i turned 28 last monday! and here are 28 things i loved about my birthday!

1. checking into the fullerton hotel with marlon on saturday. finally, all the clues revealed! (mad props to cris for figuring out the photo!)
2. the super duper high bed in our courtyard room. i want one now!
3. the high ceilings in the room!
4. the view of the river from town, the fullerton’s main restaurant. with the pretty white trellises twined with bougainvillea, it just felt so colonial and fresh and precious! hahaha. it was nice to finally be on the other side of the river and seeing the view.
5. just lazing around with a copy of eldest, the second book in the inheritance trilogy. i had been hankering for a long stretch of time to just burn through the book and i finally got it!
6. getting to wear my hot pink maison martin margiela sandal boots! i got them at the barney’s warehouse sale in new york and have only worn them once. these shoes make me feel like a million bucks!
7. the beautiful fullerton all lit up in the evening!
8. just having the esplanade across the road :)
9. a surprising sight from home… an ifugao dance at the esplanade lobby! it turned out to be a dance troupe from a university in tarlac, flown in for the singapore dance festival.
10. fantastic orchestra seats to dunas, a performance by flamenca maria pages and contemporary dance artist sidi larbi cherkaoui, to music by composer szymon brzoska. again, care of my hubby!
11. MARIA PAGES. OMG. the goddess of flamenco. powerful, regal, passionate and completely committed. there were really no words to describe her dancing. i must have cried at least 3 or 4 times during the performance. i really had no idea i could be moved to such an extent by a dancer.
11. SIDI LARBI CHERKAOUI. beautiful, inventive, honest and just so totally free. this artist can do amazing things with staging and production, surpassed only by the things he can do with his body. one of the most jaw-dropping parts of the dance was when he literally became like flowing sand dunes, rippling and tumbling and shifting all over the desert. yung tipong sinabihan siya ng “okay. you are sand. blow around the desert. go.” then he just goes “okay!” and completely transforms.
12. the music of dunas, by szymon brzoska and ruben labaniegos. a combination of western music, moroccan and arabic motifs, and flamenco… even with some early music thrown in for good measure. the perfect complement to a stunning performance. please if you ever find yourself in a city where dunas is showing, watch it.
13. the post-show dialogue with the artists, describing their journey and their creation. i loved seeing maria’s personality in particular, since she can just seem so godlike and imposing when she dances. she was completely endeared to me when she described how one part of the dance was conceptualized. she clapped her hands together gleefully and cried, “i want to be a tree! can i be a tree?”
14. two words. chocolate. buffet.
15. after all that sweetness, we suddenly craved for salt. so although we agreed to forego dinner, we ordered up a big plate of fries from room service and spent the last few hours of saturday reading in bed and satisfying the munchies. mmm.
16. waking up to my wonderful hubby. :)
17. spending pretty much all of sunday at the poolside like a pair of old white rich folks, baking in the sun in lounge chairs, reading and snacking on bar food.
18. speaking of ang moh tourists, there was an old white-haired french couple i loved sneaking peeks at. when she thought no one was looking, the old lady would pinch her husband’s butt. hahaha. sana maging ganun kami ni marlon.
19. speaking of marlon. his company all weekend was the cherry on my sundae, the icing on my birthday cake. :) more than once, he remarked, “i feel like it’s my birthday!”
20. buffet dinner at town. did we really need another buffet? not really. it was yummy though.
21. birthday breakfast at town on monday morning, my actual birthday! where marlon presented me with my birthday presents…
22. my new braun hair iron! bad hair days begone!
23. my new set of bobbi brown makeup brushes! this will stanch my craving for makeup classes for at least a few months. good thing there’s youtube!
24. mostly skiving work on my birthday. hehe.
25. the sumptuous dark chocolate opera cake the office got me for my birthday. there are so few people in the office now that everyone got to have a nice big slice and i still got to bring a full third of the cake home!
26. a tiny slice of birthday cake every day! not good for my waistline but it has certainly made me feel like the whole week was my birthday!
27. opening facebook to a flood of greetings on my wall!
28. feeling loved and happy all week! i couldn’t have asked for a better way to turn another year older!
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7-month roundup, part 2

the first and probably the last time that i will ever do this in my life: hop on a plane to attend a birthday party in europe. i can never forget the night my sister called me to say that uncle david had generously offered to have us at his big 70th birthday bash in brussels. i was jumping up and down and shrieking like a madwoman. i can’t even begin to describe all the visa drama, all the knuckle-biting will-we-make-it-or-won’t we. but we did make it.

and it was wonderful being with family again. i’ll say that again: family. even though i’m sure half the guests was wondering who the heck these two asian chicks were. it means as much to me that marlon met the hargitts as he did my family in india, mostly because i had never thought it could really happen. 

a birthday toast to the man himself

i met kathy, davey and patrick’s kids for the first time! meeting marie, nathanael, ayla and dimitris was like meeting characters in a book. i had grown up hearing all about them as they grew up (with the exception of dimitris, who was born just last year). i almost couldn’t believe i had never met them. it was like meeting anne of green gables or meg murry!

with gorgeous marie

nutty nathanael

patrick with dimitris and ayla

more dimitris! *squee*

i had my first taste of belgian beer. now i know what i was missing during all those childhood visits to brussels!

for the first time ever, i attacked the mind-boggling fresh seafood platter at brasserie georges with gusto. it had always completely repulsed me when i was a child and mcdonald’s was the pinnacle of my culinary desires. again, now i know what i was missing!

ran all the way through brussels airport. don’t ask. it was right out of the amazing race. i’m just glad we made it to the flight on time, because otherwise these next few firsts wouldn’t have happened at all…

i visited the beautiful spanish town of malaga, on the costa del sol…

view from the castillo de gibralfaro, one of malaga’s moorish legacies

outside the museo picasso (he was born in malaga)

one of the chiringuitos a.k.a. grilled seafood shacks along the beach

… and ronda, in my beloved andalucia, for the first time.

ronda’s famous puente nuevo. i once saw this in a nick bantock book, but i had no idea it was going to be this massive or this breathtaking!

truly one of the most beautiful towns in one of the most beautiful regions in the world

in malaga, i saw my first flamenco concerts — as in all singing, no dancing. photography was forbidden in the theater where marina heredia performed, but in the little neighborhood pena (club) where i saw luis perdiguero, i was free to take all the pictures i wanted. 

in ronda, i stepped into my first bullring

and it was my first time to be in a location once featured in a madonna video! lol!

i got stuck in a foreign country for the first time, getting my first ever airline-sponsored overnight stay in amsterdam, where i just about had enough time for lunch at maoz (brilliant but cheap falafel chain i discovered in barcelona a few years ago) and a visit to the van gogh museum… which is still more than i ever saw during my week-long visit with the glee club many years ago.

queuing for almost an hour outside the van gogh museum

the requisite canal photo

i love maoz! pwede kayang i-franchise sa manila?

hmmm. is that it? it seems my life ground to a halt after i came back from europe in april. how sad…

oh! i started yoga.

and OMG!!! how could i forget?!?!?! i bought my first designer bag! my beautiful, beloved miu miu gray coffer!!! and i now know why some women call their bags their ‘babies’. miu miu is love :)

now suddenly more than half the year is over. and there are new dreams afoot, new adventures on the horizon. time flies, indeed…
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