Rapunzel's Playground

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Brand Shmand

Back in elementary, I remember proudly strutting down the school hallways with my Esprit backpack slung on my shoulders (never mind that the brown straps did not match my black school shoes) that my mom brought back for me from one of her trips to the US. Being the probinsyana that I was, I thought, "wow, I look so cool!" I remember that my most prized possessions at that tender age came from a balikbayan box and bore the name "Esprit": my yellow wallet which didn't really do anything to organize my money, my brown ankle Doc Marten-type boots which I would probably not even touch these days (too butch), a pair of jeans that I insisted on wearing every chance I had... the list goes on. I remember "discreetly" showing off my stuff in class, and whenever my classmates would ask to look at them, I would "nonchalantly" oblige, as if I didn't really care, but I would be secretly glowing with pride.

Fast forward 15 years.

Handling brand management for the company I work for has definitely changed my perspective about brands in general. What is a brand anyway? It is a trade name given to a product or service. What is its relevance to us consumers? It is a promise of a level of quality a consumer can expect from the brand. Are some people better than others because they prefer (and posess) certain brands? No.

Apparently, though, some people still think so.

A few days ago, I was waiting for the elevator when a girl I worked with came up beside me. She was wearing a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. Since the office dress code was corporate, I asked her, "Hey, why are you in jeans? Did you go somewhere?"

She said, "yeah, I went on an ocular inspection for the sports fest. Grabe, It was so hot outside!"

"Talaga? I bet." Then I glanced down at her white sneakers. I noticed that I had similar ones, not exactly identical, but from the same design family. So I mentioned, "hey, I have kind of the same sneakers, only mine are beige."

She looked at me disbelievingly. She lifted the leg of her jeans to show off the brand name seared at the ankle flap, showed it to me, and then looked at me with an annoying are-you-sure expression on her face, and said, "uh, DIESEL to."

I said, "oo nga."

Didn't I just say that I owned a similar pair of shoes? Since I did, don't you think that I would be well aware of what brand they were? Or were you thinking that there was no way that I could have owned a pair of expensive shoes like she did? Did she actually think that there was no way I could afford it? (Actually, I got them at an unbelievable knock-off, but that wasn't the point.)

Before my brain could react, the elevator doors opened and we got inside, and after 3 seconds, we were back on our floor, ungulfed with work once again, and the incident was temporarily forgotten.

The next day, we found ourselves working on something on her laptop. We were having a discussion on a presentation I was about to do in a few minutes. Then I noticed her Lacoste pouch sitting on the table (she always carries this green Lacoste pouch wherever she goes, whether it is to a meeting, or an event, or even just to talk to someone on another floor. The pouch is always within a 2-foot radius from her), so I casually asked, "hey, what's in there? I noticed kasi na you always have that pouch around, so curious lang ako what's in it."

"Ah, wait." She opened the pouch and showed me the contents. Two cellphones, a pen, lipbalm, a rosary and her thumb drive. "Some stuff lang I always have to have with me. I can't carry all of them naman just like this, so I bought a nice pouch... in Divisoria."

I was still studying the presentation on her laptop, so I absentmindedly said, "mmmm, ok."

I noticed from my peripheral view that she was still looking at me with a grin (smirk, if you will), as if waiting for a reaction. I, on the other hand, being too caught up in the thought of having to do a presentation for the management, didn't really pay attention to her.

Having gotten no reaction at all, she nudged me a little, "do you really think I would buy something from Divisoria?" Then she grinned.

Still only half-listening, I said, "uh, I don't know." Then I continued to do some revisions on the presentations.

"Of course I don't. I don't buy fake stuff." Then she grinned at me.

I discreetly took a deep breath. Hindi ko nalang pinatulan. "Ah, ok. Me neither." I smiled, then left the room.

As I recounted the two incidents to my close friends during lunch that day, we were all laughing and rolling our eyes at the same time. Apparently, this girl is a known brand whore (her friendster profile photo, after all, shows her at some hallway, wearing a yellow shirt with a huge "MANGO" printed on her chest while holding a cold Starbucks drink, logo facing the camega, of course), and they all had their own similar encounters with her. We all just shook our heads and decided that the inis really wasn't worth it, and that it was more funny and pathetic than anything else. I really have little respect for people who think the are better off than others just because they possess branded stuff (don't even get me started on Malu Fernandez).

Don't get me wrong, I am totally into brands too. I am very much partial to some, but not JUST because of the brand name and the price tag it connotes. I find that I am partial to some brands because certain denim brands fit me better, or certain make-up brands don't make me breakout in pimples, or that certain shoe brands come up with the designs I love. I choose brands because of how they work for me, not just because of what they are. We are, after all, living in a branded world, but it is not what you possess, but how you pull it off and make it work for you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Goodbye Summer, Hello Rain

I hate the summer. I am one of those people who don't find any appeal in beach-y destinations. I don't own a single pair of havaianas, and I think that the most exciting part of a trip to the beach is checking into the airconditioned hotel room.

I love the rainy season. I love it when the streets are wet, and the sky is gloomy. It's been raining a lot lately (love it), and although the streets in Makati get flooded in no time, for me it's but a minor setback.

My favorite thing to do right now is go to the friendly neighborhood Starbucks (about 2 blocks from our place in Makati) and just spend a couple of hours on the internet. The view is absolutely heavenly.

Here's to cloudy days and people who love them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bird Situation

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon. My sister Catherine was in the living room studying and I was in my room waiting for Kookie to pick me up to go to Rockwell. I just finished getting ready when I heard Catherine's voice through my bedroom door.

"Oh my god."

I didn't mind her at first, thinking she was just talking to herself. She then opened my door and peeked inside.

"Ate, may maya sa laundry room."

Bewildered, I walked out of my room into the kitchen near the entrance to the laundry room. I slowly peeked through the glass panel on the door and there it was... a small brown bird, obviously in panic at having stumbled on unfamiliar territory.

I closed the laundry room door and glanced at my sister. It had flown through the window which was slightly opened and didn't know how to get out. We watched it as it frantically tried to find a way out, but to no avail. It just kept slamming against the glass window, onto the washing machine.

"We need to let it out." I told Catherine.

"Pabayaan nalang natin dyan," Catherine said nervously.

"Eh pano kung mamatay yan sa loob?" I said, growing more and more concerned about the bird's wellbeing (and at the thought of a tiny animal trapped and dying inside our condo). "Open the window para makalabas."

"Ba't ako? Ikaw na."

"Ikaw na, darating na si Kookie."

This bird was probably terrified out of its mind, and we were standing there, unwilling to go inside and open a small window.

"Ang daya ha." Catherine said frimly, "Jack en poy tayo." This how she and her friend usually settles disputes ending in stalemates, and this was obviously the fair way to settle ours.

"Fine." I retorted.

We held our fists in front of each other and started bouncing them. One, two three... I lost, to Catherine's obvious relief.

I took a deep breath and slowly slid into the room. Once inside, the bird frantically flew around the small room, inches within me, obviously panicing at having a strange presence inside the tiny room with it. I froze, frantic myself for the exact same reason. I shrieked and looked through the glass door through the kitchen. Catherine was watching my every move, obviously glad it wasn't her inside dealing with the tiny bird.

I went outside, shut the door, and thought for a minute.

"Bigyan nalang natin ng food para ma-distract while you open the window." Catherine suggested, still obviously glad she didn't have to open the damn window.

"Sige," I said. "Kuha ka ng bigas."

"Ba't bigas? Spaghetti nalang."

"Bigas nalang."

"Bigas? Kumakakain ba ang mga ibon ng bigas?!"

"Nakakita ka na ba ng ibon na kumakain ng spaghetti?!?" At this point, I was just worried that Kookie might be arriving already and would have to wait inside her car just because we were too chicken to let a little damn bird out.

Catherine paused for a second, realizing it made sense. She fetched a pinch of bigas, and tossed the grains inside the room.

I then slowly sneaked inside the door.

"Maglilinis ako ng condo pag napalabas mo yan," Catherine offered, trying to give me moral support.

The bigas trick seemed to work because the bird didn't mind my entering the room a second time. I slowly picked up a mop that was leaning on the wall and used the handle to push the window open. Once open all the way, I quickly left the room and shut the door to the laundry room.

We both watched as the bird finally flew out the window and we both heaved a sigh of relief.

I recounted the whole story to Kookie as we were driving to Rockwell a few minutes later. We were both laughing so hard at how idiotic our predicament was, and how even more idiotic the way we dealed with it was.

Oh well, at least we wouldn't have to deal with who would take care of disposing a dead bird inside the laundry room.

And thanks to Catherine who lived up to her word, the condo is spotless.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Countryside Comedy

I've been busy the past few weeks with nationwide expansion projects, and as a result, I've been able to visit a few places around the country. Each place I've been to has its own unique beauty, and I've come to love every city. There were some moments though that made me stop for a moment and think, "what the...?"


We took the 5am flight to Cagayan De Oro, and I was the first in our group to arrive at the airport. I was patiently waiting outside the departure area when my officemate called...

Officemate (a bit flustered): Girl, asan ka?
Me: Outside the departure area, waiting for you. Asan ka?
Officemate: Eto, binababa ko na yung gamit ko, in line na. Where are you?

I looked around my surroundings for her. Seeing no sight of her, I asked her...

Me: Where are you exactly? Are there any signs above you? What do they say?
Officemate: Wait, 'pre-de-par-ture-area, A-sian-spi-rit..."
Me: Girl, Philippine Airlines tayo...



We were launching in Tacloban, and the same offimate and our boss were looking around for a token to present to our guest speaker. There were no malls in Tacloban, but I remembered visiting a mini-department store during my ocular visit there a month back. I told them to ask around for a store named "Kevin's"...

Boss to tricycle driver (there were no cabs in Tacloban: Manong, sa Kevin's po tayo.
Tricycle driver (confused): Huh, saan po yun?
Boss to tricycle driver: Sige ho, di bale nalang.

The tricycle driver drives off. Boss and officemate hails the next tricycle that comes along.

Boss to tricycle driver: Manong, alam nyo po kung saan yung Kevin's?
Tricycle driver (with the same confused look as the first one): Ano?
Boss: Sa Kevin's ho, sa KE-VIN'S.
Officemate to boss (impatiently): Mother, wag kang magsalita. Ako ang kakausap.
Officemate turns to tricycle driver: Manong, sa KIBINS tayo.
Tricycle driver: Ah, KIBINS! Sige, sakay na kayo!

(Oo nga naman.)


During our Tacloban event, we hired a local DJ to do the voice over...

DJ (announcing dinner time): The buffet table is now open. Let us now partake in the feast in store for us. BUUUUNAAAAAA - PITI!

(Bisaya and French do not mix well...)


On the morning flight to Naga, our obviously gay flight attendant was handing out snacks. He got confused and was mistakenly going to give us chiffon slices again.

Boss: We have na.
Flight attendant: Ah, we have na?

(He can relate.)


We have just wrapped up our nationwide expansion project last month, so it's goodbye to the early morning airport call times, incredible untouched scenery, fresh air, and wacky tourist adventures. I am surely going to miss it, but these memories will definitely make me laugh for a long time to come.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Of Courage

Their relationship is something that neither of them can (or wants to) define. The friendship they had has been tainted with a series of events that puts them in a very uncertain state. Whether one is just leading the other on is unclear. All that is present are vague conversations and ambiguous banter centered around something neither of them is courageous enough to say out loud.

She is cautious. She is unwilling to drop all defenses and take the giant leap of faith, especially when, in her mind, he would be reluctant to open up as she is unwilling take the risk. And although there have been a number of opportunities for him to step up and take the stand which would have made all the difference, she would unsurprisingly find him retreating into his comfort zone and choose to continue with their trivial repartee.

She is scared. He has wounded her before, and whether or not that was intentional, it has nevertheless permanently stung her, and the trust that she has once unselfishly given him is now tainted.

She is tired. The more she analyzes the situation, the more it doesn't seem to make sense. Even if one of them decides to take a leap of faith, the circumstances surrounding them both would make it even more difficult and the sacrifice they would both have to make would be tremendous.

She is pensive. Nursing the feeling would obviously bring more harm than good, as it would mean being sucked into the blackhole she has only narrowly escaped from the past. There is a fine line between recovering from only a minor scratch and having to put a broken person back together.

Over lunch with her best friend, she heaved a frustrated sigh as she tried to make sense of the situation that was almost drowning her. The last thing she wanted to happen was for the emotion to consume her. She took a deep breath, sat up straight, and lifted her eyes to meet her best friend's knowing, concerned gaze.

"I don't want him to be the one."

Saturday, July 23, 2005


"All those things we used to worry about... love life, work, life's annoying moments in general... all of that doesn't matter, now that I'm meeting God."

We were having lunch in Glorietta this afternoon, and a friend was telling us about the last thing her best friend told her before she lost her 8-month battle with colon cancer.

That time, I was in workaholic mode. I came straight from the office, planning to just grab a quick bite with them and head back spend the rest of the long weekend in front of my computer, working overtime. I have two major projects running at the moment, and I have been scrambling just to keep up with a workload meant for 3 people.

I was also very cynical, due to a recent incident with (and realization about) someone I have known for years whom I used to think so highly of, but turned out to be just another pompous egomaniac who seems like he enjoys taking other people for a ride and doesn't give a damn if he ends up breaking them.

At that particular moment, what I heard made me evaluate everything I had in my life...

My family, though incomplete, is still the most important aspect of my life. With my dad gone, my mom abroad and my eldest sister settling down in the province, we all know that we have to work hard to keep in touch and have a harmonious relationship with each other. We have our share of fights ranging from the most shallow tampuhans to the most violent domestic quarrels, but we do manage to come out of the situation stronger and tighter as a family than ever.

I have great friends, whom I know will give me the shirts off their back when I need them. I have met a horde of people through the years, but it is nice to sift through all the superficial relationships I have made and know that when crunch time comes, there will be people who will not think twice about being there through it all.

I have chosen to look beyond the conventional faith I have grown up with, and have learned to dig deeper into what I believe in. I am still in the process of figuring out where my soul will find its home, and I know that when I am ready, I will be able to completely surrender to my faith. What keeps me grounded is the knowledge that I have been pointed to the right direction.

I don't completely discount all the other stuff though. I do admit that I enjoy having a healthy social life, and that my bi-monthly spa sessions are a staple. My career is still very important to me, and I will never stop being ambitious and taking risks. I just now have a clearer understanding of what defines me, and the rest is just frosting. Maybe my life will not forever change because of that story told over lunch, but it will sure help in putting things in perspective the next time a cab driver tries to overcharge me, my supplier doesn't meet his deadline, or my love life doesn't work out yet again. It isn't so bad, as long as the really important stuff is still there.

I called my officemates who were working like lunatics on a sunny Saturday afternoon and told them that I would not be going back to the office that day. I wanted to push work out of my mind for once and just enjoy the rest of the afternoon with my sisters and my nephew. Yes, I would be paying for that spur of the moment decision by sacrificing my holiday Monday, but what the hell. I will still earn my paycheck, and I will not lose my job. One look at Pablo, my two-year-old nephew, wide-eyed, excited and in heaven inside a toy store is worth it all.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Warning! Topic is Highly "Female"

I have always been well-endowed... at least since I noticed that puberty was creeping into my system. I used to go through utter humiliation everytime my classmates would tease me about having to wear a bra when most them could make to with sandos or trainer bras. They would taunt me about not being able to jump up and down, and how everytime we were distributed one-size-fits-all t-shirts, mine would be just a little too snug in the chest area. I hated being well-endowed... at least in High School.

Let's just say I began embracing my womanhood in college. Yes, my closest friends would still tease me about it, but having gotten my higher education in a very liberal university where it was normal to not be normal, nobody really cared if my cupsize wasn't that of a typical Asian woman. "Hey, some women (and occassionally, some men) pay big bucks to have what I have. Maybe it isn't such a bad thing after all," I thought. "Thank god for my lola's genes." And so there it goes, I began to appreciate my being "gifted."

At present though, I feel like my honeymoon period with them is slowly wearing out. I am beginning to go back to my first opinion that this is more a curse than a gift. I have come up with a few reasons why...

1. Buying bras in the Philippines is next to impossible. I have to have them sent from abroad.
2. Getting massages can be rather painful as I have to lie on my stomach.
3. Watching a pregnant woman's chest balloon from a cup A to a C makes me want to think twice about getting pregnant myself.
4. Button-down shirts are unwearble without a safety pin.
5. PMS brings twice (or sometimes even thrice) the pain.
6. Certain tops which may look perfectly innocent on any other girl are in danger of looking downright skanky on us.
7. Without the right precautions, active sports can be a very painful experience.
8. Because of their weight, most of us well-endowed women develop lower-back pains.
9. For the same reason, the thought of what they might look like thirty years down the road is downright scary.

Indeed, being well-endowed is a curse in disguise.

Friday, June 24, 2005

A Thorn Among the Roses

I work for a fairly large company, where it is virtually impossible to meet and get to know every single employee. I discovered recently though, that the best way to meet the company's roster of cute guys (or in my case, just discover that cute guys are actually existent) is during the building fire drill.

We all gathered in front of the building, watching firemen put out a fake fire. Half an hour of this was enough to find out his name and department, make small talk and even get treated by him to a refreshing glass of buko juice.

Our department is made up of 6 PMS-driven females (myself included) and a middle-aged closet queen. This new development is indeed an interesting one. Hmmm. Maybe I should buy new shoes and wear make-up to work more often.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


This is the Musical Baton, as passed to me by Ivan.

Total volume of music files on my computer:
I'm not sure about the volume, but I know I have around 400 mp3s which took me about four years to collect.

Last CD I bought:
I bought 4 all at the same time:
Tales of a Librarian, by Tori Amos
Diary, by Alicia Keys
Tunog Kalye
and U-Turn, by U-Turn

Song playing right now:
An a capella version of Iris, by The Googoo Dolls, from a compilation of pop songs arranged in a capella, sang by the group Voices. (Thanks again, Dennis. I never get tired of this CD :))

Five songs I listen to a lot, and that mean a lot to me:

Tatooed on my Mind, by D'Sound
Maybe you soon forget about all
or maybe you'll miss it like I do
one thing's for sure:
I'm all knocked out
spend too much time thinking of you
And I can't get you out of my dreams
Now I know that you're the dangerous kind
and your smile is tattooed on my mind
And I can't get you out of my dreams...

Beautiful Disaster, by Kelly Clarkson
...Oh when I don't know
I don't know what he's after
But he's so beautiful
Such a beautiful disaster
And if I could hold on
Through the tears and the laughter
Would it be beautiful?
Or just a beautiful disaster...

I Can't Make You Love Me, by George Michael
Turn down the lights
Turn down the bed
Turn down these voices
inside my head
Lay down with me
Tell me no lies
Just hold me close,
don't patronize
Don't patronize me
Cause I can't make you love me
if you don't
You can't make your heart feel
something it won't
Here in the dark
in these final hours
I will lay down my heart
And I'll feel the power
but you won't
No, you won't
Cause I can't make you love me
if you don't...

Waiting in Vain, by Annie Lennox
From the very first time I laid my eyes on you boy
My heart said follow through
But I know now that I'm way down on your line
But the waiting feels just fine
So don't treat me like a puppet on a string
Cause I know how to do my thing
Don't talk to me as if you think I'm dumb
I wanna know when you're gonna come
I don't want to wait in vain for your love...

The Art of Letting Go, by Mikaila
Put away the pictures, put away the memories
I go over and over through my tears
I've held them 'til I'm blind, they kept my hope alive
as if somehow that might keep you here
won't you believe in a love forevermore
how do you leave it in a drawer
Now here it comes, the hardest part of all
unchain my heart that's holding on
how do I start to live my life alone
guess I'm just learning, learning the art of letting go...

Five people I'm passing this to:

Sunday, June 05, 2005


There's this girl from work that I've been seeing around and hearing a lot about. We have quite a few comon friends, but I've never formally met her until this week. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the person behind the kwentos is very interesting and very fun to be with. It's always fun to get to know the personality behind a familiar face.


Things have been very hectic at the office. Normally, I would drop everything and focus on work, but this time, I've learned to strike a balance. I will no longer compromise my social life or my health for work. It isn't helping that my immediate boss is just slightly more useful than a paperclip, but hey, all the more reason for me to prove myself, right?


I've finally gotten around to giving my blog a much needed facelift. It will take a while for me to get used to this new look, but I'm beginning to like it more and more.

About the Author

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I have quit trying to figure out the inner workings of God's mind. I have learned to just sit back and enjoy the ride.


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Antithesis to a Previous Life
bad influenz
Camp Vamp
chronicles of a neurotic shrink
cool place to chill out
eccentricity v01
Endless Musings
Gail's World
her stories
i raced against time... but i lost
Left in the middle
Miss Ng
Missy Misbehavin
My Haven
My Slice of Pie in the Sky
One Question
Parallel Universes
pieces of patricia.
rated R.
Sabitski Point
Sentiments of a misunderstood being
SoloFlite's Demented Mind
StarLover's Journal
The Dork Side
The Jason Journals
The Paolo Chronicles
What Mama has to say
wytch's brew

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