Life Lately / 5

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I can’t believe 2015’s over in just a few hours. It’s been a scary, depressing but amazing year for me and I wouldn’t have been able to make it through without the people who helped me and the exciting new things I’ve got to try!

For this Life Lately entry, I’m listing down the things, experiences and people I’m really, really, really grateful for in 2015.

  • THINGS:
    • Film Cameras: This year, I’ve added a few more cameras to my collection, all of which I’ve used except for the Minolta weathermatic camera. So If I remember everything correctly, I got:
      • Yashica Electro 35G rangefinder in sexy red 🙂
      • Polaroid Land Camera 230 which is the most old school camera I’ve ever held in my hands in this lifetime
      • Olympus AM-100 Point and Shoot – didn’t think I’d enjoy using one!
      • Minolta Weathermatic underwater camera
      • Yashicaflex TLR – still trying to figure out which one it isIMG_20151204_220732
      • Olympus Pen EE-S – a half frame camera I never thought I’ll ever find IMG_20151219_152911
    • I also got myself a cheap film scanner. It’s not the best but it has been quite useful.
    • I’m also grateful to finally have started investing for my own life insurance. I would never have been confident in getting one without my former colleague’s help, Ma’am Donna and of course, my sister.
    • Adult coloring books and my own Daykeeper. Not so long ago, I saw a bunch of these adult coloring books online and I’ve been curious since it was on the bestselling list of the Book Depository, so when the fad finally arrived in the RPH, I jumped into the bandwagon, hoping to de-stress and unwind. My officemates also got me another one, coz my wrinkles might have given me away. 😛 Kidding aside, it was very thoughtful of them. I also got my own Daykeeper. Last year, I didn’t get to order in time so I made sure I ordered extra early this year!
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    • Hammock – How could I not be thankful for these cheap hammocks we got in Taytay? I could stay behind our house for hours just looking at the stars at night on these precious little hammocks. 000027
  • TRAVELS/EXPERIENCES:
    • This year, I got to travel more with my family and some friends and first time with B. To be honest, I would never have been able to do so when I was working in the hospital so I have to say, my current job really has its perks.
      • To start things off, this is not exactly far from us since we’re from Rizal, but my family visited the beautiful Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo. My father got the idea from my sister who just went there with her then boyfriend the day before. LOL. We had an amazing time. My heart exploded having seen so many lovely works of art in one place in 2 hours. I didn’t want to go home, but I’m glad it’s so near, I could go back when I want to, and also I need to make sure that my films are properly loaded! 10974402_10206310924117774_833056609924935684_o
      • We went to Pagudpud for the first time and visited a few of the landmarks in the region that we haven’t been to yet:
      • We stayed at the farthest resort in Pagudpud, Pannzian and it was magnificent. The food was great and the place is relaxing. There was no WIFI, no cell service and no TVs, so it was just us and the beach!PIC20150515220112
  • We also got to try the Sand Dune activities in Paoay for the first time! It was unforgettable! 000027
    • We also visited Cape Bojeador and got to try fresh seafood streetfood. I still cannot forget getting a piece of fresh grilled squid for P10. No wonder everyone’s stopping by the road to try them and the rest of their seafood choices. They were dirt cheap, but super fresh and yummy! I’d go back to Ilocos just to hoard these! 000011
  • In May, my sister planned another trip up north, to Bagac, Bataan. It was another first for our family and we got to stay at the beautiful Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. The moment we got there, I can’t express how we were so in awe of the reconstructed ancient houses in the whole resort. Even the hotel rooms looked as if they were literally transported from the past. It’s definitely one place I want to visit again, especially in Summer.11222305_10152807686751895_8834770626067608159_n
  • Also in May, my officemates and I went on a quick weekend getaway to Laiya, Batangas and I’m glad B was able to come with me. It was our first trip together and I was very happy it turned out pretty amazing. We stayed at the beautiful Blue Coral Resort000024
  • In June, B and I got to watch the UP Samaskom’s LIVE AIDS. I have to say it was one of the craziest and funniest shows I’ve seen in my life and we’re lucky because it was their 30th year and the it was directed by Tuesday Vargas herself!
  • B and I also got to visit UP’s Chocolate Kiss Cafe twice this year and these were 2 of our most memorable dates. 🙂 new000034
  • We also got to visit the beautiful Monasterio de Tarlac which is situated in one of the mountains in San Jose, Tarlac. We also squeezed in a bit of biking with our parents in the equally peaceful Tarlac Recreational Park before capping the night off at a karting place called KCT nearby. Did I also say that this was back in my birthday? image-9c0643ac995f80d759e09cd354f04222339391237d049ef3d3d49490a60776ba-V-01image-a791d6fe0d19bfff9d8524201f7f939b138041b024c7ca6e006719a86f7792a3-V-01
  • A few days after, we had a chance to visit Padre Pio’s shrine in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The place was flocked by so many devotees and I’m glad to be part of that, being a devotee myself. new000025
  • Just a few days ago, we had the chance to visit the beautiful Laresio Resort situated in the Alligator Lake itself in Laguna. I’m really thankful it turned out well since it was a vacation that we, the kids, planned for our whole little clan. We got to try their resort attractions like their giant slides, vine swing, cliff diving and kayaking. It was also our first trip with my tito’s girlfriend whom he got back together with, years after it didn’t work out (I assume) between them when they were in college. Isn’t that crazy beautiful? image-a72c966c7092288cc66fb1ee3e20f7f3e1128dfa67cb431f583f24c41dcfa807-V-01
  • To cap things off this year, we got to drive around Clark, Pampanga and do a bit of shopping before finally ending the day back in KCT, this time with our brother. It was so nice to be back! FB_IMG_1451411875760-01
  • PEOPLE:
    • Lastly, above all of these, what I’m more grateful for are the people I’ve shared these moments with, this year. Without them, I don’t really know where I’d be now:
      • My family – They’ll always be the one I would want to come home to, travel with and spend amazing quality time with. They’re forever going to be the people I’ll love unconditionally. I’ll always be thankful for them for the strength, faith, love and profound happiness in my life right now.image-7d0f997e861b12b0d4cea667952fc51ac228c04f8eb68e4e613cf344cc2f9e72-V-01
      • Brianne – He’s beyond the best friend and partner I never imagined I could have. Apart from my family, he’s one of the reasons why I have never given up on life, no matter how ugly it has been. He’s been with me through the most trying times and through my worst days and he has seen the worst version of me. Thank you for holding on.
      • A few of my friends – I’m really grateful for those who stuck with me. I’m a mess and I’m to blame for losing the ones I’ve had, but I never thought that there’d be people who would stay despite my personal issues and I want to thank you all for that. Thank you for listening and just for making me feel that I’m not alone. I specifically want to thank 4 of them, Joey, Juci, Ina and Ma’am Donna for taking me out this year. Having spent time with you all was a breath of fresh air!
      • I’m also grateful for my officemates who have been really helpful and thoughtful and for making me laugh from time to time. Life in the office (and the constant changes in the office) wouldn’t have been bearable without them.
      • I’m also thankful for manang. She has been my dinner mate for the past year and we’ve been bonding over a lot of telenovelas, even though she’s a Kapuso and I’m a Kapamilya. 😛

This year has been really ugly, but looking at the bright side, I didn’t think it would be this beautiful still. Looking back at all of these things, it truly is a miracle that I have so many reasons to feel grateful for.

I’ve been through the worst this year and I don’t think I could ever go this low in life, but despite all these, never have I felt abandoned by God, not once. Even at the brink of giving up, I felt Him there and He always gave me a reason to hold on. So thank you Lord, for 2015. It was the most meaningful year yet and even though I’ve never been the best me this year, I hope I could make it right someday.

Here’s to another beautiful year!

P.S. I’m also thankful for:

seeing this:image-cfaed3c45744dd13dfb8b195d5a877453391d4daeea190f7139ab4255e59f08a-V-01

and this:

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Ang Sarap Tumawa at Kumain

I was in high school when I first read about UP Samaskom LIVE AIDS (read more about it here and here) and since then, I’ve always wanted to see this show. I’ve told some friends about it then and I know that we’ve made plans to go and see it for ourselves, but those plans never pushed through, until this year!

I almost missed it again, actually, so I’m really happy to have stumbled upon a blog or their page on Facebook just a couple of weeks ago and when I found out that we could still make it, I reserved seats for me and Bri, paid for them the next day!

Come Thursday of the past week, 11th June, we went straight to UP right after work! We also planned to go around the university but we could only have time for dinner at the Chocolate Kiss cafe, which wasn’t bad at all. We plan to go back and try out the rest of their menu anyway and to do a real tour of the uni on a more convenient time.

A little segue on our short but literally sweet food trip, we read online reviews days before our UP date and found out that most people really loved the cafe’s Chicken Kiev and their Hickory Spareribs, so that’s what we ordered that night. We also had a taste of their famous Devil’s Food Cake and Kahlua Butter cake for dessert and we both loved them, though I’m a bigger fan of the latter, while B loved the DFC. We also tried their iced tea with the syrup and calamansi and loved it. If you haven’t realized it yet, well, I’m saying that I loved everything, even the interior and ambiance with these beautiful artworks that I’d love to have a closer look at next time. It’s my kind of date place with B, being very simple, relaxing, and with not too many people (at least before 6pm). I think they also have musicians playing that night, but we could only stay until right before the Live Aids show started. It would’ve been more romantic for our first date at the cafe!

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photo grabbed from Brianne

After dinner, we had time to take photos of each other and walk back to the Abelardo Hall. CMC was packed with people mostly from UP and I was getting scared that the show was exclusively for alums and undergrads, but it was a relief to see a lot of outsiders who came to see the show too!

Now I know why people from all over come to see the show every year, because people were literally rolling on the floor laughing. It has been a long time since I had a good laugh, the kind that really gets me out of breath and would make me tear up (although I know I always do when laughing) and not care about how people around us would react with the accompanying squeals I had to let out when I couldn’t take it anymore. It was such a fun night. All I could say is that I’m still hungover and I would really go see this show every year to get my fix of a wonderfully put together event.

My favorite parts were the “Panggatong Sayo” sketch, the scenes of the lola and the pretty gay clad in the Miley-Cyrus-in-her-teen-years, shimmery outfit, in the Lavinia Bus skit, their grand dance productions and the last skit by the director herself, Tuesday Vargas.

I also loved their portrayal of Dra. Beki Below (and her whole sketch/monologue-she easily brought the house down), Claudia and Tumor Powers (the whole cast of this skit was applaudable, but the showdown between these two were very much anticipated and they didn’t disappoint), the lola and the gay in the shiny dress that I mentioned earlier (both of them delivered well), some political figures whose names/status are very much resonant/controversial today. I also loved their best actor (who was the gay in shiny dress I kept mentioning above), dancer (who was laudable and always had her game face on) and singer (that gave a really beautiful, but short solo performance) all of whom were named in the end! I don’t want to spoil it too much as they still have their last show which will be happening tonight!

All I can say by the end of it all was “Ang galing!!” and “Ang sarap tumawa!!!“. I’m glad to have seen it the first time on their 30th year! The show was spectacular, well-thought of (syempre) and well-put-together (as I kept saying).

photo taken by Brianne
photo taken by Brianne

P.S. other photos to follow on my other blog (still for developing and scanning hihi)