Sunday, January 31, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 197 - Last for January

Last day of January. In a snap, the first month of 2016 is over. I will remember January as the period when a number of my freelance works were completed. I was able to visit a new place. Met my #CathKidstonSisterhood. I was able to watch two great local movies. I finished a book. I overspent and went a bit shocked with some unexpected bills. I was surprised with some doctor's prescription. I had some drama episodes along the way. Hahaha But my greatest struggle, my long lost productivity (translation : laziness) Hahaha 

The here comes February, I have deadlines to beat. I'm so great. I'm so dead. Haha If there are things I wish for, it include, finishing my remaining freelance works, more time to sleep, Korean drama marathon and to finally have that much awaited decluttering tradition. I failed to do it before 2015 ended. I'm currently reading Marie Kondo's book and I guess, the timing is perfect. I hope I can imbibe the KonMari approach. 

While I'm still trying to figure out how to work my way and capture that long lost productivity, I'm giving myself a break. I decided to squeeze in my regular Sunday post.  


When you buy things you don't actually need - Number one enemy of KonMari hahaha I've being eyeing the cute socks from Iconic. I felt so rich during payday Friday given the fact that I still have bills to pay. Hahaha I purchased this pair of cute socks. It's just so meee. 

Finally, a postpaid subscriber - with some hassles along the way. I've been a prepaid subscriber for decades. I never had problems with my prepaid sim at all. On the rare times I travel abroad, I'm impressed with how my prepaid sim served me well. So why the sudden shift? When I purchased a new mobile phone, my old prepaid sim is no longer compatible. I attempted to have my old prepaid sim transferred to a new sim. Not that I was totally rejected, but most service branches reasoned that they don't have stocks for new sim cards to accommodate my request. This made me feel that at the end of the day, prepaid subscribers are treated like secondary clients. Hence, I decided to apply for a postpaid line. I had no problems with the approval, the succeeding processes were unfortunately not the service I have expected. 

The PiP Studio Planner is love it matches with some of my favorite things. I'm quite surprised that I have been consistent writing entries over the last weeks. 


Still receiving some Christmas cards lately - Thank you Marieken!


Vintage postcard! This will surely be one of my favorites for 2016. Thanks again Marieken.


Thank you for the inspirational card and the heart warming message Terra. 

I'm typing this post on a Saturday night. Hoping that I'll get that much needed spark to finish my remaining freelance work. I planned to work on everything from midnight till dawn. But my sleepyhead is telling me to do otherwise. I might as well sleep and accomplish everything tomorrow instead. Gaaaahd I need all the motivation and hardwork in the world tomorrow morning. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Where to buy Postcards in the Philippines


Years ago, almost all bookstores and stationery shops have that humongous white racks of greeting cards. Each card is enclosed in a transparent plastic and categorised according to occasion. On those special months, there are additional racks to accommodate seasonal events such as Graduation, Christmas and the most that irritates me, Valentine's Day. Hahahahaha When access to internet became more prevalent, the racks of greeting cards were gradually eliminated. The cards available today are still nice, but the selections have become limited. I miss the classic Hallmark cards containing vintage photos of babies and children, usually filtered in sepia or black and white. The cards are cute and the pre-made messages inside the card are either hilarious or heart warming.

Aside from greeting cards, I rarely encounter selections of local postcards. Although I have to admit that years ago, I only buy postcards for school projects. I grew up in the 90s without Google images yet. If not cut out photos from old books, past calendars, newspapers and magazines, postcards have become my usual source of images for projects. Most postcards depict popular tourists spots and former presidents.

Fast forward now, the postcards I see from my go to bookstores are still the same. The designs I saw decades ago, were the same postcards displayed in those classic rotating racks. I remember buying a postcard that bears a photo of the Luneta Park when I was 8 years old. It surprised me to see exactly the same postcard today. Luneta Park looks so different now. I'd like to convince myself that the outdated postcard of Luneta Park is vintage. But no, there's a difference between obsolete and vintage. Also, the postcard isn't vintage because the paper looks like a fresh but lousy reprint. 

I also have to mention the postcards bearing portraits and key information about national heroes and former presidents. The inconsistent color of the prints are so funny. On a serious note, it spells absence of quality control. In one postcard, Apolinario Mabini looked so pale. I picked up another copy and saw a pinkish face. It looked like his face was patched with tons of pink blush on.

It was only when I started the Postcard Challenge when all these observations and experiences dawned on me. Unique, creative and high quality postcards have become a rare commodity. There are postcards sold in local bookstores. Unfortunately, most of the designs were unappealing, obsolete, uncreative and boring. It is quite unforgiving to see such kind of postcards, given the digital age when anyone can edit photos to perfection. 

All these made me avoid the popular bookstores for the Postcard Challenge. I was forced to search other stores. In this post, I will share a few but reliable shops that provided me with better postcards.


I bet everyone has purchased something from this arts and crafts shop. What I love most about Papemelroti postcards are the hand painted designs printed in their classic brown paper. On the average, I think they have 20 postcard designs. Best about everything, they release new designs on a regular basis. My favorite has to be the teapot and teacup postcards.

Silahis Center and The Paper Toile Shop in Intramuros 

I blogged about Slahis Center here. I have seen the Paper Toile Shop a few times. Problem is, this is not an option if you don't have intentions of visiting Intramuros. 


They have a few postcards and most are depicting photos of local tourist destinations. What I love about Island Souvenir are the selection of (still) tourist destinations, but this time with better and updated photos. 

Museums

If you happen to visit museums, the gift shops surely offer postcards. Designs are sometimes limited but they are surely unique. Although I have to say that over the past  months, I have spotted museums selling those obsolete postcards of different local destinations. 


If you love prints and patterns, check out this local site. A little caution though, they have other paper products that might spark your shopaholic hormones.

Inspired by Philippines

This is a surprise discovery for me. The real life couple behind this online shopping site reached out to me via my Instagram account. Based in Dumaguete, the couple creates unique and artistic designs. It's far different from the boring and usual postcards we see in bookstores and stationery shops. The designs involve caricature and photographs of the best in the Philippines. Whether you are a postcard enthusiast or not, I encourage you to visit their online shop. You'll be impressed with their designs.



The selections are endless. The designs are unique and pardon the shallow adjective, beautiful! Postcards bearing photographs, calligraphy, water colors, charcoal painting are all contained in these two popular worldwide online shop. I haven't ordered from Etsy. I have tried Society 6 and I don't ever regret it. The postcards are printed in thick and matte white boards. I may sound a bit biased but I prefer buying prints from Society 6 than Etsy. For those who are not familiar, Society 6 has a centralized printing facility. Independent artists, who sell their artworks in Society 6, simply upload their artworks in HQ format and Society 6 takes care of the printing and shipping. Society 6 also has regular promo offers like free shipping on all orders. The only thing I don't like about Etsy and Society 6 are the shipping fees. One word, expensive. 


Instagram has replaced the defunct Multiply site that started as another social network site, transformed to a market place and now, it's gone. Haha Type #postcard and the rest is a long process of sorting and checking. You can find sellers but given the number of Instagram users, time, patience, stable internet connection and fast device are needed.


I spotted a few that were sourced out from independent artists. If you are quite patient and hardworking, try searching for the independent artist instead and directly coordinate.

eBay and olx.ph

The two online selling sites have everything. Although the disadvantage brought by the two websites are the shipping fees. To cover up the shipping fees that range from Php 60 to 100, you are forced to purchase in bulk. If the bulk includes an assortment of designs, I'm willing to pay even shipping fees that amount to Php 100. Unfortunately and most of the time, it's not the case. I have however seen eBay sellers from Hong Kong and China that offers varied design in packs. Best about them, they offer free shipping or maybe, they have already imputed the shipping costs to the product's price. 

Freelance artists, bloggers and the like

Their artworks are one-of-a-kind. Unfortunately, there are quite hard to look for. I'm actually waiting for my favorite, Aleyn Comprendio, to release another prints again. 


Trade Expositions and Bazaars

You'll never know what you can buy from these trade exhibitions. I once encountered postcards from a food festival in Manila. The annual Manila International Book Fair also contains book sellers offering postcards. Same with the Noel Bazaar and annual Travel Tour Expo sponsored by the Philippine Travel Agencies Association. 

Some quaint and fine dining restaurants

Some local restaurants such as La Cocina de Tita Moning have a separate gift shop that offers items, apart from food. Restaurants usually promoting local delicacy have postcards and other novelty items for sale. 

Five Star Hotels

Another surprise for me, I've seen a number of hotels offering postcards of their place and other popular local destinations. 

Coffee Shops

Yes, some coffee shops offer postcards! Some even give it away for free.  

If everything else fails,

DIY

Hahaha DIY is fun. Problem is, not everyone is blessed with the talent and interest. The good news however is that the internet contains gazillion of samples and instructions of DIY-ing postcards. I initially planned to DIY my postcards using the photos I uploaded in my blog. Problem is, I can't find a printing house that offers quality paper that can serve as postcards... minus the hefty price tag.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pinto Art Museum Part 3 - All about Nature

You will never run out of photogenic and relaxing sceneries at the Pinto Art Museum. The art galleries serve as the main attraction of the place. However, the museum's surroundings already serve as a treat. I'll let my photos speak for themselves. 





 













Check out my other posts about Pinto Art Museum
Pinto Art Museum Part 1
Pinto Art Museum Part 2

Monday, January 25, 2016

Reviewed! Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I was deprived of the ending I badly needed.

But don't let my sentiments fool you :)

I’ve been reading Gone Girl for almost a year. I remember purchasing the book around May of 2015. I started reading it, only to have it set aside because my copy of The Girl on the Train from Book Depository arrived. Prior to acquiring the two books, the dominant comment I encountered was the similarity of its story telling approach. Each chapter is narrated in the perspective of the different characters. Although in the case of Gone Girl, there were only two people alternately relating the story.  You’ll be able to figure out everything by connecting the stories presented by each character. Only to later realize, you were likewise deceived and trapped by the stitches of lies and links of hidden information waiting to be figured out. If you become attached with the story, you will eventually feel betrayed as well.

I will try my best not to give teasers about the plot. I want justice and revenge. Hahaha I want everyone to feel how the book deprived me of my much needed ending. But don’t let my sentiments fool you. Just because I didn’t get my anticipated ending, it doesn’t qualify that Gone Girl is crap. It isn’t. I even consider it as one of the best books I’ve ever read. It exceeded my expectations in all aspects.

On the morning of their 5th wedding anniversary, Amy disappeared. Everything was unclear, not until all evidences pointed to her husband, Nick. In the course of the investigation and quest to find Amy, the real picture of their marriage was gradually revealed. Nick became the lone person to be blamed. As facts were unraveled, more questions were opened. It came to a point when Nick was no longer considered as the primary suspect. Amy's disappearance was closed and the story ended not the way I have wanted it. For me, it led to a painful ending that leads to another opportunity for evil to triumph and for someone to bear the burden of sacrifice.

The best thing I love about the book is the unpredictability. There was no way I could have predicted the ending. Although I didn’t like the way it ended, I have to admit that it was one of the best endings I’ve encountered. At first, I thought of it as open-ended. After a few minutes, I realised it wasn’t. The second to the last chapter gave me the meaning to the final words. Someone sacrificed to end what can possibly turn to another vicious cycle.

As for character development, I have to say that this book gave me another excellent definition. I often complained of how some writers craft lousy characters. The structure of the plot was good, the execution rattled because of the characters that were not carefully thought of. Characters, whose existence and progression, don’t happen in reality. In the case of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn fueled the plot with realistic and credible characters. You don’t easily develop hate for a character. The hate was propelled with events and later explained by realistic circumstances. A dream, intuitive senses or some object left from the top of your cabinet do not easily uncover the much-anticipated link of the story. There has to be a clever way for facts to unfold and reach the characters.

I may be deprived of my much-desired ending. But Gillian Flynn did not deprive me of a great read. 5 out 5 stars for Gone Girl.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 196 - Books, Sickness and Productivity

I was sick. I overspent. This sums up the past week. It started with a sore throat. In my case, I knew how sore throat will betray me. Soon after, it will turn to colds and fever. When the fever subsides, cough will make its grand appearance. :) I will try over the counter cough syrup, which will eventually not work. I will land to another doctor's prescription. This time however, the story was quite different. The colds did not progress to fever and cough. I showed symptoms that lead to mumps. A few more days of observation, the threat of mumps was ruled out. I feel better, minus my voice that I have yet to recover. I feel relieved.

Meanwhile, here are the few good things that happened the past week.


Love from the mail - Thank you Duni for the Christmas postcard. And anything from Amsterdam or Netherlands is surely from Marieken. Thank you Marieken!


Thank you to my cousin A for the gifts! I've been wanting to purchase these titles. My 2016 reading list is beginning to be filled up.


An impulse purchase - I've been hearing raves about the KonMari approach to decluttering. Let's see if this book will work for me. I hope it will because honestly, I find this book a little expensive. :)  

For those who are interested to acquire the book, be ready for  a little challenge. It's quite hard to secure a copy. Copies are often out of stock in most National Bookstore branches. The last time I checked, stocks are available from Shangri-La and Glorietta branches. I got my copy from SM Manila branch, which happens to be the last piece available. 


Been reading this book for almost a year?!!! I had this even before I read The Girl on the Train. The two books shared the same approach in the story's narration. While The Girl on the Train remains to be my favorite, I have to admit that this is better. I'm off to watch the movie adaptation. 


I met my #CathKidstonSisters last Saturday. As always, we needed more time to catch up. Thank you Leah and Mother E for the gifts, stories  (password protected hahahaha) and friendship. 


Vanilla coke is another way to commit gluttony :p I happened to spot this from a nearby grocery. Back in my college / OJT days, Vanilla Coke was still locally produced. I consider this as my indulgence after surviving and counting my OJT days in a government agency. 


Tagaytay Treats - Thanks to my cousin A who came from a weekend vacay. I miss Tagaytay so much. This year, I hope our annual spiritual retreat will be held in Batangas and my two friends will agree for an overnight in Tagaytay. I doubt, hahahahaha. So I guess this is another wish to be set aside again. 



This was my source of comfort last week. I know unhealthy. Haha But everything tasty and spicy has helped me ease out the hassles of having clogged nose.

I have a pending freelance work to finish. I need to do it now, otherwise I'm dead. I have been wanting to do it over the last week. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten my working pace. I was also unproductive (translation : lazy) in my day job. 

Send me all the hardwork and perseverance this week. I need to cross out a lot of items in my work list. 

I almost forgot... another blog friend, Jep Buendia tagged me to answer 7 random facts about myself. Since I already answered a similar quiz last week :) let me do a little modification. I'll leave you with 7 random things that happened last week instead.

1. After watching a number of local movies lately, I noticed that most stories are fueled by people only from the two economic status: the extreme segments of the wealthiest and poorest. Why can't the best plot arise from people in the middle class? Okay, I'm beginning to believe that our lives, the people from the middle class are always boring and useless for a literary piece. This made me remember a conversation I had with a freelance client last year. What I thought as an out-of-no-where analyses have become instrumental for my client to successfully defend his idea. 

2. In the middle of the week, my Dad received a call from a former client / employer. He treated my Dad for a great lunch and a shopping spree. He gave my Dad things and experiences I can't afford. I thought I would feel a degree of self-pity again. Truth is, I'm thankful. I'm the happiest because there are other people who loves my Dad.

3. As much as I want to visit South Korea, part of me longs to return to Hong Kong. And for some reason, Hong Kong never fails to excite me. 

4. I remember a conversation I had with a workplace friend a few months ago. Can't exactly recall what happened but there was a sudden upsurge of status updates from colleagues in our newsfeed. I have this colleague, who is really rich. Unfortunately, her grammar is suffering below the poverty line. Get it? :) I will not pretend to have clean hands. My colleague has been giving me a little entertainment.  On the way to the train station, my colleague asked me to choose among

a. wealth with terrible English grammar
b. poverty with impeccable English grammar 
c. beauty with terrible English grammar
d. ugliness that comes with the most eloquent English skills

I replied, none of the above. All I wanted is a prince charming. Hahahahaha 

5. I'm about to finish a pack of bacon this week. Don't judge me. Hahahhaha

6. And still related to bacon, I don't know how to perfectly fry it. I can't achieve the perfect crunchiness. 

7. Glorietta and all those malls in the area never fail me to amuse me. The place is a perfect melting pot of all economic classes. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pinto Art Museum Part 2 - The Art Galleries

An endless and growing rooms of different artwork. This is what Pinto Art Museum is all about. While there are vintage and antique pieces, mostly are clustered under the genre of contemporary art. As far as I can remember, there are six galleries to tour around. What I thought as the end of everything would eventually lead to another room of overwhelming art pieces. I initially estimated that we will finish the galleries in one hour. We lost track of time. We arrived around 11:30 am, explored the art galleries, and didn't realize that it's already 2:00 pm. We forgot about lunch. We were having a great time exploring the art galleries.







I love this painting!




                                There is a door that provides access to the biggest and my favorite gallery.







                                                                                                   Spin!






Unfortunately, access to this area is restricted. If you can only see the material used for the couches



What I thought as an ordinary painting, turned out to be extraordinary. The entire painting is made of thread.





 This area surprised me. I never encountered this among the bloggers who have been to the place



A door that leads to this! I thought it was restricted for guests. I thought I would not be able to cross the spaces in between the bamboo poles.  Promise, kung kumasya ako, kasya ka din. ;) If I was able to squeeze in my  overweight self, you will likewise make it. Haha Surprise of surprises, I entered a huge air-conditioned room with towering bamboo poles and gigantic basins of stones on crystal clear water. 

I had a little funny experience in this mini forest. The area has very limited lighting. I have to use the torch of my mobile phone to guide me around. I thought there was  no inside. As I was exploring the place, I accidentally lighted and sighted a couple doing something intimate. ;) The reaction of the other guests behind me were priceless. Everyone was trying their best to suppress their burst of laughter.

On my next and last post, I will share the remaining scenic spots I love.

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