Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back in North America

After the holiday rush of choral performances, I found myself on board another PAL flight to California on Christmas eve. (Got the chance to meet Ryan Reyes who wears Sta. Lucia's jersey #10. He wanted my aisle seat. Lucky for him, the row before us was empty so he got an aisle seat as well.)

For this trip, I landed in Los Angeles where I was warmly received by old friends - Paul Concepcion, Ed & Annie Nepomuceno, Gelo & Evic Francisco, Emman Miranda and Dino Padallan. Jolu, Joyce Frias-Talampas' son, fetched me from the airport as the PCS-LA gang was performing at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for the LA County Holiday Celebration at the time of my arrival. We met up for dinner at Full House in Chinatown.

We split up afterwards as each one went on to one or two more singing gig/s. Paul and I went to St. Genevieve where Paul accompanied Gelo's choir for one song. Jay-R was there and he rendered a R&B version of "O Holy Night" with an a cappella back-up. Gelo went on to another gig while Paul and I waited for him with Evic and the kids (Quim and Gabriel) at their house.

We were not able to wait for Gelo. Paul brought me to Van Nuys where Ed and Dino were already waiting. Once we arrived there, I checked in online for my Northwest flight to Winnipeg via Minneapolis / St. Paul. Ed served hot chocolate. Annie arrived later and we watched SNL reruns featuring James Franco. At 4 am, after taking some photos, Dino dropped me off at the airport.

The Delta queue was so long it extended up to the curbside. Good thing I insulated myself well. Had to wait in line outside for about half an hour. The check-in took some time as the staff accommodated those flying at 6am. I had problems with my non-machine-readable passport so I was passed on from one counter to another. Patience was important considering I have not slept decently for several days and I still had two more flights to go.

Flight to Minneapolis / St. Paul was uneventful until landing time. I was asleep the entire flight and woke up only when the pilot announced the approach. (I missed the complimentary peanuts and beverage!) I think there was a crosswind at the airport right before touchdown. The plane went up and down I feared it was the end of my life! Well, apparently not.

The Lindbergh airport in the Twin Cities is huge. Had to take travelators and trams from one terminal to another. Robin Zarate emailed earlier that he has left Northwest so he has lost access to the airport. Would have been good to meet up for lunch with him, Agnes and their daughter Lizzie at the airport like we did a year or two ago. So, in solitude, I stuffed the huge Arby's roast beef sandwich into my mouth. I was so full I just kept in my bag the salad that I also ordered.

Boarding for the small plane to Winnipeg was on time. However, our departure was delayed for half-an-hour. I was seated beside noisy and smelly kids. Good thing their dad moved them to another row. And this time, I got my complimentary peanuts and beverage!

As was yesterday, going through immigration and customs were a breeze. It really pays to be honest. Miggy was there to greet me as soon as I entered the baggage claim area. He ran to meet me and I hugged him tight. Glad to be with family again. Later in the evening, our relatives gathered at home for Christmas dinner featuring lechon and Auntie Cela's traditional arroz valenciana. Debuting that night is 2-week old Daniel Stephen, the latest addition to our family.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another winter escapade to North America

Like the previous year, I left Manila for San Francisco on Christmas eve via PAL 104. On Christmas day, UA 6115 to Edmonton and AC 8514 to Winnipeg were both delayed. Ody, Ria, Miggy and Tim were all at the airport to meet me.

So many things have happened since I arrived. I will be posting these stories separately.

Will be leaving Winnipeg early February to spend some days with Al and Rela in Austin. Back in Manila on Valentine's day!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Midyear update

How time flies. Last time I posted was January 1. So what have happened since then? Here is a quick recap...

  • Spent precious moments with Miggy and Tim.
  • Helped Ody and Ria stage their house. It was fun! I was doing something I like and I was learning at the same time.
  • Saw the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
  • Enjoying the hospitality of cousins, nephews and nieces in Winnipeg.

  • Family reunion in Winnipeg. Al and Rela flew over for a week. They went back to Austin the day I left for Manila via San Francisco.
  • I bought Sibelius 5.0 from Long & McQuade in Winnipeg.
  • Arrived in Manila on Valentine's day and Harry was there to meet me. We had lunch at ATC before we proceeded to Greenwoods.
  • Wedding of Ezer (bass, Caltex Chorale) and Celine in Tagaytay.
  • Got my Globe broadband up and running on the 27th.

  • Auditioned hundreds of kids for the new M.I.L.K. Choir.
  • Juno got bumped in the butt. Major damage.
  • My first "decent" choral arrangements - "Heal Our Land" and several hymns to St. Peter - premiered by the Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral Choir.
  • Lenten recollection with Bishop Chito Tagle on Holy Wednesday in Imus.
  • Chrysm mass on Maundy Thursday in Imus.
  • Good Friday procession in San Marcelino, Zambales.
  • Black Saturday in Naga City to attend the golden wedding anniversary of Uncle Ceto and Auntie Chayong.
  • Easter Sunday in Tala to rehearse the new M.I.L.K. Choir, straight from the airport. Went to Imus to rehearse the Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral Choir.
  • My first choral arrangement with a string quartet accompaniment - "Seasons of Love" - premiered by the Caltex Chorale.

  • Renewed registration of Juno and Greenwoods house.
  • Grand time with cousins Gigi, Gemma, Gladys and Bong (with wife Eylin): buffet dinner at Fish & Co., Shangri-La Plaza and a memorable trek up and down Taal Volcano.
  • Cousin Ralph enrolled as civil engineering freshman at De La Salle University in Dasmarinas, Cavite as my scholar.
  • Performances with One AChord as guest tenor.
  • Visited Becky Alivio (soprano, Caltex Chorale) in Batangas with Sylvia (alto, Caltex Chorale) and her brother Victor, sister-in-law Mariz and niece Aleck. Becky took us to Montemaria.

  • My four choirs at the 2008 Madz Et Al Festival Series (Voyages: A Wonderful World of Music) - M.I.L.K. Choir (Wednesday, May 7), Pfizer Chorale (Friday, May 9), Caltex Chorale (May 10) and Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral Choir (Sunday, May 11)
  • Mother's day lunch with Mama Severina and family.
  • Received free Sibelius version upgrade disk from 5.0 to 5.2 via post.
  • My student driver license expired again... for the nth time!
  • Renewed Juno's registration.
  • Represented cousin Ken in the annual stockholders' meeting of The Columns.
  • Tim came back to Manila to watch Gary V and Lea, again. He is coming back in August for Cinderella.

  • Juno enters "rehab".
  • Mr. C and RCS in the Lion City... in time for The Great Singapore Sale! Made new friends: Noel, Ernie, Cathy. Met up some not-so-new friends: Babes Conde (New Minstrels), Maricel De Guzman (alto, UP Singing Ambassadors), Kiko Dimalanta (baritone, UP Singing Ambassadors), Angie Choo (The A Cappella Society, Singapore), June Baisa, Ben Sherman, Zara, Marks & Spencer...
  • My teeth were happy to see Dr. Cel Francisco again.
  • Mama Severina's surprise birthday lunch.
  • Started a recording project with Mr. C.

Thank you to my Excel calendar! Hopefully, I will be able to post the details of the entries above. I will also let you know if I missed out on anything.

That's half a year in my life... Am I too busy?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ria's New Year query

Were it not for Ria asking me if I have a blog, I would not have remembered that I do have one! I checked my blog stats and since I started it in August last year, there have only been 3 hits so far... all by me! That is as good as no hit at all! I hope to get better stats this year. To be able to do that I need to post more entries so my visitors will have more to read... not just my introductory posting.

Oh, by the way, I am in Canada now, staying at Ody and Ria's house in Winnipeg.

I left Manila for San Francisco in 24 December 2007. Ria booked me at the Crowne Plaza along Airport Blvd. in Burlingame, CA. It is just a few minutes from the airport. The bellboy who brought my luggage to my room upstairs was Mexican but greeted me in Tagalog. He learned it from his co-workers, apparently. Of course, I showed off the little Spanish I know. Thanks to 4 semesters of Espanol in UP! Right after closing the door (Sorry, no tip... I only had a hundred dollar bill in my wallet!), I took advantage of the hotel's free wifi as I lost my connection in Greenwoods more than a week before I left. Talk about being deprived!!!

At 5:00 a.m. on Christmas day, I left the hotel. Rode the free shuttle service again. A Pinoy at the UA curbside check-in counter helped me bring my stuff to the check-in counter inside the building. My online check-in did not work out so I had to do it at the airport. The scanning machine, however, could not read my passport so I was redirected to the C-line (I never bothered to find out what that meant. If any one of you knows what it means, please send a message my way.). Fortunately, I was assisted so I got my boarding passes quickly.

I strolled around the terminal and had a leisurely breakfast at the San Francisco Soup Company before I sat at the pre-departure gate to wait for the boarding announcement. Horror of horrors when I realized that my travel documents were left at the check-in counter. I ran out of the secured area to the check-in counter. I was so relieved to be able to retrieve the documents but that was momentary... As soon as I realized that I had to pass through security check again, I feared that I might miss my flight. Was still lucky to have made it!

We arrived in Denver 6 minutes before the ETA. Had beef sanwich for lunch. Was ready for a 1:30 p.m. ETD as as scheduled but we were only able to fly out at 6:30 p.m. Ody fetched me from the airport and we went directly to cousin Lorna's house for Christmas dinner.

And as I start working on my aim to get more site hits, I am sending this to all of you. Happy freezing New Year from Winnipeg!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Welcome to Rela's idea

My sister, Rela, brought up the idea of me having a blog. I was not sold to the idea right away. Will I be able to maintain it with all the things I have to juggle in my schedule? Well, here I am writing my first blog entry. How far will I go? We will find out...

For now, thanks Rela! Give me a nudge when the postings become less frequent.