Tag Archives: daybook

The Sunshine Blogger Award

There’s this award going around WordPress called “Sunshine Blogger Award.” I did a quick search on Google and didn’t really find information on who, where, why, or how this got started (either that or I just didn’t search hard enough! If you know something, please enlighten me). Images turned up various designs and interpretations of the award, probably just independently designed by the nominated bloggers who posted about it. Anyhoo, the Sunshine Blogger Award sounds like a good thing. Bloggers nominate other bloggers famous or not—gives them a sense of recognition, somewhat boosts their blog’s morale.

So thanks to my newfound virtual friend, Francesca of A Female Flâneur, for thinking of me for this award. I don’t usually do this kind of things, but I didn’t want to turn you down (your questions are actually quite interesting!) and I’m feeling kind of bored and upset (I just got my iPod touch, which was basically like my virtual diary, stolen ☹), so this is a good way to divert my mind.

Here goes!

1. What’s your dream holiday destination and why?

Well, it should be the whole planet Earth. You know, there are a lot of great things about this world that it’s just hard to choose only one dream destination. But right now, Korea first comes to mind—it’s a dream destination that’s soon going to turn into a reality. 😉

2. What book would you recommend for summer reading?

Moby Dick. It’s what I’m currently reading! The movie In the Heart of the Sea kind of prompted me to read this classic. It’s a good read when you’re stuck at home and wishing for some sea adventure.

3. What outfit or accessory makes you feel fabulous?

Just high waist jeans and sneakers. However, currently, I’m starting to get obsessed with wire rings. They look pretty and funky!

4. On a typical Sunday morning, what would you be doing?

Slouching in bed, watching Netflix. Or spending time at a coffee shop. ❤

5. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Spaghetti!!! And in red meaty sauce only.

6. Do you have any role models? If so, who are they?

Oh gosh, it’s hard to think of anyone specific. I get bits of inspiration from different kinds of people—Barrack Obama and his diplomacy, charm, and great public speaking, Stephen King and his big-screen-worthy novels, Amelia Earhart and her acting upon her dream of seeing the world, the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago of the Philippines and her brilliance and bravery.

These are just the people I can think of right now, but I’m sure there are a lot more people who have inspired me to pursue what I am pursuing now.

7. What is something on your bucket list?

To do something height-defying. I have an awful fear of heights, and I want to do something that would challenge that. I don’t want this fear to limit me. People seem to have a lot of fun doing skydiving or bungee jumping, and if I had the chance to do these things, I would want to (although just the thought of it makes my legs tingle right now!)

8. Tea or coffee?

Definitely coffee. I love bubble tea too, though!

9. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

That I am intimidating. It doesn’t really sound like a compliment, does it? I don’t always get that kind of comment about me because I feel that I am always the one feeling intimidated by other people. So to hear that someone thinks I  have a strong personality which they find intimidating was rather interesting.

10. If there was one change you would like to see in the world, what would it be?

The first that came to mind is plastics. We have a huge problem now on plastic waste that many people, quite surprisingly, are not aware of. But then, I also thought of animal cruelty, climate change, racism, and ridiculous national leaders.

If there was one change I would like to see in the world, it is a change in people’s minds—that people would start being rational and actually care about the world.

11. Do you have a favourite fairy-tale? If so, what is it?

I like Puss in Boots and Beauty and the Beast just because I enjoyed the films!


 

I was honestly not sure who to nominate at first as it’s been a while since I last read entries from the blogs I follow. These people might be surprised to hear from me but here are my nominees! These are people I just randomly connected with in the past because I found something interesting in their blogs. We don’t know each other personally, but I do find their blogs worthy of a read.

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

Pensive Palindrome

Curlygirlabroad

(Almost) Unsalvageable

Fill and Feel

Here are my 11 questions:

1. Books or e-books?
2. Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
3. What place/town in your country would you recommend to travel?
4. Do you go to coffee shops? If so, which one is your favorite?
5. What’s your typical breakfast?
6. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love?
7. Do you believe in destiny?
8. What is your favorite planet besides Earth and why?
9. Words or pictures?
10. If you had superpowers, what would it be?
11. What was your last dream about?

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate your favorite bloggers to receive the award, and write 11 questions for them.

4. List the rules and display the award logo on your post and blog.

I look forward to reading your answers to my questions! ❤

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Prelude to A Series of Coffee-Loving Entries

I love coffee, I just do. I have never loved a guy as much as I have loved coffee—there is no such thing as too much coffee or a pain-in-the-ass coffee!

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Here’s a silly story. I guess I could say my coffee addiction started when I was in my teens. I was spending a hot summer vacation at my aunt’s, and I was so roasted that I needed something to cool me down. All that was there on the kitchen table was a jar of ground coffee and another of sugar. I was never a fan of plain water, so I took the coffee and sugar and mixed it with ice cold water and—voila!—the best discovery I ever made! Ice-cold coffee. I probably drank at least three glasses more that day.

Up to this day, I can still drink three or more in a day.

Coffee is divine.

Coffee is more than just a dose of awakening caffeine. Coffee itself is divine. Good coffee is my go-to drink when I feel happy and want to celebrate, when I feel depressed and need to feel better, when I feel cold and need warmth, when I feel hot and need a refreshment, when I feel down and need inspiration, when I feel brokenhearted and desperate for a remedy, when I feel scared and need a pacifier, when I feel accomplished and deserve a reward. It’s the real star for all reasons.

Saturday noon ☀️

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Coffee has gloriously evolved from a commodity to a culture. And coffee shops are the best place to experience this.

Another great thing I love about coffee is the places it is served. Coffee has gloriously evolved from a commodity to a culture. And coffee shops are the best place to experience this extraordinary culture. People gather around a cup of coffee to foster friendships, rekindle romance, or seal business deals. Meanwhile, individuals like me who often go alone find some company in a cup of coffee. We are drawn not only to the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans but also to the unique atmosphere of coffee shops. The mellow sound of pop and R&B on the background music, hushed friendly chatters from the neighboring tables, coffee tables that can serve as a work desk, the couches. For someone who’s away from home and trapped in a concrete jungle, coffee shops are my oasis, a heavenly refuge.

Coffee, milk and sunshine #morning #coffee

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I started with Starbucks. I thank Starbucks for introducing me to the extraordinary culture of coffee, but for years now, I have been trying to veer away from commercial and seek more of what the smaller, independent cafes have to offer—and it’s endless. Every coffee shop is unique.

Coffeeeee
In 2016, I discovered at least 42 coffee shops in and out of Metro Manila.

In Metro Manila 🇵🇭 alone, there are countless of coffee shops waiting to be discovered. And when I go out of town or out of the country, the most indispensable part of my personal itinerary is a visit to some local coffee shops. In fact, a big part of the reason I travel is to see every town’s coffee culture, to see what kind of cafes these places harbor. Coffee is a culture in itself, but coffee shops also reflect the culture of the community they belong to. And this is what I want to write about, what I want to share, what I want to remember and keep looking back to.

This is just a start. I want to celebrate coffee more through a series of coffee-loving posts and photos. I want to record and share with the world my experiences with coffee so that maybe someone somewhere may better appreciate the existence of coffee in this world.

Coffee makes me happy. Maybe more people will be, too.

– R

Fighting Fear with Fear: I’m Finally in My Dream Job But—

 

I’m starting work in yet another company—my Nth employer in my lifetime. But this time it’s different. I am finally in my dream line of work.

It’s not easy. I’m happy—but it’s not easy. I’m having mixed emotions. But mostly anxiousness. Leaving an old job –the work you’d been comfortable with, the people you’d been close with, the place that had become your comfort zone—and then venturing out into the unknown is quite stressful. I’m setting out for a new working environment with unknown culture and personalities.

Sometimes, I wonder if I had made the right choice.

Sometimes, I wonder if I had made the right choice. Was it right to leave my comfort zone and stress out again on trying to adjust, learn and fit in? I had stayed in my last job for more than a year—the longest I’ve ever stayed in one in my entire millennial life. The reason I lasted in this job wasn’t because it was great and fulfilling but because it was so convenient and conflictless. Would it have been right to stay in this job? Would it have been right if I had stayed in a kind of job that gave me a sense of ease but not of achievement? I loved the people I worked with, but was it enough for me to tolerate the job?

Perhaps a better question to ask myself is: what do I want? Then, I’ll know if I had made the right choice.

And this is what I want. I want to grow and accomplish a lot. I want to do what I love because we only live once.

I see what I love in the new company—the opportunity to write and the chance to be read. I have worked in customer service, media production, advertising and business development, but this is the first time ever that I will be doing a job that is actually my passion and specialization (writing was my college major). This is a great leap towards the fulfillment of my dreams. A stepping stone to becoming a renowned writer.

To be able to do what I love is a great motivation, so why am I so apprehensive?


I tend to be anxious about many things. So, recently, I made a personal diagram of how I can fight fears, and applied it in this situation.

Attachment-1

The first step is, like they always say, acknowledge the fears—admit the things that I am afraid of.

I am afraid that the new job might be too demanding and stressful that I won’t be able to keep up with it. I am afraid of doing something clumsy or stupid that people are going to judge me. I am afraid of not matching the wavelength of my new colleagues and be alienated. Not only am I afraid but do I also hate to force myself to reach out to people. I’m generally a friendly and approachable person, but I hate feeling like it’s a requirement to make friends and like I have to force myself to come up with icebreakers. I like conversations to flow naturally. I’m scared of being judged.

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The next step is to know why. Why am I afraid of these things?

I walked into a bigger world with a greater assortment of personalities good and bad.

I am not even sure why I feel so afraid and concerned about not matching with other people, being alienated or being judged. I know these are all pointless, restrictive fears. Perhaps I have these ridiculous fears because my self-esteem is so vulnerable and I have the natural instinct to protect my wellbeing. In the university, I was trained and have gotten used to being open to constructive criticisms. But those were criticisms of work. I wasn’t trained to be receptive to personal criticisms. I grew up in a small and mellow environment and had always been lucky to meet good-natured friends. But as I stepped out of college, I walked into a bigger world with a greater assortment of personalities good and bad. I wasn’t used to it.

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Now that I have acknowledged what my fears are and why I fear them, my third and final step is to find more productive fears. What am I more afraid of?

I can’t grow and accomplish things, in this one shot I got at life, if I let my fears hold me back.

I go back to the question of what do I want? I want to grow and accomplish a lot. As far as I can tell, we only live once. And I’m afraid that I can’t grow and accomplish things, in this one shot I got at life, if I let my fears hold me back. I am more afraid to just leave this world and be buried six feet below the ground without leaving a legacy. I want to be remembered through my writing, or whatever creative craft I do. This is what I am more afraid of.

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As a self-confessed sluggish and sleepy girl, I am met every day with the greatest temptation of just burying my face in my iPod or laptop and binging on Netflix and video games. But every day I am also confronted with this greater fear of not becoming the person I want to be, not growing and not accomplishing.


Now, this is what I personally thought up based on my experiences, which I feel is a very good way to fight irrational fears. I have found, however, that there is a book that has tackled the same concept, although it highlighted more on the fear of God; and a very cute and touching episode of a Japanese anime I loved very much as a kid. Fear of God may be the best kind of fear, but in a more earthly sense, a good fear can be anything. It can be the fear of hurting the people you love or the fear of not achieving your dreams.

I may be afraid to leave my comfort zone or make mistakes in the new job or not be liked by everyone, but all of these are a part of the wholeness of the world—at least the world I live in. Leaving my comfort zone means widening my horizons and stretching my capabilities. Making mistakes means learning. And not being liked by everyone? We can’t please everyone, it’s true. But as long as there are people who love me, I will keep going.

What She’s Worth

This morning, I was talking to a girl who was a lot like me. And I said a lot of good things–things that I myself needed to hear.

I told her that she has wasted enough of her time for someone who doesn’t treat her like what she’s worth. Those years could have been the best years of her life, but she was stuck in a closet, like a skeleton in the dark, waiting for no one that could give her life. Her life was not hers.

She does not deserve that. No man is worth treating her like a skeleton in the closet.

She deserves only what she’s worth. And this is her worth: She is worth having as a girlfriend. She is worth letting the world know that she is a man’s love. She is worth fighting for.

She is hanging by a thin thread only waiting for it to snap. She has hoped and waited enough. She should not wait forever just to have a place in someone’s life.

Every day, I have to tell her this–no, a good girl does not deserve that.

A Look Back on Good Ol’ UPLB Days

I graduated and left my university almost two years ago now. I lived in Los Baños, Laguna for a good six years, so surely it will always be a place with lots of memories to look back to. Los Baños, or Elbi as we call it, has been and always will be my second true home.

This Saturday, I will be going back to spend a day and a night there. And the thought of it makes me reminisce about the good ol’ days when I was a student of UP Los Baños.

My year as a graduating student was perhaps the best time of my college life. It was busy, with most days filled with anxiousness on finishing my practicum manuscript on time while fulfilling other major course requirements. I am happy I pulled through all those rather smoothly.

And this was how I did it. I recount here my daily routine as a graduating student in Elbi.

1. I would wake up at 4:30 AM and go out for a jog. My apartment was a short distance to the university campus. UP Los Baños was not only a good place for the brain but also for the body. I would always find fellow joggers at UPLB Freedom Park, a rectangular field about 1.4km in length. There were only a handful at 5 AM, and then shot up around 6. I would finish my rounds at 6 or 6:30, depending on how much drive I had on that day. I usually finished five to seven rounds of alternate jogging and walking. After jogging, I would spot a vacant concrete bench, usually the one nearest the big tree in front of the Student Union (SU) building, and sit for a while so I could breathe in the fresh morning breeze and just watch the surroundings. On that spot, I contemplated on my manuscript, on crushes or on the innocence of the morning. Only a few vehicles ran in the morning. It was only a few hours ’til they overpower the sound of crickets and birds (and cats, every once in a while) once again.

2. After my early morning jog, I would either take a nap or have breakfast at the two big fast food joints. It depended on my mood which one I chose. Mcdonald’s and Jollibee in UPLB had different vibes in them.

I would go to Mcdonald’s with my backpack that contained my yellow pad, laptop and pens. I contemplated, if not writing anything, on my manuscript. Mcdonald’s was students’ haven in UPLB because it was open 24/7 and closer to the campus. I liked to immerse in this environment early in the morning, so I could somehow absorb the scholarly vibe. My usual Mcdonald’s breakfast was a meal of two-piece pancakes and coffee.

I would go to Jollibee when I wanted to just space out. I would get my usual order of breakfast steak and coffee and take a table on the second floor, where I could get a view of Mt. Makiling against the houses and buildings below, and just contemplate. It was a relaxing sight. I didn’t usually bring my manuscript when I came here. There were fewer students, and families and elders were a more frequent sight in the morning. Jollibe, for me, just meant chill.

3. After my breakfast, I would take a bath and prepare for my classes. I didn’t have a full schedule of classes during my last year in college, so I usually had a lot of vacant time to work on my manuscript. When I didn’t have any class, one of my favorite hangouts during the day (there’s a different favorite for the nightly work) was the university library. Thank heavens to whoever championed the improvement of facilities at the library. In my first few years of college, the university had bad air-conditioning and only a few working computers that didn’t have access to the Internet. It used to be one of the worst places to be in when you had research to do but had no other choice but to go there. It was an old building.

Upon my return in the university after a few years of AWOL, I was so delighted to find the library with cool air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi for students! I could stay there for a whole afternoon. It was very conducive to studying and writing my papers. I would grab as many books as I could, lay them on my table beside my laptop and read on. I was productive when I was in the library.

4. If I wasn’t in the library, I would be in IRRI. IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) was another favorite hangout during the day. It’s just a quick jeepney ride from CEAT (College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology). Sometimes, I would even walk the whole way. The road from CEAT to IRRI is lined with trees and your surrounding is painted by nature. It was another refreshing activity for the mind and body (I looove IRRI). Another thing I love about IRRI is the good food. Sooo good! And when I say good, I mean healthy. IRRI specializes in agricultural research, focusing on rice and food security. Its cafeteria serves various dishes of meat and vegetables in different cuisines. Not only that, meals are also reasonably priced–very affordable for a poor student like me!

After finishing my meal (or meals if I was super hungry) and bussing my table, I would transfer to the café next door, where coffee and pastries were also affordable, with an added bonus of pleasant surroundings. A pond with a cute resident turtle at the back. A small garden on the side. And a larger field at the front. The café was where I either wrote my manuscript or just doodled on my journal.

5. Another favorite daytime hangout was Bon Appetea at UPLB Grove. Their “Love Potion No. 9” milk tea was my favorite. Surely it was a mysterious potion that made me fell in love with it. I forgot if number 9 meant anything–all I knew was that it had some oreo and milk in it. Because the place had free and fast Wi-Fi, it was another place I could hang around and bury myself in my manuscript for a long period of time.

6. In the afternoon, I loved taking a walk and going on a street food trip! My favorite street snacks were kwek-kwek (battered quail eggs) right outside the campus and proben (fried proventriculus) along Ruby St. in Raymundo. Super Cup’s milk tea was a super thirst-quencher. An afternoon walk was also a good time to refresh my soul by spending it with a friend. I usually called up my “Rumey” – an old roomie when I used to share an apartment with friends.

7. At night, my top and all-time favorite hangout was Coffee Blends, a modest café farther out UPLB Grove. They opened at around 6 PM, and I often came on time. Then, I would spend the rest of the night there, working on my manuscript or just daydreaming, while sipping on my favorite brewed coffee.

What I loved about Coffee Blends was that it’s a simple place, nothing fancy. Small tables, painted wooden chairs that looked more appropriate for kindergarten, no Wi-Fi. Even so, I still loved spending time here.

Maybe because food and coffee were cheap? I usually ordered brewed coffee for Php50 (Php75 if with a refill) and burrito for Php60 if memory serves me right. They also had pasta dishes and toast at about the same price.

Or maybe because of the ambience? Coffee Blends had ambient lighting, complemented by the tuneful songs they play. It was also rarely noisy here. I guess that helped inspire my creativity and emotions.

Or maybe because the service was good? The beautiful owners managed the café themselves. Although quite shy, they were always attentive and graceful.

Or maybe it was all of the above that made me love Coffee Blends so much. Like I often say, the best coffee places have no need to offer free Wi-Fi!

***

There are many other places and activities that I remember and miss in Elbi. For now, these are what immediately came to mind and made me want to write. Tomorrow, I’ll be on my way to Elbi. While I’m aware that there have been a lot of changes while I was gone, I still hope to find these old places again and relive my college days.

See you in a bit, my dear Elbi! ❤️