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Ageless beauty Lea Salonga reveals her stay-young secrets in the August 2016 issue (the anti-aging special!) of Good Housekeeping Philippines. Available on newsstands and bookstores nationwide.
Publication Date: January 2004
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Never mind that she may have started her new life on the wrong foot care of the blind date from hell, and that her best friends keep debating on when, where and with whom she should lose her virginity-there's one thing that inspires her to get up in the morning and troop to school (even if she's sure to bump into Gito): mysterious and passionate love letters from a secret admirer that keep appearing at strange places. With her name on it.
Hot on the trail of the elusive letter writer, Teri can't help but wonder: Could Mr. X be Mr. Right as well?
"Hey, Teri," somebody called from behind.
The three of them turned and saw Jeds, Teri and Moose's classmate in Short Story Writing class.
"Well, lookie what we have here... " Vanecks muttered under her breath.
Jeds was a junior from the college of Fine Arts. He was an inch or two taller than Teri, had short moussed hair and a well-trimmed goatee. While a lot of Painting majors roamed the school in dirty shirts and slippers, Jeds was often snazzed up like some model pretending to be a rock star. Sometimes he even looked prettier than Teri.
"Uy, Moose," Jeds said like some afterthought.
"Uy, pare," Moose nodded, giving Jeds a half-smirk and turning his back to his coffee. Vanecks snorted and rolled her eyes heavenward.
"See you in class, Ters?" Jeds smiled and Teri nodded. He waved shyly then walked off.
Vanecks wasted no time in returning to her earlier assertion: that college boys were the way to go. "Eh yun? He looks like a willing fuck buddy."
"Oh, please. He's five years younger than I am."
"Precisely. He won't be after a relationship. Just your panties."
Perhaps this was the time to bring up the letter, Teri thought. She had withheld the story from them the previous night, not knowing how to deal with it. "What about this one?" Teri said nonchalantly, and tossed the yellow envelope in front of them. Two pairs of hands swooped down on it vulture-like.
"When did you get this?!"
"I can't believe you kept this from me! You witch! Inggit ako!" said Moose with an exaggerated a frown.
Teri told them about what happened at the corridor: running into Gito, Marty showing up then Gito disappearing, and Gito not taking the money -
Vanecks cut her off with a furious waving of the hand. "Who cares about Gito? Good lord! This letter is making me wet! Listen. 'I know no end to desiring you... what makes me happy rests solely on you... ' Who can it be? Kilala mo ba 'to?"
"For all you know, he could be a she," Moose offered and Teri shrieked. "Seriously. I'm just saying... anyway, it sounds very familiar... "
Teri looked inquiringly at Moose but Vanecks was on a roll. She wasn't about to be distracted. "If you find out who he is, run the other way. Don't sleep with him!"
"Wait, now you're confusing me... " Teri said.
"No emotional baggage, ok? This guy is so into you he has enough baggage for a six-month trip to Bhurkina Faso."
"I say find out who he is and go for it, Ters," Moose advised resolutely. "If you are to lose your virginity, do it with someone who won't kiss you off the next day."
"Maybe she should do the kissing off."
"Ay, enough. My virginity is not exactly appetizing breakfast fare, okay? Let's change the subject. Vans, what do you know about Gito?"
"Why the sudden interest in Gito?"
"Because I'm changing the subject," Teri quipped. And because each time I see him, I get anxious and my body never fails to respond.
"Okay, from what I heard in the department, he's supposed to be a hotshot prof from Berkeley, hotshot prof, puh-leeze, anyway, he's a grad - "
"Yeah, yeah, that part I know. He's a graduate of this university," Teri said with a hint of impatience. What she really wanted to do was cut to the chase: Does he have a girlfriend?
To erase the puzzled look on Vanecks's face, Moose filled her in on the secret dating fiasco that happened between Gito and Teri.
Vanecks's mouth flew open. After a brief pause and a prolonged blink, she said, "Yikes, poor Lizzie then."
"Poor Lizzie?" Teri asked, trying to sound only slightly interested.
"They're supposed to be dating. At least that's what I hear from the department secretaries."
Poor me! Teri wanted to scream. Lizzie was Teri's Short Story Writing teacher. And Teri liked her - Lizzie was tall, pretty, had short straight hair and plook-free skin that she looked more like a rich pensionada-turned-professional-model than what she really was: a rich pensionada-turned-teacher. She was the daughter of a gay shoe magnate. Is it too much to hope that she shares her dad's homosexual hormones? Teri thought miserably.
Lizzie was also funny and friendly. She was always so 'together,' articulate and poised (Teri heard her sneeze once and it was a quiet and demure 'Choo!') that beside her, Teri couldn't help but feel like an awkward, ill-mannered, pre-menstrual 13-year-old from Tuguegarao.
This was beginning to look more pointless than a Mike Tyson fight.