NAIA revisited
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It’s my first trip out of the country this year.
My husband and I decided to meet the Dutch in-laws to celebrate his birthday.
It’s been a while since I blogged about the worst airport in the world, also known as NAIA Terminal 1.
While it’s great that the terminal fee has been lowered from Php 750 to Php 550, one still wonders where all that money goes?
Perhaps we need a Benhur Luy kind of whistleblower to let us know exactly what happens to the terminal fee.
Because as far as I know you can buy a can of paint with Php 550? A can of paint to fix certain portions of the airport, such as this check-in counter.
I mean look at this afam* checking in at Business Class.

NAIA revisited

Actually no paint job can fix this. This counter needs to be changed like five years ago.

NAIA revisited

I can think of a couple of reasons for whoever is curating the shops at NAIA: either bad taste or corruption or both.
I mean look at these shops—do they even make money? Who is the target market of these stores?
Tourists with bad taste? I mean check out the names…

NAIA revisited
NAIA revisited
NAIA revisited
NAIA revisited

Look closely—there is a walis behind the dried mangoes. Who the freaking hell wants to carry a walis in the airplane, do tell??

NAIA revisited

Let’s check out the ceiling.

NAIA revisited

Neil Armstrong was not here.

NAIA revisited

And it’s not art.

NAIA revisited

Hoping this ceiling will not collapse

NAIA revisited
NAIA revisited


NAIA revisited

OK, this kind of looks like art.

NAIA revisited

Terminal fee can buy cans of paint, people!

NAIA revisited

And if you look down you’ll see the sorry state of the carpet.

NAIA revisited

I mean the carpet looks paper-thin.

NAIA revisited

Thank God five international airlines are slated to move their operations to NAIA 3—including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air, KLM and Emirates—according to ABS-CNN.
I have never been to NAIA 3, but once I set foot in there, do expect a review from me. XO


Muji opens at Ayala Center, Cebu
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Japanese lifestyle brand MUJI recently opened its seventh store in the Philippines at Ayala Center, Cebu.
The 417-square-meter store is located at the mall’s new second-level expansion wing, and is home to a complete selection of furniture, housekeeping tools, kitchen and dining utensils, storage solutions, health and beauty products, travel accessories, men’s and ladies’ apparel, stationery, and food items.

Muji CebuMuji Cebu
Muji Cebu
Muji Cebu
Hard Carry Cases with Wheel Brakes
Muji Cebu

In the Philippines, MUJI is exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI) with locations at Robinsons Magnolia, Power Plant Mall at Rockwell Center, Greenbelt 3, SM Mall of Asia, Shangri-La Plaza East Wing, and Ayala Center Cebu. Muji will reopen soon at Bonifacio Global City Central.

Good news! Ilabas ang fur!
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If things go well, we should be experiencing cold weather until the second week of March this year.
Therefore, ilabas na ang fur, ang Ugg boots, ang scarf at iba pa!

MANILA, Philippines—Metro Manila on Saturday morning recorded a 16.9 degrees Celsius, the lowest temperature since year 2014 started.

16 degrees

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the coldest temperature was recorded at 6:20 AM at the bureau’s science garden in Quezon City.
The temperature in Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Bicutan also dropped to 18.30 degrees Celsius at 5 AM, the state weather bureau said.
Last Sunday in Baguio City, the mercury dropped to its this month at 8.1 degrees Celsius.
Pagasa said the cold weather, brought by the northeast monsoon or “amihan” in the country will continue until the second week of March this year.

Thank You Lord!
Cecile van Straten


How the kids found out about Santa Claus
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I still remember how I found out who Santa Claus really is.
It was Three Kings Day, January 6, the ’70s.
We used to get really cool presents on Three Kings Day, sometimes even more special than Christmas presents.
My favorite Three Kings presents were temporary tattoos and Action Transfers—remember those?

Letraset Action Transfers 'Space Adventure/Meteoroid Menace' 1968

One Three Kings Day my sister and I found a baby doll crib and sheets under the tree.
On its plastic cover was our names written in Pentel Pen (or marker to you) by what looked very much like my mom’s handwriting.
“It’s mom’s writing,” my intelligent sister thought out loudly.
Oh my God.
We woke up my mom to ask her, and she confirmed it. Not only was she Santa Claus, she was also Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar.

We Three Kings

My sons are now 6, 10, and 12.
A couple of years ago the two elder boys started hearing in school that Santa isn’t real.
Not wanting the spoil the fun for the little one I simply told them, those who don’t believe in Santa don’t get Santa gifts. So both elder kuyas continued to “believe.”
Each year I would think very hard how to make the packaging believable, not even using my own handwriting.
This year I ordered personalized Christmas sacks from the U.K. They were gorgeous.

Santa sacks

The little boy got Playmobils from Santa, while I ordered two iPad minis for the bigger boys.
The iPad minis were purchased in Hong Kong by Tita Grace because they were a cheaper by a couple of thousand each.
I was so proud at what I did. We even spread a trail of “snowflakes” on our doorstep.

On Christmas eve, the boys got scared when they saw the “snowflakes.” They thought someone had broken in—like someone from the North Pole maybe? I wondered out loudly. Duh??
And then they saw the Christmas sacks, opened them and saw the iPad minis.
“This isn’t possible,” Markus said, shaking his head.
“Am I dreaming?” Ben said.
They were so happy they high-fived each other and went to bed.

On January 4, while we were checked in at the Raffles Hotel for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, the boys searched for their new iPads to bring down to the ballroom, just in case.
That was when Tita Grace casually told Ben, “Oh, I bought those in Hong Kong you know.”
Ben’s eyes grew and whispered to me he knew I was Santa.
“Please don’t tell Markus and Chris,” I said.
Ben promised.

A few days later while having lunch at home, Markus asked me in between bites, “So how do you get our teeth from under the pillow without anyone noticing?”
“What?” I said.
“You’re the Tooth Fairy right?”
I looked at Ben. “You told him!”
“It’s OK mommy. I knew you were Santa. I just wanted to get the gifts,” Markus said.

For a while there I didn’t know if I wanted to kill Grace or thank her for sparing me another year of staging a North Pole invasion in our living room.
I decided not to get mad at her. The boys are after all growing up. It would be ridiculous to have a teenager writing to Santa next year.
Anyway, I did save some money on the iPads. So thanks, Grace! I guess.

Those interested in the Christmas sacks, here’s where to order.

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