Thursday, November 27, 2008

Squeak, squeak, squeak

Help! How can I get rid of the squeaking of leather shoes with rubber soles? It's so embarrassing! Especially when I'm walking across a quiet room full of people working.

Sigh. Maybe it was an instance like this that inspired Marc Jacobs.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Creating hope

I just learned about World Challenge this morning and I've just spent quite some time reading through almost their entire website. If you are despairing of the world, your government or your circumstances, then I suggest you spend some time there too. The stories are uplifting but I also found them personally challenging. There are so many ways to make a difference—and what am I doing?

While you're there, and if you read about all the projects, please vote for the one you like best. This is a competition and the winner will receive US$20,000 to plow back into the project. That's a lot. Voting will end on Sunday, November 22. I've summarized the twelve finalists below—a teaser to encourage you to go to the site.

All images and information are from the World Challenge website.

World Challenge 2008
A global competition aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level.

Keystone Foundation
Keeping the ancient and sustainable tradition of the Adivasi people of Southern India, who collect honey from wild bee colonies on cliffs, alive by creating markets for wild honey

The Leakey Collection
Gives Maasai women a sustainable income, making jewelry from an abundant native grass, without interrupting their traditional way of life

Hashoo Foundation
Processes, packages and sells the honey of women beekeepers in Gilgit, one of the poorest and most isolated regions in Pakistan, to high-end shops and hotels of Islamabad

UniquEco Designs Ltd.
Cleaning the coast of East Africa from the thousands of flip-flops which wash up on shore and providing an alternative source of income for coastal communities

Oro Verde
Producing gold without harming the rainforests of Chocó, a treasure house of biodiversity, and paying the miners fairly

Yurt Kindergartens
Carrying classrooms on horses and donkeys to follow the children of Kyrgyz herders and give them the chance of education

Heiveld Co-operative
South Africa
Banding together to give the small-scale farmers of Koysan a fair price for their organic, caffeine-free Roobios tea

Shanti Sewa Griha
Building self-sufficient communities with workshops, a school and a free health clinic for leprosy victims and other social outcasts

She Hope Society
Bringing dignity and independence to the disabled in war-torn Kashmir through physiotherapy, corrective surgery, basic education and micro-loans

Escuela Agricola
Educating the smallholder-farmers of Paraguay, one of the poorest countries in Latin America where two-thirds of the land belongs to two percent of the population, about the latest organic techniques and general life skills such as literacy, numeracy, sexual health and saving money

Hawkers Market Girl Centre
Providing education and income-generating skills to girls from Nairobi's slums

Oficinas Querô
A film academy which gives the young people in the slums of Santos have a shot at a better future

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

October 2008: Happy elsewhere

One whole week with my sister and three nieces! I think I did more eating and shopping (alright, my sister shopped, I walked with her) in that one week than I did in the previous six months. I loved baby-sitting the girls so my sister could spend some undisturbed time with family and friends. I hope they can come back next year, and for a longer period!

Before they arrived, I squeezed in five performances in three weekends. Hubby-dear had to watch more. Much more.

La Bohème
Philippine Opera Company
Music by Giacomo Puccini • Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Helen Quach • Directed by Floy Quintos

Disney's Mulan Jr.
Repertory Philippines
Directed by Joy Virata • Choreographed by Denisa Reyes

Piaf: Love Conquers All
Written by Roger Peace • Director, Designer, Actor: Naomi Emmerson • Piano Accompaniment by Carmela Buencamino-Sinco

New Beginnings
Ballet Philippines
Night Creature
Choreography by Alvin Ailey • Restaged by Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish • Music by Duke Ellington
The Hurt We Embrace
Choreography by Max Luna III • Music by Jan Ap Kaczmarek
Mga Awit
Choreography by Max Luna III • Music by Michael Dadap • Lyrics by Nelson Navarro
Thresholds II
Choreography by Alan Hineline • Music by Jerome Begin

Master Class
Philippine Opera Company
Written by Terrence McNally • Directed by Michael Williams

Saturday, November 8, 2008

September 2008: Happy elsewhere

My very late chronicle of what I watched in September.

West Side Story
Stages Production
Book by Arthur Laurents • Music by Leonard Bernstein • Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim • Stage Direction by Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo • Musical Direction by Gerard Salonga

Isang Panaginip na Fili
Dulaang U.P.
Written & Directed by Floy Quintos • Music by CJ Javier • Choreographed by Van Manalo
Photograph by Joel Reyes

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute
Philippine Opera Company
Directed by Kokoy Jimenez

La Revolucion Filipina
Ballet Philippines
Music by Ryan Cayabyab • Choreographed by Agnes Locsin
Photograph by Victor Ursabia

September is also when I met with blogger friends Cheyenne and Christine. Chey came to Manila for a week and we met for lunch at the People's Palace restaurant, where we had a Thai curry overload. It was great meeting you, girls!

Also during this month, I learned a lot about the inner workings of online and cellphone payments—much, much more than I ever wanted to know.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Of blogs, time, and family

First of all, I would like to apologize for not logging in for a couple of weeks. When my sister told me around mid-October that she and my three nieces were coming to Manila for a week-long visit, I decided that I wanted to spend all that time with them and I asked for a vacation leave from work. Which meant that I had to make sure that I tied as many loose ends as I could before my leave started. Then I also had to have the bathrooms in the house repaired—something I'd been putting off for some time—which meant going out to buy all the materials and fixtures needed then scheduling the plumber.

The week that they were here was wonderful! At least, for me. I can only hope that 'my' girls had a great time too.

I'm back at work now, and of course I'm having to catch up with everything.

And not just at work, but also at home. My clothes are just stacked up on a dresser and I have yet to store the mattresses properly (I wrap them up in black plastic to keep them safe from pests, dust and humidity—perennial problems in Manila). I've also just realized that it's already November and I better start giving away the early Christmas presents which I bought back in February (gosh, how time flies!).

Finally, I also have to catch up with my blogs and those of my friends.

I've been pretty faithful in posting to My Manila (though I haven't been able to respond to any of the comments there these past couple of weeks either), which is now part of the City Daily Photo portal, but I've slowed down quite terribly with Happy at Home. I've never considered myself a writer and I actually started Happy at Home as a challenge to myself, aside from wanting—no, needing—to share what I've learned over the years. But generating ideas for blog topics can be time-consuming, sometimes I need to research, and I still don't find writing any easier even after a year of semi-regular writing. A photo blog is so much easier to maintain. The text can be minimal and it won't matter much, and the photo itself gives my writing focus.

Anyway, I hope I can get back on track soon—with all aspects of my life, not just my blogs. I seriously have to rethink how to spend the limited time I have to myself. I guess it's something we all have to go through every now and then. And that's good.