Wednesday, December 25, 2002

christmas eve

dinner at shangri-la

This year, Nikki, Sage and I joined my family for Christmas Eve dinner at the Garden Restaurant at the Shangri-la Plaza Hotel. The food was worth the stunning price (P1300++ per head), and all my immediate family in Manila was there: Rebecca, Joe, Maureen, Johnny, my Mom and my step-Dad. The dazzling array of choices included lamb, prime rib, sea food, various types of sushi and sashimi and a truly creative dessert selection.

Normally, this time of the year is very stressful for my family, as the pressure of the holidays and the enforced togetherness wreak havoc on the familial political spectrum. We were already for an evening of outbursts, tears and frustration and exposed varying degrees of shock when NOTHING happened. Frankly, it was stunning to have dinner without anyone saying anything untoward. Instead, we had happy conversations, talking about everything: the man in Thailand who bit a crocodile to save his life, the absurb inanities of Filipino gameshows and how pesto is prepared.

Sage was wonderful throughout the mealm social creature that she is. She was dressed in her Christmas attire, matching red and green dress and shoes. She enjoyed the different kinds of cheese we offered her and guzzled away at the mango juice her nanny, Diovine, kept giving her. She even sat by herself in her kiddie seat, which, for this little whirling dervish, is quite a feat.

I don't know, maybe she was just delighted to have everyone coo and fawn over her.

A funny thing happened later when the table next to ours was occupied by another family with a baby girl of roughly Sage's age - who was wearing the exact Oshkosh B'Gosh ensemble! If she were older, it would be a social faux pax (her aunts were laughing) and oddly enough, it made me want to flush the other little girl down the toilet. I mean, how dare she?! Sage, of course, was oblivious to the entire thing, but I realize that buying off the shelf baby clothes gets you situations exactly like this one.

What struck me though was how beautful all the ladies in my family looked - which explains why Sage looks the way she does. Oh, I know she'll be heartbreaker. Thank God she looks more like Nikki than me! In this picture, we have Maureen (my sister, who works for me in Pipeline as Chief Accounts), Princess Monjierra Alonto-Disini (my Mom, who gets questioned when she tries to use her senior citizen card because no one believes she anywhere near old), Nikki (my wife, whose Degas-inspired look fueled many an indecent thought in my head during an otherwise wholesome evening), and Joe (my sister, whose stunning backless dress was enough to shock me into accepting that she and her twin Reb are turning 25 in a few days).

Afterwards, we retired to the house for some wine and partial gift-opening (more gifts will be opened a few hours from now). Sage was sound asleep as we tore into our little expressions of love. I got a Rolex from my Mom and a brand name tie, both of which made me raise my eyebrows because of the startling extravagance. Good thing Nikki and I gave her several items headlined by a lovely leather bag!

I was touched by the twin's gift to me: a belen (nativity scene) because they recalled my mentioning I didn't have one. Mau also added a black shirt to my monohue wardrobe.

When we got home, we opened our gifts to each other and we mutually surprised by the Playstation 2 left behind by Santa for us!

I can't wait for Sage to wake up and open her gifts!

Ah, Christmas!


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