Birthdays: More fun in the Philippines
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Birthdays aren’t big in Holland, or so my husband says. He doesn’t really care about birthdays and presents.
When I asked him what he wanted to do this year for his birthday, he said he wanted to check in the Raffles Makati and not work. He then informed his staff that he wouldn’t report to work on the 22nd. Instead, he asked them to order food for the office on the 21st.
This is what greeted him when he entered the office this Thursday morning.

Jeroen loves his staff and going to work and he told me tonight that he really felt loved by them.
He felt like a rockstar with everyone taking pictures with him.
He blew out the candles

Jeroen, 43

They decorated his corner

Balloons for Jer

They gave him a Beef Pepper Rice cake, which he took home 🙂

Pepper Lunch cake

“Everybody gave me a gift and they showed a video of stores wishing me happy birthday. Very touching how they love me,” he said.


Then everybody ate. Because food is love 🙂

birthday food

As you can see, birthdays are more fun in the Philippines.
Happy birthday love!

The first troll
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The first time I ever heard of the Internet was during the early ’90s when I was studying in New York.
My dad told me to get a modem so that he and I could chat. But during that time I didn’t understand the importance of it. Then the first CyberCafe opened in 1994.
When I went back to Manila in 1995 I experienced the dial up at my parent’s house.
By 1996 I was already online trying to create my own website from HTML. I wasn’t good at it.
I started blogging at Blogspot in 2001 and moved to Livejournal in 2002.

Prior to Livejournal I didn’t know any internet troll. We were unbashedly sharing thoughts at Livejournal and then one day someone left a nasty comment on my blog. I was shocked. I checked that person’s page and saw that it had an entry bashing me, among other popular Livejournal users. I swear to God, I never thought bad things could happen online. That was 14 years ago.
Soon an online hate community started in Livejournal. It was a locked community with less than 20 members. My friends and I started to block all its members and lock our own blogs. I had the guts to go public with my blog in 2004. That’s when following grew.
My friends and I traced the leader of the group and found her to be one ugly bastard. They say there’s always an ugly bastard behind a troll. No wonder she hated everybody.
Her power diminished as people started to leave Livejournal for their own domains or stop blogging completely.

Online hate has grown to evil proportions since then and blogging is no longer what it used to be.
We accept paid posts because it keeps us busy, it earns money, and it keeps the blog alive.
Many people complain that they miss my old entries that were more personal, but when I post them once in a blue moon, the trolls come out of the woodwork. So what would you do in my place? You can’t blame me.
This is also why I would rather delete negative comments than reply to them and defend myself. It only encourages the trolls. You can’t win.

As for the first troll we encountered, I checked and she was still with Livejournal in 2014, one of the last users in that outdated site. I wonder if all that trolling has made her a happy person. I doubt it.
Lots of young people now grew up with the Internet while my friends and I are so glad we were already adults when we started.
Now you have all sorts of trolls who leave evil comments with their phone. You don’t even need a computer to ruin someone’s life. There was a time when I spent most of my time online, blogging up to five times a day.
Now I’ve decided less time online. I watch more movies, I go out and shop and travel without photographing everything. I’ve decided to live more.
Now if only there would be an official online identity card so that everyone will be accountable for their comments.

The gift of windows
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A little girl drowned on Sunday, died last Monday, and all the parents on Viber and WhatsApp groups were abuzz, horrified, saddened by the loss of this child.
We didn’t know her but we all felt for the single young mother, the other victim and their families, and the classmates left behind.
We prayed for the mom the night we found out because the child had surely gone to heaven.
I myself was holed up in the study room of our house, lying down on a mattress on the floor, because our bedroom’s windows were under renovation. When they took out the windows, it looked like movie set. I felt so unsafe.


There was dust all over and I was getting very sick. I was coughing, with chest pain.
Emotionally I was in a bad mood. Everything was making me angry.
I decided to leave home and check in at our studio here at Shang.
My friend Rem and her daughter Kimi were kind enough to keep me company while Jeroen stayed home with the boys.

Last night was one of the loneliest nights I’d experienced, not knowing how many days I would have to stay at the condo. I was simply lonely without my boys. I missed being with them and kissing their faces.
Had she been alive, I would have flown to Hong Kong with my friend Penny. We would go shopping and come back when my room was clean and habitable.


I don’t know what is worse: the dust and chaos at home or the loneliness at the clean condo?
I chose the condo, but thought that I should’ve gone to Hong Kong. What stopped me was the thought of trying to get my passport in the dusty room and this event I have to be at on Monday.

And so last night as I tried to sleep in this new environment I couldn’t help but think of the mom who lost her child. The pain I felt was obviously nothing compared with the pain she will bear for a lifetime.
And I prayed for her that she will have another child or two, even if no child is replaceable.

At first I thought I would be here till Tuesday but I received word that our windows were finished today.


Cleaning has started and tomorrow I’ll be back for sure. What this whole exercise taught me is that only my family completes me. I have also decided to donate glass windows to a family in Bohol that needs them badly.
Thank God for finished windows.


Hello Alden! That’s not Sacai
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Dear Alden,
Where are you? Eat Bulaga is not the same without you. In two words: so boring.
Please come back na.
P.S. Just saw your latest calendar for the apparel brand you’re endorsing.
Love you but—it’s not Sacai. (Just saying).
P.S. Love you.

Alden Richards Nike Lab x Sacai
L-R: Alden Richards, Sacai x Nike Lab

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