An Awesome Year-ender: Scuba Diving, White-water Tubing, and Spelunking at Sarangani

Last October, we just had an unplanned albeit awesome Surigao adventure getaway. Guess what? The same team did another to cap off the year! I shall now bless this as the YOLO team! Haha. We actually planned for a year-end getaway to climb Mt. Hamiguitan in San Isidro, Davao Oriental. And since we just learned that it has been closed to the public as it was made a world heritage site, we planned to go surfing the great waves of Dahican in Mati instead.

Christmas 2014

Thought I would be spending Christmas alone. Yes, I  mean it. Alone. You see, my family made a last-minute decision to spend the Christmas eve at Sarangani Province - a three hour drive from Davao City- with our relatives. I, on the other hand, had an important business to deal with that is going to happen at the end of the day. I only have two choices here: Either I travel to Sarangani at 6pm getting me there by 9pm to which is already unsafe because firecrackers will be exploding everywhere on every street with a medium to high risk of losing a finger or a limb in the crossfire; Or I spend the Christmas here alone.

I thank God there's Jan for giving me a third choice. He has been a knight in a shining armor coming to rescue a damsel in distress ever since his arrival to my life, except I'm not in distress. To make the story short, I spent the Christmas eve with him and his family. I can never be thankful enough for the hospitality they have been showing me since the first time I set foot into their home, especially his mom who is really good to me. Even though I wasn't able to spend the Christmas with my family, I am so happy to have spent a memorable night with him.

This is one of the best Christmases I've ever had! And here's for our first Christmas together. I mean, together.
It is indeed a very merry Christmas for me. I hope you spent yours well and merrily too. :)

The Gift of Saving

This is the time of the year when the cash registers are singing the merriest songs and our wallets go on a diet. I am feeling the Christmas rush. Really. I never thought I'd find myself scurrying here and there, looking for the perfect gifts this Christmas.

Just so you know, I am bad at giving gifts. I am a lazy shopper. I couldn't stand long lines and crowded places. I have no patience when it comes to gift conundrums. Gift giving would only make me feel pressured and anxious that I see myself treading on eggshells and I end up perhaps with an i-guess-this-is-okay kind of gift that it might look like I didn't give a damn about it. And the fact that I am a bit hesitant to pull out a few extra bucks from my already thinning wallet could sum me up as a bad gift giver. Or at least, that's how I see myself.

You see, my workadas and I decided to give gifts to each other. Finding one perfect gift is difficult, let alone looking for five (and I haven't counted those for my family and four godchildren yet). We decided to put up a wishlist to make it easier for us. Apparently, the wishlist didn't work for me because I ended up buying what's not on their lists.

I was thinking, instead of buying what they want - which will all soon be broken, worn out, or lost, and forgotten - why not give something that will motivate them to buy what's on their list? So without further ado, I gave them these:
The cutest coin banks ever! Ever. Common as they are though, I hope they see it as more than just the cute coin banks. I hope this will teach them a thing or two about surviving a quasi-independent life, like saving and spending wisely. Not that they don't save. I believe they do. And not that I am just penny-pinching that I made this an excuse not to buy expensive gifts.

Nothing Beats a Handwritten Letter

I have an old shoe box that sits on top of my closet. I never got to touch it since the time I posted about the same old shoe box back in 2011. It has gotten too dusty and too frail to hold all the letters and other memorabilia that were in it.
Old letters from my old shoe box
My old friends know me too well. They know how much I love sending letters, much more, receiving and reading one. My childhood bestfriend, Faith, and I exchanged letters since grade school even though we are living in the same city and not to mention, we see each other every Sunday.

I wish...

I wish Baymax was real. Jan is sick. And so am I. I could really use one big huggable inflatable robot that looks like a giant marshmallow right now.
My Baymax is rather slim. Haha
I don't think anyone's going to disagree with me if I say we all need a Baymax in our lives.We need someone who would be there for us and make sure we're alright after we've been hurt. (It is alright to cry. Crying is a natural response to pain.)

We need someone who can give us an epic hug whenever we feel down after a bad day. (There... There...)

We need someone who can be with us in our shenanigans and have a good laugh about it afterwards. (We jumped out a window!)

We need someone who can calm us down and teach us how to handle our temper because Baymax himself doesn't believe in inflicting harm to others and he has this way of turning your ugly thoughts into creative ones. (Will this stabilize your pubescent mood swings?)

We need someone who can push us to think way outside the box whenever we feel stuck or uninspired. (Flying makes me a better care provider.)

And above all, we need someone who can inspire us to become better persons. (I cannot deactivate until you say, "I am satisified with your care.")

Now, if we think carefully about it, all the while, we have our very own Baymax. Mine is just too sick to be one right now. ;)



Last night was a movie date night. Jan and I watched the third and final installment of "The Hobbit". Although I would have to say the movie isn't really faithful to the book because I don't remember reading a lot of scenes portrayed in the film. The movie itself was good though as it ended on a high note. But what has blown me away were the artworks that were shown at the end credits. I never took my eyes off it, told myself I would draw something the next day. So today, what I'm about to show you is my first attempt at drawing Smaug (and my second drawing for this year after so many years). It's not that awesome, but I love it.

How do you know if he's the one?

I've got three words: I. Don't. Know.

They say that once you have found the one, you just know it. But the truth is, no you don't. Anyone struck by the stupid cupid's arrow would always feel like he/she has found the one. Kahit sino naman siguro, kapag mahal mo, lagi mong iisipin na siya na. Pero hindi pala. Yeah, I've been there. Done that. Apparently, the one I thought was the one isn't the one after all.

Right now, I am in a relationship where I am genuinely happy. Whatever I feel is more than just the butterflies in my tummy. It goes deeper than that. This is the point in my life when I know love isn't just a magical feeling but a decision to make. This is when I say I want him in my life. This is when I chose to love him despite the odds and all those shit that came along. I love him not because he is an amazing person, or because he can make me laugh, or because I feel home whenever I'm with him, or because he makes me a better person. I love him just because I love him despite his flaws and imperfections.

Our relationship isn't perfect, and so is he. But I want to create memories out of those imperfections with him. Those memories, whether good or bad, are the ones I can never trade for anything in this world. So if ever the relationship blows, which I hope it doesn't, at least once in my life I knew I have found love that's worth keeping for a lifetime.

So have I found the one? I am still not certain about that. But what I am absolutely certain is that I am with a man who loves me the way I have always wanted to be loved. And just like anyone who is truly, madly, deeply in love, I would like to believe I did.

Why Do I Blog? And Why Should You?

It was back in 2004 when I stepped into the world of blogging, not knowing which direction I will be taking in (hence, the nicheless blogs). I just did it because I needed to displace my anger and frustrations about family, school, relationships, and what I thought was a shitty life. I never knew blogging could be my breather. Despite being lost in the big world of blogosphere, it gave me my own space in cyberlandia, like a home where I can be myself. And the best of all, it felt like somebody was listening to everything I say, my lamest rants included, even though nobody (that I know of) was actually reading. It made me feel better knowing that I've let out an emotion that's about to burst. And still it does.

It has been ten years since the first time I typed my thoughts out loud. Those years of bitter-sweet and love-hate relationship I had with blogging helped me understand myself better, who I am in this world, and what I am becoming. It took me to a path where I can ponder about life and helped me realize what's meaningful and important. It gave me a voice, and even more so, made me strong enough to stand up to my opinions.

I do have weak points, however. Despite how blogging helped me in a lot of ways, I was guilty of abandoning not one but several blogs before. I have even purchased multiple domain names - now, all thrown into the pits of oblivion. Yes, there have been times when I feel incompetent or not good enough that I put away my pen and paper, or in this case, the keyboard. Or when I feel there is nothing else to write because my life can sometimes go on without flavor. Or when I simply am just lazy.

But I guess no matter how many times I get too busy or distracted or stuck or lost or insecure, or how long I go on hiatus, I always go back home to blogging, cuddle with it, and make love with it. I can never give up on blogging. Not completely. Not when I know that in one way or another, I inspire at least one soul. Not when I know that there are some people who enjoy reading my blog. Not when I know that each time somebody reads my posts, I offer them something, may it be a knowledge, an inspiration, a thought, or a connection. Not when I am told a lot of times to keep on writing. 

Pasko Na!

Since Christmas is drawing nearer and nearer and, truth be told, getting more commercialized than ever, and people are in the subject of making wishlists... magpapahuli ba naman ako? I'm making a list, and checking it twice, gotta find out if I missed anything nice. Will Santa Claus be coming to town? Haha.

Anyway, here's my wishlist (ordered according to level of desire with 1 being the highest):

1. Journal/Planner
I would be thrilled to have an Alunsina Handbound Journal/PlannerNothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else. I would like to keep a journal again next year. The blog is for public consumption, while this will serve as a diary, a sketchpad, and a scrapbook on-the-go where I can write down my deepest and darkest(?!) thoughts. Haha. A nice pen to go with that would also be great.
This is one of my favorites. I actually love all their products!

Best Buy

I don't really brag about my purchases, except for the books and for this one. But save those sneers, what I am about to brag has a little story to tell.

You must understand, ever since I first set foot on Mt. Apo with my ever reliable Sandugo sandals and blistered feet, I promised myself a good pair of shoes for this kind of adventure. It took me almost a decade to be able to afford one. And here it is! Finally.

Well, I must have been very nice this year because I got the perfect(est), best(est), and comfiest hiking shoes this Christmas! Woot! And the best part is, I defintely am the luckiest when I got this.
Columbia Helvatia Women's Shoes

Workadas Pay It Forward

Earlier today, my workmates and I visited Providence Home of St. Joseph at Tugbok District, Davao City. It is a home which caters abused, abandoned, neglected, and orphaned children. At first I thought of it as an ordinary outreach activity, something like those any other outreach programs required by our schools way back in high school and college. But this time, it's different. I guess when you grow up and do things willingly, you see things differently.

We had the usual programme: introduction, games, presentations, yadda yadda. Then the children took us by surprise with their numbers, when in fact, we should be the one surprising them. It was a lot fun than I expected. Yes, I was more inclined to the fun part. I was never emotional when it comes to this. But what gave me away was when they sang a Christmas song with the words:

Lagi mo na maiisip na sila'y nandito sana
At sa Noche Buena ay magkakasama.
Ang pasko ay kay saya kung kayo'y kapiling na
Sana pagsapit ng Pasko, kayo'y naririto...

To my non-Filipino speaking friends, to simply translate this song it means, I wish my loved ones are here this Christmas.

I am no fashionista.

Yet despite that lack of fashion sense, I definitely am no sloppy dresser either.

I dress up like an eighteen year old with a devil-may-care attitude college student in tees, jeans and Chucks. So, what's the big deal?

I am almost thirty.

It seems like people have have been poking their noses with the way I dress because I have been told quite a lot of times to dress up appropriately according to my age. I don't know what that means but I certainly dress up appropriately according to my lifestyle. Simpleng tao lang po ako. I don't get out of my way to spend a fortune for clothes and fashion. I am never really crazy about them to begin with.

Just around the corner

What is it about growing up that makes the birthdays or Christmas, for this matter, seem less exciting?

Well, I guess when you grow up you begin to see the real essence of Christmas. Or to put it simply, you become more dramatic. You think less of the gifts, parties, and the red tag sales here and there. You become more profound (read: emotional) because you think more of the things that really matter, like love and giving, and friends and family. I used to be so deep when it comes to matters like this, but things, oh well, have changed.

It has been a long time since we spent the Christmas together completely as a family. And I think that's the reason why I really can't feel the Christmas spirit. Past Christmases have been bland and boring. I've been friends with the Grinch the past years. And I was completely okay with that. I guess, when you grow up, boredom grows up with you too that the magical feeling of Christmas goes on a steady decline.

Of Fantasy and Brandon Sanderson

I really have this penchant for fantasy reads. In fact, I have one shelf allotted for fantasy books only. I'm not going to apologize for this humblebragging, but I just want to show how much I really love fantasy. Why do I love fantasy so much? One word: Imagination. Perhaps, I owe a big part of my very wild imagination to the fantasy books I've read. Reading fantasy takes me to places I've never been, shows me things that never were, and puts me in situations that never could be. The possibilities are just limitless, imagination is the only limit.

Fantasy genre is oftentimes sneered upon, perhaps because of magic, dragons, and whatnot that some people may find stretched too far away from reality, or simply just childish. But for me, this is far more superior than other genres because it is difficult to digest. If you're not into it, you'd puke before you even know it. But if you get the flow and the feeling right, you will definitely hunger for more.

From children to dark to high to epic fantasy, I have already lost count how many books I've read.  But one thing I know is for sure, right now, Brandon Sanderson is my new favorite author.
Image source
I love his writing style. The intricacy and complexity of the universe he builds, the undeniably uniquely designed magic system, and the well-developed characters never fail to captivate me. I can devour 400 pages in one sitting. 1000+ pages in 3 days. And still have the appetite for more. Yes, it's that good. I am actually having a hard time reading other fantasy novels since Brandon Sanderson. I mean, I became hard to please at that.

What makes list articles bad

10 Definitive Ways To Tell You’re In Love With The Right Someone. 8 Qualities Of An Actual Nice Guy. 10 Signs You're Dating A Jerk. 7 Signs You're in an Awesome Relationship. 15 Honest Questions The Person You Marry Should Be Able To Answer. The Reasons Why You Never Want To Marry a Sorority Girl. I could go on forever.

These are just a few of the list articles, on a dating category for that matter, that have been circulating all over the internet. It's nothing new when articles like these go viral because, as a matter of fact, reading such can be entertaining especially when you are able to relate yourself to an article spot on.

Just one more chapter

I missed reading. I haven't read for months. With an exception to The Maze Runner, which I've read from my phone. But I had to stop halfway because my eyes have been complaining of eye-strain. That means, that novel would have to wait until the next paycheck and I'll purchase the real book instead.
Yep, this is so me.
Anyway, it's Saturday and I finally got time to read uninterrupted. I was too engrossed, I kept on telling myself 'just one more chapter' that I've totally forgotten about dinner. I can't help it. It really feels good to disconnect from the real world and enter another world that could simply bring you mayhem, sadness, happiness, love and so on and so forth.

I just finished reading one and as always, I ended up becoming a victim of emotional trauma from the hands of a paperback. I think regardless of the number of books I've read, I could never get used to it. Books will always stab and wound me, or take me on a high. However it goes, it's an enjoyable experience nonetheless. Yes, I am grabbing another one so that I will have something to blame for my lack of sleep at night again. Haha. Bless my eye bags.

Books and more books

Yesterday, I was supposed to be buying a book for my goddaughter who just turned 15 last Nov. 2. Yep, I was only 14 when I became a godparent. Kaya ngayong sumasahod na ako, kailangan ko ng bumawi. I am really happy she wants to have a book for her birthday. I didn't have second thoughts on buying her one even though I have been avoiding bookstores because whether I'm broke or not, I never got out of there empty-handed. But this time, I decided to step into the bookstore again, keeping in mind that I will only buy what I needed to buy. Much to my dismay, the book that I am looking for isn't available.

I can't help but look around. And just by that, I am well-aware I am losing the battle. There is no way I can fight the urge. One book. Just one book, I thought to myself. Lo and behold! I came out of the bookstore like a child grinning from ear to ear with a bag full of candies, except I was clutching these:

Super Duper Random Post

Bad News.
Today i just received the saddest news my entire life.

It is confirmed.

I am allergic to crabs.

And I'm asking myself, why? Of all the people, why me?

Why me who loves sea food so much? Why not those who loathe eating this just because they're too lazy to take the shells out and would prefer to eat a much easier to eat food like pork, beef or whatever. Ang hirap tanggapin. Hahaha.
Crabs Buffet!

Oversharing Our Kids on Social Media

A lot of my friends have wondered and have been asking me why I am no longer blogging or posting on Facebook about my son. When in fact, I've been so crazy posting online about every snapshot I took, every milestone he reached, just almost everything about him.

So what made me back off?

Unintentional Bragging
One, in the age of social media, I've been bragging about my son in some way, and I didn't know I'm becoming insensitive about that. You see, there's this group in Facebook where Moms like me share sentiments about motherhood. And I've read a lot of post, I mean a lot, about moms getting worried about their little ones not reaching a certain milestone. While some parents become boastful of their kid's advanced development, like how their 2-year-olds can count from 1 to 100, or how their toddler was able to walk before turning one; others on the other hand bewail on their kid's not so amazing or slow development. Since parenting has become visually public, it is inevitable to compare one's kid to another no matter how many times you tell yourself that children grow at their own pace.

Our job, the parents, is not to put our kids on a race like their successes will become our bragging rights. Of course, I know our kid's achievements are something we should be proud of, and yes, may even speak of publicly. I have to admit, I have my fair share of spilling goo and glory about my son too. Can't help it, it's a mommy nature. But we should also be sensitive as well, not to brag in a way that suggests that some other parent should feel as if they did not do good, or convey like parenting is a kind of competitive sport.

Children's Privacy
Two, I have been reading a lot of articles online especially those written about protecting our child's privacy. And the articles The Perils of Facebook Parenting and Respecting Children's Privacy in the Age of Social Media got it right to the point. Spot on. Ever since then I am beyond hesitant to talk about my son.

So what's my take on this? I have to stop. No matter how tempting it is. I admit it, it's hard especially for a proud mom like me. But it's not my life that I am posting. My son doesn't know I'm posting stuff about him. I am inadvertently putting his life in public. Do you think it's right to post photos about someone who cannot even give a consent, even though that someone happens to be your child? It's somehow, in a way, exploiting them. And who knows? These innocent snapshots we took and uploaded will someday, God-forbid, bite our children back. In this age where internet is so powerful, I don't know where my child's photos might end up. The last thing a parent would want is to see their child's photos somewhere totally inappropriate. Right?

So earlier, I made every album on my Facebook account about him available only for me. I am now careful with what I post. I now choose carefully what's okay to be made in public and what's not. And I have painstakingly put down some blog posts I have written about him. Yes, I made that mistake of putting his full name, birthday and where he was born online. Call me a paranoid. OA lang siguro ako. But it's better safe than sorry. And yes, I do respect my child's privacy.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm keeping him away from the people. I will still share. But sharing online is now out of the question. I will share if he's old enough to say, "Yes, you can share that mom". And perhaps I'll share those captured shenanigans and embarrassing photos to the girl he's bringing home. *wink*

Let bigots be bygones

I was raised in a non-catholic family, all my school life I grew up in a catholic school (run by nuns and the other by Jesuits), and all the while having friends with different religions. Apparently, this paved way for me to have an open mind regarding other people's beliefs.

I've seen, heard, and read a lot of debates relating to religion. Debates like that are actually engaging. Challenging one's beliefs while the other justifies and stands for his own is, in fact, healthy and can really be interesting because you learn a lot from that. However, heated arguments are inevitable in a two-sided story, let alone in religion wherein the crowd is "multi-faithed". But that doesn't give one an excuse to negate and insult another person's beliefs. Unfortunately, it happens. Always.

It's no wonder why our world tend to lean on chaos. Because I, for one, am fed up hearing people trying to shove into the people's throat that their religion is right and it is the best way to live. Pfft! Ok we get it, you have your mission, that's one thing. But attacking, discrediting, or undermining one's beliefs just because it doesn't go well with yours, is another story. (I apologize if this is turning to be a rant.)

I guess what people really need is an understanding of other people's beliefs, religion for that matter. If people would only care to educate themselves and keep an open mind, then there'd be less bigots in this world; which will eventually beget respect.

Respect is becoming elusive nowadays. And that's what the world needs now. Yes, I may not always agree with other people's beliefs. I admit it, I find some beliefs too absurd and not even worthy of (my) respect. But as a matter of civility and courtesy, I respect the person that holds them as long as their beliefs do not go out of the way to harm others.

And I just wish people would show some respect too. Not just with religion, but with tradition, culture, principle, choice, and opinion as well. If respect is hard to give, then could we just at least have an open mind and be tolerant about it? Come on, let's be civil. Living in harmony may be close to impossible, but that's a start.

Being a Pastor's Kid

I remember the time when my friend Anne and I went on a ride to Jack's Ridge when I jokingly asked her to give me that cute little tin box from her car's dashboard drawer to which she was hesitant at first and told me she'd give me the Bible instead. I replied, we have a lot of that at home in different versions and translations as a matter of fact. Then she started asking me questions about the Bible to which I promptly and precisely answered. We discussed the Bible to the point that you can tell how much I know so much about the Bible. I even told her I read the whole book of Revelations, which is my favorite book of all.

She gave me that look of utter disbelief. Well, I couldn't blame her. I am known for being stubborn and mischievous, and being someone who have read the Bible is too far from how they've known me. Don't get me wrong, I just know the Bible - the same way I know my Science lessons. So, it's not what you think it is. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I'm not a devotee, a religious freak or something. But what shocked her the most was when I told her I am a Pastor's Kid (PK).

"PK ka pala? Really?!"

"Oo. Hindi pa ako pinanganak, pastor na papa ko."

"As in?"

"As in."

"Sure ka bai?"

"O, lagi!"

That kind of reaction isn't new to me. Di daw halata eh. You don't see me post and share biblical passages on Facebook. You don't see me raising my hand up, proclaiming 'Hallelujah' in church. You don't see me say grace before meals (but I do, just on my mind). You don't hear me say 'Thank you, Lord' always. I am never vocal about my spirituality. I admit it, I've got horns. So it's very unlikely for me to be one. But I am, unfortunately.

"I know a lot of Pastor's kids and they carry a burden" were her next words.

"I don't have a burden as a Pastor's kid," I said flatly out loud.

But now, as l looked back, I finally understood what she meant.

I heard a lot of stories about being a Pastor's kid. And there are actually common stereotypes about being a PK. First, one is perfectly just as expected as how PKs should be. Being a PK, you are expected to posses moral superiority and be biblically knowledgeable. Well, it is as if people see this like some sort of genes that can be passed on to the offsprings. Since the dad has it, well, it is expected that the children should have it.

Second, you screw up. Simply, a total opposite of  the first one.

I am glad to be neither one of those. I'm far from being a goody-two-shoes nor a screwed up directionless being (well, I may have screwed up a little but I've already learned from that). Living as a PK puts your life under a microscope, where everybody is watching every detail of you. Your actions, your words or the way you dress will be under everybody's noses. And most of the time they're too quick to judge your misbehavior, missteps, and failure. "Umayos ka nga, anak ka pa naman ng pastor", is what I commonly hear from the congregation whenever I didn't act the way a PK should be. Oo, para kang artista, lahat napupuna nila. Well, all throughout those years I've learned how to deal with that. I've accepted the fact that there is no perfect church, and that some members can be, I'll be brutally honest, jerks.

Well, aside from having a life in scrutiny and struggling to build my own identity (Oo, ako YUNG ANAK NI Pastor Andres), I am well aware of the pressure around me as I have to live up with people's expectations. So as a child, I have always equipped myself with lots and lots of memory verses, I always have to top and win the bible drills (I have memorized all the books of the old and new testament and I know just where to find them fast), I have to dress up decently at church, I have to be prim and proper, and I have to be a role model - someone just as good and as great as my dad. Not because my dad told me to (except for the dressing up in church, that's my mom's working). It's because that's how people see how a PK should be.

It was not easy. I realized being a PK can be tough at times. The more I think about what people will say and think of me is the more I am becoming less of myself. And the more I drift away to becoming what was expected of me.

I am a stubborn PK. I've had shares of getting bored and I sleep during our daily bible devotions. I only wanted to go to church because I have a lot of friends there (mostly other PKs as well) because we love to goof around the church. I only became active to church activities because of my friends. I sleep during sermons. I was never at the front pew. I am not a born leader; I would grudgingly say 'yes' whenever I am asked to lead a Sunday school for children. I am never religious to begin with.

But I am glad that my dad acknowledges me as a human, that just like everybody else, I am a sinner too. That I cannot be perfect and that I can make mistakes and learn from it. He gave me a room to grow and fail, which means, none is expected of me to be like him. I am far from being raised to perfection. I am raised and loved as I am. I was raised as a regular kid. And I believe this is the reason why I haven't totally gone astray.

As tough as it is to be living as a PK, I wouldn't have it any other way. One thing is for sure I am proud and forever be grateful growing up as a PK, my dad instilled in me the value of appreciating life's simplest blessings. Like being alive and well each time I wake up in the morning. That alone can change the way I see life and the world. Life, as we know it, is full of shit. But there will always be a reason, big or small, to be grateful to it. Those small blessings that oftentimes go unnoticed are manifestations of how much I am loved. And that has kept my faith in Him all these years. That's how I see things beautifully and positively. That's how I begin to see each little thing, in one way or another, as a blessing.

Having a positive outlook in life leads to positive thoughts which lead to positive actions which can be experienced and passed on to others which will eventually lead to becoming a positive being. And just by that, I know I'm making a difference even though I do not have a preacher's mouth or a minister's religiosity.

Looking back again, I am thankful that I am a girl whose dad happens to be a pastor. And I'm so glad that he's regarded a great pastor, but even more so, a greater dad.

Back when I still wore dresses and joined activities in church. Hehe

Awesome October Is Awesome

Like I said before, I'm gonna make October awesome. There's still a few days left for November, but I can already say that my October is absolutely awesome. Aside from the getaways that happened this month and my sister's incoming birthday (yep, kainan nanaman), I regained something I lost, learned a lot from my day to day life, did something I've never done before, did something that made me happy, and the list goes on.

Okay, I'll be more specific. But please excuse my kababawan, you must understand that I've already learned the art of appreciating even the littlest of the little things. I've learned that it is really the little and simple things that make one genuinely happy.

-I've finally done an artwork after so many years (not the office tasks, okay?).

-I've finally traveled outside Davao after a long time (with the exception of GenSan. Haha).

-I got an awesome barkada who never fails to make me laugh. Cheers to 14 years of friendship!
12 years ago

Island Hopping

I can't remember how many times I've been to the beach just for 2014. Now, I'm really staying true to what I claim myself to be: a beach bum. Hehe. I just woke up from being knocked out after a whole day of Island Hopping with friends to celebrate my friend, Kevin's birthday (in advance).

I'm actually still at lost for words. My mind isn't fully functional yet.  I guess all that swimming and that dive I did from the top deck of the boat are to blame for that (*cough* excuses * cough*). So I'll just let the photos speak for it. I really don't have a lot of pictures though, some of these are just grabbed from my friends. :)
Kami at ang eskandalosong monopod ni Justin. Ok lang, smile pa rin.

The Jack Ridge Chronicles

Yep, that's Jack, not Jack's.

I am blogging this because I missed these girls:
Yeah, I do see them five days a week. But it's not everyday we get to have moments like this. It's been a long time since the five of us went out together. They make me feel (and act) so young that's why I love hanging out with them. Being with them would always mean episodes of gasping for breath and a hurting stomach from laughing too hard. Yes, these girls are really crazy, they just don't know it.

I've done it!

All the while, I thought I lost it. Never thought it was just in deep slumber. And it only took an inspiration and a little push to awaken that. As I promised myself, I'll have one artwork done this year. Who would have thought I would have it this soon - in less than a day. I guess I was too hyped up to bring back what I thought was lost. I even had to scour the malls just to buy all that I need for this overcoming-artist's-block project even though I'm not feeling really well. But it was worth it. 

I know I still need a lot of practice though. It took a while before my hand stopped being fidgety. It's not that good, but it's not bad either. But I know in my heart, as I want to believe, I nailed it. And what matters now is that I felt that satisfaction once again. The feeling is overwhelming, it seems like it's going to steal me from my sleep tonight. Haha. Kidding.

Anyway, this man right here is my bestfriend, my confidant, my mentor, my pingpong coach, my biking buddy, my counselor, my tagasaway na utro pud pasaway, my kilig factory, my panda, my gummy bear (kay makagigil), my pillow, and of course, my inspiration. I hope I did justice to his beautiful face even though I think I overdid the goatee. Haha. :P


I was mindlessly lurking on my Facebook news feed when I suddenly stumbled upon one of my friend's drawings. I stared at it for a long time. Something bothered me. It couldn't be the stroke or the colors or the medium used. It's actually a pretty good drawing. But something is stirring up in my heart, and it's mixture of feelings of anguish, remorse, envy, and then there's a sudden longing.

I realized I terribly miss drawing.

When was the last time that I actually drew something? I don't effin' remember. I haven't been doing vectors and vexels, nor simply draw with a pen and paper for years. Yes, it has been years! I have been stuck. Although at some point, I would draw something, then I suddenly don't want to proceed. I stop and never finish it. The feeling of 'it's not good enough' is holding me back that I just toss whatever I had started and move on as if I haven't done anything.

Today, I grabbed a pencil and paper and started to think. Nothing came out. So I decided to do something random but my hand refused to move. I never knew one could be rusty at this. I lost the connection between my mind and my hand - they used to be very collaborative. But now, I have nothing. I know I could do something, but I just couldn't do it. No. I didn't lost the interest in drawing. I still love it. But I think I lost the verve to it.

If there's such thing as an artist's block, then I am suffering from it. And it's damn near impossible to find the reason why.  But I need to overcome this because it feels like an emotional suicide. It is depressing. I never thought it could feel this devastating when you feel you're no longer fit to do something you know you were good at.

I want to be the same old Sarah, that time when I itch to draw something just anywhere - be it on a phone, a tissue paper, even on my bag, or even on a cafeteria's table (yep, I've had a share of vandalism before, creative vandalism at that. haha).
Circa 2010.
When I am bored, I don't play games on my phone, I doodle instead.
And this is something that I miss doing.

What to do when you're awake

You know what's worse than having a nightmare? Not being able to fall asleep. In my case, however, it is the difficulty of going back to sleep. It has been days. I could do with little sleep at night given that I don't have work to do in the morning. And I wish I didn't have to work in the morning.

I think of the reasons why. Stressed from work? Maybe. Lack of Exercise? Could be. Anxiety? But to what? Maybe I've been thinking a lot lately that's why I get robbed of sleep. Probably not. It's easy for me to fall asleep as easy as it is to wake up. The slightest sound or movement awakens all my senses, I end up rolling my eyes and giving out a heavy puff because I know I'd be having hard time going back to sleep. But more often than not, I wake up at dawn for no obvious reason, no matter how tired I am the whole day. Desperate times indeed call for desperate measures for I found myself reading countless articles how to battle insomnia and stuff like that. Apparently, nothing works.

An Unexpected Guest

A few weeks ago an old friend dropped by unexpectedly. He's a regular guest, always coming unannounced.

We had something way back. We were roommates for a varying length of time. I think he's cool. He says I rock in that Taylor Swift raccoon eye make-up. We watched movies together and he loves Harry Potter too. We read books together and we do it all night long. I think he's smart. He always has this way of stimulating my mind. We exchanged ideas from night until morning. He's creative too. Sometimes he fuels my imagination as I've done a lot of artworks with him. I had a lot of fun and memorable experience with him that there are times I would never want him to leave. But he left anyway.

It's been a long time. We haven't spoken for months or maybe it was a year ago since I last saw him. I have watched the World Cup alone that sometimes I wish he'd come so I'd never have a shut-eye moment and we can both cheer for our favorite teams. He never paid a visit. Not once. I already felt comfortable and got used to not having him around. I felt so much better without his presence that I almost forgot about him. Until one day he came through the back door.

He discreetly went straight into my room and unpacked his bag. He used to bring with him trepidation, loathing, and regret. I'm not certain what he has for me this time. One thing I know is for sure though, he's not here to stay for the night. He even went with us on a short vacation just recently.

As much as I no longer want to welcome him, he's an old friend that's hard to push away. I'll be waking up to my dreams again, good or bad. I'll be having 3am musings again, like this one I am typing right now.

Surigao Adventures: Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River, and More


What could be more fun when you go on a trip unplanned? Well actually, we planned this trip two weeks ago. Everything was almost set that we almost booked for a packaged trip: complete with an itinerary, a place to stay, and transportation. What we only have to do is enjoy the trip. Three days later, more than half of our company backed out. So from ten, we went down to four. Haha. Bummer.

The four of us pushed through though. Not sure how exactly we're going to make it since nobody has been to Surigao before. We were only equipped with what other blogs feed us about how to go the Enchanted River and that was it. But we went on as planned: go to Enchanted River and explore Britannia Islands.

Okay, just so you know, I am not a travel blogger. And if I were, I'm not a good one at that. But I will try to be detailed as much as I can (as far as I can remember). What you will read here will be more of our experiences and [mis]adventures during this getaway. I won't promise I'll be generous with words because what I will say will most likely be an understatement, it may or may not convey what we have actually seen, heard or felt. But I'll try my best anyway. And I'll be honest as honest can be. So here goes..

Day 1 - Come What May
We left at 2am from Davao City boarding a bus going to Mangagoy, Bislig City, Surigao, taking us there by 8am. The moment we stepped down the bus, habal-habal drivers approached us asking where are we headed. Took us quite some time to answer because we just realized we don't have an itinerary.

We scoured the map and located all the places we want to go to and discussed then and there what's the best to do to maximize the trip. What would we do without Jan's phone? Haha. We decided to go to Tinuy-an Falls, proceed to Enchanted river, and lastly, stay overnight at Britannia. So after befriending and having negotiations with the drivers, we hailed a habal-habal to take us to our destinations.

First destination: Tinuy-an Falls
Dubbed as little Niagara falls (or something like that), it was more majestic than what I saw on pictures. Stunning. Breath-taking, to say the least. We rented a life vest (optional at 30 pesos each), and enjoyed the cool and refreshing waterfalls.
Tinuy-an Falls


From the title itself, I guess it would be better if you close this blogsite now because I assure you, no good will come out of what I'm about to write.

1. Work. I'm not that infuriated yet, so I promise there will be no cussing here. Because if I would, there's going to be so much cussing to do if I begin to say something about how my day at work has been. Well, I guess that's much of a giveaway. You already know what I mean.

2. Trash. I never thought I will be this concerned about the cleanliness in our city. You see, Davao is clean and still green despite being a highly urbanized city. Where trees are visible block to block, where air is still breathable, and where streets are noticeably clean. And it irks me to see some people throwing their trashes recklessly. Tsk. Shame on them. Makalagot ba.

3. Internet. Aaaargh. It's nowhere near its promised speed. I'm paying in full but I'm getting half assed service. Customer service doesn't even seem to help. Gagawa ng report wala namang nagagawa ang report. Hello PLDT, I hope your internet speed is as fast as you send your bills.

4. Kakakain ko lang. Gutom na naman ako.

Ano na?

Well, I mentioned earlier that no good will come of what I'm going to write. I take it back. Yes, pronto! This is why I love to write. Whenever I release all that negative vibes (through writing), I feel much much better. Remember Newton's third law of motion? That in every action, there's an equal opposite reaction. Because I'm ranting (and whining) and I don't want dwell on that, I might as well say something good. Come to think of it, good things also happened today.

1. I bought a(nother) rash guard. 'Cause we're going on a getaway! Spell E-X-C-I-T-E-D.

2. I made a list. A list of the things that I'm going to bring for the trip. I don't know how making a list makes me happy. But it does. Really.

3. The boyfriend. Need I say more?

4. Food. Kakain ulit ako.

Ciao! Tomorrow's Friday! I'm looking forward to the long weekend. Yehess!


A rather stressful day capped my September. I was really piqued at work. I think I'm already biting more than I can chew, I could use a break right now. Tired and almost at my wit's end, I still have a lot to be thankful for nonetheless.

I thank God for waking me up each day, one after another, to face a brand new day with a strength to carry on. I thank Him for all the blessings He bestowed upon me.

Thankful for this blog for being my chum that I share with him almost every thought I have, good or bad. For listening without judging, without complaints, without getting fed up with my rants and other things that are not even share-worthy. And of course, for helping me hone my writing skills.

For Rhett, my human alarm clock. For his silly antics that start my day with a smile. And for reminding me to appreciate life's simple and little things. It's because of him I began to see things beautifully.

For friends who are always there through thick and thin; who never fail to give me a hearty laughter or two each day.

For Jan, who acts like a sponge whenever I vent out my frustrations. For always being there to put a smile on my face no matter how rough my day has been. His gentle kiss before we part ways makes me happy that I go home leaving all the crap behind, looking forward to seeing him again the next day.

And last but not the least, to life itself. For constantly reminding me that shit happens and I am a survivor to a daily those of it.

Overall, September has really been good to me. Come October, let the rumpus begin!

Friendster Testimonials

If there's one thing I miss about the now defunct social networking site, Friendster, it has to be the testimonials. I was digging my old Yahoomail (yep that one's still alive), and I never thought I'd stumble upon (some of) my Friendster testimonials. Now, I remember saving them before because I printed them for my scrapbook project in college (thank God for that). I read them again and found myself laughing and *sniff* almost crying. Gawd, I just realized I miss a lot of my friends.
Don't you get excited when you get this notification?
Anyway, I'd like to share with you what my friends said about me. You may not be interested about it but I'll post anyway. Who knows? Yahoomail, like Friendster and Multiply, may be blown to oblivion, at least I still have them testimonials saved here in my blog. These are unedited. So whatever you read here, just keep it to yourself, okay? You can laugh. The hell I care. Haha. Some may be embarrassing, but since it's already a thing of the past, I don't mind sharing this. What my friends said about me is still pretty much the same Sarah you know right now. :)

Warning: This is very long. And some texts are really hard to read. Pcenxa npo. Pnahon p po i2 noong usong-uso p ang txtspk. Hahaha.

Confessions Vol. 3: I Think About Perfect Crimes

It's past 2 am and I couldn't sleep. I guess no matter how much I try to become a day person (even when I already am working during normal office hours), being nocturnal is already in my system. I couldn't take it out. You see, my brain is more functional at dawn. By functional, I mean, it is active but not normal. My brain goes crazy to be more accurate. Yep, plain crazy. A lot of crazy ideas run through my mind that are sometimes too hot to handle. There are times when I need to let my thoughts out especially when I feel that my mind is on fire and is about to explode.

This is one of those times.

What do I have now? Well, have you ever thought of plotting a perfect crime? Because I did. Just earlier. This is a recurring episode as a matter of fact. Madness. Haha. I don't have the mind of a criminal, so don't look at me like that, okay? But there are actually those times when I thought of doing something really crazy or badass and just get away with it. Heist fantasies for example, Ocean's Eleven style. It's cool, isn't it? Or how about murder? Okay, that's too much. But yeah, I still think about it. You know, those what ifs and stuff like that. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does this.

Hypothetically, if you have considered committing a crime, how do you get away with it? This is actually the fun part of plotting a perfect crime. Not the crime itself. My stomach turns at that thought. Ugh. But how you get away with it is another story. How come? Well, you think of all the possible exits. You create strategies. You find loopholes. You figure out a method that is foolproof. You search for errors. You research and investigate. You become a criminal and a detective at the same time. Isn't that telling you you're doing a lot of brain work here? Isn't that fun? Maybe I can even write a novel about it, if only I have the talent in putting those crazy thoughts into words.
Image credits to Lestatis
I guess I have my habit of reading and watching too much murder-mystery, crime, or detective series to blame for that. Hello Dexter, Burn Notice, Psych, and other crime TV series, my eyes are squinting and looking at you right now. But more than that, I also dreamed of becoming a detective, a spy, or a secret agent. And that is to say, to catch a criminal, you have to think like one. Right? And yes, it's fun to do this sometimes albeit totally abominable to some.

Well, I just want to make myself clear, I am not encouraging anybody to plot a crime and do it. For heaven's sake, hell no! It is wrong on so many levels. And don't even think about it, because whatever you do, you cannot get away with it anyway. Trust me, I've also thought about that. Remember, there's no such thing as perfect crime. Just keep that perfect crime you are plotting inside of your mind, because it's the only place (besides the silver screen) it can get perfect that you'll never ever get caught or be haunted by your conscience. Okay? Do I make myself clear?

Crazy. Really. I don't know what has gotten into my mind. I've written all that I want to write and I still couldn't get myself to sleep. What do I do now? Maybe I should raid the fridge. A full stomach might allow me to drift into a deep slumber.

Anyway, ta-ta for now. Have a nice day ahead! :)

Somewhere Only We Know

Somewhere Only We Know
by Sarah Andres

Take my hand and hold it tight,
I'll take you to the clouds tonight.
Don't fret, don't rush, just take it slow,
I know a place where we can go.

Where stars abound that light the sky,
we'll fly like birds and soar up high.
I'll hold you close, be at your side,
this is a roller coaster ride.

We'll run away where fields are green,
where flowers bloom the bees will sing.
We'll explore the world, go high and low,
we're heading somewhere only we know.

To be with you is like paradise,
wrapped in your arms 'til the sun will rise.
We bask under the moonlight's glow,
we are somewhere only we know.

My second take on poetry. Hardly even poetry. Haha. Mura kog bata. Pero lingaw man diay ni. :)

Feels like the first

There's always the first time for everything. And yesterday, it's my first time to see a starfruit (balimbing) as big as this. No kidding. I was even told this isn't its full size yet. Well, I just thought I'd share this with you because I find it peculiar though it might be common for some.


I never really figured out why I love thunderstorms so much even as a kid, despite its startling sound and God forbid, the aftermath it may bring. Don't get me wrong, I just love the flashes of lightning and the roaring thunder that follows. I love the smell of the rain and the sound it makes on the rooftop. It's been an hour since the dark skies are lighting and the first roar was heard. I would have watched the spectacular beauty from our balcony if only the wind isn't too harsh and cold outside.

Thunderstorms, however despised by many, are kinda relaxing to me. Therapeutic and soothing as a matter of fact. Best if spent snuggled up on bed - because nothing beats feeling safe in the arms of your love  while having a warm fuzzy feeling all over as the storm rages violently. It's like finding inner peace while everything outside is in chaos.

Wish I could spend a night like this with you, Lab. Haha. I miss you on nights like this.

Coming second is worse than placing last

Watching the UAAP Cheerdance competition brought me back my cheerleading spirit. I have watched every team perform. And basing from that, it's already easy to predict who will fly and who will flunk. NU and UP performed really well that everybody could tell one of them would bring home the bacon. Most likely NU.

Yep, NU nailed it.

But did you see how UP publicly displayed their disappointment the moment the 1st Runner-up was announced? It's like bitterness surrounded them that they could hardly move from their places. It took them awhile to stand up. Accepting their award graciously seemed like a daunting task. I can see soreness. Both from the body and the heart. Is coming to second really that bad?

Well, I know that feeling. The same feeling we had when we won 2nd place during a cheerdance competition in our school. I (we) even cried because it sucks. And yes, inevitably, you feel bitter and sore. You know why? Because it sucks to feel that you're close... so close to getting that gold. It's just one tiny step. Just one - but for some reason, you just didn't make it. And it sucks even more if you're expecting to win. Or if you are expected to win. The line "We could have been first, if only...", will not stop echoing in your mind until you have accepted the fact that you have indeed, just LOST.

Second place is something to be very proud of. It is better than nothing. But why is it less satisfying to come in second? Maybe it's human nature. We often think this way: Second place is so close to winning first. And third place is so close to winning nothing. No wonder why third placers are happier than second placers. Did you see UST's reaction when they were announced as third placers? Did you see how they jumped, applauded and screamed for joy?

Second place means you already had it, but someone was just better or you just didn't make it happen. It feels worse than placing last. It's like you've lost more than those who didn't place at all.

We're humans. Believe it or not, we're bound for competition. And it's perfectly normal to feel down when you've just lost. I guess, there's no way we can change how it feels to be second - to feel like you're the biggest loser. No matter how many times you've been taught by your parents or teachers to graciously accept defeat, the thing is, the feeling of losing is real you cannot just let it slip and say it's okay.

As one quote says,  "You must never be satisfied with losing. You must get angry, terribly angry, about losing. But the mark of a good loser is that he takes his anger out on himself and not his victorious opponents or on his teammates." Well, Mr. Richard M. Nixon could not have said it better.

I have no qualms about UP's dismay for not bagging the crown, or Messi's disappointment for not bringing home the World Cup, or any other people who came in second but were obviously not happy about it. It's not that they are not practicing sportsmanship and humility - they are. But just like anybody who has experience defeat, they too, are humans. And it's perfectly human to feel that way.


Odd Quirks

Everyone of us has this awkward or maybe undesirable habit, but since we're already living in a society where the not-so-normal is more than welcome, let's just say such habit can add up to the personality which makes one even more interesting. We always have a thing or two in us that sets us apart from the norm. What's normal for us could be something others often dismiss as odd, weird, awkward or sometimes annoying. Everyone has quirks. Every. Freakin. One. And I believe no one is an exception to this rule.

Today I was told I am weird for dipping my instant pancit canton in a Pinakurat vinegar before eating it. Well, that's just one of the many things that make me weird, or I should say, unique. So today, I'd like to share with you a bunch of things that are perfectly normal for me which you may find pretty different, not normal, weird, or whatever you call it. And maybe uninteresting. And some items could strip off any respect you have for me. Haha. But for the sake of fun and telling the truth, I'll share it anyway. Here goes...

1. I put calamansi at almost every viand I eat. Anything sour is my favorite flavor.

2. I drag my feet when walking. Or maybe this is not a quirk at all, just a mild case of laziness.

3. I watch Harry Potter over and over again. Even when I'm just surfing the web, or writing this blog at this moment, Harry Potter is playing on the background.

4. While everybody hates girls who do duckfaces. Would you hate a girl who does a goldfish face? Come on! It's cute. And not everybody can do it. Haha.
Can you blow your cheeks and open your mouth at the same time? I bet you can't. ;)

The Gift of Idleness

Seems like I got it all figured out. For the past few days I've been wondering what's keeping me on fire. If you would look at my archive I haven't really been so active at blogging. I may have been active at some point, but I was only micro-blogging at most. Usually about mundane events with nothing to think about. I was posting for the sake of posting. Nothing more than that.

But looking back at the past few days, or month for that matter, I've been posting about things that somehow make sense. Kumbaga, may laman ang mga sinusulat ko. It's not that I am writing about socio-political issues, life in general, current events or whatnot. I'm still writing about my life, how I'm living it, how I see the world, what I want and don't want, what happened to my day or what resembles to be what people used to write on their diaries. I still talk about me (hey it's my blog, so I don't think I have to apologize talking too much about myself). But the thing is, at the end of every post, I consciously or unconsciously share with you lessons I've learned, realizations, and few thoughts to ponder.

So what have I actually figured out the past few days? While I thought reading books measures my stress levels (the less books I read, the more stressed I am), today, I realized that writing a blog measures my idle times (the more blogs I write means the more idle I am).

I do not have a lot of heavy tasks lately. I am oftentimes idle and I space-out more frequently than ever. It is during those times when I stare out the window and let my mind wander freely. Crazy things come popping out of my head, or on a serious note, I begin to reflect about life, or sometimes I just think of random nonsense things then realizing that every little bit of anything, in one way or another, actually makes some sense. Things like that. And voila! I got something to write.

I figured out my mind gets creative when I am doing nothing. Those "Aha!" moments are delivered right at my feet when I just sit back and relax. And I oftentimes hear myself saying (or thinking) after mulling over on some facts, "Oo nga noh? Tama nga naman. Bakit di ko naisip yun dati?" 

This is to say that we have to unplug ourselves from the world sometimes. Because as far as I am experiencing it, disengaging increases my brain activity. It's like all my brain cells are at work when my body is at rest. I begin to wonder and see things the way I didn't see them before. Like how idleness can actually make you productive. Or how being idle disconnects you from the chaotic world and lets you reconnect with nature and appreciate life's simple pleasures.

Right now, I am enjoying my idleness. Nothing lasts forever they say. So while it's here, I am savoring every minute of it before I get bombarded with tasks again. They say that time is gold - you have to make use of it and not waste a precious time doing nothing. I say, idleness is a very rare ore. It's not easy to have and you can't have it all the time. While not everyone welcomes the idea of idleness, like an ore that doesn't look too attractive, it is still too precious not to have for it is really a necessity, especially in the fast-paced world we're living in.

So if you have been idle for awhile, don't think about it as a waste of time. Idleness is cheap, but not everyone can have the luxury of having it. Or should I say, not everyone chooses to have it. Come on. Disconnect. Space-out. Do nothing sometimes. It's healthy. :)
This is my friend Anner who is apparently spacing out during one of our meetings. This picture is too good it deserves a space here. Hahaha

Why I love Ian

I rarely have celebrity crushes. Heck, I couldn't even recognize most of the "hot" men to date. For example, my friends and I went to watch a movie. Then there's this one trailer when my friends (girls - yeah i have to emphasize on that one) suddenly went giggling. I, on the other hand,  who was so engrossed on the film because I find it a bit funny, didn't pay attention to the actors on the screen. Then I heard a remark, "Grabe, ka-hot ni Channing Tatum."

Channing Tatum. Ah, yes. I've heard about him right. As a matter of fact, I've heard about him a thousand times before. I just didn't care enough to be able to recognize him on screen. No. I really didn't care at all. I think I haven't even watched his movies yet, have I? I don't know. I am not a movie buff to begin with. Loser noh? Haha.

There are just too many good-looking celebrities out there that I can have a crush on. I can like as many as I can. And drool to as much as I can. But only few are the ones that I admire the most. I'm not even talking about superficial admiration here. I'm talking about the inner being. What does it make them without that fame or pretty face?

And one the of the celebrities that I really admire, is no other than... drumroll please...


Aside from being the most goddamn good-looking and sexy guy in the world (next to my boyfriend, of course! haha), there's a lot about him that would make you love him to bits. Here are the reasons why:

Those eyes. You could get lost to it. You can even stare at them forever. Rawr!

Once upon a bicycle ride

This isn't my first bike ride experience. I've been biking as early as I was eight. I've also had my fair share of falling off the bike, leaving me with more scars on my elbows and knees. But still, I love biking and I know I'm pretty good at it. But by biking, I mean, riding around the village on a clear and even pavement. And that was it. I had zero experience in other types of cycling other than my humble village-biking skill.

Last Sunday, I had my very first road biking experience. The challenge is on bigger and wider roads with speeding vehicles on both lanes and sometimes a few animals on the way. Not to mention, the longest ride I ever had. My first road bike stint turned out fine. It was a total of more or less fifteen-kilometer cycle with rests in between. The thing is, the road tends to slope a little bit downward, so I was free-wheeling most of the time. Piece of cake, I say.

Today, I went road biking again, but this time I'm going a little uphill. And it was hell. Okay, I'm exaggerating. Not! It was hell. I was doing fine with cycling uphill at first. Then it started to get harder. Funny thing is, it's not even that steep. Shortness of breath was noted not long after and my energy level was depleting. But I still have the guts to go on an extra mile.

Or so I thought.

Novice as I am, I experimented on shifting gears to see which one will work for me going uphill. Like I said, I had zero experience with this. I shifted up. Big mistake. In a short while, my strength started dwindling. My legs were about to give up. My breathing became heavier and shorter. Too short that I had to struggle uttering the words: "Wait up. Let's rest. I can not go on." (in our own dialect, of course).

The short ten-minute (or maybe more) rest regained a bit of my energy and strength for another short uphill ride. But at least now, I know better. Shift down. Keep the tempo. Focus and fight the urge to shift gears even if I'm getting left behind. And stick to my own pace. Biking became relatively easy yet it was certainly exhausting that I needed another rest. I couldn't blame the shifting of gears this time. I blame my lack of stamina and endurance. I need to get used to this kind of physical activity.

Yet, despite that exhausting, energy-draining, muscle-stiffening cycling experience, I refuse to give up. I am still up for the challenge because I am loving it. And I will definitely do it again. It is also one way of staying fit for I haven't really been so physically active lately. And I guess this may also serve as a training for me, especially that I have plans joining a Triathlon (not anytime soon though). It's no way near a real training but it's a start. And of course, I will be needing a better and proper bike for that.

But for now, I'll just enjoy the downhill rides and dread the climbs until I'd be able to say, "This is chicken."

On the way home. Pit stop at the convenience store.

Gilas Pilipinas FTW!

I am never really a fan of basketball. I mean, I was but back in the days of Johnny Abarrientos, Ronnie Magsanoc, Alvin Patrimonio and Vergel Meneses. Or those years when I got crazy with NBA cards that it would take me weeks to save for one NBA Hoops, Fleer, or Upper Deck pack in hopes of having a Scottie Pippen, Reggie Miller, Grant Hill or the most-prized Michael Jordan hardwood collection.

My flare for basketball died down when I became a varsity. A football player, for that matter.

Seasons of NBA playoffs have passed but I never really got interested with it. Even when everybody talks about it everywhere. And not even after hearing that Philippines qualified to play for FIBA 2014. Not until I watched Gilas Pilipinas play last night. Yep, that game when they won over Senegal. It's the only game that I was able to watch and it's their last game for this World Cup.

I feel guilty for not being able to support our team. I mean, I could take extra steps and go on several nights without sleep just to watch FIFA, rooting for a team that's not even my country.

Watching the game last night just brought me back the same feeling when my parents and I would watch PBA sans the screaming or that bolting-out-of-my-chair-cause-the-game-is-too-intense-to-stay-put scene. I lacked faith in them that I always thought Senegal would win. But they proved me wrong. Like what other people said, they played with heart. And that's what I have seen. Impressive, if you might ask.
Image courtesy of

Now, what irks me the most are the posts I see on my Facebook newsfeed. I've seen more bashes and less praises. More rants than raves. I know I haven't been a fan for a long time but I feel for our team. I have been a player myself, and to tell you frankly, it is not easy. Let alone, playing for the national team.

I feel old...

Isn't it ironic that I have just blogged about feeling and looking young then a day after I'm writing about feeling old?

I feel old.

Not because my music preference got stuck in the 90s era that I no longer recognize a number of artists today nor the songs that topped the charts;

Or my interests lean on the more boring stuff like stock exchange, interest rates, or any financial matters;

Or the contacts in my phone are saved in a manner that I see both the first and last names;

Or nightlife parties no longer excite me. Drowning in booze until 2am is no longer my cup of tea.

I feel old because of this:

Age is just a number

While in the jeepney on my way to work, I handed my 20 peso bill to the driver and told him where I'm gonna get off. He gave me 7 pesos for the change. Grinning, I promptly gave back the extra 2 pesos and the driver smiled and said "Abi man gud nako studyante" (I thought you're a student).

I am 29.

This scene isn't new to me as it happened many times before. And not only in this kind of situation. I may sound too conceited here, so you may stop now and close your browser's window. But if you don't mind, go on and read this self-absorbed post.

365 Days

Today, marks exactly one year since I first set foot into the corporate world. Time flies really fast when you get too preoccupied, with or without fun. I never even thought I'd survive a year in this dog-eat-dog world. But look! I'm still here, more alive than ever, typing out loud when I should be prepping for work.

365 days is too short, too fast, and too furious. Within that span of one year, I've lost some and gained some. Aside from the weight and acne scars, I have also gained knowledge, a new sport, friends, and love. I am really thankful that things happened the way they did. It molded me to what I am today - bug fixed and updated. Albeit, still under development; a work in progress trying to achieve how the Supreme Being designed me to be.

Of Patience and Pride

September greeted me with Real Madrid losing against Real Sociedad. Bummer, yeah. I did not intend to watch Football. But since I woke up at dawn for no apparent reason and boredom couldn't lull me back to sleep, I decided to watch the match instead.
I guess, you really can't go to war wearing pink. LOL.
Image credits to Real Madrid's Official page
Real Madrid is one of my favorite teams. But their loss isn't tragic enough to make me dread the rest of September. I still have Barca to root for anyway.

Now, here comes September. The first of the "ber" months just started and it's no surprise if I start hearing Christmas jingles again. Well, September used to be my favorite month. I guess it will still be my favorite but for a different reason this time. September marks the biggest turning point of my life. It was September (and the months that followed) last year when I made the most crucial and hardest decision in my entire life. It was rough. It wasn't easy. It never really is. But I got out of it alive and in one piece; although not unscathed and was barely breathing.

On writing

A few days ago, a friend asked me if I can proofread an essay she wrote before she publishes it to her blog, to which I gladly obliged. I gave back her piece with a few corrections. I know, I know. I'm not really that good and I can be wrong sometimes. But hey, I'm just glad to help.

"Am I gonna be a good writer?" she asked.

"Of course, anybody who wants to write can be good at writing."

"What makes a good writer?"

I paused. I wasn't prepared for that.

Some people tell me I'm good at writing, while others say I'm not, and to some I'm in between. I don't really take what people say about my writing seriously. Not that I don't care. Trust me, I do. I welcome feedbacks, good or bad. I just don't linger on them for too long that I get too overwhelmed with the flattering remarks and it goes up to my head; nor do I mope on their harsh criticisms that I would feel inferior about it. Instead, I turn them into stepping stones.

I know where I stand. I stand where I keep on telling myself: I still have a long way to go and there's still a lot to learn.

I cringe whenever people ask me anything about writing. Let me be clear to you, when it comes to technical stuff about writing, I suck. Really. It's not that I have not learned anything from my English classes way back in high school - grammar rules, punctuation, and all that jazz.

My writing style is so raw that sometimes I tend to break the rules. The words that I write come from within me. I write whatever my heart and my mind speaks. I write when I'm inspired. I write just because I want to and not to please anybody (except for my goddamn professors in college). When I write, I'm opening a part of me to you: how I think, what's important to me, or what kind of person I seem to be.

Being forced to write puts me off my style. I would become too conscious on the technical aspects of writing that I would find it difficult for words to flow abundantly. And it would seem an arduous task to finish a draft.

Being good at writing is so vague and it varies. I cannot be as good as those fiction writers, the literary geniuses, or those who can exceptionally write research papers. Those kind of writers have to be really technical and conventional with their pieces. I haven't gotten out my comfort zone yet. I'm fine with where I am now: the blogosphere.

I am a blogger who just wants to piece together my thoughts and turn it into words. I cannot be too technical for that matter. I cannot be too correct. And I find some grammar rules worth breaking, you know. It's fun doing it sometimes. If I want to relay my point in some cool way or another, I have to ditch the writing conventions and bend the rules. Your cue to shoot me now, grammar nazis.

My point is, yes, knowledge for technical stuff like the subject-verb agreement does matter, but it's not all the matters. The meat of your content and how you deliver it matter too. It's how you put your heart to it that your readers can see the passion from your words. That's the art and beauty in it. Something which your teachers, the books, or any writer cannot teach you.

So if asked again, what makes a good writer? Honestly, I still don't have a clue. I haven't reached that point yet. But as far as I've said it, it's not just knowing alone the overwhelming grammar rules that make you one. And it's not just the delivery of your piece that makes your readers come back for more. Maybe a combination of both. But still, not enough. I honestly don't know. Maybe that's how we improve - not knowing when to stop learning. To refuse to believe we are good writers and strive to become a better one.

So what can I say to the aspiring writers? If you have something to say, write it. And just like what my friend did, ask for help. Even the greatest writers have their works proofread and edited by others. And of course, as the old adage goes, practice makes perfect. So write as much as you can. And stop worrying about people not liking your piece. Just write for yourself. Write from the heart.

Just write.