What's on your Media Noche menu?

This is the first time ever that I am forced to come up with a decent media noche menu for the family, since last year and all the years before that, my mom was tasked to do it. Now that I have my own family, I find that dealing with the responsibilities this time of the year is not easy. I mean, I don't even know how to cook extra special food for the holidays, for chrissake. We survived the Christmas because the relatives were here and they mercifully saved me from the horrors of cooking but they already left yesterday. Not that I am sad. I think I'll be cleaning my way until the New Year's eve with all the mess that they made. LOL. *Sigh*

Anyway, so the first order of business would be to make a list of what to include in the menu. My criteria is that I SHOULD know how to cook it reasonably well or it is bought ready-to-eat. Th first criterion pretty much narrows down the choices to like ten recipes. Hee hee. So far, I have:

Spaghetti - Svet's favorite, because of the hotdog, mainly.

Fried chicken - hubby's request. When he sees chicken, he never thinks to cook it any other way. Just jollibee-ish fried chicken.

Hotdogs and mallows on stick - My youngest sister's favorite. She ate like thirty of those last Christmas. It's a wonder why she's still not sick of it.

Inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly) - My sister's request. She's into anything grilled these days.

Red wine - It's traditional for us, so it's an obvious inclusion.

Sweet ham - Another traditional food on the menu.

Yema cake - MY choice. I am CRAZY over a local bakeshop's (Danes) yema (stiff sticky melange of yolks and condensed milk) cake.

Sinigang na baboy (pork in sour broth) - The ONLY dish that my one year old niece eats with rice.

Lumpiang shanghai (Filipino spring rolls) - Another personal choice.

That's about it at the moment. Nothing fancy, as my mom is in charge of that department so we will be counting on her for that. Of course we'll have lots of round fruits at the table, as it is also tradition, plus lots of bread. Svet'll be dressed in all sorts of polka dots you can imagine, because my mom insists on it (it is for good luck, I suppose). I'm considering queso de bola (small, spherical Edam cheese) since it is also a traditional media noche food, but no one in the family is too fond of cheese so I think it'll be a last choice.

Care to share what's on your media noche menu? Maybe I'll decide to cook something outside my comfort zone for once. I don't know. I hope the mood strikes. But either way, I am ready for all the delicious food that will be served on our tables so I say, bring it on!

Merry Christmas In Translation

I have always wondered how the greeting is translated in other languages. In our country (the Philippines), "Merry Christmas" is Maligayang Pasko. A quick Google search has come up with these translations:

AFRIKAANS geseënde Kersfees
ALBANIAN gëzuar Krishtlindja
ALSATIAN gleckika Wïanachta
ARABIC miilaad majiid
BASQUE Eguberri on
BENGALI subho baradin
BRETON Nedeleg laouen
BULGARIAN Vasel Koleda
BURMESE Christmas nay hma mue pyaw pa
CATALAN bon Nadal
CORSICAN bon Natale
CROAT sretan Božic
CZECH veselé Vánoce
DANISH glædelig jul
DUTCH vrolijk Kerstfeest
ESPERANTO gojan Kristnaskon
ESTONIAN häid jõule
FINNISH hyvää joulua
FRENCH joyeux Noël
FRIULAN bon nadal
GERMAN frohe Weihnachten / fröhliche Weihnachten
GREEK kala christougenna / kala xristougenna
HAITIAN CREOLE jwaye nowel
HEBREW christmas sameakh (barely used)
HINDI Krismas ki subhkamna
HUNGARIAN boldog Karácsonyt
ICELANDIC gleðileg jól
INDONESIAN selamat Natal
IRISH GAELIC Nollaig shona
ITALIAN buon Natale / gioioso Natale
JAPANESE meri kurisumasu
KABYLIAN assegass amegass
KOREAN seun-tan chu-ka-hae-yo
KURDISH Noela we pîroz be
LAO souksan van Christmas
LATIN felix dies Nativitatis
LATVIAN priecigus Ziemassvetkus
LITHUANIAN su Kaledoms
LOW SAXON vrolik Kersfees
LUXEMBOURGEOIS schéi Chrëschtdeeg
MACEDONIAN sreken Bozik
MALAGASY tratry ny Krismasy / arahabaina tratry ny Krismasy / arahaba tratry ny Krismasy
MALTESE milied hieni
MAORI meri Kirihimete
OCCITAN bon Nadal
PERSIAN eydet mobârak
POLISH Wesolych Swiat
PORTUGUESE feliz Natal
ROMANIAN un Crãciun fericit
RUSSIAN Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva!
SAMOAN ia manuia le Kerisimasi
SARDINIAN bona pasca’e Nadale (logudorese) / bona paschixedda (campidanese)
SCOTTISH GAELIC Nollaig chridheil
SERBIAN srecan bozic
SHONA krisimas yakanaka
SLOVAK vesele vianoce
SLOVENIAN vesel božic / vesele božicne praznike
SOBOTA dobro dedek
SPANISH feliz Navidad
SWEDISH god jul
TAGALOG maligayang pasko
THAI Suksan Wan Christmas!
TURKISH Noeliniz kultu olsun
UDMURT Shuldyr Ymuston
UKRAINIAN Z Rizdvom Hrystovym
VIETNAMESE Chuc Mung Giang Sinh!
WALOON djoyeus Noyé
WELSH Nadolig llawen

Maligayang Pasko!!!

Svet's Baptême Du Feu

Okay, not exactly baptism of fire. Just plain boring (and rather hasty) baptism. Last December 21, 2008, Svet became a Christian formally. Now I don't know if that's a good thing. Hehe. Anyways, it was over and done with in a jiffy because there were many other parents who decided that their own children should be christened that day. I haven't much to say, as it is a deathly boring morning in the church, but I guess it was worth putting up with. You can perhaps deduce from this post that I am not a religious person. At all. Here are three shots from the event, one of Svet holding the candle and the other two taken after the whirlwind of a ceremony.

I'll be uploading the rest of the pictures at my Friendster account. I fear this blog will be in hiatus until after the first weeks of next year. I still have Christmas, New Year, my dad's and my mom's birthdays to deal with. I'm gonna be swamped with chores and slaving for relatives for the next two weeks. *Sigh* But all the delish food will be worth it. Yum! I'll try my hardest to update this site with the usual useless stuff, I don't wanna lose my few precious followers. Hehe. ☺

My BPI Update (I still HATE them)

When I accessed my BPI account online today, it was out of habit from checking it for the past month, wishing, hoping, praying for my damn money to come. If you have been a fan of my blog (fan. yer.), you would know how much I HATE MY OLD BANK for DENYING that a remittance was made to my account even after all the hard evidence I slapped in their faces. Uh, figuratively speaking.

As I was saying, I checked my account online without expecting anything. Imagine my surprise, shock, astonishment, amazement, astoundment, bewilderment, wonderment (okay. enough adjectives. thank you thesaurus.com.) when I looked at the balance, and BAM! I feasted my eyes on the most lovely sight of all. Right under that Credit column is a captivating five-digit amount that my bank account balance hasn't seen in a month.

Do you expect a thank you from me, BPI? The only thing I am willing to say to you right now is that four-letter word followed by a YOU that mommy told you never to say. Yes, the one starting with an F and ending with a K with the UC in between. Yeah. You got it right. I will never, and I DO MEAN NEVER, ever do business with you again. To Mr. John Kimberly Sarmiento of the BPI Baguio-Malcolm branch, you sir, are a good man. I hope your filthy bank treats you well. Thank you for your honest efforts to track my money for me. I really appreciate that.

As my friend, Caesar says, I should just let it go and charge it to experience. And what a grueling banking experience it has been. I learned a lot from it, but the most important thing I learned is that when you hate a bank, your friends hate that bank too. And I know I have just taken at least five other BPI clients away from them, clients who, like me, value a dependable and trustworthy remittance system that BPI OBVIOUSLY does not have. It's an evilly comforting thought. Is "evilly" a word? Darn.

On Working From Home in the Philippines

The initial question here would be, "Is it even possible?" Well, I wouldn't be writing about it here if it wasn't, right? And I would certainly not be the first one to blog about it. Living here in this country and working for U.S., U.K. or any other foreign country-based firm is something I have been doing for the past year, and I thought I'd share some of my experiences so far.

First off, I do not know many people who work from home like me. Okay, I do, but they're not from the Philippines so that makes a huge difference. They seem to have more opportunities there (especially U.S. and U.K.) than here. I often get referred to this and that opportunity only to read from the FAQ that the requirement is that "the individual must be living in the U.S. or Canada", or wherever, just not in the Philippines. So it's kind of frustrating to know that yes, there are a lot of opportunities out there, but only some of them are available to someone from the Philippines like me.

Second, some people envy me for having this type of job. Yes, the pay is way better than what is paid by local jobs, but it has its fair share of disadvantages. I believe I already discussed that earlier but I have to add some things. Being thousands of miles away from the source of income, it's hard to get your money on time, unlike with a regular job. Errm. My mom has a regular job but does not always get her money on time because the LGU she works for has an incredibly corrupt mayor. Hehe. Intermediaries often screw up and my salary is almost always late in coming, so the bills pile up once in a while. Okay. Always pile up. I know I seriously need a crash course on budgeting. Filipinos have yet to find the best way to send money from there to here. May I live to see that day. *Sigh*

Third, and this is what most people here do not understand, sitting in front of the computer is not an easy task. Writing IS NOT an easy task. Working from home IS NOT EASY. People hear about my job and think, she must have it pretty easy. Well, dummies. I DON'T. It takes a lot of thinking, incredible hard work and a lot of cussing to get a decent income off the Internet. Cussing might be easy to do for anyone, but thinking and hard work? I don't think so. Hehe.

Now what's great about it? I've already discussed this as well, I know, but here are additional benefits. Aside from being near my child everyday, the currency which I am paid with, when converted to our own currency amounts to a tidy sum of money. Most foreigners wonder and/or derogate me because I put up with payment as low as $3 a page. They do that without even doing the math, without even knowing that what I am paid for everyday sitting here in front of my computer doing three-four hours of work is more than what most companies here in our country pay the average manager for eight hours of grueling work. More often than not, foreigners do not have a grasp of how different our currency is, how large a money $1 is to us.

Metrobank Correspondent Banks/ Intermediary Banks

If there is one recurring theme in this blog, you would notice that it is my dislike of the remittance services of BPI. Come to think of it, dislike is too cute a word for what I feel for BPI. I hate, abhor, abominate, despise, detest, loathe BPI. Take that damn thesaurus away from me.

I am using a Metrobank savings account right now (courtesy of my mom). If you are doing freelancing work for companies based in the U.S. and have a Metrobank savings account and would like to use it, you might find information in this post this useful. The SWIFT/BIC code for Metrobank is MBTCPHMM.

For those of you who are wondering if Metrobank has correspondent banks or intermediary banks in the U.S., wonder no more. I found the list of such banks in their website, and I took the liberty of posting it here, so whoever Googles the info and lands here may thank me dearly for it. Haha! Anyway, here's the list of Metrobank's correspondent/intermediary banks in the U.S.:


Oh wow. I think I just posted my first ever useful post. Anyway, I hope I can start posting more useful things here for Filipino WAHMs or WAHDs in the future. I am losing ideas for useless posts to write anyway. Tee hee. Comment if you find anything amiss here, or if you want to ask stuff. Just don't ask what the SWIFT/BIC code for BPI is, or what BPI's correspondent/intermediary banks are, if you don't like me inflicting physical pain on you.

Of Dan Brown and the Goddess of Destruction

A gift for myself came today in the form of a package. Ordered a Dan Brown book from Amazon midway November and arrived at our doorstep today. Was two days late from the estimated date of delivery but what the hell. Amazon support was very polite and apologetic. I wish all support people are like that.

Can't wait to actually have the time to read the whole of it. While I was busy with reading the first few pages and hubby went out to buy stuff for lunch, Svet got down to working too. You know one of the most hated part of being a parent? It's cleaning up after the mess that your kids make. And doing it every day of their early years until they learn to clean up after themselves. Here's the path of Svet's destruction:

Oh well. Gotta play the maid now.

Are You Feeling The Christmas Spirit Now?

With the temperature dropping three degrees since I last checked (which was the other day), I am smacked in the face by the realization that the holidays are just around the corner, and I haven't done anything to prepare myself for the chaos of the season. Okay, I have prepared my stomach for pigging out but other than that, I have not felt the holiday rush that I felt the previous year and the years before that. It is largely attributed to the fact that BPI (my oh-so-incompetent bank. I'd call it my-bank-no-more next year) had the gall to say to me that MY MONEY did not went through them, even after having proven to them that they indeed received money from my employer A MONTH AGO. Money that I was planning to spend for Christmas and New Year. Money that I doubt I will be seeing anytime soon, because BPI is still "investigating" my claim. I love that word, investigating. So convenient.

Now what fresh hell is that.

So, in order to force myself to feel the spirit of Christmas,I decided to change my desktop wallpaper. So this is what it's all about? A goddamn desktop wallpaper?, you say to yourself. Well, yeah. A lot of you were complaining about my lack of posts, so this ups the number. You didn't say meaningful posts, did you? No, I don't think you didn't. Anyways, here's a screen shot, I hope it gets you in the holiday mood, too.

Oh, I know you like it. You can download the wallpaper here, if you want the same glowy feeling that it gives me every time I look at my desktop. I know. How kind of me to share. Be thankful I just found it on the web while looking for a wallpaper to replace my old one. If I made it myself, I would've charged each and every one of you who dares to use it. LOL. So enjoy. And include in your daily prayers that I do not learn how to make such gorgeous wallpapers, so you can all get them for free. Hee hee.

Me and My Developing Addiction

Somebody please, please clobber me with anything hard you have within your reach right now. I deserve it, after being so stupidly unaware that Criminal Minds (the TV Series, and if have not heard of it, let me bludgeon you as well) is a greeaaat watch, worth every second of salivating after the boy genius Dr. Reid (played by Matthew Gray Gubler) and Morgan (played by Shemar Moore).

Reid's character is so sexy because of his brilliant mind, his humor and his constant need to correct people. he develops from this skinny boy to this gorgeous character that I soo love. In case you don't know, he is my spiritual husband. Morgan, on the other hand, is an absolute charmer. I love it when he calls Garcia (the computer geek of the show) all sorts of cute names (doll and baby, to name a couple). I'm a sucker for terms of endearment, and Morgan saying those is just pure bliss to hear.

Thank your lucky stars today since I'll be keeping this post super short, because hubby is already bugging me to watch the show with him. Okay, not really. It's just me who wants to watch the damn thing. I can't get enough of it.

My Love-Hate Relationship with E-Books

Books do not go to waste where I am concerned. Blame my mom. She must have given me books to play with when I was a little girl. Reason why I have allowed Svetlana to munch on a couple of books already, thinking that she might grow up to be a book lover too, if she ate enough books now. Haha! Yes, she loves eating them at this point, no sense telling her "That's not for consumption, you little pig. Books are for reading!" because she will not understand anyway. I think she must have eaten her way through half of the Winnie-the-Pooh storybook my sister gave her, to the delight of my mom. Grandmas can be so permissive. *rolls eyes*.

Anyway, as I was saying when I was rudely interrupted by myself, I love books. Especially those given to me as gifts *hint, hint*. Never been one to say no, thank you to a book. So when free e-books mushroomed all over the net, I was ecstatic. Imagine having all the world's books sitting in your computer, just waiting for you to read it. The best part is, they're free! Much as I would like to contribute to the author's wealth as my own simple way of expressing my gratitude, my bank account would not allow it. I have spent enough money on books to feed a family of three for a year when I was in college, so I think I'd stop at that.

Having been a WAHM for sometime now (yes, eight months is already some time for me) gave me the privilege of reading all those lovely e-books to my heart's desire (I am actually starting to read all of the 9 Sophie Kinsella e-books right now),

It's all free
if you
know where to look.

and much to the chagrin of publishers. I'm sorry dear authors and publishers, but I'd rather spend my money now on a pack of diapers or food than for a piece of book that I'd eventually lose anyway (as I like to share my stuff. Problem is, borrowers don't like to give it back). I think all WAHMs can agree. With all prices going up, will you spend it on something only you (and not the rest of your family) will enjoy? I thought so. The internet is a paradise for book lovers, trust me. As one of my favorite authors said, if you can get it for free, why buy it? It's all free if you know where to look. Well, okay, so I made that one up. I am actually my favorite author. eherm.

I know, I know. You've read this far and you still don't know why I have this love-hate relationship with e-books. I'll quit my rambling now and get to the point not because I want to, but because it's way past beddy-time. I think I have pointed out how much I love e-books already (say, "yes, you have" for the love of God, or I will repeat the whole thing all over again). What I hate about them, and it's the only thing I hate about e-books, mind you, is that they are harder to read than on print. The monitor makes me dizzy if I look at it too long, which is why much as I hate to pry my eyes away from what I reading, I must, because I love my perfect sense of sight too much.

Award Time Again!

I think it's about time I post this award given to me by bhoyet, who I know gave me this out of lack of choice. Haha! Anyways, thanks for giving this award to me (even though you damn well know that I AM NOT CUTE. Cute is for puppies. I am GORGEOUS. Or at least, that's what hubby tells me. Sweet liar.) But Roger, you gave me another reason to reflect on why I do not have at least ten friends to give this to. So I hate you for that. Next time give me an award that I can keep to myself. And yes, I am a demanding little bitch.

The rules to be followed by lucky/unlucky recipients of this award (like me) are as follows:

1. Each blogger must post these rules.

2. Each blogger starts with ten random facts/habits about themselves.

3. Bloggers that are tagged, need to write ten facts about themselves. You need to choose ten people to tag and list their names.

Okay, since I already posted the rules, I must state ten random facts about me. Do I really need to bore you with this stuff? Well, rules are rules. Unless I have to break them. And anyway, I WANT to annoy you by revealing stuff about me. So brace yourself.

1. I'll begin with what is already written in my blog header (so as to bore you to the maximum extent). I do not stick to one blog design, as I am constantly finding newer designs that I think will make my blog a better place to visit. My posts are blah so I'll need all the visual backup I can get my hands on.

2. I am a moron magnet. Getting accosted by morons on a daily basis has been my way of life. Lately, I think I have been attracting jerks too. I am guessing I emit this aura which makes them come to me like flies on shit.

3. I cannot speak English as well as I write it. I think I have been writing for far too long which resulted to my lack of practice in that area. My speech is normally interjected with umm..., ermm..., errr..., and other such wonderful sounds that are made to fill up vast empty spaces of not knowing what to say.

4.I used to be a proofreader, so I am usually keen about details. Grammatical errors and anything out of place is unacceptable for me, but I make typos and make grammarians groan more than the average person. Which explains why I gave up being a proofreader. Now, I just pretend to be one.

5. I hate spiders. The best way to get into my nerves is to surprise me with one. There are only two consequences for those who are brave/stupid enough to do that: their ears are assailed by my imitation of a crying banshee or they are physically abused by me (after they disposed of the spider a mile away).

6. I have a metabolism rate to die for. I can be an absolute pig and not gain enough weight to be noticed by anyone. Which is why the wealth of articles coming out this time of the year about dieting is trash to me.

7. The book I am reading right now is "The Devil Wears Prada". I have started reading it two weeks back and there is no hope in sight for me to ever reach the last page of that book. I am a fast reader, don't get me wrong. It's just that nowadays, time and I are not very good friends.

8. I am stupid at mathematics. The mere mention of it make me sick, and childhood dreams of solving the hardest mathematical equation ever has long vanished into thin air. I don't even know if there is such a thing as the hardest mathematical equation. For me, they're all frigging hard.

9. I am on the verge of breakdown because of my bank. So please expect me to go mental in about a week time. If you are a friend, do not dare report me to the authorities about possible bank bombings happening in our area.

10. I already ran out of things to write about myself. So you fill in the blank. But I'm not that hard to figure out. Mental is my middle name. You can start from there.

Since it is imperative that this award is passed to ten other people, I am now giving it to J.D., melanie, aria,sterndal, emerald, pey, allysa, lizzie, claire, and may. What do you know. I've completed all ten! Haha! But some of you in the list got two in a row from me. I just love you so much. Hee hee. Oh well, you guys deserve this award, so have fun with it! :)