Category Archives: grateful

Updates on Diaspora Diva SoCal show, laundry, and 2 fundraisers!

I just posted this on my FB feed a few days ago:

“Not very happy to announce that the Dance Pavilion Show in Fullerton, SoCal is a No-Go. My co-producer informed me of the work visa issues. We don’t have enough time to take care of the problem. The best solution: Postpone the event for Feb, 2014. The good news: We’re still going to California!”

Grateful for the sympathy from friends, some dear ones even emailed me privately with an “Are you okay?” message. (I love you, and You, and YOU.) They know how hard I’ve worked to make this happen. But then, all in God’s time, which we’re hoping is Feb., 2014 for this show.

When something’s not ready, no matter how hard we try to push, it just won’t budge. Unless, of course, we’re talking childbirth and mom opts for a C-section. But that’s another story… 😛

Back to the show. It’s been quite a ride.  Some days, more like being inside my washing machine… on spin cycle!  I was invited by a friend, Ms. Gigi Villavert, to do a fundraising event in California for the Marian Missionaries.  We’ve been hard at work, and by we, I mean my co-producer, Ms. Villavert, friends here in Toronto – Joy, Justin and Bing and there’s me.  We built ourselves into a frenzy of excitability only to find out that we can’t do the show. It turns out that I needed a work visa which takes a month to process and costs almost $2K to get! Thanks to a lawyer/promoter friend in LA, I got the vital information early enough. There was the alternative idea of using the “Bakasyon lang siya” line at immigration. But then, is it worth the risk?  The answer is a big “No way!”, of course.

The #1 lesson learned, among the many, is this: Due diligence, do the research! This experience subsequently jumpstarted a lot of performances. Now, I have not one, not two, but three shows in the next couple of months! Magic happened. I think it’s called media attention, and this blessed idea to help and so it goes…and the rest is history.

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To Be of Help, An Invitation to Kababayans and Other Kind Hearts 

I am partnering with the ABS-CBN Foundation International to raise funds for the Bohol and Cebu earthquake victims. This idea was hatched while talking to a schoolmate who is a very active community leader in the U.S. (Thank you, Adrian Lecaros! Wala kang pagbabago sa iyong serbisyo sa bayan, mabuhay ka!) So on November 22, Friday, at Max’s Restaurant & Lounge, together with other artists, we will be singing our songs to raise funds and awareness for our kababayans in Southern Philippines. It’s time to share the blessings we enjoy in the North Americas.  Many of our brothers and sisters are stripped of their very basic human needs of food, clothing, shelter, medicines.  Some of them living in tents!  If you feel a call to help out, please leave your contact information on the comments below and I’ll get in touch with you for further details.

I am both very happy, VERY and at the same time a bit nervous, this being my first fundraising event that I’m spearheading.  Basta iniisip ko na lang, tulong ‘to. This is first, to help, to be of service, and there’s no right and wrong when intentions are pure.  Basic of all intentions is it makes me happy to be of service to others.  Note to self: CP, you are getting  And older, thankfully, equals wiser.  I hope I don’t sound like a self-aggrandizing shmuck when I say that.  I simply mean that as I grow older, I realize there are other things more important than my own first-world pain.  Not that I am for ignoring one’s sorrows, if anything, I believe in venting and letting these hurts out and into the light.  It’s the wallowing in it that I believe we need to unlearn as we grow older.  I’m learning that there is great wisdom behind this: That when we feel most alone and broken, we simply need to go out and seek those that are more broken than we are.  There is and always will be those more shattered than we are.

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Wash AND Dry

In other news, the laundry is up to date! 😊 Surprisingly, after doing this for 12 years and counting, I realize that even twice a week of washing clothes works – once by me and the other by hired help.  As long as you dedicate the labada day – ok, not the whole day but focus, Chiqui, focus! – to washing AND drying and rally the kids to my most dreaded part of the job: folding! Agh. Just the thought of it sends the hairs at the back of my head rising. It’s when the wet laundry gets forgotten in the wash that all smelly hell breaks loose. Don’t’ forget the vinegar trick, (Salamat, Jeanette) if and when you do forget and it gets stinkypooey in there. 1/2 C white vinegar to a full load of the forgotten laundry, one cycle and this time, remember to take it out and into the dryer!

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I Invite You All, Part 2

If you’re in the area, I’d love to have you spend an evening of soft, inspiring music and celebrating early Christmas in November with us. Come help a church raise funds for their building’s maintenance. St. Norbert’s is a Roman Catholic Church in North York, ON (100 Regent Road). It’s always been a good experience, singing in and for a church. So much raised vibration, if you know what I mean. So along with Ms. Becky Cezar, head of fundraising activities and Tita Evelyn, a co-volunteer at the Kalayaan Centre, over lunch at Spoon and Fork (Yummy!) we planned out the details of the show. It’s only $15 for a ticket and the Couples For Christ Choir and Ms. Amsky Ramos Chan will be performing, too!

Here’s the poster for the event:

Kat Toronto Poster copy

To reserve tickets, you can call Becky @ 416-317-2390 or Cynthia @ 416-636-0213.

As always, I thank you and give you a deep bow of gratitude for keeping me company on this creative journey…

Courage in creativity,


Bada** Badlands!

Bada** Badlands!

I can’t stop talking about it. These wavy, smooth-then-jagged rock formations! And soil and shale and stones and red earth.

I fell in love with the Cheltenham Badlands the first time I saw it on a photographer’s website. She used it as a backdrop for the bride and groom’s shoot. It looked so exotic and dynamic and so red!

Yesterday, I finally had the boiling desire spurred by my pickled and prunned-out feelings – generated by Staycation Fever to just get up and go already!

There were a few objections. Ok, there was a chorus of it, one of those expected Tween City sounds you’ll get used to hopefully sooner than later. This made me all yelly. A few escaped BUT I caught the rest of it just as I was filling the water bottles.

“Ok, Holy Spirit, help me out here. I want this for them as much as I want it for me. We need to get some air. Fresh, natural un-conditioned air. Oh, and sunlight while we’re at it. Grant me patience, please and thank You.”

Within half an hour we were there and it was breathtaking…and yes, fresh air breath, too! It was really as red as the photographer’s images showed and those contours and jagged hills made me stay in my spot taking more photos instead of hopping around in my runners that felt slippery risking plummeting into the crevices. The kids were, of course, much braver than me. They were on the other side of the main cluster of earth in a few minutes. No, the drops were not deep so the most you’d probably risk is a broken bone or two. With the right footwear and a jolly jumping monkey’s attitude, you’re good to go!

Definitely coming back to you, you beautiful Badlands!

12 Things | It feels so good to connect with you again.

Jan. 15, 2013 @ Sheridan Nurseries Limited, Mississauga ©KatShotsPhotography

Jan. 15, 2013 @ Sheridan Nurseries Limited, Mississauga ©KatShotsPhotography
Thing 1 ~ I’ve fallen in love – hard – with macro photography.  I’m head-over-heels and like a fellow photographer friend, Zeetzjones said, “Naku, may naa-adik na.” which is Filipino for “Oh my, someone’s getting addicted.” 🙂

It’s really one of the healthiest kinds of addiction, this business of creating things, don’t you think?  I use the Squidcam and am very happy with the results.  Many thanks to amazing macro artists Teresa Franco and Maria for showing me the way.

Potted pink flowers I got myself – that’s right, I got these for me! – and then photographed with my then brand new Squidcam.  Used the fisheye on this one.

Thing 2 ~ Celebrated Birthday #45 this week!  First, we surprised the kids and pulled them out of school midday to have a birthday brunch with us at our favorite Sunset Grill.  Then J and I took off for our reserved overnight stay for two at the Old Mill in Toronto.  I was extra-happy-dance-happy because Samantha at the front desk moved us from a King Room to a large Suite!  I say a little prayer of thanks to the gods of upgrades and relaxing and fun moments for this. 

Suite 503 had a receiving room with a desk and a stereo that was already playing my favorite classics (plus points for that, Old Mill!), a living area with a fireplace and heavy drapes…DRAPES and many lamps all over.  I love a well-lit room.

We also had a kitchenette and dining area with and a table for my writing toys, of course!

Mega plus points for the whirlpool in the very large bathroom practically the size of my office. 🙂  It had the jet bubble thingies, baby!   

We are definitely coming back, Old Mill, thank you very much. Next time with the kiddos.  You have exceeded our expectations in a grand way.  I just love when that happens.  Bonus when it happens on your birthday!

As I was saying…45th and right smack midlife, assuming we reach the 90’s, and no crisis here, Thank You.  Well, let’s wait ’til menopause and see how it goes then.  I’ve heard a lot of close-to-horrible accounts from dear girlfriends about how it can range from uncomfortable to downright unbearable, those heat-flashes and hormonal imbalances and mood swings!  Which is why I’ve decided, wholehearted to embrace…

Thing 3 ~ My Green 2013 Plan!  It all began with little aches and pains here and there.  Elbow, what’s that annoying ache you’re showing me today?  Tennis, anyone?  Man, I don’t even play the game and I have what?! Tennis elbow?!?  Jack says it’s a condition that’s quite common and gives me his standard “Don’t worry about it!” He then bought me an elbow brace to wear during my workouts.  Sigh.  My sweetheart.  Thanks, my love.  It still bugs me though.  There are other pains, I suspect are psychosomatic and chemical imbalances.  Then there’s the fogginess one can’t shake off even after mugs of coffee!  Some people will conveniently say: Ah, we’re just getting old!  In a great part, true.  But my gut tells me, both literally and figuratively, that it’s the abuse I’ve been putting my body through all these years!  The Pinoy diet isn’t exactly a healthy one.  I’ve loved on my Spam and Sarangani Sardines and Palm Corned Beef, the longganisas and crispy patas and bacon, oh, I love you, bacon.  Salty-sweet deliciously umame poisons from childhood eating habits that need to be controlled if not completely removed from our diets now.  We know better, we do better, right?  My grand plan is to fight back with everything I’ve got.  

Enter, The Vitamix. 

Yes, it deserves that much reverence, this thing some call the “Lamborghini of Blenders”, for what it’s done for me.

Big thanks, too, to my positive and beloved influences like Myrna and Grace who have shown me the value of eating more raw foods and greens and the carb-less/no-carb way, I’ve been at it for almost three months now – first with my  

Hamilton Beach blender and last month, this powerhouse got me gobbling down gloppy green smoothies  which, I swear by the green gods, has given me much  more clarity and a better, firmer handle on my moods.  Bad foods, especially carbohydrates/sugars, simply bring out the monster in me, plain and simple.

One of my regular morning smoothies: grapes or apples, kale, half a banana, bell peppers, pineapple, almonds and flax seeds.  Blended to 10 for a smooth and velvety green and nutritious glop!

My present-favorite Sweet Cherry Tomato soup recipe.  I simply add a handful of tomatoes and parsley or basil.  After blending to a fine liquid, I add it to my already sautéed garlic and onions in a pan.  Light and fresh and very yummy!

Things 4 to 11 ~  My toys. They make me happy.  ^_^

Anybody who says grownups can’t have toys is one very sad body.  Toy #1, The Premium Sketchbook, I discovered while browsing the paper section at my happy place, Chapters.  The pages have perforations so it tears beautifully for when you want to give your artwork as gifts to friends and family.

Toy #2, I like the Staedtler triples fine liner that doesn’t get dry even when you leave it open for days and isn’t that amazing!  Especially when you have little ones who love to borrow your stuff and forget that pens have caps. :p) along with the newly discovered Faber Castel Pitt Artists Pens in 4 sizes: S,F, M, and B.  S being my favorite because it’s super fine!  

The colorful paper Toys #s 3, 4, 5 and 6, I found at Walmart while searching for just the right family calendar for the kitchen.  I love the colours and designs so much that I got the whole set: the 2013 planner with pockets inside for papers (for work), the weekly planner (for family activities), the project planner for all the projects I dream-up and will make real in 2013 and of course, the journal which keeps my morning pages.  I was smiling so much that my dear J thought I was going just a bit nuts “over paper”.  You’ll never understand, my love.  You’ll never quite understand.

Toys #10 and #11, the iPhone4s now has its twin Squidcam attached to it at all times got more interesting and fun because of it.  Same with the iPad since I got the green case for it.  It used to have a sturdy but boring black case for it.  Color does add life to things.  

Thing 12 ~ I love snailmail!  

Here are some of the birthday goodies I got this week from dear friends from all over:

Eternity Scarf from Zeetsjones and Wanderfoot

My very own “Fat/Calorie/Guilt-free” handmade chocolate cake from my BFF-since-U.P.-days, Myrna V. 

My BFF also made a moustachioed
 mug cozy for the Hubster and cute Angry Birds characters and a pink donut for the kids!

Rediscovering the simple joys of snail mail in this lightning fast world of instant messaging is something that I’m very grateful for.  I cherish Vina’s inspiration on this one – she’s been doing the the Swap project for a while now.

I’m ending where I started, with these inspiring words from Seth Godin’s latest book, The Icarus Deception ~

We are all artists now, and the connection economy we’re living in relentlessly rewards those who do work that matters.  Okay, you knew that.  So why aren’t you?

For a long time, I stopped connecting, and let the monsters take control.  It’s time to start again (and again and again) and it feels sooooo good!  The writing and sharing are their own rewards.  

Looking forward to connecting with you more and praying to God and Her muses that this continues in 2013 and beyond!!

Courage in creativity,

Morning. In 3’s.

“7 o’clock by my window”/Dec2011

I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, 
if I did it my way. 
– Johnny Cash

6:30AM.  Snooze 1.  6:40AM.  Snooze 2.  6:50AM.  Get-up 3.  Chug water.  Wash face.  Brush teeth.  Moisturize.  Robe-up.  Pocket iPhone.  Turn on kids’ rooms light.  Bring water bottle.  7:10.  Turn on lights in hall.  In living room.  In kitchen.  Make coffee.  Choose cappuccino.  Add brown sugar.  Clear dining table.  Put toys away.   7:20.  Set journal.  10-minute timed writing.  Go.  Keep hand moving.  Sip coffee.  Write.  Sip.  Write.  7:31.  Tinker with Twitter.  Upload photo.  Tweet about writing exercise.  Fail to upload.  Later.  7:35.  Go back upstairs.   Wake up J.  Wake up kids.  Quick back rubs.    Ask for help.  “Make sure you get up already, hun.”  “Ok, hun.”  “You up?”  “Yes.”  “You sure?”  “Yes.”  Go back to kids’ rooms.   “Wake up, guys!  It’s 7:45!”  Go back down.  Review food requests.  Shrimpy rice for Kid2 and Kid3.  Beef tapa rice for Kid1.  Strawberry Choco sand for 2.  Chicken baloney w/ cheese for 1.  Green apple slices w/ choco dip for 3.  Fruit cup for K1.   Wash strawberries.  Wash blueberries.  Spray with veggie wash.  Let sit.  Crack 6 eggs.  Add milk.  Season.  Scramble.   Get pancake mix.  Add milk.  Crush half an oreo in batter.  Fry. “Guys, it’s 8!”  K1 is first.  “I don’t want to eat yet, Mom.  A little later please.”  Request for cereal.  I make him scrambled rice instead.   8:15AM.  Serve scrambled eggs.  Serve pancake.  Put cereal boxes on the table.  Alpha Bits for K3.  Cinammon Toast Crunch for K1 and K2.   Heat left-over rice.  Add sweet and sour shrimp.  Heat tapa.  Pack in thermos.  8:25AM.  Set aside.  Make sandwiches.  Remember to make self toast.  12 grain.  Take one bite.  Forget about it.  “Help me pack the water, Oona.”  “I’m getting a fruit cup, Mommy.”  “Go ahead, honey.  No need to tell me.  Hurry.”  Pack lunch bags.  K1, K2, K3.  “I’m leaving, Mom.”  “Take your sister with you, Sol.”  “Aw, do I have to?”  “Take care of each other, Sol.”  “Oh, okay.  Let’s go, Oona!”  8:30AM.  “Where’s my kiss?!”  Smooch K1.  Smooch K2.  “Joshim,!?”  Comes down.  Slowly.   “I was brushing, Mom.”  Calm and relaxed.  Socks in hand.  “Joshim, hurry!  1!  2…2 and a half…”  Grab socks from tiny hands.  “Mom, did you know that my race car is ready for painting…”  Act interested.  I’m not. Help put on socks.  “Mom, is Baba dropping me?”  Help with jacket.  “Listen, Joshim, find your spider gloves and black touk okay?”  Remind him a second time.  “Ok, mom.”  Help with vest.  “Not that one, Mom.  I want the matching one.”  Grab matching one.  Help with touk.  Help with gloves.  8:37AM. 

My “Elephan3” playing on the carpet

Grab boots from outside.  Help with shoes.  “Joshim, close the door, I’m freezing!”  J starts car.  Help with bag.  “Chapstick. Put some on, ok?”  “Ok, mom.”  Smooch 3.  8:40AM.  “I love you.  Now hurry!”  “Bye, Mom.”  “Bye, honey.“  J winks.  I’ll be back, hun.  Be ready to drop me at work.”  Wave goodbye.  Throw flying kisses.  Close front door.  And breathe.  See shoes and slippers all over.  See big mess in kitchen.  Big breath.  Straighten mess.  Bigger breath.  Take in the quiet.  1…2…3.  Rinse and repeat.

Psssst….hey, hottie!

Can I let you in on a secret?

Ohhh…kay, it’s a secret that can be shared with other cool, creative, kindred spirits like you and I.

You ready?  It’s called The Spark Kit.


I dove into the first chapter full-on this morning.  So far I’m loving what I’m seeing…hearing…feeling.  Danielle Laporte is whitehot spot-on and aligned with my thoughts on creativity, on courage, on living more authentically.  Let’s dive into it together.

I’m a big believer of continuous learning.  Yes, there are days – many days – when I stumble and forget the lessons.  At times by circumstance, always by choice.  One of my favorite quotes from Zig Ziglar is this:  People often say that motivation doesn’t last.  Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.  Wapow!  So true. 

Learn and relearn.  Rinse and repeat.  If there’s anything my Daday taught me, it’s to be open to learning at any age.

I’ll be writing a more in-depth review in the coming days as I go along with the program.

I just love finding teachers, especially the kind that rock the mompreneurship!

See you later, sparkles!


100im.perfect.songs project:005:friday’s firework

The beats behind the song~

*  I put together this slideshow back in June, a grateful collage of photos from our vacation in Florida and other end of school year days.

*  I first heard the song Firework back in January and had goosebumps galore (‘geese’bumps according to Eric kasi marami) because of the words of encouragement (“You don’t have to feel like a waste of space, You’re original, cannot be replaced, If you only knew what the future holds, After a hurricane comes a rainbow…”  Amen!) and that video!

*  This was the last song added to my last concerts’ repertoire.  According to Direk Rey, we needed a fast song and this was the first and only one that came to mind.  It turned out to be the favorite of so many.  Jawaid loved it so much he listened to it all the way home from KCCC and the week that followed.  Emma, too! (Katy Perry who???  :*)  Although the tweens of Josie and Bong, Marikit and Julia caught on the wrong lyrics to which Bong said “Give her a break.  She only learned the song this week!”  Thanks, Dad!)

*  My favorite line in the song has got to be this:
Maybe you’re reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it’s time, you’ll know…

And I know YOU know.

*  The month of June was a month of performances for me, three!  One for the Fiesta in Brampton, the second in KCCC and the third in downtown for GMA 7’s Pinoy Independence Day Celebration in the Toronto Convention Center.  It was such a thrill to be singing/performing again.  But I must admit the most ‘kilig’ part was when those kids came up to me backstage to get to sign their little autograph books.   Thanks for recording the moment on your iPhone, Toddster!

Happy Weekend, my friend!

It’s time,