holidays 2011

It's that time of the year again...
For those who have been part of our mailing list, we have been giving out our annual newsletter for the last six years; and for those who have not received any, we always make it a point to post the e-version.

So here's our annual newsletter for this year.



final dose:
Happy Holidays everyone, with love from the Corteses -alli-toni-zai-


the plunge

took the plunge, and I loved it!
final dose:
highly recommended for thrill seekers...


all the thank yous

Today is Thanksgiving day. 

I am thankful for the blessings, 
the opportunities, the experience
the mistakes,
the people, friends and even enemies.

But more than anything else...


My family is what I am most thankful for.

rock on! 
you guys are my rock, 
you both rock!

final dose:
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


we remember

Funerals are like reunions and so is the day of the dead.

When I was young, I look forward going to the cemetery during all saints and all souls day. I remember gathering melted candles and forming it into a ball of wax. I remember creating St. Elmo's fire and running around the cemetery lawn.  I remember staying late until around dawn, sharing scary stories. I remember relatives bringing food to share for dinner and uncles sneaking liquors.

It was during those days that our family remembers those who went ahead of us, celebrating at our mini mausoleum in Mandaue, with a feel of a festive reunion.

But that has not been the case for the last five years.

The Mandaue mausoleum, where my grandparents are buried, now looks abandoned. In a year's span, the place gets cleaned only once, oftentimes visited only once.

Relatives are now far away, most are out of the country and the ones left are often too busy to initiate a simple gathering as what had been during the old days.

But that doesn't bother me. As long as everyone remembers. As long as when it's time for death anniversaries, birthdays and whatnots, the mausoleum will be the place where we gather and celebrate. As long as every november - everyone will remember to pay tribute. 

Zai Angelo, visits the Mandaue Mausoleum

Because this year, as my wife, my son and I went to visit, it was as if no one had went to visit before we did.

final dose:
If I had It my way, I will have to re-design the Mandaue mausoleum, just as I had designed the proposed lawn memorial for my wife's family.

Photobucket  Photobucket
my two design options for a proposed memorial


you're my number one

Even if you don't make it to the top ten among all students in your level,
you're still my number one
Even if you rank only third in your class,
your're still my number one

you and i, gone fishing

Son, I know how you make me proud. 
You will be and will always be the smartest kid for me
One thing I asked of you though, please refrain from misbehaving; 
You, being so playful and all, is what i think affects your school grade

Of course, you ranking on top of all will always be an even better joy.
No pressure, because I know you can

You're my number one.

final dose:
just some thought for the little boy


castles in the sand

I dreamt of dungeons and dragons before, I remember how girls during my childhood fantasize about princes in their magnificent castles. In all its majesty and elegance, a castle symbolizes an edifice for the rich and powerful, for kings and the royal families. So in a third world country like the Philippines, it is uncommon to see castles built.

But farfetched the idea maybe, I have stumbled online about a proposal to have a castle erected in the Philippines.

We require someone who is able to design a real castle, complete with towers, secret/hidden passages, medieval features, non-symmetrical layout.


This building will be a top destination for events and high-profile individuals in Palawan, and will be known throughout the Philippines for its appearance and unique-ness. It is a fantastic opportunity for an architect or designer to add to his portfolio and make his name known.

Most architects think in terms of boxes. Box-shaped rooms, box-shaped houses, box-shaped buildings. That is absolutely what we don't want. We need someone who can "think outside the box" -- not necessarily an architect, because initially we require the *concept*. Without a good concept, there is nothing.

Although modern materials can be used, they will not be visible. The building will appear *as if* it was constructed 500 years ago, using 500-year-old technology such as arches, very thick walls, smaller arched windows.

The modern trend in architecture is towards the space age: glass, stainless steel, plastics, bright colors and so on. We need the complete opposite, namely architecture of the middle ages: Stone, wood, metal, tile, whitewash (non-oil-based white paint) inside. No visible plastic, no modern paints, no large glass windows.

Like how a kid eagerly plays building castles in the sand, I got interested in submitting my own design.

This is my conceptual design, free-hand rough sketches using colored pencils. I know I can further improve the whole look of the castle; I just had to submit initial sketches to see how the proponents of the castle idea take my creative concept.

final dose:
I’m crossing my fingers this won’t be building castles in the sky.


A.Cortes Architecture + Design

For the days, weeks and months that the Corteses have not been paying much attention to this family blog of ours, our apologies for not updating you on what's been going on in our lives. No worries, soon we will have much to tell and we're pretty excited to share what's been up these past few months.

Now the reason for the silent hiatus is --- aside from the usual "being very busy" excuse, our constant "updater" - the big daddy, Toni, has been preoccupied trying to create his personal work website., Although not completely done yet, here is the sneak peek.

Go and visit and check out his personal works!

You can even like the pictures in the work gallery page, like this one for example - CIRCLE'S INTERIORS - A.Cortés Architecture + Design

final dose:
soon it will come in a dot com


adios abuelita


We had a wonderful grandmother,

One who never really grew old;

Her smile was made of sunshine,

And her heart was solid gold;

Her eyes were as bright as shining stars,

And in her cheeks fair roses you see.

We had a wonderful grandmother,

And that' s the way it will always be.

She taught us love and how to fight,

She gave us strength, she gave us might.

A stronger person would be hard to find,

And in her heart, she was always kind.

She fought for us all in one way or another,

Not just as a wife not just as a mother.

For all of us she gave her best,

Now the time has come for her to rest.

So go in peace ABUELITA, you've earned your sleep,

Your love in our hearts, we'll eternally keep.

final dose:

poem by: Angela Marie Javier-Ituriaga


zai @ 5

Happy 5th Birthday son!

You have always been our source of pride and joy.
Our little boy has grown big so fast,
but you will remain to be our baby for always.


mom and dad love you so so so very much!

final dose:
let's celebrate this Saturday.


how time flies...

I'm glad we're still together, despite the odds saying otherwise. We've surpassed mountains and molehills, spats and serious arguments, temptations and feelings of discontent. Working together has always been our strength, and five years of that has only made our bond stronger, thicker, sturdier.

I'm looking forward to forty-five more years of ups and downs, as we ride this roller coaster side by side. Let's try not too get too nauseous, give up and get off. If I throw up though, I'll do my best not to get vomit all over you.


high five!

It's been five years sweetie...

Every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year, gets sweeter and sweeter with you around.

We have forty five years to go before we reach that big fifty, but I don't mind any bit of it, so long as we're together... life will surely be wonderful.

Happy Anniversary to us!

"just the two of us", during this year's valentines

Cheers for the five years of bliss.

I believe in memories
They look so, so pretty when I sleep
Hey now, and when I wake up,
You look so pretty sleeping next to me
But there is not enough time,
And there is no, no song I could sing
And there is no, combination of words I could say
But I will still tell you one thing
We're better together.

final dose:
hope you'll love the flowers .


i am done with K1

Hi my name is Zai Angelo Arcenas Cortes, I am four years old, and I just finished my kindergarten one class.

My school, Marie Ernestine, just had our recognition day and I am one of the lucky students that received awards.

I did not only get one award but I have four awards. My mom and dad were so proud of me. I have an Award in Math, Award in Reading, Award in Arts and Award in Good Handwriting.

I have awards for Arts and Good Handwriting because maybe I got it from my dad, who is an architect. I have an award for Reading because my mom reads a lot and she teaches me how to read very well. I have an award for Math because my Nana is very good in counting numbers, she is an accountant.

here i am receiving my award

My classmate Mardi got a medal, but I said to my mom and dad that I will have a medal when I will be in kindergarten two. So I just need to study more and be good in school.

My parents gave me a Harry Potter two cd as a gift and my ninang Maica, ninang Monica and ninong Justin gave presents too because they were proud of me also.

I am just so happy to be done with kindergarten one and I am excited for kindergarten two, I am happy also that I made my parents very proud of me.

You can see more pictures of my school's recognition day in facebook.

final dose:
school is cool!


view from the top

Being the supervising architect of a construction project gets tiring, in a way. All the dust and dirt, the noise and smell, the details you need to check, drawings you need to implement and the flow of work you need to organize, plus all the nitty gritty parts of the whole thing. The only reward I get from all these is the learning experience to further enhance my craft.

The project is right smack in the heart of the bustling metropolis. I look down and see the busy streets of the city, and from my vantage point, this site is as busy as the view below.

And as I clamor for a breath of fresh air, I go higher up to the roof deck, and I get a 360° view of Cebu.

this view of the city is just picturesque

Being the supervising architect of a construction project gets tiring, in a way. But I am starting to get used to it. The only other reward that I wish to have, is that one day, I will be the one others will learn from.

final dose:
we are not bound to love our job, but liking what we do can make us work better.


his future work?

Our son can talk to anybody on the phone for hours on end. Even if he has not met the person yet. Even if it is his first time to talk to a total stranger.

He definitely can be a telemarketer, a call center agent, a sales representative or like that person who calls you in the middle of dinner and talks to you about some product their company is selling. Someone annoying perhaps.

Well, the good thing here is - he certainly converses well, just take a look and see how he gets irate too.

final dose:
our son, what a silly kid.


given to fly

Sometimes, things happen when you least expect it. Sometimes, things come in the most opportune time. Sometimes you wish it would have been earlier or a little later. But when it’s presented to you right then and there, it leaves you with only two choices - either you take it or refuse it.

Since my resignation, I have been happily staying at home for the first two months of the year; during which, I have established quite a routine and have luckily managed to keep myself busy with things. I stopped looking for a job, since I thought I was able to get at least one project per month, and financially we were able to handle it a bit. And when all things were running pretty smoothly, then came a job offer.

Initially, I would’ve gladly signed the contract right there and then. But on second thought, I would not want to let go of the freedom of my own time, me being my own boss. But I did. I took the offer, hesitantly though. And I let go of my so-called home office with a heavy heart.

And with the first week of my new work just barely over, it had been a learning experience to say the least. I could not say that I love what I am doing now, but I am trying to.

In an industry dominated by skilled workers, ostentatious engineers, conversant project managers, supercilious suppliers, this is quite invigorating. And I, the architect, am the most determined to gain as much knowledge as I can.
i believe i can soar to new heights

Final dose:
And sometimes is seen, a strange spot in the sky… a human being that was given to fly…


this year's valentine's

Yearly, we post how our annual Valentines' trip went about. Although it has been a tradition, the event differs with every trip. The usual flower surprise is always present, and it has been surprisingly surprising every year. Since we usually go out of town, the girls tend to think we have connections at each place we go to, to get this surprise. This year we had a low key dinner, booze by the beach with candlelight for that romantic feel.

I couldn't care less to narrate the whole trip. So here are some pictures to tell the story.

show me some lovin' baby!
Alli & Toni, nighttime by the beach with candle & wine

surprise surprise at moalboal
Alli & Toni, good morning honey, here are some flowers

cornix annual valentines' trip 2011
justin & mhon + alli & toni

oh this three ladies!
mhonica, allison & maxine, max, went with us for the first time

Once in a while (every quarter) you just need to get away from the city. Sit for hours on end, think of nothing but the next shot, and talk about crazy stuff with the people closest to you. Too bad some of our really close friends weren't able to be there... we'll find another opportunity, MaiTeph.

We may not have the best gadgets, the best clothes, the best vehicle/s... what's important is that we have the BEST friends and the BEST time of our lives.

Enjoy more pictures of the event here.

final dose:
hope you all had your own share of fun during the day of the hearts


well, whaddya know

It's the second week of February, the month when love is supposedly all around. I am still not gettin' any lovin' at all - be it from employers or prospective clients. But this won't be a rant anymore. I've had it.

So here we are, on our annual Valentines' trip. Since the 14th falls on a Monday, we'll have the trip this weekend. We have been to Baguio and Manila, to Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin, up north of Cebu to Bantayan Island, and now we plan to go south of the Island - to Moalboal. It's a low-budget trip to say the least, but that's not what matters, is it?

This trip has been a tradition, and at the moment I personally look at it as a saving grace to my sanity. Not that I have ill-feelings; I just feel that I really need to take a time-out after all that's been going on, and what better way than to celebrate mushiness on this pre-valentines' outing. Well, whaddya know, after this trip I may be re-energized. I have myself a handful of a schedule by Monday -- another interview with an employer, a meeting with a prospective client and a site visit to a certain project I will be working on. Well, whaddya know, this Valentines' trip might just be the spark to it all and then some. It will also be a good time for wifey and I to get the needed getaway from the city and spend some lovin' on the beach. Well, whaddya know.

alli & toni: a lost & found photograph.
hold on to me hon, the road we're taking is a little bit bumpy

This weekend, the city will host the Visual Graphic Design Conference, and our friend will be one of the speakers who will present. You guys might want to check on that.

Happy Heart's day everyone.

final dose:
Valentine's in this year of the rabbit will give us a humpin' good time. =)


bored, tired, jobless, restless

The moment I tendered my resignation, I was very ecstatic. I had in myself high hopes to start anew. I savored every day that I was free of work, no boss, no deadlines, no worry of time. It was a vacation, enjoyed to the fullest.

By the first week of the new year, I was all up in looking for things to keep me busy. The www was my avenue in searching for that new job. I was so proud, I told myself that I won't have a hard time landing a job, I was picky and choosy in a condescending manner. But that got the better of me. It's over a month now of a not-so-blissful unemployment, that I can officially say I am a Bum.

So why am I writing this blog? because I want to rant and I have nothing else to do. That's why.

You see, people should know better to use a more frank line than just saying "we'll give you a call." And I guess I should even be smarter to know that it means that they don't want me, rather than pathetically hoping. Then I'll just have to contend by telling myself that somebody else is way better than me, but that wouldn't be true in all cases, and I believe that there should be at least one thing that I can be good at. Notwithstanding the bunch of interviews and exams that I have had, the hours spent here at home seemed to be ticking real fast and it's making me go crazy for not being productive at all. Say less productive, kinder that way.

I am an architect, and I find it silly that prospective clients will tell me I charged too much for a piece of drawing in a paper. whadda eeeff! It ain't just no crap drawing, ignorant! - it's my creative idea you're paying me for, in which you might make more money out of it. Besides, my services goes way beyond the drawing, my charges are based on an effin' code that I am bound to follow; and for crying out loud, it's not even near what's supposed to be. People don't question the charges of the doctors, heck they don't question why lawyers need to be paid some effin' much for every appearance or consultation.

Anyhow, for this experience I thank myself. Had I not been blessed with patience, I would have literally gone out of my mind. There were instances that I went on a meltdown, teary-eyed and even questioned my capabilities, but I guess this is all part of a whole learning experience, to put it in a milder manner. For the month that I was always at home, it was actually surreal watching my son go to school, my wife sleeping after a night's work, the help doing the daily chores, all these trivial stuff I couldn't have witnessed had I been too busy with something.

Lastly, one good thing also happened today. A friend of mine had commissioned me to do "face lifting" for his house, and just earlier I already submitted the working drawings after almost a week's work and he handed me my first official paycheck as an architect. Isn't this momentous.

my first official paycheck as an architect. yay!

This is good, at least I will have some moolah for the month of hearts.

final dose:
This is the year of the hare, everyone should be in a productive mode. methinks.


mo siyagit og kusog!

♪♫ Sinulog, isyagit ug kusog; (Pit Señor, Pit Señor) tanan magsaulog
Sinulog, isyagit ug kusog; (Pit Señor, Pit Señor) tanan magsaulog ♪♫

Every third Sunday of January, Cebu celebrates the grand festival that is the Sinulog. And for the past four years, we as a family have always joined in the revelry. We have made it an annual thing, we even have made the same route every year, although the plans vary, it has been quite similar as always.

A lunch at the Binamira's, then a stroll to the streets where the grand parade passed by. Here and there we grab ourselves a beer, stay at a comfortable area, had ourselves dirty with paint and henna tattoo. Then by early evening we drive our little boy home and go out again to party the night away. This year though was a wet one, the rain did not let up. But that did not dampen our spirits to celebrate.

Then as has been annually, a week after the city's Sinulog, is our village's own fiesta. And we have always made it a point to invite friends and family to our house for a little gathering. For those, who had a hard time getting a glimpse of the Sinulog parade in the city, Sto. Niño Village's Sinulog is the better option, as the dancing passes right in front of our house, with a lesser crowd but of course incomparable to the city in terms of grandeur. Nonetheless, the festive spirit is ever present.

Zai Angelo, dances with the Sinulog dancers
view more pictures of the event here and here

Last year we had kiddie games as it turned out to be like a children's party, this year though we still have games but was made for the grown-ups, and with booze overflowing, the night was capped with so much fun.

Sinulog is a Cebuano tradition. We had ourselves made a tradition too, so until the next year's Sinulog. We should party again. Pit Senyor! everyone.

final dose:
♪♫Gisugdan ni balanghay maoy atong dungog
Sayaw nga giparis pag lihok sa sulog
Pangadje ug manampit alang sa Santo Niño
Ihalad ang kinabuhi aron malipay pa ang Ginoo ♪♫


what's up 2011!?!

So we are now a year before the Mayan calendar ends, how fast time flies. And if we aren't ready yet, we all might as well be working in China. In there, we are nearer where the "arks" are, in case the great flood should occur.

Anyhow, what I'm saying is - It is 2011. And as always, we all want this new year to be better than the previous. I would admit, 2010 was pretty much a great year for me and my family. So how does this year top the last?

Now, this is the point where I usually put in what I hope the year would be, but in bits and pieces and in general, as we may never know how everything else will go as the months will pass.
  • I have just recently resigned from my work, so I hope the year of the rabbit will present me with a better job, one where I will be most happy and will most likely be able to provide better for the family.
  • For the last two years, luckily, our little boy has not been hospitalized for any major sickness, and my hopes are still high that this year, Zai Angelo would remain as healthy as ever. And of course as smart as always.
  • Wifey on the other hand, got for herself a new job by the later part of the 2010. All I wish for her is to stay happy with where she is now, and that she will continue to learn and soon achieve what her ultimate aspiration is.
theCorteses, welcoming the new year

As we are a family of three, I only had these three hopes for this year. One for each of us. It may not be too much to ask, as all is always doable. Hope 2011 will be a good year for everyone else as well. Hump on 2011!

final dose:
the year of the rabbit will give us some humping good time, methinks.