Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Blessed Year

I am taking a break from all the holiday drama binge watching to write my thoughts on the last day of the year. As I type this down, the household smells of roasted meat and everyone busy with the New Year's Eve preparations. On the other hand, I am in my pink bathrobe and with a purple towel on top of my head.

A few weeks ago, out of sheer playfulness, I took that silly quiz on Facebook about how the summary of my 2017, it was described in a single word: Blessed. And looking back,  believe these photos speak strongly.

Two months after the release of results, I finally obtained my eligibility certificate last February -- which made my feat official! 

While my career service award arrived in May, I finally reached my fifth year in the company in March.

I went on a few personal missions. One of which was attending Dia Internacional del Libro (International Book Day) of Instituto Cervantes and the Embassy of Spain in April. And aside from the attendance, what made it more special was I took part in another endeavor -- as one of the 500 writers who volunteered to write Don Quixote dela Mancha -- by hand!

Photo: @iam_aru

2017 was also a year of meeting new people. In the case of the photo above, it's meeting fellow volunteer employees from different offices (most of them I don't get to see often) during our annual project planning.

This year, I graced the page of a finance magazine, Moneysense Philippines in their Millennials and Money issue. It felt kind of surreal because during one period in my life, I was the one chasing others and asking for interviews. But this time around, tables just turned as I am now a resource person giving a talk about my career to millennials!

I turned 33 in November. and celebrated the occasion three times! :-)

After being in the company for half a decade, I got to experience how it is to celebrate one of America's favorite holidays for the first time: Thanksgiving with fellow volunteers and Career interns.

Photo: @jukariluna

I ended the year with another meaningful endeavor: by choosing to volunteer for the gift-giving event in a depressed area in Tondo for the first time. While this was something new to me, and at one point, made me feel worry for myself healthwise, conquering this kind of activity felt good and was also a humbling experience.

Most of the time, Wittybunny to me is just a silly application. But this time, I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. This year was filled with ups and downs, stresses and easy days. It's a mixture of the equal stuff. This morning, upon waking up and realizing it's the last day of the year, I prayed for a number of things -- including another meaningful, blessed year.

I shall now resume my holiday programming but not without wishing you one thing: to have a safe, peaceful and happy new year.   

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Lesson About Gratitude

Taking some time again writing on this blog during the holiday break.  the last few weeks leading to Christmas has been busy and was somewhat stressful. I'm trying to give myself some well-deserved leeway from everything because it's been taking some toll on my health. And because of the busy schedule I had the past few weeks, there are some things I would either do in a hurry, or worst, had to skip entirely this year. One of them was attending and completing the anticipated masses for Simbang Gabi.

But in spite of an erratic schedule, preparing and holding Christmas parties and a bridal shower, I still had the chance to attend at least one of the 9 nights of the mass held at the church near my workplace. 

Next to thinking of how the Homily relates to someone else's situation, I believe I got to be there to hear it for a reason. Just days before, I went through a quite scary ordeal, falling a victim to theft as I was waiting for a ride home from our team's Christmas dinner. My wallet, ATM card and a sum of money was among those that were stolen. It stressed me and left me worried that I failed to get some sleep.

And hearing the words of the priest made me recall of what happened and what I have forgotten -- gratitude. When I got home that night, on my Facebook wall was a comment that Januver left on my status post. Reading it made me think how spot on his words were. All those times, I was worrying about what I have lost and how it could lead to financial issues and how I could make ends meet. Whereas here he is, saying and implying how my safety is more important than anything else.

I disregarded the fact that I was safe and unharmed. A thing that he seemed to care about more. And it shook me back to my senses. Next to his words, it was also my parents' advice that pacified my worries and consoled my heart from the somewhat traumatic experience I want through.

In the end, I may have lost something but by God's grace, I was able to make ends meet -- more than what I expected.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

10 Love Lessons I Learned From Binge Watching Meteor Garden

I never thought I would write a nostalgic throwback post on Christmas Eve. Blame it on the recent news that Meteor Garden will get a millennial remake, but for the past weeks, I found myself binge watching Taiwanese dramas. First on my list, Meteor Garden of course!

When this drama series was shown here in the Philippines 14 years ago, I was still in college at 19. A few weeks ago, I remember confessing to my office mate Cherry about re-watching the show again. To which I told her how your perception differs as you age.

And true enough, as I was watching Meteor Garden's episodes, I can't help but realize that. Iba ang pagtingin mo sa mga sitwasyon at bagay when you are only 19, but it becomes all the more different when you are 33.

And that includes love and relationships. At 19, you only see love as that one with handsome boys that give you the giddy feels. But watching this drama series at a time I consider myself to be "old", left me with a few realizations. And those were lessons that I never learned back when I was a teenager filled with "kilig" hormones over a group of boys who never spoke English on TV!

So what did watching Meteor Garden at 33 made me realize? That would be these:

  1. Sacrifices (and doing them) are really an essential ingredient, and is always present to any relationship.
  2. While they say actions speak louder than words, there also are times that Love has to be declared.
  3. Patience always come with wonderful rewards.
  4. It might look complicated, even difficult. But despite the adversities along the way, love is still the most wonderful feeling in the world.
  5. Though they might look complicated, silent guys more often are men of sense. They think sensibly and deeply -- something which compensates their silence.
  6. It pays to have a kick-ass sister  and group of friends as a source of support -- and someone to seek help.
  7. You don't really need to mold yourself and be someone else just to fit in and and find love. Sometimes, even a strong character is enough to earn one's respect and more -- love included.
  8. Love is a powerful force that can really transform a person. It could bring out a kind heart even out of a bad boy.
  9. Bad boys can still possibly become ideal boyfriends.
  10. Even if people and circumstances are against two persons in love, with perseverance and faith, love wins -- always.

I still have a number of episode to watch. The kilig feeling is still present just like how it was when I watched it in 2003, though I know that just like me, the characters in the series have also grown up and gotten old. And while I have yet to see the remake (it's scheduled to come out next year), I guess I would still prefer the first and original version than any others.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thirty Three

Age is just a number :)
I turned 33 almost a week ago. I've reached the "Age of Salvation" if I may say so. That term got stuck in my head after reading somewhere that it was the age of Jesus when He was crucified and saved mankind.

Save for the traditional advanced surprise that was given to me by my officemates in the firm, I was able to get the kind of celebration that I wanted -- a birthday minus the festive (read: noisy) stuff. When these folks showed up with their "pasabog" on All Soul's Day, I was seriously wanting to tell them to keep quiet (kasi nga Undas pa --at least in my calendar hahaha!). But I didn't want to be a killjoy and spoil their fun and effort so I decided to let them be. Though I guess it's among the realities one gets as they grow old. You tend to prefer simplicity and solemnity even in celebrating your own birthday.

Tropang Trenta (except for Jim and Eloi!)
On the day itself, I just went to church to hear Mass. The good thing about my birthday falling on a first Sunday of the month was that I got to be blessed and prayed for by the presiding priest and be serenaded with the Happy Birthday song by the church choir. Compared to the previous celebrations, I must say that this year was a bit ordinary, odd and different-- because I found myself sending a message of condolence to someone whose ex-wife died the night before in an unexpected manner while attending to a commitment overseas. Honestly, the words ordinary, odd and different aren't even sufficient to describe how I felt as I typed and sent the said message of sympathy.

I decided to go on vacation leave after my birthday. Next to wanting a quiet celebration, I did so just to catch up on rest and sleep and just basically take a breather and free my mind away from anything work-related. I may not be vocal about it, but I'd admit now that the past few months (and weeks leading to my birthday) has been stressful. I just wanted to hopefully de-compress my mind and body (to which the stress and strain of everything has been taking its toil lately). So I took the opportunity to some get some RnR even for just two days.    

Yes to fangirling while on vacation!
Next to getting rest, long hours for sleep, and quietly celebrating, I spent the two days held and curled up in my bedroom reading. Like what I said in my previous post, I wanted time to immerse in books that are not too hardcore to the brain and it was such a welcoming respite. Books that are for "light reading" seriously left me refreshed after I reached and finished the last page. Oh, and I also got the book in my wishlist so I was really satisfied.

Literal na may pa-cake si mayor! 
And just when I thought I had enough of the whole "birthday shenanigans", I came home yesterday to a treat from our mayor. While I am not really used to these kinds of surprises, the fact that the special day was remembered is much appreciated (at oo, hindi lang biruan sa hometown ko yung usual na linyahang "may pa-cake si mayor!" Totoo sa lugar namin yun  hahaha!)

Looking at it, I left being 32 having achieved a number of things, and that's good. Now at 33, I can't help but think, that age is seven years into reaching 40. Yes, it's still a long way to go, however, the thoughts like what lies ahead and the question whether I would still be alive (and blogging) by then have already entered my mind. 

But those are something to wait and see. For now, what's for me to do is just in these two words: Carpe diem!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Needs and Wants

My birthday is happening in a week. Another year has gone and a new one about to come. But unlike other people, I am not looking into an elaborate, booze-and-fireworks-filled kind of celebration. I guess longing for simplicity in things is among the pieces of wisdom that getting old gives. Because even my wishlist contains nothing but the stuff that matters to me -- and right now I only have four of them.

1. The gift for more borrowed time. So many things, so little time. I've always heard that line on countless occasions. Not that I am complaining but when you are getting older, trying to fit a demanding career, social life, a hobby, relaxation and sleep seem to be difficult. To the fact that I sometimes feel like 24 hours is not sufficient to fit everything in.

2. A good nights' sleep. For the past five and a half years, I have been running on four to six hours of sleep. And I have also learned the art of sleeping in public transportation on the way to work everyday. And to be honest, I yearn for a restful night of slumber. If I could sleep in the same way as a cat, I definitely would do it. Pahinga over pera (or pag-ibig) pa rin ang motto ko!

3. To read a good book. My supervisor once asked me, if money was never an issue, what would I do for a day? Aside from sleep, it would be going to the beach, sip coffee and read books-- to my heart's content.

Photo: National Bookstore

And while I still have books piling up unread in my room at home, there are just two titles I yearn to immerse my mind into once I finally get a day (or days) away from work -- Alden: In My Own Words by Alden Richards and Yup, I Am That Girl by Maine Mendoza. With the kind of job that I have, dealing with legal jargons, clients with complicated (read: upset, irate) attitude, and reading law-related books that are totally hardcore to my brain for half a decade of my life, I sometimes need something that's light and easy to read to allow my brain to breathe from all the stress and highfalutin words.

Photo: Cake Central

4. A birthday cake. And a Minnie Mouse inspired one at that. Because I am a fan of the color red, anything Disney (especially Mickey and Minnie) and simply because a birthday doesn't seem to be complete without blowing a candle on top of a birthday cake.

You see my list has nothing complicated in it. Back in school, I was taught that there is a difference between "want" and "need". But in reality, if there's another thing this "getting old" feeling is telling me, it is that during these times, the things that you want are actually the things that you do really need. 

*All photos courtesy of unless otherwise stated on the caption.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ramen Date with the Girls

 The past few days, I have been feeling under the weather. I am typing this entry in bed while listening to a Senate hearing from last week with a box of tissue and my medicines on my bed side. And whenever I am sick, there are three things that I want: a good sleep and a mug of hot black tea or a warm bowl of soup.

And speaking of warm soup, I can't help but miss having ramen just like what I had with my married lady officemates months ago. Next to coffee and milk tea shops, ramen houses are among those prevalent places near my office. One of those ramen houses we visited was Ramen Kuroda recommended by Cherry.

At first I was hesitant to go because I am not really a fan of ramen. But Cherry's fighting pilit was that strong so off I went with them. Ramen Kuroda is the only ramen house located at Cyber Fashion Mall's Third Floor.

And since it's my first time to try this dish, I went on the safe side and ordered Shiro  Ramen. While there wasn't really anything special in it, I think I made the right choice with what I ordered. The noodles were cooked just right, the meat strips were tender and the broth was creamy. Cherry was right when she said I would love it. My office mates on the other had tried Aka Ramen and Aka Chasumen which has some mild spicy flavor in it -- which you can adjust according to your preference.

I may have been to this place once but the first visit was good. Their staff were accommodating, they even helped us choose with our orders. Their serving time is also fast and if you're not a fan of chopsticks, the place has utensils handy as well. For price that ranges from 180-230 pesos, this place and their ramen is worth another visit.

Ramen Kuroda is at the 3rd Floor of Eastwood Cyber Fashion Mall Eastwood City Libis Quezon City.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Shenanigans

It's the last day of the first "ber" month. And despite being bone tired dealing with and completing work-related requirements, I just thought of writing about a rundown of the things I dealt with this month:

I joined a meaningful endeavor for the benefit of our country's men in uniform currently deployed in Marawi. You can read more of that here.

I am among those individuals featured in this quarter's issue of a finance magazine, MoneySense about Millennials & Money.

And it feels giddily good being interviewed and discussing what I do for a living for the last five and a half years.

Speaking of magazines, I am making a "mini comeback" as a contributing writer for the upcoming issue of our company's internal publication. And I'm so excited. For any writer, getting to see your name in print is the best feeling in the world. That's their form of fulfillment.

This month is also a month for new discoveries. Like a new place to stop by for my morning fuel -- coffee! Finally, after months (which almost turned to a year) of waiting, the Tim Hortons branch which is just three minutes away from my office is finally open!

I also discovered a food tent that serves good food and drinks -- not in the metropolis but still in Rizal during one of my trips on the way home from work for the weekend. I might go back to explore more of the food the place can offer because some of the stalls were still prepping up when I arrived at around 6pm.

Of course, a month without indulging in brain food? Sadly, I missed this year's Manila International Book Fair. I read while this year was a bigger event, it was filled to the brim with attendees too. Call it an ultimate measure of katanderan but I wasn't sure if my patience can take the long lines of people this year. But that's not a reason for me not to find a book to read. After months of searching and ranting that I can't find this book authored by one of my friends, I was finally able to buy one from Book Sale in SM Megamall. Yep, humble secondhand bookshops are a gem too. Not only they are selling secondhand books (that look brand new) at a cheaper price, sometimes they're a place for hard-to-find titles too.

I'm ending my month with another movie to cross out on my list for my 12 Movies Project. I was torn between watching this in SM Megamall or just see it in my hometown but the former won. Last Night is the ninth movie on my list and it's a good movie worth paying for and watching. While it's seen as a romantic film, it's not tackling just a typical lovestory in its premise. While I did not get the kind of ending I expected, the movie offered an unexpected twist that somehow I was able to let go of the "ending I wanted but didn't get" . Piolo and Toni played their characters well -- or even above what the audience expected. And for someone like Bela Padilla, who everyone is familiar of an actress, this movie proved that she's more than that. Her scriptwriting skills for this movie showed promise. If you are intrigued and haven't seen the movie just yet, I suggest that you run to the cinema and buy a ticket. I am telling you, it's going to be worth your money.

There goes my September. I wonder how things will be like next month :-)