Traveling multiplied by lethargy

Keeping myself in PGP in multiple attempts to force myself to study, not even logging in on MSN and YIM for a week, contributes very little to my academic life.

In short, traveling had evaporated most of my drive to study. I have done almost no “reading” during Reading Week.

temple climbing in Siem Reap
On the contrary, I did some temple climbing.

Going to Phuket, Thailand from the 11th to the 14th then to Siem Reap, Cambodia from the 18th to 20th was probably not the best prelude to final exams.

The best thing about getting to travel without parents (and in foreign countries) is the fact that I have experienced it. This. That. Those. One thing I promised myself is that I will definitely, oh most definitely, go back to Thailand because I fell in love with it as deep as I wanted to fall into its beaches. I can’t wait for an opportunity to go to Bangkok and then travel to the North, which a friend-of-a-friend had done.

I was deeply moved more by the poverty I saw in Cambodia than its immense god-stricken temple ruins and I was bothered by the regrettable fact that despite the similar state of poverty in the Philippines, I had to be moved by it in a foreign country. Or maybe I just had more to regret in Siem Reap than in Phuket.

Regrettable, life-changing drama from my first semester this year (June-October) had diminished what was left of the industrious, studious, note-taking and book-hogging student in me. That was followed by an unusual but exciting pre-second-semester (with all the Production gigs I got involved in while I waited for the results regarding one semester’s worth of scholarship at the National University of Singapore). Perhaps I just started to be convinced of “all the wrong things” — or things my mom would definitely disapprove of, or maybe I’m just tired of Ateneo and I just want to leave my frustrations with that university behind as soon as possible, but I’m not very keen on exams and tests anymore. The effort I exert on academics is merely a fraction of what I had been sacrificing for it when I was in sophomore year. I just want Friday to arrive and then I’ll be going to Bintan, Indonesia for two days worth of relaxation and water sports and amazing fun with two awesome friends I’ve made here. Then I can’t wait to get back to the Philippines where I can dive back into creative projects and actually do something to change my room’s design (ASAP). I left the Philippines four months ago looking for a muse and now I’ve found some inspiration, I can’t wait until I get my hands on materials to create lovely things.

Pigging out may or may not be related to my horrible study habits but today I’ve successfully saturated myself and sworn off junk food. I just finished a pack of potato chips for lunch and I feel so queasy, I’m sure I won’t be eating a whole pack in a long time again. While yesterday I stuffed myself with all forms of sweets: cheesecake, ice cream, cupcake, chocolate. I swear, I don’t know why I can’t just balance my food intake to satisfy my picky taste buds.

AdStrat project over!

Finally, our AdStrat presentation is done! We had our weakness but I think the prof liked our idea anyway. Which makes me excited because maybe advertising will actually be fun, if you’re working with the right people. My group mates are just awesome (except for one guy who was stupid enough to plagiarize his part from another group’s paper from the previous semester. Seriously, I don’t know how people like that can get into NUS, which is supposed to be in the top 10 unis in the world). Our group meeting last Sunday was actually fun (and funny). We went to the Shaw Towers for an extremely late lunch and ate at the Japanese/Korean restau there. On the way, my group mates ended up using “dubious” with all the “dubious looking” infrastructure and even ads, hahaha.

“That building just looks dubious,” “That guy looks dubious,” “The pink flowers hanging from the parking lot makes the parking lot dubious.” And even at the Japanese/Korean restau, with its unappealing brown tables and benches cramped together in a small space: “this looks dubious.”

Seriously, I’m so glad they have a sense of humor. We’ve exchanged some cuss words — I taught them “gago” and “putangina.” And I got this expression in Cantonese that meant something like ‘That shocked me!’ — “haseyang.” And Kailing always used “haseyang” haha, it’s so cute.

Ok, so anyway, this was the pseudo-stop-motion we made (the illustrations aren’t stop-motioned anymore because I didn’t have time to. Plus, it was hard using just iMovie and Photoshop CS4. I wanted to try making it in After Effects but I don’t have the program.) :(

And because their company website was made with ancient and outdated web standards (it’s really horrible, if you want to take a look), we redid their site. The process made me excited because of the possibilities I can do with the LFC website which terribly needs revamping also. I mean, logging in with your Facebook account? What else would the best way to get our members to utilize the homepage, huh? HUH??? THE POSSIBILITIES!

Now I really, really want to apply for an OJT in an advertising company to get the feel of what it is like being in the industry and to judge for myself if I want to go into it. I’m like a floating jellyfish in the middle of the ocean. I don’t know where exactly I want to go yet. Aside from (1) opening up this super awesome business idea with my friends, (2) traveling everywhere in the world, and (3) someday making my own film. But #1-3 needs an immense amount of money (or more like a fortune), and I need to find some way to earn that.

Seriously, I don’t feel so awesome at the age of twenty but maybe in ten more years I’d have something to be proud of. I still have this dream of someday being someone who can inspire people. :) And maybe being in a fantastic relationship with someone amazing, also. <3

Design Currency

I think this is an amazing video, promoting Design Week Vancouver whose theme is “Design Currency.” Although we were talking about transactional art in Cyber Arts class yesterday, this uses “currency” in a different context: value of design.

And it’s not that easy. When we went to the Singapore Art Museum and to another exhibit at Old School, I felt this immense difference between a genius artist and a design student. The level of impact cannot even measure that of an artist who lives very passionately with his art.

As for me, I’m already 20 (or still 20? Depending on from which POV you look at it), but I have never inspired anyone to do something yet. I don’t think I’m looking for it too early, but I don’t believe I’d be able to achieve any sort of impact with my currently-non-existent-even-in-the-form-of-intangible-ideas thesis. Unless I have a sudden moment of enlightenment or something.

Stop!motion

I’m editing a simple stop-motion for Island Creamery as part of our advertising project in AdStrat class. But it’s just REALLY simple. Not even something quite as good as this:

Still, I’d like to do a bit more of stop motion with some friends when I get back. It’s not as easy as it looks but I think it’s gonna be extremely fun to do production design for. :D

I miss being part of a production

This is one of the AVPs Gino P. (Indioboy Productions) and his team made (with which I did production design for!):

I really, really miss being part of a production team. There’s this group in my Cyber Arts class (you can say we make videos, but it’s more…inclined to art than anything else) and they’re really great. They made me feel the excitement from watching an amazing video. We were only going to make two videos in class and I loved both of their projects. One was a video adaptation of one of Hemmingway’s works, and another was an installation that I can’t even say how well-thought of their execution was.

My group’s ok, but I miss working with people who really know what they’re doing. I guess I got used to working with people like Charlie, Gino, Ayo, Jan, and all my other fantastic friends that I had to lower a bit of my expectations when I’m working with beginners (I’m totally clueless when it comes to anything beyond production design).

Things are going to get crazy

With Photoshop developing Content-Aware Fill, any 2nd grader can edit their photos and no one will need a professional photographer or editor anymore.

Photography “skills” will be a thing of the past.

It’s sad, it’s crazy, it’s terrifying.

Meanwhile, I realized my portfolio is so lame. I’m so lame. I don’t have any designs you’d call fantastic or brilliant. All the stuff I’ve uploaded are just old, ugly onesĀ  with very little creativity. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with my life. But I know I want to keep on making websites for other people and then perhaps explore interactive media more. But realizations (just realizations) don’t always get you somewhere.

Islam is a beautiful religion

I first learned some of the few things I know about Islam from the best history teacher back in high school, Sir Beni (I kept my notes color-coded only because they were for his class. I drew penguins on every map of Asia/world a we had to sketch for the tests just because I knew he wouldn’t mind hahahaha). He was also traditionally the Philosophy professor for 4th year but he went on a trip to Europe just when I got to 4th year. Sadness. Anyway, I honestly don’t know if he still teaches in Assumption Antipolo but when I was still studying there, he was one of the “legend teachers.” And while I can write a paper on the greatness and wisdom of Sir Beni (he is a teacher that transcends time!!), I have to remember that this post isn’t about him but of my KL trip.

Point of the intro was, supposedly, how most of what I know or remember about Islam was really still from Sir Beni. I only fed my curiosity about their beautiful calligraphic images from museums (such as the gallery at the Asian Civilizations Musuem).

I haven’t been to KL (or anywhere in Malaysia, for that matter), so I decided to hit two birds with one stone and join the NUS Muslim Society to their one-day Islamic Awareness Week trip to KL. Based on what has happened to me in the past week (self-injuring myself accidentally), my friend warned me to take care and since I’m blogging right now, luckily it only means I haven’t encountered any serious mishap. But my trip wasn’t without any interesting experiences either. I’m going to flood this post with my usual silliness and senseless ramblings so be warned.

TADA! me at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization
TADA! me at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization

The S$50 trip was primarily an excursion into Islam and while it wasn’t exactly a vacation trip, one of the best things about going on that trip were:

  1. meeting a lot of wonderful, friendly, very nice and thoughtful people. Not just NUS students or organizers but even their friends/family members that went on the trip. NEW FRIENDS FTW! The guys were all so funny, haha, that it made me realize that most guy-groups are really kinda the same wherever I go.
  2. Getting to know the Islam religion and culture. Maybe not so much (I wasn’t able to attend most of their lectures during the Islamic Awareness Week) but I have learned quite a few things too! There are quite a lot of Muslims in the Philippines also and I’ve had two teachers in the past (back in high school) who’s either from the south or taught/had experiences living in the South. I’m the type of person who enjoys learning about cultures and new places!
  3. Trying new food and eating LOTS of ice cream (simply because it’s cheaper in Malaysia).
  4. Getting held up at the immigrations because I forgot my student pass in the bus. And then learning that the bus driver lost his passport.

I start with #4 because well, that’s where the trip technically starts. I mean, I was THIS CLOSE to stepping into Malaysia until oh, apparently we need our Student Pass to get to the other side. Continue readingIslam is a beautiful religion

The destructive touch of Midas

Everything break-able should be kept at a 5-meter radius away from me. I dropped my camera on the ground and now it’s dented and I’m still wondering if I should have it fixed (if it’s fix-able. I don’t think so though). I’m a walking accident, I tell you, and it’s just so damn unlucky of me. My luck lies only in the fact that at least most of the things I destroy or break are mine. Imagine having to pay for someone else’s S$600-worth camera. I’m so frustrated with myself right now (because of my camera) and I think I’d have to personally strangle myself if I break someone else’s. I’m so stupid this way.

This morning, community service was having fun and helping the old uncles and young kids fly kites! I was taking everyone’s picture because I was just too tired to run around.

I’m also so frustratingly weak as proven by my aching legs (from yesterday). :( I think if I taxed my legs more I’d have started to walk like a penguin. I have no toned muscles to boast of and my stomach is getting fat because of all the food I eat (I starve for a few hours and then there are just some days like this when suddenly I eat like I’ve never been fed before. Especially when it involves new food). But that doesn’t stop me from pigging out.

This afternoon, Shine-oppa was kind enough to bring us to a Korean restaurant: Togi. Jiang Shang said I get amazed by things too easily because this afternoon I was expressing that same sense of awe when the dishes were served as when I come into contact with things like ice cream, cheesecake, and cute animals:

these are just the side-dishes!
these are just the side-dishes!

So those were, apparently, just the free-flowing side dishes. I was starting to get really, really excited! After they served the main dishes, we dug in faster.

digging in!
digging in!

When I started eating with the SILVER CHOPSTICKS and the SILVER SPOON WITH A LONG HANDLE, I got much, much happy. Too happy! Hahaha. I finally had an experience of how they eat Korean food which I often see in Korean dramas! AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING! I was eating their rice and their kimchi and their vegetables and the green thing where you stuff beef and rice and some sauce! WHO CARES IF IT WAS A BIT SPICY? It wasn’t very spicy so I was able to eat a lot! I tasted everything! I just didn’t drink the soup because I think I won’t be able to take it, haha.

my favorite side-dish: the fish cake :3
my favorite side-dish: the fish cake :3
I like this fish too! :D
I like this fish too! :D
I enjoyed this pancake a lot! :D I took a picture of Jeannie's food because I finished mine before I knew it, haha.
I enjoyed this pancake a lot! :D I took a picture of Jeannie's food because I finished mine before I knew it, haha.

This post will almost be all about food, seriously. Continue readingThe destructive touch of Midas

WARNING: CAPSLOCK

OK SINGAPORE, LET THE SUN SHINE. BECAUSE I BETTER USE THIS.

>:D EVIL PANDA SMILE
>:D EVIL PANDA SMILE

WAIT WHAT? AGAIN.

WOOT WOOT WOOT!
WOOT WOOT WOOT!

I JUST PANDA-SPAMMED YOUR BROWSER, BUWAHAHAHAHAHA.

Now I can say I literally, all-for-real, true-to-life, in-real-life have not much money. But I have a panda hat.

Before I made this ridiculous purchasing decision, let me spam my blog more with useless pics I took of other souvenir/merchandise from the Night Safari. Continue readingWARNING: CAPSLOCK

Man can live on bread alone

…and bubble milk tea. I just had two glasses of that today. I think that’s enough for the whole week.

I don't know how long I'll last with just...bread.
I don't know how long I'll last with just...bread.

Bread is the easiest way of cutting down on money I spend for food. I just eat bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then I eat some cookies I bought from time to time. Last week (until today) I’ve been having wholemeal bread. For tomorrow and the rest of the week, I bought butterscotch bread because HOPEFULLY IT WILL START TO TASTE DIFFERENT, and it smells so good (milk!). Yesterday I thought the bread tasted like meat. I don’t know if I was starting to get delusional. And that was just the second week.

I was able to eat three uhm, “normal” meals last week. One was laksa (which, when I asked Mimi and Shine-oppa if it were spicy they claimed it wasn’t but when I tasted it, IT WAS! But then they’re Thai and Korean so what’s spicy for them is definitely waaaay beyond what my taste buds can tolerate), the second one was my free merienda from Ambeth’s talk at SAM (pancit, buko pie, and palitaw), and the third one was actually a more western dish my cousin shared with me when we ate at IKEA.

laksa. with noodles and fish and...spice.
laksa. with noodles and fish and...spice. I actually told the guy serving it not to put in chilli.

And for those who know me, I usually don’t finish huge meals like that. No, not one whole bowl of noodles and fish and soup. Halfway through I already wanted to give up but I wasn’t with people that are used to sharing food with me. So I suffered a full stomach the whole night and didn’t sleep until around 2am. I dislike the feeling of a full stomach with much intensity. :(

Swedish Meatballs for $6.50
Swedish Meatballs for $6.50 with some lingonberry sauce
Sunday local daily special at $5
Sunday local daily special at $5
wonderful, wonderful Daim cake
wonderful, wonderful Daim cake

That daim cake was just so, so yummy. It was the first time ever I got to eat that kind of cake. The milk chocolate was just perfect for me, and it wasn’t too sweet either. I shared the slice with my cousin (and well, we shared basically everything) and everything was just absolutely scrumptious. For someone who has been eating a bit of cheap food and bread, the IKEA food was like manna from heaven. I have no idea when I’ll be able to eat something like this again. HELLO STUDENT BUDGET. Haha.

Dammit. The pictures make me craaaaaave.

IKEA looks so yellow and so blue at night~
IKEA looks so yellow and so blue at night~

I will go back to IKEA (which has some nice things for my room, if ever I decide to buy some things from there) and Anchorpoint (clothes and shoes) for some shopping on some other day. Right now I’m just worried about my subjects/modules because I’m waiting for one to be approved :( and this is just too distracting for me. Which is bad. I have my philo paper from Ateneo and homework and studying to do for the two other approved modules I have here at NUS. And work. Work. Work.

I love dorm life. I love living alone. I don’t mind making mistakes with my laundry and then learning the second time around. I like talking with the other residents in our kitchen in the evening. I like going out with my cousin. I like exploring new places. I enjoy tasting new food. I enjoy meeting new people. But I also miss my friends. I miss having fun with them and going out with them. I miss hugging them and being hugged by them. I miss LFC, I miss being part of production groups and projects, I do miss my family (though living in the dorms still feel liberating), and I miss talking to my other friends. However, I don’t really miss Ateneo and their illogical ways of not letting me take subjects I want just because I’m not in Comm, and all their unreasonable rules I cannot understand. That’s going to be a huge motivation for me, and truth is I want to stay. I want to stay.

A part of me is still running away from an experience back home that I’d rather forget. A part of me wants the things I loved doing while I was in the Philippines. But a part of me wants to discover who I could be while I’m here and all the possibilities that could exist only from here. Four months is just too short.