Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pondering on a Tattoo

I heard from someone once that: the first step in getting a tattoo, is knowing you want to get a tattoo. Well, I'm there. I want to get a tattoo.

The next step of getting a tattoo, is deciding what you want, right? I'm there too! I know what I want!

I want to get a tattoo that means something, like everyone else. My rationle in getting a tattoo was: what is as permanent as tattoo, that I would want to be on my body for the rest of my breathing life? and i thought, i know! MY SISTERS.

I knew I wanted a tattoo that symbolizes me and my sisters, but I just couldn't find a tattoo that I wanted to get, and found nothing in the net!

Then my friend Diana gave it to me, a great idea that I'm so sure of! 4 paper string dolls! It's so perfect! I so love the idea! And so....

This blog is open to anyone who has time to design and is good at designing, please design me a tattoo with 4 paper string dolls! I have no idea how I want it to look like, but i want it small, cute, and compact. Maybe around 4-5" long and 1.5" high so I guess I don't want too much details onto the face. It can be colored or black and white. Erm...The winner gets his/her artwork tattooed onto my skin! :D It may start a tattoo design career for you! hehe or we'll work something out?!

I don't know what I'm supposed to share to you about me and my sisters for you to be able to design, but we're VERY CLOSE and we're each other's best friends, and when we're together, it feels like we don't need anything or anyone else. haha We're from the Philippines with proud Chinese roots. I don't know whatelse to say but just please leave me a message if you got anymore questions!

Thanks so much in advance!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My way back to Daejeon

I was waiting for an appropriate time to write a blog about my trip back to South Korea, since there are still rescuing and busy with helping each other out after the horrifying disaster, so I say, Ondoy totally stole my Korea trip’s thunder! Haha.

So it has been around 7 years since I have been back to Korea. I lived there for about a year in 2002-2003. I was an exchange student from De La Salle University to Hannam University in Daejeon, Korea. I was youngest in university, having been only 18 at that time. I was in a cultural exchange when I was there... that means, I was just there to have fun.

Now looking back, a year is such a short time. Now that I am older, there are a lot of shoulda woulda coulda’s; I don’t regret anything that I did, more like the things I did not get to do; like ski, travel, or stayed during winter break. I came back to Manila during winter break, I remember saying that I was afraid of the cold, but in fact I think, I was more afraid of loneliness. If were to have stayed in Korea, I would have spent Christmas alone and probably didn’t even want think what that would be like. I was 18, naive and innocent, did not know how to have (enough) fun (yet). Haha

I anxiously counted down the kilometres when the bus would arrive to Daejeon; I made plans to meet my old teachers to catch up and just to see the old alma mater, to show my sisters my alma mater. I rang the phone of my teacher, whom I lovingly call, Hwang Oppa, Oppa is “brother” in Korean. I told him that I was at our classroom beside the International Office, and he said he will be there in a few moments.

While I was waiting for him, I was telling my sisters about how we used to have those fun International Students’ Day every semester where we would have a booth to decorate for each country and the exhibit will be open to public to showcase where we are from. My first time was with Kuya Celzo or Celzo Oppa, he’s a Filipino Navy officer that I was with during that time; he was there to study Korean language at our school and later on will be enrolled in the Korean War College to study tactics and such (in Korean). We had brochures and stuffs Made in Philippines displayed on our table; I wore Filipino traditional wear, the baro’t saya and he wore the barong tagalog and sang the ridiculously popular Filipino song in Korea, Anak (by Freddie Aguilar) in both Filipino and Korean.


My other classmates were from Mexico, Uzbekistan, China, Japan and Venezuela. Next to Celzo Oppa, I was closest to Jesus, a Venezuelan, I also met his beautiful wife, Ainisis, and their 2 kids, Jesus and Ainisis! Haha cute!

I recall the second time around, I was the only Filipino there and so I had a booth all to myself, the International Office asked us all to call back home and have them send some traditional stuff that we could sell and they would shoulder the freight cost! My mom bought me abaca slippers and bags, carved carabaos and jeepneys, Filipino style ref magnets, weaved coin purses and strawberry key chains! It was so fun and I even called my booth Candie’s Sari Sari Store (The Candie Shop!) Haha


So then showed my sister the room called, Little World. This room is used by foreign exchange students to study or just hang out. This room was christened “Little World” from an idea of mine of creating a club within the university so that all the foreign exchange students would know each other. On a typical lazy afternoon at the International Office, I doodled a logo on the white board, a globe with “Little World” written across it with 3 small subtext of translation in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. So one day, all foreign students were all summoned at the office and told us that there was going to be a surprise for all of us, especially me; then, they unveiled a signage right outside the room, it was my logo! Computerized and immortalized. Here is a photo of me on that day and the day I went back in September 21, 2009 :) (P.S. I think this is where my logo making career started, visit Graphics Genie, LOL)


I met Hwang Oppa, I think he hasn’t aged at all, he’s a bit thinner but none the less, young looking. I was so excited to see him but when I saw him, I got... well... a handshake. It was a bit odd for me, because I travelled 4 hrs by air, and 2.5 hrs by bus just to see him and all I got was a handshake, I thought I should have deserved a hug or something; so anyway, I introduced him to my sisters and I was a bit disappointed, because I think I built up so much expectation on this event and somehow everything was just...normal. In my mind there were more laughter and more chatting but this was nothing like it. After the stiff handshake, he brought me to see the old department head, Mr. Lee, who was like a father to me when I was there, whom I absolutely adore; I was so excited to see him that I gave him a hug; Same as Hwang Oppa, he was stiff and professional-like, I felt like I was hugging a tree. Then I realized, oh... it’s office hours, they’re probably stiff during work and would not show much emotions... I hoped I was right or else I would be so disappointed. Then after that, we said we’d meet at 6 for dinner so as to give me time to look around school.

I went up to the old library where my Japanese best friend Ayako and I would act like Koreans and study on our free time (crazy eh?!). Here's a photo of us on the way to the library haha


Went up the hill to the dormitory where I was reminded of my Korean dorm friends, whom I all gave English names so it would be easier for me to remember them (which is stupid because I can’t even contact them now because I don’t know their Korean names! LOL).


I also saw the window of the room that I and my American friend, Alyson used to share, and all the memories of us drinking together with those other Japanese girls(not studying). Haha.


We went back down and passed by the garden where the leaves are slowly turning into red, autumn was in the air, which reminded me of the time that we were having a photo shoot with the university president and the famous HNU student/Korean actor Kwon Sang Woo for the university catalogue, which I later on learned that our photo is still up in the Hannam University website!


We went out into the streets and went to the mall across the school, went to my favourite Korean restaurant, which turned out to be closed too. While crossing the street, I remember I was there during the World Cup and the streets were crazy full with crazy Koreans celebrating around the streets when the Be The Reds Korea Team won! It was 2002, I made sure I watched the World Cup, twice! Once with Ayako and Aly, for the South Africa VS Spain and the next was Aly’s gift for my birthday, America VS Poland. These are just some of our photos:




It was 6 and it was time to meet Hwang Oppa, he introduced me to his current boss and said he will be joining us for dinner as well. He was a nice guy, reminded me of Mr. Lee, he had a friendly and welcoming face. Once we got to Hwang Oppa’s car, I felt it, there it was... emotions! He changed! Ahh... it was like ice breaking, that coat of professionalism out the window, and now I was talking to him how 2 long lost friends should talk! Although we’ve met a few hours before, but this, was like the first time I met him again. We talked and chatted, caught up on things with each other. We talked about my other teacher-friend, Kim Jeong Won, the English coordinator during my time, whom I also adore. He used his cellphone to call her and so we could catch up since she couldn’t come and see me and vice versa. It was difficult for me to hold a conversation in Korean when I have almost forgotten half of the vocabulary that I used to know, but then the feeling of familiarity was there, which was all that mattered.

Done with the past and into the present, we were at the restaurant and boy how much they’ve prepared. I felt so honoured to have been welcomed with a big spread of colossus, expensive Korean food: live octopus cut in front of you, killed only when dipped into boiling water. They were changing seats constantly after the end of the meal so that they would get to know me and my sisters. Amazing. Night does not end if it is not accompanied by alcohol and no-re bang (karaoke)!

The graciousness did not even end at dinner, when I told my teacher to drop me off where we checked in, he got confused, we had a miscommunication and apparently he and his new boss, had reserved us 2 rooms in a 4-star hotel in Daejeon! I was so speechless and could not express my gratitude with the limited Korean that I speak, so I could only thank, bow, and repeat as needed. If I were to say it in English, I would have said that we did not expect this kind of treatment and we feel unworthy of their overwhelming hospitality!

It was a fun day spent in retrospect. It would be so much more fun if I were with an old friend and we would remember all of this together; but this was still one of the most incredible experience I have travelling!

This is an old photo of me with Mr. Lee, Hwang Oppa, and Ms. Kim

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Struck by Typhoon Ondoy!

When sister and I was travelling in South Korea, I was receiving some text messages from my cousin and friends asking if we’ve heard about the flood and typhoon, and said hope our parents are ok, after about 5 messages, then we decided to call our mom to ask what really is happening.

When we called our mom to ask what is it all about she said in a groggy voice: You want to know? It rained for ten hours straight and 2 of our cars parked inside our house were submerged. Your father and I were stuck in traffic for 12 hours, we left at 9:30 AM and we arrived, not even to our house, but to the office, at 11PM, we’re now stuck in the office.

WHAT?!!? We understood from the messages that it was raining, but we didn’t realize that it was this grave. When we went back to the hostel, we logged into facebook and saw horrifying photos from all over Metro Manila. This typhoon was merciless; it hit rich and poor areas all the same. Here are some flickr compilation of Typhoon Ondoy’s wrath:


I think Filipinos are great; we are optimists and firm believers of God, even though problems like this arise, they never fail to see the silver lining. In fact, I think Filipinos ONLY see the silver lining. It is one thing to be proud of, that’s why the suicide rate is very low.

My friend was stranded with a bunch of people at West Avenue and has been standing around the area for hours and instead of complaining and grumble while waiting; they watched the cars manoeuvre the flooded streets and applauded those who were successful. Haha.

On a more serious note, the flood was apparently brought about also by the opening of 2 dams within Metro Manila thats why the water rose so fast. For those who want to help, I would like to share the compilation by The Pinoy Chuva and Banggigay

Things you may want to donate:

1) Bottled Water
2) Instant Noodles (preferrably in bowl packaging like Nissin or Lucky Me)
3) Canned Goods w/ pull tab cover (no can opener available in relief centers)
4) Bread or Biscuits
5) Coffee or Juice
6) Multivitamins (preferrably Vitamin C)
7) Medicines (Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Loperamide, Betadine)
8) Blankets
9) Old but wearable clothes
10) Slippers/ Flip flops
11) Alcohol
12) Some organizations will accept cash donations.
13) Anti-mosquito Lotion

For babies/toddlers:
14) Diapers
15) Milk/ Infant Formula

For USA Residents:
1) Help in the typhoon relief effort by calling ABS-CBN Foundation USA toll-free 1-800-527-2820
2) American Red Cross call 1-800-435-7669

For those near ABS-CBN:
Help pack relief goods at Sagip Kapamilya at #13 Examiner St. They are also looking for people willing to go to provinces and distribute the goods.

For those near The Philippine Daily Inquirer Office or a McDonald’s Branch:
Go to: 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Streets, Makati City or to any of its classified ads branches and to any Mcdonald’s Branch within Metro Manila
Hotline: 8978808 loc.260 and look for Megi Garcia

For the Cebuanos who want to help:
Please click on the link>> Living For A Cause

For those near a La Salle School:
(OPLAN: Sagip Metro) DLSZ (Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa) and LSGH (Greenhills) are now accepting relief goods and looking for volunteers from 8am to 6pm. DLSU- Manila (Taft Avenue) will accept relief goods as early as 8:00 A.M. at South Gate

For those near Ateneo De Manila:
Go To: Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights , Quezon City
Manuel V. Pangilinan Building Center for Student Leadership Lobby
University Dorm Cervini Hall
Hotlines: 09089977166, 09178952792, 4266001 local 5050
Operations: 24-hours operations for the entire week.

For those near a Petron Station or 2Go Branches:
Visit any Petron or 2GO Branches to drop off your donations.

The Philippine National Red Cross:
Monetary Donations

1. CASH or CHECK
Please send cash or check donations to the PNRC National Headquarters in Manila. Checks should be made payable to The Philippine National Red Cross. We can also arrange for donation pick-up.

2. BANK DEPOSIT
Account Name: The Phil. Nat’l. Red Cross
METROBANK
Port Area Branch
Peso Acct.: 151-3-041-63122-8
Dollar Acct.: 151-2-151-00218-2
Type of Acct. : SAVINGS
Swift Code: MBTC PH MM

BANK OF THE PHIL. ISLANDS
Port Area Branch
Peso Acct.: 4991-0010-99
Type of Account: CURRENT

BANK OF THE PHIL. ISLANDS
UN Branch
Dollar Acct.: 8114-0030-94
Type of Account: SAVINGS
Swift Code: BOPI PH MM
For your donations to be properly acknowledged, please fax the bank transaction slip at nos. +63.2.527.0575 or +63.2.404.0979 with your name, address and contact number.

3. CREDIT CARD

Please fax the following info to +632.404.09.79 and +632.527.0575:

Name of card member, billing address, contact nos. (phone & mobile), credit card no., expiration date, CCV2/ CVC2 (last three digits at the back of the credit card), billing address, amount to be donated.

4. ON-LINE DONATION you may also visit our website at www.redcross.org.ph .

5. IN KINDS DONATION

Other Ways You Can Help:

1) Visit a branch of the Philippine National Red Cross and volunteer.

1.1) You can also send donations using your mobile phone: text REDAMOUNT and send to 2899 (GLOBE/TM) and 4483 (SMART/ TNT).

1.2) Globe is accepting P300 txt donation through G-Cash text DONATEAMOUNT4-digit M-PINREDCROSS to 2882

2) Visit Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC)
Go To: 72-A Times St., West Triangle Homes , QC
Hotlines: 9299820, 9299822
Operations: 8 a.m. onwards.

3)Radio Veritas
Go To: Veritas Tower , West Ave. cor EDSA
Look For: Karla Turingan
Hotlines: 9257931 to 39, 0918VERITAS
Operations: 24-hours, tentatively until Tuesday.

4) Victory Fellowship- Fort Bonifacio
Go to: Victory Fellowship, Every Nation Building , across from Market-Market, Fort Bonifacio
Look for: Pastor Bernard Marquez
Hotlines: 813-FORT, 8171212
Operations: Tentatively until 5pm may may extend hours. Entire week until Friday.
Website: www.twitter.com/VictoryFort

5) Tulong Bayan
Go to: Balay Expo Center, EDSA (northbound) cor. Gen McArthur, Araneta Center (right across Samson College) or visit WhiteSpace 2314 Pasong Tamo Ext. beside Faith Christian School
Hotline: 09175273906/ 09086579998/ 9137122/ 9136254/ 9133306
Operations: Come as early as 8:00 a.m.
Open to volunteers/ cash and goods donation

6) World Vision Philippines
Go to: Quezon Avenue (near Delta Theatre)
Open to volunteers/ cash and goods donation

7) Corporate Network for Disaster Response
How to: Donate cash through BPI Ayala-Paseo Branch with account number 0031 0654 02

Luzon Relief
Go to: Renaissance Fitness Center, 2F, Bramante Bldg., Renaissance Towers, Ortigas, Meralco Ave., Pasig City
Hotline: 0929-8713488
Operations: 9am to 7pm Daily
Open to volunteers/goods donation

9) Brainbeam Events
Go to: 2F MB Aguirre Cornerhouse Bldg 15, President Ave. cor Elizalde St. BF Pque. Across old Caltex
Goods donation

INTERNATIONAL

Send a letter of intent to donate to the PNRC
A letter of acceptance from PNRC shall be sent back to the donor
Immediately after shipping the goods, please send the (a) original Deed of Donation, (b) copy of packing list and (c) original Airway Bill for air shipments or Bill of Lading for sea shipments to The Philippine National Red Cross–National Headquarters c/o Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang, Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila 2803, Philippines.
The PNRC does not accept rotten, damaged, expired or decayed goods. Though we appreciate your generosity, the PNRC also discourages donations of old clothes as we have more than enough to go around.

Singapore:
Drop off point for Ondoy relief goods:
Afreight Cargo,#03-09 Lucky Plaza,Orchard Road c/o Maureen Schepers 6235-1011.
Also LBC and I-remit singapore are waiving charges for donations to philippine red cross.

Bangkok, Thailand:
The Philippine Embassy will be receiving only donations in kind (ie., used clothing, shoes, blankets, and the like, and canned goods) anytime between 9am-5pm until Fri. Philippine Embassy at (02) 259-0139 up to 40 or (08) 992-65954, or at bangkokpe@gmail.com.

Hong Kong, China:
Cash Donations to HSBC Account No. 808-416564-001 – Ateneo Alumni Association – Hong Kong Chapter
Contact: Mike Reyes at +852.67131869 or please text 62957677 the amount and time of deposit.

Sydney, Australia:
please deliver donations to: 303/5 Stromboli Strait, Homebush Bay 2127

South Korea:
Deposit Cash Donations at: KOOKMIN BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER (498101-01-232756).

Montreal, Canada:
St. Kevin’s or St. Thomas on St. Laurent Blvd., (http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Local+Filipinos+mobilizing+help+flood+victims/2041585/story.html)

Belgium:
contact Shiera Catalan at +32485328811

For those who are from USA:

Donate through Ayala Foundation USA at the box “DONATION FOR:” drop down and select Philippine National Red Cross

New York pls participate to NAFCON’s disaster relief and rehabilitation program. Pls call Anne Beryl at 516.901.1632 (East Coast) or Ryan 626.534.4971 (West Coast) or call their hotline: 718.565.8862 or send them email to sandiwa.national@gmail.com.

Ondoy New York Disaster Relief drop off center @ Pandayan Center
406 W 40th St. Between 9th and 10th Aves. New York, NY 10018 or call 212.564.6057.

California (Carson/Hermosa Beach): They collecting donations to send to flood victims in Manila. Their goal is to fill up a 40ft container in one week with new or used clothing,shoes, blankets,medicines,canned food items, etc. Dropoff Location : 205 West Torrance Blvd, Carson, CA 90745. They will be setting up a booth on Oct 3, 2009 at the Substance event in Hermosa Beach CA. THANK YOU and God Bless Manila. TWITTER (Socal4Ondoy)

California (Cerritos): Their house is temp drop off point while we find a bigger venue. We’ll facilitate immediate shipment to Manila. Thank you in advance for your help. Pls pass. Dino & Jan Home:16622 Amberwood Way Cerritos, CA 90703; (562)404-0625

California (Daly City): Please contact Ryan Leano (626)534-4971. Liwanag Cultural Center, Hillside Park Clubhouse, 222 Lausanne Ave., Daly City‎, CA‎ 94014.

California (LA): Relief goods accepted in LA! ANSWER ofc, 137 Virgil St, Rm 203, Los Angeles, CA

or TULONG SA PILIPINAS (STP): Accepting donations cash or check. Send to People’s CORE, 1610 Beverly Blvd. Suite No 2, Los Angeles, Ca 90026. Donations more than $50 is tax deductible.

California (Oakland): Please contact Ryan Leano (626)534-4971. Asian Pacific Islander Youth Promoting Advocacy & Leadership. Attn: Armael Malinis, AnakBayan-East Bay. 310 8th Street, Suite 215. Oakland, CA 94710


California (San Francisco):
Stanford’s Pilipino American Student Union (PASU) is also collecting donations to be sent to the Philippines to help victims of Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana). If you would like to make a donation, please contact AV David at avhdavid@stanford.edu or (650) 491-4561.

New Jersey:

Sinugba Cafe – 561 Westside Ave. Jersey City, NJ 07304;
Casa Victoria – 691 Newark Ave. Jersey City, NJ 07306-2803;
or you can send cash through Metro Bank acct. 3 189 14540 1 For BAYAN’s “BALSA” (Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan).

For donations in New Jersey please contact: (201)621-3156-Yves Nibungco or Nick Corder(917)476-7855-

for friends in other parts of the world, you may check:

1. TXTPower.org has set up a paypal account for donations. Your money will be forwarded to Red Cross.

2. PhilippineAid.com: http://www.philippineaid.com/

3. Ayala Foundation: http://www.myayala.com/ondoy/

4. World Food Programme: https://www.wfp.org/donate/ondoy

for donations coming from various parts of the Philippines, PAL will accept goods bound to MNL. pls hop here for more info

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ilocos you're worth it!

For those who don’t know Ilocos, it's in the north of the Philippines. If you put your 4 fingers together, you will be forming the shape of the province.

The province is cut into 2, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. The capital Laoag is located in Ilocos Norte and further up north is Pagudpud.

This is a long stretch of white beach that is like Boracay sans the noise and party. Pagudpud is the place where you bring a loved one to spend quality time together.

This is what they claim to be the sinking bell tower,

but actually, it’s more like a rising street level.

In Ilocos Norte is where you will see the Bangui Windmills and the lighthouse, Cape Bojeador. I do not want to flood the beauty of these places with words so I’d rather put photos of them to show you.

A beautiful old structure of bell tower looking over everything


Being at Bangui was so surreal; the place full of windmills didn’t look like it was in the Philippines, it was odd. It was a long stretch of beach that has nothing else but windmills in it (and a boat, lol). They say that the beach is actually a reef and it drops down to nothingness after a few feet from the shore (the thought sends shivers down my spine).

Vigan, is located in Ilocos Sur, and Vigan is one of our UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a street called Calle Crisologo. The city of Vigan was miraculously protected from bombings 2 times during the war, therefore it was so well preserved and you will see what Manila’s Intramuros would’ve looked like, but maybe better.
It’s difficult not to be engrossed with your camera in Vigan because it’s just beautiful. They say it’s enough to spend a day in Vigan because it’s relatively small, but I disagree; for a person to fully take in a place this nice should be given more than a day to absorb it all! Every shot is beautiful, whatever you shoot is art because architectures around it IS art.


The place was kept very clean and the rest of the new places around it were also built as if it were from the same era.

Ilocos is also a place known for its weaving, the bed sheet covers and such are ridiculously cheap and if it were not for the 15kg limit for domestic flights, I would’ve bought a lot. Those who are obsessed with the bed and freaking beyond haha, this place is grrreat! We actually went to the weaver’s place and met this weaving grandmother who was not wearing any glasses, she said she has 20/20 vision and has been weaving for a few decades now.

Whenever I travel, I get a knack of trying out new things, even the simplest things, trying out just triples the fun for me, for instance, I tried weaving.

I even tried making my own Vigan empanada! Oh, I only got this photo of me eating it! hehe

For those history freaks out there, people who like to buy weaving of native fabrics, for those who loves to eat; this is indeed the province for you. The people are so nice that they take it as an insult if you don’t eat their food! But then again, living in a country where we eat at least 5x a day, I guess the rest of the Philippines is like that too! haha

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Life Well-Lived - Cory Aquino

I have to admit that the death of former Pres. Cory Aquino didn’t strike me right away. I wasn’t as affected as the others, I guess I was young when she was around, if anything, I only remember the brownouts during her time but nothing else; I did not know what kind of president she was.



A few days after her death, I regret not being part of her funeral, it could’ve been a really momentous event that I can say when I’m old that I was part of, but oh well. Anyway, I listened to the radio to the speech of her daughter, famous actress, Kris Aquino; I asked all our employees to wear yellow on her funeral day, and read the newspaper/ internet of people writing about nothing but praises for her.

With all that I have read for the past few days, all that I’ve seen and heard about her, I realized that it is possible to have a president that has dignity and not be blinded by temptations.

As I read, they said that Pres. Cory was the only one who became president by fate and not by ambition, and it’s so true. She is just one amazing woman who has strong faith in God and was just called upon to serve her country. She also advised Kris Aquino that if ever she decides to get into politics that she has to make sure that she first becomes a simple person, someone who does not require branded items etc, just like her; especially that she is a Cojuanco, a prominent family, could easily afford whatever she wanted but she was as simple as a woman can be. Today, in the newspaper, they said during her presidency, some of the people wanted to name Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, her husband, as one of the National Heroes but she said not to do it during her presidency, and even if they try passing a nomination, she would veto it! She is indeed a person with principles.

Her death has sparked a flame in Filipino people’s hearts; part of the heart that has gone numb with all the abuses of the current administration. I think somewhere in the past decade people were “stupefied” (borrowing a term from Harry Potter), and has forgotten that we DO live in a democratic country, and somehow her death has become a potion that has awakened us up. I hear fierce comments about the Arroyo here and there, even fiercer jokes about her death (or at least people’s wish for her death*). Cory’s death reminded us again why her husband gave up his life... to stand up to people who abuse their powers.

Cory’s funeral- AMAZING PHOTOS by Fung Yu: http://lifeonthespot.com/blog/images/cory_aquino1.jpg

The Central Bank of the Philippines or BSP is going to add her image into the P500 bill beside her husband. She has lived an amazing life, a life that is praise-worthy and people just can’t stop glorifying her name. She definitely had a life that is so admirable that her death has awakened the whole nation. Hindi ka nag-iisa, Tita Cory! (You are not alone, Cory!)

*Jokes received from text messages:

• At the funeral of Cory Aquino, a guy asked: there are so much people!!! do you think if Arroyo dies, there would be as much people to come and see her?
Another guy answered: OF COURSE! There would probably more people who will come see her to make sure she’s really dead.

• A 21 gun salute will also be given to Gloria Arroyo once she dies, but all guns will be aimed at her casket to make sure she stays dead.

• a "mistake" printed in the newspaper? (See coffin of Pres. ARROYO)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

how Couchsurfing changed me


What I love about Couchsurfing is how it mixes up my life in colourful ways that I cannot imagine. It opened up so many windows for me and made me view the world in a totally different light. The world indeed is smaller than you think. Everything seems to be reachable and not as intimidating as you think it'd be.

For those who don’t know what Couchsurfing is, well, it is an online community of backpackers where you get to “surf” or stay in each other’s couches (not mutually exclusive); but essentially you get to travel and meet locals and go to places that tourists don’t know about; because travelling isn’t only about hotel rooms and tourist spots, it is the people you meet along the way that makes it even more special. Well, Couchsurfing makes you do that.

I think Couchsurfing is a tool for you to meet the people you never would have able to meet anywhere else. It’s like a portal and I guess if destiny permits then you meet. I am a big believer of destiny, not just on love, but also in friendships. I have made good friends from Couchsurfing.

Couchsurfing literally changed my life and I think it is the best thing that’s ever happened to travelling since cheap flights!


PS. Again, this is not a paid advertisment this is just my personal testimony. Couchsurfing is also a non-profit organization

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just Because It's Saturday!

My friend Shasha organized a just-because-it’s-Saturday party at Linden Suites in Ortigas last Saturday. I came early, just in time to help her organize the food and hog the Wii Rock Band drum set. Lol. Apparently, there were only 8 of us who were coming and yet the food was good for 20.

Party isn’t a party until there is alcohol, so Kelly, her husband, and I went down to the convenience store to buy a thousand pesos worth of drinks. The night was fun with all silliness and catching up.

At around 10, drinking started to get heavier and Kelly said he has a card game prepared. It was a drinking game! I love drinking games! It’s fun to be silly and blame it on the alcohol.

I want to share how ridiculously funny the game is and how we played it:

So you get a deck of cards, lay it on a table wrong side up of course. Then everyone gets a turn to pick a card in random, and each card has a corresponding consequence or rule.

A – I’ve never card
You have to finish the sentence “I’ve never” example, I’ve never been drunk before. So all those who’s been drunk before needs to take a shot! So when I got the card, I intentionally wanted 2 of the married guys to drink, so I said, “I’ve never asked anyone to marry me before!” hahaha

2 – 2 shot card
You should down a shot and give the other one to whomever you want.

3 – 3 shot card
You should down a shot and give the other two to whomever you want.

4 – Category Game
The person who got the card can start a Category and each person in the game has to say a word related to it. Say, Jeans! Levis, Guess, 7, and the person who can’t think of anything within 5 seconds has to drink.

5 – Moose card
Everyone has to put their thumb at their temple and wave all other 4 fingers, like so...



the last one to do this has to drink a shot, of course.

6 – Shut up Card
One has to shut up in the duration of the game until the next 6 card is drawn! Haha. A sound is equivalent to a shot.

7 – 7 and divisible by 7 card
The game starts at 1 and goes around, but anyone who says any number with the number 7 or is divisible by 7 has to drink a shot. The next time another 7 card is drawn, pick up where you left off. Stupid mistake I made, at 69, I knew 70 was divisible by 7 and so I shouted loud and proud “71!” HAHAHA

8 – Mixed-drink card
Whoever gets this card has to drink whatever concoction their friends will mix for them, in Cheche’s case, I mixed beer, gin, peanuts, and avocado shake! Gross!

9 – Slave Card
You get to choose whomever you want to turn into your slave until the next 9 card is drawn. Get you a glass of water or whatever you please, master!

10 – Storytelling game
Each person has to say 1 word to start a story, the next one has to repeat the 1st word and add another one: Once, Once upon, Once upon a, Once upon a time... so on and so forth. Whoever forgets a word or adds more than 1 word to the story, has to drink a shot!

J – Reverse I’ve never card
Same rules but if I say, “I’ve never been drunk before,” then those who’s never been drunk before has to drink. LOL

Q – Toilet Pass
This is the only time you can go to the toilet.

K – Rule Card
You can make whatever rule you want in the game. Neil made us dance the whole time we were playing. We were only allowed to stop until someone else draws a King card and make a new rule.



Try this at any party and for sure it will be a hit!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Angel of Fashion

You know how sometimes you wake up in the morning you pick up the jeans from yesterday and just put on a tshirt and go or sometimes you look in the mirror and you change your top at least 5 times and change your bottom at least 2 times but you still end up hating what you’re wearing; but sometimes you wake up and you automatically know what you’re gonna wear. You walk into your closet pick out the top, pick out the bottom and they just...match! then you know just the shoes to wear with it, the right bag that goes with it and the accessories to accentuate it.

I woke up today and I felt that. I felt the presence of the Angel of Fashion (AOF). The AOF is like the tooth fairy. She’s not your typical fairy either. She doesn’t wear those ball gowns with her hair up. She doesn’t look the same to everyone. The AOF looks like you, she is you but in fashionable clothes. You can imagine her floating beside you leading you to your closet and making you pick out the right clothes.



After shower, I walked to my closet picked out this black blouse I haven’t wore in a long time, these shorts I’ve had for the longest time but never wore (because I don’t know what to match with it). They just looked right together, and I chose the right shoes, bags and necklace! It was so easy! It doesn't follow that if you work in the fashion business that the AOF will come to you naturally. Oh no.

Now that I look so fabulous, I feel like I owe my outfit a night out. So I have been texting left and right asking friends if they wanna hang out tonight and before 10 o’clock in the morning I have been turned down 3x. Haha. But I will not give up, it is my responsibility, it is my duty to show people my clothes.

For those who will see me tonight, Congratulations! hahaha

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Swine Flu tsk tsk

More than anything, this “swine flu” or the A(H1N1) is making us really blunt and rude to each other. Automatically, we become racists to Americans and Mexicans. We worry so much about catching flu that we have thrown our etiquette out the window.

With the recent “scare” of The Flu, I have emailed an American acquaintance if he’s got A(H1N1), if he or his Mexican friend has gotten sick lately because I caught flu a few days after I met them. In short, I was accusing them of making me sick; but then again, I couldn’t risk it. I felt a tad bit of sarcasm from his reply, saying that if they were to get flu, they might have gotten it from us! Tsk.

During my birthday party. I invited some of my Couchsurfing friends over, including 2 foreign friends, a Spanish guy and an Australian guy. The next day, a local friend of mine caught flu and texted me if any of my foreign friend is sick or anything haha. I told them that both of my foreign friends are locals in the Philippines. Then she asked if any of them were out of the country recently? Then I remembered that my Aussie friend just came back from Thailand, so I had to clarify things with him to reassure my friend that she doesn’t have H1N1 or at least she didn't get it from my friends hehe.

Another friend of mine also shared a story with me. She recently went to Shanghai and travelled with an office mate. Let’s just say that her friend is a bit worried about catching the h1n1 herself and so it sort of dampened the mood of travelling. When they came back, the officemate caught a flu, and the first thing she told my friend the next day they saw each other after the trip was: I think I caught h1n1 in Shanghai; leaving my friend feeling as though she was being blamed for her sickness since she was the one who invited her to go travel. Tsk.

Recently I was listening to the radio, the DJ was saying that after the h1n1 scare, he found himself with flu and did self-quarantine just to make sure; so that made him miss work for a few days and when he finally got well with some sniffles left, he went back to work. He saw an office mate whom he’s never talked to before said to him “don’t talk to me!” while covering her mouth and nose!!! And he felt so discriminated, as though he’s someone who’s got leprosy or something, like the stories in the Bible; and so quickly he responded: NEVER DID, NEVER WILL. Tsk.

I remember a twitt by a Hollywood actor (I don’t remember who) that said: 20 deaths of swine flu and everyone’s wearing a mask, 20 years of AIDS and still not everyone’s using condom! Haha how true.

The thing is about h1n1 is that it’s curable; everyone’s so freaking scared about it only because the newspapers hype it up too much! Big newspapers has resorted to tabloid-like headlines just to make the boring news exciting (or scary): FIRST FLU DEATH REPORTED IN RP; then when you read the fine print, you find out the person who died had existing disease but her immune system was just weakened by the flu. Tsk.



Posting of photos of people in masks. Tsk.



The education board mandates suspension of 10 days classes if a case of h1n1 has been found, it’s just too much precaution for a curable disease, now all the students are delayed in their lesson plan, resorting to attending classes on Saturdays, extending their school year or shortening their vacation. Tsk.



Lighten up!

Monday, June 22, 2009

My 26th Birthday!

I just love celebrating my birthday. I recently threw a surprise birthday party for myself last Saturday. I invited 40 something of my closest friends from all sectors of my life: the Mabuhay Tour Guides, kindergarten-elementary school, high school, college friends, and Couchsurfing friends. It is so fun to just be surrounded by people you want to see.

I got catering from a company called Sweet Inspirations (www.cafesweet.com). They have a Mongolian Barbeque catering which you order per head, and then its arranged as a buffet then you get the ingredients you want like rice or vermicelli, pork or squid, vegetables or tofu; then you mix all the seasoning to your liking. You then give the bowl to the waiter then they will cook it for you Mongolian style then voila! I saw my guests were very intrigued by the type of catering I had, it was very interactive and kind of fun that you get to decide what to put into your rice bowl, and best of all, it really was delicious.

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Later part of the night, my Spanish friend, Isma, prepared a game for the party; We dubbed it the national game of Spain. Haha. He bought a loaf of bread and he challenged anyone to eat a slice in 1 minute without drinking water. The winner gets P100 from Isma and the loser gives me P100. Entertainment and money! It’s the best game ever! Haha. Vangie, Stanley, Dustin and Melissa all dared to eat a slice of bread in a minute, they all lost! That only means I got P400 that night! Haha but Isma did lose a hundred to Andy! Lol.

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A group of my friends were singing the karaoke, a table was playing poker which later on turned into the Monkey-Monkey game and the loser would have to have their face drawn on with a lipstick. It was so fun because I get to do all the drawing! My friends were all having fun (hopefully)! Booze kept coming in also with the guests, Absolut (thanks Nicky), Soju from Ronnie, Cuervo from Blossom, Lambanog from Dennis, jello shots from Beth; and how can I forget, all those yummy chocolate cakes thanks Stef and Erick, Michelle; Mango cake from Mon and Mercy; and of course the heavenly Tiramisu by Jordan (who is by the way, the best person ever!) lol.

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Towards the later part of the night when more people were going home, Andy wanted me to go to Embassy with him. I swear I got some sort of back problem so I said I can’t go anymore, I feel like such a wet blanket especially when Andy rarely expresses what he wants and I felt really sorry. But then my friend Ronnie was just the life saver. He acted as my DJ for the night, spinning the coolest music for us. We turned off the lights and started dancing; but what really set the mood was that my good friend Zara (Pakshet) brought her LCD projector with her and projected the screen of the computer onto the wall with swirling colors and everything! We couldn’t be at the Embassy but they sure brought the Embassy to the house.

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When we were all pooped from all that dancing, Pakshet gave me a surprise slideshow! It was the sweetest thing. I’ve never had anyone done a slideshow for me before, I felt really special, and it was a really nice gift. *sniff* haha

All in all, it was a great night. This is how I always want to celebrate my birthday, celebrate it with people who are close to me and just having fun!

Friday, June 12, 2009

One of the best decisions of my life!

Do you know the feeling when you’re just REALLY SATISFIED with a decision you’ve made, and for days you just keep thinking back, and you’re like, I AM SO GLAD I DID THIS! Well, i recently did somthing that am SOOOOO GLAD that i did. I had my eyebrows tattooed!

I was born with really thin eyebrows, I got it from my mom. I wake up in the morning, take a shower, put my clothes on, and every single morning, ugh! i get so tired of putting on eyebrows. It takes time, and there are days that i call "bad eyebrow days", and no matter how many times you draw and redraw them, they’re just uneven! So you will just have to go out into the world with uneven eyebrows just because you're late for work. Holler if you know what i mean.

I remember that momentus day that I finally got sick of being born without eyebrows. I was in Boracay, i was all made up when i walked to the beach, then i went into the water, and then i come up, !@#$%^&* I WAS BROW-LESS AGAIN!

I come home from Bora with vengeance. I told my sister to book me with Annie Young in Robinson’s Galleria. I just wanted to get it over with. I just want to have a normal life. I want to wake up and not think about my eyebrows. I want to not worry about the rain or sweat that might cut my eyebrows in half. I wanna be able to scratch my forehead when it’s itchy. I just want to be carefree!

Now... i am!



It really is the best decision ever. Now i wake up in the morning, i wash my face and i put on face powder, then i’m ready to go. If you’re on the verge of deciding on getting a cosmetic tattoo, i tell you, go get it. I will not vouch for other companies but Annie Young is definitely the best. This is not a paid advertisement, I am just a really really satisfied customer.

Annie Young
http://annies.ph/about.php

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

PaHiYaS fEsTiVaL

The first time I learned about Pahiyas festival was when I was probably 13 years old; I was watching the Discovery Channel, the Lonely Planet TV show. The travellers were in Lucban, Quezon, 4 hrs south of Manila by bus. The festival amazed me and I remember thinking, “one day, I will be there!”

The Pahiyas Festival is on every 15th of May. It is a festival of the farmers thanking their patron saint San Isidro (but ritual actually started even before the Spaniards came). On May 15th the farmers would bring their harvests to the church and have the priest bless them, but since there were so many patrons the priest asked them to just lay it down in front of their houses and the he would just go around and bless it; little did they know that the priest actually sparked the creative fire inside each Filipino.

I was so excited to have been accepted to surf the couch of a local in Lucban! Mark Salvatus and his family were such gracious hosts which reflect so much the local culture of people from Quezon. Mark’s late grandfather was a local historian who was actually the person who coined the term “Pahiyas”! Amazing.

Noam, an Israeli friend of mine travelled with me to Quezon, we took the Sta. Cruz bus in the Araneta Center Terminal in Cubao at 7AM. It was a good bus with working air conditioning and comfy chairs. The travel took around 4 hours, with 1 bathroom break. After which we had to take a 45 minute jeep to go to Lucban.


When we arrived, we were so excited to see that the houses were just starting to decorate. Bamboo everywhere, hammering sounds here and there. You’d notice that some actually repainted their house to neon orange or green just so the house would go with their decoration. There is the of course, ever famous Kiping. It’s like our interpretation of the Mexican Taco only that it’s made from pulverized rice. They would use a giant leaf, kabal, as a mould and multicolorize them with food coloring. Everything I see was so pleasing to the eye. The colors spelled HAPPY. Everyone was smiling and ever happy.

It was such a great idea to go a day earlier before the event; this is how I really got into being a local. I helped out Mark’s house in decorating, but when we got to their house they obviously have already poured weeks of work into it, and yet there are still so much to do! Everything was so grand, so artistic, AMAZING. I haven’t stopped smiling since I got to Lucban.

This was actually my first time to attend a true-blue Filipino fiesta. I’ve heard people talk about it before, how it’s really festive and people will invite you to their houses to eat… it was as they said it will be. Coming from the city, I did not understand the idea of inviting strangers to your house to celebrate with you. It was just an idea I couldn’t grasp; but then, it’s true, it really is being done. Feast was in every home that day. One thing about the Philippines is that, there is no such thing as idle time. Time is classified only into 2:

1 – time to do something
2 – time to eat
Needless to say, I pigged out there.

Noam and I quickly left our bags in the house and started wandering around town. I loved the feeling of small towns. The center was the big church, and Mark lived just beside it, so I would never get lost. Even if I have the worst sense of direction in this world, I would just need to ask where the church is and I’m home.
Of course, being in Lucban, you have to try the Pancit Habhab. Habhab is the word for the way you eat the pansit: on a banana leaf on your palm without utensils what so ever, slurp it away!




It was time to help out, there was half a day left and my host family were still not done in the decorations! Noam and I helped install some tropical flowers; painted some wood panels; designed the panel with crushed corn; hang the rice grains onto the “chandeliers”; thread tomatoes into wires… nothing too complicated that we might mess up. It was 12:00MN and I was exhausted, but Mark’s family was still at it. They stayed up the whole night finishing the installation of the works of art into the fa├žade of their house.



The next morning, we were all awakened by the parade. There were 6 of us sharing a room, all but 2 were Couchsurfers. We were all feeling refreshed and as we went down to their living room… it was empty! Every single piece has been installed. No duck was to be found, no more leftover kipings, just furniture. I see zombies walking resembled Mark and his brothers, they haven’t slept at all! The dedication and commitment was incredible.

We went out and saw a sea of people taking photos in front of this masterpiece of a house. It was all so surreal. It’s finished! Some elements looked really familiar for it has been on the couch since we arrived; now it’s where it’s supposed to be. You will be overwhelmed by the details, how each bean was arranged accordingly. As they say, picture paints a thousand words.


(photo by EAZYtraveller)

I felt really proud to have been part of it, even though it was just for a few hours. I pretty much stayed indoors after I went around taking photos in other houses. Thankfully the sun was shining that day (it has been raining the day before). The streets were crowded, people gawking and posing, buying souvenirs; the ambiance was fascinating. We spent the day hanging out in the house, like a typical Filipino family, drinking rum and singing the karaoke.



















It was 4PM I remember, another parade was passing thru in front of the house, and we all got up of our chairs and went out to see the festivities. We were catching prizes from the parading cars, waving at the Jollibee mascot; then the white Volkswagon beetle pulled over in front of the house, officials came to crown the Salvatus House a winner. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We shouted! We won 1st runner up! Everyone was happy and laughing; enjoying the merriment (as though we weren’t doing that before they announced it) but it just affirmed it, their hard work validated.

I will never forget my experience in the Pahiyas, it is one of those experience that you’ll remember forever. I met different kinds of people, made new friends; It will be one of those places that I’d always recommend people to go. It was one of the more exciting things I’ve ever done so far this year.

Going to Lucban, Quezon
J.A.C. Liner Inc. - Cubao Araneta Center Station
Take the bus to Sta. Cruz / Lucena City – Go down Lucena Grand Terminal (4 hrs) – P218
Take a jeep and go down at Lucban (45 minutes) – P25