Monday, December 29, 2014

Housing Party 2014

Annual Housing Departmental Christmas Party | December 19, 2014 | Patio Acerado Resort

Housing and Settlements Department at your service!
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!!!

(Late post)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

“D” Party

Like what my high school pals and I do every year, we have thrown a mini-party for the Christmas season to reminisce our cherished HS memories and celebrate the feats we have achieved this year. We like bullying and admiring each other at the same time. 
School project! :)
You couldn’t have expected anything less.
Hibek and Vangie!
Che and Jusz!
Froiland, Joson, Alexa, and Katrina!
Vangie hosted the games. There were those surely tailor-made for couples. Said games exposed the possessive girlfriends in the group, hugging and keeping to themselves what’s theirs while pushing away those who ever wish to even just touch their guys. Lol! Of course she couldn’t leave out the singles to grieve alone. There was also a game for them, singles edition! Haha!
Personalized cupcake c/o Faith!
And since I like tackling the has-beens of past celebrations and the new stuff this year, I have observed a few notable things. Our attendance was record breaking this time! It’s really nice to know that each year we grow more and more in attendance. My mates really made the effort despite their tight schedule. Aw. Haha! More to the point, we were more because they brought along someone with them. Boyfriends showed up. Hooray to everyone enjoying their love life this Christmas! Haha! But not just boyfriends, we also had a baby present that night, say whaaat. The delicious and so good-smelling Baby Miesha played with us too. Parties are more fun with boyfies and babies around, that I can say now for sure!
Diemond? Chritmas? Whaaaaat?
Katrina and Julie!
Shout out to the supergirls Krizia and Justine for letting their patience and love for everyone prevail to successfully hold the Christmas party! Fistbump! 


Also very grateful to Hibek for accommodating us in their very nice home. He had no qualms nor complaints when our loud mouths entered their territory. We could be really loud as in loud-loud, you know. Sorry, neighbors! That was just one night. Haha! Maybe next year again?! *wink-wink

I’d also like to thank Faith for sponsoring the party when she was only supposed to give us souvenirs as gifts! She’s abroad, but she still wanted to partake in our celebration, and she did so grandly. Thank God for friends like her, hoping to have her here next year. 
Class picture!
The party was loud with everyone wanting to take over the moment, wild with all the fun-filled games we played, crazy with everyone who participated with such energy, and unforgettable with all the new memories we have created in those few hours.

This post is the reason why I love Christmas so much!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my Diamond Family!!!

*Big thanks to Froiland and Hibek for the lovely photos!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DARK PLACES by GILLIAN FLYNN

Libby Day lives her post-family-murder life for nothing. Forever unconcerned with whatever life throws at her, she could care less about what happens to her already destroyed self. She thought about and tried suicide a hundred times but never got around to truly ending what’s left of her. She’s alive but running out of money to survive, so she finds a new way to earn using her family’s murder’s through a group of people who take interest in the mystery of who murdered her mother and siblings. While in search for past suspects whose names came up during the past investigations, she finds herself facing new realizations about his convicted brother, Ben Day, and new angles as to who might actually did the murder.
I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it. – Libby Day

With a plot centering on murder and Satanism, Dark Places’ theme is as dark as it could get. Every chapter makes me play an eerie scenario in my head. But more than the visual brutalities, I see violence in the characters’ broken souls and minds. I see it in the way they think, the way they act or in the way they don’t, and it’s far more disturbing.

I got hooked even when the intensity wasn’t that much, as it was scattered here and there, revealing itself only little by little and in an unproblematic narration while building up to the big reveal. It’s slow-paced, very, the storytelling taking its time, but it got to me and kept my interest going with the end of every chapter always leaving a simple yet intriguing statement every time.

Flynn’s approach in using multiple perspectives and time periods, as she did with this one, is a very effective and engaging writing style, as it keeps me drawn deeper into her story. Dark Places is strategically exciting in a way that the story unfolds through the overlapping and meeting of different characters’ storytelling at different times. I was never confused; I never felt overworked while reading. Everything fell into place seamlessly.

I felt something loosen in me, that shouldn’t have loosened. A stitch come undone. – Libby Day

Dark Places has that Gillian Flynn signature with its ring of unusual truth and brutal reality which I truly admire. In general, Flynn’s stories are always too real that they tend to be scary to read.

Based on her novels that I’ve read, Gillian Flynn is not an idealist. She knows how to point out the truth behind the possibilities of every unusual thing happening, that sometimes people think people can’t do certain things even when they actually can because these things are in their nature, that sometimes people are just really harsh, that sometimes justice can’t be served and people don’t always get what they deserve, and that all people can do is accept all these things and carry on with their lives. These are things I as a reader ponder on every time I open a Flynn novel, and I love that she makes me think about all these because very few authors get to me like that.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed this book because it’s just so twisted. I mean, not as much as I enjoyed Gone Girl because I believe that to be her best brainchild yet, but it still has all the elements that made me read and think about it nonstop.

The trend that it is today, Dark Places is already set for its movie adaptation come 2015. No surprise there anymore but that’s still something worth looking forward to, right? J

Are you done reading this book? Share your thoughts!


*Photo source: http://theaimn.com/book-review-dark-places-gillian-flynn/

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Notes On: Being a 20-Something

It’s the wee hour. The clock hits 2:45 in the morning, and I’m still on my laptop. Stumbling upon a blog about being in your 20s lead me to browse back on my own dilemma-loaded Quarterlife post written last year. A thousand and one thoughts hit me with a surge. I get into a reflective mood again, after a long while.

Brooding over my old post, I have seen how so unclear, unsure and confusing being at such a position made me feel. There were questions I couldn’t answer, feelings I couldn’t explain and situations I couldn’t contain. But right at this moment when my heart and mind are one with each other, I can be sure to tell myself that a ton has changed since.

And in a good way.

Being in my 20s has left me feeling like I am in that teenage transition period yet again with so much adjustment I need to do. Only that, now I have to go from being mature age-wise to being really mature as someone imbibing maturity in its real essence because fooling around could impact the life I’ll be having in the future negatively. It’s time to take life seriously, and I’m all for it.

I guess I’m starting to get the hang of it.

There’s so much pressure all around from people who intentionally and unintentionally puts it in the air. There’s a “standard” that 20-somethings must meet and/or surpass when it comes to the things they should be doing and where they should be headed either in career, love or family life. Yes, these things are critical at this stage, but how does boxing ourselves inside these expectations help us? I’ve come to realize that pressure not only makes me hard on myself but also makes me hate those who put it on me. And so, I’ve learned to free myself from such hate. More to the point, I don’t worry about the “standard” much anymore. I will live my life the way I want to, and people don’t get to dictate me on the matter, period.

I’m glad there’s still so much out there that I don’t know. I have this uncanny interest in exploring life more today than when I was younger. Back then, the answers were spoon-fed to me; today, I have the capability of working out answers to questions on my own and experiencing the fulfillment in utilizing self-crafted means to understand and connect the dots that make up this colorful world. People turn to older folks for wise words because they’ve already gone through most of life. I can’t wait to get to that point where one look is all it takes. But whilst it’s still miles ahead, I can enjoy the little discoveries and knowledge here and there.

I’ve always had the fear of missing out whenever there are gatherings, and all my mates would be there but me. But then, I’m discovering that I am slowly but surely starting to outgrow this nonsense. Yes, it’s nonsense because what is there to fear really? I won’t be with them nor will they be with me at all times; circumstances will get in the way, and that’s fine. What we have is not merely measured by the physical presence; ours means so much more. With all we’ve been through together, I’m assured now more than ever that no matter how often or less often we get to be together, our rock-solid friendship will not be tarnished, not one bit. And that even if it has already been days, weeks, months, and years since, when I see them again, it wouldn’t be awkward. It wouldn’t feel like it’s been awhile.

I would always subconsciously beat myself up every time I still couldn’t let go of my old teenager-y ways because it would remind me of how immature I still am. My mentality was that these old habits were what’s holding me back from utter maturity. After some deep thinking (and some self-abhorrence) though, I realized there’s no need to detach myself from such lifestyle. It’s all about moderation. I can keep on enjoying my old ways, but I just have to master the “when” and the “how much” without sacrificing my growth. Besides, as Susanna Kaysen likes to put it, sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy. There it is, best of both worlds.

Maturity per se used to be a scary venture for me. And still is, a bit. It used to feel like a death trap with all the baggage it brings. Now I see it as an opportunity. There’s nothing to lose. If I fail along the way, there’ll surely be lessons learned; if things go smoothly then I’m just one lucky son of a bitch.

It’s all about how we see things. Maybe it’s all everyone needs, shifting outlooks a little or changing it completely. It’s surprising how much easier everything could feel.

The bottom line is I’m happy that I’m already in this stage where I’m learning to accept all the changes in my life. I’m happy with all my realizations. I’m embracing everything because, why fight something when it actually leads to even greater things?

Life today makes more sense, and indeed, there is a plan set for everyone. I am seeing mine unfold in front of me, and it’s so beautiful. I’m not saying I understand and get everything now, only that I know everything’s in good faith, and what’s to come is going to be great.


I have a newfound happiness in the realization, acceptance and embracing of all these things. This is my rite of passage to maturity.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Burot Beach 2014: Whilst Still A Virgin

With sand polvoron-like in features,

tides low,

seaweeds sometimes ticklish and sometimes piercing to the feet,

sea urchins ever present,

and water as clear as can be,

it’s always the beach we go back to for escape.


Burot Beach in Calatagan, Batangas is my newfound gem.

How lucky was I to chance upon another beautiful beach – and this one still unexploited.

Burot’s waters vary in color – some parts are white, others blue green and the rest a beautiful blue. The water is most of the time steady with the calmness being an open invitation for the people to just sit there and float around in the middle of it all since there are no waves to intimidate them. The calmness only justifies the essence of why people are there in the first place – to escape the noise that is their real life, and it’s just perfect.
With feet always on the loose, we roamed around the rest of the beach stretch. It was a good thing we didn’t just stay in one place because the parts we explored were even better than where we camped out. There were rocky mini-cliffs, fine sands and colorful sea creatures. Schools of fishes appeared from time to time. Island hopping here didn’t really mean hopping from island to island as much as it meant boating around Burot and going down to the white, shallow portions of the water for playtime and in the deeper fractions of the beach for swimming.

It was the closest I’ve gotten to the real island life. There was no decent resort around to take us in. Power was nonexistent. Apart from worn-out toilets, all there was was a sari-sari store that rents tents aside from the few basic store products to guests who don’t bring their own. Everything else we needed while there was upon us. The flashlights and a bonfire tricked the darkness of the night away. Uno cards served as entertainment in a rather quiet set. The breeze was all we had to cool ourselves while asleep. Waking up to bright skies strewn across the vast blue sea after a much needed rest was priceless.
My mates and I were fortunate enough to experience Burot while it is still in its full raw beauty. With the knowledge that development of this paradise is already in the works, I’m scared that in a way something will be lost in the process. The virginity perhaps – the virginity and everything that comes with it. I can only hope that with all the aesthetic renovations, at least a part of its simplicity will remain, as it is what makes up the charm of the beach itself.
Something else left a mark and mystery in my mind as we ventured into this place. Twice or thrice during our stay, a small group of locals would gather around a huge rock situated in the water in the middle of the day. I think it was some sort of a ritual. I had no clue what it was for, but it felt so strange and so local. Too bad I wasn’t able find out.
Burot Beach was such a fleeting moment, but I’m content knowing that I am lucky enough to even have the moment.

(Late post)


*Thanks to Antoniette, Maricris and Jerome for the photos!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

ENTWINED WITH YOU by SYLVIA DAY

There’s Bared To You then Reflected In You; now here’s Entwined With You.

The third installment in the Crossfire series, Entwined With You is the turning-point chapter for the kind of people Eva and Gideon have become as they pick up the pieces of their relationship after such a character-defining incident in the previous book.
Day One of my life was the day I met you. – Gideon Cross

First things first, the romantic gestures, both the simple and the grand, are a foolproof winner for me. I’m a sucker for such things which this book has plenty of. It kept my grip of the novel tight.

Favorite part would be the wedding at the Caribbean. That would be every cheesy girl’s dream, and it couldn't have gotten any better than that. Hearts all over the place! It was more of the intimacy of the ceremony and the purity of each other’s intentions that made it a very fitting wedding for Eva and Gideon.

If souls could be mated with wishes, ours would be inextricably entwined. – Eva Tramell

Now onto the criticisms.

Entwined With You felt more like just a continuation of book two, in a way that I didn’t actually open up a new book, just a new chapter covering a very long denouement.

There was nothing in particular that stood out for me. Sorry but I think the first half of the book could have been skipped without missing much. I mean, most could have just been mentioned in passing, not combed through, because they somehow took the life out of the story gradually. What’s that word again, dragging.

Worst of worsts, I was not satisfied with the ending. It was too abrupt! It could not have ended right there and then, but it did. Whaaaaat? I was left hanging at the last page of this book and not in a crap-that-is-a-killer-ending-i-need-to-read-the-next-book-asap kind of way, but in a what-is-it-really-the-ending-it-does-not-seem-likely-it-is-too-soon kind of way. Yes, there were many issues such as Eva’s video, Anne Lucas’ surfacing, Cary plus Tatiana plus baby, Corinne minus the baby, the secret marriage, and Eva’s clash with Gideon’s mother which all feel like a lot but are actually not that much. Frankly, even when combined, they still did not suffice to awaken the excited reader in me. Book two’s climax was a real climax; this wasn’t.

Angel, a crowd of millions couldn’t hide you from me. I found you once. I’ll always find you. – Gideon Cross

In general, I guess I was more disappointed than thrilled with how the story went down. As it turns out, Crossfire is not just a trilogy, which I initially thought, but a five-part series. Rumor has it Captivated By You and the last book have yet to be released on November this year and sometime around 2015 respectively. And because I went through the first three books, I might as well read the remaining ones for closure’s sake.

Are you done reading this book? Share your thoughts!

xx


Monday, September 29, 2014

Foodgasmic!

To be with friends. And to be with food.

Aaah, life!

In celebration of Ago’s 22 years of fierceness and ingenuity in this world, last Saturday happened!

We were in luck knowing that the celebrator herself is very good in cooking and recreating recipes. All we had to do was wait to be served and filled.
Forget the hot weather and the traffic jam, that weekend food feast was so gooooood!

Here’s a photo collage of food and friends and food and friends.

And food. J
To a fiend who not only believes she can do things but also acts on said beliefs, to a person who enjoys creating and recreating, to one whose imagination is unfathomable, happy birthday! Keep your drive and inspire. Love you, man! Love you, sugar!
Belated happy birthday also to Roc! Beast bod!

xx


*Thanks to Ago and Kreng for the photos!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Happy List: Random List #3

So many good things have happened lately. And though it may feel a little too soon for another Happy List (since there have only been two posts since the last one), I am so happy I got to let the emotion out.

  1. Setting aside my laptop, for once, to actually write on my personal leather journal because: (a) my penmanship’s already getting bad and I don’t like my crooked handwriting and (b) it’s sometimes more stimulating to the mind to have a pen in hand to stroke on paper
  2. New Vans sneakers with gum sole
  3. Potatoes with melted cheese x pancakes with chocolate syrup
  4. Ice creams and chocolates
  5. Riding the penny board farther than two meters without falling. Achievement!
  6. Weird as it may be, the smell of gasoline filling the tank, sniffs with eyes closed
  7. The motivation that results to daaaaays of no softdrinks in my system
  8. Randomly hugging the taller and bigger pamangkins despite their being against it (Haha!)
  9. Suits S03, so much drama going on in this season but so much happiness in being able to catch up on where things stand with Harvey, Mike, Louis, Jessica, and Donna.
  10. Plans that make me look forward to the coming days
  11. Ber months! The sight of Christmas displays brings nothing but joy to my heart
  12. Days that are just so perfect – because I am lucky enough to have them
In the many random, uneventful, ordinary days lie little things, which when collectively thought of, make the heart skip a beat in delight.




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

REFLECTED IN YOU by SYLVIA DAY

Reflected In You picks up where the story of Eva and Gideon left off with Bared To You with more outside forces – their families, friends, shrink, and mainly previous relationships – and more action and more drama getting involved along the way.

This sequel digs deeper on the effects and repercussions of the traumatic sexually abusive pasts of both central characters, acknowledging the fact that in the first novel said history was only introduced and barely discussed. In great connection, trust issues are brought up once more. But above and beyond all their problems, this book shows how deep their love for each other has gotten into them physically, emotionally, mentally, and romantically.
“You’re the greatest risk I’ve ever taken. And the greatest reward.” – Gideon Cross

First off, this book is too graphic! There was too much sex happening! And it did not fail to document every detail of how things went down where that aspect was concerned. Haha! I mean I knew what I was in for, but it still surprised me when I read line after line after line of raw and carnal sex. Haha!

“Because of you, the world makes sense to me in a way it didn’t before. I have a place now, with you.” – Gideon Cross

If Eva and Gideon have proven anything, it is that them holding on to the love they have for each other, no matter how quirky and crazy it is, is worth everything. Though their appreciation for and treatment of each other are quite hard to dig and relate to, the resulting actions of their extreme degree of love is still pretty romantic stuff. Indeed, love knows no bounds.

Talking about quirks and craziness, their fights became tiring at times. It was sometimes hard to empathize because it felt more like an exhausting game, going from attachment to detachment and back, between Eva and Gideon with all their trust issues and lack of communication and impulsive reactions all throughout the story. And I was just helplessly observing and there was nothing more I could do.

Truth be told, it took me a longer time to finish reading this one because I paused for moments since apparently the hassles of their relationship got into me, and I just felt tired after every heavy argument, which was the least of what I’d wish to feel while into a book.

Halfway through Reflected In You, I realized it was not as romantic and tear-jerker for me as it should have been. Sure, there were sweet exchanges of promises and acts of love but they did not overshadow nor equal to the stresses and problems of them as individuals and as a couple.

“People get over love. They can live without it, they can move on. Love can be lost and found again. But that won't happen for me. I won't survive you, Eva.” – Gideon Cross

This was why I was surprised to be facing suspense near the end of the book. It was in the last pages leading up to the murder and investigation when I regained my interest to continue with it. I had to find out what had happened, and when I did, I could not believe it. Damn. Now, there really is something to look forward to in the final novel.

I didn’t expect that the plot would build up to such conclusion, and it left me intrigued enough to want to get started with the last book of this trilogy asap. I’m ready!

Are you done reading this book? Share your thoughts!
xx




Friday, August 1, 2014

The Happy List: Random List #2

  1. My birthday! Best thing about July! How did it go you ask? Pretty awesome I must say. J Celebrated simply but made memorable by the presence of and thoughtful greetings from loved ones. Actually, said birthday had been celebrated, as I would like to see it, in a series of dates with different sets of people. The happiness in my birthday couldn’t be contained in one day because I couldn’t accommodate all loved ones in one go, as I would always want to make sure to spend real quality time with each. But hey, don’t get me wrong, nobody’s complaining. Here’s a #1 fan of socials. Haha!
  2. Pandin Lake! Pandin Lake! Pandin Lake!
  3. Vertical Horizon x Blink 182 x Third Eye Blind x Semisonic x Puddle of Mudd first thing in the morning, before bed or just about anytime I feel like it, while finishing chores or while drinking something with my back on the set. Nothing like the 90s alternative to get all the senti feels going.
  4. Quality time. *winks*
  5. Sisig. In which I have developed some unexplainable craving that I luckily get to satisfy just in time for the unluckily next craving. Oh, tummy.
  6. Getting back to reading again finally! After monthsss of being on a reading slump. Currently re-reading Bared To You in preparation for the two sequels.
  7. Cupcakes and pixies.
  8. Sbarro, Transformers 4 and really comfy seats and floors. (Successfully trumped up all the hassles.)
  9. Openness to friends and the overwhelming acceptance and happiness from them.
  10. The resilience and optimism of Filipinos during and after GlendaPH. 
It gets easier to overlook chaotic times, dark nights, peeled roofs, and fallen trees knowing that the likes of the abovementioned little things matter more.

Life is always worth living.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pandin Lake: Post-Birthday Quickie

Short but sweet.

That’s how I would describe last Sunday’s getaway in a not-so-far-away paradise – lo and behold, Pandin Lake. Being one of the seven lakes found in San Pablo City, Laguna, Pandin is a lake that boasts of a very nice greenery that wholly surrounds it. A first peek at the place and it’s definitely the first thing that would make anyone go woah. The water and the mass of trees that makes for a great backdrop, that with the blue sky over it, they complement each other flawlessly. Oh, there’s nothing like it.
And in that beauty, in that lake perfection that I just described, was where I had my post-birthday celebration with friends. I couldn’t have celebrated it anywhere else better. Lucky me! 
The place was one thing, but the experience was a whole other story.
When we toured the lake, we were on a balsa – with a freaking kubo on it – just the coolest thing. And while we were drinking in Pandin’s beauty and chillin’ on a balsa, with a halo-halo in hand, seafoods and ensalada on the table and Magic!’s Rude on the speaker, we couldn’t help but say This is the life! for it really was. Sarap!
The rest of the lake adventure was spent playing with a swing made out of a tree’s long and curved branch, jumping to the deep, deep water (shout out to the inventor of life vests hahaha) which was amazingly not that cold and not that warm either, singing along to Sam Smith (whose songs were so unfitting to our trip but didn’t matter anymore for as long as we had something we could sing along to), and gobbling down plates of tilapia, shrimp and ensalada. What a happy birthday indeed!
We also got to see Yambu Lake, another one of the seven, which was separated from Pandin on one side only by a tall mass of soil which we had to hike. It was also very nice. Glad to have officially seen the third of the seven lakes.
I'm not sure if this much appreciation came as a result of not being aware that these beauty and arrangement would be what would welcome us or if it really was just an amazing place, but I am honestly more inclined to agree with the latter. 
I thank my friends for always bringing me to nice places. I think I wouldn’t be able to be this much of an adventurer without the companionship and boost from these spirited people. And though we had very limited time, it had still been a good time with them. 
We capped off the day playing Uno Cards at Kreng’s. Truly memorable as I was the sore loser of the last game who had to dance as a punishment. Oh boy, just my luck! 
I’ll be thinking about Pandin for days, that’s for sure.


*Thanks to Kreng and Jerome for the photos!

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