE: An Open Photoshoot for Breast Cancer Awareness



Spread the LOVE.


This project is for the benefit of our friend, Abie, who’s battling breast cancer. Read her story here.  If you wish you donate, please send me an email at