Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Proust Questionnaire #5

Question: What is your favorite journey?
My favorite is my most recent one: #MindaNOWorNever with my friend and ultimate travel buddy, Hannah! It was a journey of a hundred firsts, and I was a completely different (and deeply tanned, too!) person when I returned. It was a vacation, yes, but it was a physically exhausting one: we went backpacking together for 15 days and separately for 4 more.

"Alam mo, kahit conyo ka, ikaw lang ang babaeng kilala kong gagawa nyan," said my friend Alfred when I called him from Cebu during a brief work break. To those who don't speak Filipino, he basically told me that, although I was "conyo" (a semi-derogatory term for people who seem to be high-class and vain, according to the Urban Dictionary), I was the only girl he knows who would go on a journey like that. Haha!

(For the record, though, I am NOT conyo - I just went to a school where a lot of people are.)

Next year, Hannah and I will explore Visayas. Can't wait!

What is your favorite journey?


Friday, October 09, 2015

FTF / #MindaNOWorNever: CDO

In 2014, two crazy girls named Hannah and Isay said that they will go on The Great Mindanao Adventure. In 2015, they did. On August 17, 2015, they hopped on a plane bound for Cagayan de Oro (CDO), and the rest, as they say, is history.
The very first photo of #MindaNOWorNever
CDO, our first stop, is known for whitewater rafting. That was what we had in mind, but sadly, we weren't able to do it. It was just us two traveling, and because it was a Monday, we didn't find a tour group we can go with. In addition, we landed there rather late - not only was our flight slightly delayed, we actually had to make an emergency landing in Cebu.
There were bats
After checking in at our hotel (Marianne Suites - very nice, and priced reasonably, too!), we commuted like locals to one of the most frequently-visited caves in Cagayan de Oro City, Makahambus Cave. Being a "thru" cave (you enter one side and exit through the other), Makahambus Cave was instrumental to the first victory of Filipinos during the Philippine-American War in 1990, as it served as the hideout of the Kagay-anon soldiers and their families.
It wasn't a huge cave; the trek from the entry to the exit was only 57 meters. We exited on the side facing the Cagayan de Oro River, and the view was calming (I hadn't slept in over 36 hours, and I was really exhausted, but seeing the river made me feel so much better).

The cave was located in the middle of nowhere, and Hannah and I weren't sure how we were going to get back to the hotel - jeepneys were few and far between. Luckily for us, a white pick-up truck stopped for us and gave us a lift back to the city! We sat at the back of the truck, where we played around with the GoPro as we struggled to keep our balance (I also made a lot of effort to keep my hair away from my face, and of course I failed).

(An aside: We accepted the offer for the lift because one of the passengers is a kind-faced woman. Hannah and I think that she was the one who saw us, and she urged her driver to stop.)
I'm stuck!
Later that afternoon, we headed back to our hotel. We rested a bit (I desperately needed sleep), and when I was amply recharged, Hannah and I walked around the city. We visited the Provincial Capitol of Misamis Oriental. The park in front of it had old school public phone booths, and of course I had to have my photo taken in it! I was six years old the last time I was in one. :)
Local flavor
We also visited the St. Augustine Cathedral on foot. To get there, we asked for directions from a random stranger on the street, who, upon learning that we were from Manila, smiled and said, "Welcome to the City of Golden Friendship!" Cute, right? :) We stopped for a bit for STREET FOOD! Hannah and I had some breaded chicken and squid rings (I think), and it was delicious and cheap!
I made a wish
City Hall
We walked past the City Hall before we got to St. Augustine Cathedral. The church was old, but it was beautiful and well-preserved. We said our prayers, took a few photos, and left. We turned in early, because we had to get up really early the following day for the next chapter of our adventure: Iligan City.


Thursday, October 08, 2015

LT / Homage

After a week of working in Cebu, which came after the Mindanao adventure with Hannah, I went to Dumaguete to wind down before coming back to the city, and to get new tattoos from Karla - the same artist who tattooed the names of my mother, father, and brother on my wrist. I spent a week there, and one afternoon, I got to hang out with Frances, whom I met a year ago through my friend Jerry.

We talked about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, one of my favorite books of all time, which was celebrating its 150th publishing anniversary this year. An aside: although I read it rather late in life (it's supposed to be a book for children), it was good that I had enough literary maturity to really appreciate the imagery, the narrative course and structure, and of course, the characters.

And that's when it hit me - I must pay homage to the novel with a tattoo! The Mindanao trip has changed me tremendously; it made me see the world with a fresh pair of curious eyes, like Alice! So I took out my notebook and started scribbling the words "curiouser and curiouser." I experimented with various handwriting styles, until I eventually decided to write it the way I would if I were still my six-year-old self, learning how to write script.

I brought the design to Karla, who used a stencil to replicate the scribble perfectly. This is the result:

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

MW / #MindaNOWorNever: TBoli music

Part of the school curriculum for elementary students is music, and during my time in school, we briefly studied native instruments from the different tribes in the Philippines. Among these instruments were the gongs, used mainly by the TBoli people. I've seen them on display in museums, and I've heard the sound on educational television shows, but it's only recently that I had the distinct pleasure of listening to a TBoli woman make music with gongs.
Nanay Alice
My friend Hannah and I went on an adventure - for 17 days, we toured Mindanao. One of our stops is Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, where we visited the TBoli Museum, also dubbed the House of Gongs. There we met Alice, a lovely 70-year-old TBoli woman who serves as the museum's caretaker. She not only played the gongs for us, she also had us sit and listen to her play the two-string guitar.

The music she made was just beautiful, and she moved my heart with it. In the age of overly-processed sound, it was wonderful to get to listen to something so refreshingly raw, natural, different. As she used instruments made only from things found in nature, the sounds they make evoke a strong feel of the surroundings - the lush green forests and the clear waterfalls, rivers, and streams.

Her music was among the highlights of the trip. :)


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

HFT / Injury timeout

At around the same time I took another hiatus from blogging, I also took a break from jiu-jitsu. I was so overwhelmed with work and I just couldn't spend as much time on the mats anymore. It didn't help that I felt constant pain in my wrist - there was a week when it got so bad that it kept me awake at night. And when I had it checked, all the doctor prescribed was warm compress.
A month after I stopped training, I went on the trip of a lifetime - The Great Mindanao Adventure 2015 - with my friend Hannah. In Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, I hurt my back when I miscalculated my dive into the beautiful Enchanted River. The long and bumpy bus rides we took on the rest of the trip didn't help, and I only got it checked when I got back to the city three weeks later.

I have trust issues with doctors, so even though I got back to the city on a Saturday, I put off getting my back and wrist checked until Friday, when my friend Raf (orthopedic surgeon extraordinaire) would have clinic in Makati. Unfortunately for me, he's got a long line of torn ACLs to fix, but because he's the sweetest, he called to prescribe an anti-inflammatory and pain relieving gel for my wrist, which was a huge, huge help.

Raf is a very busy guy and I didn't want to keep him on the phone too long, so I thanked him and hung up before I could mention my back problem. I couldn't wait until his next Makati clinic day, so I decided to walk over to the Philippine Orthopedic Institute. There I met Dr. Odulio, who ordered an x-ray of my wrist and my lower back.

I'm quite lucky that my injuries weren't as bad as they felt; there were no broken bones, no slipped discs, and no torn ligaments, just sprained and hyperextended tendons. Dr. Odulio prescribed six sessions of physical therapy, and after that, I should be good as new. :)


Monday, October 05, 2015

GVM / Habits

This is a photo of the quote on my wall - a daily reminder of what I need to do to make my dreams a reality:
Daily reminder
Have a great week ahead, folks! :)


Saturday, October 03, 2015

The Proust Questionnaire #4

Since there are twenty-two questions that I need to answer, I figured I'd split publishing between Thursday and Saturday so I can complete it sooner.

Question: What is your greatest extravagance?  

When I first read the question a few months back, I was ready to say, "travel." After The Great Mindanao Adventure (#MindaNOWorNever), however, I have a different answer. Travel, to me, is not an extravagance, because I think it's absolutely necessary to nurture one's soul, to remind us all of what little space we occupy in the world. Besides, I don't travel in luxury - I always go for the cheapest of flights and average accommodations, just to be sure that I have enough dough for experiences that count.
My Kryptonite.
(photo from the internet)
So here's the answer: I have never deprived myself of a beautiful notebook when I need one, either for use as a journal or a planner.

I'm a very practical person, and I know better than to spend an extra five hundred pesos for a leather-bound notebook with acid-free, creamy white paper when I could get a regular one that will serve the exact same purpose for a fraction of the cost. Yes, I KNOW better, but that has not stopped me from buying the more expensive alternative.

Writing is my bread and butter, so this impractical decision is an investment in my craft. I enjoy writing on a beautiful notebook more than I do on an average one, so I churn out more creative output on the former. :)

What is your greatest extravagance?