December 25, 2011

Christmas in Our Home (2011)

Happy Birthday Jesus! Thank for you for all the blessings which continue come our way, most importantly, these:

Have a Blessed and meaningful Christmas everyone! 

December 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Dear Fiona

My littlest kid is 8 today!

She is growing up so fast right before my very eyes.

Happy birthday sweet little one! Mommy loves you!

December 5, 2011

Now on Facebook!

This blog now has an official Facebook page. Click here to Like :)

December 4, 2011

Journey of an Azkal Fan

Since the Philippine Azkals gained unprecedented popularity after their showing in the Asian Football Federation Suzuki Cup last year, HB and I began to religiously follow the National Football Team who raised the awareness of a basketball-loving nation to this most watched sport in the world.  My HB said it best (of course I'm biased, lol) in his blog post earlier this year, "the time for Pilipinas Futbol has come..." And so we stood witness to all the team's home games this year. 

A day after my birthday this year, HB and I flew to Bacolod to see the Azkals play against Mongolia at the Panaad Stadium for the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup qualifying match.

The football frenzy in this Negros province was palpable. Several hours before the game kicked off, all roads led to the Panaad Stadium.

en route to the Panaad Stadium

Just the sight of the bus of the Azkals players caused tremendous excitement.

Go Azkals!

Inside the stadium, the crowd united behind the Azkals team. We did several rounds of the "wave" and hooted "who let the dogs out..."

We witnessed the glorious victory.

the celebratory fireworks

And saw the mad dash of people to the football field after the game.

Pandemonium on the football field

We partied with the players and fellow fans at the roof deck of L' Fisher Hotel.

with Rob Gier

with Chieffy Caligdong

Last July 3, there was no stopping us from seeing the game which was held at the Rizal Stadium in Manila. This was the second leg of the match against Sri Lanka for the Asian Qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.

the Azkals warming up before the game

This time, we took our girls and they too felt the Azkal-mania firsthand.  

me and my girls - all bitten by 'Azkalitis'

oh, but our whole brood was in fact bitten by the football fever

In between cheering and screaming during the course of the game, I patiently staked out the moves of goal keeper Neil Etheridge.

Neil Etheridge in action

Until I personally felt triumphant with this shot:

Once again, we witnessed their victory.

a glorious moment

For the July 28 home game against Kuwait for the second round of the World Cup Asian Qualifiers, I was in Cebu on a business trip. I took the first flight out that morning and got on an afternoon flight to meet HB and my girls at the Rizal Stadium. I was very late and the lone goal of Steffan Schrock had happened by the time I got into the bleachers. But as soon as I saw the happy faces of my girls, I felt more successful than the Kuwaitis.

these girls were out there even if it was a school night

Despite the Azkals' loss to the Kuwaiti team, we all felt like winners still. We all beamed with pride. There was no shame in the loss. It was a historic moment not only for the football team, but more so for the football die hard fans who have wished long enough for our  nation to embrace this dynamic sport like its own.

Chieffy Caligdong, head held up high during the lap of honor

And then the stuff in which only dreams were made of happened last night. THE David Beckham played on our country's turf and showed us all why and how football is "the most popular sport in the world."


Once again, we stood as witness to the realization of the Dream Cup between the Philippine Azkals and the LA Galaxy.

heaven sent

We almost missed this chance but the great heavens smiled down upon us by dropping some tickets onto our laps twenty two hours before the game. (Many thanks to my brother and sister in law who shared their wonderful blessing with our family!) Four hours before the game, two more VIP tickets (shown in the photo above) were given to us by HB's former football coach. (Many thanks too, Coach Bob!)

with Maricar and Julio Sulit

It was a momentous event, a perfect culmination of a year's journey for the Philippine Azkal team, the fans and the faithful football followers.

(photo credit to my HB)
the final lap of honor of the Azkals team for 2011

It was all-together a historic year, not only with the wins and the glories, but more importantly,  for the sport and our country. It's humbling really, to have those Fil-foreigners play for our motherland, to see our local players shine alongside them and to see them all together strive to bring glory to our country. I am grateful to have stood as witness to the journey of our national football team.

Until next year's ...

David Beckham

I named my car after this iconic legend.  To say that I am a fan is an understatement.

My admiration grew several notches higher a few days ago as I noticed his innate kindness. In spite of all his fame and fortune, he has remained humble and has continued to give back to the sport which has given him so much. Indeed, he is a true ambassador of football.

We almost missed this once-in-a-lifetime chance. The great heavens blessed us once again.

Last night, I, along with some 20,000 other Filipino football aficionados, became witness to an event which many thought were just what dreams were made of.  Last night, the Dream Cup between the Philippine Azkals and the LA Galaxy was realized.

And this was how up close we were to David Beckham:


(I need not say more.)

November 30, 2011

My Christmas Angels

25 days to go 'til Christmas!!!

Our tree is up, a few gifts have been wrapped but there's still a lot more to do! With the happiest of all holidays fast approaching, each day feels like crunch time. The traffic on EDSA and the crowd inside the malls can attest to the hurried and harried frenzy of people rushing this season.

Before I get sucked into panic mode, I am taking time out today to sit back and reflect on what Christmas should be all about. 

Life will get busier in the next few days but I am thankful that I come home to my 3 girly-girls --- my angels who represent hope, faith and love, in more ways than one.

An Intangible Christmas Gift

The past weekend was a blur, but memories were made again. We had an early Christmas present in the form of tickets to the matinee show of The Sound of Music production at the Resort's World Manila. 

photo source: Galapinoy

I remember seeing an earlier production when I was a little girl (don't dare ask how long ago that was) and the songs have been stuck in my head all this time. To this day, "The hills are alive with the sound of music...," "Doe, a deer, a female deer ...," and "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens ... these are a few of my favorite things...," are all still in my head.

For our family, this was our very first time to see a play but only my littlest girl was giddy with excitement. It didn't take long however, for my two older daughters to warm up and enjoy the play. They too became entranced with the show. 

We caught Cris Villonco as Frau Maria Rainer, Audie Gemora as Captain Georg Von Trapp and Pinky Amador as Baroness Elsa Shraeder. We were also lucky to see Atasha Muhlach (daughter of Filipino celebrities) as Brigitta von Trapp. They and the rest of the cast proved that Filipino artists are truly world-class! 

"I am sixteen, going on seventeen ..."
photo source here

More than the music and words, the story is a classic and its basic tenet about a family who lost and found love again transcends throughout many generations.  Kids and kids-at-heart will be enthralled with the timeless tale of family and love.

It was definitely an experience quite like no other, one that would remain forever etched in our girls' memories. Of this I'm very sure. 

October 16, 2011

Not Quite Sunset

... but it'll do.

As the weekend comes to a close, allow me a very quick post. This was my parting shot last Friday when we went to Anilao in Batangas on a business trip. This was taken at the parking lot of Eagle's Point Resort as we were about to travel back to Manila.

sunsets ascertain that the sun will rise again tomorrow ... who knows what the next day will bring?

Have a great work week ahead!

September 20, 2011

New Additions in Club Balai Isabel

Our company had a leadership workshop last September 15-16 in Club Balai Isabel in Talisay, Batangas. This was my second time to stay in this fine resort located in the shore of Taal Lake which boasts of an awesome view of the Taal Volcano. My family and I stayed in Club Balai early last year and I noticed a number of additional amenities to accommodate more groups and events.

During our free time, we strolled around Club Balai Isabel's vast property. We saw a newly-built church to accommodate weddings or other occasions of the Catholic faith.

I'm not sure if the facade, which was devoid of paint, was deliberately kept "unfinished", but this added an old-world charm.

The church interior was mostly made of wood which exuded warmth, adding a cozy ambiance for small and intimate weddings. This instantly reminded me of the little church atop a hill in Calaruega in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Located towards the other end of the property was the floating pool-cum-jacuzzi. One would surely feel like dipping into the waters of Taal Lake once submerged in the floating pool. To up the ante,  the jacuzzi could be powered on to relieve those tense muscles while taking in the fresh air and sights of the lake. 

Sitting back on these lounge chairs while sipping in some fresh fruit shake will surely relax a city dweller's tired and weary body.

Another addition to the resort was this huge irregularly-shaped infinity pool. From this angle, the Taal Lake again provides a fantastic backdrop. (My photo doesn't do justice to the pool. I tried taking a picture of the whole pool but I just couldn't fit it in my camera's screen.)

A quiet stroll along the boardwalk path until the sun sets on the horizon is definitely a peaceful respite. A sunset wedding with this at the background would be most lovely.

These new facilities are pleasant additions which make the resort an ideal quick getaway place for families and an ideal venue for corporate team-building activities. These also provide a scenic backdrop for events or occasions. Picture perfect moments won't be hard to create in this idyllic setting.

Its close proximity to Manila is also another plus factor. With the South Luzon Expressway now connected to the Star Tollway, travel time has been considerably cut by 30 to 45 minutes. Getting to Club Balai Isabel is now so much easier. 

For inquiries and more information about Club Balai Isabel, click here to view their website.

Disclosure: Club Balai Isabel is an official hotel partner of the company I work for. We were given a group discount for our accommodations. However, this post was written without the knowledge of the hotel and our company.