32 flavors

what phrase is assigned to 32 anyway?

i’ve been inactive on facebook for about seven days now. some time between those days, i turned 32. so far, it’s nice to be out of the calendar and frankly, out of social media (at least for a bit). i thought it was noble of me to deactivate so as not to bother people in remembering my birthday. that way, i had thought, i was giving them an excuse not to greet me and so save them from my ire (and wrathful vengeance, bwahaha) for not remembering.

i figured that because they had no way of knowing, i could be lenient for not getting well wishes. but then i received direct messages and text messages so i figured if i were really important to some people, they will find ways. ways to not forget my birthday and ways to let me know i am remembered.

what does it take for some people to remember? do i have to die or something?

i had to reflect on that. i made a list of the people who greeted me via text and direct message. these are the people who are really, really close to me and to some extent, truly value me. i know i told my friends i did not wish to celebrate any more of my birthdays but that did not stop them from making time for me anyway.

you see, kung gusto, may paraan. and you probably know the rest. 😉



I couldn’t wipe the silly smile off my face as soon as we set foot on the set of Papa P’s soap. It’s not my first time on a set, on location, with crew people milling about, carrying huge lights and rolling cameras. I was telling Ate Adah as we sat by the chillaxin’ tent (you know where the production team stands by) that my goofy smile wasn’t going anywhere.

If you’ve known me for quite some time, you know how I’ve been rambling on and on about wanting, wishing, aching to meet Piolo Pascual. And if we’re really, really close, you’ve seen me shed a tear about it and you’d have rolled your eyes and laughed at the scenarios I played out. You would be thinking, ‘Xaris, that is just so ridiculous!’ We would have laughed while I wiped tears away.

For years and years I would talk about nothing else but plans on how to meet Papa P. I mean, I plan on these things. I go through every possible scenarios and ascertain the odds will be in my favor (hahaha!).


yes, i was crazy.

So it’s kind of unreal that I went to the set wearing the same clothes I wore the day before, without my kikay kit (I even had to borrow a friend’s eyeliner!), on my Sunday’s best (heels on set, not a very wise choice for footwear),  on the day I would meet the love of my life.

Without warning, there he was, walking towards us, smiling and aiming for a beso with my friend (chill, not to me. We just met. Haha). ‘Piolo, si Xaris.’ He smiles at me and says, ‘Hi!’ I say ‘Hi’ back and it’s so weird that I wasn’t screaming or tearing up or psychobabbling. Because gosh, I am capable of doing those. Heck, I even planned on it. But there was nothing. I wasn’t kilig. Weird.

(Oh but he’s so gwapo. As drop-dead gorgeous as he is on TV and print.)

I could go on and describe every detail I got from meeting him but I don’t want this to be about Piolo being so gorgeous or me being so favored. The only thought running through my head from the time I got Ate Adah’s message the night before up to that time I was staring directly at the guy of my dreams was, ‘Wow, Lord, thank You!’ I was thanking Him for the nice weather, the opportunity to check this off my list, meeting new people (Direk Jerry in the flesh! Hubes and Iza and Jess! Moi and Mond), the pleasant waiting time… every minor and major thing I could think of. Just, wow, Lord, thank You!

So I want to highlight Jesus in this experience. If it weren’t for Him, the giver of perfect gifts, maker of dreams come true, granter of heart’s desires, this whole thing would be meaningless. It is weird that I didn’t feel all the feels necessary to make this blog kilig-worthy and I thank God for that. I really thought that meeting Piolo would be the highlight of my existence. And it’s not. I’m glad it’s not.

The highest pursuit of my life will always be Jesus. And if you’ve found the Love of your life in the Lord, no one, not even Piolo, can compare. 😉


My Week in Bullets

  • I’ve been challenged to post 10 books that have stayed with me and contributed to the person I am today. Here goes…
    1. The Bible. My favorite book is Revelation.
    2. Anne of Green Gables,  Lucy Maud Montgomery
    3. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
    4. Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis (My favorites are The Last Battle and The Horse and His Boy)
    5. Left Behind for Kids, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
    6. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnet
    7. The Adventures of Tintin (yes, that should count!)
    8. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
    9. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
    10. Leo the Late Bloomer, Jose Aruego


  • Speaking of books, I hung out at the ATS Library one time and I found myself browsing through the card catalog. I miss the smell of old index cards mixed with old wood! As I was leafing through one drawer, the librarian came up to me and told me to use the computer instead because the catalog there is more updated. Hahaha, I may look young but I’m actually a hundred and eight years old! Of course there would be computers available! What was I thinking? I got all the books I needed and found very interesting other ones and I was thrilled to know that I could take the books home *squee* Being back in the library felt like I rekindled a flame with a long lost love.


  • Despite the mega-complaints about our jurassic MRT services, I found myself taking the train to work (oh but LRT 2 does not compare!). I love the purple lane for various reasons: 1) it’s purple; 2) the cars are more spacious; 3) on days without students, the air-conditioning is superb; 4) it’s very near my house; 5) it’s very near where I work; 6) it allows me sleep in more (I can wake up at 9am and still get to work at 10am!) and; 7) it’s purple. The only thing I don’t enjoy about riding this line is sharing it with male students and young professionals who do not offer seats to the elderly or to women! It baffles me that they are students and professional, presumably educated and yet without manners. What is the world coming to? My values are too old school, is that it?

happy new year!

January 2014 took long enough! I can’t believe it’s only been a month and a half since the new year rolled in. It feels as though I’ve been crawling through 2014 for months now when it hasn’t even been a hundred days.


I’m trying my best to be chipper about the whole thing because January actually brought me a lot of firsts. And while I’m thankful that I have survived needless drama during that time, my brain needs a major reboot because it’s been sending meltdown signals.


Or maybe because it’s that time of the year. You know. Hearts. Ugh.


Anyway, I’m trying something new. I came across the blog of Chinie Hidalgo Diaz, poetess extraordinaire of the Blair Bitch Project. (Pardon me for the word but that’s really the title of the series.) It’s been a decade since I last read her work and stumbling upon her blog (and twitter and facebook) revived something in me. I remember pledging that when I grow up, I will be as cool as her. Because she is just so fab!


She tweeted me on Sunday, which super made my day. :)) Fangirl feels!


So now, I’m inspired to doodle my life away just as she does now. If I could only pry the ipad off my little brother’s hand, I think I’m all set. Meantime, hello MS Paint/old school pad and pen! We meet again.


The Legend of Billy the Eagle

I don’t usually say it out loud (too often if at all) but I like hanging out with our Pastor. So because of his injury a few days ago, we decided to come visit him after SOL Finals just to update him of our activities in the last two days we haven’t seen each other. Hahaha, yes, clingy much.  Over late dinner and ice cream in his house, we were able to cover topics from how the finals went, who would probably pass (not Jessa, hahaha) and whatever else we did since we were last together.

Our story-telling eventually led to pet-tales and the legend of Billy the Eagle.

Some say it was a true story. It’s hard to say, really. But for the sake of anyone reading this, this is the tale of Billy the Eagle…

There was once a magician who had an assortment of birds and reptiles in his home– magic lair, if you will. He became amused with this high school boy from Caloocan who was equally fascinated by the wonders of magic and animals. This magician owned a Philippine eagle. There was a time when eagles roamed the sky (at least some owner’s patch of the sky) free. Because the magician grew fond of the boy, he gave him the eagle. The boy hurriedly cleared out his pigeons in their cage and made it the new home of Billy the eagle. Billy and the boy bonded, and Billy was well fed with critters and chickens and monkeys and fish.

One day, because the boy outgrew his fascination with the eagle, Billy felt like it was time to fly. And Billy the eagle is now the logo in one dome along Katipunan Avenue.

Hahaha, okay, that wasn’t how the story went but some parts of it are really hard to absorb! I think Pastor Dave is rummaging in his photos of yore to locate proof of this amazing tale. Not that we doubt him but there’s always something about his stories of boyhood that are hard to believe.

Like he’s a batang kalye. Or that he collected texts and comics. Or that he was the gagamba-gangster-head in Cebu. Or that he was a pigeon-master!

Because when you look at Pastor Dave now, it’s just hard to place. But I do love when he talks about things like that. It makes him relate-able and human. Our conversation went to street games we played as kids. He talked about the 70s while most of us recalled the 90s. It’s just really great that we were all part of that generation where games actually required social interaction and physical sweat and tears (and blood, sometimes!).

Even when Pastor Dave was confined in a plastic cast and had to hobble around in crutches, we had a grand time reliving childhoods decades apart.  And for a short moment, it felt really awesome to have played luksong tinik, luksong baka, syato, taguan, agawan base, habulan, luksong lubid, chinese garter… collected gumamela, santan, salagubang, tutubi… ate through candies and chichirya… with these grown ups we looked up to.

I had to ask around his family if they knew Billy the Eagle. They confirmed the verity of the tale. It’s pretty awesome, too because then we’d know  that we’d probably grow up in stature anyway because the leader we’re following turned out to be a great Christian leader.

pix 5

‘There’s an eagle… when you look inside your heart…’


In 2007, some of the graduates from my church decided to do a Bible study with Pastor Dave who succeeded Pastor Bob’s Senior Pastorship. And because the Paul-Timothy program was ongoing at that time, the boys were all lining up to be mentored by Pastor Dave.


Tito Dave agreed to hold sessions in his home but with a dire warning of remaining a teacher only and none of the life-sharing stuff. So the boys all met every Thursday for three months. In July of that year, we girls (Ate Riz, Ate Ivy, Ate Normi and I) sat down for one session and have come back every Thursday since.

As for Tito Dave’s teacher-only status, well, let me just say that he and the group are now in a raid-your-refrigerator level.

I remember when the girls would have a separate session with Tita Nory, Pastor Dave’s wife. The guys will move to the lanai while we stay at the kitchen sharing all sorts of stuff. One Thursday, because the girls outnumbered the guys, we had a joint session. I remember Kuya Nikos chronicling the event as they (the guys) seal one season of their BS Group.


For the first years of TG, we all had taken turns in leading the Bible Study. For one season, we did character studies and learned about the lives of famous Bible people. Ate Riz took on Thomas and for a while we called ourselves Friends of Thomas. The guys naturally joked around and said they’d study Judas and rename our group Friends of Judas. It never really caught on. Hah.

And so people have come and gone the Lascano meeting place and we have covered topics like SBCC’s Statement of Faith, Cults and Occult, Escatological views (big word!), Manuscript Bible Studies, Inductive Bible Studies, God’s Will, How to Prepare a Sermon, How to Preach, The Sabbath, and so much stuff in between.


So much stuff in between means drama, drama, drama, out of the country trips, out of town trips, food trips and Christmas parties.


Our resumes would all look good if we put in all the topics we’ve discussed as a group but really, we all still have a long way to go. But that’s not to say we didn’t get anything out of the Thursdays we spent together.

I used to be the youngest in the group and I have seen how my Ates and Kuyas grew before my eyes. I am always proud to call them role models (eeeeeven though they fail an awful lot of times) so much so that I got around my QLC phase just fine. I don’t say it as often as I should but I am thankful that I got to be who I am today because they all had a contribution. So if my standards are unbearably high, blame them. That’s all of them put together. 😉

In the original group, Kuya Nikos and Kuya Jasper were the ‘inviters.’ I swear they were the types who tagged anyone along. Usually because of ulterior motives, hahaha, but that’s okay since we meet new people that way. Ate Riz was always the devil’s advocate, trying to make sense of what was not said. It always adds to interesting discussion points and that’s how we all get to exercise our noodles. Ate Ivy and Ate Normi were fans of Tita Nory. They really like picking up points from her in the wifery side, getting ideas of what it’s like being married to a Pastor.

Now in 2013, there are 24 people in the Thursday Group group, at least three cars parked outside the Lascano gate every Thursday, more than 10 pets that have lived and died (Kevin, Florida, Aramani, etc), three continents that were visited, several out of town trips, five weddings, tons of tissues spent, truckloads of coffee consumed, and so much life-sharing in between.


From a Bible Study group that just met, TG has become a home, a place of solitude people can run to midweek.  Thursday is Thursday and no other day has become quite like it.



Isn’t it great that mortals are designed to have sanity-upkeep activities so that they may retain their well, sanity? While I’m all about the crazy times (and I have been getting a lot of those lately), there’s nothing like a quiet evening at home, reading, writing, making arts and crafts or baking.

(I get a kick out of saying I bake. I don’t really. I just follow what my discipler tells me to do, hehe)

One night, I got the urge to bake something and decided to employ my little brothers in a kitchen-fun night. We thought about making cookies but I did not know what shortening was or where to find it so we looked up recipes that did not require that ingredient. We then decided on baking brownies and dump ice cream on it when it’s cooled.

I thought about cutting the ingredients in half since we’re only going to make a batch that’s good for the three of us. It’s pretty cool that we have every ingredient and tool ready; we even got to practice math skills as we divided fractions (half of 1/3, half of 1/4, etc).


Like a boss. The batter went well. The consistency was okay, it was chocolatey enough and we found a small pan that can fit the brownie mix.

I pre-heat the oven like the recipe said and when that’s done, I set the oven to 30 minutes. For the first ten minutes, the house smelled of brownies that I feel like I should get a Martha Stewart sash and crown. By the time it hit 15 minutes, something smells burnt so we looked into the oven (with a flashlight even!) to check on our brownies. It looked okay so we didn’t mind the burning smell. And then we knew it was really burnt when there was smoke coming out of the oven. Hahahahaha.

bake2We ended up making BURNies!

Ate Dot checked up on our baking project and discovered that I did not adjust the heating circulation thingy gauge in the oven and it was on high heat. Since our batter was cut in half, it baked quickly. The burnies turned out to be crisp (like cookie/cracker) and the top was so burnt, it was black (like asphalt). It did taste okay but the burnt part was screaming ‘this is cancerous, don’t eat it!’ LOL. The brownies were messed up but I was happy just the same. Good thing they brought home sweets from the wedding or we wouldn’t have had dessert. Hashtag-happyfail.

Anyway, that’s what happens when you bake without parental supervision.