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Monday, November 28, 2011

Cubicle Companions

I've mentioned before in a post that I love stationery. I love paper products, and when I see a pretty one in a store, I find it hard to stop myself from getting one. Like how I got this simple yet pretty memo pad:


I got this from Fully Booked. Our art director and I went there to look for books and other items we can feature. While we went there for work purposes, we both ended up buying cute finds from the stationery area. Haha! I couldn't actually choose between this set of two memo pads and another equally adorable magnetic memo pad. I wanted to get them both! But. I. Must. Practice. Restraint. Hehehe

I not only love cute paper products, but cute office supplies as well. I hate corporate-looking office stuff, because they look, uh, boring? Haha. They're just not... me. I like colorful things and quirky designs. And if they don't look office-y but they can certainly be used in the office, they get plus points from me. Case in point, these wooden pegs:


You might be asking, "What are those for?" Well, I use them in lieu of paperclips. And I find them more effective, especially when you stash clipped papers in a messy bag like mine when I'm in a hurry. A paperclip gets lost in the mess, while a wooden peg doesn't, so your papers remain grouped together. :) And aren't the Matryoshka Dolls lovely?

So there--some pretty things that perk me up. And they make for charming cubicle companions, apart from being practical. What's not to love? :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Iloilo Weekend Part 2

I woke up at 5 a.m. to take my medicine, so my tummy would behave the whole day. Aargh! It's really such a hassle when acid reflux is pestering you during a getaway. Anyway, after taking my medicine, I fell asleep once more, and woke up minutes before 7 a.m. - the time we set for everybody to meet up at neighboring Sarabia Hotel for our island hopping.

We rode a jeepney going to Ortiz, where the port is. Mel and Doc Bon talked to the boatmen, and after discussing a few things, we already had a rented boat! Woohoo! The boat ride was fun, with jokes and laughter from 17 people and picture taking here and there.

(left) Everybody. That guy with a huge, Close Up Confidence smile? That's Joel.
(right) One of the islands we saw.

One thing that I found amusing during the boat ride was the "store" in the middle of the sea. Our boatmen bought fish from another boat.

The Boat a.k.a Fish Store. Photo by John Laurence Patulan

The boat ride was long - approximately 30 to 45 minutes - before we stopped by a beach. I don't know the name of the island, but it was a beach and there were a few people swimming. Bino's family was there. A small group of what I think were teenagers was even having some sort of a lecture. We decided not to stay there for long; Turtle Island is just beside it. So we stayed at the shore of the unknown island while Bon and two others bought food for our lunch.

(left) U-Bloggers at the Unknown Island. Photo by John Laurence Patulan
(right) Jumpshot. Ang daming limbs ni Otep hahahaha! Photo by John Laurence Patulan

At Turtle Island came our Survivor Guimaras ordeal. As we approached the island, our boat got stuck because of the rocks at the bottom of the sea. The water was already too shallow for our boat to traverse. As the boatmen were figuring out what to do, we went into Survivor Guimaras mode. Bino even took a video of himself giving a "testimony" of what we were experiencing ("Naabisuhan na kaming walang makakain sa isla, pero hindi kami naniwala." In English: We had been told that there was nothing to eat in the island, but we didn't listen). The danger was evident in his tone of voice, but Leah, who was beside him in the video, was smiling. That was really hilarious!

Anyway, since the boat wouldn't nudge, we alighted the boat and swam to safety waded in the water to the shore. When we got to *ehem* dry land, I hung my things at a tree branch and swam a.k.a floated (I can't swim haha!). That was my most awaited moment! Haha! But before basking in the sun, of course, I made sure I sprayed sun block on my skin - the "uber waterproof, uber sweatproof" Beach Hut Spray!

(left) Commercial Mode: Beach Hut Spray. Non-sticky. Non-greasy. Non-eeww! Photo by Ate Roanne
(right) Me and My Dearest at Turtle Island, Guimaras. Photo by John Laurence Patulan

We had to get back to Iloilo City before 5 p.m. because U-blogger Mark a.k.a "Ang Poon" had a plane to catch. We were set to leave the island at 3 p.m., but because our boat was stuck, the boys had to help the boatmen do the legendary "1..2..3....PUSH!" But the boat was uncooperative. "1..2..3....PUSH!" "1..2..3....PUSH!" "1..2..3....PUSH!" "1..2..3....PUSH!" "1..2..3....PUSH!" "1..2..3....PUSH!" and a whole lot more "1..2..3....PUSH!" About an hour or so, finally, the boat was pushed to a reasonable depth. The girls, Mark a.k.a "Ang Poon", and John followed, wading and getting scratched and wounded by the sharp edges of the rocks below. But none of those could rival the wounds the boys had gotten from pushing that boat. That was... heroic. And did I say legendary? It was more than an adventure.

When we got back to Iloilo City, "Ang Poon" immediately took a cab and bid us farewell. Some bought siopao. We agreed to meet at 9 p.m. for a videoke night at Smallville. So off we went to our respective hotels and showered and went to dinner. Ate Roanne, my dearest, and I went to Deco's to buy pasalubong (butterscotch yummmy yummy yummy!) and eat dinner.

(left) My Dearest at the Entrance of Deco's.
(right) Ate Roanne, Me, and John Laurence. Photo by John Laurence Patulan

It was my first time to try Batchoy, which Iloilo is famous for, and I didn't know it was sooo good! The warm Batchoy broth was so comforting, with its sweet, savory taste. I tried the noodles from JL's bowl and it was delicious. Too bad I already got full from my bowl of Callos so I didn't get to try more Batchoy. When I visit Iloilo again, I shall order Batchoy with sotanghon noodles. Hehe.

After dinner was *drum roll please* videoke time! Woohoo! Another moment I had been waiting for. Haha! In case you didn't know, I love love love love love LOVE singing! Whether singing loves me or not, that's not for me to answer. Haha! Anyway, Ate Roanne and I went to Smallville for the videoke session. It was past 9 p.m., and for sure, it was going to last until a little after midnight. Never mind that my dearest and I had a 6.15 a.m. flight the next day, and we were scheduled to leave our hotel at 3.30 a.m. Never mind that I wouldn't have any decent sleep (again) before my flight. This is videoke time, and I wouldn't miss it. And most especially, this is videoke time with the U-bloggers. I definitely wouldn't miss it.

So there we were - five hours of choosing songs, passing the microphone, singing our hearts out, cheering at our scores, witnessing Bino's "The Voice", CJ's dance moves, Ate Roanne's impeccable "Weak" performance (hihihihi!), and a whole lot more. Music really is a great way to bond. The four walls of that videoke room were witnesses to how we, who just met each other in person for the first time, sang, danced, partied, and had so much fun like we've known each other for so long.

Then, the clock stroke 1.30 a.m. Time to end the videoke night. Time for the night's "last song" (how many "last songs" did we have? Hahaha!). Time for group hug. Time to say goodbye and head back to our respective hotels. And for me, time to get ready for our flight.

My dearest and I arrived at the Iloilo International Airport before 5 a.m. Because I just partied a few hours before, I comfortably lay down my tired oh so tired body on the chairs at the waiting area. Haha! With my shawl keeping me warm, I fell asleep, until it was time for us to board the plane.

I was still light-headed when we got off the plane in Manila. My body was so exhausted from the adventure-filled, two-day vacation with the U-bloggers. All I wanted at that moment was to crash on my bed (or on our couch 'coz I probably wouldn't make it to my bed hehe) and finally get some decent sleep. But even if I already felt like collapsing or something, images of the Iloilo trip still kept on playing in my head. That was really one of the most remarkable experiences I had this year, and now, two weeks have already passed, but the fun I had with the U-bloggers and with my dearest in Iloilo stays fresh in my mind.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Iloilo Weekend Part 1

It's been a week since I came back from Iloilo, and I can't help but look back and reminisce. I've been excited about this trip ever since I booked our tickets last August. When Ate Roanne told me about this trip with the U-Bloggers, I didn't have second thoughts about joining. I even went ballistic panicked when I found out that Airphil Express doesn't accept JCB, my credit card, for online reservations. Good thing Zest Air saved us from not being left behind. So while the others would be flying on Airphil, my dearest and I would go on Zest Air.

The trip was scheduled on November 4. We would be staying there until the sixth. When November 3 came, I was sooooo excited. Actually, I was already excited the weekend before November 4. As the days drew near, I couldn't sleep because of excitement. Haha!

November 4 came. My dearest and I went to the airport before sunrise, without any sleep! I probably had a half-hour nap or so, but it wouldn't qualify as a decent rest. Also, my tummy hadn't been so cooperative since the previous day because of acid reflux. I just prayed that everything would go well - from having a safe flight to none of us getting hurt or sick.

Finally, we arrived in Iloilo. Yahoo! As the plane was descending from the sky, I saw the green fields that were so picturesque when viewed from above. Too bad I wasn't able to take a photo of it. But then, I didn't have a cam! Haha! I only had my cellphone camera.

We were with U-bloggers Bon and Joel at the same flight. We met U-bloggers Cj and Bernard. Then, U-bloggers Leah and Mel, who both hail from Iloilo, picked us up at the airport.

Everyone was waiting for us at Mel's house. They had an earlier flight so they got to Iloilo hours before we did. After having breakfast, we got in our rented jeep and off we went for the city tour.

First stop was the church in Jaro. In high school, one of my friends told me that if it's your first time in a church, you should make a wish and it will come true. Ever since then, whenever I enter a church for the first time, especially old churches, I make a wish. Wishes even. And I pray for them. And I believe God will grant them in His time.

Next stop was the Museo Iloilo. There were artifacts - porcelain, old fabrics and clothes, fossils, jars, and santos - that form the history of Western Visayas. Contemporary artworks were also on display.

Of course, we wouldn't leave without taking a group photo.

(left) The U-Bloggers. Photo by Bon Talampas, Jr. of TARAGIS
(right) With Ate Roanne (thank you for lending me your shades ^__^). Photo by my dearest John Laurence Patulan

After the Museo, it was already midday. We went to our respective hotels, checked in, dropped off our things, and proceeded to Tatoy's Manokan and Seafood for lunch. We ordered quite a lot - chicken, fish, and that controversial valenciana, which made Bernard say this quotable quote: "Di ma-rationalize ng diwa ko. Parang pumuputok-putok na kendi sa bibig ko." (My mind can't rationalize it. It's like candies bursting in my mouth) My translation doesn't do justice to the original quote. It was really funny when he delivered it. Wahahahaha!

At Tatoy's. Photo by John Laurence Patulan

Next stop was Miag-ao, which was approximately forty-five minutes (or was that more?) away from where we were. Our driver drove so fast. The wind didn't just caress our faces; it messed up our hair! Hahaha! So much for "mahangin ba sa labas" (loosely translated as "is it windy outside?").

In Miag-ao, we visited another old church: the Miag-ao Church which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I don't know how old is the church, but I'm certain it's been there since the Spanish colonial period. It's been there for centuries. It was beautiful and... intimidating. I'm always intimidated by old structures, probably because they've withstood the test of time, and there I am, standing in awe.

(left) Inside Miag-ao Church.
(right) Me at the facade of the centuries-old church. Photo by John Laurence Patulan

After our visit to Miag-ao, we headed back to our respective hotels to shower and change clothes. We then had dinner at Freska and went on night life mode at Pirates. We basically had fun that night, dancing on our seats and singing to the tune of whatever song the band was performing. It was a looooooooong day, especially for me who didn't have any sleep the night before. Haha! But the good part was only starting, because the next day, *drum roll please*, we were going to the beeeeeeaaach! Woohoo! :D

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


They linger on earth,
Lurk on abandoned corners,
Cold and dark,
Of schools, hospitals, churches.

A gust of wind,
And goosebumps form
On the arms of individuals
Who huddle in fear.

Shadows crawl on the floor
Then dance on walls
With the flicker of candlelight
On a slowly melting wax.

Eyes are closed,
Hands are joined and
Prayers are uttered
So the restless may find peace.

-Katherine Lopez
01 November 2011