I am beginning a new category with this post which I hope to pull up later to remind myself about what I intended to do as I planned my visit to Manila this 2006.

Alan keeps teasing me that I’m so excited about going home.  After being away for three years, who wouldn’t be?  It has helped that Mom has been in and out of the US for the last year and a half or so and my sister has paid me a visit twice in the same time frame, but I miss the rest of my siblings, my niece, my new nephew, my Dad, and of course my dearest friends.

The real reason I’m going home is to introduce my son to his grandfather.  Being a real Daddy’s girl, I feel that it would be a disservice to my father to let the year go without him seeing his adorable apo.  We are trying to make this a surprise so everone except my Dad has gotten a confirmation that we are planning a trip home.  With Mom’s stay granted until April 20, it looks like Angel and I will leave with her.  That has given me roughly 5 months (including December) to plan my trip.

I’ve already started collecting and setting aside pasalubong, or little gifts we bring home to friends and family when we come home from a trip.  I haven’t quite made a list yet, but I have been putting away a piece or two with my immediate family and friends in mind.

With the end-of-year sales happening right and left, it’s a good time to scout for bargains, except that clothes are out of the question owing to the fact that we are putting our winter lines on sale, and that has no use in always warm Manila.

Still, there are a few pieces here and there.. some t-shirts, perhaps make up, gift packs from Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.  (Although I have already gotten my first batch of hand sanitizers as indicated in a previous post.)  And like the last time, I’m starting to catch the bonus time or gift time in the various department store cosmetics brands offered by the bigger ones like MACY’s, LORD & TAYLOR, BLOOMINGDALES and even NORDSTROMS.  Unfortunately, the department stores do not publish their bonus time or gift time events, so I have to keep an eye out for that in the daily papers.

I missed a good set offered by Clinique at Lord & Taylor — no thanks to the MTA strike — and I try to catch them by store because the gift sets are never the same for each chain.  (Read: what Macy’s offers will not be what Bloomingdale’s would offer, even if it’s the same brand doing gift time one after the other.)  I did get a purchase for purchase offer at Clinique over at MACY’s which enabled me to purchase a nice make up bag set worth $85 for $25. 

Between my sister and sister-in-law, I already have two sets to put together, plus one or two more for the girlfriends.  I might even include a favorite cousin-in-law in my list if I don’t get her one of the make up sets offered by Victoria Secret at a very good discount online.  (They are not available in stores.)

There are the NYC t-shirts which go for $2 a piece in the souvenir shops, and I’ve decided I will get some of the colored shirts from Footlocker which go for 5 for $20.  If I get a batch of 5 between now and April, I will have 20 colored shirts which should be good enough. 

Rather than break the bank by shopping last minute, I have learned that it pays to get the items little by little and build up a stash to take home when the trip is here. 

I’ve heard about those “Kikay Kits” — beauty bags you put together to give to friends and it really isn’t a bad idea considering I have a ton of girlfriends I will probably see when I go home.  Not a bad idea considering there are a few costmetics outlet stores in New York that sell brand names for discounts.  Hmmmm…

While books are rather heavy to lug around, there are a few I’d like to bring home to give to friends who share the love of reading with me.  I am still debating in my mind if I will part with one of three autographed first editions of Tom Clancy’s TEETH OF THE TIGER that I have to give to a former boss who now owns an internet cafe/coffee shop in Manila.  I know that she is one lady who would know the value of that book not just because it’s a Tom Clancy, a first edition, or that it was autographed.  I was actually hoping to hang on to that until Clancy releases the continuation which I hope to get and have him autograph when he is in New York for a book signing event again. 

I have a textbook from the former Restaurant School of New York given to me by a friend who underwent a 6-month culinary course there which I would love to give to the chef/son of a girlfriend of mine who I knew way back when he was 7 to 10 years old.. If only I could shrink that and put it in my pocket!  I know that Donato would have better use of that tome rather than have it sitting in the bottom shelf of my cookbook rack in the kitchen, collecting dust.

You’ll have to wait and see in April if I do decide to bring the books home with me.