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My Top Ten TV Shows of 2006 – Pinoyatbp.

February 24, 2008 update:

This article was originally published in Pinoyatbp.

In my spare time, I love to read, blog and watch TV. A few of my favourite talk shows are The View, Oprah, and The Ellen Show. But most of the shows I watch are shown at night.

So here are

My Top Ten Prime Time TV Shows of 2006:

1. Survivor: Cook Islands – 20 contestants were initially grouped into four tribes by race: African-American, Asian-American, Caucasian and Latino. This generated a controversy in the beginning. But the contestants were soon merged into other tribes other than their race. This is the first time a Filipino-American made it into this reality show, Jenny, a real estate agent. In the first episode, it was the Asian-American tribe who won the first immunity challenge. And who’s the sole survivor in the end? Yul Kwon, from the same tribe.

2. The Amazing Race 10 – Twelve teams of two raced around the world for a chance to win a million dollars. The first team that caught my eye was Peter and Sarah. She is an amputee, with only one leg and I just admired her for being such a competitor in spite of her disability. But towards the end, Peter’s true colours emerged and he was just mean to Sarah. They lost. After that I focused my attention to the last two remaining all-women teams, particularly on the Alabama moms, Lyn and Karlyn. Because I am a woman and a mother and I’m all for girl power. But it was Tyler and James who won in the end.

3. Dancing with the Stars – The celebrity contestants were better in the third installment of this ballroom dancing show. Jerry Springer had been an unlikely favourite when viewers saw his softer side as he shared how he wanted to learn the waltz so he could dance with his daughter on her wedding day. So far from the character we saw on The Jerry Springer Show. In the end, it was a battle between Mario Lopez and Emmitt Smith, who were both great, the former having a previous dancing background but the latter, an ex-football player who evolved into a great dancer and was even nicknamed Twinkle Toes. I think that’s why people voted for him. He’s your everyday guy and it shows you that if you just try all your best, you can be great at whatever you do.

4. Ugly Betty – Betty Suarez wears orthodontic braces and red-rimmed eyeglasses and she has bushy hair and bushy eyebrows. Yet I love it when she says, “I am an attractive, intelligent, confident business woman.” She was hired as an assistant to the editor-in-chief of Mode fashion magazine but what she didn’t know was that the father of the editor hired her because he didn’t want his son to be tempted to sleep with his beautiful assistants anymore. What I love about Betty is that she’s beautiful inside. And I also love the bond that developed between her and her boss Daniel Meade and how they help each other in sticky situations

5. Everybody Hates Chris – The title of this series is a spoof of another favourite TV sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond. Everybody Hates Chris is based on the teen-age life of comedian Chris Rock while he was growing up in an inner city neighbourhood in New York. It’s a favourite of mine because not only are the characters very funny but the topics are always timely, just like any family shows.

6. Desperate Housewives – Drama, comedy, thriller, soap opera. What more could you ask for? Desperate Housewives is a show about the lives of five women in a suburban neighbourhood. There’s Susan Mayer, a single mom who’s dying for love; Bree, the perfect housewife, ala Martha Stewart; Lynette who’s trying to be a super mom; Gabrielle, the ex-model who’s not satisfied with her comfortable life and had an affair with her teen-aged gardener; and Edie, the husband/boyfriend stealer.

7. Lost – Strangers are stranded on a remote island in the Pacific after their plane crashed. Doesn’t this remind you of Survivor? The first few episodes hinted of a mysterious monster that lives in the island. But each character is also just as mysterious and we learn more about them in a series of flashbacks. I love this show because it always keeps me on the edge of my seat. There’s always a cliffhanger at the end of each show.

8. The Office – The cast is headed by Steve Carrell, who by the way, I love in The 40 Year Old Virgin. He plays, Michael Scott, the regional manager of a paper company. He acts foolishly and he can sometimes be insensitive. The other characters are also very interesting. But what I love the most is the love interest between Pam and Jim.

9. The Nine – Nine people, mostly strangers, are linked together after a bank robbery. The story of what happened inside the bank during the 52-hour standoff is slowly revealed in each episode as the characters continue to meet after the ordeal.

10. Brothers and Sisters – The cast is headed by the wonderful Sally Field who plays mother to five grown up children. In the first episode, her husband dies and the children discover his affair with another woman and his embezzlement of money in the family business. Not only is this family grieving but each one of them is also struggling with their own lives. There is a gay brother, a war veteran who suffers from addiction, a daughter who has opposite political views with her mother, and two others who are trying to fix the family business. It has a great ensemble cast, which also includes Calista Flockhart.


January 14, 2007 at 11:59 pm 2 comments

My Top Ten TV Shows of 2006

In my spare time, I love to read, blog and watch TV. A few of my favourite talk shows are The View, Oprah, and The Ellen Show. But most of the shows I watch are shown at night. So here are

My Top Ten Prime Time TV Shows of 2006:

Read the rest of this entry at Pinoyatbp.


February 24, 2008 update: You can now view this article here.

January 14, 2007 at 9:40 am 15 comments

Christmas carols and Christmas memories

February 24, 2008 update: 

This article was originally published in Pinoyatbp.

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, hey!

The kindergarteners and students from grades one to four in my son’ school sang their hearts out in front of their families at the Christmas concert last week.

When I was growing up in the Philippines, we didn’t have Christmas concerts at school. But we sang Christmas songs in Music class. Also, around this time of year, there would be carolers, usually small children, singing from house to house, sometimes accompanied by their makeshift instruments of softdrink bottle caps that were strung together.

I also had my share of singing carols from house to house.

I was in third year high school. I was the new kid in school trying to fit in. I joined the YMC (Youth Marian Crusade) and we would have prayer meetings every Friday after school. I wasn’t really a very religious person, but joining the club gave me a reason to get out of my auntie’s house where I felt suffocated. My mother was then working abroad and I had to live with relatives. I loved both my aunt and my uncle dearly but they were just too strict. I don’t really blame them because they had three daughters of their own, and then they also had to look after me and my sister. But as a teenager, I had the tendency to rebel when they won’t allow me to date or when they wanted to know my every move.

And so every Friday night, I took refuge with my friends at the YMC.

Miss Leticia Borromeo was the coordinator of the YMC in our school. She was also my Chemistry teacher and she had the reputation of being a terror teacher. But she was a very different person outside the classroom. She was a warm and caring person and the YMCians lovingly called her Tita Letty.

Our meetings were held at a community center near the school. Before we started the prayers, she encouraged students to share their problems. Sometimes, she’d ask us what our fears were and then we would talk about them. She told us that she was doing these prayer meetings to keep us “out of the streets.” I thought that was really a noble thing to do.

In December of that year, we started practicing Christmas carols and towards the middle of the month, letters were sent to sponsors so that we could sing carols for them and in turn, we received money, which we donated to a local orphanage.

It was a Friday night when we YMCians, not all of us, but a group of around 20, walked together and went to our first house of the night, a big one and we could tell that it belonged to a well-to-do family. We placed ourselves in front of the house. The guitar player started strumming the strings and we began singing. We sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night.

I liked the part when Lani Libria, a senior, sang a solo of

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.

She sang so beautifully and I was sure it was not the chilly air but the timbre of her voice that made the hairs on my arms stand up when she sang

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine! Oh night when Christ was born;
Oh night, divine! Oh night! Oh night divine!

And then we sang some more. We sang cheerily to

Frosty the snowman
Was a jolly happy soul
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.

Conception Mabini and I looked and smiled at each other as we sang

Sleigh bells ring are you listening
In the lane snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
We’re happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland.

We sang these two songs so merrily that you’d think we’ve really experienced walking on the glistening snow and making a snowman.

The children in my son’s school sang

Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Now, these kids knew what they were singing about.

December 19, 2006 at 11:59 pm 1 comment

Christmas carols

Christmas concert 

Last week, my youngest son, Ryland, had his Christmas concert at school.  His grade three class re-enacted the Nativity scene while the choir sang Silent Night.  He was one of the three wise men.

wise man  

While I listened to the children sing Christmas carols, I remember the time when I went caroling from house to house back when I was young.  This is what I wrote about in my current post at Pinoyatbp, Christmas carols and Christmas memories.  Read about my experience and find out what my favourite Christmas songs are at Pinoyatbp.  (February 24, 2008 update: You can now view this article here.)


And since this might be my last post before Christmas, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year with this cute Christmas carol. 


In January, Ryland lost his first tooth, later on another one, and then over the summer, the two front teeth.  This picture was taken in July. 

All I Want for Christmas
Is My Two Front Teeth

Don Gardner

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,
My two front teeth, see my two front teeth.
Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth,
Then I could wish you “Merry Christmas.”It seems so long since I could say,
“Sister Susie sitting on a thistle.”
Gosh, oh gee, how happy I’d be
If I could only whistle.All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,
My two front teeth, see my two front teeth
Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth,
Then I could wish you “Merry Christmas.”Click here for the music.

 still toothless

This is now.  He’s still missing one tooth.

December 19, 2006 at 10:30 pm 22 comments

Bahaw at Tutong

February 24, 2008 update: 

This article was originally published in Pinoyatbp.

Alas siyete na ng gabi at sinabihan ko na ang mga bata na maghain na para naman kami ay makakain na at ako’y gutum na gutom na.  Kinuha ko ang rice cooker at iniligay ko sa gitna ng hapag-kainan.  Isa-isa nang nagsisandok ng kanin ang aking mag-aama.  Pinauna ko na sila at katulad ng dati, ako na naman ang nahuli.  Napansin ko na sadya nilang iniwasan ang bahaw na nakapatong sa bagong saing na kanin.

“Guys,” ang sabi ko sa kanila, “ilang beses kong sasabihin sa inyo na uunahin n’yong kunin yung bahaw bago n’yo sandukin yung nasa ilalim.”
Kaya ako na lang tuloy ang kumuha at kumain nung bahaw.
Naalala ko tuloy nuong teen-ager pa kami ng sister ko.  Nakitira kami sa Auntie ko sa Maynila nung nag-abroad si Mama.  Mabuti na lang at mabait si Auntie at kinupkop niya kaming magkapatid kahit mayroon na siyang tatlong anak.   Naging isang malaking pamilya kami at lagi kaming salu-salung kumakain.
Isa sa mga bagay na hindi ko malimutan duon sa panahong inilagi namin sa kanila ay kapag nag-re-reklamo si Auntie na walang ibang kumakain ng kanyang sinangang.  Hindi kasi katulad ko na ipinapatong lang ang lumang kanin sa bagong saing, siya ay matiyagang nagsasangang ng tirang kanin.  Sa loob-loob ko naman, bakit niya pinagtitiyagaan at hindi na lang yung bagong saing din ang kainin niya?
Ngayon na lang na may mga anak na ako saka ko siya naiintindihan.  Ayokong masayang at itapon ang lumang kanin dahil sayang ang perang ipinambili ko nuon.  Magastos magpakain at magpalaki ng mga anak kaya kailangang magtipid kahit na yung karampot na kanin.  At saka isa pa, mas gugustuhin kong ibigay sa anak ko yung bagong lutong kanin na malambot kaysa duon sa lumang kanin na medyo matigas at minsan ay may tutong pa. 
Tutuo ito hindi lang sa kanin, kung hindi sa ibang pagkain din.  Kapag mayroong piniritong manok o baboy na medyo nasunog, hindi ko iyon ibibigay sa anak ko at kung alam kong kakapusin ang ulam ay ako ang kakain ng sunog na manok.  Ganuon din sa toast o cookie.  Kung alin yung mas maitim, iyon ang para sa akin.

Ganito yata talaga ang mga ina.  We want to give the best things that we could possibly give to our children.  Nagsasakripisyo tayo para maibigay sa kanila ang gusto nila.  Katulad nung minsan, gusto ko sanang manuod ng concert ni James Blunt.  Kaso mo natapat sa Halloween night.  Alam kong gusto ng bunso kong anak na ako ang kasama niyang mag-trick or treat at hindi ang kanyang kuya.  Kaya nawalan na ako ng interes na manuod ng concert.  Saka isa pa, kailangan kasi ng mga bagong jacket ng mga anak ko dahil maliliit na yung ginamit nila nung isang taon kaya duon ko na lang inilaan yung dapat na pambili ng ticket.
Naalala ko tuloy yung sinabi ni Teri Hatcher (Susan Mayer from Desperate Housewives) sa interview niya nung pino-promote niya yung kanyang librong “Burnt Toast and Other Philosophies of Life.”  Sabi niya, “I watched my mother eat the burnt toast.  I watched her take what is the last, the worst, self-sacrificing up to a bad point.”  Or something to that effect.
burnt toast

Sinulat ni Teri Hatcher sa kanyang libro, “Up ’til now, I ate the burnt toast. I learned that from my mother — metaphorically if not literally.”  Patuloy pa niya, “This habitual self-sacrifice was well intended, it’s a mixed message for a child. It taught me that in order for me to succeed, someone else had to suffer. I learned to accept whatever was in front of me without complaint because I didn’t think I deserved good things.” 
Naisip ko, hindi nga magandang example sa mga anak natin iyon.  Natural instinct ng mga ina na mag-sakripisyo at unahin ang pangangailangan ng mga anak.  Pero kailangan din natin na bigyan ng panahon ang ating sarili.  Para naman matutunan ng mga anak natin na bigyan din nila ng kahalagahan ang sarili nila.
Katulad ko, lagi ko na lang iniisip, sana meron pang kanin na hindi bahaw, o sana meron pang natirang pancake, o fried chicken na hindi natusta o sana meron pa akong matirang perang pambili ng bagong blusa. 
Kaya ngayon kapag may ipinabibili ang mga anak ko, tinatanong ko muna sila kung importante ba iyon. Baka pwede munang ipagpaliban.  O kung kailangan talagang bilihin, yung medyo murang klase na lang muna ang kunin.  At nung isang linggo nga, kaunti na lang kasi yung natirang lumpia mula sa handa nung nag-birthday ang aking panganay.  Ipauubaya ko na lang ba sa kanila yung natirang lumpia?  Pero bihira lang kaming makatikim nuon at gusto ko pa rin namang kumain nung natirang lumpia.  Kaya hinati-hati ko sa aming lima.  Hindi ko kailangang i-deprive ang sarili ko ng masasarap na bagay.  Sabi pa nga ni Teri Hatcher, “we should find a balance where everybody gets something.”  Sang-ayon ako sa kanya.

December 7, 2006 at 11:59 pm 2 comments

Bahaw at Tutong – My first Tagalog post

burnt toastEarlier this year, I watched Teri Hatcher (Susan Mayer from Desperate Housewives) in interviews when she was promoting her book titled, Burnt Toast and Other Philosophies of Life.  She said, and this explains the title of the book, “I watched my mother eat the burnt toast.  I watched her take what is the last, the worst, self-sacrificing up to a bad point.” 

And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I am like that.  I don’t eat burnt toast but I do eat the burnt fried chicken, the burnt cookie and most usually, the left-over rice (bahaw) and sometimes the crust (tutong) at the bottom of the pot.  And this is what I wrote about in our current topic at Pinoyatbp., “Sana Meron Pang….” 

Bahaw at Tutong is a special post because not only is this one of “My Life as a Mom” posts, but it’s also the very first Tagalog post I have written.  When Patrice informed me that our first topic was “Sana Meron Pang…,” I knew this was what I wanted to write about and it has got to be in Tagalog.  I have been here in Canada for 17 years now.  Not that I don’t speak my native language anymore.  I can still converse in fluent Tagalog.  But I hear people talk and I converse in English everyday and also most of what I read is in English.  So my written Tagalog tends to be rusty. 

I didn’t think I could pull it off.  But I started writing my post in Tagalog and the words just kept flowing.  Although I struggled a little bit with some of the words. 

Listen to this conversation I had with my sister on the phone:

Me:  Lina, di ba meron kang makapal na Tagalog-English dictionary?  Pakitingin mo naman kung ano ang translation ng deprive.

Sis:  Ah teka.  (Kinuha ang diksiyunaryo) Eto deprive, agawin.

Me:  Agawin ba?  Hindi yata ukma.  Paano mo ba ita-translate yung “Ayaw kong I-deprive ang sarili ko ng masasarap na bagay?”  Tama ba yung “Ayaw kong ipagka-ila sa sarili ko?”

Sis:  Ipagkaila?  Hindi yata tama iyon.

Me:  Oo nga, hindi nga yata tama. 

The following night, she called me back:

Sis:  Ate, ipag-kait ang translation ng deprive.

Me:  Ay oo nga ano?  Saan mo nakita?

Sis:  Wala, basta naisip ko lang.

Me:  Ipag-kait nga pala.  Pero hindi bale na.  Nai-submit ko na yung sinulat ko eh.

Sis:  Ano’ng inilagay mo?

Me:  Eh di i-deprive.  (Natawa sa sarili.)  He he he. 

My post, Bahaw at Tutong, is now up at Pinoyatbp.

February 24, 2008 update: You can now view this article here. 


For those who don’t understand Tagalog, you can read an excerpt of Burnt Toast and Other Philosophies of Life at

December 7, 2006 at 7:06 pm 37 comments

Pinoyatbp. is back!

Pinoyatbp. is back on-line!


Last year, I had the pleasure of contributing a few articles to this Pinoy group blog.  This time, Patrice invited me to be a part of the group as one of their writers and of course I gladly said yes. 

Pinoyatbp., translated in English, means Filipinos and many more.  It is a community blog that offers news, articles, recipes, etc. written by fellow Pinoys from all over the world. 

So c’mon, check us out at

December 1, 2006 at 10:38 pm 20 comments

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