Friday, April 08, 2016

Bien and Elle are moving up today

The School of Academics and Arts (TSAA) will be having its moving up event today. So Elle Marie and Bien Mary will be officially done with their Grade 4 and Kinder 2 schooling. Congrats girls, am very happy.


Last Monday, they have a special event at the school, 9-10:30am for the pre-schoolers and 10:30-12 for the grade schoolers.


The program, Elle's classmates on the left, Bien's classmates on the right.


The school's wall inside the lobby. These are the paintings of grade schoolers, Grade 1 to 4. I think some painting by the Kinder students too.


The small stage in the lobby. More paintings hanging on the ceiling.


Inside Bien's classroom. Teacher V asked them to spell some words, later asked them to write their answers to some basic math questions in  addition and subtraction. They also have a short dance number. Us parents were watching at the back.


Then they watched a short video presentation of their photos this school year. Having some laughter and play before watching the video.


On one wall of Bien's classroom.


One dance number that Elle and her classmates performed.


Inside their classroom, they have a few short games.


They wrote in this wall their description and feelings about the school.


Then back to the lobby. The last activity was an on the spot painting by the students. Well not a full painting, they just have to finish a pre-painted frame, add things that come to their imagination.



Joseph discussing with his mom, Elle and Mark.


The moving up ceremony will be held 9am today at The Spotlight MAC Center, The Circuit, Makati. I saw the place yesterday, beautiful. Nice lights, great sound system, comfy elevated seats.

Paro airport, Bhutan

After a cancelled  flight from Bangkok to Bhutan last November 22, 2015, our flight resumed the next day,  November 23. We went to Bhutan to attend the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia Conference 2015. This is Bhutan International Airport in Paro, another province about 1 hour by car  from Thimphu, the capital.


Just a medium-size building in traditional Bhutan architecture.


These 3 photos I got from the web. The airport and the runway is surrounded by mountains on all sides -- front, back, left and right of the runway. Bhutan being mountainous, the valley in Paro seems to be the widest flatland area in that country, that's why the airport was built there.


Before the plane reaches the runway, it has to  negotiate huge mountains and fly in  between some of them so that when it reaches the runway, it's already on a low altitude so that it can brake faster and not reach the end of the runway that is facing another small mountain.


Just huge and  wide mountains. Many are fully vegetated, others have only grasses. These mountains could be almost solid rocks, little top soil to support trees.


Some lowland areas are used for agriculture and residential purposes. Some deforestation should be due to harvesting of wood for houses and furnitures.


An example of a mostly rocky mountain.


Lots of rivers in between mountains. This long and winding road could be the road connecting Paro and Thimphu, running along a river.



The plane has passed the taller mountains, negotiating a descend towards the valley. A temple and few houses on  the right.


A small farming village near the airport.


These structures look like a school. Across the river is the runway.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Taj Tashi Hotel, Bhutan

Finally, I have visited Bhutan, last November 23-25, 2015, when I attended the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia conference 2015. Venue was Taj Tashi hotel in the capital city Thimphu. It is a grand, esoteric, eloquently designed hotel in that place in the Himalayas. It is also an expensive hotel, perhaps the most expensive in Bhutan, but the conference organizers were able to get a good discount for the international participants, several dozens of us from Asia, US, Canada and Germany.


I did not take a panoramic shot of the hotel but here's one from the web. Really beautiful.


Back view of the hotel, the people were my co-participants in the conference. On the left is the main restaurant, on the right is the main conference hall.


Outside the conference hall.


Just outside the main restaurant is this mini-temple.


Buddha in the middle.


Restaurant, view from the outside.



Another view from the back.


Outside the fence, I think it's a government office, or a small hotel.


My room. When I first saw it, I felt like a prince. It was huge, my bed can accommodate 3-4 people. Behind the bed is the toilet, it has a heated towel rack, heated floor. They helped a lot because late November, it was soooo friggin cold for me.


My work area plus a flat tv nearby. Behind me is a sofa.


Again, my bed. I and about 2 dozen other foreign participants were supposed to stay at the hotel for 3 nights and 4 days but our Bangkok to Paro, Bhutan flight on November 22 was cancelled, so we stayed at an airport hotel in Thailand that night. Which means we stayed in Bhutan for 3D/2N only. Well, others for another day for a tour.


Thanks again, EFN Asia for that wonderful conference in a wonderful country. I really enjoyed my stay in Bhutan -- very friendly, warm and gentle people.

The hotel staff, ahh, they are very polite and friendly. Thank you guys.

Bien and Elle photos, and no helper again

The pictures of the two girls are piling up in my laptop, I need to remove or delete some of them, by posting them here. Below, Bien when she was 1-2 years old.


Bien has a special beauty and alure. Natural beauty.


At The Luxe condo swimming pool at BGC Taguig, when a friend used to stay there and we visited her.


Beauty enhanced by a tree.


Some of Bien's wacky poses. Bottom right, with one of our kittens then, Minnie.


Elle Marie is also beautiful. I always tell her that since she was our first child, she was my first darling daughter and she gave me much happiness more than 9 years ago when she was born.


Among Elle's favorite activities when she's on a beach is building a sand castle.


She likes drawing and painting a lot.


And reading Thea Stilton, Geronimo Stilton books.


Meanwhile, no helper again, for three months now. Our 14th (I think) helper who stayed with us for 10 months (late February to December 2015) went home for the Christmas vacation and did not come back.


Wife has sometimes bad temper with maids. I told her that with frequent change in helpers, soon we might find a helper who, when scolded, will just keep silent and when we're away, will get back by hurting or harming the girls before fleeing. And that's one reason why I am not getting a new helper yet.  Got 5 helpers from our city in Negros already, all of them did not stay long.

Hard life somehow to endure. Five days a week, wife is away whole day after cooking breakfast. Have to wash dishes, help the girls change clothes, drive them to school at 8am, do some laundry or work briefly after breakfast. Pick up Bien at 12noon, help her with lunch, bring her to sleep, carry her to the car while sleeping, drive to pick up Elle Marie at 3 or 3:30pm, buy food, fruits at the local public market (every 2-3 days as I don't like stocking food at the ref for several days), drive back home, cook light dinner if there's no more viand. When wife comes home at 6 to 8pm, she's tired and either do some games to relax or check her emails. I can work straight only from around 8 pm to 12 or 1 am.

But life goes on. On April 8, the two girls will be moving up. Elle is done with Grade 4, Bien done with Kinder 2. They will be moving to Grade 5 and Grade 1 respectively this coming June.

My problem is when I have to give some talks, or attend some lectures/seminars and no one to pick up Elle. Like tomorrow, while wife can pick up Bien at noon and bring her to work, Elle will have to join a female classmate in her house then I or my wife will pick her up later.
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See also:

Life Without a House Helper, April 05, 2014

Elle Marie and Bien Mary in Christmas 2014, January 04, 2015

TSAA Entrep Day, Part 2, October 27, 2015

My young lady, Elle Marie, November 15, 2015

Sunday, March 06, 2016

UP Sapul reunion, batches 70s and 80s

Last night, I attended a great, fantastic reunion of the UP Samahan sa Agham Pulitika (UP Sapul), batches 70s and 80s. It was fantabulously hosted by Alex Gaticales in his house in Quezon City. It was so great because I have seen and met Sapul alumni from earlier batches, plus the current officers of Sapul. Normally our Sapul reunion is only from the 80s, those with UP student numbers 79 to 83. Last night, I saw alumni with student numbers 74 (and 72?). And some flew from Capiz, Davao, HK, anthers postponed her return trip to the US, so they could come last night.

Alex, right, said that it was Popo Lotilla, non-Sapul but friend of many Sapul alumni, who suggested a reunion of the earlier batches. Then it was suggested to include us in batch 80s. He agreed.

Aileen Baviera was the main "taga kulit" for people to come, as many as possible from these 2 decades of batches. Aileen wrote to us via facebook and emails. Repeatedly sometimes, haha. And Raffy Aquino would follow up.

Among the photos last night, some photos courtesy of Bong Cruz, Edwin Anonuevo.

From left, standing: Kiko Magno, Bong Cruz, Jay Batongbakal, Ding de Jesus, ___, ___.
Sitting: me, Boying Lallana, Zeno Martinez, Edwin and wife.


From left, standing: me, Frances Aquino, Ochie Tuazon, Marilyn Alberto, Bong Cruz, Boy Dio, Raffy Aquino. Sitting from left: Princess Nemenzo, Dodong Nemenzo, Kiko Magno.


Earlier batches.


Other friends who were there last night but not in the photos here are Pepe Alcantara, Popo Lotilla, Alex Padilla.

Lots and lots of food, drinks. Beer and red wine were aplenty.


Arlene Dada-Arnaldo was the MC.


Group photo, although this was taken when many have already left.


The Jerks Band provided a non-stop entertainment for about an hour.


With 2 jammers. :-)

Band vocalist Chikoy Pura, and bassist Edwin. The performed songs by Sting, Steely Dan, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, others. Plus their own compositions like "Reklamo ng Reklamo". Great night, The Jerks band, thank you.


Ah, this photo was taken a year ago, not last night. With tokayo Nonoy Fajardo (left) and Kiko Magnno (right).


Thank you very much for that great event, Alex G. Super saya, busog-busog sa kainan, inuman, kwentuhan, kantahan.

See also UP Sapul, May 17, 2012