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April 11, 2014 – Kickin’ Off the Birthday Month

So, as per usual, before getting to the actual point of this post, I will go and rant a little…

I was actually itching to update the blog since last month, where I had plenty of time after graduation and the school year were officially over. Problem is, there was nothing to write about! No recent travels, no special events, no sad happenings to make me go all emo on the blog – nada. But then April came around, and for me, that’s when things start getting interesting!

First of all, it’s the birthday month for my dad and I… and our D-groups went ahead of us and organized a semi-surprise party/gathering for all of us. Good food, good people, good conversation – what’s not to love?

DSC_9523 Continue reading

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My 2014 Valentine’s

How did you spend your Valentine’s this year? Yeah, I know… “seriously, you’re asking me this question one month after Valentine’s?!”

But you see, that’s because I want to share mine:

DSC_82001) beautiful young girls; Continue reading

Baby Bird

DSC_4152DSC_4153This is not the first time a bird flew inside our office and starting bumping around things – signs of a lost baby bird still learning to fly. Dad caught it this time, and though I’m a strictly anti-bird-for-pets person (seriously, how interesting can they be?), this little one still made me go awww. Birds deserve to fly and be free, though, and Dad put him up in our vine-climbing plants, just in case our resident evil cats start getting ideas. 😉

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Day in the Farm

DSC_3947One fine (scorching hot) Sunday afternoon, we had the wonderful opportunity to visit the private farm of one of our family friends. Though a hot summer afternoon spent in untamed fields doesn’t scream exciting to me, the lure of new photos won in the end. Anyway, I enjoyed the experience more than I thought I would! 🙂

DSC_3950DSC_3951DSC_3959DSC_3955DSC_3956For this trip I brought along the 50-mm lens, which is still challenging me in terms of shooting areas where I would have wanted a wider view. This I have to say: although I don’t get my wide-view shots that often, it’s challenging me to try different angles and framing, which is helping me learn a lot as well! It often makes for beautiful shots that I wouldn’t have thought of, like this:

DSC_3962DSC_3960DSC_3961Anyway, back to the farm. These look like poo, but they’re actually ginger! After that realization, you just take another breath and realize that there’s this faint smell of ginger around the area. O di ba, learned something new!

DSC_3965DSC_3970Another new fact learned: to pick fresh papaya from their trees, you gotta take a hold of it, and twist it until the stem-like thing at the top comes off. We did pick a lot of fresh papaya that day (always the most delicious!), and it thrilled our Chinese teachers to no end. Makes me realize that what us provincial people see as ordinary and normal can be a whole new experience for our city friends. 🙂

DSC_3980DSC_3974DSC_3975This area, being practically isolated save for the few land workers, is perfect for outfit shots, and you know why. You might even want to put in a little whimsy to your shots and blow wild dandelions. 🙂

DSC_3986DSC_3982DSC_3985When we got to the land workers’ simple little houses, the kids took two of their chickens and pitted them against each other, classic Filipino sabong style. LOL

DSC_3989DSC_3988This man just hacked and hacked into a tree to get bananas for us. Turns out you actually have to hack the tree down. How sad. 😦 Apparently, they grow fast enough so it’s not much of a problem for them.

DSC_3992DSC_3990DSC_3995Nearby was a naturally occurring spring. The surprises this place gives!

DSC_3997Aside from outfit shots, this place is perfect for cardio and working out. Just going up and down the rugged areas got us all winded! A good alternative to consider if you’re sick of your usual gym surroundings haha. #firstworldproblems
DSC_4003This little baby was a boy! Shock of my life! 😮

DSC_4007DSC_4009DSC_4010While we were gawking at the ala-Communist guy sitting atop his horse (must feel better galloping through the woods rather than walking through them, eh?), Tinay and her friend had already made their own fencing swords from long twigs and coconut shells. Now why didn’t I think of that? 😀 It was brilliant!

DSC_4012We were fortunate to be walking home when God regaled us with another of His many amazing sunsets:

DSC_4017DSC_4014DSC_4015That’s another thing most people take for granted: lovely sunsets. 🙂 Blessed!

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Rhoel & Johan (March 16, 2013)

…which happens to be my mother’s birthday as well. Haha!

DSC_3206DSC_3210Birthday celebrations can always come second place, though, to an event where two people come back to God and make things right with Him. This was the case with my uncle Rhoel and his soon-to-be wife Johan, and while part of my excitement comes from my giddiness at actually shooting an event for the first time, most of it is happiness bursting out for both of them. Couldn’t be happier for you both!

DSC_3222DSC_3249We were also very privileged to have Dad and Mom’s (among others) disciplers, Ptr. Desmond and Ptr. Robert, around to officiate! The event was supposed to be a wedding in itself, but their marriage certificates didn’t come out in time, so they just went with a thanksgiving and engagement party. (refer to tarpaulin. Haha)

DSC_3261DSC_3324DSC_3370A professional orchestra is always nice, but nothing beats “homemade” music with people you know as the talents! 🙂

Afterwards, Uncle Rhoel shared his testimony of how he got a second, no make that third, lease at life. It’s amazing to hear direct from him how God was completely the One who turned his life around. Reminds us that, yes, we should continue making efforts to reach out to the people around us, but it’s ultimately God who changes and transforms lives. 🙂 So happy for you, uncle!

DSC_3268DSC_3287DSC_3288He kinda ran out of breath quite fast, though, due to his health condition. Tita Johan soon took over, but got emotional real quick as well…

DSC_3293…so there had to be a third person to read the testimony for them. 😀

DSC_3379DSC_3356Expectantly waiting for the next big event, the simple but meaningful wedding. 🙂

DSC_3424DSC_3400DSC_3423DSC_3443There are a million captions I can think up for this picture LOL. I’m just glad that I got the settings right for this night to capture moments like these!

DSC_3497DSC_3446DSC_3507Presenting: the lovely Ng Tio ladies. ❤

DSC_3524It’s quite rare to capture the family matriach smiling… mostly because right after she’s aware you’ve taken the shot, she instantly glares at you. 😮

DSC_3500DSC_3498The night quickly turned to a somewhat dysfunctional karaoke session where we had a talented violinist, a talented but shy singer, a self-confident singer, and a confident but rusting pianist. 😀 Cracks me up!

DSC_3523Ending this post with a lovey-dovey shot with one of my favorite couples. ❤ All you need is love! (yuck, cheesy)

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February at Thailand – The Food

Food in Thailand is, simply to say, amazing! Of course, getting to another country and sampling the local cuisine is always a unique experience in itself, but for some reason, Thailand’s is soooo good. That’s pretty impressive, as my mouth is notoriously anti-spicy! (You can ask my Thai/Laotian classmates for confirmation LOL)

DSC_2271Guess what was our first meal in Thailand though – Chinese food at the airport. 😐 Main reason? It was the cheapest we could find out of all the restaurants! Big lesson: don’t spend all your money on airport food – ridiculously expensive concerning the dirt-cheap price of Thai food outside the airport!

DSC_2319Ahhh, now that’s better. After good Filipino food at our host’s home, we finally got our first authentic Thai meal at an authentic Thai restaurant – hallelujah! Three cheers for delicious Thai cuisine!

DSC_2321DSC_2324DSC_2323I can’t tell you the resto’s name because obviously, yours truly can’t read Thai. (Oh, the feeling of not being able to read anything besides English is unexplainably frustrating!) The two previous pictures are of Pad Thai (very distinctively Thai, but didn’t impress my mother at all) and spring rolls. Forever favorite!

DSC_2328DSC_2325Did you know Thailand has at least three kinds of curries? (From what I’ve observed, anyway – somebody, please educate me.) My favorite has to be green curry, but this still fairly burned my palate! Our new Thai friend stared at me incredulously after I told her this, and told me, “this is not spicy at all!” Yeah yeah, tell me all about it, that’s what all my Thai classmates told me, too!

DSC_2331DSC_2359Street food… mostly hit-or-miss. It’s best to taste on the spot, so that if it’s a hit for you, then go ahead and buy!

DSC_2374However, if you see giant prawns (we call them sugpo) going at 200 for one huge stick, you just don’t say no!! Ridiculously cheap!

DSC_2337DSC_2366On a side note: I am so happy to see Dakasi stalls popping up in the Philippines – makes me happy that I can satisfy my milk tea cravings without being suspicious about the taste of this store or that store. Apparently, they’re doing the same thing in Thailand!

DSC_2390DSC_2391DSC_2394We almost ate at this Thai buffet, but the local friend warned us that it would be spicy as hell. Therefore…

DSC_2396DSC_2395…we had Japanese food at Thailand. Le sigh, the ironies of life. And oh, do you see how things suddenly look ridiculously zoomed so far? It’s because… I got a new lens! A 50mm one! 😀 It’s gorgeous, but the stationary 50mm takes a little getting used to as opposed to my old 18-55mm zoom lens. I’ve been eyeing this one for quite some time though, and already had the money saved up to buy it in the Philippines just in time for our Thailand trip.

God is eternally good, though, and He prevented me from doing that… because lenses, cameras and everything electronic are crazy cheap in Thailand! The authentic ones, I tell you! Nikon manufactures in Thailand, too, so it’s given that the prices are gonna be lower. Needless to say, I took the chance and got the lens at almost half the price! Unbelievable 😮 Indeed, never doubt God’s provision!

DSC_2404DSC_2408Anyway, back to food 😀 here, you will see my zoom & focus troubles with this lens as I worked my way around it. You can say we’re in our getting-to-know stage.

DSC_2402DSC_2401DSC_2397DSC_2405DSC_2400American missionary James and his Thai wife, Ying – some of our new friends!

DSC_2423During one of the days of our stay, it happened to be the birthday of our host’s daughter… so we bought her a pretty cake, Mom cooked her famous lechon kawali, and traditional Filipino birthday fare was to be had! Spaghetti & lumpiaanyone? 🙂

DSC_2422DSC_2417DSC_2413DSC_2426Our lovely, gracious hosts, the Gutlay family. We can’t thank you enough for your kindness & hospitality during our stay! 🙂

DSC_2428DSC_2434DSC_2441DSC_2442In the end, it was here where I was reminded that what makes the food is mostly not the food itself, but the people you enjoy it with. 🙂

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Ze Chinese Class, SY 2012-2013

DSC_0281Say hello to my one and only Chinese class for this school year. Now that December’s here and March is approaching, this teacher can’t help but feel a little bit… ya know.

DSC_0289DSC_0285This was during a birthday lunch we held for five of them weeks ago. I know of a lot of nightmare classes, especially Chinese classes, where students – most especially Filipino students – have no interest in at all. God decided to bless my first year ng bongga, though, with this amazing class – behaved enough to not cause me terrible headaches every time, but enough fun that I always start, go through, and leave class with a smile on my face.

If any of you studes are reading this right now, you should be reviewing for our exam tomorrow yo. But do know, I’m blessed and happy to have all of you. 🙂

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