Wednesday, December 14, 2005

five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes

december 11

seasons of love (from RENT)

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year? in daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. in 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life? how about love? how about love? how about love? measure in love. seasons of love.

525,600 minutes! 525,000 journeys to plan. 525,600 minutes - how can you measure the life of a woman or man?

in truths that she learned, or in times that he cried.

in bridges he burned, or the way that she died.

it’s time now to sing out, tho the story never ends let's celebrate remember a year in the life of friends. rememberthe love! remember the love! remember the love! measure in love. seasons of love! seasons of love.

it has been five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes since we vowed to be one heart and one soul, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

we woke up around 9:30am that day and decided to have buffet breakfast in shangri-la sydney's cafe mix. eric wanted to give his anniversary present to me first before having breakfast so he gave me a small gold box which contains 18k white gold hoop earrings with ten channel-set round diamonds! of course i immediately tried it on.

i then gave eric my anniversary present which is a gold gift certificate to bridgeclimb (first year anniversary: paper = gift certificate) which i already booked for 5:25pm that day (we have been wanting to do this since we arrived in sydney).

since cafe mix's breakfast buffet is only until 10:30am, we just went down to the cafe and decided to just take a shower after having breakfast. i truly enjoyed the buffet spread since they had bbq pork buns which is one of my yum cha faves. after eating, we proceeded back to our hotel room to take a shower, pack our bags and prepare to check-out.

we then heard mass at st. patrick's in the city. since we still had a couple of hours before we need to check-in for our climb, we grabbed a bite from costi's famous fish cafe which is located at the rocks.

we then proceeded to bridgeclimb reception and then they started with our climb preparation.

Climb Preparation
The BridgeClimb experience begins with a comprehensive briefing and safety demonstration to prepare you for the Climb of Your Life!

Alcohol Breath Test
In the first stage of preparation, Climbers are required to sign a Declaration Form and complete an alcohol breath test. Avoid alcohol before you Climb as a reading of 0.05 or higher will result in non-participation in the Climb and the inability to reschedule.

Bridge Gear
Safety is our number one priority. All Climbers are issued with a specially designed BridgeSuit that is worn straight over the top of the Climber's own clothing. As BridgeClimb operates in all weather, we also issue a BridgeFleece* which is a warm fleecy jacket, Headwear*, BridgeGloves*, WeatherShell* which is a rain jacket and Overpants which are wet weather pants (*dependent on weather conditions). Lanyards are available so Climbers can wear glasses or sunglasses. Climbers at night are also issued with a BridgeLamp to give some extra light when climbing up the arch. These are not unlike those used for caving.

As no personal items are permitted on the bridge, Climbers are asked to remove these items and store them in the lockers provided. All Climbers must then pass through a metal detector.

Climb Simulator
A safety harness is also issued to each Climber before starting preparation on the Climb simulator. All Climbers must complete a Climb simulator before embarking onto the bridge itself. BridgeClimb's professionally trained Climb Leaders assess all Climbers on the simulator to ensure they are comfortable with ladder procedures and use of their harness. For the duration of the Climb, all Climbers are attached to a static line on the bridge.

Communications Equipment
Finally, communications equipment is issued to all Climbers, consisting of a radio and comfortable Headset so that you can hear the commentary of your Climb Leader. A professional trained Climb Leader escorts each group of Climbers and provides a full commentary on the history of the Harbour Bridge as well as interesting facts on Sydney.

You are now ready for 'The Climb of Your Life' and the breathtaking view that lies before you as you scale to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

after the preparation, our group (there were ten climbers (four couples plus a father and son tandem> plus lisa, our climb leader) then proceeded to the bridge entrance and then followed the catwalks to the pylon. we then walked through the pylon and out onto the catwalk above water. next, we climbed the ladders to the eastern arch of the bridge which for me was the most hard and scary part of the climb (imagine really steep metal steps). last part to reach the summit was to climb the eastern arch which gave us spectacular and breathtaking 360 degree view of one of the greatest harbours in the world.

The View

The exhilaration and personal satisfaction achieved by reaching the top of the Bridge is rewarded by the breathtaking view that lies before you as you scale up the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Spending approximately two hours on the bridge itself, Climbers weave through catwalks, up ladders and then to the most spectacular point of all - the upper arch Climb. At this point Climbers not only have a birds eye view of the beautiful Sydney Harbour and city, but have the exhilaration of a truly rewarding experience of reaching the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

At night, the city lights glimmer and reflect in the harbour's glass like surface, with the toy-like looking ferries leaving their tiny trails across it.

Your reward once you reach the summit of the bridge is a spectacular 360-degree view of one of the world's most beautiful harbours.

The Climb Leader, who escorts each group of twelve Climbers, is also equipped with the latest in digital photographic technology to capture the moment. All Climbers are issued with a complimentary photograph of their Climb group, with all Climbers in the group receiving an identical photo. Additional photographs are also taken which can be purchased at the conclusion of your Climb.

we crossed the walkway from eastern arch to the western arch...

the last leg was to climb down the ladders on the western arch, through the pylon, and venture along the catwalk back to the bridgeclimb base. lisa, our climb leader, took one shot of us with the sydney skyline at the back while the sun was setting down.

it truly was a wonderful experience for us. exactly one year ago, we were walking down the aisle of st. francis of assisi chapel in fernwood gardens exchanging vows. that day, we were making our way up and down sydney harbour bridge. the aching legs i've been experiencing this past couple of days was indeed well worth it.

climbing approximately 1,438 steps burned our late fish and chips lunch so before we called it a day, we passed by kuks thai restaurant in lindfield for dinner.

and that's how we celebrated our first year anniversary. can't wait for next year!

*more pics of our bridgeclimb here.

Monday, December 12, 2005

twenty-six candles

december 10

eric woke me up singing happy birthday past 8am. i immediately went to the bathroom to take a shower and had eric iron my skirt which i'll be wearing for that day. i have no idea what he has planned for that day. we heard mass at the parish in waitara were we normally would hear mass during sundays. after that, it's off to jamaica blue in westfield where we had our usual chicken salad on toast with side salad. since it was the second to the last saturday before christmas, it took us around 20 mintues before we were able to park our car and it was just 10am.

family and friends have started calling and texting as soon as i woke up that morning.

while waiting for our order (it took a while before they were able to serve our order because there were so many people in the coffee shop), i saw a shop on sale and i couldn't resist the bargain and found myself buying six tops. :-P

while having our brunch, eric gave me a clue for what he has planned for that day by telling me that i need to pack my bags for an overnight trip! the funny thing was while walking back to our car, mommy (MIL) called me to greet me and asked if we were able to check-in the hotel already! BUSTED! hehehehehehehehe :-)

eric wanted me to open his presents (yes, there were more than one) before we left our unit. first present i opened was a heartwood creek "bountiful angel" (one of the heartwood creek's four seasons angels) angel of fall (eric had the store write autumn instead of fall in the sticker attached at the bottom) figurine .

we recently learned of heartwood creek by jim shore when we saw this magnificent nativity set that i so wanted (i wanted our home to have a nativity set, i'll definitely look for the precious moments nativity set when we're in the phils since precious moments isn't available here). we decided that we'll be collecting that in addition to our vast array of collections which already includes: snow globes, spoons, magnets and precious moments.

anyway, after opening my first present, eric got his suitcase out for me to open. and there it was, four more heartwood creek boxes: holy family - "joy to the world, the lord has come", shepherd with sheep and donkey - "let earth receive her king", wisemen - "let every heart prepare him room" and stable creche. i immediately knew that it was the nativity set that i wanted to have!

while packing our stuff for our overnight trip, my family called to greet me a happy birthday. after that, off we go to wherever it is we'll be spending the night in. since we were heading to the city, i got an idea where we'll be going...and i was right! we checked-in shangri-la sydney (*we stayed in makati shangri-la before, during and after our wedding last year!) with the harbour and the sydney opera house as our view! eric then let me in on what's in store for me that night when he told me that he booked us tickets to watch showstoppers broadway's biggest hits with the sydney symphony orchestra at the concert hall of the sydney opera house! i was so excited as i've always wanted to watch a play/concert in the opera house.

we first got our tickets from the box office of the sydney opera house and then decided to have late lunch since show will be starting at 8pm. we were in the mood to go german and ate schweinshax'n (oven roasted pork knuckle with sauerkraut, beer sauce & mashed potato) and nürnberger (nurnberger sausages with sauerkraut & mashed potato) in löwenbräu keller located at the rocks.

since it was still a couple of hours before showtime, we headed back to our hotel to rest and enjoy our room. we both fell asleep and woke up an hour before the show. the concert hall of the sydney opera house was packed. the seats we got was pretty good since it was right smack in the middle. they opened the concert with a song from chicago. they played and sung songs which i recognized from phantom of the opera (my absolute favorite!), les miserables, beauty and the beast (i swear, i couldn't help but be moved by their rendition of this disney classic!), singin' in the rain, boy from oz and diamonds are a girl's best friend to name a few. too bad they didn't play anything from miss saigon.

we were thinking of ordering room service when we got back to our hotel room but the pork knuckle and sausages have yet to be digested so we just tucked ourselves in bed.

i really enjoyed my birthday. what made it more special was the fact that this was actually my first birthday as a mrs.. i know eric prepared and made sure that i enjoy every minute of my special day...and i did (even if he told me that he'll be financially drained EVERY december since it's the month of my birthday, our wedding anniversary and christmas! hehehehehehehehe :-> three in one gift just wouldn't do :-P).

*more pics of my 26th birthday celebration here.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

an open letter from my papa

i told my papa that i'll be sending his letter to all family and friends who prayed for him. he told me that he's making it his apostolate to inform everyone what happened to him as not everyone are lucky enough to tell their story.


I have just undergone a heart attack and thank God, was able to recoverand share the event with you.

Thanks for all your prayers.

I attach the documents.

Love you all.

Rolly Alarcon



If you received a copy of this documentary, I owe you this explanation regarding my Heart Attack Experience.. I feel I was really blest that I was able to survive this traumatic bout. I know I might have created you undue anxiety and concern about this news.

I now feel obligated to relay to you what has happened.

Let me first thank you for the prayers and the concerns that I’m sure you did when you heard the news.

Most of you know that I have been an athletic person all my life and up to the present. I continue to play Badminton twice a week for two hours, have an active home life, with a very happy and supportive family, not to mention, enjoying riding my motorcycle with my group. I have at times been called “Mr. Cool”. I’m not really the type who “blows his top” easily.

Last Nov. 11, following a usual day in the office, at about 7 30 PM, we had just finished a regularly scheduled badminton fun game, and , I was late for the schedule, therefore had only 15 minutes to play before court’s time was up. I managed to squeeze a double’s game but that’s was it. Before I could make a good sweat, the game has timed out.

We had a rest and were contemplating on playing some more, when I started to feel that something was wrong with my breathing…


I felt something clogging my throat like phlegm or like having swallowed a big bite of food which tends to be uncomfortable in the chest . I was trying to cough it out intentionally, hoping to clear my throat to get some comfort..

Following that, I felt a strange cold sweat and had breathing difficulty. I had someone help me out of the badminton court, which is closed and covered, to get a breathe of outdoor fresh air, hoping that things will feel better.

It did not, rather got progressively (logarithmically) worst.

The difficulty in breathing got worst. Sweated profusely and I started to act incoherently. I could not even get a sip from the water bottle in my hand.

While all these are happening, I was trying to maintain a clear mind on what to do next. Go home or go direct to the nearest hospital ? From what was happening, I decided to go to the hospital. The time period from the first time I had difficulty in breathing to what I felt up till now , had taken only 10 minutes. Things were turning out from bad to worst. And at this point I was struggling for my breathe, blurring vision, sweaty chill and incoherent movement.

As all of these were happening, and I was with Mr. Rey Borja. He is a motorcycle riding buddy of mine, a good motorcycle mechanic, a registered male nurse and an office mate. (I now call him my guardian angel - Don’t worry, you will have your own particularly when you need one). He happened to be in the Badminton Court that time to watch and spy-in to our practice. (btw - he belongs to the other team). He too, started to worry as my pulse was getting weaker and weaker, again progressively deteriorating.

We decided to go to the nearest hospital, which was Medical City.


Rey drove like mad, with hazards on , tooting his horns to give us space to maneuver the big van. Apart from all the frightening feelings, I was being lulled into unconsciousness, which my mind was telling me I must not give into. I decided to open a window and look at the oncoming bright lights, hoping it would help me focus to stay alert and not let me slip into unconsciousness.

During this trip, I had a chance to talk to family members, advising them Im on the way to Medical City due to difficulty in breathing. Thanks to the last “ Last Called Feature of the Cellphones” I managed to call, if not, Im not sure if I can browse through the Contacts List at my condition.

At this point, I was really struggling for my breathe having to draw each and every breath of life. They say that its like placing a brick or stone in your chest. I will tell you, that is an understatement. [A steamroller (pison), is more appropriate, or for the divers out there, its like drawing air from your scuba tank at 200 ft.] I notice I was not breathing naturally and had to go back to deep full lung breathing.


We arrived at the emergency room of Medical City, almost on the brink of loosing my consciousness. Chest pain got from worst to worster (if there is such), drawing air was much more difficult now and I was drenched with cold sweat.

I struggled through my sports bag for my wallet, Drivers License, Health card, and cell phone.

Emergency staff met us with a wheelchair and told the attending doctor I was having difficulty breathing and informed him that I might be having a heart attack..

I have been a hypertensive person since I was 26, and had to explain to him my medication, allergy issues and health card enrollment, and other personal information through my driver’s license.


The attack was now at its worst. I could no longer breathe without struggling, sweating continuously, chest pains were severe, and my extremities were uncontrollably quivering.

I was in and out of consciousness.

Please note that all these happened within a span of 30 minutes.

In between these ON and OFF consciousness I saw people close to my life; my wife and daughter , close friends , and some of my relatives in the medical profession, all around my emergency room bed. I can just imagine now, how traumatic it was for them to see me quivering, uneasy and restless because of the severe chest pains and in the total experience I was going thru. My wife and daughter had to pin both my arms down on the bed because…through all the haze, I wanted to stand up, hoping to relieve my pain. Of course, that was already impossible since I was already being sedated which already included dosages of morphine for the pain.

While the doctors were rushing all over the place, I heard some statement of optimism, from the medical staff attending to me, that I am having an attack and well within the “Golden Six Hours”, and the new drug which melts any clog in the heart will work best within these Golden 6.

I found out later that the heart attack was happening while I was in the emergency bed. Everyone hopeful that the new drug works or else they will be forced to “open me up”. At this point, I felt the medical sedation taking effect, and at this time it started to become spiritual and had to tell HIM, “YOUR WILL BE DONE”.

After a while, I felt Peace, Serenity all over, with no pains and worries. ( This is part of a different saga all together) A PEEK AT THE LIFE AFTER


I regained consciousness in the ICU room I was brought into, from the emergency room I was rushed into. It was room full of high tech medical equipment, with all those Intra Venous (IV) connected all over my body, all the monitors for the heart and breathing, laid across the top, the sides and bottom of my bed.I was brought in 8pm past of a Friday..and it was already 2 a.m. of Saturday. First thing I asked….”why am I here”?

I started to cry and not really not knowing what has happened and no idea what to do. After a few minutes, I collected myself and decided to do some of my own physiology tests. I first started to move my right feet and was so relieved to see it move, and did the rest for my left foot, right and left fingers, which at this time were swollen with the number needle marks and some still attached to it. At this time I was really talking to HIM, and asking if I am still in this earth.

I tried to recall everything that had happened and was able to trace everything back from the badminton court to the emergency room.

I can not explain to anyone how I felt at this point, both spiritually and physically


My wife told me what had happened….and it seemed that I was back to my old self within 24 hours….The cardiologist assigned to me explained all that had happened and what was the next step to do. He said…”you are a very lucky guy…you were brought here right away..that’s why the doctors was able to do the right thing at the right time ….it seemed all the medications worked together to save me and give me back a new heart…and a new life…..but of course everything was done thru the will of our LORD..

The attack can not really be blamed on that single badminton game. Im sure it’s an accumulation of unhealthy practices throughout my 51 years and of course Genetics plays a whole lot.. Still, I just want to let you know….non-smokers have a big chance of surviving a heart attack.compared to smokers….people who tend to smoke will find it harder to bounce back to their old self…and if ever they have a procedure…it will be more complicated because the cardiologist will find more difficulty restoring the damage on the arteries. By the way, the finding on my heart attack showed an artery block to the oxygen supply of my heart, causing the excruciating pain and eventually causing something like a heart muscle cramps (ie stoppage), thus the heart attack..


Having a clear and well focused mind, despite all these pains, anxiety you feel, and resist the urge to be naturally carried away into unconsciousness.

When you’ve done all humanly possible, struggling all throughout the challenges, and have done your best, endorse everything to HIM.


There I was lying in bed for the next two days, in the ICU being observed by the best medical team that can be offered. Honestly I felt like “nagdadahilan lang” as they say. Everything I felt was pre-attack feeling (parang singlakas ng kalabaw), with the exception of the many IVs , monitoring instruments attached to me, and the regular (or should say irregular) visits of the medical staff coming for the regular vitals and medicine.


After several days (actually two days), I had a discussion with a team of Cardiologist of different level of expertise (Fellows, Consultants, etc), on what to do next.

I was advised on how lucky I was that the medication given to me during the attack worked most effectively at the proper time. We all looked at the Monitors attached to me, and the most inspiring sight I saw when they all nod and agreed with a nice smile, that it really did.

From then on, it was all progressively uphill and every vitals improved.

Following this activity, How happy I was to see the loads of friends, in queue for the ICU visiting hours to open, which by the way opens for two hours a day only. I was given unlimited well wishes, some shared their touch of energy , prayed over me and some curious how can such happen to me. Close relatives and friends abroad kept on sending prayers and inspirations to the rest of my family.I understand some were not even able to enter, despite that were content enough to have a peek at my ICU room.

All these helped

Passing the several days of monitoring, and with serious discussion with the medical team, I decided to have an Coronary Angiogram Procedure and had to worked on one blocked artery using Angioplasty.

These were performed and had to clear one blocked artery through the Angioplasty, using balloon and stent in the coronary walls. It was one exciting experience too.


Personally, I believe this was a “Wake Up Call” not only for me but for my Networks of Friends. I was truly blessed to have gone through all these experience and come out alive and still in full control of all of my faculties, and still be alive able to tell you about it.

Thus, I am sharing these to all of you. Those who were part of the Prayer Brigade, those who have showed concern. And mostly to those…who had to go right away to see me and my family…to give support by your presence….my deepest gratitude! I hope that this will continue to inspire you to continue on with life….. take care of it… and when you have done your best….. be able to trust and leave the rest to HIM.

Following the old cliché, “Trust me I’ve been there”.

I do not claim any medical explanation for all that has happened but it has seemed I have been very lucky….. I’m sure from the events that transpired…. you will be able to pick up the most significant and critical events that could help you in the future.

Importance of the GIFT OF LIFE

One of the most important values, that I’ve learn to treasure, is the “Gift of LIFE”. This gift crosses politics, faith or creed, and social stature. Each Human Being is given the same and equal opportunity. It is up for the human being to develop and improve this gift of life, sharing its talent.

The most important challenge is how to make this “God given Lives” to us, provide LIFE to other human beings.



Rolly C. Alarcon
email :
Tel. (632) 9250451



There I was, lying in a place or a state which can not be explained except for peace, serenity and tranquility. It is like staring at a blank ceiling with soft and indirect lighting. No “Bright Light, No Sound”, No Distance and No Sense of Time.

It appears as if my senses was reset or perhaps non-working. No struggle for bright or dim lights, No sound, no bass or treble sound, like an equalizer set at flat, No sense of distance.

It was pure peace and serenity.

With a clear mind, I tried to recall any of my earthly problems and concerns. Nothing seem to come through. I couldn’t imagine such a place or state much peaceful than this.

Perhaps, He allowed me to have a peek on life beyond and this is the tranquility I felt.

If this is the state of life after death, I am no longer afraid of it , honestly I am looking forward to it.



Following my recent bout with Heart Attack, I began to realize the importance of LIFE.

The Gift of Life being the most important gift one could have.. This is one gift that surpasses Creed and Political Beliefs, Rich or Poor, Black or White. Everyone is given a fair chance of LIFE.

In Life , it is how we develop and share this gift. How we expand it, develop it , share it and most important how we enjoy life. It crosses social stature, rich or poor.

At the end of the day, it is how we use this life and become a “LIFE” to other people.

So let preserve life, develop life, share life and enjoy our lives.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

tuesday is movie day


after office, eric and i will be meeting cousin aris and future cousin-in-law jen in westfield to watch harry potter and the goblet of fire movie. we've never been harry potter fans, not owning nor reading one single harry potter book. we don't mind watching the movie but we're not the type to queue to be the first to see the movie or get the book during it's first day of release.

anyway, going back to my post title...we always make it a point to watch movies ONLY on tuesdays because movie tickets are 50% off. call us cheapos but regular movie tickets in sydney costs aud$15.00 (goldclass, which gives you unlimited drinks and popcorn, costs aud$30.00!!!). smart shopping homemakers do everything to save you know (coupons anyone?).

and before the movie we'll be passing by good old tim's bbq for dinner.

Monday, December 05, 2005

the one with all ten seasons


234 episodes
85 hours
5100 minutes

eric and i have never been into collecting dvds and boxed sets. however, when we saw that they have already released a friends boxed set with all ten seasons, we both agreed that it would be a good investment (our way of rationalizing the purchase). cousin sarah who works at jb hi-fi (which recently opened in hornsby), informed us of a family and friends sale last friday which means that we could get the friends boxed set at cost price or with a 10% discount (we eventually got it with the 10% discount as it comes out cheaper). we took that as a sign that we were meant to have our very own first boxed set (start of a collection perhaps?). friends marathon anyone?

now to get my hands on this...

    hello...anyone there?

    i doubt if anyone is still reading this blog.

    i can't believe my last post was more than a year ago! so much has happened to us. too much actually...just see for yourself...