Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On the 31st Day of January

Yesterday, just two days before January ends, I declared ala Andres Bonifacio that most likely there would be no 12 Days of February this year. I'm currently in the no-sense-of-excitement time of my life, if there's such a thing. There were seat sales for the different airlines but my spiking-crank-like energy was nowhere to be found. I used to jump out of the bed or wipe everything off the table just to book flights - domestic or international destinations. This time, it's like I can say, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." My browser crashed and all my opened tabs (full of readings and "saved" pages to be read later) went to oblivion. In the most lethargic way possible, I enunciated, "Oh snap," looked to my right then shut down the computer like nothing happened. By the way, when that happens in the past, this is how I would feel and look like (but I have long hair now):

Enervon, I need you. I'm looking for that ball of energy.

MORAL: When you fall down the ditch, before you try to pull yourself up, before you pray someone to arrive to your rescue, you just sit there. Admire the silence, sit with your solitude, and look at the stars above.

Not A Book Review

Jay Asher's debut novel.
Over Christmas break, I have been devouring books pretending I don't have work (yes, I am in the corporate setting and we have Christmas break). When the tv series had their breaks as well, that was when I had all the time in the world to start reading. At least a chapter before sleeping is the minimum requirement but most of the time I can flip through a lot of pages in a short time so books are pretty much going by smoothly for me.

For Christmas, I got a couple of books from a friend and they were eaten alive even before the start of work week. Happy New Year! I was reading while waiting for the food. I was reading while waiting for the fireworks. I read after waking up from alcohol-inspired sleep. Afterwards, my friend/teammate lent me her copy of "Something Borrowed" which I also watched its movie adaptation (I still love you, Kate Hudson even if I dislike the whole concept of Something Borrowed). Then another teammate lent me her amazingly awesome "Thirteen Reasons Why" which is on the Young Adult genre dealing with teen suicide. The writing style and approach offers something fresh while the plot is really intriguing! It can keep you up and reading on and on. I'm going to start with "The Tipping Point", my 3rd Malcolm Gladwell book (done with "Outliers" and "Blink").

The last book I finished and the current one I'm reading.
However, this is not about any of those books. The main reason I wrote this entry is about Eros Atalia's "Ligo na Ü, Lapit na Me" and it's the book I have read after Bob Ong's "Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan". Yes, borrowed from a teammate again (three teammates mentioned here are all different people, so I'm still not making a library card yet!). It was so painful that I even had the energy to jot things down in my red tickler! It has a film adaptation as well, which I haven't watched.

Dec. 18, 2011

"Ligo na Ü, Lapit na Me" na aklat ni Eros S. Atalia ay galit sa letrang "i" at tila nilayasan ng editor. Hindi sa pagiging grammar nazi o kung anuman, sabi nga ng may-akda na ang pagsusulat ay pakikipag-usap. Maraming mga hiram na salita pati mga madalas na ginagamit sa salitang Filipino ang na-"murder" ika nga.

May mga bahagi rin dito na ipinahayag ng may-akda ang saloobin niya sa mga isyung pambansa. Hindi ko masabi kung out-of-place sila o talagang gusto niyang tumalakay ng mga isyu sa libro niya. Dapat daw ang isinusulat ng writer ay parang tabloid o kending nailalako sa lansangan na mura, accessible, at readable ng lahat.

Maganda ang intensyon, kulang ang laman.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Australian Open 2012

I refuse to write an entry about the Australian Open. (Sore loser.)

Here's the Finals results for my own convenience. A reminder of January 2012.

Women's Finals (Martina Hingis presented the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup to the world) showed Victoria Azarenka's ascension to the top spot with a sweet bonus, her first Australian Open title by banishing Maria Sharapova with a brutal 6-3, 6-0 win.

Then the Men's Finals wherein Novak Djokovic outlasted Rafael Nadal with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 for his 3rd Australian Open title. It was an epic 5 hour and 53 minute match. I left home, attended Sunday service, then got home for the 4th set tiebreak. I thought my blood pressure was going to pop my veins.

And yes, I refuse to call this an entry.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Amazon Warrior!

Amazon is my best friend when it comes to giving me my CDs. It is also my worst enemy because it can siphon my money even while I'm sleeping.

There are only few balikbayans returning to the Philippines for vacation or from a vacation so better be fast at clicking and ordering at Amazon to have your "free shipping" from the US to the PH! Nyohooo.

So what do we have now? Say hello to my new CDs! (Yeah yeah, I'm already happy with these.)

The Submarines' "Love Notes / Letter Bombs"
Kate Voegele's "Gravity Happens" (Her song "Impatient Girl" is very much applicable to me.")
She & Him's "A Very She & Him Christmas"

I just realized I have been in love with indie music - folk, pop, rock, whatever indie. However, there are no CDs of those artists here in the Philippines! I think I'm going to die if I still run after them. And just a while ago as I type this, I hope my orders for Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton's CDs push through! That would be my birthday present for myself. Still a cheapskate compared to other folks. Haha.

MORAL: Money is not happiness, it's just a tool to get there. :)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Balanced Life

Work-Life Balance...is not applicable if you believe that your work is your life. Others make work as an excuse for their laziness to go out and mingle with other people - those one can see, feel, hear, smell, and...taste. Example:

"Yo, get-together on the 25th! See you there!"
"Ehhh.... I am busy eh...."
"Huh? It's after your shift kaya! Dude, it's on a Friday!" (Yes, the dialogue is between 2 conyo friends. So don't make pakialam that much, 'kays?)
"Have work eh..." (Truth is WLB-Loser is just really lazy to go out.) "I need to finish this real soon."
"Pfft, whatever, loser naman. Wala ka bang life?!"
And then there's....
"Define life nga sige."

MORAL: Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, (and) mental peace are all in good order. There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your break-up. There is no fun driving your car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.

Don't take life seriously. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up?

Those words were taken from a shared life lesson in Facebook (Chetan Bhagat of Symbiosis as it read).

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Hong Kong and Macau - 2011 Edition

Welcome to the cold November 11-14, 2011 not-so-China Amazing Race! 

Won't use the Pasalubong Guide, Itinerary, Travel Tips, Budget, Contacts template I have gifted myself with because this thing is crazy!

Since 2011 has brought me to places I have never been and never seen, I really owe this blog a couple of entries from 2011 (huhu lazy freak). First time to be out of the country with my brother and he made me plan for the trip. Yes, I crammed on the itinerary and was on the brink of diluting the map and drinking it just to make it stick to the back of my mind. Going to Hong Kong and/or Macao means a pretty nasty walkathon, as both places are really convenient for walking around. So unless you're a South Korean woman or someone from Sex and the City, stilettos are to be left home and comfy shoes/espadrilles are to be worn.

Anywhere, anytime. You have my heart and wallet,
Milk Tea.
Remember to get a map at the airport (it's free no duh) and staple it to your skin.

Let's jump straight to the ocean (pun intended)!

DAY 1 - Nov 11 [ Ocean Park Like A Boss! ]

I don't know why we got a really early flight when we all had to leave the office late the night before. So me, my brother, and his girlfriend were crazy sleepy. We're going to stay at Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) so ready the maps and the eyes for the trip!

So from HK International Airport, walk your lazy bum to the bus area and take the A21 route - double-decked bus are common in HK so enjoy the view as much as you can. After paying the remaining dues for the living quarters (Ashoka Hostel is a good and clean one promise), the next big question is, "What now??" Let's go to Ocean Park! Here's how to go to Ocean Park from Tsim Sha Tsui: Take the TST MTR Exit F/G to Central and get off to Admiralty (next station) Exit B. Take on CityBus No. 629 (you can buy the Ocean Park ticket there as well). Boom all set!

Real Panda!!!!
Here's what they call a "red panda" huhu cuteness.
Ocean Park is really, really big. It'll consume your whole day as they have animal attractions (poor kids, I seriously pity them) with a cable car inside the theme park going up to the mountains where their thrilling rides await you. Plus there's a light and fire show around 8pm so if you're planning to go here, allot one whole day for it, you'll be knocked out after gushing at Ocean Park.

Cable Car with crazy line.
Yes, never imagined jellyfish would be so cool.
- Buy the Octopus card from the MTR as it'll be your ticket to all the wonderful places in HK.
- As of Nov 2011, Ocean Park ticket (includes all attractions and rides) costs HKD 299.
- Lines at Ocean Park are really long so if you're visiting HK, try to schedule this bad-ass during weekdays as you might decide to just go jump into the pool on a weekend line.

They'll be delighted to have you in the chlorinated pool
they're being kept in prison.

DAY 2 - Nov 12 [ Buddha Blesses Disneyland at the Victoria Peak ]

This day made my brother want to kill me. As much as I really wanted to have Victoria Peak on the 1st day, being sleepless the night before was taking its toll on us as after our hole-in-the-wall authentic HK dinner (the server was rude and mean, definitely authentic!) we slept like bears on hibernation mode.

Early day as we're conquering Lantau Island. First stop would be Ngong Ping Village. Yes I want to ride a huge cable car (Ocean Park's was just a warm-up) to see the Tian Tan Buddha. Here's how to go to Ngong Ping from TST: MTR TST to Tung Chung. Walk to 360 Ngong Ping Cable Car (you'll see it across). Purchase Crystal Cabin tickets to Ngong Ping Village.

Here's the cable car to the village!
Crystal Cabin... with that clear flooring experience.
We didn't purchase any other entrance fees, only the cable car ride because honestly, I only want to see Buddha. Period.
After a short climb on the stairs, you can see Buddha up close!
Tick, tock, tick, tock. The tour guide says it's time to move on! Let's go to adventureland to meet Mickey Mouse and the gang. We were on schedule as we got to Disneyland around 2pm. From Ngong Ping to Disneyland: MTR from Tung Chung to Sunny Bay then Disney Line. That easy!

Disneyland would feel so small after being in Ocean Park the day before. So you could really roam around and waste your time at the long queues for the rides. Just be prepared for the parade!

And yet the day is not over for us! Hahahaha I'm really pushing it this time as I really want to go to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum as well. How to go to The Peak Tram: You can reach the terminus on foot from MTR Central Station J2 exit. Just follow the signs and you'll survive. :)
Long liiiiiiine.

After this, all we had in mind were food and rest.

- Remember to get the Crystal Cabin to go to Ngong Ping Village and see the Tian Tan Buddha. The price difference is not that much and the line on the way back is shorter. Plus it's also pretty to see the lush greeneries underneath.
- Once you're in Disneyland, check the schedule of the parade immediately. Then circle your life around it. You're in there for the parade and the fireworks!
- Disneyland entrance fee is pretty heavy. HKD 399!
- Buy the bundle of Peak Tram (to and from) plus the entrance fee of the wax museum and Sky Terrace. Around HKD 210. :)

Monday, January 02, 2012

So This is the New Year

2011 was so spectacular, just thinking of how 2012 can top it, or at least be at par is already giving me hypertension (that is not contributed by the chopped up lechon on the table).

I have been to a lot of places, made big girl decisions (and committing to it), and have experienced the intense grief of losing someone very special. I have seen the sharp edges of friendship, encountered people who make the world interesting - in both ridiculous and amazing ways, have appreciated the fruits of hardwork (plus accepted that God will provide just not always in our suggested time which is NOW), and more than that I have valued my family in exponential times and realized that life's too interesting to feel bored and useless.

We make our paths, maybe with the help of other people, but we need God to make it the right one.

2011, you've been so memorable I pray let's make 2012 end-of-the-world-level exhilarating! :)

It's already the New Year. Now let's get a life.