Thursday, August 7, 2014

See you!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

30 Things Before 30

They say that you have a lot of time when you're 20, that's okay. 

But now that I'm half way done with the 'glorious 20s,' I say that no matter how much you try to get things right when given a chance to do or have it, sometimes, you just need a few more tries to get it... just right. And you got to do them and learn from them in your 20s. You have to fall, fail and be fooled (sometimes!) so that you know what suits and best for you. 

I find myself glorifying my good old energetic days lately- Trying almost everything and finding something new each day. When I moved here in Singapore, I felt like a boring old maid struggling to live life while coping up to herself losing each piece day by day. (Haha. It's quite an exaggeration but it's quite close.) 

My diagnosis is I am putting so much pressure to myself that I panic for not living my life the way I know how it should be. So today, I'll be back to be a blessing to others and making other feel happy about their lives. And since it should begin with me, I'm sharing some of my lists of 30 things before 30 (I removed some too cheesy goals) just like my 25 things and looking forward.

1. Witness the beauty of Sakura and join "Ohanami."
2. Eat pizza or have wine/coffee while sitting at front of the Trevi Fountain.
3. Learn Flamenco in Spain.
4. Pay all our loans and raise funds for parent's retirement. (Filipino thing! Haha)
5. ---
6. ---
7. Read a book while enjoying Maldives with a beer.
8. Experience & learn how to make mojito in Cuba.
9. Cook a dish for a house party.
10. Learn a new language and use it.
11. See the beautiful Angkor Wat.
12. (Party for Dad's 60th!) Appreciate the Aussie way of life.
13. Eat Pho Ga in Vietnam.
14. Learn Cooking.
15. Walk in streets of Tokyo and ride a train.
16. Drink local beers in Laos and Germany.
17. Have 2 successful businesses.
18. ---
19. Skydive.
20. Watch in open air cinema in Kamari & take a photo of the sophisticated Santorini.
21. Have a photo with Eiffel Tower.
22. Ride the Trans-Siberian Express across Asia.
23. Ride a gondola.
24. Live in a foreign country for 3 straight months.
25. Climb up the Great Wall of China.
26. Have a photo taken in Roman Street.
27. ---
28. Host a house party/ Surprise party for Taku.
29. Find my passion.
30. Maintain a good blog that I can always read and reminisce the good old days.

Last month, I just crossed out the 24th in my list: Live in a foreign country for 3 straight months.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Turning "bano" as I move to SG

Almost 2 years ago, I visited the expensive Singapore with Taku to celebrate our birthdays. I fell in love with the "convenient" country instantly and wished that I'll have a chance to work and live there.

This year, after keeping my crazy faith in my dream job, I was given a very good opportunity to explore and establish my career and a bonus to move to Singapore. Coming from Manila, moving here is such a treat because of its convenience.

Who wouldn't love Singapore's Public Transport System? You can just go around the whole country with its MRT & LRT or if you prefer to do more sightseeing on the way, just hop in one of the many buses to choose from. 

Compared to Manila's MRT, Singapore's MRT has a very comprehensive comprehensive map (photo above), a panel that shows the schedule of train arrivals or the number of minutes left to wait, strict implementation of 'no eating and drinking' rules, and some trains have route info panels that show where you actually at! 

EZ-link makes my life so much easier! With its multiple use especially in transportation, I normally just need it and I'm all set.

They say that low crime doesn't mean no crime at all but as a Filipino who had lived in Manila for almost a decade and has developed a good ill-never-be-a-victim-of-crime skill, Singapore is such a place where I could fully breathe (and never worry about my bag being stolen or left open when walking.)

I also do not sweat in small things because:

1. People in this country automatically take the side of escalators so that those who are rushing can pass by.
2. When crossing the small streets without stop lights, pedestrians can just cross the pedestrian lane anytime (but of course still with caution) because cars give priority to pedestrians and automatically stop compared to what I'm used to that I have to wait for the upcoming car to pass by before crossing.
3. And of course, stop lights are perfectly working and generally (some are not), people know how to use them. :)

The only difficult thing for me might be to fully understand Singlish. Here, words like alight, take away and 1 for 1 are used instead of get off, take out and buy 1 take 1. Definitely, I'll learn more words as time goes by and I'll definitely learn how to appropriately use "lah."

(Image from: Google Images)
Some of my friends like this country so much even if they've visited or  lived in other progressive cities already. But some feel a bit suffocated of its strict rules and fast-paced environment. As for me, I'm still getting to know Singapore but the chaos of Manila will always be missed.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Toss up for a good year!

One of the most interesting celebration of new year for me is the Chinese way. Because of their many different beliefs and rituals, they welcome the new year  full of hope and optimism.

Two weeks after I moved to Singapore, I celebrated CNY for the first time together with my We Are Social family. Here, the Chinese believe that tossing up yu sheng (raw fish salad) symbolises luck, prosperity, good health, and all things good. The practice of mixing it together is called lo hei (also in Malaysia) which means tossing up good fortune in Cantonese. Yu which is "fish" in Mandarin, shares the same pronunciation with another character that stands for "abundance." Each of the ingredients in yu sheng has significance like sesame seeds, which represents flourishing business and green radish for everlasting youth. As everyone partakes in mixing the salad, wishes are uttered to shower blessings to their lives for the year ahead.

For a first-timer, I was not bad in tossing but I don't think I tossed enough for a promising year so I'll back it up with hard work! :)

We spent half day in the office going around the city to celebrate the new year with lo hei, tea, and childhood games! Plus, I got my first-ever ampaw!
We Are Social family
One of my first good friends in the office, Vera, invited me and Tianyu for a reunion dinner with her family. It was a great pleasure meeting her beautiful family and sharing a hot pot with them.

After the dinner, we visited a few temples and headed to Chinatown for the countdown. The countdown is very nice to experience but you better be prepared to endure the heat because of the crowd and loud noises from fireworks cause they believe that it will shoo away the bad things. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grab that International Conference!

You might have high expectations on this post and expect that I'll be able to feed your hungry passions for blogging and connections but this is highly derived from personal experience that you might or might not relate (if you don't dare to be a little crazy).

For the past 2 years, I have been invited to the following conferences:

with famous Indonesian Bloggers, Nonadita and DianParamita,
and the famous Political Filipino Blogger, Tonyo Cruz.

Southeast Asian Blogger's Conference- November 2011, Bali, Indonesia
Blogfest Asia 2012- November 2012, Siem Reap, Cambodia

And yes, to my juniors and friends who are inspired with my craziness, here are some of the things that I think I did to be able to be invited --have airfare, hotel accommodations, meals and tours paid by the organizers and had the opportunity to meet awesome people in the region.

1. Travel or Socialize. 

I got my first invitation to the Southeast Asian Blogger's Conference in 2011 (here's from a Cambodian friend and blogger's post whom I met in the Bali Conference and organized the Blogfest Asia 2012) from a guy who coincidentally had the same interests and college degree as me (I met him when I was traveling in Jakarta earlier that year). As a backpacker who blogs and documents about my personal thoughts on the place I travel and how I can show that place how it is to be a Filipino, probably, he thought that it's easy for him to pick me up to attend from the Philippines since I got a so-so decent blog, a flexible personality (euphemism for not high maintenance. Haha) and will say "yes" in a week notice and without notice on what I'm supposed to do. :)

Growing up, I've attended a lot of conferences as a Girls Scout, SK Chairman and a campus writer so I think I learned how to smile when they put you on spotlight. :) So, when someone invites you so that they can fill in an empty slot for a blogger's conference, grab it! It's a win-win, you'll need to do a lot of smiling but that's the start of your unlimited opportunities.

2. Keep an open mind in meeting people, online and offline. 

For some people, the internet gives them freedom to be themselves, say anything they want that sometimes they couldn't say or do offline, freedom from geographical limits and distances, and from judgments and long list of qualifications that our "normal" world requires. Just like what we normally do in our everyday encounter with people when we do our usual routine, we have to keep an open mind whenever we encounter people online, never judge and be responsible in whatever you post. You never know, that person might be the organizer of the biggest conference in Asia or you're being stalked by the organizers, watch out!

3. Search for opportunities. Create opportunities.

I am always saying this, "if you feel like there's no opportunity for you, create one" cause that's the only time you'll feel accomplished on that "something" that you are very passionate about. Just like when you say "I want to win a lottery" but you never bet your favorite numbers, opportunities sometimes are within your reach, you're just too intimidated with them.

Search for conferences in whatever level you want (regional, national, worldwide) and maybe you could also search for the qualifications that's consistent in their lists and try to have some of them in your things to learn or achieve because you have to go nearer to your goal by building foundations on their basics. (i.e. blog that has been maintained for years, accreditation to group of bloggers, etc)

Have your strategy in your online image and be consistent, unless you have a character that you're playing and trying to have fortune on, it's important to be consistent with you self offline and online.

And don't forget that blogging is a form of social media, so include in your strategy the consistency with your social media network profiles.

4. Just do it.

One frustrated friend once told me that I was lucky to have been invited, maybe it's because I was a consistent honor student in elementary and high school. Whaaat does it have to do with blogging? Do people ask you nowadays if you were first honor in kinder then they respect you upon knowing that you were? It's all about your present self. Some people might just be so lazy to share their experiences thinking that it's too normal but you have to remember that what's normal for you might not be normal for some people on the other side of the world. And of course, if you'll have amnesia someday like one blogger said, a blog is a good tool to use to remember! haha.

The bottom line is just do it. It will lead somewhere someday.

Think about why you would like to blog. My friend and a wonderful wife and blogger, Lhen Crystobal, always remind me that bloggers should not lose themselves in the process. We should remember why we enjoy doing this from the very beginning.

5. Get in touch with the right people.

After you have given opportunities, never forget about the experience and the people. If you want to be taken seriously, take things seriously online and offline. It's a small world and the Internet makes our world smaller than it used to be so post, email, follow and get in touch with those people that you want to be associated with or you want to learn from. 

But at the end of the day, everything depends on your passion and where you want to go because knowing your destination will help you figure out if you have arrived.

For the fun side of the Southeast Asian Blogger's Conference, here's what the lovely Indonesian Entrepreneur, Ollie's compilation of the fun times:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

See you around!

Moving to Singapore was quite a quick decision for me since it was in my diary to explore more possibilities and establish a better foundation in my career but it was very surprising to all my friends and family that I'll be  enduring not to miss.

But the last minute catch ups before I go was one of the most satisfying I've ever experienced- favorite girlfriends and batchmates in ABSCBN, choir mates (Himig Kalinangan), High school friends (since it was also Gale's homecoming!), college friends (and Allan's homecoming! haha), CouchSurfing friends and my best friend Ellese when she told me that I'll be her maid of honor in October! Yey!

Couchsurfing friends, humble and fun as usual.
Taku left for Japan a few days ago and I think I couldn't be away from him too long so I tried sneaking in to his luggage! :)

Just like what Cookie said in her talk in Blogfest Asia 2012, happiness is staying in touch with your friends and family. I'm not sure where this decision will take me but I'm sure they'll hold my hand if I needed to stand up.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Office Christmas

Christmas is big and very important for Filipinos. Whether you're an employer or businessman  setting up a business in the Philippines, a lover who's seriously dating a Filipino, or simply a person interested in foreign culture, you should understand how special this day is for each and every Filipino and their families.

Since Filipinos are family-oriented people, "family" pertains not just to our immediate family but to our friends, badminton/tennis playmates, Church-mates, and officemates so don't be surprised if each group celebrates Christmas with a huge party!

In my case, I didn't let anything or anyone hinder me from celebrating Christmas with my family in iCube Group and experienced one of the happiest longest line game in my entire life! Haha. Thanks for the underwears and "Glam Rock" theme!

My favorite Mama Dottie in her winning contribution to her team's game!

Before the group presentations when everybody's nervous!
And here are random videos to add fun and twist to the usual party:

Wait til you see our winning video presentation where we played Dora, Doraemon and Unknown girls! Haha. 

And as I kiss everyone goodbye this month, they didn't let me go without a surprise party! I'll miss everyone and all the fun but I know I'll see you somewhere sometime! Thank you and from the bottom of my grateful heart, I wish for you to have a great year!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dining in Manila

Since I had a part of some stories published in the holiday issue of Brand Magazine, I decided to expand what I've written in the Magazine. Here are some of my top restaurants (which I had so many memorable moments) in Manila that you may want to check out next time you visit the fun Philippines.

Picking up the right restaurant for a first date has a huge impact on whether you’ll have a chance for a second date. A second-time-around “just okay” dinner might not guarantee you forgiveness or second chance.

When in doubt, go for Italian!

Italian restaurants never fail in creating a romantic atmosphere and delivering good food so when you’re on that getting-to-know-you stage and stalking her in instagram and twitter doesn’t give you a hint on what she wants for her first date, don’t hesitate to reserve one of the finest Italian restaurants in the metro!

I like the mystery of moving away from the busy streets of Makati on the way to Carpaccio Ristorante Italiano that leaves an element of surprise for the first visit and gives each other more space for conversation. The aroma, atmosphere and flavours will take you far to Italy together with the ideal service once you step in their premise until you get off! Italy’s national salad, Insalata Caprese is a must try together with Carpaccio di Salmone e Branzino alla Marinara (Salmon and Seabass with tomatoes, garlic, basil, capers and onion in olive oil) and their flavorful risottos and pizzas!

Carpaccio Ristorante Italiano
7431-C Yakal St. San Antonio, Makati City

For a more accessible Italian restaurant, Paparazzi in EDSA Shangri-la is a good choice that defines their culinary philosophy as la dolce vita (the sweet life). The dishes are presented in very modern ways which immerse the palate a very rich experience of authentic Italian cuisine.

Adventurous? Dare to eat differently!

People’s Palace is one of my favourite restaurants in any kind of date. There are some restaurants that I tried and like the first time but are never consistent on the second or third time but People’s Palace is true to its promise to deliver good food and superb service at any time and to anyone. The Thai dishes are authentic and gorgeously presented.

Tip: Try to sit in one of the terrace tables outside and you’ll surely loosen up those awkward moments and comfortably say what you want to say.

People’s Palace
Greenbelt 3, Paseo de Roxas cor Legaspi St.
Ayala Center, Makati City
+63.2.729.2888, +63.2.729.4375

Be extra romantic and try continental cuisine in CAV Wine Shop- Café. I like the unconventional taste of the Sea Urchin Minestrone from their Dining Prix-fixe menu and if you’re a vegetarian, go for an Organic Poussin! I crave for the Roasted Seabass from their Café menu from time to time.

TIP: Let the fun begin! Fully experience CAV Wine Shop- Café by tasting the eclectic selection of wines which the two of you will enjoy in 25ml (tasting), 75ml (half-glass) or 125ml (full glass) through a tasting card that they provide. You never know, your date might be an oenophile or a wine aficionado! But don't forget to take it easy with the wines, a little kick to your confidence is good but too much might not assure you of a second date! 

CAV Wine Shop-Café
GF The Spa BuildingLot 5 Quadrant 8, City Center
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

“Bon appetite!” is what I always remember about L’entrecote, a modern Swiss-French Steak & Frites bistro which is probably the Metro’s closest thing to that Manhattan experience everyone is talking about. First time I had the succulent steak and wine, I found myself wondering why the servers smile whenever they serve the food, then I realized that they were saying bon ap-pe-tite and keep their smile after uttering the word, indeed, this good service makes the dining experience notable. Long chat with your date is possible with their endless fresh hand cut fries together with the Steak topped with The Secret Herb Butter Sauce! Try the Original Swiss Fondue or the pan-seared juicy Foie Gras that are so mouth-watering. After a few question-and-answer, try breaking the ice by ordering the flaming dessert with sweet cream and fruit inside, Baked Alaska.

TIP: Have a leap of faith! Sometimes, they serve free house wine if you’re lucky!

Burgos Circle, Forbes Town Centre
Unit A Belagio 2, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Steak and Wine? That’s the expertise of Bistecca. Aside from the sophisticated ambiance, Bistecca only serves USDA certified beef and aside from their juicy steaks, they serve lobsters too!

TIP: Try their house sauces that will definitely satisfy your cravings!­

122 Joya, Rockwell Makati City, Metro Manila Philippines

Tired of the traditional izakaya ambiance among Japanese restaurants? Why not sophisticatedly eat healthy food in Hanaichi Japanese Restaurant? I like the quality of service together with the commitment of its chef to continuous improvement by personally greeting and having chitchat with guests from time to time.

Hanaichi Japanese Restaurant
The Luxe Residences, 28th St.
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Toki Japanese Fusion & Fine Dining makes me feel like I’m dining in Japan with its high-standard Japanese service. Though I really like their set menu, a la carte orders might help you start talking about the next date since they have perfect sharing portions. 

Toki Japanese Fusion & Fine Dining
2nd Level, 32nd and 5th Bldg.
32nd St. and 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Like what Julia Child says, “Life itself is a proper binge,” so enjoy each bite and have a taste of life! And remember, good food needs a good company.

(Photos are from Google Images)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Goodbye Amsterdam.

They say that a bestfriend is someone that even if you haven't spoken with for years, the friendship remains the same no matter what and when you start talking, it seems like you never fell apart.

I feel like a kid now.

I drafted this post 3 days before Roxanne got married because I want to express how happy I am for her and how beautiful she is but all I can put were photos and the feeling was really hard to explain. I started crying morning of Saturday, the day that she's getting married because of mixed emotions but when Taku started to laugh at me, I realized that I should get over the feeling and get going for the wedding ceremony.

"Before we get married buddy, let's go to Las Vegas or Amsterdam," it was a promise between us in our younger years that won't be possible to achieve now. 

She's my summerbuddy, we became bestfriends during our summer classes in college. Like some couples, our relationship could not be measured by length of being together but its depth. Coming away with her in Amsterdam was not a "pure" (we have a different context of the word) plan, it was because we value being young and marriage so much that we would like to live our lives to the fullest and experience all the crazy mundane things that ever existed in this world (In short, "kabastusan") before finally settling down and have the most beautiful family in the world!  

Back then, she felt like marriage was not for her. She couldn't see herself committing herself fully to someone. She has been always true to herself and has always been my mirror on things. She'd tell me if I'm wrong, she'd tell me if I'm right. She'd cheer me up when I feel bad, laugh at me then be straightforward when I look bad. 

She dreams with me and get crazy drunk, she'll dance non-stop and laugh non-stop.

But what I always love about her is she speaks out, talk things out but never insist that I need to believe in her because she is right. She trusted me from the very first and she remained by my side no matter what. 

Through the years, Roxy taught me things that no one could ever teach:

1. A true friend will always be there for you and will never judge you.
2. No matter what others say you are, don't care and follow your heart.
3. Sometimes, we get so sad that some people turn us down, but in reality, it doesn't matter because they don't care about us. As we get older, we'll learn who matters and who we should value.

She's one of those people who live a quiet life, simplicity at its finest, not bare but full of laughter. She carried herself very well that I am very much proud of.

And now, I don't care that the Amsterdam getaway won't happen anymore! When I think about how happy the two of us now, I couldn't think of writing our stories any better. 

Thinking about her getting married made me worried and scared. But I trust her so much and I know this is one of the best decisions she ever made. I know that what she feels is true, there is just one person in your life that will change your life forever and is just in perfect fit. When he comes, all the questions is answered.


Among the girls, I just knew her childhood bestfriend, Tin, and a little bit of the sweet organizer, Mica. But it was funny how I had fun and enjoy seeing Roxy crying and laughing. The girls pulled it off very well.

In the photo below, you'll see how scared she is of the thought of "macho dancer." I think she's ready to be a wife. :)

Here's how it happened:


I personally like this photo:

And I found new great friends who always complete my buddy's life:

It was a beautiful wedding. I am very honored to witness the love and happiness of a very beautiful couple.

To Wex, words can't explain but yes, I'll not worry and entrust my buddy to you. Please make my buddy happy for the rest of your lives. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Khmer Memos

I finally realized my travel goal for this year a few weeks ago when I visited Siem Reap to see the majestic Angkor Wat. :) I wasn't able to cross the border of Cambodia and Vietnam as planned but I think it's a good idea to visit them separately to focus more on getting to know them more.

I blogged about some little details that I remember the most about Siem Reap (please click the links to read the full details). I haven't finished everything yet but here are some random things that I've compiled so far:

Since I love coffee and sitting in the cafe always help me understand the place where I am by listening and observing every passersby and their way of life, I wrote about the best cafes that I found in Siem Reap. 

The Bloom Cafe at night

The "cool lounges" of our favorite, The Blue Pumpkin

Chilling (with fast wi-fi) with Indonesian lovely friends, Dita & Chichi

I rarely shop when I travel but this is the first time that I feel so regretful that I didn't hoard this wrap around pants. I swear, for $6, this is one of my best buy ever!

Meet the new addition to my blogging network, the forgetful blogger--Kris. :)

I love being Asian. I love being Southeast Asian more because there's something unique in ASEAN's traditional clothes that I find so elegant and full of characters. Meet some of my favorite fashionable and lovely Southeast Asian bloggers.

Traveling to Cambodia anytime soon? Then, learn some of the useful words that will save you from hunger and other more inconveniences.

Som OrKun!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Siem Reap: some pieces for home

"The air is different here," that was my first description of Siem Reap, the home of the largest Hindu temple of the world, (and the place that I was dreaming about exploring by boat for the past months) and a place for the second largest airport in Cambodia and most "touristy".

As I wander around the town by foot and by the usual Tuk Tuk that they offer you in $1, I battled with my feeling of doubt. Am I in the right place? 

I looked at the architecture, tried to converse in Khmer,  asked curious things to prove my doubts wrong, then yes, I was lost. 

The image of Cambodia that we traditionally grasp from the media that's available to us feels different and surreal. I'm sure Angkor Wat is amazingly beautiful but talking about the "Cambodia now" doesn't become a topic for most of us. 

Cambodia is beyond temples.


I was surprised that there's a tour to see the poverty in Cambodia in floating villages. I was asking myself if Cambodia is doing this to gather more NGOs and minimally solve the problem of these settlers for now by inviting the tourists to donate something to them to support their basic needs

We didn't go to the traditional tour and decided to see how the family living in floating houses in Tonle Sap River near the street. 

It was amazing how they move their houses from one place to another whenever they needed to especially if someone will park their boat or use it. Men of the families are usually in the water checking everything that they could do to support the family.

I find the Kitchen very efficient and neat.

And since I could never tell a story just by looking at them, I tried going around the river with some Filipino bloggers as we shout from time to time as the boat sways.

I have seen kids going to school in barefoot that shows how the current situation promises a wonderful future for Cambodia.


Like how we Filipinos adapt to the changing demands of our current society as the BPO Industry promises growth and slowly replaces our own language with English, I am seeing the similarity with Cambodia as it uses USD more than their Riel because of its growing demand in the tourism industry.

I feel sad at times that we, Filipinos, often speak English than our language but I feel the same whenever foreigners ask Cambodians why they don't use their money most of the time.


Traveling is always a learning experience. When you travel, there always a time when you will realize that the world is big that keeps your humility.

As I travel to see the world and show the how it is to be a Filipino to the world, I'd like to bring some pieces of my Siem Reap visit to the Philippines by wishing that we have the following:



I still need to see the temples and the picturesque sunrise in Angkor Wat tomorrow but yes, I'm loving it here in Siem Reap- good conversations, beautiful people, wonderful merge of cultures and laughter. I'm truly grateful to have this opportunity to spend time with my neighbors, BlogFest Asia 2012 made it happen.

Twitter: @blogfestasia12


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