Tag Archives: friendship

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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2 Broke Girls: Sassy in Nagsasa

Exactly one year ago, in the same month of April, I was in probably the most stressful job I’ve ever been in – in the field that is in fact notorious for high demands and long hours of work. Sleeping in at the office was the norm. We often went home past midnight or past the hour that I should’ve been eating dinner at home.

Without the time for a refreshing sight of family and friends, having companionable colleagues was a great solace. One in particular was even game for a bit of spontaneity and self-indulgence.

With the hopes of temporarily escaping all the work and heart-related stress, two broke girls went on an unplanned escape trip to Zambales in April last year.

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The 2 broke (but sassy) girls in Nagsasa Cove

I won’t go into detail about the itinerary or the expenses as this is not what it’s all about. This is about the best memories of two sassy girls and a proof that sometimes unplanned trips have a greater chance of materializing. All I can say is that it was supposedly a really cheap, budget-friendly trip to Nagsasa Cove, which two splurging girls couldn’t manage.

I remember well that it was a Saturday, and it was a national holiday. And we refused to answer any work call or any “request” to come in for weekend work. It was crazy right from the start. Since the trip was mostly unplanned, we came to the bus station without reserved tickets. Many buses were fully booked, which we didn’t expect, and we had to wait for about two hours to board. What was expected to be a 9 AM trip turned into a sun-struck 12 noon trip.

Since we were unfamiliar with the route, there were moments of panic when, for instance, we found out we were in Bataan and doubted if we rode the right bus because we thought Bataan was a place on the other side of the world (it’s not!).

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Seeking shade in Pundaquit while waiting for boat-mates
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A bonus: met a handsome new friend!

When we arrived at Pundaquit port, we were clueless about how to find a boat after failing to get a hold of our contact person. In our attempt to save money by splitting the boat fee, we made two new friends. We practiced our social skills and said hello to two newcomers and asked if they’d like to share their boat. They agreed—how could they say no to cost-cutting?

We got to the beautiful innocent beach of Nagsasa Cove late in the afternoon and immediately got ourselves busy with setting up our tent before going for a swim. There are no hotels or fancy amenities in Nagsasa Cove. Everybody goes by with a tent and a bonfire at night.

The time was perfect to get soaked in the water because it was already late in the afternoon; there was still light from the sun yet it wasn’t scorching anymore. I lay on the fine volcanic sand of Nagsasa Cove, a by-product of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the ‘90s, and relished the waves that rippled through my body.

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“Can’t believe someone left trash swimming around,” I uttered to my friend as we approached what looked like a plastic bag underwater. Another step closer and we shrieked and swam for our lives—it was a giant bluish jellyfish! And then we saw another one. Eeek! I was traumatized.

In the evening, we invited our boat-mates for a little drink and bonfire. A bonfire could be set up by the shore with a small fee, which again we divided among the four of us so it was much cheaper. Our two new friends, who were obviously awkward to us at first, got a bit more comfortable and spoke up more. I and my friend also learned more about each other. The night was lit up by bonfire and laughter.

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Resting on calm water

On the next day, I and my friend woke up early to catch the sunrise and take some pictures while the beach was still empty. It was also a perfect time to appreciate the place. It was a view surrounded by trees and mountains. The fine ashen sand sparkled as the first sunlight hit it. Fishing boats were resting on the shore while fish were wide awake.

We ate canned goods, which we bought prior to the trip, for breakfast. We packed them partly because we knew there were no restaurants in Nagsasa, partly because we didn’t want to carry a portable stove in our bags and partly because we were skimping. We were on a very tight budget that we seriously debated whether to buy two cups of halo-halo that only cost Php40 each. In the end, we thought screw this, it’s a hot day and we’re going to enjoy halo-halo by the beach.

There’s a small hill on one end of Nagsasa Cove where visitors could go on a hike to get a bigger view of the beach. I left my friend behind (she’s not in good terms with the sun) and went for a short hike with one of our boat-mates. It wasn’t really high; it was only steep and dusty on some parts. But once we got to the top, we could feel the wind and take panoramic photos of Nagsasa Cove. From above, the water looked perfectly blue, embraced by a crescent bay. This was not Boracay or Puerto Galera where people went for an exuberant vacation. This was a modest place, with scenery I could enjoy without it being tainted by banana boats and jet skis in the water or a bunch of people tanning on the sand.

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After we got down, it was very hot so we soaked in the clear and cold water near the hill. I told our boat-mates about our scary encounter with jellyfish and they, too, got caught in the paranoia. We were moving around in the water so it caused some air bubbles to rise, and seeing a bubble startled us every time because we mistook it for a jellyfish ambush!

Our boat came back for us in the afternoon to take us back to Pundaquit. The sail back was another unforgettable memory for me. The waves were a bit fiercer now than it was the previous day. And one thing I realized was that it’s scary for the boat motor to die down and the boat to stop parallel with the waves because it felt like the water was going to knock us over. I love swimming but am not enthusiastic about swimming with big waves, so I didn’t want us to get knocked over.

I was thankful for reaching land alive, but the predicament didn’t end there. I and my friend were then confronted by the possibility of not getting home because we didn’t have enough money. At this point, we regretted buying that halo-halo at Nagsasa Cove. We failed to properly keep track of our spending.

We checked every corner of our wallets to no avail. Pant pockets—nope. Backpack compartments—nil. Kitty coin purse—nada. We looked at each other with awkward, panicked laugh. “You must be playing a joke.” “No, but you are. Take the money out now.” It was a few seconds later that nobody moved to take out money that we started freaking out.

So, we found an ATM to check each of our cards, knowing damn well they were empty. But who knows? She inserted her card—empty. I checked one of mine—hopeless. I desperately tried another card and, lo and behold, we squealed and jumped and it had money in it!

Two broke girls could miraculously go home.

Elbi: Food, Coffee and Nostalgic Walks

Seeing men swinging small boards that said “Private Pool” on the side of the road made me feel restless because I knew we were close. A couple more minutes and we would arrive at the place I had been yearning for. The place that served as a true home during the days I was struggling with college and independence.

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The green road to my beloved Elbi (pardon the reflection of the tissue!)

IRRI-sistible!

We arrived in IRRI at 10 AM and grabbed breakfast at the cafeteria – a place I often came to as a student for cheap good food, with a view of the rice fields and the mountainous horizon. I ate a big serving of saucy roast chicken with rice, plus brewed coffee and a slice of cassava cake for dessert for only Php105.

The weather was a bit gloomy at noon and it rained a little, but it didn’t stop me from touring my friends and us from taking crazy photos. Actually, the bit of rain helped refresh the surroundings from the summer heat and the air became a bit cooler for a while.

I visited the pond at the back of the IRRI’s coffee shop, Bean Hub, which was closed at the time, and searched for the lone resident turtle to say hi. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it. Prolly it was sleeping in a corner covered by plants. I hope so.

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Man waiting for an Uber in IRRI?

Dairy-cious…

We left IRRI a little after lunchtime and drove to Animal Science, UPLB (University of the Philippines, Los Baños). We went to PCC’s (Philippine Carabao Center) Dairy Corner, where I used to buy fresh dairy products for a sweet treat after my PE or An Sci classes. My favorite has always been Milk-O-Jel (Php15, then and now❤️) – a small cup of soft carabao milk pudding with sweet syrup on top, sort of like leche flan. At this time, I also got Carakafe – coffee❤️ with carabao milk for only Php35. My other favorite items from Dairy Corner are their yogurts of different flavors and chocomilk. Obviously, all of their dairy products are made from carabao’s milk. They also have meat products. All so natural, so fresh, so delish.

After IRRI, we drove around the campus before heading out. I got off the car and bid goodbye to my friends who were returning to Manila. I, on the other hand, was staying for the rest of the day.

***

I checked in at One Providence, a dormitory near the campus that also rents out transient rooms. I walked along F.O. Santos street going to One Providence and discovered a few changes. Some old establishments I used to go to have been replaced by new ones. Most notably, Sizzlers, a restaurant located on the third floor/rooftop of a building, has been replaced by “Siblings.” I used to love going to Sizzlers for dinner because of the view from the balcony dining setup. It was quite a romantic setting. I bet Siblings retained that setup, although I’m not sure yet if they measure up to Sizzlers’ sizzling dishes (my personal favorite was sisig with egg).

Old street snacks

After resting for a bit in my dormitory room, I went out again for a walk, carrying my backpack with my notebook, pens and laptop. At 4 PM, my first stop was the small kwek-kwek (fried orange quail eggs) cart in front of Vega Arcade, right outside the UPLB gate. I bought a stick of four pieces (Php15) and resumed walking while dipping my kwek-kwek in my cup o’ spicy vinegar.

Along the way, I also stopped by Micha’s, a pastry and cake shop near Demarses Subdivision where I used to live. Whenever I was stressed out with acads (academic stuff), I would stop by and take out either blueberry cheesecake (I remember it’s less than Php100), cream puffs (Php12 for caramel-glazed, Php15 for vanilla-glazed) or chocolate chip cookies. Cream puffs were my favorite, so I decided to buy them this time. Prices didn’t change! I ate my caramel and vanilla cream puffs as I wandered on.

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There’s nothing like Micha’s cream puffs.

New food places

After a couple of minutes of walking along Lopez Avenue (Grove), I was kicking around whether I was going to eat at an old favorite or try a new restaurant. I decided to do…both! At 5 PM, I went to Bibap Korean Restaurant, which was a new find for me. I gave my order at the counter and went up to the second floor to find a low dining table setup. I sat on my floor cushion as I ate my jajangmyeon with delicious side dishes (Php135), while watching some Korean music videos on their TV. At this time on a Saturday, there are not many people at Bibap—in fact, I was the only one enjoying the solitude of the restaurant. On the other hand, perhaps it was too early for a heavy meal…

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Picture-perfect vanilla ice cream coffee at Productivity Cafe

Meanwhile, Productivity Cafe just on the other side of the street had a lot of occupied tables. Since my old favorite, Coffee Blends, was for some reason closed on that day, I decided to try a new coffee shop. Productivity Cafe was a small coffee place on the second floor of a new commercial building along Lopez Ave. that offered a special space for students to concentrate on their acads and for alumni like me to just blend in. When I entered the cafe, I almost thought I walked into a class. On one side, there were four long tables occupied by two young people each, who were perfectly lined up with their laptops set on the table. I occupied a small square table in another corner overlooking the road and set my laptop, notebook and pens on the little surface, with a smaller space for my vanilla ice cream coffee (Php99). Productivity Cafe encourages silence as respect for students who’re trying to work and plays soothing music that makes you feel more like you’re in a spa. It’s a good thing they had bright lighting, else I would have dozed off on my table.❤️

Eatsumo, always

I stayed at Productivity Café until around 8:30 PM. I crossed the street again to transfer to Eatsumo, an old favorite Japanese restaurant, for a second fill. I admit it’s not authentic Japanese, but I still love their donburi and california maki. Their meals were tasty and cheap—served justice to my scanty college budget. Whenever I craved for some Japanese meals, this was where I ran to. This time, I ordered the usual—”toridon,” chicken and egg donburi (Php70), which I found weird at first because I knew it was “oyakodon.” Anyway, tori meant bird or chicken in Japanese, so technically it’s not wrong to call it toridon!

I sat alone on a table while watching other students enjoying their meals and chatting with each other. I used to be like them—dining with a friend and ranting lightheartedly on after a stressful day of boring classes and demanding professors. Although, sometimes, I would just enjoy a meal alone and just be thankful for having the time to run away from papers, go out and chill.

Old nightly habits, nostalgia

After my dinner, at around 9:30, I walked around a little more. I passed by CDC (College of Development Communication) and remembered the nights I used to walk by this place filled with students chattering among themselves or practicing a class presentation or just waiting for friends they were meeting up with. I remembered the nights I used to walk by this place to meet my Dev Com friends. Strangely, as a Com Arts student, I used to have more close friends from CDC and other colleges. If I could be honest, I’d say I didn’t really match the wavelengths of my Com Arts batchmates. I saw them as loud, dynamic and high-maintenance. Their sassiness was a bit intimidating for me. I found it easier to get along with peeps from CDC and Engineering, who were more easygoing and scruffy (in a cute way!). But later on, I also got to meet good friends in my own college who made me comfortable and happy.

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My beloved college, CAS

Past CDC, I walked by the old CAS (College of Arts and Sciences) building with so much nostalgia. At the start of every semester, this was where I fell in line for several minutes to claim the most coveted Form 5 (Certificate if Registration). (And then, I would fall in line again for hours at the Admin office for payment of matriculation and at the University Registrar for stamping of Form 5 and class cards.) This was also where I endured classes with wall fans blowing warm air on our faces in summertime.

It was certainly not easy in college, but it will always be something I’d be willing to relive over and over because every end of the day was rewarding after you finished all of the day’s tasks. At the end of the day, there would always be friends, good food and fine coffee that would ease all the stress. I love you, UPLB.

Sunday morning

In the morning, before heading back to Manila, I decided to grab breakfast and coffee and chill a little more at Cafe Ella, probably the only cafe in Elbi that’s open at 8 AM on Sunday. Cafe Ella is also a nice place to hang around, with its cozy interior and free Wi-Fi. I tried for the first time their classic meaty red sauced pasta (Php175) and brewed coffee (Php65). When I was in college, I usually ordered fish and chips and caramel macchiato. I only went here when I was feeling lavish (when I had extra after paying rent!) because Cafe Ella was a little too expensive for me.

Sundays and holidays will make you realize that the students are the life of Elbi. When there are no classes, there are not many establishments to go to. Most restaurants and cafes are either closed or open late, and it’s hard to find a nice place to hang out especially in the morning. Without the young people, Elbi is like a ghost town.

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I’ll keep coming back to you, Elbi! Love you.

 

On Social life and Friendship

Social life of a not so typical twenty-something girl.

Perhaps, many people are at the height of their social interaction in their 20’s. Gimmicks here and there. Parties in and out the crib. Most likely with different groups of old friends and about to add new friends.

I don’t have many friends. Well. I really don’t. I just know many people. I’ve hung out with most of them. Watched movies and drank beers with some. Kissed a few of them, yes. But they’re not all my friends. For me, just because we’ve attended parties, danced together and touched skins doesn’t mean I can count them as friends. I only count a few friends but they definitely make my social life worth while for being real.

At my early 20’s, I am not much into hard drinking and loud partying. Not anymore. I’ve had more than enough of those during my teens. My recreation now is spent in my own flat, mostly in coffee shops, occasionally in a small quiet bar or at times, a park when there are few people. I seldom go out with a big group because it gets too overwhelming. I usually hang around with one or two friends at a time.

I got my ex-roommate. We were the best of roomies back in college. Several years have passed, we remain tight and in touch. She’s crazy. To her, I’m crazy. We share sentiments and frustration on love, crushes and sex. We both aim to be sexy and fail at it together. We laugh a lot. We baby talk, bitch talk, sassy talk. She’s one good drinking buddy. We like to hang at a bar and just chill. Sometimes, we like to get drunk and I don’t mind because I’m comfortable with her. She has been a constant companion in college. And the best.

I got my guy best friend. We’ve been best friends for the longest time. He’s the guy that my mom has known the longest. Of all the boys who came to our house, he’s the only consistent face who’s kept showing up. We are very open to each other. We sleep together. We can change clothes in one room. We also share sentiments and giggles over boys. Yes, just boys. We both like boys. But what I love about him is that he keeps his handsome and masculine stance nonetheless. He is a perfect pretend-boyfriend.

I got my girl best friend. She is my ‘bestest’ friend. I like to call her that but actually, we rarely talk and spend time together because she is abroad. She’s been away for a couple of years and the only interaction we have is through the internet. I don’t really have much to say about her except that I love her.

Then, I got my crush who is also a very good friend. We’ve known each other for a while. He’s been a great companion in eating, movies, strolling, playing video games, cuddling and just talking. He always gives me a comfy space to freely express myself and be nuts sometimes. He lets me be a little clingy. He lets me be a little bossy. He gets mad at me but still hugs me. He doesn’t know it but he breaks my heart sometimes. But he also mends it quite easily.

I got some other good friends whom I communicate and go out with from time to time. Our favorite hangouts are food places (anywhere where there’s food!), coffee shops, malls and movie theaters. We talk about easy topics like career, travel, plans and dreams, coffee and strangers and passers-by.

I consider them all as friends not only because they go out with me but also because I can talk with them. Some friends only talk to me when there’s an upcoming bash. When I try to start a talk about crushes and stuff, I get less to no response. Sometimes, I feel that I can only talk with them when I join them in parties and that’s costly. Real friends are not supposed to be expensive. I don’t necessarily have to dish out money for going to clubs and parties and other overpriced affairs just to bond with them. I can have quality time with real friends even if I didn’t have a cent in my pocket. Real friends don’t take effort to listen and respond. We can talk about problems like a funny thing and still reach a resolution together. We can run out of things to talk about but never run out of things to laugh about. Simply being with a real friend is something to smile about.

I don’t merely seek social life. I just need real friends.