Ma, Pa, Thank You!

I was not born with a silver spoon.

In fact, I wasn't born with any spoon at all. I remember being poor. But I don't remember how it feels like to be poor, I just remember being loved. Looking back to where we came from, I grew up with hand-me-downs and that being treated with a slice of pizza would already mean the best day ever.


We also didn't have a house of our own, so it's no surprise that we moved quite a lot. From one church parsonage to another to the squatters area in Claveria to the shady slums of Piapi Boulevard to the outskirts of Puan, it's not a wonder living in those dog eat dog communities that I developed this astig (badass) personality. However, I was raised well. My dad worked two jobs, he's a church pastor and also a government employee. My mom, a public school teacher, who had to work to a far-flung area also sold ice candies and yemas for extra. We definitely had tough times. We almost had nothing but like I said, we have LOVE.

The Truth About Hiking

I just came from the longest, most strenuous, and most painful climb I ever had. I know what I am capable of and I thought that the Mount Kitanglad- Mount Dulang-dulang (dubbed as K2D) traverse wouldn't be any trouble for a relatively fit person like me. I do a lot of hikes and have even gone as far as doing pretty badass buwis-buhay ones. I know K2D is going to be hard, but not demotivating, spirit-crushing hard.

I underestimated that climb.

For three weeks, I was idle. I stopped training Muay Thai and went binge-watching over the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series (don't ask). I did no body conditioning, no carbo-protein loading, no training or whatsoever prior to this climb. End result? I went home with a knee injury and a vow never to do another climb.

You see, as rewarding and breathtaking those hiking photos you see on Facebook may seem, truth is, hiking is a serious business and IT ISN'T ALWAYS FUN. What's so fun about heavy packs, thin air, dehydration, freezing temperature, and leg cramps anyway?
Mount Apo Peak
Any experiened mountaineer will be quick to point out that this image, however awesome and breath-taking it looks, does not take into account the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, and pain that come with it.

I have been hiking since 2006, but I won't and will never claim to be a seasoned hiker nor an outdoor expert. But I have a pretty good list of experience enough for me to think that a K2D traverse - pegged by some as one of the top 5 most challenging hikes in the Philippines - wouldn't be all that bad.

It Was Indeed the Fairest Night of All

I have never thought that a year after attending my very first Davao Bloggers Society Christmas Party, I will be one of those who will prepare and manage this year's Christmas party.

You see, I have been appointed as the sexy-tary, I mean Secretary of the Davao Bloggers Society. Have I known about the drawbacks that come with it, I would have not accepted the role. Because first, I am no longer eligible to win raffle draws nor will I have the chance to bag the Best Personal Blog Award for this year's Davao Blog Awards again. Bummer, isn't it? Second, being an officer can get exhausting. No kidding, kapoy sya.

But then, even if I waive several raffle prizes and grow eyebags from those late night preparations, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm thankful for this. I am thankful for this new family. And nothing can ever get so rewarding when you pull off something you devoted your supposedly-free-time with that made everyone else happy. :)

So for this year's Christmas party, the officers (and by officers I mean, Kuya Andrew - it was originally his idea and we think it's brilliant) have decided to go for a Disney theme. And I thought it was easy because we all grew up with Disney. Turns out this only happens when you're a kid. To an adult, however, it's a different story.

Although honestly, while everyone was frantic about what to wear, I had my costume prepared 3 weeks before the party. I decided to come as Pocahontas because I don't think there is another Disney character that fits me well (Mulan, perhaps? But then...costume). I just want to make-do of what's already in my closet, which is a skin-toned body con venus cut dress perfect for a pocahontas. All I had to do was just sew the fringes, make a belt, and voila! Nailed it. I didn't even have to spend a hefty amount for it. ;)
Errr... I just realized I forgot to remove my wrist watch. Haha. Photos by Jim Carlo of digitaldavao.com

Mondays and Rainy Days

The past week until today has been the Mondayest week ever. To be honest, it felt like I am stuck in an episode of The Walking Dead where everything nasty and ugly is chasing you and badly wants you dead (and here I am talking as if I watch TWD). For more than a week, I really thought the universe hates me because nothing seems to go right. I was already on the verge of becoming a nutcase. Then Columbia happened.
And bubble wraps. Yes, bubble wraps kept me sane.


The Resorts World Manila Experience

I have got to admit, I rarely ever check my blog email. Yes, the one I posted on my contact page so people can get in touch with me. I wouldn't know that I was getting a handful of emails until Kuya Andrew (Davao Bloggers Society's President) asked me if I got an email from Resorts World Manila (RWM). So I checked and behold!

I have been exclusively invited to the RWM Christmas Familiarization Tour.

As interesting and exciting as it sounds, I was quite apprehensive at first because I have never been invited to an event this big. And knowing RWM, the words world-class, prestigious, and elite are always attached to it. And buddy, I am none of those things.

This is something far-fetched and different for me. But then, different is something that I always love to try. It is definitely an experience I wouldn't want to miss. So even if it means working double time to make up for the two work days that I won't be around, I gave out a faint, sexy whisper: Resorts World Manilaaaah.

Here. I. Come.



Being Sick Sucks

I don't always get sick but when I do I get the nastiest cough and cold virus ever. I think this is the first time in 2016 that I got hit (yeah, I'm a hardy like that). I was all and well training Muay Thai, then the next day I have a sore throat, then came the fever, and now my voice is gone. I have an annoying dry cough, my nose is stuffy, and I can't breathe properly.

I hate being sick because it makes me lose my appetite and I end up feeling completely incapable of taking care of myself. I hate that I feel too needy. Jan has been going the extra mile to take care of me when in fact I could have done things myself. Although I love it this way (spoiled girlfriend alert teehee), being sick still sucks.

And the worst thing about being sick is the timing. The body could have chosen another time to weaken and lay all the drama of dying. I cannot afford to be sick when I have to impress the client with my awesome skills and fast delivery. But work is not something I could do properly when the head is all foggy. I couldn't get a lot of stuff done. Even writing this post is a beast.

I really hope I get better soon because I have a prestigious and BIIIIIG event to attend to. Not that I am excited about it (the word prestigious scares me). But damn! It is something I don't want to miss.
Ito talaga yun eh. Ito lang naman kinain ko bago ako nagkasakit.




Get a Life

I was browsing through a thousand photos that I have just transferred from my memory card and sorted them according to the places I've been to when I said to myself, "my 20-year old self would be so envious of me".

She was a carefree, adventurous, and spirited young girl until the chains of digital age caught her. She got herself locked up and enslaved in a virtual world. Many of you would describe her as a video game addict. Yes, that typical gamer who'd resist the urge to use a toilet and deal with it for as long as she can. She allowed the video games to control and take over her life. And for years, she turned into a zombiefied no-lifer girl who merely existed for rare drops and +7s.

She wasted her life playing video games, I would say so. And that is the sad and horrible truth video game addicts will never realize until they take a step back and zoom out to see a wider view of what they've been missing (and losing) in real life. When you get into that sinkhole and lose sight of what's real, you lose grip of what could have been great. Maybe if I played a hundred hours less and devoted that hundred hours practicing the guitar instead, I would have been a prodigy by now. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but I know you get my drift.
Go out. Chase the sun. Be free.
I have nothing against gaming and I do not regret playing video games. Perhaps I played too much, spent too much, and did not care too much. Perhaps I did not set my priorities right. Perhaps I neglected a lot of important things. Apparently, the video games have not brought me any closer to the things that I really want and honestly, it made me feel a little dead inside. But there's no use crying over spilled milk because none of that matters now. I cannot change what I've done in the past but I have changed my ways to live better than to simply just exist. Maybe I have just outgrown it. Maybe I got bored. Or maybe I just want to do something even more with my life. Whatever that is, I am certain now that I know better.

It's a tough world out there and I do understand we all need an escape from time to time. I have my ways of escaping reality but gaming is no longer one of them. (I don't do drugs, okay?)

Yes, I have already quit playing virtual games a long time ago and LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN BETTER. :)


Review: Sandugo Eiger Shoes

I've done several river crossings and canyoning before. And not one of them have I worn a proper footwear. I used to be so proud wearing my trusted hiking shoes - waterproof and all. But on occasions, I've had these futile attempts to keep my shoes dry. I turn to a different route or look for another way. I would avoid crossings that are already ankle deep at all cost to save me the trouble of wearing a heavy bucketful of water on my feet. But of course, that's not always the case.

Sometimes, I'd wear sandals because it's more comfortable and lighter than a hiking shoes. Plus, I don't have to think twice about wading into the water and getting my feet wet. But since I can be clumsy too, I've had blisters and injured a toe or two with it.

But these days, I'm no longer worried about taking on any water adventure because I have this:
Sandugo Shoes
My Sandugo Eiger Shoes.
I've always trusted Sandugo. I've worn Sandugo sandals during my first climb in Mount Apo way back 2006 (I was a newbie and a student who can't afford a good hiking shoes, so please, spare me that glare). I even took it to more mountains and back and it has never under-performed. Sandals yun ha. Sandals. (Lookie! Scroll down to the picture where I was standing almost at the edge. That's me with my ever beloved Sandugo sandals that served me well). Knowing that I will be having a lot of water adventures, I got myself a pair of this water shoes without hesitation. And it did not disappoint.

Three Years Ago Today

I've taken a lot of buses in my travels. But the most memorable one happened three years ago today when I sat next to guy on the way home from Gumasa, Glan.

His name is Jan and we had a little conversation - the first real one we ever had two months since I came in as the new Software Designer in the company we previously worked with. It wasn't exactly the kind of conversation that will get you butterflies in the stomach. There isn't much to remember what it was about either. God knows what broke the ice because he's the shy type and I'm not the one who'd initially strike a conversation. But something got us talking that it felt we've known each other for a long time. It was so spontaneous and natural. And the next thing we knew, time flew. It was already 3 hours later.

Bang late!

Those were the two words he sent me over Skype the next day after coming late for work. Just so you know, our conversations on Skype before were no more than work-related shiznits. It's pretty obvious how those two seemingly insignificant words are so meaningful to me that I could not easily forget it three years passed. Not just because it made me realize that my habitual tardiness has done me good somehow, but from then on, we always had something to talk about like Science (wtf, right?), music, or our shared love for Jack Johnson that slowly drew us closer until we became so inseparable. And the rest, as they say, is history.


It's past midnight and I am bathing in mush right now as I write this blog reminiscing that moment on the bus three years ago. Bus rides do have a funny way of bringing people together when they least expect it. Our story didn't exactly begin with love at first sight, as seen on TV. We were both broken at that time but who would've thought? We never really know who in our lives will turn out to be a blessing, do we?

I oftentimes find myself asking how did I get so blessed and what have I done right to deserve him. We still ride buses together. But this time, he's no longer just that office mate who knows how to rock a guitar that I had (and still has) a crush on. He has a special role in my life. A role he plays so well. He is my best friend, my critic, my number 1 fan, my mentor, my favorite challenge, my inspiration, my confidant, my +1, my travel buddy, my rock. He's pretty much everything but above it all, he's the love of my life.

Yes, it was three years ago today I sat on the bus next to the man I never thought I would want to spend the rest of my life with. And that was just the beginning.

How to be you po?

How to be u po?

That's one of the comments I often receive whenever I post something on Facebook or sometimes here on my blog. I'm not a celebrity or something. But I believe every blogger who has a decent amount of followers has certainly experienced the same.

Not that I think our readers and followers worship our curated and seasoned lives on social media. But then, I think it's fun to answer that infamous question once and for all.

How to be me nga ba?  Here are 39 ways:
Seriously, you would never want to be me

To be me, you have to look younger than your age and act younger than you look.

To be me, in this world of gandang-gluta you should be that proud morena who wouldn't mind getting even darker because you will spend most of your days hiking a mountain or swimming at the beach.

To be me, you shouldn't be afraid of spiders, snakes, horror movies, being alone, blood, needle, or 49 missed calls from your mom.

But a sight of frog should scare you enough to leave you pale and rigid.

To be me, you should hoard notebooks and pens and (almost) never use them.

To be me, you should be messy and disorganized in everything except your bookshelf.

And you should read a lot of books too.

To be me requires a lot of neurons because you will be interested with a lot of things like Geography, Astronomy, and Anatomy.

But you should hate Math.

To be me, your wardrobe consists only of shirts, pants, and sneakers. You're no fashionista. Deal with it.

But you can slay a dress when the situation calls for it.

To be me, you have to sneeze and burp loud enough for everyone across the room to hear.

To be me, a boredom-strikes kind of selfie done once a month is not bad and should be enough. Take selfies only when you're on a date with Mother Nature.

To be me, you should have a weird obsession for pandas, penguins, and potatoes.

To be me, you should not like dairy products such as milk and cheese. But you love yogurt and cream cheese just because they are sour.

To be me, you should have an obvious liking for bacon, green salads, nilagang okra with bagoong, tomato ketchups, sashimi, vinegar, and onions.

To be me, you should eat a lot. And never get fat.

To be me, you should love dogs and cats. And you also fancy exotic pets like a tarantula, a bearded dragon, a caracal or a serval - you should own at least one of these.

To be me, you should always be active and play sports.

And be equally lazy otherwise.

To be me, you should always be late. Except on those 4:00 am assembly time of planned hikings and other outings.

To be me, you roll your eyes on KPOP, Korean Dramas, Twilight, reality shows, and anything that makes the girls go gaga.

You shouldn't even be watching TV.

To be me, you should be the loser everyone thinks who has not tried Starbucks yet.

And those beautiful Starbucks planners don't excite you because you're too spontaneous, planners simply don't work for you anymore.

To be me means being a huge fan of Harry Potter. You should read all 7 books and watch all 8 movies a thousand times and still not outgrow it.

To be me, you should be able to quote the whole Mean Girls movie or else you can't sit with us.

To be me, you should know how to speak Bisaya, Ilocano, and Ilonggo other than Tagalog and English.

To be me, you should have a green and dirty mind. But you should not have a foul mouth. You do not cuss nor curse others.

To be me, you should do fine with 3-4 hours of sleep daily.

To be me entails a lot of guts. You are a thrill-seeker and you get excited at the sight of a mountain's knife edge or a 50-foot cliff. And you do not hesitate.

To be me, you should have high tolerance for pain and higher tolerance for bullshit. You should not get mad easily and petty annoyances should not bother you.

To be me, you have to be confident. Which means...

You should not give a fuck about what people say especially when it comes to singing. You are tone-deaf but you will sing your heart out when you are given the floor on a videoke night. And you're not afraid to sing Backstreet Boys, Westlife, or any mushy boy band that people deem as corny and uncool.

To be me, you should have the quick wits to rebut any argument, counter offensive punchlines without being offensive, and contradict anything you think is stupid.

To be me, you should not fantasize love stories as seen on movies or those plotted by Nicholas Sparks but you are a hopeless romantic.

To be me, you have to live simply but would love to take on any complicated challenge.

To be me, you should have the same exact DNA as me. And you know that's not going to happen.

And a single blog post cannot cover everything how is it to be me because it's freakin impossible, ridiculous, and no amount of words can describe how wild and crazy I can get.

Simply put, if I have to sum up everything I've written here, it only means to be me is to simply be yourself. Gasgas na ang linyang ito but it holds true all the time.

You are your own kind of beautiful. You are your own quirk. You are you. And there's no other way to put it.







It's That Time of the Year

We've already put up our Christmas tree. Decided to go for a cutesy theme and adorned it with adorable little Santas.

Yes, it's that time of the year again.

The time of the year when I go on a manic hunt for costumes and dresses to wear for every Christmas party I have to attend to. Why do adult Christmas parties always have to be themed?

Anyway, the Davao Bloggers Society will be celebrating Christmas earlier than usual to avoid conflict with all the other Christmas parties we have committed to. As an officer, we've already decided for a theme and I know it's going to be awesome. And yes, I am quite excited about it.

The Sweet Bacolod Escapade

Our trip to Bacolod has long been planned when Jan and I were invited last February by our Tito Juju to his birthday climb at Kampo Hiyang-hiyang in Talisay, Negros Occidental. Prior to the trip, a Bacolodnon friend tipped us about the places to go and food to eat. He said that Bacolod's specialty are sweets because the people in Bacolod are naturally sweet. And true to his words, I can say everything in Bacolod is indeed sweet... especially the beer.

The beer brewed in Bacolod definitely tastes better than any beer brewed anywhere in the country. But I won't talk about beer here because Bacolod offers more than that.

DAY 1: CALEA PASTRIES AND CAKE, NENA'S ROSE CHICKEN INASAL
Calea Pastries and Cake, Bacolod City
Even though I do not have a sweet tooth, I have to try Bacolod's Calea Pastries and Cake. Jan ordered Chocolate Square (upper right), while I ordered Raspberry Cream Cheese (lower right) and it did not disappoint dahil naubos ko! :)

Of Ukulele Nights and Overcoming Stage Frights

I don't have a stage fright.

Or so I thought.

I have been a performer all my life. I grew up doing various performances such as acting, singing (don't get me wrong, I am tone deaf), and dancing for our church. I've done quite a lot of dance number, declamations, extemporaneous and impromptu speeches in high school. I have been part of small-scaled and large plays, and  I was a cheerleader all throughout my college life.

See? It wasn't a big deal to perform something for a large crowd until that one fateful Ukulele Night.
Photo by Kwatro Kwerdas


I Left My Heart in Boracay

If I didn't know better, I would say I was a mermaid, or a starfish, or perhaps a seaweed in my past life. Growing up close to the beach (approx. just ten minutes away from home), I know my heart belongs to the water that I just couldn't say no to the sea even if it almost took my life quite a number of times.

Hence, here's another beach escapade. And this time, it's the famous Boracay baby! :)
Boracay Station 1
We were so fascinated with the finest white sand we've ever set our feet on, we walked the whole stretch of  White Beach path (from Station 1 to Station 3)

Although honestly, having been told a million times that Boracay is too crowded and overdeveloped, I never bothered putting Boracay in my "Places-to-Go" list. But still, we decided to go to Boracay just for the heck of it even if it means enduring a 6-hour ride from Iloilo City.  And I am so glad we did for it did not disappoint.

Bakit?

Funny how I have always thought that Boracay isn't one of the places I am eager to set my foot on. I have heard a million times how overrated, expensive, and overdeveloped it is. But when Jan and I decided to go, I just couldn't contain my excitement!

Maybe Boracay is a whole lot different to the places devoid of the tourist conveniences we've mostly been to and enjoyed. But I won't skip experiencing something so beautiful just because people labeled it as "touristy" or "not worth the hype".

And does it really matter? Honestly, I don't give a shit where our feet would take us.  It's whom I am traveling with that matters the most. It's traveling with Jan that I am most excited with. And I don't care if it would take a 24-hour butt-numbing bus ride, delayed flights, and stranded nights just to chase the sunset with him. I love those moments when we sit back, have our breaths be taken away, gaze far, and talk about our hopes and dreams. Just as long as we're together, then I could not ask for anything more.
I just realized we don't have any bus or airplane selfies, kaya ito na lang. One of our first few travels. December 2013.
Although I wish we were born rich with trust funds and all so we can travel the world and never have to worry about running out of money or Vacation Leave credits. We still have a lot to scratch off our bucket bakit list. We'll go places, do things,  and answer questions like, "Mahirap naman pumunta dyan, bakit yan ang pinili nyo?", "Bakit nyo ginagawa yan?", "Bakit nyo pa sinubukan? Alam nyo nang delikado" (hashtag that #nganonienter). At marami pa kaming sasagutin sa tanong na "bakit", which could only mean marami pa kaming lugar na tutuklasin. 

Counting the days with less than a week left. Damn, this waiting game is killing me! Fast forward to Thursday na please.

Skinny People Have Fitness Goals Too

Some people struggle to lose weight. Yung iba hihigop lang ng hangin tumataba na. Lucky for me, I dodged that bullet.

But I'm not really sure if I should be happy about that.

You see, I have been skinny my entire life. While I can devour a whole box of pizza daily without having to buy a new pair of pants, getting wired with genes that burns more calories quickly isn't always a good thing. You can get hated for that. Haha. *wink*

I stand 5'3" and back then hitting 100 lbs no matter how much food I shove down my throat is a struggle.  Whoever said that 'payat' and 'matakaw' can't be used together in one sentence has definitely not seen me. But I got it all wrong. I just realized I am thin because I was making the wrong food choices.

31 years of my entire matakaw life, I never thought that I would actually go on a diet. Oo, si Sarah nagdi-diet na. Akalain mo yun?! And by diet, I mean high protein, less fat diet. I have ditched junk food (although I still have occasional cheat days), started drinking milk (ugh), and ate small frequent healthy meals. And that healthy diet combined with Muay Thai drills that involve muscle strengthening, body conditioning and hardening, is turning this skinny body into a lean and mean fighting machine. Whoever wants to mess up with me should be afraid, be very afraid. xD


At 106 lbs (from 98lbs 2 months ago), I am close to hitting my ideal BMI and that has not even involved binge-eating on burgers like I did before.  I have never felt better. And gaining weight, after all, is not that hard. When I started off, all I wanted was to bulk up. But now, my goals have changed, I want to be fit and strong.

The biggest challenge I hold today is the determination to push myself to the limits as it entails a lot of patience, discipline, and perseverance. And it goes the same with those who struggle to lose weight.

So am I up for the challenge?

Accepted.

P.S.
I've been giving myself different challenges lately. Play 'Sweet Child O Mine' on a string instrument? Did it. Fitness challenge? Doing it. And this time, learn a new programming language? Watch me whip, watch me nail it.

Do Not Ever Hit the Snooze Button

Because it's going to ruin your life.

I just got my payslip and cringed at the tax that I had to pay. But what really turned my stomach was the amount of deduction from my salary.

All because of that snooze button.

That "five more minutes" daily would cost me around Php 1.5k a month. And that five more minutes after another didn't make me feel better. While squeezing five more minutes of sleep might seem glorious, trust me, it is not worth it. First, it doesn't do you any good waking up and getting yourself in another sleep cycle. Second, that extended five minutes will not keep you from waking up groggy. And lastly, hitting that snooze button will only get you broke.

I just calculated all my estimated deductions from tardiness since January this year. And I sincerely wish I didn't do it. The calculator read five figures. Fvck. That amount might have already gotten me a round trip ticket to Batanes. Or I wouldn't have to worry about my pocket money for this month's trip. Damn these old habits that die hard. Damn whoever invented that snooze button. Damn you, self, for calculating.

Lesson learned: do not do Math.

It's already September, I guess it's not yet too late to live my best life in 2016. This morning, I came to work five minutes early. The question now is, how long can I last this challenge? I guess, I should start with my sleeping habits. As the old adage goes, early to bed and early to rise, makes the man healthy and wise.

Pfft.

I think I just felt my eyes roll. Sigh. Hey brain, why must you be active at night? How I wish I can just defy the laws of the universe and simply be able to bend space and time. Whatever.

“If you're always on time, it implies that you never have anything better you should be doing.” - Kelsier. Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn: The Final Empire.



The Sunday Currently Vol. 6

For the lack of a better story to write, here comes another The Sunday Currently post where no one is really interested with what I did and do on Sundays.


CURRENTLY...  

Reading 
whatever crap comes from my Facebook news feed.

Writing
finances. I just realized I haven't saved up for our Visayas leg adventure and I only have a month to go.

Listening
to the sound of my keyboard. Now I just remember how therapeutic a mechanical keyboard sounds (and feels) and now I want one. Well, I've always wanted one.

Watching
my cat fall asleep on my lap.
Hello, my name is Appa. I like selfies, bacon, and biting my human's toes.


What Would Cheeses Do?

WARNING: This will be another cheesy random blog post.

Although that warning wouldn't really matter because, apparently, everyone in this planet loves cheese...

Except me.

It's probably what people will remember me by. The girl who hates cheese.

And there is nothing quite like getting all the glare with murderous intent from people who cannot fathom how one could have hated cheese. It's like I have committed a mortal sin just for hating it and I should be damned for eternity. Although I would definitely feel the same way to anyone who doesn't like bacon.

I hate cheese and all things cheese. Except quesadilla. And pizza. And I would definitely love to have a blueberry and cream cheese waffle right now.
I'd be damned if this was edible.

Anyway, I have made my point. I don't like cheese. Period. Now, let's talk about my love-hate relationship with ketchup and how a sheer act of getting it out of its bottle or tearing open a sachet frustrates me.


HairFood Co.: Giving Your Skin the Best Care It Deserves

I barely use beauty products, especially on my face. Since I am always in a hurry (read: lazy), my daily facial routine includes: washing, moisturizing, and applying baby powder only. Nothing more, nothing less. I really didn't care until a legion of tiny red minions started breaking out lately, and perhaps my frequent exposure to the sun is responsible for the fine lines that's starting to get a little noticeable on my face. Yes, I can get a little conscious too.

I am thinking, if I'm gonna be a hot momma in my 50s, then I have to take care of my skin as early as now.

Thankfully, HairFood Co. exists and sent me wonderful goodies for my skin and hair. But since I will be talking about skin care here, the (now-favorite) hair care products will have a share of the spotlight in another post. Please stay tuned for that.
Thank you so much, HairFood Co.

When You Need to Stoop Down

I don't air grievances on Facebook.

Okay, I did it once. But only to defend myself from cyber attacks of people who were once significant to me. And that was it. I believe in taking the high road and not stooping down their level. I can bite my tongue and just let it slide even if there are already a hundred reasons to take out that inner bitch inside me.

People suck. That's a fact. I have high tolerance for rudeness, stupidity, jerks, assholes, hypocrites, and bullshit. I think I deserve a medal or a merit for this. But all I get is more assholes pushing me to the limits until bam! I just found myself mudslinging.

And you're reading one of my moments.

I have said words that hurt. Words that have long been kept on my mind. I wanted to take out all my trump cards and lay them down like I was going to win a poker game just because I wanted to see them go down. I wanted it to sting. I wanted them to hurt badly. I wanted them to feel what they made me feel. I fired bullets to the already wounded.

And I know I shouldn't have.

The counterattack didn't help. I wasn't able to get my point across. The shots fired did not make me feel good either. I took the low road to victory because I wanted the people to know that I was right and they were wrong. But I realized everybody's a loser there. And I see why it's called a low road. It is murky and shitty down there. And it's hard to get all the goo off your body after sinking deep in that shit. It's like all the values you hold have been stripped off and voided. What difference was I to them then?

No matter, I am still glad I took that road. It made me feel what it's like to be there, what it's like to be them. And bruce-almighty-forbid I become like them.

I do not want to be like them.

So the next time they throw mud at me and I have the urge to stoop down their level, this should remind me how shitty it is to be back there. That shit isn't worth it.

So for everyone who feels the need to retaliate, take the low road, and stoop down... Stop. You are better than that. BE CLASSY. It's the best payback to knock them down... and effortlessly at that! :)



Ugis Peak: The Skyscraper of the South

"Sabi ninyo, minor climb lang?! Umuwi akong lumpo. Minor ha." - A remark I've heard from a few people I met during our recent climb.

How exactly would you define a minor climb?

Even though I started hiking way back 2006, I don't consider myself a seasoned hiker.  I've had years of hiatus so it's no surprise that up until now, I do not know how to distinguish a major from a minor climb. I get a lot of answers from different mountaineers. But I usually take into consideration height and trail difficulty. And I know most people think that way. Kaya kapag sinabing "minor climb", ibig sabihin madali lang. Pabebe. Ideal for beginners.

But I think I got it all wrong.

Ugis Peak, located in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat is not known to many mountaineers. So when I was invited for a fun, minor climb at Ugis Peak, I googled for information but much to my dismay the results didn't give me the answers that I needed except that it rises 930 ft above sea level (I couldn't even verify the source because it seems higher than that). I was empty-handed on what to expect and how difficult the trail would be. In short, the mountain was unknown, unspoiled, and underestimated.
Ugis Peak, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat
Ugis Peak as seen from the deck where I'm standing on
Knowing it is just a minor climb, I assumed it is a minor climb. We even tried convincing our friends who are new to hiking to join us. "Sige na. Madali lang naman. Minor climb nga eh. Dayhike lang." Although it was a little disappointing that they backed out, a little part of me was glad they did. I didn't know the trek was not advisable for newbies at all. Not that I'm saying it's impossible, but it is difficult.


Take It from the President

While listening to President Digong's SONA, there was one particular line that struck us (and I know most of you can relate to): "We cannot move forward if we allow the past to pull us back".

At dahil dyan, siyempre, hindi mawawala ang usaping pag-ibig. Lalo na sa mga hindi pa nakakamove-on at sa mga ayaw pang mag move-on.

Lelz.

My friends and I had a small talk earlier and I was asked a question: How did you get out of a 12-year relationship, got through the heartbreak, and took things in stride? 

I smirked. 

I have been asked this question a million times already. And so I'll just wrap everything up in this post.

Believe it or not, it was not easy. No heartbreak is.

I had shares of crying an ocean and drowning myself in it. I must have sung Rhett Miller's Come Around more than once every freakin day. I went into a downward spiral to self-destruction by gulping down alcohol - which shocked a few of my friends because they had known me as someone who does not drink (but I do have occasional bottle of beer or two now because I believe it's healthy).

Yes, it wasn't easy. I had to listen to Rebecca Black's Friday over and over again just to remind myself that there are things worse than heartbreak (imagine the horror). Apparently, there's none. But I survived. How?

First, I've dealt with the emotional separation before the actual break up occurred. Maybe it's a bad thing and it's not something I am proud of, but that's my best move not to receive a fatal blow.

Second, I have my platonic relationships to thank. My world doesn't revolve around a guy alone. So when I lose a guy, I still find emotional intimacy from close friends to whom I can cry my heart out until the pain withers.

Third, loving can hurt but it is the most wonderful feeling in the world. Bakit ko ipagkakait sa sarili yun? I refuse to drown in misery -- ito lang yun eh. Masarap kaya ang magmahal.

And last but not the least, I prayed. I don't think anything is more powerful than a prayer. I am not a religious person, but at least, I have Someone to turn to whenever I feel like I have nothing more to lose.

We all have our shares of heartbreaks and we all have our ways of coping. There's no quick fix to heal a broken heart and no one's going to tell you how to do it. But you will always have a choice whether to remain slumped in the dumps or to stand up and just pull your shit together.


The Sunday Currently Vol. 5

It has been a long time since I did this. Actually, I'm just too lazy to blog about something with substance. But I am testing a few products and will be reviewing about it soon. So please stay tuned.

Anyway, I just woke up from a short nap. Camped out, snorkeled, jammed, chilled, and unplugged with Jan. It was indeed a weekend well spent.


CURRENTLY...  

Reading 
Bills, bills, and bills.  Nakakastress. Promise.

Writing
this. Sadly, I'm losing the verve. Hence, the dwindling blog posts.

Listening
to No rain by Blind Melon. Been meaning to learn how to play that on ukulele but damn that dreaded E chord.

Watching
this for 5 minutes already. And I'm not even blinking.
Why so cute, Totoro? Photo by CL Terry

Thinking
of ways to overcome insomnia. And I am becoming insomniac just by thinking about it.

Hoping
to learn how to do that perfect roundhouse kick with my left leg.

Loving
the weight I am gaining. I am actually working on a muscle buildup with an explosive workout from my Muay Thai training.

Wanting
that Under Armor sports bra but it is toooo expensive. And oh, pink hand wraps too. :)

Needing
more sleep. I am having only 2-3 hours of sleep every night for more than a week already. Surprisingly, I don't feel tired. But pimples started popping out and I hate it.

Feeling
pumped up. I have days to look forward to and that would be Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. :)

Wishing
Jan would actually join me and become a Nak Muay too. (I know you're reading this dude. Hehe) ;)

Clicking
news information and proudly shared it with Jan kasi akala ko makakatulong ako. Only to find out it was dated a year ago pa pala. Haha. Damn. Basa-basa lagi.

How did you spend your weekend? I hope you had a good one. :)


Join The Sunday Currently blog link up by Siddathornton.

Hey Diddle Diddle

I was known to be a sleeper in class back in college. And when I wasn't sleeping, my classmates would find me scribbling absentmindedly. Half of the pages of my notebook (if I even had one) were filled with doodles and the rest were just clean empty pages.

I might have offended some of my professors back then. Doodling is frowned upon not just in class but also in any occasion that requires attention. What they do not know is that when I am doodling, contrary to what most people think, I am actually focused and interested. You see, because of a disruptive sleep pattern (I was, and still is, an insomniac), my brain cannot help but release high levels of adenosine (see? I was listening to my lessons) to pay off my sleep debt. So when I am really interested, I try to fight sleepiness and other forms of distraction like daydreaming and spacing-out by doing whatever stimulates the brain.
Does the doodle like I'm jerking something? LOL


Eco Skin Love Eco Balm: The Wonder Balm

Our Balut Island getaway gave me a lot of scratches and insect bites that left ugly red marks on my legs. I usually just leave scars alone and let them fade on their own. But since I will be wearing shorts in my Muay Thai trainings, I got a little conscious I decided to look for a product that will speed up the healing process.

A friend recommended Eco Skin Love Eco Balm, said it was effective for her acne scars. I was actually hesitant to get one only for the reason that I don't like balms in tub. I find it unhygienic knowing I would introduce bacteria every single time I dip my fingers on it.
Ecoskinlove Eco Balm
To lessen the exposure, I had to transfer a small amount to a smaller tub.

But I got one anyway. And thank the high heavens I did. Because other than my kaartehan, I don't have issues with this balm. In fact, it did a lot of wonders to my skin - even more than what I expected. And a product like this deserves a review from someone who doesn't actually do reviews unless it's worth the time. So allow me to share why I dubbed this as a wonder balm.

My Custom Ukulele Case

I just want to share what boredom can do to me. And by boredom, I meant, my new ukulele case looks so boring my eyes hurt just by looking at it.

No offense to RJ Guitars. This case is - quality-wise - excellent. I embrace simplicity but this is just too bland for my taste. So to prettify it up a little bit, I decided to do a little tattoo on the pockets. And the next thing I know, the whole thing's already covered with doodles.

Custom Ukulele Case

It took me more or less two hours to finish it and I absolutely LOVE it!

Of Birthdays and Testicles

I never really look forward to my birthdays. My 20s isn't all that awesome and isn't really my favorite decade. Climbing the hills of my 30s isn't that glorious either. At least, that's what the internet told me.

My face has been slammed with those "30 Awesome Things to Do When You Are 30", or "You'll Regret It If You Haven't Done These 30 Things Before 30", or "10 Life Lessons People Should Learn Before They Turn 30", or "10 Things Successful People Do By Age 30" yadda yadda. I never really read the entirety of such listicles because my attention span extends only up to 3 list items and the rest would already sound gibberish knowing I have miserably failed.



Something Different... And Permanent

I have got to admit, I can get cocky. But not the kind of cocky that makes you want to grab me by my collar and slap me hard on the face.

Sometimes I can get cocky and start thinking I can do just everything I want and get anything I want. And this moment is just one of them.

I want to get inked.

I have always wanted one ever since I was in college. But I had to wait. I had to make sure it wasn't just a teenager's act of rebellion against the parents, the self, or the world. Then I had to wait more to make sure that I am not running right into a tattoo salon just because everyone is doing it. I had to wait a little more to make sure that this isn't just a phase and I might get over the tattoo-lust somehow. And I had to wait a little bit more because I know this is not something that has to be taken lightly.

If I had to get my first ink done, I always remind myself that it has to be significant to me. When I turned 18, I wanted to have a butterfly tattooed on my shoulder blade because they were fad and looked cool back then. Too glad I didn't because I'd be mortified to see a cute butterfly drawn permanently on my skin today. No offense meant here, but it's just so not me. The last thing I would want is to find myself biting my lips, cringing, and asking myself  "OH GAWD, WHY?" a few years later.

My mom had always lamented on my poor life choices. And even if I am turning 31 in a few days, I know she wouldn't approve of this (the same goes with my dad). The stigma about tattoos isn't dead. The boyfriend indirectly expresses that he isn't all over it either. But I know he supports whatever I want in life.

But no matter what head-shaking, finger-wagging, no-you-don't-need-one advice is shoved down my throat, I KNOW WHAT I WANT AND I'LL GET WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT. It's as if the people important to me stopped mattering and I just have to brush off whatever they say. Yes, I can get cocky sometimes.

The long wait is over. I am prepared to go under the needle. And right now, I am 101% sure that I know why I want it, where I want it, and what exactly it means to me. :)
I got bored. So I grabbed some pen and got myself "inked".
Other than getting inked, I want to try jiu-jitsu and color my hair too. Ang dami kong gustong gawin sa buhay. Haaay.


Balut and Sarangani Island Adventures

I have been warned a thousand times that it's not easy to get there. But what they don't realize is that they are talking to Sarah. What would not be easy for me? *smirks*
View of Saranggani Island from Balut Island

Balut Island can be crossed with 50 to 70-seater cargo vessels from the port of General Santos City, which usually only sail at night and most often fully booked. And depending on the vessel, the journey takes about 6-8 hours. Since we only have the weekend to explore the southernmost point of the Philippines, taking the alternative route - the fastest, shortest albeit thrilling ride - would be our best option to make the most out of our trip,

We went to Brgy. Margus, Glan - a two-hour drive away from GenSan - where we hired a small fishing vessel just enough to charter the six of us to the Port of Mabila. After deliberate negotiations, we agreed to pay Php 6,000 for the boat to take us to Balut Island, some neighboring islands, and back the next day.

We hopped aboard only to realize that we'll all be basking under the 10-AM-til-high-noon sun since the boat didn't have any shade at all. Great. Sunugan ng balat na ito. Well, sunog na dati ang balat ko kaya lubos-lubusin na lang natin. Although I was secretly hoping the heavens would weep because it was that hot.

Confessions Vol. 8: What I Was Like 10-15 Years Ago

If it wasn't for the review I made, I would not have blogged anything for almost two weeks. And so I start to think, in the name off all that is holy, haven't you done anything that is interesting, Sarah?

Actually, a lot happened. But I can only think of it as something worth shrugging or eye-rolling. Or something that's only twitter-worthy for it can only be summed up into less than 160 characters like, "Yay! It's the first time I voted. Just look at my blue fiiiiiinger!" or "Just saw someone took a Bacardi 151 shot. Reaction? Priceless. And now I'm curious because it feels like I missed something surreal", or "Ian Somerhalder just replied to my tweet! Best day ever!"

Okay, I made the last one up. Although I would have loved being that fangirl, but my twitter account is pathetic and I could not even remember the password. But anyway, on a Saturday when all the chores are done and my cat refuses to bath, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and might as well humiliate myself just to stir something interesting. Or not. Please don't judge.
When I was 5 or 6 and some time when I was 18 - 20

Review: Brown Trekker Hybrid Tent

Everybody knows that I love the outdoors. This is the fourth tent that I owned (I had domes and a tadpole before) but this will be the first one that I'll make a review.

Please note that whatever I say here is factual and only based on my experience. This is an honest review and not a paid post.
----

It was more than a year ago when I scoured for a new tent for our hiking trip in Lake Holon, Mt. Parker. And since I was on a tight budget, I had to look for a tent that has a price like the ones you use for junior camps but should be durable, lightweight, waterproof, and can withstand harsh environments. Yes, I must be delusional. Where in the world would I find that?

Facebook. Haha. Yes, Facebook can do a lot of wonders today. It can be a therapist, a stress reliever, a trophy shelf, a shock-absorber, a news source, a search engine, and of course, an online shop. And this is how I got amazed by Facebook's algorithm. It knew what I was thinking and what I needed at that moment that the Brown Trekker Outdoor Products page just appeared on my news feed out of the blue.

Anyway, to cut the story short, I got this Brown Trekker Hybrid Solo Tent 1. I've used it for over year, in countless and almost extreme situations. I think it's about time to let you guys know how this tent served me.

So let the disemboweling begin.

BROWN TREKKER HYBRID SOLO TENT
I really have no idea why it's called a hybrid tent. But judging from how it looks, it sure does look like a sniper, tunnel, and tadpole tent rolled into one.

Product Description (taken from their site):
Inner Tent: High density Nylon mesh
Floor: 210T Taffeta PU5000, PU Sticker
Poles: 7001# Aluminum
Size: 72 x 43 x 30 inches
Weight: 1.8 Kg
Rainfly: 30D Rip-stop Polyester, PU3000MM. Silicon Coating, PU seam taped, Anti-tear



To More Adventures and Beyond (An Anniversary Trip in Iligan)

"You have found a keeper", a friend once told me.

"Why do you say so? You don't even know him."

"I don't. But not all couples are cut to travel together."

I flashed a silly grin.


Jan and I concluded our second anniversary with sore bodies from our recent trip in Iligan City - at least a ten-hour drive away from home. Not that I am complaining. I could never, in a hundred lifetimes, get tired of going away and come back with aching muscles a few days later.

Dos

How many miles have we traveled so far?

Why the hell am I even asking that? I think it's pointless to count when we don't have plans of stopping. As long as we can, we'll keep on traveling, right?
May 2015 - May 2016 Trips
After two years of mishaps and misadventures, it still feels like everything is light and breezy. To have a bestfriend who's willing drop everything, pack, and go on a road trip with me to unknown and uncertain places... I don't think I can ask for anything more.

I'm actually running out of words (and energy). Kung gaano naman kahaba yung post ko dati, ganoon naman kaigsi ngayon. Haha. But for now, I just want to tell the world how much you mean to me.

Here's to us, for more misadventures, getting lost, unplanned trips, and an eternity of datin' and lovin'. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, JAN!


Your Misery Is My Happiness

Not that I am a ruthless, vile, and mean girl.

But I can be ruthless, vile, and mean. You just have to ask for it.

For a few days, I tried unplugging from Facebook because every time I open it, I feel like I need Advil or something. I've gone as far as deactivating my account before only to log back in two days later. So it's no surprise that I miserably failed in my attempt to unplug again. I hate to see myself take comfort in this Facebook-induced sleep-deprivation and I continue to feed on its toxicity. Well, it's not my fault that whenever I open the browser my left index finger would immediately hit "F".

It's Science.

I blame that to muscle memory. Haha.

People on Facebook have really been active these days. It's pretty good to see everyone engaged as Philippines is going through a heated Presidential election. To see everyone get involved or speak up is better than silence and apathy. But it can really get overwhelming too. May magagaling. Ang daming nagmamamagaling. At may mga cute na kagaya kong nahi-highblood na lang sa mga nababasa. 

And just like all the other days, I was aimlessly scrolling Facebook hoping to find anything that has nothing to do with politics. Then I happened to chance upon Bianca Gonzalez's post regarding morenas and how dark-skinned people are still bullied.

Napatigil ako. I was born morena. But I don't think I was bullied for it. None that I can recall.

Ako Si Jun-jun

My second name was derived from my birth month. So if I were born a boy, I would most likely be named June. And perhaps will be given a nickname Jun-jun. Which would make me cringe the same way I cringe when I think about the fact that some people still call me Jane-jane. Ugh.

I have always wondered, what would it be like if I were, indeed, Jun-jun? Just a few weeks ago, I found this beard and mustache toy scattered in our house, so I tried it on just for the heck of it. Add a bonnet and tsaraaaaan!

Presenting, Jun-jun:


I Think I Have Just Been Killed. Twice.

I am not over-thinking and I am not trying to be over dramatic here but I am pretty sure the internet is trying to kill me.

With the round-the-clock birth of information and non-stop stream of news, not to mention the political hullabaloo happening on social media (this has got to be the most exciting toxic election ever), the internet has robbed me of my sleep. Yes, there are so many ways the internet can kill you and this is just one of them.

Fact: Lack of sleep kills sex drive. Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame. (source)

In that case, I'd be double dead by now.


Duterte 2016: Change is Not Coming

I hate crowds.

Although finding myself among the sea of fans in the Queen's concert would be an exception - which, we all know, is never going to happen.

A few weeks ago, I found myself getting pushed and shoved in the middle of strangers. I had to endure the agony of standing for at least 3 hours. I was afraid my feet would fail me (I've had attacks of hypoglycemia before which usually happened during prolonged standing). And the fact that I didn't have dinner nor did I bring water with me made it even worse.

What the hell am I doing here? 
Duterte-Cayetano Rally in Davao
Kahayag sa Pagbag-o Candlelighting Rally (photo via CinEmotion Digital Films)
I could have just left. Kasi sa totoo lang, wala naman akong mapapala dito.


The Bittersweet Mt. Apo Climb

I won't make this long. In fact, I am just going to copy what I have said on Facebook. I don't really feel like writing anything as I am going through something quite devastating. But I owe this blog a lot of posts already. So if my thoughts do not come out nice (or do not come out at all), please pardon me. The fire that is devouring more than 300 hectares of Mt. Apo National Park feels like a stake being driven into my heart. And the bigger and further the fire goes, the deeper the wound gets. I might sound a little too overreacting but this is how I truly feel.

Today is the sixth day Mt. Apo is engulfed in fire. It pains me to know a place I've always considered home turn into ashes. And what hurts more is when I have seen it with my very eyes. I hate a lot of things this moment. I hate the irresponsibility that caused the damage. I hate how inept, inutile, and insensitive our national government is when it comes to matters like this. And I hate being weak and frail for I cannot do anything but watch helplessly from the sidelines and pray to the Almighty for a heavy downpour. If only I can do something more, other than just disseminating information and offering monetary help, then I might feel a little better.

----------------

A few days ago, I came home from a bittersweet climb. Unfortunate things do happen, I just didn't expect it to be this horrible and depressing.

I am posting this because I want to share with you Mt. Apo in its full magnificence and glory - which I never thought would be the last we'll ever see.

The Street Art Experience

I wish one day I'd be able to paint one of these walls... 

These are exactly the words I told myself a few years ago.

I have always been fascinated with street art. How they are a mystery. How they keep people in constant wonder. How and when did it effin come up here? What the hell does that mean? Who did it? Much more fascinated by how street artists can hide in plain sight like ninjas - except, they're not bound to spy or kill but sure they know their way around spray cans and brushes and make something alive with it.
Coffee Bean and Tea  Leaf Street Art


My Life as a Blogger and Other (Not so) Recent Shiznits

I have over 50 drafts to date and not one of them is worth publishing anymore. Panis na kasi.

I don't know if I should feel bad about that or the fact that I got more stories still waiting to be written (cue: I Can Wait Forever by Air Supply). The blogging wells could run dry sometimes and I have a few things to blame. One, I am busy. And by busy, I mean, I do a lot of things that has nothing to do with productivity. Two, I have never failed at procrastinating. Three, blogging on a mobile device is absolutely frustrating.

But none of that really matters. No one's holding somebody a hostage to get me to write. So it's not really a big deal. Heck, the word deal should not even be brought up here. On the other hand, I feel like I am the one being taken hostage by this blog and it is demanding me to write something - and it does not matter if it is sensible or not. Damn you, blog. Why don't you just leave me alone?!

I can always quit though. It will save me the pressure of having to write something regularly that's not of a disposable value. But I won't. Whenever I am asked why I blog, I always give one solid reply. So if you are waiting for me to answer "because I earn from it" and expect me to talk to you about monetization strategies and shit, you picked the wrong girl. I have kept ads off my site. I find them annoying but not the same way those bakit-kung-sino-pa-ang-corrupt and drama-lang-walang-trabaho ads get into my nerves. But still, no one likes pop-ups and flashy banners, so I think I am kind of nice to spare you that one.

But I know you will not also buy my overused and overrated line, I blog for expression. Though I do love to express myself explicitly sometimes because I would explode if I won't be able to.

Blogging for expression is only half the truth. Of course, there's more to that story. The other half is divided into: one, I love the attention I get from it. Not everyone might openly admit it, but truth be told, any blogger would want readers and their attention. Otherwise, we would have just kept a private journal. And two, there are those little cherries on top of a pretty icing on a three-tier black forest cake which we can also call, the blogger perks.

As a small scale blogger who writes only about her misadventures, mundane activities, and what grinds her gears, I get to enjoy free passes, VIP seats, free dining, free trips and accommodation, free access to paid and premium services, gift certificates, free gadgets and so much more in an exchange for verbal diarrhea - the only diarrhea that I fervently enjoy. Although most of the time, I just get them with no strings attached.

The first two months of 2016 have really been great. Blogging has been slow but it was great. And believe it or not, it was not just all about the huge raid of freebies here and there. Blogging became a gateway to a lot of my life's little and even big accomplishments. And I am really grateful for that. To name a few are:

1. First and foremost, I finally took my commemorative trophy home. :)
Bloggys 2015

It took 3 months before I finally got my hands on these. I relished the few minutes of ecstasy when these were handed to me before my feelings got taken over by annoyance to the overwhelming Manila traffic.

Mt. Pulag: The Playground of the Gods Part 2

Brrr.

We were about 2,800 meters above sea level - that's just a hundred meters more to summit, maybe a few miles left to trek. I was clearly unfazed by the terrain. I was already told it was an easy trek. But still, for weeks, Jan and I conditioned our bodies for this. And it did pay off for it was definitely a walk in the park with a few uphills and steep climbs that did not seem to bother me. I never found myself catching my breath. And I could go on without taking little breaks. BUT I had to will myself to endure the cold that's never in Davao nor in any place that I've been to. Not even in Mount Apo. I have never shivered like this in Mount Apo. I had on me three layers of jacket and I can still feel the cold pierce my bones.

But the thought of those photos of every blogger who posted a perfect photo of Mount Pulag's summit was enough to propel me to go on. I know that's not what climbing is all about. But you see, we traveled more than a thousand miles from Davao and had to file a 2-day leave (without pay) for this. Judging from our time and financial resources, this is a climb that I might only do once. So a foggy view at the peak is the last thing I would want. Whatever we see up there, I sincerely hoped it was worth it.

It was still dark when when we reached the summit. The sky was illuminated by stars but it wasn't enough for me to see whatever's below us. It was just a vast and limitless horizon colored in pitch black. It didn't rain that night and the weather was perfect - which I thought was a good thing. But I was told it's not a guarantee we will see what we were here for. The weather in the mountains are an unpredictable lot - they can go from the most picture perfect sunny weather to the most unforgiving terrible conditions in a matter of seconds. If you're lucky, you'll marvel at the wondrous view of the playground of the gods. If not, well, let's just say it's the journey that really matters.

I kept my hopes up while setting my expectations low. I don't even know how's that possible. But I was in between feeling okay lang kung foggy and okay na okay kung cloudy moment. Unsure of what's stored for us, all I can do was collapse onto the shrubs, sleep, and wait.

Then streaks of yellow light started coming out from afar. The sun's rays were peeking and I can already see the endless and breathtaking view of the sea of clouds. Perfect! It was even more beautiful than I have imagined.

I was still shivering. I started to feel my thigh muscles becoming sore. Air was definitely thin and I was already drawing deep breaths. But whatever it was that I felt that moment, EVERYTHING WAS ALL WORTH IT.
Sea of Clouds Mount Pulag


Mt. Pulag: The Playground of the Gods Part 1

How do I even begin this post? I have already spent 10 minutes just staring at the blinking cursor of this blank page and the rest of 50 minutes were spent just looking at all our pictures in Mt. Pulag (for the nth time).

I'm still lost for words.

With this beauty, who wouldn't?


Quaint Little City, Baguio!

Baguio is by far my favorite city next to Davao.

There are actually lot of things to do and places to go to in Baguio. But I'll be honest, the very reason why I was excited to visit Baguio is for the strawberries. I can ditch just any of the tourist spots in Baguio, but not the experience of picking strawberries (although the strawberry fields are not even in Baguio per se. Hehe)

Jan and I only had a day in Baguio, so I have to make sure we get to pick strawberries and have a lot of rest afterwards because we'll be having an exhausting adventure the very next day.

We arrived in Baguio at around 5 o'clock in the morning and the first thing that greeted me was the cold breeze. I was already having chills inside the bus and it even got colder the moment I stepped out of it. If I could, I would have just boarded back into the bus, turn the aircon into full blast and I would definitely still feel much better.

I was never built for the cold. I lack those natural thermal insulators a.k.a fats that could have given a little resistance. I knew Baguio is cold but I never expected it to be freezing that my fingers numbed and my body shivered at the gentle blow of the wind that then and there, I wished for a glass of warm milk. And I don't even like milk. But I swear, I'd be willing to chug one down in exchange of heat. I don't really remember what cold is anymore. The heatwave in Davao has spread to my brain, toasted it, and erased every memory I have of what it feels like to be cold.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a taho vendor. A strawberry taho definitely sounds better than milk. So I bought one to save my cold butt from freezing. The warm soy pudding treat made me feel better that I gobbled it up in no time. It was so good, I wasn't able to didn't leave any for Jan. Haha.

And now that I'm blogging about it, I realize that I should have taken photos of the food we ate or places we went to. If I wasn't such a lazy person, that strawberry taho would have been instagram or blog post worthy, and then I would have tons of pictures to share, too. The Session Road in Baguio alone has a lot of tiny wonders and I don't have a single photo of it. Sigh. I know, I know. I fail as a blogger. Haha. But I won't apologize for my lack of effort in trying to fit in into the world of social media where everybody just knew stuff about you, what you did, where you went, what you wore, or what you ate.

Anyway, I still took a few photos. Here's how we spent our day in this charming little city. We definitely love it here. We had a blast.
First time to ride on a tandem bike.

Justin Bieber Can Back. Can You?

Hi!

I'm finally back! I guess, I really couldn't keep this blogging hiatus for a long time (yay!). Well, it's Saturday. I was slowly dying of boredom and I was about to finish myself off by listening to one more Justin Beiber song (I told you, I'm starting to become a Belieber) when I got an email saying I have won (a runner up) in Electrolux's Blog Writing Holiday Edition Contest. Sweet baby cheeses, life-saver, you are! Nabuhayan ako ng dugo.

Aside from winning and having a nasty virus that sent me sneezing and coughing sticky greenies (please excuse the mental graphic scene) that has done a pretty good job embarrassing me in quiet meetings and public places, the past weeks went by without much incident. I mean, I have been having no-bullshit days. And I think that's horrible. I cannot write anything when nothing bad happens (or when I'm too happy, too). And also, I haven't been thinking about anything lately. And that is terrifying for an over-thinker like me.

But not having a bad day isn't that bad at all. LOL. For the past few days, I have been working my ass off. And honestly, this new job is a bitter-sweet ride. I have got to admit, it wasn't easy transitioning from a skill-wise low self-esteemed Software Designer (that's how my previous boss made me feel) into a full-fledged Front-end Web Developer. But I love what I'm doing. I haven't gotten bored or stressed (yet) coding websites and fixing bugs, not to mention with a platform and framework that is totally new to me. Come on, Team Z, bring it on! (I hope our team lead wouldn't read this, baka kasi bigyan ako ng maraming tasks) Haha.

Anyway, Jan and I were supposed to have a medical examination today. But since this nasty sticky green goo is still dripping non-stop from my nostrils, I decided to just rest and have our med exam moved to Monday or Tuesday instead. Funny how this should be a perfect time to go and see a doctor but I had to be well before I can actually see a doctor. I need a clean medical certificate that would show I am fit for something that is physically strenuous. I'm afraid that a simple cough and cold on the record would restrict me from doing so. Paranoid lang.

Actually, I don't remember the last time I paid my doctor a visit. I usually turn to Dr. Google when something goes wrong. And funny how I still turn to him, when in fact, he can be scarier than any other quack doctors combined for he doesn't shy away from bad news. He has this pretty amazing way of convincing you that you have a brain cancer or ebola or that you are going to die.

We will all die anyway.

But I don't want to die of brain cancer or ebola. But maybe I would die of excitement. Because in the incoming days, Jan and I will be traveling far for another adventure. And I'm really stoked. And now that I think about it, uso pa ba ang laglag bala sa NAIA? Because I am now thinking how I find it derogatory not to mention dehumanizing that we have to secure our bags in the strangest, weirdest, and most ridiculous possible way just to protect ourselves from the very same people who were tasked by law to protect us. Hay nako! Makastress!

Nah. Here I go again, thinking about the worst possible things to happen. The chances of being victimized by Laglag Bala would be slim anyway. We're not even rich to begin with, and we don't even look rich. Pero dapat parin maging maingat.

Wow. I think I just talked about a lot of things in just one blog post. So much for the short hiatus, huh? February has been good so far. And I believe the rest of 2016 will be the same. See you on my next adventure! :)