Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Crazy Year that was Twenty Seventeen

The year just flew by really fast. I just remember that I did so many trips in the past year, mostly work.

Las Vegas in January



Manila for my 25th HS Jubilee


Mav and JM's wedding



Boracay with family



Wedding in Kalibo


March was quietly spent in Singapore with a visit from my grand nephew



Finally saw very pretty cherry blossoms in Tokyo


And got a haircut!



First time in Auckland in May



Sydney and Melbourne with the fambam




Weekend trip to Manila



Taipei



Hong Kong after 10 long years!



Got to see Tita Pet and Uncle Fumio again in Tokyo in July



Taipei again just before my birthday



Went to work on my birthday



Japan again, I don't exactly remember what I did there, possibly just all work.



Mama Mary book launch in Manila!




Then another trip to Taiwan I think



Family vacation in the US with the fambam



Korea with the beks!



Crazy 5-day Japan trip where I finally experienced the Shinkansen and traversed Tokyo to Nagoya to Osaka. Dropped dead when I got home.



Then spent time in Sydney.



2017 has been a really crazy year and I survived it through sheer willpower and the steadfast support of my family. The first half of the year was hard, but things eventually got better and busier. I hope to do much better in 2018! 

Friday, December 1, 2017

What Would You Do?

Yesterday I flew from Singapore to Sydney. Woke up before 4 in the morning to make it to my 7am flight. I was looking forward to getting some sleep for a few hours of the 7 hour flight. When I boarded I was surprised to find a man sitting on my assigned seat. I immediately got help from the crew and he requested for the man's boarding pass. Instead of showing his boarding pass the man said, "I like this seat! I don't want to move!" I always get an aisle seat because I usually need to go to the toilet several times, so I got a bit stressed already from his pronouncement. The flight crew insisted for him to move and I sat down. The man kept saying again and again that he wanted my seat. I ignored him and just went on with my business.

The man and his wife eventually started to argue and the woman moved to another seat in the back. There was a lot of shuffling around as they gathered their things. The flight was a bit delayed already since we had to wait for 3 connecting flights to arrive. The cabin was busy with people still coming in. I eventually fell asleep and got a rude awakening when I saw two feet just inches away from me.



I immediately reported it to the flight crew and the supervisor had him remove his feet. The man kept looking at me with accusing eyes. I ignored him and read a book. A few minutes later the supervisor approached me to check if I was okay and asked if I wanted to be re-seated. I said that I was only willing to move if there was an aisle seat available. There was none. I told him I should be okay as long as he stopped putting his feet up on the tray table. I thought that was the end of it.

After some refreshments I decided to take another nap. I was rudely awaked when I felt something on my leg. It was the man's feet! He had put his feet on the seat pocket and probably stretched. My body had reacted violently to the touch and he woke up as well. He did not apologize and just went back to sleep.

My friends said that I should not have flown in economy. I normally do since I don't need a lot of space and as long as I'm on the aisle I'm usually not bothered by anyone or anything. I prefer to keep my savings for flights to stay in better hotels. This was really a terrible incident. I don't fault the airline because it was entirely the bad attitude of the man that ruined my experience. He was mean, unapologetic and thought that he can just do whatever he wanted.

I could've probably insisted to be re-seated in a better seat. Looking back I should have done that because the stress has affected my body and it's been quite difficult to work today. And that's the reason why I decided to write about the incident -- to "download" it from my mind so I can move on.

If you were in that situation, what would you have done?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Norbert

I lost another friend today. It was really a huge surprise to me since he was always so jolly even when he'd share his pain on FB. I was really affected after I heard the news especially since it was his heart that had betrayed him.

I have been losing family and friends in the last few years and I always end up thinking why did I survive two open heart surgeries. My Dad when he was alive always told us that you're time will come once your mission is done. A friend pointed out to me that our journeys are all different. I told her I only survived by sheer willpower which my doctor said was the reason why I'm still alive. She said that me and her Dad are probably still here to share about our positive outlook in life. It does take special angels to remind us of where we should put our heart and mind in.

I wrote this poem for Norbert while I was walking home. I'm not a poet like my friends Tappy and Cathy, but somethings words just string together in my mind. This is what came to mind on my way home.

For Norbert

Death
Thief in the night
Stealing life
Losing moments permanently
Regret of time apart
Now we can only wish
To have reached out more

Farewell my friend
For you I promise to take care of myself better.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Forty Two and the Mama Mary Book

I started this post almost two months ago and things just got really busy since I celebrated my birthday. I've been zipping back and forth across Asia and other family trips so I haven't had time to sit down and blog.

After my birthday I managed to go home for an important occasion - the launch of Fr. James Reuter, SJ's book "Mama Mary and Her Children, Book 5". My good friend Rowie who is one of the editors of the book pinged me last year and asked for me to contribute a story for the book. Inspired I immediately wrote a story and sent it to her. They were hoping to launch it last year, but due to some unavoidable circumstances they were only able to launch it on Mama Mary's birthday this year.



It was my Mom who first cultivated my relationship with Mama Mary. She was the one who taught me the set of prayers that I use until today. During the launch I shared to the audience the best thing I learned from Mama Mary - obedience. I shared that I always had trouble in my life until the day that I gave up and just told God to lead me to where He wants me to be. I remember very clearly when that happened - late September in 2007 on a plane ride back from the US to Manila. I just gave up and told God to take over my life.



 With the other story contributors, Tita Cherry and Rowie.


And He did. Right after that things just started to fall into place. Whenever I had doubts I always just raise the issues with Him and always get clear answers on where I should go and what I should do. He's the best life compass.


The Mama Mary book is now available in National Bookstore. Rowie and Tita Cherry are also accepting stories for book 6. I'm happy to forward it to them if you are interested to submit.

Thank you Rowie and Tita Cherry for the opportunity to contribute my story (and my Kuya's). Our parents are really thrilled. I'm sure my Dad is dancing for joy with Fr. Reuter in heaven. <3

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Old Blogging Days

So there's been a lot of brouhaha in the blogosphere the past week due to a Tupperware incident. Nothing like good old tsismis to bring out old bloggers to converge in Plurk. There's been several incidents in the last few years and I usually just take it with a grain of salt. Kanya-kanyang trip naman yan and well we all have our own opinions. The only thought about this incident is just to provide a tip when attending events (or just generally when you go out) -- use ziplock bags! It's not bulky and you can always have one or two in your bag if you need to take out food.

Some bloggers mentioned about the Taste Asia food fest we had a couple of years back. I realized after doing a quick search on my Google Photos that it's not just a couple of years -- it's been ten years! The first event had about 150 bloggers and if I remember correctly more than 70% of those who attended blogged about the event. What we did was entirely an experiment and the arrangements we done purely on trust - provide the food, we'll invite blogger friends to come over. The goal of the evening was to provide an opportunity for bloggers to meet and sample the food at Taste Asia. It was originally meant for just 10 bloggers, but the list grew longer and SM said, "Let's do 150!"


It was an awesome event which resulted in the formation of long term friendships. I met a lot of people that night and it was super fun. I think it worked because we all just came together to learn about each other and what we blog about. It was just like your high school writing club where everyone was focused on their own niches. There was no competition, just pure respect for each others work.

Tech bloggers from that era.

Nung naki-pa-pic ako with the travel bloggers.

I guess it was just pure serendipity that provided that opportunity to me. I had no idea then why SM wanted to meet me. What they pitched to me sounded like a good way to bring people together and that's why I agreed to do it. It cemented my reputation though that I'm a "blogger". I still view blogging as a hobby for me. I don't see it as means of livelihood for myself (uhhh I only get Adsense payouts every few years hahaha), I leave the revenue generating activities to the experts. I ended the Taste Asia events because I learned that there were others who started to earn from it and the brands had different expectations as well. My goal was community building that's why I decided not to continue doing it. I am forever grateful though to SM for providing that opportunity because I met awesome friends that have been around in the last ten years.

Taste Asia 1 Photos
Taste Asia 2 Photos

*This post is dedicated to AJ and Coy. Missing both of you a lot. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

All We Need is Love

The world seems to have gone mad. The negativity seems to be constant. I wonder though if things were the same in the past and if the negativity is just amplified by the current platforms we are using. The world is much more connected now compared to the past. Information is just at the tip of our pointy finger (that's what I use on my phone). Are the amount of bad things happening today the same as before or much more? (The nerd in me wants to try to quantify it, I just don't have time to do research).

The Beatles song "All You Need is Love" sums up what I think we should all be reminded about.

"Love, love, love 
Love, love, love 
Love, love, love 
There's nothing you can do that can't be done 
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung 
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game 
It's easy Nothing you can make that can't be made 
No one you can save that can't be saved 
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time 
It's easy 
 All you need is love 
All you need is love 
All you need is love, love 
Love is all you need"

I remember when I was a kid I gifted my Mom with a tiny signage that read, "Do all things with great love." She placed it in the bathroom and it was a constant reminder for me to be mindful about my actions. I have retreated a lot of my public online activities especially on social media because it's been causing me a lot of stress (my number 1 enemy). I wonder how we humans can just show more love to each other... I think if we did we'd be able to lessen all the anger that's going around and hopefully the world will be a better place. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Truefaith!

Truefaith has been one of my favorite bands since I was in college. I stumbled into their music while I was working on my PolSci thesis. I was meeting with our barangay's SK chair when he mentioned that the SK chair for Marcelo Green Village (Eugene Marfil - he's now officially part of the band)  was the brother of Truefaith's lead vocalist. I told him I had not heard about them and he promptly gave me free tickets to the gig. My thesismates were so happy we got free tickets. We went and that's when I fell in love with their music.


The song that got me hooked on Truefaith.

I was really ecstatic last week when I saw Medwin guest at ASAP. I always listen to their music either on my iPod (my very old one) or through Spotify. I collect their albums and bought new ones when my CD collection went underwater due to Typhoon Ondoy. How I wish I could go home and watch their concert on July 22 at the Solaire Theater.

Truefaith is one of the bands that has stuck to their brand of music. If you listen to all their albums their sound is consistent. They are unique and I like the fact that they don't follow trends. When you hear their song you know it's Truefaith. And more importantly, they always come out with original music. I'm looking forward to their new album which is set to come out in August/September this year.

I wish they visit Singapore and do a show here! =)