Friday, December 31, 2010

The Decade Past

2010 marks the end of the decade.

In retrospect, seeing myself 10 years ago, and the person I have become now, makes me even wonder what will become of me 10 more years after this.

It was ten years ago when I studied in the University. It is the time where I started to really dream dreams. It is the time where I was presented into a bigger and surprising world. A time where I have molded my own identity.

It is in this decade where I started to earn money and be in the corporate world. It is the start of taking part into hoping for the progress of society. It is the time where I have met real monsters and how to cope with them.

It is in this decade too, where I grew my wings, and started to travel the world. It is in this decade where I have become proud, yet humbled, having been given the opportunity to live and work outside my comfort zones. And it is also in this decade where I have realized, that foreign places can be your own comfort zone too.

It is in this time too, that I have realized the value of family, most especially when bound by distance. It is the time of giving back to parents what they have invested on me. It is in this time too that I realized I can create a family too, aside from my biological ones.

It is in this decade where I have experienced how to really love and be loved back. It is in this time I have acknowledged that love can yield you into being your best or your worst, and sad to say, letting go and moving on is all part of the process.

There have been many barriers that had to be broken down, many times of falling and getting up, many fears that had to be faced head-on, struggles that had to be conquered. It made me strong.

There have been countless victories too, overflowing blessings, immeasurable love, and life's little surprises. It made me move on further.

The following decade seems to be a hopeful one. I am looking forward to much much more experiences to learn, more places to go to, more people to love, and more of me to give.

2011, let's get it on!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The 27th Phase: A Toast to Life

* Click on the image to see further details. :-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Defining a Designer

In one of the seminars I have handled a few years ago on Designing in Magazines in my alma matter, I clearly remember I told the students that being a graphic designer is more tedious than being a writer. Why? Because instead of a think-and-write process, designers think, then write, before actually putting them into visual representations.

Most of the advertising agencies in the Philippines tend to spoon feed their designers. Creative Directors conceptualize everything while the designer just waits for detailed instructions and be able to manipulate the concept into computer.

Luckily, I have not worked in one of those. Or maybe, I didn't last long enough to remember I was into one. Most of the companies I have worked in, not only have beers and wine inside the fridge where you can actually grab during brainstorming sessions, or would allow you to smoke right in front of your computer, but ultimately taught me how it really is to be a designer; A designer who researches, who takes the time to get to know other designers and other styles, who conceptualizes, who painstakingly squeezes those creative juices, even at the most tumultuous time where one cannot squeeze even a drop.

I've had my share of all designers' dilemma. There were times when a big idea just pops out into mind even when the brief is still in the process. There were times as well that no matter how brilliant my idea is, the creative team usually chooses the concept which took only 5 minutes to create than the one I struggled to think about for days. Most of the times, I let sleeping or talking to someone over a cup of coffee, do the trick. These are the times that a big idea finally emerges.

More than making money out of designing, I believe that I design because this is the best way I can communicate and take part in changing the world. I am most happy doing personal projects, and those with little or no budget.

There is no regret that I took this path. I knocked down walls, gone over hurdles, been bruised and shed blood, however this is my passion. It made me ME. From where I am now and what I have become, and what I will be, that will define a true designer.

I couldn't believe I was able to do a special project such as this--the 18th Birthday of my youngest sister. Despite the distance, and a lot more challenges, there was no other choice but to pull it off. From conceptualization and design of invites, to her dress, cake, venue, giveaways, I was able to integrate what my client wants. And this has been a humbling experience.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Beachin' Around

According to my countdown clock, it's only 47 days before the most awaited trip to Bali, Indonesia. By far, Phuket still owns my heart to one of the best beaches I've ever been to (well, aside from Palawan, of course). I've been to other beaches in Indonesia such as Batam and Bintan, but let's see if this enchanting Bali would put me into awe. I just can't help but think about it all the time!

So for now, I'll leave you with my Batam and Bintan memories. I'll update once I conquered the land.

Batam View Beach Resort
Batam, Indonesia, 2009

Bintan Lagoon Resort
Bintan, Indonesia, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sisterly Luvvv

I wonder where is the next trip with my sister would be?

Taken by Juli in Bintan, Indonesia. Photo edited by yours truly.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Untitled Love

I never really realized
how much you meant to me
until we have become miles apart

It is only now I've come to realize
how every moment with you is special

Every word uttered
Every touch of your hand
Every loving embrace
Becomes a good memory in retrospect

I've lost count on how many times
we fought of our differences
or I cried because I rebel
or simply because I failed you

Our relationship may have grown over the years
Withstood a lot of storms
Tested by time and circumstances

There may be only one thing I am certain of
That even beyond your last breath
Or even beyond mine
I will forever be grateful to the Man above
That He sent you to me

Happy Birthday, Mommy.
I love you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Arrivals and Departures

Nomad as I am, I got used to all the trades and techniques in traveling, whether heading to the beach, or out of the country, or simply just to get a gastronomic experience. Name it, we can have a never-ending conversation. But there's only thing I never get used to, the departing part.

You see, the airport brings different emotions. Excitement is what tourists feel especially if they're heading to a new destination. Others feel happiness and contentment especially if they're heading to their place of origin. While some are scared of what a new destination brings forth. There are some who shed tears because of unexplainable sadness due to parting.

I took part personally in all these emotions that almost always happen in an airport. I remember the first time I went out of the country. I was opened to a bigger and more exciting world that I have yet to conquer. It was then followed by going to destinations within the Philippine islands, and even working for the first time in a country who speaks little or no english. Now that I am working and living in another country, less than 4 hours away from the Philippines, I thought it would be a breeze on getting used to arrivals and departures, since I do it most of the times.

Honestly, the number of years of traveling maybe many, even genuine proofs of numerous passport stamps, 2 tourist visas, and 2 working visas, I have yet to learn that departures are always in conjunction with arrivals.

I sent my sister yesterday to the airport after a surprise visit nine days ago. We had so much fun together, it's as if she's living here with me. We lived luxuriously in a hotel provided for her. We watched a movie, ate and shopped everywhere. We even went to Indonesia for a short getaway.

She knocked on my door one Sunday morning, and I cried because the surprise arrival was too good to be true! (I was only in Manila a few days before she came to Singapore.) Then, when I accompanied her to the immigration for her departure after hugging her, I cried again, realizing that she won't be around anymore. But still, an airport is a hopeful place. I'd like to think there would be more arrivals soon.

* photo taken at Changi Airport Terminal 2, Singapore

Monday, May 10, 2010

That's Why

Now I know where Super Nanay gets all her powers from. Got to have that fabricated too for myself. :)

A Spotlight on Mothers

Same as the previous years, I am obliged to offer help to flower shop most especially in special events like this: Mother's Day. As always, I am assigned to preparing message cards for recipients. It feels really good to read all these messages, adding a personal touch, like putting a small heart or a smiling face. Never thought about working on weekends. Loved the job anyway.

It feels really good to see so many flowers, so much it creates a bed, everywhere. It feels equally as good, that we make these women happy by these arrangements.

On a personal note, I'd like to share the sms conversation with my mom:

Super Nanay: Hi! Musta? Kahit di mo ako pansinin, happy mother's day sa nanay ni Earla! [Hi! How are you? Even if you ignore me, Happy Mother's Day to Earla's mom!]

Me: Happy Mother's Day Mommy! Malilimutan ko ba naman yun, e love na love kita! [Happy Mother's Day Mommy! How can I ever forget, I love you very very much!]

Super Nanay: Ok. Love din kita. Hindi ako nanay kung wala ka. Ingat. [Ok. I love you too. I will never be a mother, if you're not here. Take care.]

I didn't manage to reply in an instant, tears started to fall. No matter how comical my relationship with my mom is, it certainly evokes a kind of unexplainable love, maybe no other daughter/son has ever experienced. The present may be late, but I never forget, most especially on occasions like these.

During the mass yesterday, the priest advised all mothers to stand up for them to be blessed. I proudly stood up, feeling a deep sense of motherly love. I have been a mother too, to my niece, to my siblings, to friends, to our pets. Though, I may not have experienced yet having a biological son/daughter, I feel responsible to mother and nurture people and things around me. I am proud, and at the same time, humbled, as tears started to fall again.

It may be a bit late, but nevertheless, I would like to salute all the mothers, as well as the mothers-to-be. Being one is one tough vocation.

If they say, yesterday is for our mothers, then today is the time we put the spotlight to our motherland.

Friday, May 7, 2010


It feels a bit odd with how communication with a friend on vacation in the US through skype went on. Before bidding goodbye, she was saying good night while I was saying good morning. There, I've come to realize that we are all getting old. We all go to different places, tread different paths, indulge to different activities. But one thing remains certain, and it is that real friends will always be friends, no matter how far we are physically, and no matter how and what we have become.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sputnik Sweetheart

"An intense love, a veritable tornado sweeping across the plains--flattening everything in its path, tossing things up in the air, ripping them to shreds, crushing them to bits. The tornado's intensity doesn't abate for a second as it blasts across the ocean, laying waste to Angkor Wat, incinerating an Indian jungle, tigers and all, transforming itself into a Persian desert sandstorm, burying an exotic fortress city under a sea of sand. In short, a love of truly monumental proportions."

Currently reading Haruki Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart. With so much eagerness, a friend sent it over to me from Japan. Every flip of a page creates so much thirst for a love that truly conquers all.

A Taste of Xiao Long Bao

Lately, I am having a confusion whether I love Chinese food more than Japanese. For quite a few months before, I never tire myself of eating sushi and maki, even everyday. But now that I have finally found a few good restaurants, I'm beginning to lust over Chinese food more--most especially the Xiao Long Bao.

Xiao Long Bao, pronounced as "shao-long-pao," was introduced to me when I lived in China a few years back. It has become a staple food as it has been one of the most delicious food for me in China, even when bought on the side of the streets.

Xiao Long Bao is commonly known as a "soup dumpling," mainly because what makes it different from other dumplings is that, it has a liquid inside each dumpling. I may say that I have practiced the art of eating xiao long bao, as not being very careful in eating it might lead to squirting the soup when you take a bite.

At Din Tai Fung, Junction8, Bishan, taking a quick look at my Xiao Long Bao, before I devour those 10 pieces all by myself.

*Apologies for the long hiatus. Blame it on the creative block. Blame it on the numerous work loads. Blame it on eating a lot lately.

Monday, March 29, 2010

On Taking Risks

People always say I am not afraid of anything. I say, I always am. It's just that, I am always open to taking risks, and taking up new challenges. Whether it may be fear of heights, of eating rare food, of being in places for the first time, to actually going up the career ladder.

I have lived more than a year in a place I never thought would evolve into a home. I am loving the career path I chose to take. I am growing, and blossoming. As I always say, the world is really my oyster.

I thank God that He's always been there, in every risk I take. With life's surprises coming along my way, I DARE MORE.

This is me, effortlessly taking a video of two friends, at a 400-meter long zipline at Camp Sabros, Bgy. Kapatagan, Digos City in 2008. I didn't mind the height of 180 feet above the ground. I got used to it after a few rides.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Surprise in Orange

I called her up a day before her birthday.

"Saan ka bukas?" with a grin on my face.

"Dito lang sa bahay. Pero pupunta kami sa Toba around 5pm."

"Ah, okay. Pwede ba 'kong dumaan jan bukas, makikikain lang ng pansit."

"Ano ka ba, wala naman pansit dito, yakisoba lang meron."

"Sige, yakisoba na lang ihanda mo sa akin. Seafood ha."

With that tone on her voice, She knew I was up for something. She answered yes, eventhough we both knew it was just wishful thinking.

"Okay. Just wait for me. I'll be there around afternoon. Para makasama rin ako sa Toba."

It was my friend's birthday. We're miles apart. While she's living in Japan, I am here in Singapore. But, as I always say, distance was never a hindrance. I had to make it special for her like she always did to me.

A surprise in Orange just came in time for her special day. I was truly delighted how she has appreciated my "presence."

It has always been good to be back on "my favorite couch." :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bold in Phuket

I thought I have seen paradise, until I set foot on the fine white sands of Phuket, Thailand. It literally brought me into tears seeing such a charming little part in the world. It was not only the crystal clear beach that brought its charm, but also the kind-hearted locals and even foreigners, the balance between the contemporary and the rustic, the perfect fusion of the old and the new, and the richness of culture that totally overflows.

Along the Patong Beach in Phuket, one can be mesmerized by women who are strolling along the shoreline, topless. How can one resist to take a look at the beautiful creatures made by the Man above, without any hesitation, and malice? I loved the boldness of these beautiful women, young and old, with skin tones in different hues and shades.

On my second day in that beautiful island, I had my share. I took off that top, and boldly swam the pristine waters, without hesitation. It was a liberating experience, I may say, that I have sunbathed, and walked, just like them, such a wonderful work of art by my God.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Up Up and Away

I spent a "weekend of everything that flies..." I actually loved every moment of it. And like all things flying, all is fleeting, and momentary, and eventually comes to an end. But still, it was breathtaking. Spent a weekend at Clark Field, Pampanga for the 15th Hot Air Balloon Festival with people I truly and dearly love.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How Much of the Philippines Have You Visited?

My Lakbayan grade is a shameful B-!

I guess I have yet to visit more places of my native land... Let's see if this grade could be higher after this year. I'm crossing my fingers. :)

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

On Cherry Blossoms and Transitions

It's the Cherry Blossoms Season once again. And this season once again brings a lot of mixed feelings and emotions. I clearly remember my blog on cherry blossoms entitled "Mono No Aware", the awareness of the transience of things. I was still dreaming of seeing real blossoms back then, and now, finally, I was able to not only see, but touch real cherry blossoms. It was not a season of Cherry Blossoms when I went to Japan in September last year, but who would have thought that I could see real cherry blossoms in a city of tropical climate such as this? It was truly even more breathtaking and whimsical seeing them live.

It's lovely to see these blossoms, but like all things, everything is transitory and in transition. It actually got me into thinking, with all the hello's and goodbye's that I've had in my life, I have yet to get accustomed to how fleeting circumstances, situations, people, and things are.

Taken at Prince's Landscape and Construction Pte Ltd Retail Centre, at Lorong Ah Thia, during a photo shoot yesterday.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Rekindling Friendships

A very close friend way back in my university days, who happens to be a housemate a few months before graduation has visited Singapore for 2 nights just to watch a concert of someone whom she only knows. I just love how our conversations have matured over time. This is Carms, taking a look on an artwork in Dhoby Ghaut Station MRT.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Barrio Fiesta in Singapore

It feels a bit weird that in a city as busy as this, Filipinos have tried to blend in and adapt, bringing in the happy-go-lucky attitude and the boisterous laughters that are all unique in us. The Singapore Art Museum held a two-day festivity commemorating the Filipino culture and tradition. Santa Cruzan and Ati-Atihan are the crowd's favorites. I also love how the "banderitas" are hung all over the Singapore Art Museum.

Imported from the Philippines

While doing some grocery shopping at Cold Storage here in Singapore, it makes me proud that these bananas come from my native land. No wonder why bananas sold in the Philippines have black spots on their peelings, all the beautiful ones are exported to other countries.

the birth of one blissful nomad

Having been deprived of buying from the nearest convenience store when I was young is maybe one major reason why I have become the nomad I am now. My sister and I never had the simple joy of buying candies and lollies by ourselves. It has always been with an older companion.

Some might say it was a curse, but for me, it was a blessing in disguise. Since the time I had the opportunity and the go-signal from my family, I have started wandering.

I have travelled most of the beautiful places in the Philippines such as La Union, Baguio, Vigan, Davao, Bohol, Cebu, and Palawan among others. I swam in most of the pristine beaches in the country. I have started travelling around Asia at an early age. I have conquered Hongkong, China, Singapore, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Langkawi), Japan (Nagoya, Kyoto, Toba, Ise), and Indonesia. Two of these countries, I have worked and lived in.

This virtual space will somehow be the journal of a blissful nomad who never tires herself of travelling, and truly believes that the destination is not the happiest part, but the journey itself.
Here, you can find the most amusing, amazing, stunning, and even the most bizzare things I see during my travel on every part of the world.

Enjoy the journey!