our 2009 newsletter

For the sake of those who haven't received our newsletter, here's an online edition:

It’s that time of year again. And once more, we send this update to our closest, dearest relatives and friends. We send updates, whether you may be interested or completely apathetic, because we want you to know that you are in our thoughts, as we hope we are in yours.

This year can best be described through three key words: adventure, beginnings and talent.

Adventure: In February, we took our annual vacation with four of our closest friends, and went to Cagayan de Oro for some white-water rafting. All six of us have never rafted before, nor are we particularly into extreme sports. But we welcomed the thrill of danger, as the foolish young do, and took on the advanced rapids! Mere words could not describe the adrenalin, the rush of doing something that could bash your head against huge rocks, the pure, unadulterated joy of being irresponsible. Luckily, we made it out alive.

Beginnings: In June, Toni went to Manila to prepare and take the Architecture Board Exams. Angelo went with him, but immediately set out for Pangasinan with Toni’s sister Wanda, and stayed there without his parents for a whole week. I (Alli) caught up with them then, and brought Angelo home, while Toni stayed on. Unfortunately, because of some technicalities, Toni was not able to take the Board Exams. Well, there’s always next year! Also in June, I transferred to AT&T Operations, still in the same company, Sykes, as Communications Trainer. Night shift, more work, same pay. I have been busy with training, as well as monthly events in line with employee motivation and customer service excellence. Another thing that happened in June, aside from all the birthdays and everything else already mentioned, was Angelo starting Nursery school. He goes to Marie Ernestine, just a short walk from the guardhouse, and he comes home every day with stories about his classmates and Zyra, “she’s my best friend because I love her.”

Talent: In October, Toni started working on his “secret project.” He had a vision, and he made it materialize in the form of a transformation. Angelo transformed into Bumblebee. No, not the bug. The Transformer! Toni slaved away until the wee hours of the morning for the whole month of October, to get Angelo’s Halloween costume ready. Needless to say, it was a ginormous hit! He won Best Superhero Costume in SM Mall. Angelo also joined the village’s annual Halloween party for kids, and we went trick or treating along the main road.

While Toni’s talent is overflowing, mine is practically nonexistent. At around the end of October, Angelo’s school was celebrating United Nations Week. One of the activities was to bring a flag to school, and I took it upon myself to make it. No, not that of Japan, but nothing as difficult as Saudi Arabia’s. To cut the long story short… Toni ended up making the flag. I couldn’t make the corners meet! A back-to-back flag is hard work. Angelo is pretty talented himself. The U.N. Week culmination was a dance presentation in Ayala Mall. Angelo’s class went up on the stage and danced an upbeat Hawaiian song. Angelo was very natural onstage, and he got the steps almost perfectly. You don’t believe me? Check out his dance video, and many other vids, which we posted in our YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/allitoni

We have a lot to be thankful for this year...
This holiday season, we are most thankful for our family and friends,
who are our strength and our inspiration.

Thank you for the love and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

final dose:
may the year 2010 be more meaningful and prosperous to one and all!
happy new year!


posted by A.Cortes on 9:27 PM under


links to this dose

the year in photos

final dose:

looking forward to a fun and photo-filled 2010


it's the time of year

When the parties just keep on coming, you just have to squeeze in everything into a busy December schedule. Not that we're complaining. But when everything is over, it leaves you very little time to do the necessary holiday errands.

By now, almost everyone should be done with the buying and wrapping of gifts, putting them under the tree... but not us. Because we have been so occupied lately, we haven't found enough time to buy presents for the people included in our Christmas list. And here we are again -- off on another holiday rush.

Zai Angelo ponders on what he wishes to receive for Christmas

Don't we just wish we were kids, when all we care about is the time to tear the fancy colored Christmas wrappers.

We have just started giving our annual newsletter and just like the previous year we are sending our Christmas cards out late again. Our close relatives and friends whom we are mailing the cards to may get it in January 2010. Our apologies in advance.

final dose:
the Corteses
wishes everyone happy holidays!


in each other's company

When it felt like we had too much to worry, a call for a vacation was necessary.

So we did just that, right before the last month of the year started, and right before we get to be busy with all the holiday parties, even before we will try to fulfill the Christmas wish lists and everything that comes with the hectic December schedule.

The long weekend presented the right moment.

With free airfare vouchers, free two nights and three days stay at a beach front hotel; spending much was the least of our concerns. The trip to Boracay in November just had to be made. It was what we needed, or say more of wanted - the time to relax and enjoy.

Zai & Alli, run in the white sand; Zai Angelo having fun in the beach; Toni & Zai bonds under the sun

For three days, it was all just frolicking in the white sand, dipping in the refreshing beach, seeing the lovely sunsets and the best thing about it aside from it was free, we were in each other’s company - our first family trip to the famed Boracay beach.

the Corteses @ Boracay island

View more pictures here

Final dose:
A good vacation with the family is one for keeps


Where am I going to?

So what happens now?
Another suitcase in another hall.
So what happens now?
Take your picture off another wall.
Where am I going to?
You'll get by, you always have before.
Where am I going to?
Don't ask anymore.

A poignant chorus to a poignant song.
Very valid question.
Where AM I going to?


our little bumblebee

By the end of September, what I thought would be another month-long celebration of Oktoberfest turned out to be an entirely different story. It was a month-long preparation for just one event – All Hallow’s Eve.

I’m not one to be excited with Halloween parties, let alone tire myself in finding a scary-looking costume, but this one event wasn’t for me. It was Angelo’s first time to go trick or treating and being the artistic dad that I am, I wouldn’t want my little boy to look the same as the other kids would. So by the first week of October, I laid out my plan…

It was Angelo’s idea; he kept on watching these Transformers videos on Youtube when we stumbled upon something really “interesting.” So, to cut the long story short, I ended up making a Bumblebee costume.

Complete with headgear, the chest part, the arms and legs and the backpack. Every part was made in proportion to Angelo’s anthropometrics and was attached via Velcro, thus making him able to move with ease and comfort.

So Angelo went on to enjoy our Halloween around the village and even joined SM's Halloween Superhero Costume Contest.

Boy was it tiring. But looking at how people were so amazed and how everyone wanted to have a picture taken with our little Bumblebee was very fulfilling. And did I mention he won the costume contest? Well, that in a way was the icing on the cake.

strutting his Bumblebee moves | with his cousins vinz & raine | Bumblebee wins costume contest

check more photos in our facebook account and also in our multiply sites

Final dose:
Next year, the wifey said she’ll be the one to make the costume. Mr. Potatohead.


trick or treat

the reason why we haven't had any updates for the whole month of october

Zai Angelo with his bumble bee costume for trick or treat

happy halloween!!!

final dose:
the story behind it all, soon


people making lists. . .

Oh gawd, September arrived as fast as how my boss sent an SMS reminding me that it’s a holiday on Monday and Wednesday (not that I’m complaining). I never really cared that the “ber” months were already here, not until we were in this not-so-fancy resort in the south last weekend and they had Christmas decorations surrounding the window frame. I thought it was too early to put the décor up until I realized that they were dusty, and I figured out that these were last year’s… or the year before that perhaps. Sure time is fun when you’re having flies.

This time of the year signals, as it has been for the past years, nothing but the usual. You’ll start to see out-of-tune carolers on the street; you’ll probably hear the tinny voice of Michael Jackson again on the radio belting those Christmas tunes. As they say, Filipinos celebrate Christmas the longest. I don’t know if that’s something to be proud of.

So before everyone makes up their Christmas wish, need and want lists, I’ll go ahead post mine.

This time, I would do away with the usual since I don’t really want to disappoint myself, not getting what I want, and the mere fact that I will not be on Santa Claus’ list of deserving kids just put out any hopes I have. Forget about giving me the Nikon DSLR camera, the PALM PRE phone, the MacBook Pro, Nintendo Wii or tickets to Jack Johnson’s Kokua festival. I’m starting to accept it’s going to be simple presents I’ll be receiving. So to lessen any hassle for would-be givers, when I say simple, here’s what I mean:

This Christmas, I wish to have a t-shirt, not any fancy shirt, not branded, not expensive, so long as it’s wearable and something that you think you don’t want to get caught wearing. TIP: a Titanic movie t-shirt with Leonardo de Caprio and Kate Winslet on it. Methinks it’s baduy but it’s a collector’s item. (big grin)

This Christmas, I wish to have a game and watch, not a portable PlayStation nor a Nintendo DS or any high-tech game gadgets. Having a game and watch gives you that nostalgic feeling, back in the days when the game was just plain and simple. TIP: A brick game will do, but I want the game and watch with the Popeye game on it. Again it’s a collector’s item.

Lastly, this Christmas, more than anything else, I wish for my wife and my little boy to keep the faith. We’ll get through all of this together. Love your dad, because I heart you both. Seriously.

the joys of the big daddy

Final dose:

Random blah blah to occupy the wandering mind.


posted by A.Cortes on 11:09 PM under


links to this dose

the impulse to face risks is in us all

That being said, I raise this question: so what’s stopping me? Is it because I have been eating a lot of chicken for the past few days –chicken adobo, fried chicken, grilled chicken, baked, kinamonggayan, -that all these made me be a coward?

What I’m saying is, why have I chickened out to take the risk, what’s holding me back?

Every adventure involves an element of danger; it’s that danger that makes the adventure so exciting and hard to resist. I have willingly spent good money to experience the thrill, regardless of the physical threat - whitewater rafting, zip line, mountain climbing, even getting a tattoo, etcetera, etcetera… I may even have, in a way, helped keep haunted house attractions and adventure sports in business.

rafting Photobucket
alli and toni, doing whitewater rafting and crossing the hanging bridge
during our valentines trip to
Cagayan de Oro last february 2009

The fascination with danger can prove to be such a powerful lure that some people will gamble with their own lives to confront a mystery or explore a new world. But exploring a new world has not been included in my options as of late, even if the opportunities are outright presented to me. Instead, I opt to burn my ass in my comfort zone, allowing myself to be content and to disregard complicated things. I have the tendency to want my world to be painted with the brushes of fate and destiny. That’s not the case of wifey though.

So all these ramblings boil down to these: it has been a recurring conversation and lately it got me thinking real deep. What does tomorrow have in store for us? Nah, seriously it’s really about the unending search for answers to the many pressing questions - specifically about our respective careers, which I hate to elaborate further on until I have weighed the pros and cons. Until then, it’s a battle I have to face and to which I’m hoping to find the appropriate actions in due time.

We’ll cross the bridge when we get there is easier said than done.

Final dose:
Man’s thirst for something can never be quenched.


the scare in september

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are
The uncertain scares me…

I have been living so comfortably in my comfort zone that I forgot how it is to gamble. I guess I have to remind myself that apprehension is the one thing that restrains me from doing the things in life that I’d like to, and that I need to overcome this. Soon.

zai angelo smiles, care-free

Fear is what keeps us here.

like my father's come to pass
twenty years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends

Final dose:
How I long to be a kid again, worry-free.


when your son starts to like robots

Zai Angelo is a spoiled kid!

I could not recall any moment during my childhood days that I’d roll on the floor in a toy store because my parents would not buy me the expensive Nightrider car that goes woosh woosh as the red light beams in front, lest I’d get a beating from my dad. But our little boy does not understand that we can’t always give him what he wants, much more if it’s an expensive toy.

So what do you do when your kid cries so loud, wanting you to buy that Bumblebee toy?

When I was put in this position one time at the mall, I was never really prepared for it. It’s not as if a good parent really knows how to handle every situation. It was just me and the little boy and the eyes of each stranger that passed us by were staring at us, giving me “the look.” At the back of my head, I was thinking about what kind of impression everyone was forming of me, but at the same instance I was looking at the few options I had just to let the little boy stop crying frantically.

At one occasion I tried to leave him – but seeing his face, I couldn’t help but pity him. Then I tried to distract him with other things, but I failed miserably. So I ended up buying the inexpensive Bumblebee toy. And then I saw how his eyes glowed brighter than a thousand fireflies combined. Whew!

From then on, he’d watch the transformers movie over and over, transformed his Bumblebee toy to a car and back to a robot a gazillion times. So much is his fascination that he can almost memorize the soundtrack of the movie. Here’s a video as testament.

Sometimes I think that’s why he is hard-headed, because he thinks he is a robot? Nah.

I think a certain fondness for anything that “more than meets the eye” is not only for kids but for adults too, because now I am looking forward on buying that Optimus Prime toy I promised Angelo as a reward if he gets good scores once their exam results come out. The wifey can’t do anything but just shake her head.

Final dose:
The good thing about having a son is that daddy gets to enjoy playing with his toys.


another round of updates

Truth be told, “no internet connection” was the main reason why we were not able to keep up with updates for this blog site. To make matters worse, our application for an internet line was delayed for six months (imagine that). So for once, I’m ruling out the busy schedule as an excuse.

Finally, we now have access to the www. A reason to blog again.

Now, before anything else --- we’re still in the third quarter of 2009 and the year has seen the loss of some prominent figures in the world. The Philippine's master rapper, the 80’s pop sensation, the most trusted newscaster in America , the king of pop, one of the original Charlie’s angels, and recently, the world’s icon of democracy. Rest in peace ya’ll.

Anyhow, there’s much to be said about what we’ve been up to but I seem to have lost my knack for storytelling. As I’m typing, all I see is my forefinger pressing the backspace key repeatedly. So let’s just have a quick rundown:

alli & zai test the webcam

Allison: the wifey has yet again transferred to another job description, but in the same BPO company. From Core Skills Trainer to Language Trainer and now she’s one of the Product Trainers for a certain account. It would’ve been okay for me if it ain’t for her night shifts. You know, it sucks to sleep without cuddling her; at least the little boy is there to compensate.

Zai: the little schoolboy

Zai Angelo: so finally our little boy is now studying. It took us a couple of months to decide whether to enroll Zai for school or to do homeschooling instead. Eventually we’ve come to the decision that postponing school for one more year would only limit his avenue for learning. So far, we made the right judgment. It’s sad though that he had to be absent for two days because of fever.

Toni: proud dad brings Zai to school

Toni: well, a rather sad story for me – My three week stay in Manila ended with a disapproved decision by the PRC – I had wanted to take the board exam for Architecture (application denied for some ruling I can’t fathom). But the good thing is, I am still working for the same architectural office, have been for a little over a year now, and it has been quite a learning experience.

Again just a quick rundown. With the hopes that this would be the start for timely updates.

Final dose:
To remind us that this site is to chronicle our life, we shall blog as often as we can.


resurrection is soon

nuff said...
updates on the way!


Death of Opposing Forces

It's strange how I have so many things to say, but when it comes to starting a story, or an essay, or this blog... my mind goes blank.

But then again, when it comes to activities and trips, I plan to the most minute detail, and I calculate and balance the books to the last cent.

So this makes me........... a contradiction.

Each person is a contradiction of sorts. My mother is a strong, intelligent woman who seems to be emotionally reliant on my undeserving dad. My youngest sister is beautiful and has a lot of friends, but is in constant need of affirmation and attention. My husband is a huge basketball and football fan, but is too lazy to exercise.

I started this blog in June, and totally forgot about it. It is now November, and I intend to finish what I want to say.

Contradictions are healthy when you use the two sides to keep yourself balanced and centered. It is not advisable to always give in to your emotions, just because you're THAT kind of person, nor is it a good idea to keep your feelings to yourself, as this will cause cancer cells to thrive in your poisoned body.

Contradictions are NOT healthy when you say one thing but do another. When you are friendly in front of a person, but stab him in the back when the opportunity arises.

These contradictions need to be smoothed out. They need to cease existing. They need to be annihilated.

A way must be found.


Tired out of my Skull