Playing Super Mario, Brothers in my cousin’s Family Computer was one of the highlights of my pre-school years! I remember blowing off the bottom of the tape whenever there’s an error and would need to tap the Family Computer… and then it will start working properly again. Best childhood memories, I can say!
I just had to get a pair of the White Hi-cut sneakers from the Vans x Nintendo Collection that was launched last June 10, 2016 at the Vans Store in Glorietta! Just wearing them makes me feel like I’m back in the Nintendo days, playing side-by-side with my cousins. I’d always be Luigi because I’ve always been the tall one. Haha!
It will never be game over for me when it comes to being child-like!
I’ve got a whole year to prepare for the much-awaited three-oh!
Looking back, I was that person that didn’t know what to do with her life. All I knew was that I will be successful one day. So I looked for that thing that would show me to the right path. One fateful night, I saw again my former boss and got introduced to his friend. And so my journey began.
This road I am taking right now isn’t the easiest one. I’ve been through bumps, zigzags… I got lost, went the longer route, went back to the right path. It has been a hell of a journey. But along the way, I’ve also celebrated the small victories, saw the good changes in me, realized how strong I’ve become.
Right now, I am still on the same road experiencing more challenges that I know I can conquer. I wouldn’t choose a different path if I were given a chance to. I am at the exact place I want to and I’d like to carry on.
At the age of 29, I’ve been blessed to have a company of my own and I intend to run it until I grow old. Now my career is something I am finally happy with. When the solid foundation has been built, I knew I was ready to open my heart to someone… and so I met a man that I knew from that second time we spent together, that he’s someone I’d want to be with everyday. It was, indeed, the best birthday gift I’ve ever had. The gift of love.
So now… career and love are two of the most important things in my life that I am so proud and happy to have, it’s time to create new goals. I’ll be turning 30 next year and I want it to be grand! So here goes my Journey to 30 Goals:
1. TRAVEL FOR A MONTH starting March 9, 2017! My goal is to go to South America (Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia). I have already opened a separate bank account for this trip. Next is to find out how much it will cost and plan my itinerary.
2. BE FIT. I want to live a healthy life. Never in my life have I been conscious on my food intake (I don’t eat vegetables), I don’t exercise regularly and I don’t visit the doctor for check up. Now is the perfect time to change my habits. I’ve already availed of a health card (Maxicare). Now, I need to plan my diet and exercise. Come on, discipline! I want abs too!
3. LEARN TO COOK. It’s about time! I have been taking my baby steps. My friends are being supportive too! So watch out for pictures of what I will learn to cook!
4. SAVE UP. This is because I need to plan my next investment that will allow me to have passive income.
5. CHARITY. I’ve participated in charities annually but this time I want to have a long term plan to share. It could be to sponsor the education of a kid, or anything that will truly help out one person.
6. ATTEND MASS. Work shouldn’t be an excuse for not going to mass. Set priorities.
7. GO TO RELATIVES’ and FRIENDS’ BIRTHDAYS / SPECIAL EVENTS. I am guilty of not going to a lot of these and this needs to change.
8. QUALITY TIME WITH MY FAMILY. Because now I can.
9. LOVE. Just allow myself to love and be loved. And embrace all the complications that will go with it. Patience. Just love. Because he is worth it.
10. BE HAPPY. In everything that I do, I just want to be happy. I want a less stressful life.
And yet again, I was on blog hiatus for a long time.
The end of 2015 until the beginning of 2016 were not so favorable to me. A lot of setbacks, a lot of trials that truly tested my patience. And the reason why I decided to update my blog is because FINALLY… it reached to a point when everything is already manageable.
For months, I’ve been living on the edge. Day by day, I would be stressed out… figuring out how to get by. One issue hasn’t been solved and yet another puzzle would suddenly pop up, waiting to be figured out.
Every so often I would post a quote of optimism on Facebook. It’s a way for me to uplift my spirit, in order to keep holding on. I would even remember those lessons I learned from when I was still a varsity player… things on court that can be applied in real life:
- “Kapit lang.” Even if the opponent already scored 24, just keep believing you can still win. Hindi pa tapos ang laban. Keep fighting.
- “Believe in yourself.” Never allow those negative thoughts to enter your mind… In the first place, you made it to the team because you’ve got potential. All you have to do now that your part of it, is to prove yourself that you can contribute in the team’s victory.
- “One point at a time.” You won’t be able to achieve your goal unless you work hard for every single point.
- “Trust in your teammates.” It’s a team sport. Together, you will work hand-in-hand to win the game.
- “Learn how to work under pressure.” You can’t not perform during crunch time. Remain calm and always focus.
There are a lot of other things that I learned from the court that I was able to apply during those tough times, these are only the ones that made it on the top of my list.
In order to surpass those critical times, it didn’t only require a strong body but a strong mind as well.
And now I can start breathing normally again. I can say that I am happy again. And I promise, I am going to do all the other things that I chose not to do during those times when I was still sorting things out.
I AM DEFINITELY BACK.
I had an amazing night with everyone! But before and after this night I was having my…
Birthday Blues… and I wanna share this story.
Every time I turn a year older, I get all emotional. I like celebrating my birthday with my friends. Some of them even turn it into a reunion because I really like all of the important persons in my life to be there (my family is an exception of course because I have a separate celebration with them). And when people express their regret for not being able to come, I get sad, really sad. I tend to forget that all the others that didn’t respond would be there with me on that special night.
THIS YEAR WAS DIFFERENT. I was so emotional and depressed the entire week. You know how when you turn a year older, it’s that time of the year when you evaluate your life? I reached that point. I was so disappointed on how my life turned out to be.. that I am far from reaching all of my goals. I felt as though I failed my own self that was listing down her goals five to ten years from that time… which is now.
It’s quite scary, you know, being a different person from what you expected. But as days passed, I came to realize that where I am right now is not so bad at all. What went wrong was that I focused on my short-term goals way too much and neglected the fact that my long-term goals are still here, that I am still not far from reaching them. In fact, I am at the right path. I’ve forgotten all the challenges I’ve overcome and all the things I’ve accomplished.
I remember the saying, “it doesn’t matter how long you reach your goal, what’s important is you reach your goal in the end.” And this is an example of that. The length of how you achieve it… all those steps you take going towards your dream. You may be lost at some point but it’s important that you find your way back, you may fail at the attempts you make but make sure you know how to get back up, you may realize that some strategies may never really work but learn how to make a plan b and c. The point is, you’ve got to reach your goal no matter what.
In that one whole week, I felt lost. And I just wanted to be with someone that would listen and show support, not necessarily help me figure out what the problem was. Because sometimes, when you voice out all your emotions, that’s when you understand the core of the problem. That’s when you realize that things aren’t so bad and you start to think that hey, it’s just normal to be lost. And the fact that you get disappointed means you’ve got big dreams that are hard to achieve but you’re stubborn and brave enough to pursue them anyway!
Magic Island, Aklan (Dec 5, 2014)
The adrenaline rush has become an addiction of mine —- heart racing, free fall, the danger, the risk! I’ve always wanted to jump off a cliff!
From Boracay, me and my cousin took a Paraw (sail boat) to go to Magic Island. There are two cliff diving/ jumping points near Boracay (Ariel’s Point and Magic Island). All the boats stopped operating that time because of the weather. A typhoon was coming in 2 days, so just to be extra careful, the coast guard disallowed all water activities. The Paraw was an exception because since it’s a sailboat, it uses the wind to sail.
About thirty minutes from Boracay, we got to Magic Island. By this time we were already so excited to jump! You see, I don’t know how to swim but I did it anyway. I made sure I had a life jacket on (don’t worry, it was an old one so it wasn’t hard and I knew it wouldn’t choke me).
It was a 10-meter drop! Of course it looked like I was gonna chicken out at first because I chose the highest point. It took me about 5 minutes to actually jump into the water! I must say, it was by far one of the most amazing activities I’ve ever tried in my life. My butt hurt because of the impact but other than that, it was really awesome!!!
I would definitely do this again next time!
Inspired by Chelsea Market in New York, Chelsea Grand Cafe in Serendra is a haven for people who love to wine and dine in a homey-feel environment. It has been there for eight (8) years now and has been recently renovated and changed its name from Chelsea Market & Cafe.
Ms. Anabel Wisniewski, president of the Raintree Restaurants, and her family base the concepts of all their restaurants on what they see, feel and taste when they tour around the world. The famous Museum Cafe, Stella, Rocket Room, Mr. Jones, Momo Cafe, Saboten, Terraz and Kabila are all under the umbrella of Raintree Restaurants.
Of course one important key in choosing a restaurant for a great dining experience would be the ambience. Right outside the Chelsea Grand Market, I instantly got the casual vibe of the place. It’s perfect for friends that want to catch up or business meetings for the yuppies.
And of course I had to get down to business. I was starving by the time I got to Serendra, I came from Marikina City and battled with the traffic so I couldn’t wait any longer for the food to be served.
And then the salad: Warm Double Smoked Bacon & Quinoa. You see, I am not a big fan of vegetables so on a normal day, I’d just ignore this one if offered to me. But it looked oh-so-good I just had to give it a try. The vegetables were fresh, the bacon was cooked perfectly, my original plan to just have a taste ended up with me finishing the plate. It was that good!
For the next one, Prawn Gambas (Chorizo-Parsely Butter, Roasted Garlic Confit). Now this one was just irresistible. I am a big shrimp eater, I love prawns and all sorts of seafood so I dug in as soon as it was served. Oh gosh, that was one appetizing dish! The roasted garlic made it extra special. And what even made it perfect was that it wasn’t spicy at all, thank goodness!
Cacio e Pepe e Uova. To be honest, it was my first time to have this pasta. It looked plain but when I got to finally try it, it was very delicious! I absolutely love cheese and that’s the very reason why I liked this dish.
And of course for dessert, Oven Baked Warm Brownie “Smores” and The Chelsea “Peach Melba.” I have a sweet tooth so I really liked both. But since I was already full by the time these were served, I enjoyed The Chelsea “Peach Melba” more. It was definitely a treat for me!Just to make things clear, all the dishes above are my top picks from all that were served. Maybe I have a pet worm inside my tummy but I didn’t just take a bite, I ate a lot of these! Haha! Every single dish in this post pleased my tastebuds. Personally, a food being served is either good or bad for me, there’s nothing in between. It’s a clear yey or ney! I am no cook so I do not really know the ingredients when I eat something, but I definitely know what satisfies my picky tastebuds!
Aug 24-27, 2014 — Thina, my volleyball teammate in college, is getting married in December and it is just the perfect excuse for the ladies to pack our stuff and have a quick getaway in Hongkong for her “last fling before the ring!”
Aside from the bridal shower, the trip is also a way for us to take a breather from work. It is high time to walk slowly, appreciate our surroundings, shop a little, savor the taste of our food, laugh a bit louder, have girl talks before going to bed, and dance the night away!
Our arrival in Hongkong was just in time for dinner. We left our luggages at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Mongkok and then headed off the streets to look for a perfect place to eat.
Let me introduce the beautiful ladies I was with during my trip. These are (from left to right) Lady Riva, Dianne Pagtalunan, my college teammates Thina Abando (the bride-to-be) and Sugar Mesina, me, and Angelia Ong.
We didn’t take photos of our dinner but we had A LOT! One order is already for sharing and we didn’t know that so we ended up trying our very best to finish what we ordered. The food was delicious!
We reached the borderline of Hongkong and China. But we got the saddest news when we applied for our visa. Filipinos and Americans weren’t allowed to enter their country. Our passports were collected and we were held at the immigration. We waited for about an hour. We attempted to ask why we were held but thanks to the language barrier, they couldn’t explain.
When finally they returned our passports, we walked back to Hongkong (woah, I never thought I’d ever say I walked to Hongkong, haha!) and again, we were asked to wait for half an hour. And then this photo happened. I was the only one frowning, haha!
So anyway, we had to change our itinerary because of the unfortunate thing that happened and so our feet took us to Times Square. And that’s exactly what great company does! Despite the sad thing that occurred, we still managed to have fun!
All day, we were on our feet. We walked, climbed the stairs, rode the trains, and back to walking again. When we got to the hotel, we were all so exhausted. The jacuzzi was perfect for our sore back and legs. It was such a perfect way to end the night, it was very relaxing.
[Thanks so much, TRIANGL SWIMWEAR for my pair of Winnie Miami Mint swimwear!]
On our third and last day, I spent the afternoon by myself. It’s very therapeutic to just appreciate the beauty of the things around you, and that was what my afternoon was all about. Seeing unfamiliar surroundings and being surrounded by total strangers have a calming effect on me. Getting lost and finding my own way quenches my thirst for adventure, even for just as simple as this one.
After my alone time, I decided to walk to Lan Kwai Fong where me and my friends were going to meet for our much-awaited girls’ night out. I asked a passer-by where I could find it, he accompanied me and showed how to get there. Eventually he asked what I was going to do there that early, it was only 5pm. I said I was just going to have dinner while I wait for my friends. He then recommended I go to Soho and again gave me the directions.
To get to SoHo (South of Hollywood), I had to get to the Central – Midlevels escalator, the longest escalator in the world. (The complete system of several escalators runs for 800m and climbs a total of 135 meters, some of the ascents can be very steep. Source: http://gohongkong.about.com/od/whattoseeinhk/a/midlevelsescala.htm) Thanks to Mr. Stranger for directing me to one of Hongkong’s best wining and dining areas.
Finally, I chose La Piazzetta, an Italian restaurant. The owner of the resto approached me and asked where I am from. We chatted a bit, talked about the their best dishes then I eventually decided I’ll have my dinner there. Chef Paolo, the owner, told me that his resto has been there for nineteen (19) years and is the second resto that opened in the district.
With his recommendation, I ordered their best-selling Seafood Marinara and I got a white wine as a compliment. My photo didn’t give justice to the palatability of the dish though but it’s very delicious! It’s actually good for sharing but I finished everything, it was that good!
What a coincidence! Chef Paulo’s step-daughter, Rein, was with my friends at the Sugar Bar in East Hotel.
That night we had wine, some shots at Sugar Bar then after that, we headed to some clubs and danced the night away!
The next day, we flew back to Manila. And the question now is: WHERE IS MY NEXT ADVENTURE GOING TO BE? Hmmmm, I can’t wait either!
Aug 23, 2014 — This was my second time to visit Iloilo. Once again, just like in almost all of my trips, I had an ‘amazing race’ during my brief stay in this city. A few hours before my flight back to Manila, I made sure I get to see the beauty of the city, taste the delicious delicacies, and buy some pasalubong.
Of course having a photo taken at the Iloilo River Esplanade is a must! It just makes the trip official with the “I am Iloilo” as my background. It’s such a feast for the eyes, both the river as well as the riverbank are clean! I sniff the air, half expecting the river stinks. Fortunately, the air is fresh, with no smell at all. And look at this photo, not a single trash can be seen:
It’s such an inspiring story. My friends from Iloilo say this was totally different before as there were riverbank settlers back then. But with the cooperation of the Iloilo residents to the government’s plan to rehabilitate the river, it has become this beautiful. All the efforts that the Iloilo government did from the planning until the execution should be shared to all the leaders that are responsible for developing all the other rivers in the country.
Even if I am not a resident of Iloilo, I can’t help myself from being proud of what it has become. This is my second time in Iloilo and even if I was already amazed by what I saw then, I am even more impressed this time. The roads are bigger now, there are a lot of businesses that will soon open.
The Ilonggos are proud of their city government and the programs that they are doing. I have a slight pang of jealousy because I want to feel the same kind of pride I have with the entire country. The good news is, this just goes to show that it is possible to have a country like Iloilo. And the biggest part of this success is the residents’ support their city government, they have confidence and trust with their leaders and that’s actually how it’s supposed to be. It’s a team effort after all.
Next stop: The Lizares Mansion
The Lizares Mansion (see photo above) was built in 1937 by the sugar barons at that time. During the World War II, the Lizares-Gamboa family left for Pototan, Iloilo. During that time, the Japanese army turned the mansion into their headquarters. People believe that the basement was where the tortured Filipinos were dumped. After the war, the family returned. In 1950, Don Emiliano Lizares died so the mansion was leased to a businessman who turned it into a casino. The city mayor had it closed down. In 1962, it was sold to the Dominicans and in 1978, it became the Angelicum School Iloilo.
Since I compressed all my activities in one day, I was so hungry when the photo above was taken (I am grumpy when I’m hungry!). Iloilo is known for their La Paz Batchoy. My friends told me that the authentic La Paz Batchoy can be found in the market so off I went to the La Paz Market and chose Netong’s Original Special La Paz Batchoy.
Look at that Batchoy! It has egg, crushed chicharon, chunks of chicken breast, loins of beef, innards of pork, vegetables, and of course the noodles and soup. I had to ask for an extra soup after I finished my bowl, it was that delicious!
My trip won’t be complete without trying out the coffee from Madge Cafe. Since 1941, it has been Iloilo’s iconic coffee shop. It only costs P25! I am no coffee drinker but if I were an Iloilo resident, I’d be a frequent customer and would definitely choose Madge Cafe over the famous coffee shops that we have now. It is affordable and I love the ambience of the place. I like how laid-back it is, very relaxing.
And then after all the wandering, the inevitable had to happen. I had to pack my stuff and head back to Manila. See you again, Iloilo!
Have a look at my post during my first time in Iloilo: https://farahramos.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/april-28-30-2010-iloilo-city/
The DoubleDragon Boat Race 2014 that was organized by Sen. Pres. Franklin Drilon, Double Dragon Properties and the Iloilo City Government (with Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and Cong. Jerry Trenas) was held at the Iloilo River last August 23, 2014 . It was formerly known as Sen. Frank Drilon Boat Race and started in 2012.
The race is an effort to raise public awareness and concern towards the Iloilo River. The story itself on how it became as clean as it is now is truly inspirational.
I am lucky to be the Media Coordinator of the event. We all checked in at the Injap Tower, the tallest building in the city. Here is my photo with half of the press people on our way to the venue of the race:
I am proud to say that my good friend, Councilor Jay Trenas, is one of the people behind the cleaning of the Iloilo River. It’s such an honor to be friends with someone who is responsible for the development of this beautiful city.
Here’s just the tricky part. I got so involved in the race that I couldn’t forget what happened. During the finals of the men’s division, I was so amazed by the Boracay All-Stars. They were trailing behind the Boracay Sea Dragons. A few meters away from the finish line, that was when they paddled harder. If you were there, I swear, you’d think the Boracay All-Stars won. It was a close fight… like seriously a close fight.
When we were on the way back to the hotel, I found out that it wasn’t the Boracay All-Stars that won, it was the Boracay Sea Dragons. But of course I didn’t believe immediately. I had to ask the organizers for confirmation and then I saw this photo that was posted on the Internet:
Imagine, the Boracay All-Stars were defeated by 52 milliseconds!
But anyway, congratulations to Boracay SeaDragons for winning! Such an amazing first for me to witness a boat race and it was a really really nice race, tight competition!
For more info about this event, you may check out these articles:
Ian Ulpindo of DragonBoat.ph: https://www.facebook.com/DragonBoatPH
Frank Calapre of The Manila Times: http://www.manilatimes.net/breaking_news/boracay-sea-dragons-rule-iloilo-doubledragon-boat-race/
An amazing first. It was my first time to walk down the runway for Style Origin. What even made it more awesome is that I was with these amazing celebrities and riders:
What I wore on the runway. Vans from head to toe. Whoops! No cap in this photo, darn it.
Talent – Manager (Angelia Ong and I) team-up! Both ready to walk for Vans!
Mad about caps! I also love this one: