It’s almost midnight on a Friday and I’m feeling #sepanx blues all over because my very good friend left our office today. Our boss threw her a send-off party and though the photos are all fun and laughter, it was actually bittersweet. She is such a great friend and I’m going to have to get used to no longer seeing her everyday. What a girl, this girl.











Thanks to Aaron for sharing these photos.

Dear Red, we wish you all the best because you deserve no less!


Mystery Manila

What would you do if you had an hour to play make-believe? Fore me and my friends Jesrell, Bea, Joan, we chose a game of escaping a room haunted by dolls possessed y evil spirits. Yes, very Conjuring and Annabelle. Thanks to Mystery Manila, we were able to do just that through their Debby’s Doll mystery challenge. Hehe. Here’s a little backgrounder from Mystery Manila’s website:

Days after your family moved in to a secluded house, strange things started to happen. You found out that these occurrences were caused by an old doll which your little sister, Debby, found inside the house. Because of these paranormal events, your family decided to move out. Just when you were about to move out, the evil spirit starts to manifest itself to keep you from leaving. Can you escape the mysterious entity behind Debby’s Doll?

Full disclosure: We didn’t solve the mystery, but we were this close. We just needed one last key to escape but sadly, our 60 minutes was up. And yes, we asked for clues twice. During the game, you could ask for unlimited clues from the Mystery Manila crew and they will just add 5 minutes to your total time played when finished but your 60 minutes of game time will not be affected.

Ayan tayo sa Almost eh
See what we did there? Hahaha


After our game, we went around Century City Mall trying to decide where to eat. Strangely, we weren’t very hungry; maybe all the adrenaline fueled us.




Joan is one of my kindest friends! I just realized yesterday how much I missed this girl.
He needs some space






Ang labo nito haha

Finally, we decided to eat shaved ice at Mango and Cheese Korean Bingsu Dessert, a place that Bea recommended. It still amazes me how ice can be that fine. It felt like eating snowflakes, not that I’d ever tried it before, but I imagine it would be like that. Hehe.


Can you guess who ordered which flavor?

Probably not so I’m just gonna say it: I ordered red beans, Jesrell ordered mango, Bea had choco brownie, and Joan chose strawberry. Like all true friends, we took turns trying out each other’s flavors. Haha.

Let’s face it: They’re too pretty not to take close-up shots of. Hehe.



My favorite among the four flavors was the red bean. Ironically, I don’t have a photo of it. Hehe. As I was ordering, I suddenly remembered this scene from the Korean drama Healer when the character was eating patbingsu with his mom. So I thought I’d have red bean patbingsu as well. Hehe. Great choice because it was yummy!

I couldn’t find a picture of the scene I described so in my frustration, I chose this cute one instead. Hehe.


Hirap mag-selfie with an actual camera ha
So we switched to Bea’s phone instead hehe
Effort to include the cafe name in the frame haha
I love us 🙂


I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Honestly, I don’t have that much friends, but the ones that I have, I love dearly with all my fragile little heart. ❤

National Museum


I went to the National Museum last Saturday with my good friend Bea and just marveled at all the artwork by fellow Filipinos. Because of the lighting, natural or otherwise, some of the paintings couldn’t be seen properly when you’re standing too close so I had to distance myself a bit for a better perspective. How very much like life itself, where certain things are sometimes better appreciated in hindsight.

I’m glad to have brought my camera with me because even though I cannot fully capture the magnitude of the masterpieces, it’s still comforting to know I was able to somehow bring home a piece of them with me and even share them with you.


We didn’t get to go inside the National Museum of Anthropology due to lack of time. Must visit next time.




Look at these architectural masterpieces. Manila is beautiful and the fact that it’s scary at times just adds up to its mystery and charm. Navigating your way through the city can be intimidating, but you just have to bring out your street smarts and you’re good to go.


I love that our National Museum comes with no entrance fee at all because it just opened its doors to more people. When we went there, the museum was actually buzzing with people. There were students on their field trips and some other enthusiasts who chose to spend their Saturday morning soaking up some culture.

We registered and deposited our bags. We only brought with us our phones and wallets and my camera with no flash. Bea and I are suckers for notebooks and actually writing things down that’s why we were both a bit crushed when we were told pens are not allowed inside. We didn’t bring any pencils so our notebooks would be futile. We ended up leaving them in the baggage counter.

Once inside, the first thing that greeted us was the majestic Spoliarium by Juan Luna. I kid you not, we were both speechless and just stood there staring at the glory of it all.

This photo doesn’t even do justice to the painting


I am not worthy. I apologize if this is borderline blasphemy; just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.






Memento Mori of a Child


“O Youth, where now you Stand… Fair hope of my Fatherland!”




While inside the Jose Rizal Room, I realized I felt all sorts of emotions about the fact that I come from the same nation, same roots, and same lineage as the ultimate Renaissance Man. I felt a mixture of pride, bewilderment, and the general sense that I am not worthy.








I knew I’ve matured when I realized my dream in life is to have a place of my own in a quiet province somewhere with my family where we can all enjoy the breeze and calmness as depicted in these rural scenes.

A whole room was dedicated to Fernando Amorsolo’s sketches and drawings totaling over a hundred






A recreation of Amorsolo’s work studio, complete with an unfinished painting. I love it.
Beautiful even in its half-complete state
The master’s tools

Perhaps my favorite section of the whole Museum was the one dedicated to portraits. So much life in the stillness.

Dalagang Bukid by Fernando Amorsolo


A Filipina Beauty by Vicente Alvarez Dizon
Head of a Spanish Lady (Type Study) by Fabia De La Rosa Y Cueto



Dignified Stranger




Vicente Manasala
Planting of the First Cross by Vicente Silva Manansala

I heard from a private guide tour that this painting marked Manansala’s shift to the use of colorful strokes, a deviation from his previous monotone works.

Maria Clara, Blumentritt, and Celia – all by Manansala
Some of Manansala’s old paintbrushes


Literary master Jose Garcia Villa by Federico Aguilar Alcuaz
Sunset in Intramuros by Federico Aguilar Alcuaz



National Museum’s current featured artist: Agustin Goy.

“What I want is to simply feature the three things that every artist has to be capable of doing: still life, landscapes, and figures. For me, they show progression in terms of movement and level of difficulty in execution.”







Apart from the classics, there were also some contemporary works of art on display.




Before long, it was time to go. It was a quiet, peaceful and reflective Saturday morning and I look forward to more of these “slow sessions” in the future. Thank you, National Museum!


Not goodbye, just see you soon.

High Five

So apparently, five years ago today, I set up this blog. It’s such a cliche, but time sure flies, doesn’t it? I know I’ve been really inconsistent when it comes to posting stuff here and that’s because of a lot of factors such as my erratic schedule, lack of discipline, and slow Internet connection. Honestly I didn’t even know it’s the fifth year anniversary of this humble little blog, had I not seen that tiny notification bell that told me all about it. (Thanks WordPress, you’re so sweet.)

It’s Saturday afternoon right now on my part of the world and it’s the first Saturday in a long time that I’ve been home on a Saturday so now I’m just savoring the slow steadiness of it all and thought I’d visit this one-person secret society called Instinktual. (Too many S in that sentence I love it hehe)

Well, just thought I’d drop by and say Hi! I wish I can say that Life has been Grand, but it hasn’t. But it hasn’t been Devastating or Miserable either. That’s the thing about me, though. Everything is just steady and I know I should be thankful for that, but this stubborn part of me just craves for something that will sort of shake things up and just add a little bit of action to the plot. And I know, I know, the world has Bigger and More Relevant problems so I really shouldn’t dwell on my Emotions and Post-teenage Angst, but forgive me, they just feel So Real to me, always weighing on me, always being the elephant in the room. BUT as always, I am now better after having let them out. I don’t really have anyone to talk to about these things because I’m Shy and my friends have enough drama of their own so I mostly just listen. Hehe.

If you read until the very end, thanks a lot and here’s a grateful cyber hug! ❤

This is me five years ago! 😀


St. Elmo’s Fire

Prelude: I won’t even dare call this a film review for it is nowhere near that. Just thought I’d make an appreciation post for one of my favorite movies, St. Elmo’s Fire, which I watched again last night. I liked it better when I first watchedt i about five years ago, but I know this movie will always have a special place in my heart.

Also: Major spoilers ahead so don’t say you haven’t been warned.

St. Elmo’s Fire is a 1985 film about a group of friends who just graduated college and each of whom are trying to transition into “adulthood.”

Kevin, Wendy, Billy, Alec, Leslie, Jules and Kirby

As tight as their friendship is, their personalities couldn’t be more diverse. Kevin is the brooding cynical writer, Wendy is the shy and kind rich man’s daughter who’s in love with the saxophone player Billy who couldn’t seem to get out of trouble. Alec is the straight-A student leader and his girlfriend Leslie is the motivated artist. Jules is a go-getter, wild and fearless young woman, and Kirby is the hopeless romantic.


If you haven’t seen the movie, you’re probably wondering why the title is such. Billy explained it beautifully:

Jules, y’know, honey… this isn’t real. You know what it is? It’s St. Elmo’s Fire. Electric flashes of light that appear in dark skies out of nowhere. Sailors would guide entire journeys by it, but the joke was on them… there was no fire. There wasn’t even a St. Elmo. They made it up. They made it up because they thought they needed it to keep them going when times got tough, just like you’re making up all of this. We’re all going through this. It’s our time at the edge.

Coming-of-age is one of my favorite genres be it in books or movies. There’s just something so universal in getting disillusioned, jaded, and yet eventually, against all odds, still being hopeful.

As I was watching the movie last night, I kept screencapping my favorite scenes because I know I want to keep them together and sort of place them under one roof. Allow me to share them with you.



Kevin is my favorite character. Major spoiler: He’s secretly in love with Leslie.




Okay Kevin, I really like you, but I refuse to believe that love sucks, thank you very much. Even Kirby agrees with me.

The unmistakable look of love at first sight

Wendy has the biggest heart among the group. She works for the social services department and refuses to let her father talk her into marrying a potential business partner of his. She also stands by her decision to move out of their grand mansion and live in a tiny apartment where she could really grow. I love her. Even when she sometimes feel rotten (like me).


I think we’ve all been in touch with that emotion, Billy.

Billy is a tough sexy man on the surface, but deep inside he’s just a lost boy who probably feels like the best years of his life are over now that school is done. Guys like him are like the textbook trap for girls – everybody wants to save the lost guy. Wendy sees through Billy and even encourages him to come to terms with the fact that he misses school.





For all his bad boy charm, Billy knows there’s no excuse for screwing up time after time.



I think Jules speaks for all of us.



Flawed as he is, you just can’t help but forgive him. Even though he doesn’t directly apologize.


And now we come to the part where Kevin confesses his feelings for Leslie. I now believe that all hidden feelings cannot remain hidden forever. Get ready for some Andrew McCarthy cuteness overload.







Well, how do you even respond to that, right? Um, they slept together. But did I mention that prior to Kevin’s confession, Leslie broke up with Alec because she found out he’s been screwing some other girl?

But of course Alec found out about Kevin and Leslie and he was utterly devastated and flaring mad.



She’s so beautiful

It also didn’t work between Leslie and Kevin because they didn’t want the same things. Or because Kevin was so in love with her, and she clearly did not feel the same way.


Over to Jules who is having, according to Billy, some self-inflicted drama.

I swear I also felt that way when I was 22


I’m sorry I can’t help but say: that clown is creepy.

I love Billy because he just proved that even though he’s the one who constantly needs rescuing from all the trouble he finds himself into, he’s also capable of saving other people and being there for those who matter.

Towards the end of the movie, Billy decided to pursue a music career in New York. He and Wendy had a beautiful goodbye.



As for our favorite trio, all’s well that ends well 🙂





Cue Leslie’s voice-over:

“I can’t remember who met who first, or who fell in love with who first. All I can remember is the seven of us always together.”



Chiang Mai Design Week

I said in my premiere Thailand post that Chiang Mai Design Week deserves a post of its own, and as promised, here it is! 🙂

The theme of the Chiang Mai Design Week 2016 was “New Originals” and the simultaneous and diverse events held all around the city were overflowing with creative ideas about functional design. From retail wear to sustainable products to urban planning, #CMDW2016 had something in store for everyone.



The first stop we visited was the Lanna Architecture Center where an exhibit and a pop-up market were held at the same time.




In the front yard was an installation of mirrors. I don’t know if it’s just me, but there’s something brave and quite irreverent in the juxtaposition of mirrors reflecting each other under the glaring heat of the sun.


~Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me~

I went upstairs where there was an exhibit about food exploration and gastronomy design.

I love that name: Ratchdamnoen Rd.


I love this shot of Ate Elo at the souvenir shop

We stayed a bit to plan where we would go next. There were five of us: two educators, two architects, and then me, a… lost girl trying to navigate through the world. Hahaha. We decided to walk around for a quick lunch before returning to the festivities of #CMDW. We saw some pretty interesting stuff along the way!

Cute rustic post box. Random useless trivia: I may have fallen in love with the color red while in Chiang Mai.
Elephants were everywhere (as well as cute handwritten store notes)
Over the years I have accumulated quite a number of postcards (I love them) and I kind of really need/want this practical and aesthetic postcard display rack.
Teacups are exquisite


Chiang Mai weather is breezy but we were then walking at around noon time and when we saw an ice cream store, we automatically just stopped and chose our flavors. Hehe.

I honestly forgot what flavor I chose, but I remember it being so light and refreshing and I’m guessing it was lemon coconut.

After a few more minutes of walking, we found a place to eat. Yay!

The restaurant was sharing the space with a spa


Lunch was delicious and filling. The alfresco dining experience made it even more fun. I don’t have pictures of the food but I made sure to take a photo of my passionfruit soda because it was so pretty and reminded me of summer.

Those yellow pearls burst in your mouth and will make you giggle hehehe


Our agenda after lunch was to attend a talk called Craft Connect where Southeast Asian artists (including Cebuanos!) would talk about their work and creative process. When we checked our map, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that the venue was right inside the restaurant. Hehe.



Just being around artists and creatives made me feel like I was an artist myself, even though I’m really just a spectator being amazed at all the interaction and exchange of ideas about how good design could make the world more livable and sustainable.

This is my entry to “Post a photo with someone you look up to” 🙂


Would you believe these are cupcakes?
Street artist with a masterpiece in the making

After Craft Connect, we went back to Lanna Architecture Center to meet Yankee and Carla who attended a separate lecture about architecture. Apparently, the #CMDW Design Awards was scheduled that night. We got to witness the awarding ceremony from the glass window of the nearby coffee shop but we didn’t understand a word they said as it was all in Thai. Congrats to all the winners!


The coffee shop beside the Architecture Center was very quaint and homey. I hate myself for not remembering its name! Edit: Google did not let me down and revealed the name to me: Khum Kafe!! By then I was feeling a bit feverish so I ordered a cup of hot chocolate for the irrepressible kid in me. Hehe. I also downed a paracetamol just in case! And hey, it worked. The fever stayed away.

Lovely, isn’t it?

The sun just hit all the right spots. Love it.

Rich but not too thick, with just the right sweetness.




For dinner, we went to the Pop Market which was the place to be if you’re looking for pop-up stores, exciting food stalls, and live music. I loved the vibe of that place and it made me feel like anytime Jason Mraz was going to sing live and everyone would just jam with him. They didn’t have any alcohol but they had a nice substitute: beer-tasting coffee!








Dabbing in Thailand!

Our #CMDW adventures did not end here (we attended a seminar but that was for another day), but this concludes our first full day in the beautiful city of Chiang Mai. To recap, it was all about coffee, culture, creativity. ❤


Point and Shoot

Before the year ended, I gifted myself with a camera. Nothing fancy, just a secondhand point-and-shoot Olympus that my friend found for me at a good deal. So far, I’ve only used it on four occasions, but I am in no rush because I’m hopeful like that. Hahaha. What.

I just want to share some of the first photos I took on the day I got the camera. Because history seems to always have a penchant for firsts.


I think this is a fairly nice picture. The camera was in Auto mode (because I’m a noob) and it doesn’t hurt that the lighting at St. Marc Cafe was photo-friendly. A little back story: I was then waiting for my friends Bea and Joemhel because we decided to have an impromptu dinner. I didn’t mind waiting because I got food and food for the soul, my new Penguin Classics which I just bought that night. Great read! Sorry, but I just have to share some excerpts from the book!



These two photos were taken by my trusty Samsung phone camera. Please take the time to read them because when I did, something inside me lit up.


I decided to explore the camera and by “explore”, I mean just try the “artsy” function to get a black and white photo. Hehe.

I like the first one better, but this one ain’t so bad either
My dinner: Fish katsu burger

After a while, my friends arrived and as usual when I see the people I grew up with, my heart does a little somersault. I’m sentimental like that. #SorryNotSorry

Bea and I were like our 14-year-old selves again because suddenly we were telling Joemhel about our heartaches and frustrations and dumping it all on him. Joemhel shared an important life lesson with us that night and I think I loved him even more for that:

It’s either you win or you learn. 

Aaww. So much truth and wisdom is such a simple sentence.

Nahimasmasan na after makarinig ng advice hahaha


“Candid” moment 😛
This one is really candid, promise 🙂


I only have a handful of friends in this life, but the ones that I do, I love dearly and with all my fragile, beaten, resilient heart. Hahaha.