I Do.


I Do.

Christophe, I promise to love and care for you and I will try in every way to be worthy of your love, trust, and respect. I will always be honest with you, kind, patient, supportive, understanding and forgiving. Yes, even when sometimes being all of that is in itself a challenge. But most of all, I promise to be a true and loyal friend to you. I will love you through good and the bad, through joy and the sorrow, the ugly and the beautiful. Maybe not so much the ugly…kidding! I want to face all of life’s experiences and share beautiful dreams and goals with you. I promise to be your equal partner in a loving, honest, and nurturing marriage, for as long as we both shall live. Je t’aime enormement, mon mari.

P.S.: I will even learn to speak your native language to save you the trouble of translating each time we are in the company of French people.:)

***

Venue: Alila Villas Uluwatu

Photo by: Noel Abelardo
Gown by: Nikolai Jude Hernandez
Suit by: Cho Vittorio Iago Orlanes
HMU: Bali Makeup and Hair
Videography: Point One Designs

Advertisements

Thirty Three.


There comes a time in your life when you stop thinking about your birthday and I think I ceased obsessing about mine a long time ago. In fact, my birthday is the last occasion I would look forward to with excitement – not even a speck of it. Last year, though, was different. It was romantic and special because at one point after our dinner, C got down on one knee and with tears glistening in his eyes, asked me to be his wife…and I said yes!

Before that, my birthdays have all just been a haze of billowing cigarette smoke, fun, sidestitch-inducing moments of hilarity, and fifty shades of drunkenness – but there was no singular moment that really stood out. I think, perhaps, age has a lot to do with it: this mellowing out. The wanting to just be with a few people you feel most comfortable with. People who allow you to just be.

And that’s how I celebrated my 33rd, cruising Palawan’s famous subterranean river national park (aka Palawan Underground River), named as one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of Nature early this year, with Atche Noel, Jay, and C. We had to wait for hours on end to get on the boat that would take us on a 1.2 kilometer river ride inside the cavernous cave, but it was well worth it! I told C that in a way, we’re truly blessed to have traveled to a few places together despite living miles apart and having individual careers to manage. C and I may be poles apart in a lot of ways (and I’m obviously not just talking about our complexion, accent, and passports), but if there’s one thing we both love to do, traveling would be it.

After our Underground River adventure, we wanted to see more of Puerto Princesa and so the four of us decided to go to Isla Pandan and just chill before boarding the 5:30pm flight back to Manila on Sunday. At this point, we were ever so glad that the sun actually came out after a gloomy Saturday on account of tropical depression Ferdie that submerged some parts of the country in floodwaters, so we happily sunbathed until it started drizzling again shortly after noon. I had wanted to try stand-up paddling but there were only two boards and they were unavailable at the time of my asking.

Once back in Manila, I immediately threw myself into work as there are about a million and one things to be done still before  we fly to Jakarta for our biggest annual event on September.

Palawan for my birthday wasn’t such a bad idea. I wish I were more relaxed, though, but it was quite tough because my mind was just running at top-speed, almost nonstop, thinking about work and projects still sitting on my plate. In any case, that doesn’t take away from the fact that I had great Palawan memories – Kalui’ being one of them. Food and ambience are top-notch in this famous Puerto Princesa restaurant, you’d be crazy not to pay a visit when you’re in town. Meanwhile, those looking for fun live band entertainment can opt to hie off to Tiki Bar, where incidentally I spent the eve of my birthday sipping red wine and trying to make sense of one of the showband girl’s bad singing.

So this is it. I’m 33, all-woman, and soon-to-be bride/wife to the most loving, patient, understanding, (and a few more things) man I have ever known. And oh, incidentally, with zits the size of Jupiter I would put any acne-sporting 13-year-old to shame. I’m surprised that C can still look at me adoringly and call me mon amour even with these unsightly marks on my face. This really must be love.

Happy birthday, psychogirl.:)

On All Things Brave and Sexy.


It being a Sunday and F1 Race Day at that, I will keep my post as concise and straightforward as possible. At least, I will try.

How many of you have seen the movie Hunger Games? Show of hands! One, two, 300. Good for you. I haven’t. Yet. Now, how many of you have read the book – at least the first installment of the trilogy – before making a beeline for the cinema? I see a few hands raised, good! Now I’m probably one of the many who crammed reading The Hunger Games in anticipation of the global premiere last Thursday – except that I haven’t made a trip to the cinema just yet.

In which my 'hunger' turned out to be just transitory.

I have read The Hunger Games, yes. In fact, I finished the book in less than 12 hours – totally sacrificing some precious hours of sleep – first, because I didn’t want to be the only person on the planet who’s clueless about the book that has the whole world raving about Suzanne Collins and second, well, because I found it riveting enough not to put it down until I’ve read it from cover to cover.

I think Katniss Everdeen is all things brave and sexy…at the beginning and all the way to her emergence as one of the victors of the 75th Hunger Games and even farther down the intricate labyrinth of gore and brutality of the Quarterly Quell in Catching Fire (Book 2) – where she was ‘conveniently’ thrown back into the death arena along with the living victors of the previous hunger games.

But when Mockingjay, the final installment of the trilogy, opened to our favorite heroine’s pained ambivalence and annoying ‘uncooperative’ spirit just when the wheels of the revolution against the evil dictatorship of President Snow and the Capitol, have already been set in motion – I couldn’t help but feel pangs of disappointment. I thought – and not that Katniss cared about what my thoughts are – she was being fickle-minded and selfish by hesitating to see the revolution down the wire. But then again, perhaps, I, too, am being unfair by denying her the right to be human and therefore be susceptible to feelings of doubt, self-loathing, and vulnerability. After all, I was not the one who was forced to kill and watch other tributes die in the most brutal way possible in order to save the people I love.

It turns out, I’m not alone in this. My friend Gail was just as disappointed with Mockingjay and having my feelings validated like that has officially killed whatever little excitement I still harbor for the once-anticipated climax.  But since I got the box set, I feel it would be doing my hard-earned money a disservice by not finishing the book – however long it would take me to read it because frankly, I am no longer psyched. Katniss and her emotional outbursts have become excruciatingly boring.

***

You know what else is brave and sexy? Having tested for HIV.  I hope all of you reading this post right now are not viewing my declaration with myopic eyes. Take away your predilection for sanctimonious behavior and self-righteousness just for a moment and instead, think of the staggering number of Filipinos now confirmed to have been infected by the virus and are consequently reeling  – if not dying – from its full-blown effect. The last thing they need is your coldhearted judgment or worse, apathy.

We live in dangerous times and the sooner we accept that, the smarter and more vigilant we will be in handling certain situations we still have control over. Like staying HIV and STI-free, for example.

Sexy and I know it!

Late last year, my dear friend Noel and I signed up for the HIV/AIDS seminar, after which, we got certified by the Department of Health (DOH) as peer educators or volunteers whose main vocation is to help spread knowledge and information about this dreaded virus and hopefully, prevent it from spreading far and wide. Sadly, if you go by statistics shared by the DOH and independent parties, the number of confirmed HIV cases is rising.  However, that can also be viewed positively (no pun intended) as perhaps having the shroud of ignorance and denial being lifted, little by little, which has resulted to more people getting tested and myths getting busted, i.e., AIDS is a gay disease (IT IS NOT!) – thanks to the small number of social-medical workers and volunteers who make it their mission to drum-up support for a vigilant HIV-prevention strategy coming from all sectors of the society.

With photographer and dear friend Noel Abelardo.

As volunteers, we share our two best and readily available resources: time and talent, for the purpose of advancing this noble mission. Take Noel, for example, who makes use of his great photography skills by conducting an open ‘themed’ photoshoot and sharing chunk of the proceeds with Take The Test and its various programs including free testing/screening, counseling, seminar, and certification.

In which Ian tries to make me look presentable for the lens. Napagod yata siya dun.

I just came from the second Official Take The Test Open photo shoot session and I am simply in awe of the volunteers who share so much of themselves, and selflessly at that. I am especially in awe of Atche and his commitment to this cause.

Remember, you aren’t brave or sexy enough if you don’t take responsibility for your sexual behavior.  Whatever you do, remember these five letters: A, B, C, D, and E.

A = Abstinence

B = Be Faithful

C = Consistent and Correct way of using condoms and other protection

D = Don’t do Drugs or drink alcohol

E = Early detection

Be guided by this 5-point rule book and save your own life and that of your loved ones.

***

In other (BREAKING!!!) news, FERNANDO ALONSO claims victory at the 2012 F1 Malaysia Grand Prix against all odds – especially Sergio Perez’s relentless pursuit of his Ferrari! This has got to be one of the best races I have ever seen and one I prayed hard for. So hard, in fact, that I almost reached for my bible and just clutch it really close to my heart. I know it sounds ridiculous but I’m really hoping this would be a Ferrari year. Okay, fine, an Alonso year. I really think he’s the best driver in F1 today and it’s unfortunate that his car is taking a while to adjust to levels where it can be considered worthy of going wheel-to-wheel with the McLaren and Mercedes cars.

Even today in Sepang, he had a bit of a tough time shaking off the relentless Sergio Perez who, by the way, is rumored to be on top of Ferrari’s shopping list for a Massa replacement. A long time coming for Massa, I would say. I can imagine his self-esteem taking a wild beating each and every time Alonso would outperform him – which happens to be all the time. Maybe it’s really time for him to pack his bags and let someone else take the Ferrari wheel. It’s painful to watch him being relegated merely as a charity case.

Oh would you look at that! Over a thousand words already and I did say I wanted to keep this short! Si Fernando Alonso kasi eh!  Anyway, I hope you guys had a fantastic weekend. Mine is superb on so many levels and not just because of today’s Take The Test activity and Alonso’s F1 victory.  If you would allow these few words of sharing: I am happy because finally, I can see God’s hand at work in my life and I am happy to finally be in a state of genuine gratitude and need for His presence.

Beautiful Christmas, Beautiful Philippines


See, the thing with blogging is that you have to be committed to posting updates, which, in this technology-driven age is not such a tough feat to accomplish. However, seeing as I have not exactly touched my blog since Davao, I’m a bit hesitant now to label myself a blogger. Nope, not simply as one who’d talk about having eggs for breakfast and picking up stuff at the dry cleaners after, but someone, I hope, who makes just the slightest bit of sense when she posts something. If not that, then at least someone the grammar nazis out there would not want to hang upside down and flog a hundred times until blood is spilt.

So where was I these past few weeks?

Vicky lands in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Christmas fever at the Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta

Let’s see, there’s work and whole lot of it going on. There’s a bit of travel and a whole lot of fun both of it turned out to be. And then there’s Christmas, of course, and how over here in Singapore where I spent it, was quite sedate because of the gloomy and oft-rainy weather running a stretch of over two weeks now I’ve been told; but still, it was a lovely celebration punctuated by a dollop of excitement as the two of us ran around hunting for the elusive raclette grill and the cheese itself.

Christmas in Singapore

And then there’s the mad drive to raise funds internally, in our company, for the devastated families in Cagayan de Oro and nearby areas because of Typhoon Sendong. The drive which began in the morning of Christmas Eve, I am very proud to say, has come up to a 5-digit collective monetary donation — in greenback! There’s really no stopping the power of Jesus when he moves and touches the heart of people with such power as one cannot deny  or refute. The outpouring of pledges from nearly everyone at work was uplifting beyond words and I am proud to be in the company of such an amazing bunch of people.

So, what was Christmas like for you guys?

***

Speaking of Christmas, did you know that Epson Philippines Corporation (EPC) has recently launched its regional photography contest – the Epson Color Imaging Contest 2011? Themed “Beautiful Philippines, the contest encourages photography enthusiasts to explore the beauty of our country from various aspects – human, landscape, nature and architecture. The contest is open to all amateur and professional photographers aged 18 years and above who are residents of the Philippines.

For those of you who are interested to join the contest, visit www.facebook.com/EpsonCICPhilippines and submit your original and unpublished photos through the Epson CIC contest application, which you will find in the left hand column of the Facebook Page. A registered contestant may only make ONE (1) submission of up to a maximum of three (3) Entries.

I’ve heard that this is the 18th consecutive annual Epson Color Imaging photo contest, jointly organized by Epson sales subsidiaries in Asia, and the very first to be held online via Facebook to appeal to a younger and net-savvy audience.

The photography contest will last for eight weeks from November 7 to December 31 on Facebook, so if you happen to be in front of your computer now, cyberstalking your Ex and his/her new squeeze or just posting photos of yourself in various states of holiday drunken stupor, why not post your entry and actually have a  shot at the following VERY exciting prizes?

  • First Prize – All-expenses paid holiday to Taipei and the opportunity to attend the region-wide award ceremony and photo exhibition where your winning artwork will be displayed mong the regional finalists PLUS $1,500 cash prize PLUS an Epson Stylus R1390
  • Second Prize – $1,000 cash prize PLUS an Epson Stylus R1390
  • Third Prize – $500 cash prize PLUS an Epson PictureMate PM310.

In addition to the top three prize winners to be selected by Epson’s judges, fans are also encouraged to vote for their favorite so that the highest voted photograph wins a “Voters’ Choice award.” The winner of this award will get USD200 and an Epson PictureMate PM310.

Every week, Epson’s judges will also pick the top 3 photos. The winners of the Top 3 photos of the week each gets SM gift certificates worth P1,000 and their photos automatically qualify for the final judging.

Now this is truly a great way to showcase the beauty of the Philippines by getting the youth involved as they share their inspiring images with a worldwide audience – thanks to Epson who has been running this contest for a while now.

So what are YOU waiting for? Go on Facebook and join the contest. Who knows? You might find yourself on a flight to Taipei very soon! I have a very valid passport by the way and can travel as your companion, anytime and anywhere.:)

Road Test: Reebok EasyTone – Take the gym with you!


She came to me a few weeks ago when I needed a pair for our Team Reebok photo shoot. For someone who naturally gravitates toward anything pink, she struck me as somewhat of a toughie and less-cutesy in her carbon, silver, and black hues. But the minute I put her on, I was instantly sexified – something that’s hard to achieve when you’re not wearing dominatrix heels.

Matilda.

Her name is Matilda and she’s my new Reebok EasyTone pair.

What is EasyTone and what exactly does it do?

These balance pods induce instability while walking thus encouraging those key leg muscles to work harder.

Reebok EasyTone uses balance pods, located on the forefoot and the heel, built into the shoes to create a natural instability, which then encourages the three key areas of the leg–your hamstrings, gluteus maximus (or ze bum), and calves – to work harder and achieve that toned look and feel after walking in it for some time. And because it is three times softer than traditional foam-based shoes, it makes you feel a though you’re walking on sand, so there’s more effort exerted. It also has the SmoothFit leather and seam-free mesh upper to help prevent foot irritation.

Go ahead, take the gym with you.

Of course, EasyTone was not spared from speculation when it debuted in the market. Does it really tone the leg muscles and firm up the butt like it claims it does? Or is it no more than just smoke and mirrors? As an avid runner and Insanity disciple, I think I already have the calorie-burning side of things covered and sealed to near-perfection. So the booty-goodness that Matilda brings to the table is really just a welcome add-on.

Soon as I got over the initial weird feeling of balancing on those pods, I actually found myself enjoying each step. These days, it is not uncommon to see me walking around on my EasyTone pair – especially on weekends when I give my feet some respite from all the strutting around I do every single day of the week wearing my standard four-inch heeled stilettos.

Taken at the EasyTone photo shoot with Nikki Gil (not in photo), who's been tapped by Reebok Phils. as the face of the EasyTone line.

I have yet to see if it really does the job of toning my gluteus maximus, but once I have some concrete proof, I will let you know.

***Photos taken by Noel Abelardo.

NIKON Run 2011 (Subtitled: Oh hello there, pet peeves!)


This is officially the second time dear friend and soon-to-be business partner (fingers-crossed!) Noel aka Atche and I have joined a road race together. The first one was in April at the AACE Good Run where he did 3k and I did 9k (if my memory serves me right). This morning, however, Noel braved 4k and finished the course in 31 minutes wearing his color wheel of a running pair – which I find curiously pretty because it’s such an attention-grabber!

Photo by Ralph Gulapa.

Meanwhile, I ran 11k with a disappointing record of 1 hour and 1 minute – give or take  a few seconds. I was feeling out of sorts even before the race started but was happy nonetheless to have managed to get my cardio workout done for the day.

Fashionably yours...Vicky
BODY by REEBOK. (Subtitled: Yun oh!) Photo by Noel Abelardo.

The race was quite small in attendance but I was surprised to see some elite runners in the 4k and 11k categories. And why wouldn’t there be? They awarded digicams, tripods, and what-not to the winners. Last week’s Team Reebok ZigTech Fun Run 5k male winner Eluid Kering, a Kenyan, also bagged the top spot in the 4k category this morning. Hindi na masama, brand new Reebok shoes and camera + accessories in a span of two weeks!

Partners in some of the most heinous crimes...of love. LOL.

In my category, there were four female elites in the lead pack. I have yet to see the official results but I think I was fifth. Looking at the bright side of things, I realized I am consistently landing in the top 10 of nearly all the short-distance races I join. Not too shabby, eh?

Met another Reebok-sponsored runner, Coach Janet.

But this morning sort of tested my tolerance and indulgent understanding of the female species. Yes, my kind. You see, there was this youngling, no more than 22 in my estimation, who joined the race with her face made up like a tart in heat. I’m talking about serious kohl eyeliner, eyeshadow, the reddest of red blush-on, and maybe two coats of lipgloss. At one point, her eye make-up smudged unflatteringly because of her sweat, making her look like a raccoon. And I wondered, was she perhaps looking to seduce a man who is sexually aroused by the sight of a strolling (she wasn’t running, by the way) raccoon? Meaning, a bestial?

We made a deal today: On our next run, Noel will refrain from smoking a week before the race.

And what about these girls who think it is cute to jog while holding hands, hop-skip giddily, and get in the way of the runners? First of all, it is not cute. It is downright stupid. We may not be constantly obsessing about PRs but some of us do take getting a good cardio workout while at the races quite seriously. And I, for one, do not appreciate having my momentum interrupted because some non-runners thought it might be cute to inconvenience others by holding hands and giggling while at a race. Seriously, go home, read books, and smarten up a little.

When we're not running...we're 'running our mouth'.:p

Finally, these runners who come armed to the teeth with all the running contraptions they can get their hands on – compression tights, compression socks, hydration belts, etc. – and do less than 10k. Really? Like, WHY? I seriously don’t get it.

Is it just me or do you also find these silliness, well, silly – if not altogether comical?

All in all, I still think it was an okay race considering it was the Nikon Club of the Philippines’ maiden foray into an open-to-the- public  activity such as running. They also raffled off exciting prizes from sponsors which neither Noel and I won a single thing of. I have always been lucky at raffle draws but today, luck seemed to have taken an extended nap in my bed.

Ika nga ni Romy: I'm feeling so fly like a 'cheeztick'. Ohmygad Romy, that parody wont stop playing in my head!

Lastly, took some really fancy shots of my new Reebok Easytone shoes which I am currently testing. It’s a sample pair which i’m told will not be sold here. So yey, I’m a standout again! The whole Easytone line will be launched next month and we have some very exciting events and surprises for all of you Reebok lovers – and soon-to-be converts, because you know, we heart you.

Matilda and I.

One thing I can tell you about my Easytone shoes which I have given the name MATILDA, is that it is so comfortable and works effectively in toning my calf, leg, and bum muscles.  In fact, these days, I am more than happy to trade my favorite ALDOs for MATILDA when walking around. With MATILDA, who knows, maybe I won’t need to have  a bum job after all. *wink*

So, tell me loves, how’s your weekend (looking like) so far?