Friday, October 31, 2014

throwback: yogyakarta, indonesia

We're Indonesia-bound for the holidays! My sister Lycel won't be coming home for the holidays and so she thought she'd fly us in so we can spend Christmas and New Year together in Jakarta then in Bali. Of course we said yes! Because who passes up the chance to spend such special occasions with family? In this case, my only family lol. And who passes up the chance to travel for free?

After a bit of a back-and-forth regarding the dates and the requirements, Rocel was finally able to book all that needed to be booked, from flights to accommodations. It's been a while since I last saw Indonesia, not to mention spent time with my sister, so I'm totally psyched about the trip! So much that I've been looking at photos of the last trip, which was way back 2009.

It was my 30th birthday then. I was recovering from a crazy period of my life and the only way I wanted to spend such a milestone in my life was with my sister. Perfect timing because my sister had week-long break coming up and we could spend some quality time together. And so we booked a trip to Jakarta. As a birthday gift, Ate also booked flights to Yogyakarta, so we could see the heritage sites like the Prambanan and Borubodur. With us during the trip were Rocel and Aicel. It was a fantastic trip and definitely a great way to celebrate my 30th!

I thought I'd post photos of that trip, as a warm-up to the upcoming one. So psyched!

The Ramayana ballet. It was beautiful but we didn't get to finish it because we were all so sleepy after a very early flight from Jakarta. Must go back someday to finish it lol.

Checking out the Keraton Hall. That's a gamelan ensemble behind us.

The Borobudur Temple is such a splendid sight.

Claiming a bell at the Borobudur. Since it was a holiday, the place was packed. 

I have long been curious about the wayang kulit, and I finally got to see a show during a stopover.

... even better, Mike and I got to try it too!

Fancy coffee with hot charcoals? The coals apparently lower the caffeine degree. Interesting drink from Angkringan Lik Man! Mike went on lifestyle show host mode, and described the experience ala-Anthony Bourdain. He totally had us in stitches!

Sidewalk party at a street near the railway station which was lined with angkringans. We don't have a photo, but the whole street was filled with locals who were all seated on their mats in the pavement. It was like we were in one big picnic!

Beautiful music from the gamelan ensemble.

The Prambanan took my breath away.

Looking forward to more adventures with my sister :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

sloan turns 4: the crafty details

I found myself cramming for Sloan's 4th birthday. Not that we had anything extraordinary planned - we usually stick to a simple celebration. But I like to decorate a little and prepare nice giveaways following a theme based on Sloan's current favorites. 

For this year, I enlisted the help of Sloan's Ninang Dai to help me design the logo and the party props. But I was unable to coordinate with her due to lack of time, and so I decided to do things myself instead of harassing her lol. I decided I'd just stick to a minimalist design, taking inspiration from Sally Shim.

I had to scour the internet for free downloadable templates and vector artworks and fortunately, I found ones that fit the theme I had in mind, which was blue + gray, chevron, and helicopters (Sloan's current obsession). Special shout outs to for the helicopter art, and for the invites (so cool that you can customize the colors!!!).     

I had the invites printed at a Kodak printing shop, and jazzed them up with a nice wrapping paper from Wrap Shop and stickers which I designed myself using Paint/ Yes, Paint! Haha! My other laptop which has Photoshop has been having problems and a cramming momma's gotta do what she's gotta do!

I stayed up late doing these so they could be given out a week before Sloan's party in school. Tawang-tawa ko sa sarili ko kasi career na career ako, samantalang sigurado na wala namang paki yung classmates niya sa Nursery sa mga invites na ito! Hahaha!

The giveaways were Filipino alphabet books from Adarna, which I got from the Manila International Bookfair at discounted rates. For the toddlers, it was wooden puzzles from National Bookstore. I also had personalized stickers printed at the ever reliable Robee Stickers, which thankfully had a helicopter design that goes with the theme. Pula nga lang yung helicopter, pero choosy pa ba ko, e wala na nga kong oras lol. I packed them using wrapping papers and some washi tapes and ribbons from my stash.

We also gave away a kiddie trail mix - marshmallows, choco-coated biscuits, and vanilla wafers - packed in reusable containers which was a pretty affordable find at True Value. Syempre hindi rin yan nakaligtas sa sticker at ribbon! Damay na din ang water bottles sa mga ka-cute-an.

On the morning of the 17th, I decorated the house a little. His birthday wasn't until the following day, but since we were gonna celebrate in school on that day, Mike and I thought we might as well start the festivities early.

So. as the pictures show, I somehow survived this year's birthday! I'll share more about his school party, as well as how we marked his actual birthday later on :) 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

been doing some growing up

As the lack of entries suggest, I’ve had my hands pretty full the past few months. It all started when I signed on to become a 9-5 girl again, then Sloan started with school, and Mike was traveling a lot for work... you get the picture.

But it’s all good. There have been a lot of highlights, and I have been doing some growing up in terms of understanding myself more - what more I can and want to do, and recognizing the need to pace, lest I drive myself crazy.

There have been a lot of highlights and I’ll just share them in bullets. For starters, I’ve had the privilege to personally interview and write about two very interesting personalities: world-renowned industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue and talented actor Piolo Pascual.

It was such a pleasure listening to them talk about their journey in their respective careers – the learning they had to do, the risks they had to take, the frustrations they learned to let go of, the sweet payoff for their hard work, and not stopping just yet; rather, moving forward and growing some more.

I also had the chance to travel for work. And while most days away would be spent attending to an event or interviewing people, I would always try to be conscious about appreciating my surroundings and relishing the newness of the experience and the setting.

One of the more memorable experiences was being right in the middle of the action in Ironman 70.3 which was held in Cebu. 

Seeing the racers train hard, and yet still enjoying the company and the experience; and witnessing them giving all they’ve got in competition, even if it means bearing the pain of leg cramps while racing to the finish line. 

Sports, as I always like to say, really is the best metaphor to life.

I wasn’t the only one who’s been doing some growing up and learning: Sloan is now a school boy and has been doing his own share of such!

He started school last June and is now a nursery student. Mike and I are happy to see him thrive and are marveling at how he actually really enjoys learning. We do our best to answer his questions and guide him as he makes sense of letters and numbers, among other things. I can’t believe just how fast my boy is growing.

So that’s what’s been up. I’m pushing myself to start being active with writing here again - I got lotsa stories to tell, after all! I trust that the next entry will not take so long :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

rediscovering tristan prettyman

I haven’t been listening to music as much as I used to, or as I much as I should be. But one busy morning at work, I wanted to listen to something that would bring in good vibes. Tristan Prettyman came to my mind, specifically her song “Love, Love, Love” which I just, erm, love.

Tristan is the ex-fiance of my other favorite Jason Mraz. I remember even blogging about their song “Shy That Way” which was really cute and somewhat tells the story of how their love story came to be.

Then they got engaged and it was a match made in music heaven! Except they broke up. Jason apparently wrote the song “I Wont’ Give Up on Us” for Tristan.

While browsing through Tristan’s YouTube videos, I came across what is said to be her answer to Jason’s song. It's called "Glass Jar".

What a beautiful, beautiful song! Apparently she was supposed to call it “You Gave Up on Us”, like a direct reply to Jason’s song. But she decided to go with “Glass Jar” instead.

I remember that was around the time when Jason was starting to get mainstream raves, and maybe that’s what inspired the lines “you got the whole world was watching, and everyone's attention... you turned your head and you never even mentioned us...” So sad, so beautiful. I cannot even. Seriously.

Tristan also wrote a song called "I Was Gonna Marry You". In this article, she shares details about those two very personal compositions. They are so the real life Greta and Dave of Begin Again! 

But then, Tristan did end up finding her true love...

And I am so, so happy for her! Like, kamag-anak or barkada levels happy! Hahaha! Hashtag feeling close! In the end, it’s still all love, love, love.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

camaya beach resort ,bataan

Late last Friday, Dai texted me asking if we were interested in going on an all-expenses-paid day trip to Camaya Beach Resort in Bataan the very next day because her friend Jill, who handles marketing for Camaya, had free passes available. Having no plans for Saturday, we immediately said yes. Sloan was already in bed and Mike and I couldn't help but laugh at the thought of surprising him with a beach trip the very next day.

Of course, the little boy was very much game when he found out we were going to the beach! We met up Dai and her friend Gracee at the ferry terminal in the CCP complex. After a bit of a wait, we were off! The ride took about an hour and 15 minutes or so, and thankfully was really smooth. I was little worried about Sloan possibly getting seasick, or worse, both Sloan and I getting seasick.

The weather was scorching and as such, perfect for hitting the water. We first stayed in the beach area, where Sloan had the time of his life playing.

Then we headed to the pool area, which I really liked. For one, the kiddie pool was spacious enough as compared to other kiddie pools which are usually small, and the thing is, adults who are watching over their kids have to get into the water too, so it ends up being quite crowded. Also they have a lovely infinity pool.

For those not keen on hitting the water (bakit pa kayo nag-beach? Hahaha!), there's a game room where you can play video games, air hockey, and there's also an arcade where you can play old school games, like Pac-Man and Dig Dug! Very cool.

Camaya also has an area where you can play billiards, foos ball, and ping pong. Sloan tried all three when we were done with swimming.

I have to mention that when he picked up the cue stick, he raised it up high, motioned as though he was reeling something in, then he turned to me and said, "Mommy! Fishing!" Haha! Hurray for imagination!

That was a really fun day :) And was exactly what I needed to, because I had been on an emo funk days before the trip. Enjoying a day away from the city and having fun with my family and good friends was just what the doctor ordered.