28 December 2007

pop out the champagne!

So... I thought I'd come back from hibernation to greet everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I hope 2007 was as wonderful for you as it was for me. My year wasn't quite like anything I expected -- but in the end, it was everything I needed and more. I realize I just needed a good jolt to my belief systems to get me back on track to achieving the goals that really matter to me.

2008 is just around the corner, and it promises to be as eventful as this year was! Cheers to another wonderful year!

Be safe this new year, everyone!

29 November 2007

missing the action


On the front page of the International Herald Tribune on November 30, 2007:
Mutiny is quelled in Manila luxury hotel Filipino police officers taking cover behind an armored
personnel carrier that was used to crash upon the doors of a five-star hotel and end a mutiny.



I was in Japan when it happened.

I learned about it in the midst of our farewell dinner, while I was happily sampling glasses of champagne, sake, and green tea cheesecakes. I suppose I should have been scared or shocked, but instead I only found the news mildly amusing.

Strangely enough, the last time something like this happened in the Philippines, I had been in Toronto. I had turned on the telly to see tanks driving along Manila's streets, and soldiers walking around with machine guns. From that vantage point, Manila seemed like a terrifying place to live in.

I made a panicked call back home, only to find out that everything was normal. No one was rushing home, some people were even going out for dinner. Despite the fact that apparently tanks were patrolling the streets.

Oh, what being a Filipino can do to you.

Nothing will faze you anymore.

26 November 2007

cold kobe nights


surreal kobe at night
[meriken park, kobe, japan]

01 March 2007

yellow light

I miss time.

One of the things, perhaps, that made me so happy when I was living in Toronto was that I had time. Maybe it was the 9 to 5 schedule, or the late sunsets, but for a moment there, I had something I hadn't given myself in such a long while.

Time.

Nowadays I have fallen back into my normal routine. I wake up with puffy eyes complaining of lack of sleep, yet I'm ironically late for my entire day. I rush to work, downing a thermos of juice or a hastily-made sandwich with my right hand as my left haphazardly navigates my car throught the madness of traffic. On stoplights, I try to squeeze in a text message to someone at work, or prepare my parking fee so I can speed through the parking booth. I rush through the rest of my day, juggling Sametimes and meetings and emails and people who stop by my cube. I stop only for an hour to run the rest of my non-work errands and to gulp down the next meal I can catch. Most of my meals recently have been sushi because... well... I can eat it in six bites and get on with the rest of my day.

My life has become toxic, and it's out of control.

Because acceptance is the first step of recovery, I am writing that down here.

I know this lifestyle is bound to kill me -- not just because of the stress of always being in a hurry, but because I know it will make me miss out on the good things. I have always been the type of person who likes to live life slowly. I stop to watch sunsets, or to feel a breeze rippling through the air. I stay in my car long after I've parked to finish listening to a song I like. I eat my ice cream with my spoon facing downwards so I can taste the sweetness of the ice cream and feel the tingling coldness as it melts on my tongue. I take long walks so I can feel the sun warming my face, or the night wind calming my nerves. I sit on park benches for hours so I can watch everyone scurrying along while my time stands still.

Simple things, but countless moments of introspection have made me realize that it's these moments that make me happy.

I want to live my life in slow motion.

I need to live my life in slow motion, because that's what makes me feel grounded. I need to stop for the little things, no matter how strange or illogical it may seem for others. I've stopped trying to do what people expect me to do. We all have different standards and different definitions of happiness, and I have chosen to define mine in the most simple manner I can.

Because living a life miserable and unhappy is living a life unfulfilled.

I don't know where to begin, and I know I am a long way from living the quality of life I yearn for, but I know this. I need to start making time for the most important thing in my life.

Myself.

Full speed ahead for that one.

14 February 2007

31 January 2007

perya sa metrowalk

I have curly hair.

For the longest time, I hated it -- it was dry, frizzy, and unruly. I spent my childhood dreaming of having straight hair, but no matter how many hair products & treatments I tried, my hair just seemed to have a mind of its own.

Now that I'm older, I've learned to embrace my curly hair. Unfortunately, most salons haven't -- the minute I walk into a salon, there is always someone trying to convince me to straighten my hair. An hour or so of annoying salestalk later, they try a last attempt to convert me by insisting on blow-drying my hair straight. Which I absolutely detest. With hair as curly as mine, blow-drying my hair straight means ending up with: a) my hair pulled out of my scalp by attempts to brush out the kinks; and b) my scalp burning from the amount of time spent under the blow dryer.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the Azta Urban Salon at Metrowalk and didn't get a single comment about straightening my hair. Not only that, they actually knew how to handle curly hair -- from the wide-toothed comb they ran through my hair and the diffuser used to dry it. Hallelujah! I totally digged that squeeze bottle shampoo and the Davines hair color, too!

I walked out of that salon with a spring in my step and even more spring in my curls! :)

***

In case you haven't been to Metrowalk recently, do check out their urban take on the traditional perya. (Did you know that Metrowalk was built over what was previously the Payanig sa Pasig?) Win your girlfriend (or boyfriend) a stuffed toy by tossing coins on a table, shooting hoops, hammering all your stress away, tossing rings over bottles, and riding a bull cowboy-style. Kulang na lang cotton candy! Weee!

*Azta Urban Salon has branches at Metrowalk (2nd Level, Metrowalk Commercial Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig), Katipunan (2nd Level, SMRC Building, Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights, Quezon City (in front of Miriam College)), Robinsons Metroeast (Body Senses, 4th Level, Robinsons Metroeast, Marcos Highway, Pasig) and Eastwood City (2nd Level, City Walk 2, Eastwood City, Libis (above Starbucks and A Different Bookstore)).

14 January 2007

the best thing about travelling...

... is all the delicious food you get to bring home!


[stroopwafels from holland & coffee from germany]

12 January 2007

going brit

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

It's one of those places I'd never dreamed of going to -- or, more accurately, one of those places I didn't even know existed until I started working for my company. Such a fancy name as Newcastle-Upon-Tyne had to belong up there in my schoolbooks, along with Stratford Upon Avon and other Shakespeare-y things.

But, the new year surprised me with a new team and a whirlwind trip to the UK, so I found myself on a 6-day trip (two days on an airplane, three days at work, and one day exploring the city) to that tiny city called Newcastle that sits upon the river Tyne.




It's a place where speaking English doesn't guarantee you'll understand what people are saying, you can catch a cab at the taxi rank, excuse yourself to go to the loo/toilet (why does the phrase "where are the toilets?" sound so crass in the Philippines yet so refined in Britain?) and shop at high streets.

Oh, and did I mention aisles upon aisles of Marks & Spencer food products? I had a field day choosing which sweets to buy. ;)

Such a lovely town.

08 January 2007