Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My World Tuesday #2

taken at Fort Santiago, Manila

Last week we took a walking tour around Intramuros which used to be the center of Manila back in the day.  The picture above was taken at the entrance of Fort Santiago. Our tour guide was Carlos Celdran and I have to admit, that was the most interesting tour I have been on! He really held our attention by his interesting anecdotes and comical antics. You could really tell that he was passionate about sharing the Philippine history to locals and foreigners alike. The one thing he said that really stuck to me was "we can't change how Manila looks but we can change how people look at Manila."

Taking his tour is definitely a must! Check out his site for his different tours and schedules!

See more of the world here!

Happy Holidays!

taken at my grandmother's house

Christmas is my favorite time of the year! I love our family Christmas traditions. During Christmas Eve, we spend it with my mom's side of the family. We attend Christmas mass together then head to my lola's (grandmother) house for dinner. She always prepares the same yummy meal every year. My little cousin will always ask if she can open her gifts before 12 midnight and my dad will always play his Christmas playlist. On Christmas Day, we head on over to spend Christmas with my dad's side of the family, laughing, eating and catching up on each other's lives. Its the same every year but that's what I love about it. :)

What are your Christmas Traditions? :)

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Play That Funky Music

taken at our office Christmas party

One of the things I love about the Christmas season is Christmas parties. It's the perfect time to meet old friends, have fun with new friends and spend some good quality time. In our office party, our theme was High School so we all had to dress up in costumes that had anything to do with that time of our lives. Many went as student stereotypes - jocks, geeks, cheerleaders - but one of my favorite costumes was that of one of our art directors. She is really tall and skinny so she dressed all in gray and had a Philippine flag attached to her head! She was a flagpole. How creative is that??

Lomo tip: Using my Holga at night makes pretty cool effects but only if you take the shot of the subject up close! If you're far, its dark and kind of a waste of film. ;p

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My World Tuesday #1

taken at Antulao Resort in Dumaguete, Philippines

This is the view from the Infinity Pool in the resort called Antulao in Dumaguete, Philippines. You can lounge in the pool that overlooks the sea. If you're into snorkeling, you can head down those stairs and get in to the water. Doesn't it make you just want to jump in?

See the world here!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Skywatch Friday #3

taken at Ponte Vecchio, Florence

This is the view from Ponte Vecchio that I mentioned in a previous post. I really love the vibrant colors I get from my Holga. Italy is such a beautiful place. One of the things I will never forget was how the sun always cast a beautiful warm glow over everything. Unlike here in the Philippines, the sun is really hot and glaring during lunch time. In Italy, it always feels like the afternoon sun.

For more skies, go here!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lovers For Life

taken on Ponte Vecchio, Glorence

Along the Ponte Vecchio, there was this statue with a fence surrounding it and all over the fence were locks! When I took a closer look, there were couples' names written on these locks. Apparently, they say that when you place a lock on the bridge with you and your lover's name on it, this means you will have eternal love. Funny thing is, right beside all these locks is a sign that says placing of locks on the fence is prohibited! Oh well... I guess tourists don't know how to follow rules!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ponte Vecchio

taken in Florence

Ponte Vecchio literally means "old bridge" in English which is very fitting because its the oldest surviving bridge in Florence that wasn't ruined during World War II! There are shops along this bridge which makes it unique from all other bridges there. The view is quite pretty from the bridge, I'll share my picture of it on another day ;p

I noticed that most of my posts these past months are all photos from Italy! I guess you can say I really made the most of my Italian trip. Who knows when I'll be able to go again! But note to self: must take more pictures of home.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Venice In B&W

taken in Venice

I love how the black and white film makes it look like I went back in time to see Venice in its hay day. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Let Me Ride My Bicycle

taken in Florence

I haven't ridden a bike in years! They say that once you know, you don't forget how to but honestly, I'm not so sure about that.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Vespa Love

taken in Florence

One of the iconic things in Italy is the Vespa. These adorable scooters are one of the main forms of transportation in Italy. Roads in Italy are really narrow and parking can be hard so the Vespa is perfect for Italian city living. I regret not trying it out for myself!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Skywatch Friday #2

taken in Dumaguete

I took this picture 2 years ago somewhere in Dumaguete, Philippines. Sunsets are truly one of God's masterpieces. :)

Check out other skies here!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Little Green Door

taken along the Grand Canal, Venice

I love how the green door stands out against the white building. Venice is just full of these old buildings and I love to imagine the history that went on within those walls.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Along The Grand Canal

taken along the Venice Grand Canal

When we were at Venice, we didn't take the gondola ride with the gondolier and all. Instead we rented a water taxi who took us around. Imagine living in a place where there are no cars, only boats! I wonder how many people a year fall into the canal by accident?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Venice From Above

taken from the San Marco Clocktower in Venice

On our 2nd to the last day in Venice, we went up the San Marco Clocktower to admire the beautiful 360 degree view of the city. Venice is not a very big place, my family and I were able to walk around the entire city in a day but not without our feet suffering though hehe.

Up in the clocktower, there's a huge bell that rings every hour and just our luck, we were in line for the elevator to go down right at 12nn. We were right below the bell when it started ringing! It was a deafening but fun experience. That bell has been ringing on the hour for years!

Later that day, we fed the pigeons in Piazza San Marco (that plaza you see in the photo above) which was the highlight of the Venice leg of the trip for me. There were pigeons flocking to us and they were on our heads, arms, EVERYWHERE! I think those pigeons are so used to people feeding them that they aren't afraid to eat from our hands. Definitely two things you should do when you go to Venice!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Skywatch Friday #1

taken from my office window in Makati along Ayala Ave.

One of my favorite things about my office is the view. We're on the 34th floor and no other building blocks our view so everyday I am lucky enough to watch the sun go down over Manila Bay. I consider this one of my daily cheap thrills!

See other skies here!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fontana De Trevi

taken at Fontana De Trevi in Rome

The Trevi Fountain was one of the spots in Rome I was looking forward to visiting. Its come out in soooo many movies and I wanted to see it up close and personal. The Trevi Fountain was bigger and more majestic than I expected!

Of course, I didn't miss the chance to throw coins in the fountain and make a wish. Apparently, you need to throw three coins over your shoulder using your right hand. I did a little research and the coins collected from the fountain is used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome's needy. They collect an average of 3000 euros a day! That's a lot of wishes!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Church On A Hill

taken in Monteriggioni

Out of all the churches I saw in Italy, this one was my favorite. Not St. Peter's Basilica, not the Sistine Chapel, but this church found on the hilltop town of Monteriggioni. All of the other churches I saw were decorated to the nines with statues, mosaic ceilings, gold-leafed decor, and tiled floors but in it's simplicity, this Romanesque church was the most beautiful.

The beautiful little town of Monteriggioni is one of the few preserved Medieval hilltop towns in Tuscany. Would you believe that to date, the town's population is 70? That includes a mayor! My office has more people than that! Back in the day, Monteriggioni was a fort during the years of conflict between Sienna and Florence. Today, it attracts many tourists thanks to how well it has preserved the structures and walls inside. Monteriggioni is a must see when you go to Tuscany!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy :)

taken at a coffeshop somewhere in Venice

I always have such a hard time thinking of what to get my dad for his birthday or Christmas. Whenever I would ask him what he wants, he always says either socks or hankerchief and there's nothing exciting or personal about that! My dad loves a few things in life - good wine, watches, cars and music. Not exactly the easiest things to shop for. I always felt guilty when I wouldn't get him anything or something that isn't that awesome because he never fails to give me things, even when I don't ask for it. He's a great dad, always putting the family first. He's the comedian in the family, always, always, always playing pranks on my mom or doing things to purposely annoy me. You could say, I'm quite the daddy's girl.

This year, I decided to give him something more personal. I'm having this picture of I took of him and my mom in Venice framed. I used my Holga and i love how vintage this photo looks but really, this was taken just a month ago! Ever since digital cameras came along, we never printed out any of our family photos so this will be a first after a couple of years!

I can't wait to see the look on his face when he opens his birthday present from me this year. I think he's going to love it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rome In Film

taken across the Roman Colosseum

I finally got my Holga film developed! I'm glad that most of the pictures came out pretty. This is my favorite picture of the Roman Colosseum in my roll. :)

I love the sun peeking through the arcs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Roman Forums

taken at the Roman Forums

I enjoyed our tour of the Roman Forums because it showed me a glimpse of how the Roman Empire was at the height of it all.

My favorite story was about the Vestal virgins. They are women who are chosen at a young age to maintain the sacred fire of Vesta. True to their name, they need to be virgins for their entire service which usually lasts around 30 years. Back then, 30s is like a grandma's age so once they're done with their service and no men wanted to be with them! On the bright side, they were treated like royalty and lived very very comfortably.

More Rome pictures to come!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Colosseum

taken at the Colosseum in Rome

One of the most iconic structures in Rome is the Colosseum and honestly I didn't expect to be as blown away as I was when I saw it up close and personal for the first time. It was HUGE! All I could do was stare at it and marvel at the history and stories those massive walls held. 

The Colosseum could hold up to 70,000 people during the games and the audience were seated according to their stature in society. The highest level was were the slaves were seated along with, get this, all women. Even if you were married to a senator, it didn't matter. ALL women had to be seated all the way up there!

Amazing, amazing, amazing!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Family That Photobooths Together, Stays Together

taken at Antica Roma

Italy has been AWESOME!!! We're done with the Rome leg of the trip and are at Florence right now. I'm so happy that the place we're staying in has free net. Yey! (happy dance) I missed you, internet.

In Rome, we visited the Colosseum, Roman Forums, Palatine Hill, Villa Borghese, Piazza Di Spagna, Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel. Everything was beautiful but my personal favorite was the Colosseum. It really took my breath away and the history is something else. So many people have died in there for the entertainment of the Roman emperor. Gladiators were mostly criminals and slaves so they were treated like animals condemned to die.

Yesterday, we hired a Filipino driver, Carlito, to drive us to Florence from Rome. We took a detour to outlet stores (my dad's a sucker for discounts and sales) then stopped by Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. It was a looooong drive but I enjoyed it! The Italian countryside is beautiful.

I promise I will upload pictures to share once I get home. I left the camera cable at home because I didn't think I would have had the chance to upload over here!

Since I can't upload any pictures i took in Rome, I'm sharing a picture of my family playing around with my brother's Photobooth. It was our first day in Rome, just after a loooong flight (an hour and a half from Manila to Hong Kong, 2-hour layover at HK airport, 12 hours from HK to Rome) all cramped up so we kinda got a little crazy. Yup, that's my family!

It's our first full day in Florence and we'll be off on a walking tour to see the city plus museums. I'll be able to see Michelangelo's David today!

Ciao, bella!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


taken on the way to Bicol

Tomorrow is the day! I can't wait :) I'll be back in 2 weeks! 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

And The Countdown Begins

taken at Monet's Pond, France

This time next week, I'll be preparing to leave for the airport to catch our flight to Italy! I am sooooo excited!! Traveling is one of the things I absolutely love and to finally be able to explore Rome, Florence and Venice I can't help but do my happy dance.

The last time I was in Europe was in 2006 and we went to Paris and London. The picture above was taken in the pond by Monet's house. That place was one of the most picturesque places I have ever seen! Every picture I took looked like it was a postcard. No wonder Monet had such beautiful paintings, he was surrounded by such so much beauty that it would be impossible not to be inspired!

I'm looking forward to seeing a new city, soak up a new culture, eat different food, take tons of pictures and of course.... shopping! Although I really shouldn't because I'm sure things are expensive over there. As for picture taking, I have to stock up on 120mm film for Jellybean (my Holga) and 35mm for my SuperSampler. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Feathered Fancy

taken at the office

Headbands have become my current obsession and when I saw this peacock-feathered headband, I knew I just HAD to get it. I think I'm channeling my inner Blair Waldorf, haha!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pandanon Island

taken at Padanon Island, Cebu

There's a beautiful little remote island in Cebu called Pandanon. It's a tiny island with white sands and clear water. There are only 6 huts that can be rented there so it's really private. Nothing beats a grilled seafood  lunch and an ice cold beer by the shore! During low tide, there's a sandbar and you can see so many starfishes. It's quiet, serene and the picture perfect paradise. Definitely a must see when you're in Cebu!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cowrie Cove

taken at Cowrie Cove, Shangrila Mactan 

Shangrila Mactan is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen. This was taken at Cowrie Cove, their seaside bar. Nothing was better than having an ice cold beer and watch the sunset. The waiters told us that many guys have proposed to their girlfriends there. I can imagine how romantic that setting would be! Candlelit dinner, the waves crashing around you, a beautiful moonlit night... sigh.... There goes the romantic in me!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mabuhay ang Pilipino

taken at the Megatent relief center

Typhoon Ondoy has caused so much damage to our country but there is one bright side to all that has happened. I'm so proud of how the Filipino people have united to help our fellow countrymen who are victims of the typhoon. Many relief centers have been set up and all are always overflowing with volunteers and donations. Multinational companies have donated cash, kind and even lent company trucks and helicopters to help in rescue and deployment of relief goods. Facebook and Twitter has become a real time bulletin board on where people can volunteer, what goods are needed and what areas still need relief goods. Everyone from celebrities to politicians to students are doing what they can to help, and its incredible how much love and support is being given.

I'm so proud to be a Filipino.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bagyong Ondoy

Please pray for all those victims of the storm Ondoy. Many people are still stranded and have lost everything. despite this disaster, its heart warming to see so many people giving their time, energy, donations and money to help those who need it.

This is the first time that I felt so affected by a natural calamity. I guess its because I know so many people who were affected by it. At this time, I still haven't heard from a friend who lives in a village in Cainta, Rizal which I heard is submerged... I'm really worried about him.

Stay strong Manila. We're here for you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chinese Coupons

taken at a museum in Shanghai

Earlier this year, I went to Shanghai with some friends. It was my 2nd time there but my first time in Shanghai was on a study tour and we didn't have time to really explore the city. So this time, we took our time and got lost in the city, emerging ourselves in the Chinese culture.

One of the things that we stumbled upon was a Chinese museum. I remember that Chinese history really interested me back when we had Asian history in college. They were so advanced in science, technology and businesses that its no wonder they have progressed the way they did. They really are a super power to be reckoned with!

The picture above is that of the old coupons that the Chinese used to allocate food among the masses. This was one of the ways they gained control during the tough times.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Manila International Book Fair

taken at the Manila International Book Fair

It was another long weekend and this time, Carlo and I went to the Manila  International Book Fair held in the SMX Convention Center. As far back as I can remember, I always loved reading books. I started with Scholastic hardbound books and Berenstein Bears. As a tween, my favorite authors were Enid Blyton, Roal Dahl and Judy Blume. I would collect the Sweet Valley Twins, Baby Sitters Club and Nancy Drew books. Now I adore chick lit, fantasy (Harry Potter included) and mysteries. I can't imagine life without books! So naturally, this was one event I didn't want to miss.

The bookfair was chaos! There were sooooo many people looking through books, I had no idea where to start. Although after a couple of minutes walking around, I realized that a lot of the books were educational books. National Bookstore was a concessionaire but I didn't find anything I wanted to get. My criteria for buying something from that fair was it had to be on sale and something I wouldn't usually find elsewhere. I did see some interesting hardbound picture books but I felt like I was just wasting my money. so I ended up buying 3 back issues of preview magazine and a journal. Yeah I know... I didn't even follow my own criteria!

Today though, while at SM to check on my stall, I took a detour to the thrift bookstore, Book Sale. Now THAT was a place I could spend my money on! P100 ($2) for a well-maintained 2nd hand book? Not bad at all! Next payday, I'm putting aside P300 ($6) and a couple of hours to browse through the books over there and get me some good chick lit.

Are you a big reader?

Sunday, September 20, 2009


taken at Wine Depot

My dad has always been a huge wine lover. Me, on the other hand, sadly can't tell the difference. Like the wonderful daddy he is, he never tires of trying to explain that this wine has a round flavor. Round?? How exactly does that taste?? For the life of me, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between Australian and French wine. We're going to Italy this October and my dad told us we'll be going to a vineyard and go wine tasting. I promise that this time I will try to pay more attention instead of just gulping down the wine they give us (I know, you don't gulp down wine, you savor it!)

Are you a big wine drinker?

Friday, September 18, 2009

morning isn't so bad

 taken with my Holga in Cam Sur at 8am

I'm turning in to a morning person. Recently, I've started to enjoy waking up early. I like the feeling of having a productive day and getting a lot of things done.

This picture was taken about a month ago when I was in Cam Sur. We were by the port, waiting for the boat and the sun was coming up behind the mountain. Morning sunrays are the best. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

I <3 Hong Kong

taken in Hong Kong
Everytime I go back to Hong Kong, I fall more and more in love with the city.  I love how its so easy to commute around the city and every turn there's something new to discover. I love how its a melting pot of culture. I love the hustle and bustle of the city. I love the variety of food they have. Its a city you can survive in by walking. I really never get tired of Hong Kong!!!!

Sunny Skies

taken at Wine Depot, Westgate
It's been raining for the past week and I miss the sun very much. Gray skies and dark clouds are old. Sun please come back!!! I miss you and all the fun we have together.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Steady Like A Teddy

taken at Grilla, Kalayaan
Nothing beats a night out with the girls for laughs, tofu sisig and cocktails. It's just what you need to get you through til the weekend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


taken at Bonifacio High Street

Drawing is one of the talents I wish I had. I was always so envious of my classmates Trina, Bettina and Kat coz they drew so well. When Trina was my seatmate, I'd always ask her to doodle on my notebook. I adored her caricatures! I always tried to copy her style but I think I better just stick to my smiley faces and stick figures.

what talent do you wish you had?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

still on a beach high

taken under the umbrellas on the shore of Punta Fuego

Still missing the beach very very badly... I miss Boracay but Rina and I were talking that we really should visit the many different beaches here in the Philippines. Boracay will always be one of my favorite destinations but there are a lot of other beautiful beaches worth exploring. The beautiful beaches are one of the things that is unique about our country. I'm making a new resolution... every year I will visit at least one new beach. First up, Caramoan!

Other beaches on my list:
1. Palawan
2. Bohol
3. Davao
4. Daet

Where else can I go?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

take me back to the beach

taken at Punta Fuego

Just came back from Punta Fuego and I am happily tanned. I love the beach. Nothing and I mean NOTHING beats sitting by the shore with an ice cold beer in hand and having the time of your life with your friends. 2 days is not enough. Must go back soon.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Barrio Life

taken in a barrio somewhere in Cam Sur

As I mentioned in my previous post, we sort of got stuck in the middle of nowhere last Saturday in Cam Sur. This is the path that leads to the beach and the nipa hut I mentioned. Fortunately, the people in the barrio were really nice to us, they didn't mind there were these Manilenos invading their territory. There's nothing like Pinoy hospitality!

I spent half of the 3 hours of waiting watching life go by in that barrio. Life really seems so simple in the province. People were hanging out at the sari-sari stores just gossiping and laughing. Naked little kids were running off to swim at the beach with their mom right behind them. It didn't seem like there was that much to worry about. They're contented with their life and with what they have, grateful for it even. And me on the other hand, even if i'm very blessed, I still manage to find something to complain about. So step back a bit from all your complaints, all your worries and think of 5 things in your life, may it be big or small, that you are grateful for. Life IS good, if you let it be. :)

My 5 things to be grateful about:
1. good health of my family
2. my comfy bed which is soooo difficult to get out of in the mornings
3. that I have more than 1 friend I know I can count on
4. my dogs, who never fail to cheer me up
5. the chance to travel

your turn!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

government warning

taken at the "lung center" of Fotoresources

In my line of work, pressure is high and stress is an everyday, ordinary thing and people deal with it in whatever way they know how. There's drinking, smoking, smoking UP, shopping going to the gym and whatnot. Unfortunately, not as many people turn to healthy outlets for stress. Most of the people in the agency smoke and they smoke A LOT. I never ever got in to smoking. I think it started out that I never tried because I was afraid I'd look stupid if I tried. Then both my lolos passed away with complications with their respiratory systems - Lolo Butad had emphysema and then Lolo Ponce got pneumonia. So now, I just really never had the urge to get into it.

So to all those smokers out there, stop! Or at least cut down.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

stuck in the middle of nowhere

taken somewhere in Cam Sur

Last Saturday in Cam Sur we got stuck for 3 hours at a barrio by the beach while waiting for the coaster to come back from the resort, CWC, no thanks to a very incompetent staff member. This was my view from the nipa hut we were hanging around in.

Monday, August 17, 2009

above and beyond

taken on the way to Naga, Bicol

Everytime I ride a plane, I request for a window seat. I love watching the city get smaller and smaller as the clouds get closer and closer. There's just something about seeing the world above the clouds that makes me smile and feel that there's promise of a wonderful tomorrow.

But I have to admit, the child in me always comes out whenever I look down at the world. I always imagine flying that high, like Peter Pan, or riding a magic carpet, just like Aladdin and Jasmine. Flying has always been that one super power I wish I had. I can only imagine how liberating and exciting that must feel like!

When I was younger, I would keep an eye out for Heaven. It's supposed to be above the clouds right??

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