Hello 2014!
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 posted at 12/31/2013 11:46:00 PM ♥ 0 comments

From my family to yours...


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Outgoing and Incoming...
Sunday, December 29, 2013 posted at 12/29/2013 07:14:00 PM ♥ 0 comments

2013 is almost over. Two more days and we will have another year to think about. As a tradition, we always look back on the events of the outgoing year. When I was still working at drama anthology show, they explained that looking back is somewhat a catharsis - a process of releasing to provide relief. It may be true for some people but for a few, it is like reliving the nightmare and pain of the past.

For the Philippines, this year is something most people wanted to forget. It had been a harrowing year for the country with all the the corruption expose and disasters (natural and man-made) that hit us. Saying that we are resilient in the face of calamity is now an understatement. It is more than resiliency. I don't what it is called, but we, Filipinos have given our all and braved, still braving, all the things fate and destiny was and has been bestowing upon us.

On the personal level, I think there is not much going on for me. Well, a new job definitely gave me more freedom but at the same time stall my growth. On the relationship part, it has been, well, little less dramatic but has its down moments. I admit there there was a time when I try to tell myself that there is no next level. For me, it is easier to think that way rather than to hope or expect for anything. But after having "the talk", he gave me hope that we are going somewhere. Maybe I'm just getting a little impatient but you have to understand that time is of the essence for me.

Eventually, that talk led to some planning. Vague plans which I don't want to think about since I have plans on my own. And that plans led to my vision board. Looking at it, I think what I want in life is pretty simple compared to those who aspire to conquer the world.

Like what Buddha says, "To conquer the world, you have to conquer yourself." I believe that saying should be the standard guiding principle in life. It is hard to take over a dominion if you don't have the basic knowledge of who you are and what you want. Simple pointers that are often ignored. I was a fool back then when I dreamt that I can take over the world without knowing myself. It stressed me out. With that, I wanted to start with something that is reachable and possible.

I decided to put it here so I will have a reminder of what I want in my life. Together with the Lord, may you help me to achieve each one of this. I'm truly excited for 2014. I feel that in the coming year, I will be bolder to take more risk and more patient towards achieving the things I want.

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Button Wreath & Bonifacio
Saturday, November 30, 2013 posted at 11/30/2013 07:46:00 PM ♥ 0 comments

Christmas is closing in, and I'm a little embarrassed to say that our home doesn't have a touch of the holiday season yet. In fact, it is like our usual place. Way back the 90s, our home was one of the residences here in our barangay that decorate and set up Christmas tree as early as November. I remember getting excited about decorating.

But times changed. When my brothers started to have their own families, I think they took away our urge and joy of setting up our Christmas decors. Last 2011, I bought a Santa Clause light decor so will have something to remind us of Christmas. I expect it would like until 2015, but after two years of giving some much needed light on our balcony, it malfunction this year. I guess you can't really trust the things your co-worker offers you.

Anyway, to gear up for the holidays, me and my mother decided to do something to "Christmascify" our home. Since we are tried of setting up a Christmas tree, we opt for our DIY wreath and Christmas Parol. My mother is a master crafter. She can practically do anything and use anything and in the end it will turn out great. My skills in crafting will never ever get to hear level. Since she knows better, she's the one who's making the Parol and I will be in charge of the wreath. And because we have a lot of buttons in our house, we decided to make a wreath using the colorful buttons.

I was inspired by the idea I saw in PH Learning, a Facebook page which sells stuff that can be use for crafting. They also post several craft works that serve as an inspiration for many craft lovers out there. I tried to recreate their button wreath, but I know that it is far from the expected results.

Photo from PH Learning



For those who wanted to create this lovely wreath, here are the things you need:

- Buttons (different sizes and colors)
- Glue gun and glue stick
- a circular board
- Ribbons

Steps

1. Wrap your circular board with the ribbon. Carefully glue the end of the ribbon and stick them to the board.

2. Carefully place the buttons and glue them on the board

Pretty simple, right?

Well, here's my masterpiece:

***

Today is Bonifacio Day. To those who have no access to the Internet or living on a rock, this day is named after Andres Bonifacio, leader and founder of the revolutionary group Katipunan. Ka Andres, as what the historians fondly called him, was known for his bravery. But sadly, he is also a victim of early politics when General Emilio Aguinaldo, one of the his comrades in Katipunan, ordered his execution.

But for me, Andres Bonifacio is truly the first President of the Republic of the Philippines. I don't think a person who claimed to love the Philippines and sold it overnight to the Americans should be considered a president. But we cannot undo the past. All we can do is honor Bonifacio's heroism and let his ideals live within every Filipino.



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Yolanda, Plans, et. al
posted at 11/30/2013 06:24:00 PM ♥ 0 comments

It's been so long since I visited my Blogger account. A lot of things happened, and still, I cannot bring myself to write anything. Maybe the gravity of things make it hard to put it into words, or sometimes we just don't know what to say.

But I will try my damndest to describe everything in my on terms...

The devastation that is Yolanda

Last November 7, an exceptionally powerful cyclone hit the Philippines, particularly the Visayas region. Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) had a maximum sustained winds reaching to 235 kph, breaking records and considered as one of the strongest tropical storm to landfall in a certain area.

The night before, President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino made a national announcement about the coming storm and warn the people about devastation it can bring to the affected areas. Storm are constant visitors of our country. The Philippines probably experienced hundreds, if not thousands, of storms in it's lifetime. But the sad part is, no matter how many times we experience it, we still didn't bother to prepare ourselves.

We saw the aftermath of the storm. How Yolanda wiped the city of Tacloban, a once prosperous city in Visayas. Homes were destroyed, people were displaced, and many lives were lost on this catastrophic storm. But what's even saddening and shocking was the action of the government. It was apparent that our country is not ready to respond on such situations. For the first five days, people were waiting for their government to help them. They don't have shelter, food, and they are in wreck trying to stay sane and alive at the same time.

The whole world watched and took notice of the little country in the Southeast Asia. And they watched how incapable our government is to mobilize relief and rescue operations in the devastated area. And even before they were able to lend help, they took time to find someone to blame in the midst of the calamity. And it took one foreign media personality to wake them up and get their asses working. Apparently, Anderson Cooper's reportage is more credible than our own media.

Nations around the world extended their helping us to us, giving the people of Visayas tons of food, medicines, and help people to get over and even rebuild their lives. For that, I want to thank them. I want to thank them for doing what our government should be doing. For taking the initiative to help our Kababayans even though we are not your citizens. We are forever indebted to all of you.

And also, thank our fellow Kababayans who extend help. I read many reports about people giving what they can and donating clothes, relief goods, and other things that our fellowmen in Visayas can use to start over again. Some of us don't have enough, but you were still able to give something to uplift the grieving hearts of your fellow people. 

I think resiliency is not only the lesson we learned from this unfortunate event. For one, nature is, and will always be, stronger than us.  Our existence is just a fleeting moment. We never know when a disaster will strike. We should be prepared, physically, mentally, and emotionally for what will happened and the aftermath of it. Time is also of the essence so give and share time.

As for our government, pointing fingers will get you nowhere. Learn from this experience. We cannot undo the past or give back the life of the people in Visayas. But you, of all the people, can help them start again. You have the capability, resources, and the power to make it happen. Set aside the political drama and show your people that they made the right decision of voting for you.

The Filipino's spirit is known all over the world. We live in a country where natural and man-made disasters are common scenarios. But I hope that aside from having the strength to stand again, we learn from this experience.

People of our country, stay strong because I'm sure there are more storms to brave - literally and figuratively.



Personal Plans

On the other hand, I'm having some existential anguish. Now, my life is on hold for so many reasons. The person who I expected to lead me is tending someone else's life.  And so, his life is on hold too. And the infuriating thing is, these people are doing nothing to make their lives better. I say, get up and do something! The world isn't gonna give you what you want if you don't work for it!

Anyway, with that, I decided to push through with my plans on starting my own trade. I know it is risky but I want to do something while working. I don't want to be a corporate slave forever. So my friend and I will be setting up our accessories business soon.


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Halloween Trick or Treat: Wednesday Addams Makes Growing Up Sounds Easy
Sunday, November 3, 2013 posted at 11/03/2013 07:55:00 AM ♥ 0 comments

Halloween is almost done. Actually, we don't have Halloween here in the Philippines. I mean, it is not part of our tradition. What we have here is All Saints Day and All Souls Day, well for that's it for most Catholics anyway. We visit the graves of our departed relatives and pray for the repose of their souls. Sadly, I wasn't able to visit because of work. You know, we have to work to make a living even if its holidays or Halloween. I just hope that my gramps understand (Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!)

Anyway, I'm kinda surprise when I heard a group of children here in our area were having a trick or treat activity. I guess they want to have a taste of Western Halloween.

But if children here are trying to replicate the culture of the Western region, our favorite odd, scary girl want to have a taste of normal life. Yes, Wednesday Addams is finally a woman and want to experience the normal life in Hollywood. Now, Wednesday Addams is my favorite character. Her no-shit approach since she was a kid is admirable. Her methods are a little extreme, but hey, we do what we have to do!

Since the series and the movie ended, I haven't seen another Addams Family show. And I'm so glad that someone got the chutzpah to relive it again. The Adult Wednesday Addams is an internet series written and starred by Melissa Hunter and directed by Mike Bernstein. Most of the videos are two to three minutes long, but the shortness of time didn't hinder the presentation of humor. They released the video every Wednesday (Thursday on this part of the world). I'm definitely following it. As of now, they released a total of six videos detailing how Wednesday Addams cope up in the glittery world of Hollywood.

As my Halloween treat, I'm gonna share the first episode.

On their maiden episode, Wednesday Addams moved out of the Addams' Manor. Her first agenda: to find a place to live. She was able to find one and met her future roommates. Here is how the scenario played out.


Glad to see that Wednesday is trying out the outside world.

I promise to share some of the vids in the coming days! I hope you share my excitement!


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Late Post: Run-With-The-Zombies Day at Outbreak Manila.
Sunday, October 27, 2013 posted at 10/27/2013 06:01:00 PM ♥ 0 comments

The Halloween season is nearing, and what better way to have an early celebration? It is to go break out with the zombies! Last October 19, me, my kopi and my former office-mates joined the eccentric fun run Outbreak Manila. It is not an ordinary fun run though, it is a fun run where you have to run away from the zombie, protect your "life", and decide which route will save you.

It is just this month that I decided to push through with my "Balik Alindog Program." I think having a new work sched made me decide to go through with it again. And the best way to start it again is through an action-packed fun run.

Outbreak has been going on for years, and my former office-mates and lovebird Honey and Noy were veterans of these event. They joined some Outbreak mission way back, so they have a general idea of the things to come. As for the rest of us, we would be relying on our instincts to get out alive. Anyway, this Outbreak is composed of two missions: the Narrows and the Adarna Iniative. In the Narrows, runners will have to find the right route to the bus to get to a safe place. But there are obstacles on the way and there are some people that we will encounter who will either save us or put us in danger. The Adarna Initiative Mission, on the other hand, participants will have to find a cure made by Dr.Alfonso Adarna. But there will be also obstacles along the way. We chose the Narrows mission because it was the one mission that fits our schedule.

My kopi  and I arrived quite late so we missed the cam whoring moments. But I don't care; I just want to have a good run. The event started out pretty late. I expected that will be running by 10 pm which was supposedly the schedule for the first wave. And you cannot believe the number of participants who joined. There were tons of people who were waiting to be chased by the zombies. Upon registration, we were given a dog-like leash the contained three red, obvious tags which are our "lives." We have to protect this at all cost or else we will be considered infected.
On the board
In the cage



Having fun before the race
Faye and the Zombie car

Kopi, me, and the zombie car
Zombies taking vitamins
Noy, Honey, and the zombie car

The Outbreak boys
Jom getting ready for the race

When we were called for the briefing, our group started to plot our game-plan. We decided to stick together no matter what. But as we were nearing the entrance gate, we saw the group before us scattered from being chased by the undead, so we changed strategy and decided to meet at a certain zombie-free point.

When it was our time to run, I feel excited.Adrenalin started to rush. My kopi and I said that we will stay together no matter what. But when the actual run started, we parted ways for a while. I think it is harder to run with a partner since the zombies were quite persistent on chasing us. I can feel the excitement as we were running. And I think those "Block 1-2-3" at"Habulan" games paid off. I was able to pass the first stretch without a scratch and with complete "lives."

Unfortunately for some of my teammates, they tumbled and fell on the first stretch. Some of them sustained some cuts. We we arrived at the first point, I saw a lot of the participant seeking medical help. Aside from those who incurred injuries, there were some who were about to pass out. Indeed, this run is a test of agility and stamina. We rested for while and waited for the others to get medical attention.

Xerlyn did not get out unscathed
Taking a break after the first stretch
The NPC giving us some instructions
Please don't look at our bellies! Haha


The second point was to test our decision-making abilities. The NPC (I don't know what it stands for) said that we can go in two routes - one is to go to an area which may or may not have zombies to deliver a message to his comrade. or go to a much longer but secure route. We tried the first one, but as Noy and the others approach the areas, he noticed something lurking on the ground which turned out to be zombies. Again, changed of plans, we went to the second one.

I think we were already in the middle of the race when we got to the mall. Again, our decision-making abilities were tested as we questioned ourselves who we will trust, the crazy men in fatigue uniforms or the people who are immaculately clean and wearing orange overalls.

Well, guess what path we chose. Yes, those people who are clean and suspicious. But I think we let our judgment get the best of us. It turns out the that orange people led us to our doom. We were instructed to go to the delivery area and we will be safe. But again, it was a wrong decision as we were led to the lab of Dr. Alfonso Adarna and we became subjects for his experiment. And the race ended there.

Although we think that the race was cut abruptly because of the wrong decision. We still had loads of fun! It is not everyday that you are chased by a zombie. And we got some stuff like shirts, loot bags, and dog tags to remember the race that we had. And this race set me to the fitness course. Since then, I make it a point to jog and burn some fats.

Outbreak Manila will be having another event on the 16th of November. Another encore for Adarna Initiative but quite different from the first mission. From what I read, there will be more obstacles, longer routes, and more exciting stuff and giveaways. I'm thinking of joining again, but I think I'm gonna wait for next year. I still have to practice my agility and build my stamina. But I'm definitely going next year!

The misleading orange people
Oh, I should have listened to you!
Photo op in the middle of the race.
After the race.
Proud of our shirts!
Honey with the zombie hordes
Kopi, the zombie couple, and me.
Photos courtesy of Albert "Noy" Navarette.



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The Unwavering Filipino Spirit
Saturday, October 19, 2013 posted at 10/19/2013 12:37:00 PM ♥ 0 comments

As I said before, the Philippines has constant visitors - turmoil and chaos. Although it is blessing that our country is situated in a tropical location which the foreigners love, it is also a curse as it is the landfall of most typhoons during the wet season.And the country is also in the Pacific Ring of Fire, arc in the Pacific Ocean where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes also happened.

Not only that, man-made catastrophes are there, literally and figuratively. Our natural resources are continuously dwindling due to endless illegal logging, animal smuggling, quarrying, and mining. To add cherry on top, our government is headed by politicians who don't have our best interest at heart. The endless issues of malversation of public funds, corruption, and illegal use of the country's resources have been haunting the Filipino people for quite sometime now.

The second and third quarter of the year have been not so good for the country. First was the revelation of the biggest syndicate in the history of the country - the Pork Barrel Scam which involved personalities from the Senate and the Congress. All of the sudden, an unknown person named Janet Lim-Napoles orchestrated the said scam, milking public funds through bogus non-government organizations for personal use. It was reported that people from high places are using this systematic scam to illegal transfer funds to their personal bank accounts.

Unfortunately, the drama is far from over since the people involved are constantly denying their involvement in the alleged scam. Excuses and alibis such as "My signature was forged" to "I don't know her" were exhausted to a fault.

But it didn't stop there. In the middle of the 10-Billion Pork Barrel Scam, Zamboanga City was sieged by a rebel group known as Moro National Liberation Front who heartlessly took civilians as hostages and killed soldiers mercilessly. This rebellion lasted for almost a month and resulted to orphaned children, widowed wives, damaged and burned homes and infrastructures, and traumatized citizens and economy.

And it seems Mother Nature wanted some taste of revenge for her own. A week or so after the resolution of Zamboanga crisis, typhoon Santi devastate the south causing deaths and heightening the fear of the already burdened residents.

And another blow hit the country when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Cebu and Bohol causing millions and even billions worth of damaged church and residential homes making many of the Boholanos homeless and hopeless.

It is safe to say that our country is always in the battle for survival. Everyday, we are trudging our way to be home safe. When are always devastated by disasters, breaking our hearts and spirits. But despite all this, our spirits are resilient. We always find a way to get back on track. All move on despite the heartbreak. We get up and start again.

We know that there will be more disasters to come. But our strength will prevail and our smile will shine through the tears. Keep holding on

Photo from lovegrafik in Flickr.com


Photo from Behance.net

PS

To those who are willing to help our fellow Boholanos, you can donate through Gawad Kalinga and Ayala Foundation:

From Gawad Kalinga website
For Ayala Foundation

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