I'm just a small fish in a small corner of this big Laguna, and this is how I've been swimming it

29 June, 2011

blog design dilemmas

    The two moms of TCBOB (The cutest blog on the block) are great...check out their site, I get my backgrounds from there, and am in the process of adding "LinkWithin", for photos and previews of other posts to appear below each current post.

    I just wish I had their skills!

    Obviously, something is up with this blog---the background is covered by a white foreground, I have removed the header photo of the Santa Rosa signage, and in general...this page is just not pretty!

    And it is taking me a looong time to fix it.  I enjoy learning this and designing this blog...I guess the laptop I'm using just isn't quick to help me. Plus, I have very little time to actually do this.

    Blah blah blah...hope to get back to this soon!

24 June, 2011

Rain in Santa Rosa

...feels moderate all the time.  There is a strong tropical storm, "Falcon" passing the northeast area of the country, and Manila has been flooding again.  Traffic was terrible today what with non-stop rains.  Here, it was on/off rain, wind and now at midnight, calm.  When Metro Manila began flooding during Ondoy, we were largely unaffected. Well, the technopark side of Santa Rosa, that is.  There were areas down at the bayan, starting from bgy Balibago and down to the Laguna Bay area, that were waist deep in water.

Many times, were enjoyed sunny skies while Metro Manila was dark and rainy.  Of course, this is due in part to our location away from the ocean, with the Tagaytay ridge bordering the flat lands.

While it is a blessing to live in mostly pleasant weather with moderate, refreshing rains here, we are no less sympathetic to everyone stuck in traffic or wading through floods. I know I often sound too enthused about this place to friends and relatives...but the truth is, watching traffic reports on the nightly news really makes me glad I'm away from that stressful city. Now even typhoon reports make me doubly relieved I'm not there. We do worry about everyone else.


20 June, 2011

Happy 150th Birthday Jose Rizal!

     I searched in vain for some ceremony or activity to attend in the Santa Rosa area on Jose Rizal's birthday.  There were many parties, concerts, a run, film showings, all in Metro Manila.  Other provinces had their ceremonies, and I never even got around to finding out if there was anything going on at the bayan ng Santa Rosa. 

     My plan was to actually avoid Calamba on Sunday, June 19, knowing the President would lead rites there, and that there probably would be activities all day.

     By 3 pm, I was itching to really go SOMEWHERE close, feeling strangely celebratory.  I think the excitement had something to do with just BEING in Laguna, being near Calamba.  We went to Calamba, exiting Bgy Don Jose, Paseo area via Eton. This drive to the town center takes around 20 minutes. I was hoping that museum hours would somehow be extended on this special day.  I had assumed it would be open today, Monday, too.  After all, it is a National Holiday.  Why wouldn't the Rizal Shrine hold special hours?

    Well, festive, it was, by the church, which is next to Jose Rizal's ancestral home. There was the familiar smell of a marketplace, even if the Calamba tiangge and public markets were away, near SM Calamba.  There was also the smell of oil frying fishballs, but it wasn't good as usual. It was like some kind of cheap, greasy, oil, not appetizing at all.  People were milling everywhere as mass went on...as well as people positioned among vendors. I saw a small hunchback walking in front of me, and a crippled man sitting by the church gate, one palm up asking for alms, one palm grasping  cane.  I bought some sampaguita from one of five vendors outside; I said no thank you to friendly teenagers selling mini replicas of the famous giant palayok--a major landmark in Calamba (which we failed to see on the trip).  The beggars outside the church, the street food, the wares--all the requisite provincial town plaza elements were there. But I was unrealistically expecting more "Rizal's 150th birthday" souvenirs, I guess.  Like the cupcakes I saw a child holding at the Luneta shrine, shown on the news later in the evening.  Then again, I would prefer puto or kakanin.

    There were crowds within the house's grounds too, but the guard told me the museum was closed. I had wanted to just take a photo with the boy Rizal in the garden...but gave it up. The rain continued and it was muddy. Strange again, I still enjoyed the brief stop and walk in the rain. 

    I guess we had missed the parade of floats, as they drove by us, paper and flowers soaked, wilted...but it's alright.  Living here, we have our pick of days to return to Rizal's Shrine now.  Another good thing about living in Santa Rosa :-)

    Anyway, this is what happened in the morning of Sunday:

<iframe src="http://www.gmanews.tv/evideo/82306/ub-pnoy-pinangunahan-ang-pagdiriwang-ng-ika-150-kaarawan-ni-rizal" frameborder="0" style="width:480px; height:400px; display:block; background: black;" scrolling="no">This page requires a higher version browser</iframe><br /><a href="http://www.gmanews.tv/">For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV</a>

10 June, 2011

Crafts fest in Sta. Rosa

     Crafts Fest is the name of a small corner inside the MI department store in Waltermart Santa Rosa.  When we arrived two years ago, there was no South Supermarket (see old post), and Rustan's was (still is) a mini-grocery.  SM Sta. Rosa was too far and really, the cashier lanes took too long.  We tried grocery shopping at Waltermart and it wasn't a pleasant experience.  The store is old, tired, small. The vegetables weren't fresh, and generally shopping there was such a chore.  We appreciated the small Booksale branch, and Robinson's Handyman. Next to the Japan Home Store was the Value Shop, which was a department store filled with cheap, poor quality goods. 

  We then stopped shopping at Waltermart and opted for SM, Rustan's, and whenever we could, South Supermarket in Alabang.

  I returned to Waltermart only for specific things, like the plastic sheets outside the Value Shop. There were rolls of sheets meant for use as table cloths, and sold by the yard.  There were floral designs, clear ones printed with designs, various colors, lace designs.  They were cheap. I got some for outdoor tables, I got some to catch the baby's mess on the floor as she dined.  I had just started to play with these sheets, when they disappeared. The Value Shop became MI Department Store, with slightly better-quality goods, but very very loud booming noisy music blaring. 

  I still like to go there once in awhile---because of the small corner with the sign CRAFTS FEST at the top, at the Expressions store within the store.  They have scrapbooking doodads--ribbons, trim, shapes, stickers, many cute things. They have Korean stationery, assorted beads sold by the cup, cute novelty pens.  These are things many women of all ages still love collecting, using, or just looking at.  Eye candy.

  Running a search just a few minutes ago, I found that another blogger from the area posted about this place.  She took photos too, better ones.  Why do we love these little things so?

  The ribbon and trim cases say Momotaro. I had no clue these existed. So cute.
    Then I remembered a set of trimmings I got there last year. They were branded Momotaro too. Check out the site and drool! http://www.momotaro.com
Then I realized I have a wallet in the same seafoam green color, a Venzi notebook with the same seafoam green.  Really, little things like matchy-matchy small statio things do make many women like me...happy even in our forties. We are that simple.  More complex is my desire to own/run a Momotaro store! haha.

    About that Venzi notebook...we got that in National Bookstore last year, along with other colors.  Check out http://victoria.com.hk/html_files/products.html

     These are two Korean notebooks my sister and I picked up at Php49.50 each.  I had dragged her to Waltermart to show her this cute little corner, and separately we both were attracted to the notebook on the left. While cursing me for making her spend on little things like the bookmark set and sticky notes shown below, she was undecided on the notebook (which she didn't really need).  I check the pile of 4 pieces, and found the one on the right at the bottom and flashed it to her.  Then it was a no-brainer. 

    My frustration with many 'cute little things' in this country is that they are of limited inventory. I asked the salesgirls when delivery of new trim will arrive, and they didn't even know.  There is never any guarantee of having the same item available.   Even that Venzi notebook from National Bookstore seemed a one-time deal.

    So now I don't even know when a trip to this Expressions for new stock will be worthwhile.  Sigh...I do miss Carolina's at Market!Market!, and it's been ages since I last went to Divisoria. 

Black-naped Oriole (oriolus chinensis yamamurae)

     Finally shot the Orioles we hear at dawn.

    ONLY with CAMERAS please! 

01 June, 2011

New roads, car stickers and rice paddies

     Residents of Ayala Land villages this side of Binan and Sta. Rosa, get the Greenfield Parkway stickers for a shortcut to home.  We exit the SLEX via Mamplasan, and go through the parkway.  It is a big deal to be skipping the traffic when exiting via the Sta. Rosa toll exit. Going past and reaching the Paseo de Sta. Rosa area via the Eton exit is alright, scenic, but more expensive and longer. 

   Recently I learned there is yet another stretch of 'scenic' road from Mamplasan to the Laguna blvd, and that cuts through the entrance of Verdana Mamplasan, and the Tamayo estate, among others.  I hadn't heard about this place before, so I really don't know if there are lots for sale, or if it is some sort of club.

   I actually hope the rotunda from the Greenfield Parkway to Verdana never changes.  There are rice fields, their accompanying egrets, and banana plants by that small roundabout.  It's nice and green, and I consider it very important for our children to view it. When I was growing up, we passed roads to Pasig with rice fields as well. I remember my mother practicing driving with us as passengers...and my fear of her driving us to the edge of the road into a muddy paddy.

   Driving through the new roads to Nuvali, I still saw some cows, and various birds.  I believe the bird population from the Laguna blvd. to Nuvali has dwindled though...

   So I guess I can't decide...rural or urban. I want to live in both.

Not Sonoma

   Yike, I just saw banners along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road in front of Laguna Bel-air, of Sonoma...and their background looks something like this blog's current design. That was the blue spring one with bubbles and white flowers. You're looking at "Glisten 3" with bird, by TCBOB's Ashley.  Thank you TCBOB it's pretty!

   I'm not affiliated with any real estate developer. Not at all.  I'm partial to Ayala Land, but I do not sell property, I do not have anything to do with them or any group.  This Sonoma is an Empire East development. It is just a coincidence that my choice of this "spring" design from "The Cutest Blog on the Block" looks like their ad's background.  

   It is hard to choose a design from TCBOB...there are too many cute ones! Anyway, summer is officially over, it is June, and PAGASA has declared the start of the rainy season. So I will change the design. 

    For free blog designs, custom designs and more:

   They're great. They make blogging sooo much fun. Thank you tcbob!