My life is like a pack of Fruit Bowl Jelly Belly

I was with Charlie the whole day yesterday, and both of us felt that it was such an amazing day even though we mostly ate, walked around, talked, laughed, and admired exhibits. It was a day of food tripping, window shopping, notebook shopping, and museum-going. (So, just as a warning: this is the longest post on a date I’ve ever blogged about. Mostly because we did so many things in less than 24 hours together!)

Because of the UPCAT, Charlie arrived at my house pretty late (he got stuck for 30 minutes just trying to take a U-turn in Katipunan), and with a bag of onion rings from Burger King. We left the house as soon as he picked me up because we planned on having lunch at Bonchon Chicken in Greenbelt (why so far away? We were also going to see if Charlie could pick up his VANS shoes that he won from the We Love Post 2nd Anniversary Party. Unfortunately, they said they weren’t ready yet, but we pushed through with our museum date + everything else date anyway). We just wanted to know what the fuss was all about when it came to Bonchon Chicken since EVERYONE in my lil’ circle o’planet was singing the restaurant odes and praises.

AND WHAT WAS THE FUSS ALL ABOUT? OMG. IT’S BETTER THAN JOLLIBEE CHICKENJOY!  Continue readingMy life is like a pack of Fruit Bowl Jelly Belly

The NBI Nightmare

I had to get an NBI clearance for employment so I went with Rian on this one-day adventure. It’s so effing surreal, lining up at 3am in the morning for a government-issued certificate sounds so exaggerated until you’ve experienced it yourself. I’m not kidding. I’ve heard a few people have a similar experience (someone who lined up at 2am and finished at 11am), and as for ours, we went to the nearest NBI Clearance Center, which is at Robinsons Metro East, Marcos Highway. Woke up at 2.45am, left the house at 3am, got there in ten minutes and lined up for 11 hours.

people at 3am, lined up to get their NBI clearances

We were the 22nd or 23rd to arrive at the line, and this was right outside of the mall. I have no idea what time the first person arrived, but the guards would say the line starts at 1am. WILD.  Continue readingThe NBI Nightmare

Toy Con 2011

it's me in my sheep shirt!

I went with a few friends to the 2011 Toy Convention at SM Megamall yesterday.  I haven’t gone before, but like with the many firsts from this year (Comic Con too, with Charlie), I went to Toy Con with a few friends. I also saw Dan and Marv (I haven’t seen him since he got back from Germany, and of all places, the first time since Graduation was at SM Megamall!). Charlie and I got there a bit late, so we followed our friends for lunch first before going inside the convention. They were at Tokyo Cafe, and it’s where we ate last time too. Charlie and I both bought bento boxes and exchanged pork/shrimp so it’d be like ordering two kinds of food!

it's shrimp tempura, but I forgot what it was called in the menu. this is what Charlie got.
katsudon. I like things with sauce in it, so I got this one.

Rob also caught up and we all went to the Toy Con, where Patrice was hosting. The two of them went their way too, and Cholo brought Angelica to kendo, while the rest of us walked around the place. The toy exhibit was pretty cool. I’m just not that big of a comic/toy enthusiast so all I could do was admire some of them. Although, I remember some toys from childhood, like the alien-looking ones which my cousins used to have and we used to play with all the time.  Continue readingToy Con 2011

Bangkok shopping bliss

I was at Bangkok for only two full days (I wasn’t originally part of this trip but my mom, aunt, and cousin let me tag along!) and with that short amount of time, I didn’t try to contact or meet up with my Thai friends I made from my semester in Singapore last year. I’m planning on going back again to Bangkok though, when the opportunity arises, and that time I’ll make my stay longer so I could find my Thai friends. :P

For this trip though, the only sight-seeing we did was to visit the Palace. My mom and my aunt had this Thai cooking lesson but for me and my cousin, the rest was shopping history. This wasn’t my first time to go to Thailand. Last year I’ve gone to Phuket (Krabi Town and Railay Island) right during the Thai New Year and loved that trip so much. It was my first time backpacking with a person I’ve just met, too. I already loved Thailand ever since that one trip so I was very much looking forward to this trip. Continue readingBangkok shopping bliss

The Great Cebu Trip (part 3)

I’ve been feeling unwell the past few days — bad enough that I didn’t feel like blogging anything at all. But I’m trying to finish this, mostly because I started it already :P

Day three was our trip to Kawasan Falls. It’s a four-hour ride from the city. We rode one of the Ceres yellow buses at the South Bus Terminal and the bus left at around 6.30am. When we got there, a bunch of kuya’s approached us saying that they’d be our guide. The thing is, apparently you pay them P300 each for the whole day. Which sounds okay, except later on, you have to pay P50 for the life vest (which is prerequisite to swimming at the falls) and then another P300 if you want to ride on the raft so you can go underneath the falls (so it’s better if you’re a bigger group so you pay less). ALL the tables at any level of the falls are overpriced (around P200), so now you’re getting an idea of how much you’ll end up spending at the end of the day. You could stay overnight there too, which costs around P1200+ per night. I was almost going to skip eating lunch just to make my meager budget fit, but Gail saved the day, so yay.

the three of us with our guides. this was taken before we went left the falls.
this was us at the second "level." like a game, but not really.

They have a bunch of “levels” for the falls. I think there’s seven. You just have to keep walking or climbing up, but there are less people the higher you go. Except, we only had slippers and the rocks were slippery so better climbing footwear would be advisable. Although! My experience here is still an improvement from my impromptu hike in Railay Island back in Phuket, when I traveled there with another foreigner last year. Last time I was doing the hiking in my swimwear because I didn’t expect the beach would be so far away, and the hike so steep. This time, I’m wearing shorts and a top and a denim jacket even. Upgrade, I say. Continue readingThe Great Cebu Trip (part 3)

The Great Cebu Trip (Part 2)

For Day 2, we planned on going to the tourist places in the city. We had an itinerary all planned out since you could find a list of places to go online anyway. But after the second stop, we scrapped our prepared itinerary and after going to a couple of places, we ended up watching Water for Elephants with Ruby at the SM mall there.

Where we ended up going:

  • the Pier to check for ferry prices because we were planning on going to Bohol
  • Fort San Pedro
  • one of the churches (Sto. Nino)
  • Magellan’s Cross
  • one of the market areas
  • CNT for lunch (lechon!)
  • SM
It took as a while before we could get a picture in front of the sign because we had to wait for other tourists to finish taking their own picture :P
if you look behind me, there's a group of Koreans. there's a LOT of Korean tourists in Cebu.

There are koreans everywhere. Korean families. Korean couples. A huge Korean tour group. Maybe Koreans really like Cebu? Sometimes I’d spot a really good-looking and fashionable couple. :D It makes me want to travel abroad with my significant other, haha.

Continue readingThe Great Cebu Trip (Part 2)

The Great Cebu Trip (Part 1)

Since I’ll be leaving for another trip next week, I should really get this backlog of my trip in Cebu last May 4-7 up. I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time but so many things happened, such as boxing, work, and a bit of bumming (yes, honestly, when I’m not working or boxing I’m just bumming around at home catching up with TV shows and watching my weekly dose of Korean drama).

What made this Cebu trip great was that it was a vacation with my close friends from high school, Gail and Ruby (Lles couldn’t go, and we missed her!). Despite the fact that we had very limited budget, and I splurged what’s left of my savings in this trip (which also means I haven’t been able to save much), I had an awesome time. Part of the trip was a day trip to Kawasan Falls and another day spent in Bohol.

But for this post, I’ll be blogging about the first day in the city.

gail and I at the hotel
gail and I at the hotel

Continue readingThe Great Cebu Trip (Part 1)

Hopefully Boracay isn’t my last beach trip

I went to Boracay (for the first time! And I’m already 21!) last April 6 and left on the 9th. Considering all the other places I’ve gone to, like Bintan, I should have already gone to Boracay before (because hey, it’s in the Philippines, and it really does have beautiful sand!) but my first time really was just this year. Mary and I tagged along with Jamie and her family.
Continue readingHopefully Boracay isn’t my last beach trip

Where I Was On The Same Day Last Year: April 12

Railay Island, Thailand

I went backpacking last year and of my three trips, Phuket, Thailand was my favorite. We went there near the Thai New Year (and was there for their New Year) so lodgings and stuff were kinda expensive, but the whole trip was just so worth it.

Railay Island has one of the loveliest beaches ever. I remember wanting to go back there with some friends, when I still had friends. ANYWAY. Last year I went with this Canadian girl who was in one of my classes. There was just two of us and we did things I never expected I could do, like:

  • go to a whole new country without a detailed itinerary or plans and reserved lodgings
  • backpack! This was my first “backpacking” trip ever!
  • ride their public transportation (their version of the jeepney!) without knowing the language so we had to have complete trust on the driver
  • ride on a stranger’s motorbike, with the said stranger

I don’t know if we were just lucky nobody tried to trick us or anything, but it’s one of my few memorable things from 2010 (aka The Year That Sucked) and I can’t express just how much I want to do it all over again (although last time we still stayed one day/night at Krabi Town, which is something I’d skip altogether now and just jump right to Railay Island).

Post-immersion rambling

The biggest impact immersion had on me wasn’t something I experienced myself, but rather, what my friend experienced (we went to the same area: a farming area in Rosales, Pangasinan). We were doing processing on the third morning and what he said about his “tatay” (adoptive father) struck me.

Last Thursday, we were discussing the Prodigal Son during Theology class, and one of the excerpts from the novel mentioned something about unconditional love and how the World will always measure you by how much you give, and even when you’ve given everything, it will never be enough. That really stayed with me. Never is such a sad, sad word and with everything that happened to me these past few months, it just seemed like a fucking horrible realization.

So during immersion, my friend was sharing how their “tatay” told them outright that he really won’t make them work in the fields or do anything difficult. He just wanted to love them and show them he loved them, and he wasn’t asking for anything in return. He said that if ever they saw each other in Manila, just acknowledging him would be enough. It seemed like he just wanted them to acknowledge his love for them, and that was all. They don’t have to invite him to his house, give him anything, nothing. And during their stay with their tatay, that’s just what he did — showed them that he loved them like any of his real children and took care of them the best way he could.

This was a man who barely knew the students who came to stay with him. He just knew that he wanted to love them from the start, and that was what he was going to do. He didn’t have to know them well, and they had barely three days to actually get to know each other.

I kept on going back to people I’ve sort-of spent years with, and how negative my experiences were with them lately. It was so hard for me to reconcile friendships so strained with how I just wanted things to be. I’ve never been really honest about how difficult it was adjusting when I got back from JTA and things just seemed to get worse with old friends. I was thinking about how even friendship is so conditional, that the word “never” was such a terrifying reality for me. But then, here was this man who made me believe again that unconditional love CAN exist, even in this world, and it’s just difficult to find. My friend was really lucky to have felt that when he stayed with his Tatay. I realized I still have good friends who I could really trust even though I’ve doubted so many things in my life lately.

I think most of us look for that kind of unconditional love. I’ve experienced this with my highschool friends and I will really do anything for them. We’re all human, I know, but it doesn’t mean we’re entirely incapable of this. I think I’m just the sort of person who’ll be looking for this all my life, and I hope I could become somebody like my friend’s Tatay who could love, even strangers, unconditionally.