For my mom’s birthday, my family decided to eat out at Casa Marcos, a Spanish-Filipino restaurant in the Bonifacio Global City.
I loved their cold chocolate drink (tsokolate eh), their mini bread (pandesal), the paella, the deer stew (kaldereta na usa), and the pandesal pudding! Here’s a picture of the paella:
To my wonderful parents whose birthdays are only a week apart. I am eternally grateful for everything you both have given me. I cannot stress how lucky I am to have both of you as my parents. You have no idea how much I look up to you guys. Thanks for being my best friends!
A list of 7 things that piqued my interest over the past couple of weeks.
Duolingo – This app helps you learn another language. They teach you to write words, to pronounce words, and to translate it back and forth from English to whatever language you want to learn. Another great thing about it is that you can use the app online on duolingo.com! Oh and did I mention that it’s absolutely free? I’ve been trying to learn French, and now I know over 100 words (I’ve still got a long way to go). You can study French, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, etc! You can even study more than 4 languages at the same time. Forget about temple run, this app is super fun and you actually get something out of it.
Bibliographica – This store on Etsy sells handmade books that are just exquisite. I can’t stress how often I visit this shop to marvel on how unique and how handsome all the books are. The artist makes use of different kinds of leather, linen, thread, paper, buttons, charms, and trinkets, which leaves every notebook so beautiful I could faint. I never actually bought anything from the shop, though. It is a little pricey, however I have noticed that the prices went down compared to the past. One day, I’ll get a notebook…one day.
The Lomo’Instant Camera by Lomography – A new camera is on the way! As the name suggests, it is another instant camera with many amazing features — wide angle lens, fish eye lens, portrait lens, color filters, unlimited multiple exposures, and infinite long exposures. The film for this camera is the widely used Fujifilm Instax Mini Film. It is still in production, and you can pre-order it on the Lomography website. I am really excited for it to come out! It is the perfect camera for daily adventures with a group of friends, and it will make memorable pictures on anyone’s scrapbooks.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter – It just gets bigger and better. Diagon Alley and the new Gringotts ride just opened in Florida! Man oh man, one day I will go back there and go on all the rides and eat every single thing I once imagined in the book. Hopefully, next time I will be able to go there with my sister, Trina, who luckily has the same Spring break as me. Also, the Wizarding World recently opened in Tokyo, Japan! I’ve always wanted a wizarding world in Asia!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – This is a fairly new TV series about detectives in Brooklyn. It is really funny and it reminded me of The Office a couple of times, but better. Unlike Suits or detective shows, this TV series requires less thinking and more laughing. If you have had a hard time following or analyzing what’s happening in other TV series, then this could be a good change for you. If you want to have a good time on a cold Friday night, I suggest that you get in your pajamas, sip that hot cocoa, and watch this show. You’re in for a good laugh.
Begin Again – This movie came and went without many people noticing it in my town mall. After a week of showing, it was removed from the list of movies, and the reason escapes me. This is one of the best movies I watched all year. I loved so many things about this movie — from the soundtrack, to the shots, to the story. The director is John Carney, the same guy who directed the musical Once (the musical that won 8 Tony Awards). The actors are Keira Knightly (I didn’t know she could sing!), Mark Ruffalo, James Corden, and Adam Levine (another reason to like this movie). I hope I don’t set your expectations too high, but I think you might enjoy it.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – This is a historical romance book that takes place around the 1850s. This fiction is based on the book of Hosea from the Bible. It is about a girl who was sold into prostitution and who was persistently sought after by a man of God whose name is Michael Hosea. It is one of the few Christian fiction books I absolutely fell in love with. I devoured it in 3 days with my soul uplifted. Francine Rivers is a marvelous storyteller; I bought her trilogy called Mark of the Lion and finished those in no time as well.
Thanks for catching up with me!
What has caught your attention these past couple of weeks? Have you watched, read or seen anything good? Have you listened to any good songs?
A week ago, my sisters and I decided to go to Manila for the weekend. My sister, Lisa, lives in a lovely studio condominium near her med school. We spent our days studying and going around the mall and our nights playing and dancing to old songs on Spotify.
I brought my watercolor Moleskine and painted a few pieces.
We also satisfied our foodie sides by eating out in New Bombay (Indian cuisine), Maru (Korean cuisine), and Cafe Breton (French cuisine).
To end an already awesome day, I was able to find a Mini Diana on sale! What a steal!
My friend, Mike, and I had the privilege of becoming the co-cultural directors of Penn State Filipino Association (SY 2013-2014). We were in charge of the cultural segments, the Filipino language classes, the THON auditions, the holiday Parol-making social (Christmas lanterns), the Pinoy Talks, and the Barrio Fiesta (our biggest and most important job throughout the school year).
Barrio Fiesta showcases the culture of the Philippines through traditional dances, modern dances, musical performances, and skits. This year’s theme was “Pokemon: Barrio Version.” We dove into our childhood game and explored the different regions of the Philippines while we were on our quest to become the best pokemon trainer (LOL)! Almost all of our acts were performed by members of the Penn State Filipino Association (we had The Coda Conduct, an a cappella group, perform a couple of songs). Here is our promo video:
A lot of work went into this one day. We had to get people in dances, we needed people to choreograph, make videos, move the props, fix the lighting… We had practices every weekend during the Spring semester (I probably bought more donuts than the local police department). We had more than 10 dances and more than 10 skits. We spent a lot of time buying materials, making props (cheers to Mike for making awesome costumes), making scripts, posters…and let’s just say I’m really glad that it’s finally over (as you can see, I now have time to blog).
I was able to make fliers, posters, programs, and banners for this event.
I could not have done it without all of PSFA, the executive board, and Mike.
Oh and thanks to our good friend, Al, we were able to make the game come alive on the screen (like seriously). Here’s a photo:
Oh and of course we couldn’t let the audience go without their very own pokemon, so we placed pokemon cards under the seat of every chair as a little surprise.
Hope you enjoyed this snapshot of the show! If you want to see pictures from our weekly practices, click here.
One of my favorite things to do in college is to take non-credit art classes. During my fall semester, I signed up for a 6-session ceramics class, which was taught by Vicky (a senior majoring in art). I took up this class on monday nights with my good friend, Maggie.
It is one of the most stressful things I’ve done for the sake of art. Wheel thrown pottery is hard, man. You would think it would be easy because of how people would do it on TV. It looks relaxing and fun, but in reality, it will only be that way once you are a pro. Who knew that it would require some upper body strength?
My greatest challenge was in centering the clay, and unfortunately it is one of the most important steps in ceramics. When you center your clay, you want the clay to be symmetrical in the middle of your wheel. If you don’t get it to center, your work will be off balanced and you will have a greater risk of ruining your work…and believe me, I have failed so many times.
Don’t let this discourage you. I know I didn’t. After 6 sessions, I made bowls and mugs that were far from perfect, but I continued on. I signed up for studio membership during my spring semester, so whenever I had some free time, I would always head over to the Ceramics Studio and try again. I was so determined to be good at it. By the end of the spring semester, I was loads better than I was from the very beginning. Obviously, there is still a lot of room for improvement, but at least I’m going somewhere.
It’s been forever since my last post, and I apologize. Spring semester was a whirlwind of opportunities and events, and I simply just had to take part in it. To celebrate my coming back, I want to share a little art work I made for my sister, Lisa, who turned 25 years old this June!
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t sure if I was going to come up with anything good. I haven’t been drawing so much over the last couple of months because I was too busy with school…but, here it is!
I have only done shading once or twice before, and I took a leap and tried it again here with my 6B Staedlter pencil. I was pretty happy with it and decided that it was finished, but one afternoon, I got bored and decided to play around with Pixelmator.
This is what happened:
…and that is my beautiful sister! I’m so happy it turned out to be better than I expected. This was actually my first time to blend colors on Pixelmator. Oh and as the title suggests, I did not use a mouse at all. All the editing was done on a trackpad with three little fingers accompanied by fierce concentration. Lol. Hope you enjoyed it!
Last semester, I participated in various fundraising events.
My Sociology teacher, Sam Richards, asked a class of 700 to raise funds for Haiti as a group project. We were separated into groups of 15, and I volunteered to make the flyer!
Here is my before and after flyer design:
Later in the semester, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. The Penn State Filipino Association decided to plan a Philippine Benefit Show to help the victims. Again, I volunteered to make the flyer.
Before and after:
They were both successful events! I learned how to dance a little hip-hop, and I clapped bamboo sticks in the Tinikling dance.
Other than that, I also went to my first canning weekend trip with the Filipino Association where we stood at intersections and held out cans to whomever might want to donate a few bucks to fight against pediatric cancer (THON). It was my first time to do it and I believe I got around $200+ for that one weekend. (No flyers needed this time.) It was a great bonding experience. We had bonfire, s’mores, and great company.
Overall, it was really encouraging to see my work printed out and distributed especially when it was going to a good cause. I usually only post my works online, and having the flyers everywhere was pretty new to me. It was a great feeling!
Color Manila Run was my third 5k fun run and my second color run. I never thought I’d find this run in Manila! You can only imagine how psyched I was! I was a bubble of energy at 6am, which is surprising because I’m not really much of a morning person.
My sisters and I left the house when the sky was still inky black and arrived at the Bonifacio Global City when dawn was breaking. It was comfortably cool when we met up with Jared before the run.
Here are before and after pictures!
Compared to The Color Run I did at Penn State, Color Manila Run was cheaper ($15 less) and had a lot more photo services to offer. While I was running, I probably came across 10 or more photographers on the street… and near the Color Manila stage, there were a lot of photo booths you and your friends could go to (the lines were insanely long though).
Fact: Filipinos loooove taking pictures. You would see bunches of groups posing in front of the photographers while the rest were running (and some photobombing).
I was scrolling through the pictures posted on the Color Manila Facebook page and found more than a thousand pictures posted. I even found myself in some of them!
Color Manila Run was also kind enough to have a bag storage area, which I remember The Color Run lacked. The Color Run in Penn State though was kind enough to set the event much later in the afternoon at 4pm when I was truly awake. Nevertheless, both were awesome and totally different experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Even though I got a few bruises and cuts from rolling on colorful ground, I sure hope I get to participate in more colorful runs in the future! Start the year right with some blast of color!
New Year is the most important holiday in Tokyo, Japan. My family’s wandering was limited because most of the shops close on the week of the New Year (save a couple of the more modern shops that stayed open). This was my first trip to Tokyo, Japan and although our choices of visiting certain places was restricted, we enjoyed our stay nonetheless.
Here’s a list of some of the things my family did in a span of 5 days in Tokyo:
Ate authentic Japanese food — need I say more? I honestly can’t get enough of their food. I never thought I would enjoy cold noodles (called soba) but I was wrong. Ramen, tempura, sushi, soba, gyoza… they were all so good.
Joined a crowd at the Meiji Shrine for the Hatsumōde — the first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year. The huge crowd moved slowly towards the shrine where they would throw some coins then exit to buy some lucky charms. My family decided to throw Philippine pesos in, and my little sister bought a 3ft long arrow that is supposedly lucky. (It proved to be lucky when the airline personnel allowed it to be hand carried on the plane.)
Crossed the famous “Shibuya’s Crossing” where all stoplights turn red as pedestrians crossed the intersection all at once. We probably watched the stoplights turn red 10 times before leaving.
Found Hatchiko waiting for my family outside the train station. Couldn’t resist taking a picture with such a loyal dog.
Visited the famous bookstore, Kinokuniya Bookstore, which is known for its huge collection of books.
Went to Shibuya 109, a department store that mostly caters to fashionable teenagers. It was pretty crowded and rowdy inside as saleswomen from all sides would call the attention of all passersby. I vividly remember one guy covering his ears to drown out all the noise.
Ate in Isetan, another department store that is directed more towards the upperclass. Most of the high end stores are found in here. Our family mostly went for the food they sold at the food court where they had a great selection of delicacies that are not only Japanese, but are also French, Italian, etc. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures.
Went around Lumine2 where we found franchises of Dean & Deluca and Laudrée.
Went to Asakusa where the the famous Buddhist temple, Sensō-ji, can be found. We didn’t bother going inside because we saw a long and slow procession leading up to the temple.
From a distance, we admired both the Tokyo Tower, the original tower and the second tallest building in Tokyo, and the Skytree Tower, the tallest building in Tokyo.
Observations I’ve made during my stay:
Japan is SO clean even though I rarely saw trash bins on the streets. Seriously. It always took me a while before I would see a trash bin (or do they just blend in really well with the walls?)
It feels so safe to walk anywhere. I haven’t gone across any sketchy looking place (…yet).
People generally have very healthy lifestyles. They bike a lot and eat a lot of fish. No wonder the Japanese live the longest in the world.
It’s hard to get around if you don’t know the Japanese language. Most people speak Japanese (obviously), and there are only very few who are fluent in English.
Japanese people usually dress very well. Their taxi drivers wear suits for crying out loud. It makes me wonder how such a small country was able to thrive so that most of the population is around the middle and the upper middle class.
The Japanese seem to be very disciplined. They bow…a lot. Before our bus went on its way, the workers would always bow until our bus left. Then, upon arriving, we would see the workers bowing at us again.
They gift wrap most of the things you shopped for. (With very nice paper too!)
Some malls are separated by gender — one building for the ladies, and one building for the gentlemen.
On an escalator, you either stand on the left or walk up on the right side.
In the subway station, it’s never always keep left, there are some signs that you have to look out for that say keep right. It gets very confusing.
Their toilets do more than just flush. I’ve never seen so many functions for a toilet.
People don’t lock their bikes. I guess they’re not scared of thievery.
The people are generally very nice. They were patient with us even though they didn’t know much English.
People shopped in Prada as if there were a sale (when there was actually none).
Their subway seats have cushions and heaters. There’s nothing like a warm ride home.
I had an incredible time in Tokyo, and I would definitely think about going back again! A step into Tokyo was a little bit like a step into the future. I can’t wait for my next visit!
The Duck and The Owl approached me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I wanted to make a cover design for their very first web magazine. In case any of you don’t know, The Duck and The Owl is a blog run by two amazing women who talk a lot about books (they love Harry freaking Potter), pop culture, and life. They have grown to become this amazing blog — with their random acts of happiness, forest friends book club, sunday sweets and smiles, and now *drum rolls* web zines.
This is their very first zine! And this is the first time anyone ever asked me to contribute to a big project, so I was super psyched! In case any of you are interested in contributing to their zine, click here.
They are accepting:
Keep in mind that the deadline for submissions is on December 1. It would be super cool if you guys become a part of it.
Working on the Design
So, I was in my roommate’s grandparents’ lake house when I drew a draft of the design (I was actually watching Harry Potter while I was working, no joke). This is what I came up with:
It was a very great environment to be in (perfect time too, the leaves were just gorgeous outside). I was able to kayak for the very first time.
If that doesn’t stir your creative juices, I don’t know what will. Eventually, I transferred the drawings on the computer and worked on it with Pixelmator. I did a lot of trial and error when it came to the top and bottom part of the cover.
…but they were both kind of ‘meh,’ so I tried replicating some of my designs all over the page. Eventually, after adding pictures, changing colors, adding colors, and having loads of fun, this is what came out of it: