Monday, August 30, 2004

** It's 2:30 in the morning and I'm tired but I gotta blog about this girl. Congratulations again on your engagement!

Getting to know...

Vitals: I met this wonderful gal during my junior year at UCI. I can’t remember if it was because of Kaba, PCN or the bookstore. Either way it was sometime between 1998-1999 = 6 years and counting
Role In My Life: The One Who Loves Life and Everything and Everyone In It – EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE should know someone like Noreen…Actually, now that I think about it, everyone SHOULD JUST KNOW Noreen. She radiates a very rare combination of optimism AND realism. There’s ALWAYS a bright side and a lesson to be learned when it comes to this 3rd/4th grade teacher. With Noreenie, there’s always a reason why something happens the way that it does and as difficult or scary as it is to deal with, she never despairs because she’s got such an amazing amount of faith in God and the people who surround her. Her genuineness shines through every single time in the process. By the way, this girl’s got a singing voice that would knock Kelly Clarkson out of the American Idol box! Man can she sing!
Good Times: Our days with DAYS…I had known Noreen for 5 years before I really got to know her. It’s because of Days With The Lord that becoming better friends with this pleasant girl has been made possible. Our first retreat together, where curiosity and fear turned into discovery and strength, was the time when I realized exactly how much I could learn from her. Our second retreat, as staff members, was just comedy. It took 5 hours for us to get to Deer Springs on a Friday night (This is up the mountain towards Big Bear) because we spent half the evening with Kay and Jei driving around Orange County searching for tire chains and picking people up at their houses or the airport!
In her own words: “Oh I’m so lucky talaga…Thank you soooooooo much…Thank you Lord for this day…” Noreen is always so grateful for everything and she NEVER misses a chance to tell you exactly how thankful she is for something you’ve done for her, how much she misses you or how much she cares for you.
** Check out her blog (link on the left) and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Friday night was pretty random. Cile and I drove down to Irvine (which I personally haven't done in....FOREVER!) to share in a few celebrations at the Corner Office. I can't believe I saw everyone that I did. If I saw you on Friday and you're reading this, IT WAS AWESOME TO SEE YOU!!! After a late late dinner at Norm's with Leia, Fantone and Cile, us "LA chicks" headed home.

On the ride home, Cile was getting kinda restless and uncomfortable in the car so after about 45 minutes into the drive she says, "Anna, I'm gonna take off my bra." So she does the PE changing thing and slid the bra out of her tank top. About 10 minutes after I dropped her off, Cile called me, "Anna, did I leave my bra in your car?"..."I'm not sure, " I tell her, " but I'll check when I get home. Where did you put it after you took it off?"...She responds, "On my lap." So I suggested that maybe it fell off her lap when she got out of my car by her driveway. She said she went to go check but it wasn't there. I got home, checked under her seat and the side door and nothing.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon: I drove into Cile's driveway to pick her up for dinner. "Did you find your bra?" I yelled out the car window as she made her way to the passenger side. Before she opened the door, she crouched down quickly and bolted upright just as fast. She lifted her left hand and held up her bra, "HERE IT IS!" Her bra had been there, by her driveway, next to her neighbor's front lawn all night friday until 6:15 pm Saturday afternoon when I came to pick her up. Oh Cile...

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


My Sunday this past weekend was just that - sent from above. It's just been one of those episodic moments of mine that occur every couple of months. I've just been feeling very tired - almost lifeless sometimes, going through the motions of daily obligations without any sense of faith or conviction.

Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to do too much at one time; like I'm trying to be the dutiful daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, friend and employee every minute I'm taking a breath, each second losing myself in other people's lives. But then there are those days when I feel like I'm not doing enough for people I so dearly care about; that I can't squeeze in a half hour everyday to talk to my grandparents who live just next door, or take a moment to have a conversation with my sister instead of reprimanding her because she's slacking in her summer reading or because she doesn't do enough chores in the house, or calling a friend to ask her how she's really doing and then be able to say whatever will put her at ease. Anyhow, that's how I've been feeling lately. Cile asked me today how I was doing and it made me laugh because I didn't know where to begin. I’m not really feeling anything I could explain to anyone. I can’t even cry about it because I don’t feel like it’s necessary.

This Sunday, however busy as it was, somehow made me ease up. After mass and lunch with the family, I headed to Rowland Heights to join Leia, Andrew, Viv, Jean and her family to witness Hayden’s baptism. He’s officially a member of God’s family now and I’m so happy for him!

That evening, Ryan and I attended the Josh Groban concert at the Arrowhead Pond. We bought the tickets such a long time ago (in May I believe) that we almost forgot about it. Thank goodness we remembered because it would’ve been an unbelievable loss if we had. William Joseph, a classically-trained pianist under the guidance of famous composer David Foster, opened the show and it’s safe to say he gained 10,000 fans during his 30-minute set. Speaking only between songs, he awed everyone in the room with his amazing ability to play the piano with the passion that he did.

When Josh Groban got on stage I was a little disappointed because there were no jumbotrons to allow the audience to see the performer close up. When Josh opened his mouth to sing, however, I realized what a blessing in disguise this was. Without the big screen to keep everyone focused on the performer, I was able to pay more attention to the music. And oh what beautiful music it was! Half the songs he sang weren’t even in English, but it didn’t matter. His emotionally inspiring voice kept all of us captivated. I realized how entranced I was when, in the first few lines of his song, “To Where You Are” (see lyrics below) I started crying because I suddenly remembered Papang (my grandfather who passed away last December). Talk about killing me softly. What an amazing voice he has! AMAZING! So I was given those 2 hours during the concert to just….be, and I really relished it.

Ryan and I braved the traffic home by singing to Josh Groban and Miss Saigon in the car (and 5 minutes of William freakin’ Hung that you don’t even get me started on). Sunday was a good day, and then came Monday…

"To Where You Are"

Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memory's so clear
Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration
Can it be...
That you are my
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen
As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me everyday
'Cause you are my
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave
Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile
To know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

I know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Happy 26th Birthday to Dr. Rochelle Galace!!! If you get a chance, give her a holler!

oh yeah! And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY BLOG! I've been blogging for a year! That's freakin' car-rayzeee!!!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Getting to know...

Vitals: Met the summer after our sophomore year at UCI at the boys’ Berkeley Court apartment = 6 years and counting
Role In My Life: My Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing – Jean graduated cum laude in 2000, she’s been a 1st grade teacher since then, PLUS she’s managed to raised a dynamic 4-year old son, Hayden (inaanak to me, Leia and Andrew thanks very much) in the interim. I look up to this lady in so many ways and it's not only her time management and goal-oriented skills that I envy - it’s her outgoing, no-holds barred personality at bars and clubs. Don’t let the intellectual/teacher/mommy bit fool you. Jean can flirt and party with the best of them!
Good Times: They say Americans butcher foreign names! When we spent our summer abroad in Cambridge, England, poor Jean suffered just a tad. Her name is just how it’s written above. But somehow, the professors and teachers’ aids switched her middle and last names AND read “LLANO” instead of “ILANO.” Anyhoo, on the roster her last name read Santiago, putting her a little bit further down the alphabetical list of students than she’s used to. When we were getting our room assignments for our stay in Bath, they passed right through where Jean’s name SHOULD have been called so she thought she didn’t have a room. I offered that she bunk with me for the weekend. Jean said that having the 2 of on a twin bed would be too crowded so she SLEPT ON THE DESK!
In her own words: “Ya nip it, then ya’ suck it.” (Jean on how to get the honeysuckle out of a flower)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Something bad happened this morning. Tita Mayette and I were on our way to the office and we got into sort of an accident. This styrofoam take-out box from my dinner at Chevy's the night before sat atop the dashboard this morning. Tita Mayette braked and the box flew at me and her first reaction was to turn and look at what happened and all of a sudden we heard (and most definitely felt) something hit the van. We pulled over and I tried to get out but felt something wedged into the right front door, making it very hard to open. When I finally managed to get out, I saw it: a huge dent right under the right side mirror, the wheel scratched up and pieces of fiberglass in the hinge of the door. Nothing was missing on the surface of the van and Tita Mayette was convinced that she ran into the curb. On the reluctant drive back to the house to show Tito Paul we saw it: the van had hit the left side mirror of a car parked on the curb. The mirror was WHACKED!

When we got home, oh man, the sh*t that flew! Oh these tests that try husbands and wives! I tried to attend to getting Megan ready for daycare while my aunt and uncle "discussed" the unfortunate occurrence of this morning.

All day I've felt so guilty. I must've said "sorry" to Tita Mayette like a hundred times today and she keeps telling me that it wasn't my fault. But I can't help but feel bad. WHY ANNA! WHY DID YOU HAVE TO PUT THAT TAKEOUT BOX ON THE FREAKIN' DASHBOARD? IT'S NOT A FREAKIN' TABLE! Aaaaaaahhhh!!!!! I've been uncomfortable AAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL day, I can't even begin to tell you.

But even after all that, we all managed to spend a wonderful evening in nearby Walnut Creek for dinner and a walk. Now I'm having my daily Olympics fix and I'm stoked for the US!!! 29 medals so far! Love it!

I'll be back home in 2 days. Talk to/see you all soon!!!

Monday, August 16, 2004

MY TREASURE! (That's our nickname for each other)

Today is Melissa Marie "Isa" Dawa's 26th birthday! Happy Birthday Ise!
Getting to know...

Vitals: She's my toddler of a cousin and I met her shortly after she was born... actually even sooner; when she was a mere image in a sonogram = 2 1/2 years and counting
Role In My Life: Baby Homie - I'm staying with Megan and her parents this week in Martinez, CA and in the 24 hours since my arrival, I've had the best time! She's so funny! She's super talkative, so intuitive and and speaks so intelligently for a 2-year old. It's really funny how much information a toddler can pick up. Sometimes I forget she's just a baby. Hanging out with her doesn't feel like babysitting at all.
Good Times: It's really funny how much information a toddler can pick up. Megan's been repeating practically everything that's come out of my mouth (so I'm SUPER careful what I say) and I've been laughing like crazy everytime I'm around her. She's got this play set with a microwave, oven, sink and refrigerator and we've pretend cooked: salad (which she put in the microwave), chicken & rice (which she stuck in the oven) and hot water (which she put on the stove in a tea pot).
In her own words: "I'm gonna show you my floor...Emily...and Sammy (her dolls)..." Megan in the van on our way home Sunday night

Sunday, August 15, 2004


Hello all! I'm here in Martinez, CA at my Tita Mayette and Tito Paul's house. Work has sent me up here for the week to help out at our Concord office. It's my 4th airplane trip since we went to Hawaii in June. Anyhow, Tita Mayette works at our office up here so she volunteered to take me in so we can carpool. I landed at Oakland airport at 8:15 pm and I'm just beat! This weekend has been nonstop for me...then again, so has this whole summer!

On Friday night we had dinner at Mi Piace in Burbank to celebrate Matt's 26th birthday. After a trip to the grocery store for some drinks, we headed out to the Otani Hotel in downtown where my ninong who works there (Matt's dad) got a room for the night. We played mahjong, watched "Only You," hand some snacks, drank, played with the kimonos hanging in the closet, played with the bidet in the bathroom (ha ha ha) and just had a grand ole' time in each other's company.

The following morning, Iya, Rachele and I headed out of the hotel early because I had a bunch of errands to run before that evening. That night, my parents, Tin and I drove to Palos Verdes to my cousin, Ate Pam's newly remodeled house (oh man is this house beautiful! It's seriously Cribs-worthy) because we had a surprise party for her mom's 70th birthday. Oh my gosh, Tita Chi was soooooooo surprised and so touched. She seriously couldn't stop crying. Even I got all teary-eyed cuz she was so emotional. We had relatives fly in from Chicago, Rhode Island, Charlotte and Washington state, and lots more who drove from aways to join in the festivities in Tita Chi's honor. We got home at 11:45 pm. I drove, of course, so my dad could drink to his heart's content. My dad has his little "crew" with some guys from my mom's side of the family. Everytime dad's around Uncle Eric especially, he acts like a freakin' teenager! It's so hilarious to watch!

And then today, we had a luau at my Kuya Michael's house. He's the youngest of Tita Chi's kids, and a twin to Kuya Lancel. He and his wife, Kathy, who got married last August, have a really nice home in Burbank with a huge yard which they LITERALLY turned into paradise. They collected sand from the beach, hauled it over to their house to be the floor of the hut my cousins built from scratch out of pvc pipes and dried palm tree leaves. When these cousins of mine party THEY GO ALL OUT!

Anyhow, Tita Chi and her family were some of the first people I met when I got here from the Philippines and all my cousins, even though they were older, were some of the best playmates I've ever had. I've seen them all get married, have children, buy homes and become some of the most wonderful people I know in this life. I look up to all of them so much. All my nieces and nephews are just the greatest kids!

And now here I am. I have to go iron my clothes for tomorrow so I'm gonna end this here. Hope you all had an awesome weekend too!!!

Friday, August 13, 2004

MR. in ambulance

Happy 26th birthday to my cuz, Matthew "get this dog off me" Mindanao!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Going home and hiding under the covers, wanting to run over everything and everyone who got in my way, eating a whole carton of dulce de leche ice cream as I watch Wedding Planner for the 50th time; these are just some of the things I so desperately wanted to run out of the office and do yesterday. I was just in such a sour mood. I won’t get into why because I don’t want to get all exasperated about it all over again, but just know that I was seriously ready to hurt something, someone, anyone, ANYTHING cuz I was so irritated. But I didn’t. Instead I went to the gym last night and turbo kickboxed my way out of pent up infuriation and into some form of channeled sanity. After the workout (they’re on Round 21, by the way, Riann), I felt 10 times better than I had when I got there. I got my ass rocked (along with every other muscle and joint in my body), but it’s a good kind of pain because at least I know the workout, well, worked. Cile’s rediscovered running regimen lately reminded me of this healthy way to deal with life’s frustrations.

I’m so glad I looked to 24-hour Fitness for help this time rather than Krispy Kreme or the mall…or worse yet – Best Buy.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Getting to know...

Vitals: Met our junior year at UCI because, well, I met most of my UCI buddies junior year because I was one of the costumes coordinators for PCN. Along with 250+ cast members, I got to dress up Joemama in native Filipino gear (a gold vest and some hammer pants, ha ha ha) = 5 years and counting
Role In My Life: Perfect Example of "Go With the Flow" - I've only known Joe for 5 years and already I've grown to appreciate his maleable and easygoing demeanor. He's always game to go out and do things; have sushi even if he has to drive 50 miles to get it, go on weekend or week-long vacations, see a concert with friends which didn't start until past midnight...on a weekday, travel up to LA two days in a row to celebrate Valentine's Day with his fellow singles and then attend a birthday lunch, head to the beach to go bodyboarding, etc all the while hardly ever complaining because he enjoys his friends' company. Just read his blog and you'll see what I mean.
Good Times: Aside from great conversations via AIM (which range from mindless Hillary Duff banter to contemplative life talks), it’s always a fun time with Joe. This past Valentine’s day, he spent a whole evening with Leia, Fantone, Gwen, Iya and me and didn't complain once about being the only guy there. And then one time we all spent the weekend in San Diego and Joemama let me frenchbraid his then long ass hair! Ha ha about slumber party activities! The week in Hawaii in 2003 was the most I got to hang out with this guy and I could write a 10-screen long entry about how much fun it was.
In his own words: ”Hey Anna daw!”…”What’re you doing daw?”…”I’m gonna go to sleep daw”…”Sleep tite daw!” Eversince Joe learned this word, he puts it at the end of all of his sentences.

Saturday, August 07, 2004


I have not only been blessed with a busy summer filled with fun travels with friends and family, but I've also been fortunate enough to have experienced a handful of great concerts:

HARRY CONNICK, JR. - "You say tomayto, I say tomahto, You say potayto, I say potahto..."
If I could tell you my favorite place thusfar to watch a concert, I would say, hands down, the Hollywood Bowl. This place already holds a special place in our hearts because our high school graduation took place there! My fellow Immaculate Heart sisters and I take great pride in this unique event in our lives. But aside from that, watching a phenomenal performer like Harry Connick, Jr ANYWHERE would have been treat enough for everyone there, but to listen to him serenade us under the moon and stars was just...amazing. Everyone there had a picnic dinner before and/or during the concert, and that, I think, is what made the concert even more worthwhile for me. How many venues encourage you to bring your own food so as not to necessitate the purchase of a $7 hot dog? Harry performed with a good amount of alcohol in his system too, and that, aside from his singing, was entertainment by itself. He's really funny too! Great music, great performer, great venue...

BOYZ II MEN - "Never, never let a broken heart, take your chance for love away..."
No one can sing the classic ballads like Boyz II Men least not in my lifetime (although our boys *NSYNC surely come close. I'm amazed by any group who can harmonize a capella effectively, i.e. En Vogue). Anyhow, we went to the Boyz II Men concert at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney this past friday and wow...did we feel old! Minus bass Michael McCrary, the guys of the talented vocal group thanked everyone for standing by them for 13 YEARS! And I know all of us counted backwards and said, "13 years? We were only 11-13 when they came out?" That's like our parents going out to see the Bee Gees or the Beach Boys in concert! Boyz II Men are from OUR adolescence! That's crazy! From the first beat of Motownphilly, to the heartwrenching On Bended Knee and Water Runs Dry, and then the End of the Road encore, the audience sang our vocal chords out. Talk about nostalgia! I can't begin to tell you about all the flashbacks I had in those 2 hours! From junior high memories of youthful exuberance, to high school heartbreak, to college crushes and then to the present state of longing, I reminisced like crazy. I love how music can make you do that. And if there's anyone who sing about the feelings curing stage of love and like, it's Boyz II Men.

JOSH GROBAN - "You raise me up so I can stand on mountains..."
A 23 year-old with the voice to compete against the Three Tenors, that's who this guy is. I'm gonna see him in concert in about 2 weeks and I'm so excited! I'm just so amazed with young people who have such great talents! What a gift to share with the world! I'll tell you all about it after.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


You all know what it’s like to deal with bad situations in life that don’t seem to have a beginning or an end, thereby making it almost impossible sometimes to handle because we don’t know where the stupid issue came from. At times they start out as small cracks on the ground that cause you to lose your balance for a second, but eventually turn out to be nothing more than life’s way of checking to see if we’re paying attention. But then sometimes, before you know it, those cracks turn into these huge potholes that pull you into a black abyss of melancholic aggravation. That’s when we turn to self-loathing, or in most cases, loathing everyone and everything around us. The choice that faces us when these seemingly unbearable moments in our lives take place is to either resist it and complain and pout all the while or allow ourselves to face it, deal with it and let it pass. Iya always reminds me of the wise words we learned from My Best Friend’s Wedding when things become difficult: “This, too, shall pass.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried myself to sleep when I’ve felt lost or alone and then woke up the next day feeling like everything would be different somehow. I’ve learned that fighting the need to marinate in sorrow is difficult to do, but necessary to survive adversity. And it’s not only more helpful to the soul, but much better for the heart and ulcer too. There really is truth to Annie’s mantra. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about looking to that “next day” to alleviate pain, minor and major.

Tamyra Gray has a song on her cd that totally describes all this. It’s called:

It’s just been one of those days
When nothing seems to be going right
And no one’s there to lend a helping hand
Just an ordinary day
When it all seems like a fight
Just to make it to the promise land

Tell me how do you keep yourself from falling
In the midst of all your doubts and all your fears
Tell me how do you keep yourself from drowning
How do you find the strength to persevere

Cuz the sun is shining on my face
And I know that things will be ok
It’s gonna be better than yesterday today
And tomorrow will be better than today
I can see the dawning of a brand new way
It’s gonna be better than yesterday today
It’s gonna be ok
It’s gonna be ok…eventually

Teardrops slowly fall from my eyes as I look to the sky
And I question how come life keeps passing me right on by
I just wonder why I can’t escape, is this my fate
To always be unhappy and how much longer must I wait

One day I know that I
Will truly find peace of mind
Happiness is not far away
Just around the corner comes
A sight of hope to release me from
My chains and set me free
Free so I can breathe

**And speaking of looking to tomorrow, a few weeks ago my cousin, Ben, was feeling down because he couldn't seem to get going on his job hunt for a school that could use his counseling skills. I felt bad for him but knew that it would only be a matter of time before something came up. That boy's too smart and able for a school to pass him up. 'Lo and behold, he went on an interview last friday and he got hired this past Monday! You go, Ben! I'm so proud of you!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Getting to know...

Vitals: I met Eric a scattered number of times during our senior year in high school. But one night I called Cecile and she happened to be talking to him on the phone so she asked me to 3-way (3-way, how high school is that!). After a few minutes, she had to go so she had Eric call me. That phonecall lasted 2-3 hours, our first conversation = 8 years and counting
Role In My Life: Mr. Go-Getter – I’ve chastised Eric a few times for being careless and dumb about various incidents (about girls, riding pocketbikes with no helmets, etc). Sometimes I wonder when he’s gonna smarten up and be more careful! But after 8 years I realized that he’s the way he is because he doesn’t want to ponder too long on making decisions. That might just cause uncertainty to surface and keep him from doing what he wants to. I remember Eric telling me once how he doesn’t want to live a life full of regrets. You will hardly see him wallowing in sadness or frustration. He doesn’t like wasting time on such things and I admire him a great deal for that.
Good Times: Eric and I have had our share of “hard times,” you might say. And it’s taken me awhile to realize how happy moments between good friends far outweigh those hard times I just couldn’t forget. Eric and I were partners for Rochelle’s debut (dropped the dumb flower I had to hold during the performance but we recovered, didn’t we?), we worked at Universal Studios for a summer (“Chill, this is Eric!”…”Jurassic Outfitters, this is Anna!”), talked on the phone until all hours (talkin’ ‘bout hey the sun’s rising!) and just vacationed in Hawaii with our best friends! And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
In his own words: “Hey it’s getting kinda boring. Where’s all the drama? No more drama?”