Monday, July 25, 2016

CREATIVITY | A new writing tool slash toy

Last March, I bid my trusty Lenovo Ultrabook U310 (which I named Lenny) goodbye after more than three years of (mostly) reliable service. Lenny has been with me almost everywhere - I brought it to several trips to Cebu and Dumaguete, plus Baguio and Zambales, and it was in my bag throughout the entire #MindaNOWorNever adventure.

Thank you for your service, Lenny! I hope your new owner takes better care of you than I ever did.
Hello, Elise! :)
Taking its place in my life is an ASUS Zenbook UX305. My fingers adapted so easily to the new keyboard on the first day that I got it, and I immediately felt excited about all the wonderful scripts, concepts, stories, blog posts, Facebook posts, whatever else I will write using this wonderful tool. I still write by hand, and I always will - but having a computer lets me get so much more done.

It took me a while to find a name for the ASUS Zenbook UX305. Lenny is obviously from Lenovo, but I don't think I want a wordplay on Asus. Haha! So I've decided on Elise, after my mother, Elisa.

Maybe I'll put stickers on it after a year - or when there's a scratch I need to cover up (hopefully, that won't come soon!). For now, I'll enjoy its newness!

Looking forward to everything I will write with you, Elise!


Friday, July 22, 2016

FIRSTS | The Unbearable Lightness of Coffee

My closest friends know that I have a mild obsession with Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being (I've read the book over and over, and I've seen the movie adaptation maybe ten times already), and for that reason, the logo of Caravan Black Coffee Company made my inner geek (well, okay - I'm a geek inside and out) deliriously happy - even if their bowler hat had absolutely nothing to do with Tomas or Sabina.
The real back story is this: during the time of the caravan trade, back when the West was young, traders wore bowler hats to be differentiated from cowboys. Interesting, yes, but I'll stick with my Kundera re-imagination for now. Or perhaps forever - I don't think I can ever let that idea go, not while this work of art remains in my line of sight as I sip from my cup of Flat White:
Caravan Black is located at Net Park, 4th Avenue, BGC - practically across the street from one of the companies I work for (the former office, that is - we've since moved to Rockwell). They only recently opened so I haven't had the chance to sample all their coffees just yet. But the one that I've tried - Flat White - is pretty good.  
Flat White
Order here! :)
And they have good sandwiches, too! Haha! I got to try their grilled cheese, and hands down, it's the best one I've tried in recent years. Yes, YEARS. There's just something with each bite that brought my childhood back (the good days!) in my mind - a certain comfort that I remember only ever feeling at home, hanging out with my family on a Sunday afternoon. Although it's nothing fancy, it's definitely done really well. There's an unexpected subtle hint of fruit that just totally blew me away!
Grilled cheese with a twist.
Do yourselves a favor and try that grilled cheese with your coffee if you find yourselves there. Or better yet, carve out time to go there. Mornings and weekends are nice because there aren't that many people yet - the interior design has all the right touches that writers (like me) will appreciate (and maybe even find inspiring). :)


Thursday, July 21, 2016

All Things Change

I've been away for quite a while - partly because I'm busy, and partly because I wanted to think about where my blog is headed. I write about a lot of things, and I have so much more in me to write. The categories, however, are a bit restrictive. I put them there before for structure, which for me is necessary. But it also causes me stress, particularly on days when I don't have fresh topics to write about a certain category. And because I don't like skipping days, I sometimes force myself to write a blog post just for the sake of publishing something six times a week (like clockwork).
I went away to think.
(photo by Erika Lim, shot at Liw-liwa, Zambales)
The purpose of the blog remains the same: to reach out to people and hope that whatever I share through this channel helps someone in one way or another. I think that, to a certain extent, I was able to do so; there have been a handful of readers who reached out to me to say that they enjoyed reading what I write. There was even someone who said that one of my posts "changed her life." That definitely made three years of blogging worthwhile.

But I've changed so much over the past few months that I took a break. I'm no longer the same person I was in January. So I figured that it's time for the blog to change, too. I'm keeping the category system because I really function better with structure, but I will remove the day restriction. I also won't pressure myself to publish something daily - the minimum is thrice a week. Here are the categories:
  • Adventures. For travel, mainly - which I've been doing quite a lot of lately.
  • Creativity. For writing, reading, music, art, and all things creative.
  • Wellness. This is similar to Health & Fitness Tuesday, but made broader to include the soul. 
  • Firsts. For first-time experiences not covered by the other categories, like First-Time Friday.
  • Life. For sharing of whatever pieces of wisdom I pick up on the way.
If you've read my blog before, welcome back! I hope you like the change. If you're new here, welcome! I hope you enjoy what you read.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Taking another break

But I'll be back in a couple of months, maybe less. There are some new things in my life right now - opportunities in work and business that I'd like to really focus on, training for an Arnis competition, healing from the loss of a very dear friend, and giving time to someone who, at the end of each conversation, is proving to be worth the shot (I'm taking this one day at a time). Hence the brief hiatus. I'll be back soon enough. 

In the mean time, feel free to read through my old posts. Cheerio!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

LT / A reason to SMILE!

Yay! It’s finally out – my brief write-up on General Santos on the April 2016 issue of Cebu Pacific’s in-house magazine, SMILE! J

When Hannah and I went on our #MindaNOWorNever adventure from August to September 2015, I was constantly posting photos of our trip. It was my way of helping promote tourism in the country – using social media as a way to tell the world that my country is freaking awesome! Roy, one of the guys from SMILE, initiated contact by leaving a comment on the photo of me paragliding at SAFI Ranch in GenSan.

And here it is:
Yay!!! Thank you, Ink Publishing! :)
Time to book a Cebu Pacific flight this April so I could steal a copy! Haha! Just kidding. Thank you, Roy and the rest of the SMILE Team from Ink Publishing, for letting me share my GenSan experience with all your readers! Cheers!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

MW / Seeya primetime!

Last weekend, I packed a bag and headed to Zambales for Summer Siren 2016! It’s the festival’s third year, and my second to attend. Seeya, Carla, Chris, and I headed there Friday, and Chi and Ray followed. It’s a shame that a number of people who were with us in 2015 couldn’t join us this year (Pauline’s pregnant, Khaela’s out of the country, and the others were just really busy with work/business/law school), but the festival was just so awesome that it was impossible not to enjoy!

2015 was good, but 2016 was even better. The event organizer in me just couldn’t help but notice how awesome this year’s stage was, and I must have said that to Pat, Mikey, and Jay at least five times – each!

Since we got there Friday after sundown, we had Saturday to participate in the different activities. I got the chance to learn a couple of poi tricks at the Flow Arts classes (I can turn with the poi now, yay!), and I also got to make my own ice cream at the Coleman booth! Last year, we only got there late Saturday, so I didn’t get to swim. This year was different – I made sure I got enough time in the water.
Under the Summer Siren
(photo from Carla)
I got to see a number of friends and acquaintances – Kio Priest (we tried to write a song together before), Miggy (a Dumaguete friend I met in Manila, haha!), plus some people from college. And oh, I met Bea Valera! She’s the voice behind “Free,” the Summer Siren anthem. I wasn’t wearing my glasses so I didn’t recognize her right away, but when I finally did, I shamelessly fangirled and introduced myself to her. I hope she comes out with an album soon!

The best part about this year was my friend Seeya’s primetime set. Yup, you read that right, folks – PRIME-FREAKIN’-TIME. He played a sundown set last year, so even if I enjoyed the music, I really felt so uncomfortable because it was so hot and I was too tired from the road trip. Seeya was on deck a little past 9PM, and boy, it was unbelievable.

Well, okay, forget my opinion because he’s my friend, and because I’m not exactly an authority in EDM. But a lot of people approached Carla after Seeya’s set to ask her where he played because they loved his music and wanted to hear more! 

Right in the middle of the set, I turned around and I saw the crowd dancing, jumping, moving to his music, and it gave me goosebumps. Although this is my second Summer Siren, it’s only now that I truly appreciated what it’s all about: bringing people together. The sight was overwhelming in a good way, and as a friend, I felt really proud of Seeya!

Congratulations, Seeya, and of course – Pat, Mikey, Homer, and the rest of the Summer Siren team! See you guys next year! J


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

HFT / Alternative workout

For people who don’t like the gym or yoga or sports or most other forms of exercise, I’d like to share an alternative workout you might enjoy: POI SPINNING!!!

My first attempt at poi spinning was ABSOLUTELY TRAUMATIC. A college acquaintance tried to teach me how to do it, and because my hand-eye coordination was non-existent at the time, I hit myself more times in the head than I cared to count (maybe that’s why I turned out the way I am now, HAHA!) – and one was actually right on the eye. For the longest time, I was too scared to try again.
Took a while for me to want to try again.
(photo from the internet)
Cut to a decade after, my friend Carla lent me her super lightweight poi. Of course I hit myself in the head a lot of times again, but because it was so light, it wasn’t enough to stop me from trying and trying until I actually learned to do the most basic moves. Our other friends, Pen, Jai, and Chi, also tried to teach me a couple of tricks, which I sort of got after a while.
The Flow Collective at Summer Siren 2016!
(photo borrowed from their Facebook page)
Okay, so in case you guys don’t have a Carla, Pen, Jai, or Chi in your lives, you can still learn poi spinning and other flow arts from a group called The Flow Collective. They’re a community of “movement and circus arts practitioners, including a variety of disciplines such as poi spinning, hula hooping, toss juggling, contact juggling, buugent/S-staff spinning, levitation wand dance, and aerial arts” (copied that from their website,

I first encountered their group in Summer Siren 2015, and I was so happy because they were all incredibly accommodating when I asked if they could teach me how to do poi spinning. They even lent me a set I could use! So you can imagine how happy I was to see them again in this year’s event! One of the girls from the group, Jennai, is a friend and neighbor of my brother from another mother, Franco (small world, eh?). She led the hoop class, while her colleague Aeron handled the poi spinning class that I joined. Aeron’s a really good teacher – and very PATIENT! He had to repeat the instruction about ten times before I finally got how to turn! Haha!

The Flow Collective is staging EIN SOF2: A FLOW ART SHOW this May 28, 2016 in Pineapple Lab in Palma St., Makati City. Tickets are sold for only Php350, so get yours today! There’s no word yet as to when they’re going to have their next public workshops, so just stay tuned to their Facebook page – - for announcements. And oh, I’m sure you’ll find them in the next Summer Siren, so you should be there! J