Life Lately / I Finished a Book and I Liked It

As much as I would like to brag about my long list of completed web series and movies or the tons of dishes I made during this lockdown, none of those can compare to the pride and joy that finishing a book brings, at least for me.

You see, I’m a book hoarder. I’ve been to numerous book bazaars since I started earning my own money. I even went out at 3:30 in the morning once to get to the Big Bad Wolf bazaar here in Cebu. Sadly, I also have a habit of reading only a couple of chapters before moving on to the next book that pique my interest, mostly mood-dependent. It is either that or I have the attention span of a toddler. This is why I couldn’t help but dance to the first of many victories (fingers crossed) in my 2020 book challenge.

Being a fan of Mark Manson‘s writing, I’ve also come to learn one or two of his reading habits, which motivated me to finally pick up my phone (yes, I am also an e-book hoarder) and finish at least one book that I started.

He shared a tip on how to remember stuff you read. The secret is not everyone can do so, not even him which is understandable as he reads A LOOOOOOT of books, but he makes sure that he remembers what the book is all about; and when he wants to refresh his memory, he simply goes back to re-read the specific chapters.

I also read somewhere that it is okay to read a couple of books alternately, especially when you want to take a break from the first one. This tip might have been from Mark too, but I’m not completely sure (see?). All I know is that I couldn’t agree more, because it’s what I do with TV series sometimes. And personally, it works for me!

Upon reaching the very last word of this first ever pandemic book, first thing I did was to immediately log it on my Goodreads “READ” list. Book is Bo Sanchez “How To Find Your One True Love”, which I found to be helpful in love and life alike. His tips registered to me as life hacks too as most of them can be very useful in making general life decisions and not only in matters of the heart.

I am also proud to say that I actually bought this e-book along with other FEAST BOOKS (mostly about career and finance) during their website sale a few weeks back. These are probably the only electronic books I bought apart from the ones I got from this e-book seller on Instagram, @thepinkreaderph about 5-6 years ago.

While I am on the topic, I’s also want to thank Amielle for sharing her hack on how to find free e-books online. Thanks to you, my reader is overflowing with books that I can’t help but gush over and hope to read this year!

So along with my goal to increase my daily fluid intake, to work out at least 3x a week, write more blog entries and commit to my night time regimen, I am also committing to read at least 10 more books before the year ends! I’ll still be reading a lot of short form writing such as my forever favorite, MEDIUM articles and Mark Manson MFM newsletters, but I am motivated than ever to finish more books this year! Hope you do too!

Passion Project

It’s no secret how much my heart flutters at the sight of good art, or upon hearing beautiful music, immersing into well-put together movies or books that I cannot put down, in architecture, design and in merely anything that has a wee bit of creativity ingrained in it.

In August of last year, I wrote an entry talking entirely about PODCASTS. I’ve been so addicted to them, they have become a part of my daily routine for the past 2 years! Since I’m living alone, these audio-recorded shows kept me company when driving to work, doing my laundry, cooking, doing reports and even while taking a bath!

It would be an understatement to say that I love Podcasts, coz in reality, I cannot live without them anymore and more so, they fuel my curiosity, my love for the arts and even my burning passion, which led me to finally fire up this little “passion project”.

Before I delve into that, let me just take a quick trip down memory lane. You see, for years, I’ve always had this idea in my mind to start a creative output with a purpose, something that will serve humanity and eventually, ignite even just a tiny flame of inspiration within those who will come across it. I wanted it to be something big, but not in an obvious way. And here’s the thing, I wanted it to be instrumental in putting ordinary people under the spotlight.

Originally, I wanted the project to be similar to HUMANS of NEW YORK, as I love taking portraits of people; however, surprisingly, not everyone is comfortable to pose for the camera. Kinda hard to believe when almost everyone is addicted to taking selfies nowadays.

Then came the lockdown. It was unexpected, and also very, very demotivating. Nothing piqued my interest anymore. I even lost my appetite for Netflix and also for a multitude of my hobbies. One thing stuck with me though, my love for podcasts!

I love podcasts so much, I asked a couple of my friends to start one with me. A few months back, my friend, Nin and I recorded an episode at 2 in the morning, but I don’t think she published that—yet. Then a few weeks back, I finally got 2 of my friends whom I talk to on the daily, Xuxa and Dee to record the very first episode of our podcast, “Thirsty at 30“. When I finally edited and uploaded it, I thought, why don’t I work on this solo podcast that I have long been planning to do. So I did what no one has done to make a podcast, I slept. LOL!

Kidding aside, I wrote a comprehensive outline of how my little show is going to be like. Then I asked a friend to be my first guest on the show and the rest as they say is history.

I’ve been reaching out to friends from all across the globe to join me on the pod. Basically, there would be a new guest for each episode and currently, I just finished recording my 4th and uploaded the 3rd last night.

Right now, most of my friends are kinda amused and excited to be on the show, which is what sort of pushed me to go ahead with this project.

Work has been the hardest these couple of months, but having started this project, it made me look forward to something new for the first time in a really long time.

So to debut on my blog tonight, my little passion project that has come to life, “Distant Dialogues“! A collection of stories and life learnings of friends to keep you company wherever you are in the world! Long distance chikahan!

If you wanna follow the pod, it’s now up on Spotify and Instagram!

You can also catch Distant Dialogues on Spotify, Anchor, Breaker, Pocket Casts, Radio Public and Overcast!

I don’t really plan on putting this out there too much, but it would feel really nice to hear more of my friends relate to the topics and especially to the funny anecdotes that we reminisce on on the show! Nevertheless, hope that you guys have fun with us too!

From Earth to Mars! Get it? ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜˜

P.S. The birth of this show also helped me get back into making more art (like this collage above) and I hope that with this momentum, I get to help share more of people’s stories to the world! Good night and stay safe and well everyone!

Lockdown Musings 1 / Don’t Stop til It’s Over

As I’m typing this, Temper Trap‘s “Sweet Disposition” is on that part, where the vocalist goes “….don’t stop ’til it’s oveeeeeeeer….” over and over. And I thought, hey! that would really make a good title for this post. Ergo ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿป.

Just a few minutes ago, I was trying not to choke on a bottle of ice-cold, plain C2 (the one in green). I wasn’t sweating like a pig today, but my skin is still uncomfortably sticky from dried sweat. If you must know, it’s still crazy hot today so I’m glad this drink really did help lower my body temp by half a degree celsius lol. Thinking about it now, I’ve been actually addicted to this for more than a decade now. Not a lot of people like this —-no fact checking needed (which is very favorable to me especially in this era of hoarding), but I genuinely do, thanks to my high school seatmate, Mish Umali, who introduced this to me while we were talking about UAAP and Larry Fonacier, one fine afternoon.

I had to suddenly stop typing to glance at my phone. The song that’s currently playing is really catchy. I really need to save it or I’m gonna regret it forever. It’s quite amusing that the song is actually called “Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)” as that is probably what most of us do these days, in between work. Now, that is getting into my “Quaranchill” Playlist!

The songs that followed were all new to me, but nonetheless equally catchy, and save-worthy! LOL. Don’t you like how smart the internet is nowadays? On Spotify, there is this autoplay option, which basically just prompts your app to play similar tracks when the song or playlist you’re listening to ends. Whoever thought of this idea should get half of what everyone pays for for the service. LOL! The concept is pure genius and I appreciate it more than a gallon of free ice cream on a freakishly hot day! You don’t even need a playlist anymore these days. All you do is think of 1song and from there, Spotify will decide which songs to play next for you. And that my friends, is how you discover new music!

I think that this is the same prediction technology they use in online shopping apps and sites. Like I said, smart! The other day, I tried out the Google assistant on my phone for the first time and was asking her to do a couple of tasks for me. I can’t believe how Black Mirror-ish this thing is. My friend, Nin once told me that the stuff we see on that show will probably be what we will have in the near future, just as how we used to only see smartphones on movies of the past.

Funny ‘coz no matter how I feel like I won’t be able to keep up with new technology, I still always do. Even my parents do! LOL. Pretty brilliant how we, humans adapt well to the changing times and for me, that is a gift in itself!

Heck, we could be back in an ice age right now and still manage to survive, just as how we have in the past months on lock down.

I myself developed a new routine at home as my way of adjusting, and I blame that for the changes in my behavior and thinking, but all is good now. It even got me to write again, which I hope is a good thing, right?

I have so much more to share —–movies I’ve seen, webinars that pushed me to get back on my feet, photographs that I’ve taken on lock down, books that I hoarded, meditation practices that calmed me down, dating apps I’ve tried, dishes I cooked, workout apps I currently adore, more songs that I’ve discovered and things that I’ve been so passionate about. I’m gonna have to break them down into different posts so as not to overwhelm. After all, there’s already too much that is going on, we don’t need any more of that. ๐Ÿ˜œ

So, wherever you are in the world right now, I pray that it’s safe from negative energies that pull you down and that you help stop it from spreading, and yeah, don’t stop ’til it’s over!

Well, look at that! I actually finished an entire post after a loooooooong time. Looks like I’m over my creative block which I’ve struggled with for several weeks! I’ll talk about that on a separate post. For now it’s Ciao and……

Cheeeeers and stay home and safe!


Life Lately / Quarantined

Earlier tonight, as I carefully lie in bed, just minutes after shoving a copious amount of Laksa into my mouth for dinner while watching yet another incredible episode of “Tiny House Nation“, I decided to look for Mark Manson‘s “Motherfuckin Monday” newsletter on my email. I have been so tired of reading stuff on the internet lately that I resorted to reading more valuable and rational insights from my favorite people instead. One of whom is Mark.

Unfortunately, I forgot that we are at least half a day ahead of US time and I was a tad early to ask for my much needed brain “dessert”. I have been craving for these emails more than I would for real sweets these days. It has even taken the place of my Monday ritual, that is listening to the podcast “The Halo-Halo Show“, which I religiously wait for to start off my week.

That wasn’t the only thing on my routine that has changed. In fact, a lot of things in my life has taken a turn since the outbreak. Early into the quarantine, I would stealthily go out at night to hunt for food (I am Legend lang?), este to go for a grocery run, but that has changed too as they imposed a provincial wide curfew here in Cebu and eventually, an ECQ, just like in Manila.

My days of rotting sitting at home has turned into weeks and now almost a month. I even stopped crossing out days on my calendar. At first, I was kinda excited thinking “hey I’m gonna be working from home for a while! DREAM F*CKING COME TRUE!”, but things unexpectedly took a turn for the worse. Before I realized it, this whole crisis aggravated my anxiety even more and one day, I just lost it.

I had an episode of what some may probably call, “inarts“, but just so everyone’s in the same boat with me, let me just call it a mild panic attack. Maybe it’s because of the pressure from our bosses amidst the crisis, plus the pressure to show off what we have accomplished at work, and the fact that we won’t be able to go home to our families for Holy Week, and add those to all the irritatingly “woke” tweets of people that pop up on my feed from nowhere and the posts of people losing jobs and going hungry, increasing Covid-19 stats and deaths that are constantly passed around every single online messaging group that I am member of. And to top it all off, there were paranoid thoughts of me having various encounters with people who might be coronavirus carriers, which led me to think that I might probably be the next to die while sooooooooo far away from my family. That was a mouthful I know, but can you imagine all that constantly stirring inside my messy head, all at the same time, morning til night, every single day?

Those thoughts got out of hand the night I had the panic attack. I was having extremely shallow breaths, I felt like the oxygen I inhaled didn’t even make it to my brain anymore. That was probably why my head was getting cloudier by the minute. Netflix wasn’t working. Surprisingly, I also couldn’t understand why the online Rosary that was livestreamed at the time couldn’t calm my nerves as I wanted it to. I thought of calling my mom first, but knowing her, she panics doubly than I do, so I texted my sister instead. Then she told my brother about it and there they were, calming me down from worlds afar. After what seemed like an hour of peptalks, I had some tea and forced myself from then on to take things with a grain of salt (if not ignore them entirely) just as my sister asked; and even though I didn’t think I would be able to sleep that night, I did. Thank God! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป And so that was the story of my first ever panic/anxiety attack in my entire existence! I hope it never happens again.

I got through it unexpectedly that the next day, I was back browsing through tweets again (IKR?) and was badmouthing annoying people online to my friends, who couldn’t agree with me more.

Work got more hectic, which I couldn’t understand how, when we are all just on our asses, all day. Apparently, working from home can be extremely tough for most people.

Fortunately, last Friday was our last working day before we go into a week-long company break. Friday was time for end of the week reports compilation and I loved that everyone on our team did everything efficiently! Our online session with the training team also ended just in time for Part 4 of LA CASA DE PAPEL (MONEY HEIST), which according to Netflix is the #1 streamed show in the country as of this writing!!!!! And so it began!

My days of constantly checking Viber, texts, emails and Messenger are over (at least for now)! Our boss may have also given us the green light to mute our group chats for the week and thankfully, my heart and respiratory rate have both gone down to normal because of that (after weeks of being on constant high alert). I am finally getting my peace and quiet in my place of comfort once again.

As I write this, I am also indulging on the luxury of taking a break from Twitter and Messenger. Who would’ve thought silence can also be music to the ears? I only check our family gc’s for now. I assume that if people need to contact me urgently, I’m always just a phonecall away.

And just as I wrote that, like magic, my phone lights up and in came a colleague’s multiple texts saying that a department chairman from one of the hospitals we cover also confirmed positive for Covid-19. This saddens me greatly as it hits closer and closer to home now that more and more people we know personally are stricken with the illness.

As I was reading the said texts, another friend called and 2 and a half hours later, here I am all panicky once again, but not enough to make me ๐Ÿคฎ. Apparently, my friend’s friend works for a hospital in QC where my cousin has recently submitted her application to work as a Respiratory Therapist. My friend cut me off right after the mention of the hospital’s name and told me to stop my cousin from doing so. So, I had to talk my cousin out of it no matter how hard it broke her heart because I know that she intends to put herself out there to help. Sadly, she is going into battle like a lamb to the slaughter for reasons I cannot disclose, for now. If you were in my shoes, would you dare let your loved ones go into war unarmed?

This post wasn’t supposed to snowball like it did. I had a different concept in mind, but how likely does life often go as planned? ๐Ÿ˜œ I have to say that this post was probably triggered by Mark Manson’s insightful thoughts on the pandemic’s effects on everyone’s mental state, or not. Maybe I just had all these thoughts balled up inside of me, and now came the time to finally let it all out. Whatever it is, I’ll just take comfort in the fact that I will always bounce back stronger, because I’ll always have Him โ˜๐Ÿป evidently through the people around me.

I’ll take advantage of the quieter next couple of days and write at least every day for the rest of this week. I am not sure how, when exactly, what about or for what, but I’ll do it anyway. At least to keep my head afloat while I can. I promise the next posts will be less melancholic and more useful for the weeks ahead! For now, let us all pray for one another and stay sane and safe!

I Have a Thing for Leaves

So this nationwide quarantine has taken its toll on me. Don’t get me wrong, I love staying at home, but seeing all the sad and bad news online, it didn’t sit very well with me this time.

Last night, I was looking for more orgs to donate to as I couldn’t contain the guilt I was feeling having read the lockdown stories by Jah Rosales of the Business Mirror, forwarded to me by my friend, Jai on messenger. Apparently, he has been in the middle of the quarantine and gathering stories of those who were greatly affected by it.

One that I couldn’t forget was the story of this man, in his 60’s (if I remember it right), who walked all the way from Laguna to his home in Bulacan bec of the suspension of public transport in Metro Manila. He was burning with fever at 38.8 degrees celsius when Jah found him. Fucking terrible that the less fortunate always have to suffer.

Doing what I can to help those I can and hopeful that everyone who has money to spare, donates especially to the “no work, no pay” workers. Last night, I was literally begging friends, co-workers and my family to donate to the organizations I found online. Will share the link here too!

I am glad to hear though that some heroic souls such as Bela Padilla went out of her way to make sure the money she raised be given to those who really need them. We need more Belas in the world right now! Wish I have the influence to do the same, but every little thing goes a long way, so no effort and money is wasted!

Apart from these personal missions, our company has also been very… hmmm how should I say it, “pabibo” for lack of a more accurate term, these trying times. One of our clients even lost it and cursed the pharma bosses bec the bibo-ness caught them at a bad time. I don’t mean to offend when I say that, but my colleagues and I have been going out of our way, risking our health and safety on a daily basis to support our clients, aka the frontliners and our heroes in the battle against Covid-19. I am glad we are able to help them, but I hope and pray that we don’t catch the virus ourselves, in doing so.

Anyway, I am still glad the company I work for have been considerate and generous to support us as well especially at a time like this. Sadly, just as my friends say, difficult times also bring out the worst in people and we see that everywhere. So stay safe everyone and stay away from negativity as much as you can!

Speaking of avoiding negativity, I have been taking to twitter my dismay and disgust in all the rants, sad news and the Covid statistics that we wake up to every single day. I am tired, mentally, emotionally and psychologically so I have been meaning to take a break and paint again. I found it really effective in quieting my mind as I shut off the world around me. Glad that break finally came tonight!

I’m hoping that the title didn’t give it away too much, but I decided to paint another leaf tonight, something that I have long been thinking of painting…….a bananananana leaaaaaf!

Finally my Monsterra painting made a new friend tonight! ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’› Grateful for the tutorial I found online! ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›

P.S. I painted this while binging on my new Netflix addiction, “The Kindness Diaries“. It’s the show that is apparently helping me move on from “Crash Landing on You“, which I have watched twice after watching it the first time. It needs a separate post btw!

Anyway, wherever you guys are reading this from, I hope that it’s in a safe and warm place! And no matter how hopeless these past days have been, it’ll all pass. I’m counting on the Big Guy up thereโ˜๐Ÿปand on humanity!

If you guys are feeling extra generous, take time to check out the whole list on the link below and donate to whatever organization your heart chooses! Let us pay whatever blessing we have forward and let us take care of one another!