Adventure, Mountaineering, Philippines, Travel, Weekend Warrior

Mt. Ulap, February 2017

Mt. Ulap (Ampucao-Sta. Fe Ridge) in Itocon, Benguet offered quite a few firsts for me – cold-weather hiking (in the PH at least), camping at the base of a summit, and at 1856masl, it’s the highest local peak I’ve reached so far.

We traversed this “Mini-Pulag” last weekend, when the temp reached at least 10 degrees Celsius (but felt like a 6), and there was a dense, delicious fog that permeated the trail. (“Forks!” said Justine. I completely missed the Twilight reference). Continue reading

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Personal Stuff

My sister’s wedding

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12/28/2016

My sister is younger than me by 11 months but she is my idol in so many ways… on top of being an awesome mother to Fourth she, along with Third, have organized an elegant, romantic celebration of their union last month. It meant a happy Christmas for the family as Papa came home…

I could only hope that, in my time, I could pull off the same. LOL Continue reading

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Personal Stuff

City Of Stars – Cover (from the La La Land OST)

This isn’t a perfect cover but I’m so happy because there were no dogs nor roosters in this one-shot live recording. 🙂 Tsamba 🙂

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Philippines, Travel

Field notes from Siquijor

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My story for the Gear S3 launch is out! So now I can share more of my personal photos and notes for this blog. 🙂 (You can read my piece on Rappler here)

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Siquijor is a very small province with a very long coastline (200km). Since its LGU formalized its tourism efforts in the late 2000s, it has been attracting tourists not just for its beaches, but also for its diving spots. Though it’s a fishing / agricultural island, 80 percent of its GDP now comes from tourism (resorts, amenities, activities). Continue reading

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Adventure, Philippines, Travel

Postcards from Siquijor

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With my meager travel experience, Siquijor isn’t top of mind when recommending beach or getaway destinations in the Philippines. But thanks to a work trip, I discovered that it deserves more attention, especially for those who are seeking adventure-filled itineraries.

I’m filing an official story this week and here are some of my outtakes (will update this post with excerpts once the article is published). Scrolling through all the photos we took again, for inspiration. Continue reading

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Personal Stuff

Me, 2016

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In lieu of a long text post of a photo re-compilation (as I’ve previously done), I thought I’d try my hand at making a simple infographic of the stats and things that made up my year. It was pretty easy to do this in on infogr.am. (You’d think that being in content marketing, I’d know that infographics are sooo 2014 and I should be doing social videos instead! We’ll get to that, we will). Continue reading

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Books

My 2016 in Books*

For me there’s no debate between physical books and a Kindle. Under the most ideal circumstances, I would choose real books.

But this year, there was a dearth of ideal circumstances, i.e. quaint afternoons spent in cafes while sipping a warm latte and enjoying a view of trees or beaches. Because life in 2016 was, you know,  (there seems to be a consensus, LOL at our bandwagon sentimentality).

My heart will always crave books for their tactile pleasure. That’s what any self-righteous reader would say: that the joy of reading a physical volume can never be replaced by clutching a thin, flat plastic tablet.

Despite this presupposition, I read almost exclusively on my Kindle this year. To be quite frank, I didn’t miss flipping pages, nor the extra bag weight. It was different, but it still felt good. Because I got to read for pleasure, period.

In 2016 I read more than I’ve ever read in the last three years. I read in UV Express lines, while getting various pampering processes done, in between errands, in the toilet, before bed. I read to escape. I read to know new things. I read to get ideas and stay inspired. I read and read and read. And at the end of the day that was what mattered. That I got to enjoy a good chapter whenever I wanted to.

Anyway, this isn’t a love letter about my Kindle (although seriously guys I think it’s such a good investment). This note is about what I consider one of the most important milestones of this year – that I was able to read more books.

So here’s a list of places and stories I’ve been. In between memoirs and a brief nostalgic Nancy Drew spate, I read a lot of sci fi and spec. I failed to finish That Hideous Strength after repeated attempts. And I’m owning up that I’ve never actually finished a single Llosa book in my life.

My “Book Of The Year” would have to be SEVENEVES for its epicness. Nothing more fascinating than hard science fiction and a genesis account that covers almost the same timeline as the bible (please correct me if I am wrong on this one). My favorite author is Helen Oyeyemi for making me enjoy fairy tales, for her characters’ stream of consciousness, and for her skill in writing in so many diverse voices. Reading Patti Smith’s memoirs is like experiencing simultaneous deja vu and future visions – one of those writers who have already influenced how I will feel and think about things in the coming years.

This list is really for posterity so that I can be motivated to keep reading and to actually get back into actual books again in 2017 (but seriously you can highlight and make notes in a Kindle too and it’s so much easier to get your reader user data lolololol).

How can you utilize this list? I am underscoring recommendations.

*If you are a purist, sorry if my title is misleading :p

FINISHED (By order in which I finished them)
  1. In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
  2. Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
  3. Just Kids by Patti Smith
  4. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
  5. SEVENEVES by Neil Stephenson
  6. Nancy Drew and The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
  7. Nancy Drew and The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene
  8. Nancy Drew and The Bungalow Mystery by Carolyn Keene
  9. Nancy Drew and The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene
  10. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  11. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
  12. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
  13. Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt
  14. A Tale for The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  15. Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame
  16. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  17. The Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
  18. Out Of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
  19. M Train by Patti Smith
  20. Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
  21. Democracy by Joan Didion
  22. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, and JK Rowling
  23. Infomocracy by Malka Older
  24. The Girls by Emma Cline
  25. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  26. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  27. Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor
  28. What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
  29. The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay
  30. Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  31. Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
NOT FINISHED
  1. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
  2. Room by Emma Donoghue
  3. A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson
  4. The Fabric of The Cosmos by Brian Greene
  5. Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail
  6. That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
  7. Feast of The Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
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Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor

Funny how in the last few weeks of 2016, a surprise work assignment saved me from work fatigue in general. It wasn’t really a breather (it was work!) but it was still very fun and very much what I needed (water, spelunking, good food, new friends, new lessons, new opportunities). I am thankful.

I will finish the assignment, pack up mine and the team’s deliverables, and then focus on enjoying closing 2016: with a happy photo story about this experience, my sister’s wedding, spending more time with our baby Fourth, Ranie, family, love, provision, belief.

Everything has its own time and season.

Personal Stuff

It’s been a while

I have been too busy to file my own stories. Q4 is usually is an easy coast for me; this year it wasn’t. But 2016 is closing in less than two months, I am excited to finish it with a satisfactory flourish. To complete our big projects well, finish my year-ender story, find a new person to join the team, make sure everyone is still happy. Me included of course.

My dear Lola passed away last September 27. It’s been 40 days since but my family is still healing. I am trying my best to be by Mama’s side as much as I can to make sure that she looks after herself too whilst we fix up loose ends and take care of her Ate. We miss Lola so much; she was already 82 but she was still gone so soon.

Ahlee is finally doing her church ceremony next month and I have a dress I am excited to wear and we are finalizing preparations and we are looking forward to that spot of happiness. Papa is still deciding  hard whether to come home or just give the couple a big monetary gift! This I do not completely understand. This makes me worry because what about next year? But I think I am also overthinking it.

I have been overthinking A LOT. And it has been putting a strain on how I communicate with Ranie. We will be 9 years together next year; and our relationship now is actually way more challenging than it was when we were 2 broke Comm major students. But we find ways to make it work. Him especially. I do not know where I will be without his strength and faith.

I am still looking forward to going on an adventure before the year ends; hopefully I still manage one travel post within this month. Crossed fingers.

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Everyday, Personal Stuff

Looking back on Ghost Month

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I have no public entries for August because there were no travels, no big weekends, no photogenic events. But there were a lot of early mornings, spent attacking blank unlined pages with a 0.3 black pen, writing over and over and over and over: “Stop being negative. Don’t be sad. Look on the bright side. Just grit your teeth and do it.” So I went ahead and did all that.

Continue reading

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