Monthly Archives: January 2012

Appreciating the Blessing of Family

I was used to living a simple and comfortable life. As an only child, I didn’t have big problems to worry about. Everything I needed was taken cared of by my parents. I only had to do what they expected me to do- excel in school, be a good Christian, obey their rules. For sixteen years, I lived an easy life. But during those years, I rarely appreciated the easiness of my life. I felt constricted. I felt contained. The rebel in me wanted to break free. It finally succeeded when I had to go away for college. I was happy to get out of my comfort zone. I was excited to try new things. And I forgot about home too quickly. At first, I did enjoy the thrills of independence. But when I got sick or felt sad, I realized how blessed I was before when my parents were there to take care of me. After a while, I realized life was empty when you’re alone.

From that moment on, I started to cherish each moment I had with my loved ones. Life is short and can be taken away in an instant. Enjoy every moment you have with your loved ones. And never ever miss a chance to let them know how much they mean to you.

Mom, dad and me at SM North

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Learning Photography

I don’t own a DLSR (Yet. Still hoping someone could give me one for free!) and I only have a cheap Nikon point and shoot camera. I’m not fond of taking photos of myself. I’m also not comfortable having my photo taken since I’m not that photogenic. But I like taking photos. Sometimes, I get to borrow a friend’s or a relative’s or the office’s DLSR during trainings and events. Given the chance, I like to be the one behind the camera. My previous supervisor and some friends say I have an eye for photography so last year, when an office mate invited me to attend a Basic Digital Photography Workshop, I said yes. Luckily, since the workshop was work-related, I got to borrow a Nikon D90 from the office.

During the 3-day workshop at APNTS, I learned about the importance of knowing your camera. Having a camera, most especially if it is a DSLR, without knowing its features is just pointless. We also studied about composition, ISO, exposure, aperture, focus, white balance, shutter and all the basic things you need to know about digital photography. The best part of the workshop was when we went out and took photos using the different camera settings we learned. At first, I didn’t know what to take photos of. But I tried anyway. I took photos of just about anything I came across with. Soon, I found out that I could actually turn ordinary sights into beautiful images! It was a fun and amazing experience. And it inspired me even more to continue honing my skills in photography.

Here are some of my practice shots taken at APNTS grounds and at Antipolo Church.

I know, I still have a lot to learn. For now, I’ll continue to take as many photos as I can. I guess it doesn’t really matter if I use a DLSR, a point and shoot camera, or my mobile phone’s camera. Alright, it matters in terms of settings and all but ultimately, I think the essence of photography is when the story behind the photo is captured and conveyed to the viewer. There are times I’d cry just looking at a photo, as if I was there when it was taken. That’s the kind of photograph that I want to make. Eventually…

My dream photography projects:

1. Nature

2. Rainbows

3. Weddings

4. Babies

5. Old couples

For those like me who want to venture into photography, here are some tips I found really helpful:

1. Know your camera (don’t forget to read your camera’s manual )

2. Experiment

3. Don’t just take photos, make photos (copied from Kodak)

4. Take shots from different angles (get low or climb a tree if you must)

5. Watch the light  (using the flash isn’t always good)

6. Compose and frame your subject well

7.  Practice. Practice. Practice.

Interested in photography? You might find these sites interesting:

http://www.dpreview.com

http://www.photographysites.com/

http://www.kodak.com

To Coron, Alone!

I am one step away from fulfilling two of my travel goals this 2012 – travel solo and go to Coron (thanks to Cebu Pacific‘s PromoFare). I was thinking of spending my 29th birthday in Coron but I still prefer spending it at home with my family (especially because my dad & I have the same birthday). So, I’ll be there the week after my birthday. I am so thrilled and I wish October comes soon!

Goal # 1: Travel Solo

I’ve always  wanted to go on a trip by myself. However, I haven’t had the courage to really do it. Whenever I mention traveling alone to my friends, they usually ask, “Why would you want to do that?” Some say, “It’s no fun!” since you don’t have anyone to talk to, or take pictures with. But, that’s precisely why I want to do this. I want to travel solo because I want to know how it feels like to not know anyone, to not worry about anything except yourself, and to not have anyone to depend on except God. This is the kind of adventure that I want to do! I look forward to meeting new people and discovering new things about myself and the world. I’m sooo excited!

Goal # 2: Coron, Palawan

I think it’s just fitting that I’m doing my first solo adventure in one of my dream places to go to in the Philippines – Coron, Palawan.  The reason why I chose Coron is because it seems a good place for a personal retreat. Since it’s going to my birthday, I’d like to take some time to examine my life. Usually, communing with nature helps me introspect so Coron’s majestic landscapes will surely provide a perfect milieu for personal reflection. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be introspecting the whole time I’m there. I’ll make sure to spare enough time to explore the best of what Coron and the nearby islands have to offer!

Anyway, got any suggestions or tips for me about traveling solo and what to do in Coron? I’d be happy to read your advice in the comment box below. Thank you!

I’d like to end with my version of Dept. of Tourism’s “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” meme:

 

This photo of me was taken by Karen Sioson in Anilao, Batangas.

Yes, I Love Sunsets!

As I was browsing through the photos in my laptop, I noticed that I’ve taken quite a lot of photos of sunsets in the past two years. Yes, I love watching the sun go down especially if I’m at the beach.  I love how vibrant the sky and sea becomes at that moment when the sun kisses the sea.

Check out some of my favorite sunset photos and the reasons why sunset is my favorite time of the day:

Sunsets take my breath away. (Anilao, Batangas)

Sunsets are dramatically beautiful. (Anawangin Cove, Zambales)

 Sunsets bring serenity and peace.  (Boracay)

Sunsets always remind me of the greatness and  awesomeness of God. (Bolinao, Pangasinan)

After a day’s busy work, sunsets can help calm you down.  (Sentosa, Singapore)

Sunsets can soothe and relax a troubled heart. (Saud Beach, Pagudpud)

Special thanks to my friend Jennifer for being a willing subject.

Sunsets bring back childhood memories. (Pob. 1, Pagudpud)
This particular beach was my childhood playground. Since we lived nearby, my cousins and I would usually come here to play. Whenever I go home, I still go back to this beach to watch the sun set.

Finally, sunsets remind me that endings always usher new beginnings. The sun may go down on us tonight, but rest assured that it will rise again tomorrow. So, cheers to sunsets!

A Love Letter to Keds

Dearest Keds,

It’s been quite a while since we last got together. I miss you. I miss the times we’ve spent together in college. We were so happy, you and I. I can still vividly recall the times you willingly accompanied me in my everyday walks to school. You were there with me when I ran up and down the stairs and slopes of UP Baguio, especially when I was late for class. It was so tiring, but you never got tired of running with me. There were days when it was so cold and wet because of the unceasing rain, and you kept me warm and comfortable. I miss our walks to Session Road through the hill now known as SM Baguio. Before, it was just you and me happily galloping our way to town under the pine trees. Rain or shine, you were my constant companion. I really miss those good old days. I do. Thank you because you’ve been a good friend to me. You stayed loyal to the end.

After graduation, I admit I traded you for high heels and boots and cute sandals. I had to give you away not because I didn’t love you anymore. I just had to because of work. Forgive me. But know that I never forgot about you. Whenever I saw you at the mall, I secretly watched you from afar.

And finally last week, after almost 8 years of being apart, I’m so happy that I found my way back to you. I can’t wait to share the good and bad times with you again.

Love,

Mae

P.S. Here’s my all-time favorite KEDS Sneakers in Red

Check out KEDS Philippines’ FB page.

My Top 3 Most-Listened-To Albums of 2011

I love music. I don’t think I can live without it. I need a dose of it everyday to keep me going. One of my greatest dreams is to be a singer and have my own album. I don’t think I’ll ever get close to fulfilling this dream but who knows? No matter, I still love music and I won’t ever stop singing (even if my only audience are the toilet bowl and the shower). So, here are my top 3 most-listened-to albums of 2011.

Top 3: The Script’s Science and Faith

The Script‘s second album, Science & Faith, came out September of 2010 and has 10 tracks. If you had been a fan of their debut album, you won’t be disappointed with this one. I like all the songs in this album but my favorite would be This is Love. Although it’s not as popular as the other songs, it has very powerful lyrics. This may sound weird but the songs in Science & Faith calms me down. If you haven’t heard this album yet, go grab a copy now!

Top 2: Lady Antebellum’s Own The Night

I am not really a fan of country music but I really like Lady Antebellum, thanks to the addictive song Need You Now. Their sophomore album Need You Now was released January of 2010 but I so love this album that I still listen to it. For me, the best song in this album is When You Got a Good Thing. It’s a duet that tells you about love. I’d definitely love to hear this song on my wedding day.

Anyway, Lady A’s third album Own The Night came out last September 2011. The first single Just a Kiss, which was released sometime in May, kept playing in my head for weeks! As You Turn Away is also a favorite. With the way the song is sang, it cuts right through your broken heart. And I Wanted You More makes a good theme song for one-sided love affairs. Make sure to sing your heart out at the end of the song- “I don’t need you anymore!!!” What I love about this group is that they try to experiment with their music. The album contains 12 tracks with tinges of alternative rock, pop and R&B in some of their songs. You’re sure to have a great time listening to it whether you’re in the office, at home, or at some cafe chilling out. Own The Night is also nominated in the 2012 Grammy’s for Best Country Album.

Top 1: Adele’s 21

Adele‘s 21 is the perfect album companion for people who’ve loved and had their hearts broken. Her voice and musicality is simply unique, heartfelt and captivating. I had been a fan of her music since I heard her first album, 19. I loved Chasing Pavements and Make You Feel My love!

In 21, Adele sings from the heart and takes you with her on her journey through love, heartbreak and moving on. Released in January 2011 in Europe and February 2011 in North America, the album contains 11 songs depicting angst, revenge, heartbreak and hope. My personal favorite in this album is Someone Like You. (Yeah, I love break-up songs.) This would’ve been my break-up anthem if it came out 4 years ago. Hahaha! I also liked her version of Love Song. It made me love the song even more. I could listen to her songs all day and all night. I’m totally addicted to Adele’s music! I hope she wins big time in this year’s Grammy’s again because she really deserves it. Adele is truly an awesome and inspiring singer and songwriter. I can’t wait for her next album. And I hope she comes to the Philippines!


On Lost Friendships

If there’s one thing I regret doing last 2011, it would be not standing by a friend who needed me the most. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a “bad friend” so I guess I won’t call myself that. It just saddens me to think that I wasted so much time over things that were not so important and didn’t make time for the people I care about the most. I pulled myself away from her because I was so consumed with a tampo. The worst part was that I never even really clarified things with her. I told myself that I’ll deal with it when I see her but I hardly tried to reach out. Even when I heard that she was going through difficult times, I still stood by my tampo. Yes, I know it was so childish! And I regret being such. A lot.

You see, I’ve never really been the “friendly” kind of person. I have always been an introvert. I prefer being alone most of the time. I have very few close friends — friends who really know me for who I really am. She is one of those. In fact, she was the bestest friend I’ve ever had. Kaya sobrang naiinis ako sa sarili ko dahil kung kailan kailangang kailangan niya ako, pinili kong lumayo. Hindi ko yata mapapatawad ang sarili ko sa ginawa ko.

Last Christmas, I resolved to make it up to her. Slowly, I  hope to find my way back into her life. I know I can never bring back the time lost. Sa kalahating taon na nawala siya sa buhay ko, buong buhay na niya ang nagbago. Sana mahabol ko pa ang nasayang na pagkakataon.

I saw her for the first time after 6 months last New Year. All I could do was hug her tight. We didn’t have time to talk about what happened but I’m glad I hugged her because I wanted so badly to make her feel that I loved her. I can still save our friendship. I know I can. Lord, help me!

Friends, when it comes to friendships, never ever let your pride get in the way. When misunderstandings arise, make sure to clarify things asap. Always value the friends who’ve been there with you and for you through thick and thin.

To my dearest friend, I hope you could find it in your heart to forgive me. I hope that there’s still a place for me in your new life.  I hope you will let me be your friend again. Okay lang kahit hindi muna kagaya nung dati. Basta sana hayaan mo akong tumayo sa likod mo — sa likod niyo ni baby.

A while ago, I heard this song playing on the radio and I remembered you. This song is for you.

And I never thought I’d feel this way
And as far as I’m concerned
I’m glad I got the chance to say
That I do believe I love you

And if I should ever go away
Well, then close your eyes and try to feel
The way we do today
And then if you can remember

Keep smilin’, keep shinin’
Knowin’ you can always count on me, for sure
That’s what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I’ll be on your side forever more
That’s what friends are for

Well, you came and opened me
And now there’s so much more I see
And so by the way I thank you

Whoa, and then for the times when we’re apart
Well, then close your eyes and know
These words are comin’ from my heart
And then if you can remember, oh

Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That’s what friends are for
In good times, in bad times
I’ll be on your side forever more
Oh, that’s what friends are for

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