Tuesday, August 11, 2015

HFT / Sleep trick!

All my life I've had trouble sleeping. I was a hyperactive kid, so I always had to be doing something - sleep, to me, was a waste of time (I think differently now). A traumatic experience from my childhood made it worse; for a time, I've had to take sleeping pills just to get rest. Being a writer didn't help, either - I write best in the evenings, because my mind somehow goes into overdrive when the sun begins to set.
Time for bed!
(photo from the internet)
So yes, sleep is a problem for me, even when I'm tired. Sleepless nights take its toll on my health - I catch colds really easily - and I also become really irritable during the day, even after coffee.

My friend Pauline shared with me a sleep trick that she read about online - the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise. Here's how it works: Exhale completely, and then breathe in through your nose quietly while mentally counting to four. Hold your breath, mentally counting to seven. And then exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound, mentally counting to eight. Repeat the whole process three more times.

The process will help you relax by ensuring enough oxygen gets to circulate all over your body. At first it can be challenging, especially for overthinkers like myself - I stressed over counting a bit too much. But as I did it more often, I could do it mechanically, and I could get knocked out in a minute.

Read more about this exercise on this link: http://www.medicaldaily.com/life-hack-sleep-4-7-8-breathing-exercise-will-supposedly-put-you-sleep-just-60-332122. Try it! It could work for you. :)


Monday, August 10, 2015

GVM / You just can't

Sent to me by my friend Luis:
Simple truth.
(image from the internet)
Have a great week ahead, folks!


Saturday, August 08, 2015


There was a phase when I absolutely hated oatmeal. I hated it because there was a week when all I had was a bag of oatmeal and some sugar in my kitchen cupboard, and I didn't have any money to buy groceries. Without certainty as to when I was going to receive my allowance, I even had to consume the oatmeal sparingly - I ate a small bowl of that goop once a day.
This was all I had for a week.
(image from the internet)
On the fifth day, I had my last serving of oatmeal to start my day, and because I have the appetite of a rhinoceros, I was hungry by noon. I was hanging out with a friend when he invited me to McDonald's, and because I still had no money, I declined and I said that I was "still full." And at that exact moment, my stomach gave a loud, embarrassing growl.

My friend knew me well enough to know that I'm quite proud, so he pretended not to hear it. But the following day, he showed up at my dorm with two plastic bags filled with groceries. I cried out of sheer gratitude. Those groceries kept me alive for over a couple of weeks.

That act of kindness changed me in a big way. For starters, it made me realize that although I wasn't financially well-off, I am one of the richest people on earth if wealth were gauged solely on the friends one has. I never have to fight my battles alone, because I have people who will stand by me through anything and everything.

And most importantly, it restored my faith in the innate goodness of people. I made a vow to "pay it forward" - to help someone else when I have the capacity to do so, and I am doing my best to keep that promise. I hope that my acts of kindness, no matter how small, would positively affect someone's view of people and/or the world the way my friend's changed mine.


Friday, August 07, 2015

FTF / Whimsical

Some time in July, I worked as a writer for Stratminds Events for one of their projects, Southside Collective, a mini-festival for art, music, and fashion held at Commercenter in Alabang. With the exception of designer Gian Romano, I'll admit I didn't know the exhibitors and their work. That only made me more excited about the event, because even if I don't have the gift for visual art, I do have an appreciation for it, mainly because I grew up with an inifinitely talented brother.

One of the exhibiting artists at Southside Collective is Steph Alvarez, a visual artist/illustator who also happens to be a freshly-minted architect. She graduated from the University of Santo Tomas a couple of years ago with a degree in Architecture, and she recently passed the Board Licensure Examination. She's currently affiliated with a local architecture firm, but she still pursues her art on the side.
Love her work!
For as long as I could remember, I've always been attracted to darker color palettes, so I was surprised at how Steph's wonderfully whimsical work caught my attention. Her work reminded me of my younger, more carefree days, when I had the luxury to spend most of my waking hours in a dream-like state, imagining ethereal worlds to write about.

Putting my adult hat back on, another thing that I appreciate about Steph's work is that she draws women. As a feminist, I love that her subjects of her portraits and illustrations are women - each one strong and each one beautiful in a unique way. Her work is incredibly personal, and that is a mark of strength - she knows who she is as a woman and as an artist, and she is not afraid to take on the world.

I got to talk to her father, who helped her out during her exhibit. I commended him for letting his daughter pursue a career in art - most parents (including my own) would discourage it for practical reasons, and he shared with me that creativity runs in their family. :)

For those interested the work of Steph Alvarez, visit her Facebook page - www.facebook.com/StephAlvarezArt or her Instagram account - @stephalvarez.art.


Thursday, August 06, 2015

LT / Poetry in scents

For this week, I'm breaking my Proust Questionnaire Marathon for something I recently discovered that I feel I must share with anyone who reads this blog.

I previously wrote a poem titled "He Smells Like Strength," following a conversation with my friend Reese. I wrote a debrief about the piece, as well, and I never thought I would find myself writing about scents ever again. For starters, I'm allergic to perfume. And even if I weren't, it's not very practical to wear scents because I spend most of my waking hours sweating. Haha!
A scent for those I'm close to.
Photo art-directed by Wiji, herself!
Last month, when I worked with Lendro and the rest of the Stratminds Team on Southside Collective, I met Wiji Lacsamana - the female half of art duo extraordinaire Radioactive Mushrooms in the Forest. They were exhibiting their scarves and their scents, and Lendro told me that I JUST HAD TO ask Wiji about the scents. So I did. Not just because he's my boss, but because I was actually quite curious.

I walked away from the booth with "The Woods," a scent that, at first whiff, took me back to my Sagada trip last April - just like Wiji said it would. Wiji's handcrafted scents were designed to take you some place else - it evokes memories of people, places, and/or things dear to you. It doesn't give the user an overwhelming scent that announces his or her presence from a mile away. In Wiji's words, "It's a scent for those close to you." Poetic.

I've used it every day since; it's made only from natural oils so it didn't trigger my allergy! Try it for yourself - just contact them on Instagram (@radioactivemushroomsitf).


Wednesday, August 05, 2015

MW / Unexpected encouragement

Ed demonstrates the Spear Hand.
One random Saturday, Ronjie, Ed, and I headed over to Plantation to grab some beers. We asked Ronjie about his journey so far, and he told us that he's been a blue belt for as long as he can remember and he's a bit frustrated about that. Because I'm the type to randomly break into song, I started singing, "Don't wanna be forever blue..." I think it was his first time to hear me sing, and his face showed pleasant surprise.

We all hung out again another day, and Ronjie told me that his brother was the vocalist of Filipino band Kala. I'm not really a fan of the group, but I know one of their songs - Jeepney - and I liked it. Anyway, he shared with me that he would accompany his brother when the band would get together to jam, and he loved sitting in and listening to them make music.

In the same conversation, he also told me that I sing quite well, and that I should keep at it. He even went on to say that I should let him know when I have gigs so he can maybe try to watch. I was floored. I was used to getting encouragement from Ronjie, but always on the subject of jiu-jitsu. As a perpetually insecure musician (HAHA!), encouragement is something that I will always welcome. So thanks, Ronjie!


Tuesday, August 04, 2015

HFT / Training in enemy territory HAHA

Behind enemy lines.
If I had discovered jiu-jitsu back in college, I would most certainly be part of a different team. The Universe had other plans, though, and after a series of fortuitous events, I ended up being part of Deftac. Since most Deftac folks are from La Salle, I get picked on A LOT for being an Atenean. Haha! It doesn't really get to me since I have very little school spirit - I don't follow the UAAP, and I'm mostly proud of how open-minded Jesuits are.

Anyway, one random weekend, I headed to DLSU for training with Ed and Luis (The Bukkakes, haha!). The DLSU BJJ Organization shares the training room of the DLSU Judo Varsity Team, and their mats are awesome! I got too excited about rolling that I ended up hurting my neck in the warm-ups, haha! Myron led that day's class, and he shared with us a couple of techniques - a takedown and an escape.

I got to roll with Luis, and wow, he totally killed me on the mats! He got me to tap to his side mount! Awesome for him but embarrassing for me. We both learned the side mount from Ed, who taught us at about the same time. But apparently, the Thursday prior to our La Salle trippy, he got pointers from Marc Benigno on how to improve his pressure. So bam - I died. HAHA!

I posted a photo on Instagram of Myron and Luis rolling, and I captioned it, "#Bukkakes hit DLSU! Awesome day for jits!" And of course someone from the team pointed out that I'm from Ateneo. Haha!

After training, we headed for the showers and then walked over to Rap's Steaks and Cakes for post-workout sustenance - far from spectacular, the steaks were still quite good for the price.