Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Be Kind

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."  -- Plato

I've been spending a great deal of time with friends, recently -- a lot more than usual. When I'm not out with them, I'm on the phone with them. My cousin said that I was suddenly becoming very 'clingy'. But she also thought this to be a huge improvement in my social life, and duefully congratulated me for hanging out more. Apparently for her, I don't go out enough.

I've been going through plenty of emotional ups and downs. Must be one of the reasons why I like to surround myself with people all the time. And as my friends and I sat and swapped stories over drinks one evening, I looked around the table and noticed something. I wasn't the only one going through a bumpy ride, almost everyone was. And then I think about the others who weren't around the table, and I realize. They had issues, too! And it's funny, everyone was smiling and laughing as if they didn't have a care in the world, much like what I was doing. And I thought to myself, we are a dysfunctional bunch!

It's a pretty obvious realization. It's a fact, a simple truth. Of course everyone has problems! We wouldn't be actually living if we didn't. We know it, but we're so caught up with our own emotions and worries, we forget that we're not alone. (And that the world does not revolve around us.) It's a good way of keeping things in perspective, I guess. No matter how bad you're getting it, there will always be someone who is getting it even worse. Everyone has their own struggles, everyone has battles to be won. And it kinda makes you feel better in a way. It makes you feel that it's completely normal, that you're normal, and because it is such a natural occurrence, everything's going to be ok in the end. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Affection for Audrey Hepburn

Watecolor on paper

"I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it."
-- Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Letting Go

Hands up.

Some things are just beyond my control.

Whatever will happen, will happen.

Come what may.

I am surrendering everything to the world. I think I've done all that is humanly possibly under the circumstances given me. Reason is my ally today. When emotions are at play, and human relationships are on the line, the mind is the best weapon. So long as the mind is in the right state. And mine is pretty darn straight, thankfully! Mind over heart. Mind over matter. A strong will isn't bad to have either. Right now, I am neither expecting nor wanting. I hope but only for the best. I am letting go -- of all the what if's, what could be's, what shouldn't be's, and all the feelings that came with them. I let my heart soar just a little higher for a while, let my imagination run wild, and let the walls down for just a tiny bit. Now, it's time to plant my feet back on the ground.

The whole day today, I let all emotions wash all over me. They won't be ignored any longer. They came ever so slowly. Very subtle at first, and then they came crashing. Funny how I'm feeling everything at the same time, yet I am numb to the core. Confused, but clear on my purpose. Sad but grateful. Stung, but strong. Hurt, but in control. Eager to go forward, but content to swim with memories, to linger in the present.

I have complete faith in the future. Faith will be another ally, my protection against uncertainty. I will find what I am looking for, and it will find me. Whatever form it will take, I do not know. Again, I hope only for the best. And when it does find me, I hope I am ready. Ready and willing to let life and destiny run its course.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Weekly Love

I believe that gratitude is the fastest link to happiness. It makes you feel positive. contented. peaceful. And it enhances the feeling of love. Jason Mraz sings about gratitude all the time. Which is one of the many reasons I love him so much :)

On the other hand, constant wanting does nothing but produce stress. Stress doesn't necessarily have to be bad. Some forms of stress are good for you. Good or bad though, it's stress all the same.

Janine's Weekly Love project allows you to de-stress by taking notice of everyday "moments of love." Moments like these can be found in the most unlikely places, in the most mundane of things. As such, they go by unnoticed. If we slowed down though, we'd see plenty, and we'd feel a lot happier. The perfect way to handle stress. (And I know I don't handle stress very well)

Here's my list of my moments of love. I am grateful for..

..Social media. It makes communicating with friends abroad so very easy.

..Reliable internet connection at home and at the office. Can't imagine life without it.

..Long but immensely satisfying conversations with friends. It's like high school all over again.

..Friends, both new and old. Life is so much better with friends!

Weekly Love happens every Friday. Join the party over at

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dear 16-year old Me,

10 years is a long time to grow up. And grow up I did. After a decade's worth of living my life, I believe I've learned a thing or two. About myself, about the people around me, about the world. I'm learning still. Honestly, I don't know enough. But I know enough to tell you that life is beautiful! And that you are worth it. If only I had a big sister 10 years older who would also tell me the same things I am going to tell you now. So listen up. What I am going to tell you would make life so much easier.

First. You are beautiful. You just don't know it. You don't see it. But others do. I do. You haven't fully gotten out of that awkward stage. Still the ugly duckling. But you'll soon see, that ugly ducklings turn into swans. Beautiful swans. So don't be too hard on yourself. Appreciate that your body is fully functional and healthy. Try to look your best everyday, of course. And learn to love that tiny girl in glasses in the mirror. You'll be surprised to hear what other people say about you 10 years after.

Second. Be kind to your sister. Be her friend. Do not brush away like you always do, you hot-headed little tiger, you. She looks up to you. She needs you. And you need her. I know she's a little annoying, incredibly stubborn, and just a bit self-centered at times. But hey, we all have our flaws. Besides, it's your job as big sister to guide her through life.

Third. Find your faith again. Cultivate it. Cherish it, and practice it. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Your faith will keep you stable, steady, strong. It will help you grow wisdom, and a kind heart, a heart that looks out, not only for herself, but for others, too. It will guide you through life like no one will, especially on this next one.

Fourth. You will be starting college soon. When picking out a course, do not listen to your mother! I'm just kidding. Listen to Ma and Pa, but listen also to your heart. This is where your faith comes in. Back then, I felt completely lost. I didn't know what i wanted. I had a hint, but I wasn't sure. Faith would have pulled me through. It would have given me all the advice I needed, all the wisdom necessary to determine the course that would make me happy. I've had my regrets. I hope you wouldn't have to go through the same.

Fifth. Do not be in a rush to get a boyfriend. Yes, i know. You feel left out because just about everybody has experienced being in a relationship, or is in one. But, please. Don't let that get to you. You are young and beautiful. You can have anybody you want. Believe me. Listen to you parents, too. Trust me. They know better than we do.

Sixth. In relation to the above advice, when you do get in a relationship, please. Do not lose yourself. Your pride is your best friend. Keep it, do not bury it! like I once did. Like I said, you are worth more than you know. Know when enough is enough. Be strong and value yourself. Think! Use your mind, do not rely so much on your emotions. We both know you can get extremely emotional. Think and follow your guts.

Last, do not rush. Relax. I know you want to experience all there is while "young". But what is young? You can be young forever if you so wish! And don't pressure yourself so much. You will achieve great things, I promise you that. Maybe not in 5 years, maybe not even in 10. (Though it would be fantastic if you did. No pressure) But everything has its own time. So sit back, enjoy life and its many twists and turns. You won't ever go back once you've gone past it.

26-year old Me

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Blogging Exercise

It's 6:31 in the morning here on my side of the globe. A cloudy Sunday. I set my alarm to 7:30, but alas, my body is so used to waking up early it didn't wait for the alarm anymore. I have washed, brushed, and showered, and am sitting in front of my laptop with a glass of water, on my desk full of things. I'm pretty used to working on a table full of clutter; I won't bother clearing up when I don't feel like it.

This will be my second post since taking Susannah's blogging class. Right now, I'm feeling a bit of the writer's block, really. I'm not actually sure what I'm writing about. I'm just typing words off the top of my head. Which, I believe, is a good start. I'm 2 weeks into the course, and I am enjoying it so far. I've been going ooooh and ahhhh each time I finish reading a lesson. I've been blogging on and off for almost 3 years now, yet, I've never felt like I've connected with my blog. Blogging is supposed to be a happy activity, something to look forward to do doing. It is at times. But there are also many times that it feels more of a chore, because I feel I would have to come up with something clever to say whenever I blog. I don't have many readers. I've only had 1 follower, and 3 comments ever on my blog. And that 1 follower and 3 comments mean the world to me already! I hope to gather more of course, and to be able to connect with other people as well.

It's comforting to see that there are plenty others like me out there. My classmates are also, somehow struggling with their blogs. I haven't had much time to interact with them on Facebook. I've been pretty busy lately, and frankly, I'm still catching up with this week's lessons. I'm currently taking 2 online courses -- Susannah's and another from Nicole's Classes. But it's all good, I like busy. I'm happiest when I'm taking my classes. It makes me feel like I am improving my creativity, which I certainly hope I am. :-)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jason Mraz LIVE in Manila, May 14, 2013

Easily the biggest highlight of my entire life! The moment I saw Jason Mraz walk on stage -- in his cool, casual manner,  his wide, familiar grin, and his signature fedora hat, I just started screaming! I couldn't believe that I was actually seeing him in the flesh. He looked exactly the same on TV. But even better of course :) Even through the entire concert! I would watch him on the big screen for a better view, and then my eyes would land on his person on the stage, and I would just pinch myself.

I am a huge huge Jason Mraz fan. I just love him -- his music, his attitude, his love for life, his love for all things, his advocacies, his lifestyle, his personality, everything! He is incredibly down-to-earth. The way he communicated with everyone in the audience was just heart-warming. He spoke to us as if we were his friends. He repeatedly introduced the members of his band, and gave them plenty of time to do solos and exhibitions and what-not. It was beautiful to see an international star appreciate his team so much. And his performance? It was just out of this world!

I have never really been to many concerts in my life. I find them way too expensive, and they were never really my thing. I think I've been to only 2 -- the Moffats when I was 12, and Bond when I was 20. I can't really tell how Jason's concerts compare with others. But this much I can say, the energy was amazing. I can tell how much fun he was having onstage, just how much passion he had, not just for his music and performance, but for making his music heard. It was just an incredible inspiration for me. Two days after the concert and I was still hungover. The best experience in the world!

Friday, May 17, 2013


I've been to Boracay a few times in my life, but never on May 1st, where they say the parties are out of this world! As much as I love to party, I've never felt inclined to go. And the thought of a crowded beach, (because it WILL be crowded on May) tuned me off instantly! That was until this year. For some reason, I wanted to go. Maybe because of the age thing. I figured I wasn't getting any younger, why not try everything out now! So.. I packed my bags (and bikinis) and headed out to Bora with my lovely cousins.

And I was pleasantly surprised :)

The party scene in Boracay on Labor Day weekend did not disappoint! What with happy hour starting at 2pm, eye candy patrolling its shores ALL the time, and Bora's blood-pumping, skin-tight, beer-raining beach parties, who wouldn't enjoy? It leaves you wanting more! By the time I got back, I was already considering returning the next year!

Plus, I met a bunch of new people, met new friends, and reunited with old ones. I certainly found a lot of them there!

So there you go. Laboracay. I highly recommend it. Everyone should experience it at least once in their lives!

My May

This is a late post. It's a busy month again for me. Which suits me just fine. I like busy, especially when I'm busy with fun and the stuff I enjoy.

So here's what's up with me this May:

1. Labor day weekend in Boracay

2. Jason Mraz LIVE in Mnaila

3. Design for Web 101 by Nicole's Classes

4. Blogging from the Heart by Susannah Conway

5. My sister's first week in college, which means another longer trip to Manila to keep her company!

6. Plus everything else in between..

So much to do, so little time. :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Watercolor Studies

It's been a while since I've had painting lessons. My teacher, his name is Edgar. He's a professional artist, he has sold plenty of paintings nationwide, and has won many a number of competitions. He's a realist. His paintings look really laborious, and he tried to teach me that kind of thing. I'm more into, what do you call it, contemporary and pop art (?) and that sort. He humors me anyway and lets me have my way. He taught me everything I know about watercolor, the basics and all that. I'm no expert yet, but I've certainly improved a lot under his tutelage. I've been taking lessons from him on and off since college. Now, I've taken quite a few art classes all through my younger years. None of them helped me, not even a bit. They were the types that ended as fast as they started. The teachers just left you to do your own thing, and at the end of the class, came back to add finishing touches without even saying a word. Useless, really. Edgar's lessons lasted 3 hours, wherein we work on a painting together, from start to finish. I don't have a fixed schedule, I just call him whenever I'm free, which is about 1-3x a month, not very often really. It's a one-on-one class, so I really get a great hands-on learning experience every time. I should really give him a call again sometime this month :)

Here's one he did himself. In 20 minutes.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day 5 - Free Day

Jogoya Japanese Buffet Restaurant
Get off at Nanjing Station, walk a little way to Momo Building, it's up on the fouth floor :)

Taipei 101

Outside Taipei 101 :P

Taipei Day 4 - Highlights

First up, Yehliu Geopark. Yehliu appears to be an old fishing town.
The Geopark is just about 10 mins walk from where the bus stop. Follow the tourist buses if you're unsure. It was raining quite hard that day. It was rather difficult to appreciate the scenery with the rain pelting down my back and the wind whipping my hair (and hood of my jacket) all over the place. And the place was packed with tourists. It wasn't the best of days but I held my own. It's a beautiful place nonetheless. Definitely worth going to.

Lunch was shabu shabu in 7/11. Yes, they're 7/11's have that. How cool is that! They're good, too!

After Yehliu, we walked back to where we got off previously, and on the opposite side, got on a bus to Keelung. We passed by a busy food market on the way to the next bus stop. We never got to eat there, though. Which was a shame. There was just so much food, so yummy-looking things to try!

From Keelung, we hopped off Jinguashi, an old gold mining town. When you're there, have some warm taho in delicious ginger soup. :)

We then got on a bus again to Jiufen. It's a lovely place, and very lively! Lot's of food and little souvenir shops. There's plenty to see and eat here at Jiufen :)

We had dinner in one of the noodle shops along the old street. The restaurant is called Hey-Song. The beef noodle soup was excellent! And I just love the ice cream wrap right outside of the restaurant! At first my family and I, we thought it was fresh lumpia, like the ones we make at home, but with meat balls! Chinese fresh lumpia is like a DIY wrap. You prepare the ingredients -- wrapper, veggies, lettuce, sliced scrambled eggs, and ground peanuts with sugar -- and then make the wrap yourself.  We were wrong, the white round things that we thought were meatballs turned out to be vanilla ice cream. Great tasting all the same!

A box of whaaat?
Just had to post this. A box of fuzzy cats!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Taipei Day 3 - Highlights

We took the cable car all the way to the last stop. (There are 3) You'll see most of Taipei from up there. And along the way, you'll pass by a lot of tea plantations. It's a beautiful and peaceful area. Very scenic. Lots of tea houses and cafes. A great place for some afternoon tea. :)

Cat's Got Nothing To Do Cafe -- Honey Citrus Tea, hot chocolate, and waffles.

Mao Kong Cafe.

The interior was just adorable!

Hawaiian fruit tea and Longgan tea -- must try! And their cheesecakes are to die for!

Xi Men Ting Red Theatre

If you're like me, and you like whimsical, artistic, handmade, one-of-a-kind stuff, then this is the place to be. Stalls manned by the makers and artists themselves line the street outside of the theatre. You can find hand-painted t-shirts, handmade bracelets, earrings, purses, and all kinds of little trinkets. Inside the theatre are more shops, again by independent artists. I love the creative atmosphere of the place! Lots of eye candy to draw inspiration from! 

Misua at Ay-Chung's.
You fall in line, pay, grab your bowl, and eat -- standing up on the sidewalk. Don't worry about the long queue. You'll get to the counter faster than you can say Misua. I've never seen any restaurant serve this fast! Definitely worth a try :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Taipei Day 2 - Highlights

Young He soya breakfast.
This place is pretty popular. It's found in Daan, about 5 minutes walk from Daan station. Serving size here is quite big (for me anyway). You might want to share if you're not big eaters. They're known for their soy milk, but the other stuff on the menu is good, too. Try their mi xiang and rice rolls!

Sun Yat Sen memorial Hall

Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.

Student art along the subway.

Late lunch at Taipei Main Station. Truth be told, food in the station's fastfood restaurants aren't all that good. We've tried a couple of them, the food outside is way better.

 This one is good though. Also inside the main station. Inpo Pudding.

Beitou area -- famous for its hot springs. We had wanted to see the Beitou Thermal Valley, but we arrived late. It closes at 5pm, so come earlier to catch it.


Shilin Night Market.
They say that there are actually 2 separate markets-- one for shopping and one for food. We only made it to the shopping area. We did find a food alley, though. There's a sign somewhere along the shopping street that will lead you to the alley down below. You'll find plenty of Taiwan's local delicacies and street food there. Stinky tofu, oyster cake, bitter gourd juice, beef noodles, and of course, fried chicken! I remember very little about my last trip to Taiwan. But if there's one thing I remember, it's that large, salty, crispy, straight-from-the-grill, hot, fried chicken!