Sunday, February 26, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 254 - Last for February

I was listening to a series of TED talks while taking photos for this post. Of the talks I heard, the speaker who dealt with failures left me affected. I think this was the first time I encountered a scientific explanation of how failure alters our biological function. In an experiment, it was found that the brain activity of people who encountered failures were more active and responsive. People who failed demonstrated higher propensity for creativity and were more motivated to succeed. If this applies to all human beings, then there's something to be grateful of my current state. For a change, it's no longer an article, book or a quote from my Facebook newsfeed that moved me. Science made me believe I haven't been knocked out. 

Surprises and chances, these words best described the past week. Surprises because I found more underlying problems. There were also a few work related tasks that came along the way. It felt both tiring and fulfilling. At the end of the day though, all I wanted is accomplishment. As for chances, I made another attempt to an endeavor I failed two years ago. Part of me feels more pessimistic, as always. If I will fail again, I'll take it as my signal to move on. I'm meant for something else. Having these thoughts, I remember this article I read a month ago. Who can better speak about turning failures to success?

Setting aside my personal issues, here are other interesting links I encountered last week

Tomoro Mizuno's Pottery - Hats off to this intricate and distinct pottery design!!

A girl who decided to face her fears in 100 days summarized her full account here.

I likewise didn't expect this song to appear as a teaser for the upcoming season of The Voice.

The process of making a Pandora, gave me justification behind its expensive price. But still, way beyond my capacity. :p

What weekend mornings are made of - Taho in a slow and relaxing weekend, finding some inspiration on a planner, and the brochure of my dream camera!!! Sony a5000 is love!!! Crossing my fingers, this camera will be mine. 

Found a set of old ballerina paper dolls, these should be intended for a project that didn't push through. I found a new use for these beautiful pastel pieces. :) 

Nick Bantock's series!!!! My two books finally arrived. Thank you ThriftBooks!!! I just need two more books from The Morning Star Trilogy to complete the series. If you share the same love for letters and postcards, you will likewise enjoy Nick Bantock's series. 

It will be the last full week of February tomorrow. Two months have passed for 2017. I'm wishing for more strength, freelance work and some good news. Have a great day ahead!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 253 - Pursue

This rare cold weather!!! If I'm not mistaken, the coldest temperature in Manila was recorded last week. Walking to the train station while feeling the cold breeze felt so relaxing after a long day. This is already a treat for someone who has lived in a "forever summer" city. While typing this post, I'm still enjoying the rare coldness even inside the comforts of our home.

We often equate coldness with sadness. It was actually my devil's wish for everyone on February 14. hahahaaha The weather was cold, but I'm enjoying it even on the 14th. I had evening classes and it appeared as a relief. I was spared from Valentine's Day traffic. When I was about to leave, I got invited to two different dinners. (Taraaay!) Hahahaha Unfortunately, it was not the dinner my friends were praying for. A colleague held his farewell party. On the last minute, my friend MFA wanted to have dinner. I attended both dinners so imagine how bloated I was. I felt like Baymax. :D My mind was screaming for exercise but my body had other issues. I had a bad case of back pain and stiff neck. Borrowing John Green's line, pain demands to be felt. The struggle is real until this day. My only consolation, the degree of pain is gradually diminishing everyday. 

Aside from what seems to be an endless food marathon, here are the other good things that made the past week. 

What relaxing weekends are made of - Writing and reading existing entries from my planner and having a different breakfast. I love French Baker's raisin bread and newly discovered Amor bakery's thin sliced cookies.

Papemelroti's limited edition postcard - Before meeting my friend MFA, I dropped by SM Department store for some toiletries. I was surprised seeing a Papemelroti postcard hidden on the shelves. Part of me believes that someone intentionally left it. :) No one claimed ownership, so I took the card. I checked out the nearest Papemelroti branch to buy more pieces. Unfortunately, the racks of cards didn't have it. I didn't anymore approach the salesladies because I was in a hurry.  A few days after, I learned why it was not available. Apparently, it was a limited edition card given to shoppers for the entire month of February. I'm happy that I got the card for free, with some stroke of luck and destiny. ;P

Everything vintage - Thank you Marieken for the vintage postcard of Nijmegen, Netherlands 

I wanted to acquire Beauty and the Beast's special edition book for the longest time. I only saw copies from Amazon and Book Depository. As expected, the cost is enough to make me forget about it. I was thinking of acquiring Funko Pop's version of Belle, Mrs. Potts' tea set or the popular Enchanted Rose in a glass instead.

In the  middle of the week, I learned that Fully Booked carries this animated and illustrated version. It is still expensive, but way cheaper than US or UK prices with the shipping fees and taxes. The book transpired as one of my expensive purchases. At some point, I felt a degree of regret for the splurge. Seems like it wasn't a wise purchase. However, when I saw the price of other Beauty and Beast souvenirs, particularly the Enchanted Rose.... I was taken aback. This local store that distributes real and preserved Ecuadorian roses, scared me. Friends, prepare Php 3,850 to 5,250!!!

Some Cath Kidston mugs :) - Thank you Mother E for saving some pieces for us. This will complete my collection.

Before the week ended, I encountered a reminder posted by a famous social media personality.

I needed this.

Unknown to probably some of you, writing my regular Sunday post is quite a challenge. Everything boils down on my difficulty of recalling the things that happened last week. Maintaining a planner to document everything may help but oftentimes, I don't write entries everyday. In addition, it's difficult to stick with the good stories. As much as I make a conscious effort to maintain a positive outlook, my pessimistic side is dominating. Having this tone now, it's easy to predict the outcome of this post. The past week was not one of my best.

I was haunted by some grown up concerns again. It amazes me how one problem breeds more problems. Thinking about everything frightens and weakens me. While addressing my struggles, people who will make everything harder will emerge. In the midst of everything, bad things will happen to good people. Undeserving beings will be endowed with the best opportunities. I have no control over other people but at the very least, all I wanted to is to surpass this struggle.

I'm wishing for more strength. Give me more time, I will find my own place. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 252 - To love

The past week ended with the annual employee recognition night at the workplace. While it has been the same event every year, one thing makes all the difference. The speeches of colleagues, who have rendered 30 years of service, never fail to make those painful pinches in my heart. It took decades before these heartwarming stories were heard. Sadly, it also meant spending a lifetime before their little yet significant contributions were appreciated.

It was supposedly a night of celebration, but part of me feels otherwise. I fear retirement beyond death. Part of me feels worried of my colleagues' retirement. Not everyone has kids to support them. And as much as I don't want to think about it, I'm wishing that everyone has enough money to support their remaining years. This is actually one of my motivations for pursuing a career in freelancing. When the law already forbids me to work, I still have a source of income and the opportunity to feel useful and productive.

I was suppose to write a happy post here. So setting aside this melancholy atmosphere, here are the beautiful things that happened last week. :)

Two of my freelance clients are done with their dissertation - It felt like a huge thorn in my throat was finally taken away. It's a rare privilege to help people achieve their career goals.

Tried the famous Ramon Lee's fried chicken in Binondo for the first time - I've been working in Manila for a decade. Binondo is only a few minutes away from my workplace, but I haven't fully explored the popular restaurants. In the middle of the week, me and my friend MFA got to try Ramon Lee's chicken. Thanks to the unexpected traffic and a bad day that forced us to walk towards the train station. We got tired and decided to have dinner. ;)

What weekend mornings are made of - Puto Calasiao in a slow and relaxing weekend 

Love Letters of Great Men and Women - It finally arrived, thank you Book Depository! Although to be honest,the book gets a little boring with all the historical accounts. On a different note, I noticed that the most cherished letters are products of forbidden love. :p

Thanks Ash and Muff for my personalized and embroidered pouch 

Surprised to see a few sheets of Papemelroti's old stationery! -  If I'm not mistaken, I had this pad back in High School. I used it to write my palanca letters for my friends.

When the week started, the local ad of McDonald's caught my attention. It has been initially shown months ago, but it was only last week when I started to appreciate its message. Parents are love. :) It spoke so much about me.

Days after, Jollibee's series of Valentine's videos came in. Tears!!!!My favorite is about the father who passed away. 

The entire team behind the concept should be commended. To say it was a success is an understatement.

Then just this weekend, a local brand of cooking oil broke all records. Minola's Valentine series is a LEGEND!!!!  Hahahahaaha I cannot even choose a favorite. Hahahaha I'm wondering if Minola still have something "hidden" for us. I'm secretly hoping, there will be installments lined up. The team behind Minola's ad from its conception to execution should be given a bonus!!!! 

More than the attention drawn by these ads, I once again saw a living proof that promotions are no longer on TV or print.  Social Media is the new platform to beat.

It's already halfway February and I'm starting to recall what have I accomplished. Soon enough, two months of 2017 is over. I haven't really set specific targets. At the very least, all I wanted is to feel accomplished and get closer to that dream of discovering my best domain and hopefully, build a more established career as a freelancer. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 251 - To have a good heart

The past week ... was full of exclamation points. :) The week started with the most awaited Miss Universe. It was one of the rare times when my home country is hosting the event. I admit, I was one of those selfish beings wishing for a holiday last Monday. :p But to no avail. It felt like a typical day. I reported for work and sneaked in access to live streaming. I was rooting for Miss Haiti, but destiny had other plans. After the event, I was eager to hear all the insider information from my "happy and gay" colleagues. I was entertained and partly amazed by their stories. All the more when I discovered how the entire pageant transformed to an industry. I never imagined all those efforts needed in making a candidate. It felt like everything equated to acquiring another college degree. 

After the pageant, my desire to exercise suddenly intensified. Hahaha I'm inspired to lose weight but let me clarify, I don't have intentions. Hahahaha Overage and overweight. Hahaha I was exercising for three straight days after work. I was doing good except that I got sick in the middle of the week. My legs and arms were aching. I started to feel chills, sore throat and slight fever. It didn't help that I slept late because I was attending to some unexpected work. Some were brought by freelance clients and a few were unsolicited requests, to which I have some issues. I have friends, relatives and colleagues requesting my assistance in the field where I freelance. And because they are friends, relative and colleagues, my services are free and everything felt like sky is the limit.

Unfortunately, working with relatives and friends have placed me to a disadvantaged position in many ways. Pardon my words, I noticed that they form most of my abusive clients. They impose impossible deadlines, to which I comply. More than the unrecognized efforts and sleepless nights, I sometimes don't receive any word of gratitude. My worst experience was a relative who committed to pay, but never rendered a single centavo. This happened years ago and I have been warned by concerned relatives. The cousin has a negative reputation with money matters. I was willing to let everything pass, not until I learned that my cousin started spreading stories that I received money from her family.

While I can be generous and accommodating, I have my own set of limitations. After all the assistance I rendered, I was left hanging in the tree of uncertainty. Added to this the claimed compensation that never happened. This was way beyond disrespect.

I would love to be in the shoes of a supportive friend or family member. It's a great opportunity to uplift or help anyone in need. But if the situation comes with some level of distress, I'm starting to question if having a good and generous heart is still worth it. 

So much of my personal drama, here are the few beautiful things that made the past week

The Mikimoto Crown - This is my favorite version of the Miss Universe crown. It's one of the simplest yet has its own share of controversy. Some said the crown has been cursed because the first Miss Universe who wore it was dethroned. The last Miss Universe who used it was from Japan. Some claimed it was a secret deal between Miss Universe's management and Japan's famous jeweler, Mikimoto. Regardless of all these unverified stories, the Mikimoto crown is my forever favorite. The pearls and diamonds won my heart.

This promotional effort by Domino Pizza Philippines - Aside from having the ever gorgeous Liza Soberano, the concept and effort are commendable.

This song from M People can't get out of my head. :) 

Renee's Instagram account is love! Same with Andrea's account that features everything vintage.

Thank you Jennifer from the letters and stationery items from Australia. Had it really been years since we had that Quezon City - Manila - Mandaluyong trip? 

The Beatrix Potter collections' postcard, thank you Terra for sending this rare and unpopular version of Mr. Tod. 

These cards from Miniso!!! I wanted to detach the intricate paper design and keep it for myself. But these cards are meant for someone else. They will find their real owners soon. :)

Starting to read this book! It's one of my splurge from last year's Manila International Book Fair.

I'm typing this post while having a sinful dinner, KFC spaghetti, huge cut fries and Coke. What could have been the best way to end the weekend :)

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Carnival Food Park

My hometown never fails to surprise me with its flourishing food industry. Every time I move around the area, I would discover emerging food joints. Lilac Street in SSS Village for instance used to be a quiet residential site for the middle class. Today, every street has something unique to offer.  Gil Fernando St. is another case. What used to be a site filled with grassroots, vacant lot and the city government's engineering facility is now a growing food strip. Years ago, no one had probably predicted that my hometown, also known as one of the flood prone areas in the Philippines, will transform to one of the popular food hubs.

Recently, I noticed a growing trend of food parks. It started with the popular weekend food bazaars such as Banchetto and Mercato. (Are those still existing?) After some time, we had our own experience of food trucks. Although the idea didn't sustain in my hometown. Years after, the concept of food parks emerged. It started with Crave Park, which I blogged here. Followed by The Truck Park, I have yet to see. I also saw a smaller version, #FoodTrip Marikina along Gil Fernando area as well. Then late last year, I discovered Carnival Food Park.

The bright lights, cheerful atmosphere, and nostalgic vibe of old school carnival can easily capture anyone's attention. Hence, expect a traffic build up within this area. Apart from diners, passerbys can't help but check out the place.

I went with my friend AK last Sunday. I felt it was quite a mistake going on a weekend because as you can see, jampacked. It was hard to secure seats. Lines are long in most food establishments. I would suggest taking 3 companions to distribute the task of looking for seats and ordering meals. I only have my friend AK with me so we ended with two different orders. AK bought honey chicken wings from Chicken Ways. I took the long lines to try the popular nachos of SeƱorita Fil-Mex Cantina. Of two dishes we tried, we would recommend Chicken Ways. Senorito's nachos was just average. It's something I can skip if I will visit again. AK also tried Milkshake Lab, which surpassed her expectations.

Setting aside the Sunday night crowd, I had a good experience with Carnival Food Park. But as mentioned, I will probably visit the place on weekdays. I just hope that all establishments are open even on off peak weekdays. 

P.S. I noticed a number of netizens seeking the easiest way to reach the place. Here are my recommendations.

With Own Vehicle 

Option 1 - Using Waze
Some netizens complained that Carnival Food Park is not yet existing in the application. In case the place remains unrecognized, pin your destination to Tata Motors along Mayor Gil Fernando Avenue instead. The place is across this establishment.

Option 2 - Without Waze
Drive towards Marcos Highway bound to Antipolo, Masinag or Cogeo area.
Make a u-turn after Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall.
Take the street after Yellow Cab Pizza / PS Bank, the street starts the long area of Gil Fernando.

Via Commute

Option 1 - Estimated Cost : around Php 35
Take the LRT 2 and exit on Santolan Station
Take any jeepney bound to Montalban / San Mateo. These routes directly pass along Gil Fernando St., where Carnival Park is located.

Option 2 - Estimated cost : around Php 55
From Cubao (Gateway Mall) or Katipunan (Katipunan LRT Station), take the UV express bound to Marikina (routes of Parang or SSS Village
Alight near the Marikina Sports Center.
Take any tricycle (brown, beige or green) and tell the driver to take you in Gil Fernando St, Carnival Food Park.

Option 3 - Estimated Cost  around: Php 55
From Gateway Mall, take the UV express bound to Antipolo, Masinag or Cogeo.
Alight at Robinsons Metroeast.
From the overpass, you can easily see the light brown / cream tricycles that can take you to the area.