Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My Book Giveaway is still ongoing


Hello everyone! Just a quick post for my Philippine based readers. You can still enter my book giveaway. All you need to do is answer the form below.

12.12 Sales + Cyber Monday Sales and my Wish List

Monday, November 20, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 292 - A Week Well Spent

I started typing this post on a Sunday night. Problem is, looks like it will be published tomorrow because of our poor internet connection. This is the best time to recall and cap off another week. I'm beyond grateful for this unexpected break. I had a great time with my family and a few friends. I slept and woke up at my own pace. I had my much awaited ramen with my mother. I was able to see new places, even within the city. The highlight of this week was the hotel staycation with my friend K. 

Here's the past week in photos

Skyscrapers and City lights - The view from our hotel room, the rare times when the city felt so quiet and peaceful.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 291 - Sweet November

It's another long weekend ahead. Prior to this holiday, I had a relaxing work week. The evening classes are over. I finished a few paper works. We had our annual spiritual recollection. Before the week ended, an unexpected typhoon arrived in Manila. It started to rain on Thursday afternoon. In times like this, heavy traffic is no longer surprising. But since most schools are on a semestral break, traffic was manageable. Added to this, it's one of the rare times when Manila felt like Baguio or Tagaytay. The cold breeze felt so soothing. Same went when I reached home. It was the best way to end another week.

On the weekend, I managed to attend to some errands. It was so tiring, I didn't anticipate the horrible traffic in EDSA. If there's any consolation to my exhaustion, the great sale finds and arriving home with my online orders delivered. I want to finish all the Christmas gift shopping before December comes.

I'm trying to recall anything significant last week. Unfortunately, my memory can't provide me anything worth sharing. ;) My Facebook account is better because it provides me posts showing the best memories. The week was filled with photos reminding me of the trip to Hong Kong with my family. I'm dreaming of visiting Taiwan with them, given that the visa requirement has been lifted. But as always, there are other priorities. :)

Here are the other beautiful things that happened last week.


Random find from Fully Booked - My initial plan was to buy a few gifts from Fully Booked. I ended buying gift cards and taking this book.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Book Giveaway Here! (for Philippine based readers only)

Because my favorite time of the year is about to come, I decided to host a small giveaway here. :) I'm giving away a copy of one of my favorite books.

You have to chance to win Paul Arden's It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be. Entering the giveaway is easy. Just answer the embedded form below.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 290 - The long break ends

It’s been a great week-long break. Except for Christmas and Holy Week, it’s a rare chance to escape from my usual routine. Time was on my side. I was able to accomplish a lot of items in my list. Visit the salon, check examination papers, encode grades, clean my room, squeezed in a freelance work, attended some family related errands and finished some books. Everything seemed perfect except for the absence of a decent internet connection. In effect, I became dependent with my data plan and God knows how much fear I have for my next bill. Other than this little inconvenience, I’m feeling grateful for the past week.

I’m trying to narrow down my list of best things this week. Everything started with the rainy weather. I know, the rain is a hassle for most. In my case, I found comfort and relaxation from the cold weather. Some food like ramen tastes better in this kind of weather. I tried two different ramen and Tokyo Tokyo’s Siracha Beef Ramen made it for me. I love that it comes in sizes and since it’s Tokyo Tokyo, expect it to be budget friendly. (Typing this, I dream of having another bowl this week.) At home, I enjoyed my non-meat meals. I owe everything to my mother, who prepared my favorite pink salmon and steamed tilapia in butter and garlic.  In a way, I felt “detoxified” because I had a week of healthier meals. And even though I have limited movements at home, I don’t feel any sign of bloatedness. I was able to regulate my food intakes. It’s far from my usual appetite at work, where I always feel hungry. My only regret, I could have accompanied my week-long break with proper exercise. 

Other than relaxation, here are the other beautiful things that happened this week


On my table after a long day for errand – Sign of a good read, a lot of sticky notes some pages. 

My Shipping Cart Experience : The Second Time Around

Two years ago, I shared my experience with Shipping Cart in this post. I was highly satisfied with the speed of delivery and cheapest shipping fee I've encountered. Unfortunately, the post was flooded with comments relating negative experiences.  It went to the extent that some readers accused me of misleading other people. It felt unfair on my end. In the first place, I wasn't responsible for their lost or delayed their packages. Also, just because I had a great experience and others didn't make me a less credible person. 

Despite having a different positive experience, I decided to try another cargo forwarding company on my next purchase. This company delivered fast, setting aside the unexpected hefty shipping fees. This year, I took the risk of returning to Shipping Cart. The succeeding part of this post relates my entire experience.


After years of having an inactive Shipping Cart account, nothing much changed in it's interface. The process remained the same. I used Shipping Cart's US address in California and distinct account number assigned to my name. I monitored my shipment sent via UPS until it reached Shipping Cart's address. Everything worked well in my second attempt. To give you an idea, here' a timeline of my shipping experience.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 289 - The longest week

The past week has to be one of the longest. It felt like I had too much on my plate in a span of seven days. It started when I attended a conference away from the workplace.The venue, the magnificent Okada Hotel Manila. I heard so much about this premiere hotel since last year. True enough, I was overwhelmed by it’s luxuriousness. For a while, it felt like I’m in Macau again. If resources can accommodate, I wish to have an overnight staycation. Otherwise, I’m fine with a late afternoon stroll, dinner in Cafe Mary Grace or a frappe from Starbucks while waiting for the most awaited fountain show. Yes, the Okada has shops and affordable restaurants inside. Those who have plans of visiting, I highly recommend waiting for the fountain show that starts at 6 pm. You will be mesmerized with the humongous water park that can fit around two Olympic sized swimming pools.

After the short stint in Okada, I was back to my regular work life. A few meetings, unexpected tasks, annual trick of treat for kids and the most pressing task, the conclusion of my first semester classes. My Friday night classes are over. It was the last Friday I’m leaving work at 9 pm. I celebrated with myself :p by having dinner at Taco Bell and a slice of my favorite sansrival cake from Cafe Adriatico. I just need a few more tasks to finish (aka compute and encode grades), then I’m all done. I can finally savor the rare week long break. 

Having a full week break enabled me to attend on other personal concerns. Starting with my plan of having my facial warts removed. I got a great deal and treatment from Dermcare. The treatment was fast and painless. The wounds also got healed in a span of less than one week. My only mistake, I should have waited until the first day of vacay to have the treatment. I went to work with fresh wounds. So imagine all the second glances I gained. :p

After having a full week, waking up late this weekend was one of the best. Once I’m done with my students’ grades, I have all the time to watch K drama, movies, books and meet some good old friends. I hope everything will turn out great with this week long break.

Meanwhile, here are other beautiful things that made the past week


Lazy afternoon scene - A new coffee table book, ice cold lemon and huge cut potatoes

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Planning for Christmas to Enjoy Christmas



Monday, October 23, 2017

5 Ways to Make Your Money Go Further This Christmas



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 288 - Your worth

The past week started out good because work was suspended for two days. I have predicted the suspension of work on Monday, but not on Tuesday. Having an extended weekend could have been spent for an out of town getaway. But when your resources are depleted, the least you can do is stay home, order some good and cheap food delivery and watch a lot of movies or series. In my case, I did some decluttering activities. I sorted my books and took out useless items from my room. I feel a sense of accomplishment after seeing emptied spaces and bags of different items ready to be thrown away.

I’m always reminded of Marie Kondo’s principles whenever I declutter at home. An item that remains unused for a year might be useless at all. If it does not bring you happiness, you might need to throw it away. Avoid hoarding, especially during a mall wide sale. Refrain from purchasing storage boxes (I’m guilty of this), it gives you an opportunity to hoard. A lot of items at home can be repurposed and used as storage bins. While typing this, I miss my copy of that book. Someone borrowed and never bothered to return. Sigh. I might feel a little consolation if the borrower bothered to read it. The book is quite expensive and I’ve been wanting to reread it. This brings me, another copy of Marie Kondo’s book would make it as a great Christmas gift. ;)

Other than Marie Kondo’s book, which I’m pretty sure I will be repurchasing for myself, I’m starting to come up with my Christmas list / targets. Starting of with my longest plan of opening a Pag-ibig MP2 account / investment. Added to this, revisiting and updating my savings account from the local cooperative. Keeping money in savings account from local banks is no longer an investment decision. The disheartening interest rates cannot even cope with inflation rates. These days, money placed in savings account are just emergency funds or documentary requirements for travel visa application. 

On the shallow material stuff, I’ve been wanting to own a Moleskine weekly planner journal for 2018, two items from Kate Spade: classic card case and the newly released book entitled She by Kate Spade, Nick Bantock’s Alexandria and Morning Star (even second hand copies), another ghost chair and this white TV rack. I almost forgot, the mirrorless camera!!! Those who have seen my Instagram and Facebook stories are aware of the unfortunate fate of my Sony point and shoot camera. :( The cheapest mirrorless I found was around Php 20,000. Where and how to get the funds? :( 

I think I blabbed so much. Here are some photos from the past week.


Coffee table books and my Anello bag - Thanks Anne for conniving with me ;) !!! It feels great to see a good old friend after so many months.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 287 - Confused no more

Confused was the past week's theme. Everything started when an unexpected opportunity came. Cliche as it goes, it knocks only once. I used to adhere to this principle, not until years of experiences changed me. I learned that not everything is worth the risk. Reading my words, one can easily deduce my decision. I'm not taking any chance. I sound frustrating and disappointing. If there's anything good that transpired, it's realizing (again) what I really want. I was on the same state almost a decade ago. Back then, I remained firm with my decision. My parents considered me hard headed. Looking back, I never felt any regret at all. This time, I intend to carry the same level of hard hardheadedness. I knew what I want and will never make any compromise. Typing this, I let out a long sigh. I hope everything will be worth it. 

So much of the serious side, the past week has it's own share of great experiences. One of which is the 100% defense passing rate of my thesis advisees. One of my best moments as an educator is when students personally see me to deliver, both good or bad news. They inform me way before posting the news in their Facebook accounts. ;) Rare times like these made me realize, a messed up person like me is still capable of getting the job done.


Friday ended so exhausting. In effect, I treated myself to another unhealthy breakfast on Saturday. ;)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Few Novels Perfect For Autumn


What is it about the autumn season that makes reading so appealing? It’s difficult to say exactly, but it’s probably the season’s close association with pure comfort. We begin to wear our warmer (and more cuddly) clothes; we sip flavored lattes; we spend a little more recreation time inside, which means curled up on couches and the like. Maybe it’s just that opening up a fresh novel in this situation is particularly appealing.

Whatever it is, there’s no doubt that this is a favorite season for a lot of readers. So I thought I’d look over some of the novels that best suit the season – from the whimsical and fun to the spooky and unnerving. Maybe one of these will strike your fancy this season!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 286 - Memories

I just got home after a long and tiring day. As much as I'd like to call it a day, some freelance works are waiting to be accomplished. Added to this, my mind is trying its best to recall anything significant last week. There were actually a lot. Too much that my planner cannot contain everything. Unfortunately, some details are not meant for sharing. ;) Otherwise, I might lose both my friends and day job responsible for my survival. :)

Some months ago, I remember sharing my thoughts about violating rules vs. breaking rules. In my own school of thought, there's a thin line of difference involved. Breaking rules is not tantamount to violation. In the course of time, some rules become obsolete and inapplicable. Some regulations tend to prevent the free flow of information and creativity. If someone did not take courage to break or challenge rules, more than half of the improvements or innovation we enjoy today would not have existed. Consider one of my favorite women, Beatrix Potter. She followed her heart and passion, even if it meant contradicting her family. It was a risk, but the outcome was all worth it. Her work became the timeless classic, Tale of Peter Rabbit. 

From my end, I had my share of challenging rules. Some ended as great decisions. It paved the way for some rare and significant accomplishments. In like manner, I had incidents of breaking rules. It's not something I wish to brag. But over time, I realized that both occasions made the best years of my life. :p  (I wish my students will not be able to read this.) In my lifetime, I learned that being highly compliant is too boring. Sometimes, being perfectly obedient does not lead you anywhere. In some days, life felt great when I was brave enough to take on the challenge. 

I'm not sure about everyone but in my case, breaking or challenging rules with the most trusted friends make the best stories. :p So here's a huge shout out to friends who came along. :D 

Enough of my outpour of thoughts, here are beautiful things that happened last week


Christmas is in the air - And just like that, stalls selling puto bumbong and bibingka are sprouting again.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

New K-Drama Favorite : My Golden Life

Years ago, weekends meant catching up with a Korean drama that captured my interest. When I learned about Descendants of the Sun (DOTS), the entire week meant chasing its episodes. On weekdays, I rush home to catch the livestream from South Korea. On weekends, I can't wait until the English subtitled episodes were uploaded. Yes, my addiction with DOTS went that extreme.

Needless to say, DOTS determined my standards for a great K drama. In effect, I find it hard to appreciate and finish other K dramas. I started watching Goblin, Legend of the Blue Sea and Weight Lifting Fairy. While Goblin is great, my mind is still attached with DOTS. A blogger friend (Hi Rose!) introduced me to Reply 1994. The first few episodes entertained me, not until I lost the reliable links to online streams. 

Two weeks ago, I downloaded VIU to find other episodes of Reply 1994. Unfortunately, the app does not have a copy. I ended randomly browsing other K drama. My Golden Life appeared in the suggestions list because it still airs in South Korea. I decided to try it, for the shallow reason that only 6 episodes were uploaded. 


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

5 tips for updating your lifestyle



Sunday, October 1, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 285 - First for October

I'm typing this post on a Saturday night, rushing for a rare work on Sunday. I have a long day tomorrow and still have documents to review. Some things I wish to happen tomorrow, for the work to finish early, contribute something significant or at the very least, not to mess up, and to look half decent. My tired eyes haven't returned from its original state. My face feels so bloated. Blame the unexpected food trip last Friday. :D I planned to exercise today, but my body is calling me to sleep. So much excuses :p but just for tomorrow, I hope to look half decent. I can pay for everything on the succeeding work days. 

On the positive end, this weekend started out great. I had more then enough sleep, woke up to home cooked meals, favorite weekend TV shows with my family and another episode of my current favorite Korean drama. Shallow, but I never felt this excitement for a K drama since Descendants of the Sun. My Golden Life gave me another reason to look forward for weekends. This K drama also broke my belief that my preferences are limited to the genre of romantic comedies. 

Other than food, accomplished work and K drama, my social media accounts never fail to occupy me. Starting with my love-hate relationship with Facebook. There are inspiring and humorous posts. Then there are irritating, thought provoking and insensitive posts. My greatest pet peeve includes offending comments, on top of all the misleading fake news. For the past weeks, news about the freshman student who died from fraternity hazing has been in my newsfeed. I feel irritated when Facebook users pass all the blame to the victim. Same goes with the case of a lady who committed suicide before the week ended. The victim's extent of suffering and the pain of the family left behind are too much to begin with. Leaving harsh and rude comments is too disrespectful, inhumane and (apologies for my adjective) uneducated.

So much about these "heavy" issues,  here are the beautiful things that happened this week. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

6 Ways to Re-vamp Your Bedroom


Autumn is here, and a new season means a new you right? Well, maybe not completely, but you can certainly try out some awesome new styles. If you want to freshen up your room a little, or you’re starting a new year at uni, here are a few easy and affordable ways you can switch up your bedroom.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 284 - Too Tired

Too tired. A week ago, I had a bad case of cough and colds. I tried my best to sleep early but traffic, long hours of commute and a set of unexpected work didn't change my routine. Added to this, it's been two weeks since I stopped exercising. I feel sluggish and bloated again. Last Friday was another classic case of unhealthy lifestyle. A full meal from Taco Bell and a slice of sans rival cake to cap off another week or truth is, my loser Friday schedule. Four months of seeing my colleagues rushing to leave work for the weekend, while I'm left preparing for my evening classes. Walking around dark corridors, returning to the office to rest for a few minutes and rushing home to catch the last trip of the train. On worst days, heavy rains cause more traffic and difficulty of getting the last ride to reach home. Can I count all these as an accomplishment?  ;)

I'm trying to recall anything significant this week. The most I can remember is this Korean drama I accidentally discovered. I can't find a decent copy of Reply 1994 so I ended randomly browsing other K dramas. I discovered My Golden Life, which still airs in South Korea. And just like that, I regained my addiction. I already finished all 6 episodes, which caused me sleepless nights and swollen eyes. Yes, I had crying moments while watching, especially episode 3. For the longest time, I thought I prefer the genre of romantic comedies. But my taste is confusing me. I guess everything boils down to the relatable characters and story line. The lead female character shares our dream of having a great career, financial stability and a comfortable life for our parents. K dramas, with characters that share problems and dreams with most people, can easily earn sympathy of vulnerable viewers like me. ;) On a lighter note, the wardrobe team is doing a great job dressing up the lead actress, Shin Hye Sun. I want to write a separate post about it. 

Aside from the exhaustion and my regained K drama addiction, here are other beautiful things that happened last week.


Weekend afternoons right before dusk with my currently, favorite book - I don't ever regret buying Kate Spade's 20th anniversary coffee table book. It's quite expensive, but the discount from the last MIBF gave me a great deal. This also convinced me that I will no longer hoard books every MIBF. Getting a discounted coffee table book will be my next MIBF goal.

Friday, September 22, 2017

How to Spend a Lazy Evening at Home


Honestly, many people would love the idea of spending a nice evening at home, not doing much at all. In fact, quite often, the exact opposite is true, because of long hours at work or a long commute home. However, when you do get that rare chance to relax, what should you do? Going to bed earlier might be the best idea, but if you want to add a little relaxation before you go to bed, here are a few ideas.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 283 - During those days

I was looking forward for this week because of the Manila International Book Fair. In the middle of the week, I felt reluctant. I was feeling weak and sluggish. The rainy weather also discouraged me to go out. My body is calling me to rest and stay home. But come Wednesday, the weather was better. I decided to go and took advantage of the day to accomplish some errands. It was a productive day, except that I went home with a case of bad colds. Good thing, work was light over the next days. I survived another week, coupled with some unexpected thoughts.

My decision to distance myself against someone made me realize that I made the right choice. Another incident convinced me that I'm keeping an excess baggage of another ungrateful person. There are friends for keeps, then there are those for painful learning experiences. On the positive side, a friend helped me salvage a disappointing day. I spent the last few hours of that day with a friend over cheap food court treats, long walk to the train station and some meaningful exchange of thoughts. 

Becoming a victim of someone's inefficiency is annoying and stressing. However, an early apology changes the tone of the story. Unfortunately, I rarely hear words of apologies these days. Not that I demand for it, I'm completely aware that some people will never admit mistakes. Uttering words of apologies will taint their immaculately protected asset called pride. 

There were days when I feel demoralized on the state of my career life. I have been a staff / follower / corporate slave for more than a decade. My career path maybe stagnant but modesty aside, I paved the way to create great managers. I have executed ideas born by managers and senior leaders. While they have creativity and command, I have all the hardwork and perseverance to turn their vision to reality. 

I wanted to write more, but some of my thoughts are better off to stay in my mind. Here are the beautiful things that happened last week.


Weekend scene of red and green - Time to use these red Cath Kidston mugs for the merriest season

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Manila International Book Fair 2017

As of typing this post, the main website of the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) remains inaccessible. It has exceeded it's bandwith limit, probably because of the continuous outpour of hits. With this post, I hope I can provide useful information to readers trying to get information about the event.

I started attending the MIBF last year. Although I have heard of the event in the past few years, I never attempted to join. I thought everything was devoted for academic related books and publications. I learned that almost all bookstores and publishing companies in the country are participating from fellow Filipino bloggers. Last year, I attended an errand to a nearby government agency. I finished early so I took advantage of the time to see the event. I had an unexpected book shopping spree that caused damage to my credit card. :D This year, I was having second thoughts. I don't want to splurge again. On the last minute, I gave in. But this time, my will power was stronger. I took home one book. I'll share it on my next Sunday post. (Edit: I showed it on the end of this post. #LowEQ Hahaha)

Here are some photos from the event. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 282 - Tiring week

I didn't realize how exhausted I was when Saturday came. I slept the entire day. I felt weak and sluggish. My back and shoulders were sore and heavy. I must have slept on the wrong position again. In the evening, I had dinner with my family, watched our favorite weekend shows and wasted the entire time with my social media accounts. I was trying to recall what happened last week that consumed all my energy. I always went home late. I attended to some challenging freelance clients. The work required is manageable, but attitude is another story. :p Added to this, I can't figure out my way to a "special assignment." I swear, I will treat myself big time once this task is done. Even though I don't earn or gain anything from it. This has been the story of my life. More so, my journey to weight expansion. :D

Speaking of contributing factors to weight expansion, I need to pay for a lot this week. I'm so guilty of overeating. It started with shawarma rice in Escolta with my friend A. The next day, I had an unexpected dinner with my friends T and M. New York's finest, spicy chicken wings and Charlie Chan from Yellow Cab define heaven!!! Setting aside all the fats and cholesterol, I'm beyond grateful for the company of great friends. How many friends will conquer time, distance and the demands of their everyday lives to comfort you, even in the middle of the week? 

Aside from great friends, here are other beautiful things that happened last week.

Backyard scene at dusk - Thankful to my Dad who cleared the backyard and ensures a supply of organic produce for the family

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 281 - The past years

Saying hello to September! Nearing the last quarter of the year and for us Filipinos, it signals the arrival of the merriest season. In my case, the month marks a significant milestone. I started working exactly 13 years ago. It took me 5 months of job search and 13 companies to finally land on the job I wanted. I stayed with the same company (Beat that fellow millenials! Hahaha), transferred to another position, went to different job assignments and worked my way for the opportunity to teach. Along this journey, I met people who became mentors, friends, inspirations and learning opportunities, a better way to address my enemies. ;) A few became close to my heart, they rejoiced, laughed and cried with me. Some captured my heart and broke it later, without them knowing. Hahahaha While it always feels great to rekindle the past years, time demands that I wear the shoes of maturity. There's no more turning back. All efforts must be directed to move forward.

In other news, the two national holidays last week was the best. Maybe years ago, times like these would mean a trip to the mall or a brief getaway with friends. These days, I'm all excited for rest, sleep, soft and white bed sheets, food delivery, coffee table books and emails about freelance works. Yes, I'm becoming a hermit. :p Though I love the quiet life at home, going out once in a while still excites me. Meeting good old friends, discovering new restaurants, going back to hometown favorites, finding treasure from Booksale and those random and unplanned trips with my cousins. An additional treat these days include the colder temperature, fast internet connection and a great playlist. I've been listening to Boyz II Men since Friday and discovered nice renditions of other groups. 

Meanwhile, here are other beautiful things that happened last week

Backyard scene - I haven't seen my Father's backyard for months already. Blame it on the rain and my laziness. The bed has always been my constant companion since the rainy season started. So much has changed, especially the variety of crops planted.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 290 - To something better

Looking back, this has to be one of my longest weeks. It started with the holiday last Monday and the suspension of work on Tuesday. The weather disturbance gave me more time to accomplish my teaching tasks. Despite having enough rest and sleep, I was struggling for productivity when I returned for work. In the middle of everything, I had my own share of sad and distressing encounters. One was the melancholic yet meaningful dialogue with a colleague. I almost ended with another crying episode. On a positive note, it always feels great to share grown up sentiments with an equally burdened person.

Before the week ended, an inconsiderate member of the male populace played an offensive joke on me. I was placed on a pathetic trap, designed to contribute to his selfish empowerment. He probably aims for an egocentric story to brag among his friends. It felt no different with rude men who took advantage of helpless females inside public transports. It feels even worse because I knew the person and assumed that we respect each other. I held on to my composure and made all means to escape that disrespecting conversation. While I can't prevent situations like this to happen again, the least I did is to discretely eliminate all possible connections with this person.

The negative experience maybe overpowering me. Amidst everything, some pleasant surprises came along the way. My pending freelance work was already accomplished. My client also referred me to another client. I'm feeling optimistic because I was already hired for the project. It's another long weekend and I'm enjoying my quiet time at home. The colder weather is conducive for resting. My skin feels better. My usual dizziness attacks in the afternoon is gone, at least for the weekend. Other beautiful things that happened last week are summarized in these photos


Default photo of the week : weekly planner mess - We are nearing the last months of the year which also means, I'm about to finish an entire planner. I will surely reread all entries before the year ends. I'm also in search for my 2018 planner. I'm eyeing this floral planner from Kate Spade. I hope National Bookstore will carry it for a reasonable price. But with how the US $- Php exchange rate is going, it will surely be overpriced.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 279 - Long weekend

I'm typing this post on a quiet and relaxing Sunday night. The rare times I feel relaxed because of the holiday break. I don't feel the rush and usual frustration that weekends are over. I still have some work to do but from the looks of my tired and lazy self, everything has to be set aside. I long to sleep before 12 am, wake up before sunrise and accomplish all the tasks in my list tomorrow.

Before the week ended, I attended an important event. There was an advice to come in business attire. I skipped my usual Friday jeans and sneakers. I wore slacks, short sleeved top and my favorite pair of ballet flats. When I arrived in the venue, I felt out of place. I should know better. I should have taken the business attire seriously. This also reminded me of the usual advice, it's always better to be overdressed. Later that night, I realized that I don't have a set of formal clothes to begin with. I have plenty of clothes, but none would qualify for formal events. Same goes with my bags, I don't have a clutch or any formal bag. This only proves, I keep on buying the same items. At this age, I should have my own pieces for formal events.

During the weekend, I had another weird wedding dream again. Oftentimes, the wedding had no groom and the ceremonies will not push through. For several years, I thought it meant as a prelude to my future. No groom, hello to single blessedness forever. Hahaha However, some reliable materials gave me deeper meanings. Weddings may symbolize change, independence and commitment. Some even connected it with sorrow, agony and bitterness. With my current state, I would like to believe that it relates with bitterness. I remember discussing an issue with my mother a few days ago. It really frustrates me how some people can resort to cheating and commit other wrong doings in exchange for promotion, advancement and other forms of progress. Aside from promoting a culture of inequality, these people demoralize those who adhere to full honesty and hardwork. 

On a positive note, I realized that honest and hard working people will always have priceless respect and value. Something that those who cheated will never achieve. Whenever, I feel hopeless I guess I have to rely on this thought. 

Meanwhile, here are some beautiful things that happened last week


Weekly Planner Mess - Despite all the frustrations, I was reminded of some good things that happened last week.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Nakauwi na - A 2017 Cinemalaya Short Film

The review may appear biased because I knew the team behind this short film. They were former students who graduated a few months ago. A school project that landed on the stage of Cinemalaya is already remarkable. However, the achievement went beyond expectations. It won Cinemalaya's Audience Choice for short feature film. Hats off to Nicholle, Sean, Martin, Jaynus and the entire team!!! 

Nakauwi na deals with a social and political issue that has become a constant content of the local news, EJK or extra judicial killings. Nakauwi na focuses on the untouched side of EJK. If there is anything that remains unadulterated about EJKs, it's the concealed stories of families behind each death statistic. 

Father and son, Mang Jerry and Emman, depicts the life of a typical Filipino family. Mang Jerry is a struggling yet optimistic jeepney driver, who wanted nothing but for Emman to finish his studies. Emman is the dutiful son about to finish his degree in Engineering. A few days before Emman's graduation, Mang Jerry woke up to the worst nightmare for any parent. Emman's lifeless body was plastered, disgraced and labeled with the usual accusation in those summary killings. 

The film highlighted the reality that most victims of EJKs came from poverty stricken families. It's almost tantamount to saying that poverty begets EJK. Another eye opener was how poverty and EJK can deny anyone even with the least respect. Surviving families cannot even mourn because of financial burdens, legal concerns arising from a crooked justice system that favors those with resources and connections, and the depressing reality that even your remaining support system (friends and relatives) will eventually close their doors. All these happened to Mang Jerry. 

Despite all the inhumanity, Mang Jerry, who has all the right to blame the system, remained meek and honest. He resorted on pitiful measures just to give that decent send off for his lone son. In the end, he stood up and fulfilled that one last mission. The scene was painful yet heart warming, heroic and dignifying. 

The short film is overflowing with themes and sentiments, setting aside the ruthlessness of EJK. The film also emphasized that Mang Jerry and Emman's story represents only one of the thousands in the growing list of death figures. The film does not aim to end all the summary killings or aggravate the hate to the people behind this injustice. There were compelling scenes that challenged viewers to rethink or change their perceptions. A significant part of the film relates that while we condemn all forms of social injustices, we have unconsciously become its silent contributors.

No doubt, 5 out of 5 stars for Nakauwi Na.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 278 - When everything changed

I started writing this post in the middle of the week. I already have a theme and direction for the content. The earthquake last Friday changed everything. A few hours after lunch, I felt unusual swings in my work cubicle. I thought I was just feeling dizzy and light headed. It always happens because I rarely get enough sleep. When everyone was already reacting, we left and moved to the school's open ground. Prayers were uttered and soon enough, everything felt stable again. It was quite a relief.  Some things I learned after, I'm thankful that I don't stay in a high rise building. The school's open grounds provide more than enough safety space for everyone. 

Work life went on. I even attended to my Friday night classes. Going home was stress free, traffic was nowhere. Though honestly, I was exhausted. Aside from the threatening incident, I was plagued by grown up concerns. I'm making plans, one of which already materialized. I'm hoping for positive responses. In between, part of  me feels frightened. I can only wish a great blessing will come my way and in a snap, all my worries will go away. But life works on a different way. Oftentimes, it leads to the most difficult and painful pathway. 

I sound so disheartening. It feels like I see life with nothing but sorrow and agony. I attribute everything to my old and usual habit of excessive worrying. Despite these heavy life concerns, some light, happy and heart warming moments still come my way. The highlight of the past week was the visit to Chinatown (Binondo) with my cousins. After attending to some errands, they treated me to a bowl of hand pulled noodles and a lot of dimsum. Nothing beats authentic Chinese food. It also feels great that one of my longest running projects at work is finally done.  

Here are the other beautiful things that happened last week


Weekly Planner Mess - I noticed, my planner reflects my prevalent sentiment. I tend to generate dark and less colorful output when I'm consumed by sad sentiments. 


I'm loving this designing eyebrow pencil from The Face Shop. A few weeks ago, I dropped by The Face Shop to purchase my usual eyebrow pencil. I was disappointed when the sales assistant told me it's out of stock. In return, she offered the designing eyebrow pencil. I was reluctant because it's expensive, not until I learned it was 50% off its original price. Added to this, the store is hosting a buy one take one promo. Deal!!! These items originally retail from Php 399 to 495. 

I've been using the pencils for weeks.Much to my surprise, they didn't disappoint. Though it's quite tricky to use, the pigmentation and pencil's versatile tip create the best eyebrows.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Postcards from Inspiredby.Ph

My fascination with postcards intensified when I started my own postcard challenge. I challenged myself to send at least one postcard to a friend every month. The task was easy, the real challenge was finding a constant supply of quality postcards. I was fully aware of the scarcity of postcards in the local market. Shops like Papemelroti, Hub Make Lab in Escolta, and the on and off vintage shop in Sta. Cruz Manila gave me great selections. Problem is, new designs don't often arrive. I already sent all the designs to my friends, long before another series is released. In the end, I'm always in search for shops that offer beautiful and reasonably priced postcards. Once in a while, I settle for independent sellers in Instagram. Etsy and Society 6 make another great source, but shipping fees often exceed the  price of the postcards. On a few times, some local artists email me for possible collaboration. Unfortunately, none of these offers materialized. 

A few weeks ago, I received a message from the team behind Inspiredby.Ph. I was surprised that there is at least one company, who takes postcard production seriously. Aside from their in-house design, the company collaborates with local artists in promoting the Philippines through postcards. I always admire businesses that provides opportunities for local talents to showcase their artistry. But what further caught my attention, the company is owned by real life couple who are not Filipinos. Soulmates, Jane and Max are originally from Russia, but found home here in the Philippines. They are currently based in Dumaguete and manages their own business. Creating postcards is just one of their ventures. 

I'm hoping there are other postcard enthusiasts reading this post. You will surely love their designs.


I appreciate businesses who takes packaging as a serious business. All items ordered online will come in this beautiful box. 


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 277 - Accomplished

I'm typing this post feeling so weak and lazy. It must be the activities I had last Saturday. I attended to some errands with my cousin. I arrived home feeling so exhausted. In effect, I set aside all my other plans. These include office work and checking some examination papers. My body is calling me to rest, but there's just so much work to deal with. I hope I could finish everything before the day ends. I'm also looking forward for a great work week. There's this assignment I've been wanting to finish. I can't wait to tick it off my list this week. I swear, I will celebrate it with a Taco Bell meal once its over and done. :p  Who wants to join? :) 

The past week gave me some pleasant surprises. Some items from the mail, rare dinner with friends, a slice of my favorite cake, found the perfect gift for my cousin and most importantly, unexpected freelance earnings. ;) Whoever said that money can't buy happiness. In my case, it can buy delicious meals for my family. Years ago, it would have been a nice blouse and a new pair of shoes. These days, everything is all about food. When you get older, metabolism slows down, weight accelerates, clothes and all those shopaholic stuff are becoming unappealing. As proof, the rare mall trips left me without any purchase. My past purchases were comprised of planner stuff, cool Korean make up from The Face Shop, nice perfume, a few dinnerware and more food.. again. Hahaha 

So much of my boring stuff, here are the the other things that made the past week


Weekly Planner Mess - I realized that I'm halfway with my planner. I can't wait to find out if I will complete the remaining pages. I also learned that half of the semester is over for my classes. A few more months and my Friday night schedule will be over. :)


Happy Mail - Thank you Terra and Marieken for the postcards. One reason that relieves me after a long day at work.


Goodies from Antipolo - I can't even remember the last time I visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Voyage, more popularly known as the Antipolo Church. I'm lucky to have friends and relatives who visited the place and took time to share some goodies. I miss the classic thin sliced kalamay, topped with latik and wrapped in banana leaves. So here's another proof that life is just all about food. :p


Some goodies from the mail - Last week, the team behind Inspiredby.Ph reached out to me. Just when I thought that finding beautiful postcards in the Philippines is a challenge, I discovered an independent local shop that produces unique and beautiful postcards. I will blog about my postcard loot soon. 

Meanwhile, it's 11 pm and I'm feeling so weak and sleepy. But there's some work waiting to be accomplished. Define the life of a grown up...

Wishing everyone a great week ahead! 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 276 - Break the rules

First things first, my blog underwent a semi-face lift. :p This is probably the product of not having work for two days. Added to it some midweek drama of frustration, rejection and some grown up issues. While everything remains uncertain, I don't have a choice but to keep going. The path is unclear, but the journey continues. I feel hopeless, but I'm still hoping. I'm tired, but I'm not quitting. Napapagod pero magpapatuloy. Nasasaktan pero hindi susuko. Wait, I think I'm diverting. Hahahaha 

Setting aside this heavy and serious aspect of my life, I'm grateful for the unexpected two-day off from work. I had an extended weekend. I was able to sleep well. My skin looks better. I had healthier meals. Although on some occasions, we have fastfood delivery in the evening. It's one of my family's guilty pleasures. Like tonight, it seems like everyone has become addicted to Jollibee. We had chicken, spaghetti and the classic peach mango pie. After a great meal, my parents would usually get to bed early. While I spend my quiet time switching different TV channels, checking my social media accounts, watching some drama series until my eyes feel heavy. Unfortunately, staying at home for three days seemed to become unhealthy for me. The weather is threatening my body of an upcoming cold or fever. I love the colder weather but my weak immune system is never ready.

In the middle of the week, I had some learning points, courtesy of a government agency. I have high respect for established and performing institutions. Unfortunately, another experience taught me that it's harder to bend such kind of institutions. Processes and practices are designed for their convenience, at the expense of their clients' welfare. I'm tempted to detail everything. But for the sake of my sanity and reputation, I'm reserving everything in the future. Also, I need to consult some friends with background in human resources. Alright, I can't prevent myself from providing a hint. Hahahaha 

So much of all these uninteresting stuff, here are snapshots of the past week


Weekly Planner Mess - I want more stickers!!! But those that are sold in shopping malls and bookstores just don't fit my budget and preferences. Oftentimes, I find nice pieces from sellers in instagram. Problem with these independent online sellers are the shipping fees. :( 


Farm to table home produce - My Father's harvest turned to fried cassava in a cold and rainy afternoon


Postcard from Terra and some sad news about Apple's move to phase out all iPod units - This iPod nano gave me my first taste of Apple. It has been with me for 10 years!!!! Everything is still perfectly working, except for the original earphones. It surpassed all mobile phones I used for the last 10 years. It has become a witness to all my adventures and emotional episodes. It knew all the songs I associate for each chapter of my life, including all the unrequited love I eventually regretted? Hahahaha 

Apple's decision to phase out its stand alone music players is understandable. Smartphones and applications such as Spinnr and Spotify can already perform its function. But the old soul in me still prefers a separate device. I prefer that my phone's battery be reserved for other purposes. I also feel that I get better sound quality with this device. Meanwhile, I'm hoping that Apple will not simply pull out its line of music players. If I have resources, I might acquire the last version of the iPod nano... for posterity purposes. Hahaha


Some old and new - Can you spot my recent Cath Kidston purchase?

I gave in to the temptation of acquiring the detachable strap. I love how the strap can change the look of my usual monochromatic bag. 


Another Cath Kidston love and a little reminder to everyone

This brings me ... how to differentiate breaking rules from violating rules.

Speaking of rules, I was quite affected with the incident involving a lawyer and a high ranking government official. Part of the issue was a Facebook post that irked the guilty government official. I'm reserving my stand over the issue. Instead, I wanted to focus on the aspect of social media. 

Few years ago, a social media policy was circulated at the workplace. I don't oppose the existence of the policy although I saw gray areas on some provisions. Unfortunately, part of me feels that the policy does not serve its purpose. It's not being implemented. I have seen several incidents that qualify as a violation. Much to my surprise, the lead of the policy became another uncaught violator. I knew my place, so I chose to remain silent. As you know, we have another unwritten workplace principle to follow. Choose your battles, which sometimes translates to shut up or else. Hahahaha 

Having these thoughts, I'm drawn to the idea of identifying the thin line that differentiates the two schools of thought. Breaking the rules vs. Violating the rules. In my own belief, breaking the rules means transforming the playing field to create better opportunities. It challenges, but not devastates. Violating the rules is self-centered and breeds nothing, but problems that promote more wrong doings.  

I think I sound too preachy already. I have to end here. :) Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Some midweek thoughts

source

Two years ago, I reached one of my lowest points in life. It started around May and lasted until the last quarter of the year. It was only my birthday and the Christmas season that changed everything. A year after, I probably got used to with the sadness. A few friends, family and some little surprises along the way helped me get through everything. Fast forward now, I think everything remained the same. It's sad and disheartening. More than the struggle, it makes me realize that my efforts are useless. I'm still a failure. My greatest fear is remaining in this pathetic state and accepting that I will never be meant for greater things. That hurts.

I'm not sure if it's the weather or because I'm idle. Work was suspended for two days. I should have followed my instincts. I should have brought home some files to accomplish. If I was productive, I will never have time to entertain another set of sad thoughts. But these sentiments have been recurring for years already. This leads to the lone and obvious action, I have to painfully wear and walk the shoes of a grown up. 

I'm exerting efforts. A few times, I thought I was on track. Only to later realize, I'm on my way to another taste of failure. I hold on to the idea that a rejection means one step closer to that dream. But standing up and moving on is never an easy phase. It entails another state of sadness and losing that dwindling self esteem. 

While everything is still uncertain, my prayers remained the same. More than finding some light to my struggles, I wish and pray for good health for me and my family. It's more than enough reason to remain grateful, amidst my other struggles. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 275 - New Beginnings

I woke up in a cold and rainy Sunday morning. The cold weather, a set of clean and soft bed sheets and a great sleep is my definition of a great weekend. Everything becomes perfect, when a sumptuous set of meal awaits me. A hot and savory broth, grilled fish stuffed with tomato and garlic, fried chicken in garlic and butter sauce, tacos or nachos with beef and cheese sauce, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice or margarita to cap the night. The broke and pathetic person in me can always dream. :p Truth is, right now I just had some cheap afternoon snacks from the neighborhood bakery. I'm over and done with a cheap spanish bread, pandesal and pan de coco with a glass of Coke. I'm more than awake to realize that there are more responsibilities ahead. Adulting is always the best way to awaken the sleepiest and laziest person in me. Or sometimes, an unexpected cold shower is more than enough. :p 

The past week surprised me with some farewells. People moving to new places and venturing to better opportunities. Along with it are people who remained, but changed? This week, I have close encounters with people who traded their principles for personal gains. One thing I learned from this practice, other people will never recognize your capabilities. There's always that grain of doubt planted whenever you achieve something. Sad, but there will always people who would fall in this vicious trap. Some used to be a significant part of my life. As much as I want to preserve nurtured relationships, being used as an instrument for some self-centered gains calls for some grown up decisions. I have other burdens to deal with, I don't need excess baggage of deteriorating relationships.  

I'm done with my weekly dose of drama. Here are the few beautiful things that made the past week.


Weekly Planner Mess - Monday was great because I arrived so early for work. Luck was on my side, I escaped the usual hell of traffic in the beginning of the week. In the afternoon, work was suspended because of the impending public transport strike. I was able to leave work early, dropped by the mall, ended buying nothing (achievement!!!), went home and spent the rest of the afternoon with zzzzzz. 

Tuesdays and Fridays always feel like achieving something great. I'm back to having evening classes that extend until 9 pm. I can feel my adrenaline overworking. I have to finish my office work, make all means to look at least half decent before my classes, rush for early dinner, attend to my classes and run as fast as I could to catch the last few trips of the train. 


Scene last Saturday morning  - Coffee table books, suman (steamed sweet sticky rice rolls), fresh buko juice, watching some Korean drama, daydreaming and convincing myself that everything will make sense someday. :p While these are happening, I have full blast sounds from my radio (Yes, radio. Beat that millenials hahaha) or iPod nano. Spotify is good, but I hate that it prevents me to fully customize my playlist. 


Can you guess the title of the book? :)

As always, in search not for a happy ending, but new and happier beginnings. 

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Track registered mails and packages from the Philippine Postal Corporation / Phlpost

I'm not sure if the Philippines is the lone country that maintains a manual system of handling letters, parcels and packages. While some parts of the process may be automated, most still require manual procedures. As proof, the logbooks still serve as their trusted companion.

On those times I claim a parcel or a registered mail from the Manila Post Office, I took the opportunity to inquire and hear the sentiments of the employees. Our short dialogue often meant hearing explanations on why parcels are always delayed. A staff told me that most Post Offices are undermanned. They don't have enough personnel to deliver the parcel / package notice. Same goes with the people involved in sorting items that arrive. Manual inventory and checking of items from the delivery sheets, compiling  and writing items in a logbook, writing down information in the parcel notice form and attending to the bulk of clients about to claim their packages.

There was a time when my expected package has been delayed for several months. I took the initiative to follow up. I was accommodated by the Post Office personnel even in the absence of the "white card" (parcel notification form). I was given series of folders containing tracking numbers and names of recipients. It was a tedious task, but way better than worrying and waiting for my package. After browsing several folders, I found my tracking number and name. Alleluia. :p I was told that I can always proceed and follow up the status of my package, as long as I have a tracking number. 


While I can always make advanced visits to the Post Office, I wasn't comfortable with this approach. I wanted to ensure that my package has indeed arrive at the local Post Office. Some countries have their own online tracking system. For instance, UK Royal Mail can track packages originating from their area to the Philippines. (provided that the item was sent under a tracking system) In the Philippines, I was wondering if we have the same facility. I searched for local tracking system and I was led to this.  



For the longest time, I didn't know that the Philippine Postal Corporation has this useful online facility. I was initially in denial. :p I don't have much expectations. But anyway, I tried the and was surprised that everything worked.  


I felt that my package has been most likely forwarded to the Manila Post Office weeks ago. I printed and brought this status page and sure enough, my package has been sitting in the Post Office for weeks. 

The tracking page can be accessed here

For those who are expecting parcels and packages via the local post office , here are a few tips I can provide based from my experience.

1. Always ensure you have a tracking number for your registered mails, parcels and packages. It will be almost impossible to trace items without the tracking number. Most tracking numbers en route in the Philippines usually have codes of RS-0000000, RF-00000 SP-00000 and the like.

2. Once the status page declared that your package is en route to the local delivery office, there's a high chance that your item has been sitting in the Post Office. Just print the tracking records above for reference. You might not need to wait for the parcel notification form. 

3. Don't forget to bring a valid ID. Parcels and packages will not be issued in the absence of this document.

For now, I'm quite satisfied with this facility that Phlpost provides. In the future, I hope more automation and faster processes will be rolled out. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 274 - Rebound

It was one of those days when I woke up feeling like a decade was added to my age. Grown up concerns, worries and fears are always the primary culprits of early aging, especially for the female populace. Despite knowing the root causes of everything, I keep depending on anti-aging products. :p I try different moisturizers to eliminate all the fine lines on my face. I do this even when I'm aware that facing my issues and letting go of unworthy concerns are the antidote to advanced aging. Okay, enough of my weekend rant. :)

The past week was challenging in so many ways. There were so much thoughts in my head. As always, much of it were induced by circumstances and people around me. Some years ago, I used to be the quiet person on everything. I'd rather bear the burden because I was afraid of conflicts. I had my own learning points so I transformed  and became frank and opinionated. Never mind the after effects of raising my thoughts .... but not raising my voice. Hahahaha It's always a different story when someone begins to raise his / her voice.  But another experience changed me again. These days, I realized that being silent seemed to have more benefits. With all the experiences, thoughts and opinions I have in mind, I sometimes feel that I could already deliver a TED talk. Hahahaha

A few weeks ago, I had an experience with someone who left words possessing an element of offensiveness. That someone pointed the behavior of some people, who refuse to render unpaid overtime or report to work hours before their official time. The exact words uttered was, mahiya naman kayo sa nagpapakain sa inyo. Whew! While that someone has the right to demand from subordinates, I don't like the choice of words and meaning behind. Just when I said that sometimes, it's better to hold on to my silence. But heck, receiving hurtful words make an exemption. Contradicting my own thoughts, remaining silent sometimes give an artificial right to other people to hurt us. But since I'm writing this experience, one can easily tell how the situation was handled. Yes, I was one of the many people who decided to remain silent. :p 

Setting aside my scattered and complicated thoughts, here are the beautiful things that happened last week.

Default photo of the week - Half way of the year, I hope I can religiously make journal entries until December 2017. I'm running out of stickers but I don't want to splurge anymore. Also, some companies are starting to release their 2018 planners. I'm tempted to get a Kate Spade. But if Papemelroti will release another version, I might as well stick with a good old and affordable brand. 


Finding some inspiration during mornings ... with my all time favorite Yakult :) But truth is, one bottle is always, NOT enough. 


The book I've been wanting to finish, one of my Cath Kidston sale finds, a nice bargained top, and a recent discovery, Clinique Happy!!!! My friends have been telling me to try this scent. I don't regret trying it, but with its price ... this might be the first and last. Hahahaha


How to  make the best weekend! Pizza from my Father's Birthday, favorite chichacorn from Binondo and wine to cap the night. 

On a lighter note, Kris Aquino is giving me that much needed comic relief. Check out this job interview and our week as told by Kris. Jollibee also released a sequel to its commercial series about that guy who attended the wedding of his one great love. Apparently, there is a female BFF who has been loving Mr. Heatbroken. Surprise of surprises, my friends left negative sentiments for Mr. HeartBroken. #Rebound* Hahahaha I'll keep silent about my opinion. I'm quite sensitive and equally negative with such issue these days. HAHAHAHAHAHA 

Another weekend has ended, another full week ahead. Breathe in,breathe out. There will be better days ahead. :)

*Thanks dear friends, I found the perfect title to my post. :D 

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