REPOST: Don’t do this at home

I’m reposting this due to the recent incidents of fire caused by sky lanterns.
Please be aware that these are banned in countries such as Singapore, Australia and the UK.
There is even a UK website dedicated to letting people know of its dangers.

Yesterday, 12 fire incidents were reported around Metro Manila on New Year’s eve, some which have been linked to sky lanters.
“In one incident in Quezon City, a sky lantern was suspected of having caused a fire along Commonwealth Avenue. The fire developed along Pag-ibig Street, affecting 15 houses and destroying an estimated. P300,000 worth of property destroyed. According to investigators, residents reported seeing at least 10 sky lanterns landing on their roofs before the fire started past 1 AM. No injuries were reported.” Source

The following entry was originally posted last January 31, 2012.
Please read and be aware that while fire lanterns may be pretty, they probably belong in a beach resort and not a crowded town or village.

* * *

I’ve been quiet for a while due to something horrible that recently happened at home.
It started on the evening of Chinese New Year. Jeroen and I were doing our nightly stroll around the village when we spotted some Chinese neighbors in red, launching a paper lanter in front of their home. I had never seen anything so pretty. I asked where they got it.
“Regina’s, Greenhills,” the man said.
On January 25th, I bought two of each color at Regina’s. Only 49 pesos each! I thought that launching a bunch of them from our green roof on Jeroen’s birthday dinner would be a great idea, sort of like this.

After a wonderful, casual dinner with friends, about 20 of us went up to the roof garden, excited to be out on that cold night.
Patrick, a Xavier alum, was assigned to light them up with Jeroen.

Chinese lantern

It was a windy night, certainly not a good time to launch them as we found out later

Chinese lantern

The first one went up nicely into the sky

Chinese lantern

The second one went up just as a strong wind came and blew it down to the neighbor’s roof, which was right next to our bamboo trees!
For the next few (extremely long) seconds, panic ensued. We were screaming, jumping, yelling for water and hoses, hugging each other, and finally praying out loud (that was me by the way shouting, “God PLEASE! Help us NOW!!!”) when suddenly I heard some of my friends say, “It’s going up!”
At that moment the wind calmed down, the hot air pushed the red lantern safely up into the sky.
Patrick launched a third one as it was already being lighted when trouble happened. After that I told the maids to throw everything away.
Do NOT do this at home I tell you. It is extremely dangerous, bad for the environment, and illegal in some countries due to incidents of fire.

When that was over, we all went down to heave a general sigh of relief. We hugged, drank, ate more food and told stories until the last two guests left at 4 AM.
The following day I had another answered prayer: Naumi Hotel responded positively to my request for a discount on my no-show fee.
Just when I had given up hope and left everything to God, He saved me.
I was back in Church on Sunday.

I’ve lost my mojo

You may have felt that I have lost my mojo to blog.
I started blogging 12 years ago in 2000, when I was stuck at home, pregnant with my first child.
By 2004, the blog became popular and took off. People became interested in buying ads and putting out press releases, and I was excited to accept them.
By 2012 I was earning more than a Cathay Pacific Second Officer. But all the work kind of ate up my soul.
I found myself writing about things I’m not particularly into, though I tried very much to write about things that mattered to me.
One of the things I’ve been fighting for—the renovation of NAIA—has yet to happen, even though the President has promised it would happen last year.

Lately I’ve been thinking of Market Manila and how he has consistently refused monetizing his blog.
A few years back he surprised us when he announced he would stop blogging, but got back to it after a few days.
As of now I have no desire to open my laptop. Not interested in emails.
I prefer watching mindless downloads and Apple TV, reading books, or fixing the house.
I’ve also been fixing my studio with the help of Kellyn See and Rex Gapuz, which should be done by February as I wait for my customized wallpaper from the UK.
This is a work in progress. I wonder if I could blog better here.

Work in progress

My friend Victor in Paris said I have out-Starcked myself. I think I can out-Starck Philippe Starck. I can work for yoo!!
I am kidding.
But years of staying in nice hotels have taught me a thing or two about what makes a nice room design. Thanks to my Philippine Star editor Millet Mananquil, whose assignments have changed the way I see hotel rooms, and architect Ed Calma, who changed the way I view bathrooms.

But I digress. This 2013 I have made a few goals for myself:
1) to get down to my ideal weight. This obsession with weight loss has made me sick since November 15th by the way.


2) To choose my blog sponsors and write more about things that matter to me.
3) To go back to God and the church.
4) Renovate our house.

A brief CV:
My first job was at the Philippine Daily Globe around 1989-1991.
I left the job to study fashion at Parsons, New York from 1991-1995.
I worked as a fashion designer and shop owner in Manila from 1995-2000.
Met Jeroen in 1997, married in 2000, became a mom in 2001 and quit retail to become a stay-at-home mom. I also started blogging.
In 2004 after my second baby, I applied for a job at the Philippine Star, which opened many doors. My blog took off after this.
In 2008, Pepper Lunch opened, which changed my life forever.

Now that 2013 is just around the corner, I feel tired and menopausal. I feel the need to step back and think about what’s important to me.
I feel the need for less attention. I want to simplify, take a look inside, and think about what’s next for me.
I do believe in constant evolution. I am not sushi chef Jiro Ono who can do the same thing day after day, year after year.

Sukiyabashi Jiro

And with that I would like to take a short blog break until I get my mojo back and choose carefully my sponsors for 2013.
I do thank you for your readership. I read every single comment and take note of both positive and negative feedback. I may not act upon them instantly but I take many of them to heart.
Here’s wishing all of us a healthy and happy new year, with God’s blessings.
Meanwhile, I’ll see you on Twitter and Instagram @chuvaness

Zac Efron or Harry Connick Jr.??

Last Christmas, while waiting for the clock to strike 12, some of us were left talking to relatives we don’t normally converse with.
I overheard my young niece talking about her friend who sold a water bottle Zac Efron drank from when he was in Manila.
So I bragged that I stole Harry Connick Jr.’s Coke can after his PICC concert.

Harry and the can of Coke

Last March 2008, Harry Connick Jr. had a can of Coke brought to him during his Manila concert.
I watched it like a hawk. After the show, I snuck up to his roadie and asked for the can of Coke, still cold, and drank from it.
“Yuck!” my nieces squealed as I told them the story on Christmas eve.
“Anong yuck? That’s his DNA!” I explained that the Coke was especially delicious since it was flown in from the Coke plant in Atlanta.

Harry's Coke. From Atlanta!

As a Coke expert, I can tell you Philippine Coke is nothing compared to Atlanta Coke.
Japanese Coke is also one of the world’s best.

Japanese Coke

But I digress, my teenage niece went on further to say Harry Connick Jr. is also “yuck!”
To which I replied, “Are you kidding me? Zac Efron is like the grossest thing on earth!”
Not being an old hag here, I happen to get Justin Bieber. I think he’s crushable. Unlike Zac Efron.
And it’s not about having a generation gap. One of my biggest crushes to this day is the late Montomery Clift, who was dead by the time I discovered his films.

Montgomery Clift

Which leads to this poll:

zac-efron-john-varvatos-04 Harry+Connick+Jr+png
L-R: Zac Efron, Harry Connick Jr.

How to disconnect your Apple remote from your Mac

You know I’m a big fan of Apple TV. What I’m not a fan of is when the Apple remote controls my Mac as well.
It happened in a hotel in Paris. The Apple remote drove me crazy every time it played music and videos on my Mac when I just wanted to watch Apple TV.

Apple Remote 2009

Thanks to Googling, I found a way to stop the Apple remote from communicating with my Mac.
1) Go to the Apple menu on your Mac and choose System Preferences.


2) Choose Security & Privacy.


3) Unclick the lock to make changes.


4) Unlock.

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 9.45.18 PM

5) Click Advanced.


6) Click on Disable remote control infrared receiver.


To end, just click on the lock again, and voila, your Apple remote will no longer drive you or your Mac crazy.

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