17 April 2014

WHEN GOD CLOSES A DOOR, HE OPENS THE AIRPORT



February this year, I lost a job. The morning show I worked at - UKG - reformatted, and I was no longer part of it. I went through an existential crisis. At 31 years of age, I had another "quarter life crisis". Questioning whether I am in the right line of work, what my purpose is in life, if this is the job I am really meant to do, and if I even have a place in it anymore. That self-doubt people go through when crisis strikes.

As the weeks passed, and after many talks with my family and friends and management, I was at peace with my situation. I accepted it, realized that this happens to everyone (no exceptions), and instead I looked forward to doing other things I've always wanted to do and pursue other dreams I've always wanted to pursue but had no time to.

1. I've always said that since I started working in 3rd year college, I have never had a vacation longer than 10 days.. but have always wanted to.

2. I've always dreamed of taking my Masters (In college I was convinced I would go to film school after graduation) but since I am blessed to have work I love doing already, I know that being away for 2 years isn't possible for now.. but I still have always wanted to.

3. I love traveling and really save up and set aside money for travel and take the chance to leave every time I have free time. 



Putting all that together, I consulted my loved ones and I decided to:

1. Finally take that 2 1/2 week vacation I have been longing for. I decided to go to London because my sister lives there. Aside from it being an amazing city, going somewhere where you can stay with family is huge savings because you don't have to pay for lodging.


Me, my sister Aissa, and Timmy Bear



2. Finally "study abroad" by taking two short courses. It is by no means a real "degree" but if all I have is a few days of learning a different point of view and getting out of my comfort zone, then I will take it. I took up a 5 day course on Data Visualisation in Central Saint Martins and a 3 day course on Lifestyle Journalism in London School of Journalism.


Taken on the first day of my class at CSM


3. Make the most out of my trip and take mini trips with my sister within my trip. We decided on Stratford Upon Avon just an hour away from London, and Edinburgh in Scotland, 4.5 hours away from London by train.


Sisters adventure in Edinburgh




So I fixed all my documents, fixed all my work schedules that had to be moved and asked permission from work I would be leaving, and set my trip for March 20 til April 6. My longest vacation (well, half study trip, half leisure trip) ever. 

Little did I know that before my 6AM flight on March 20, the biggest surprise of my life has been planned and was about to be revealed to me. 


#theproposal

It was a jampacked 17 days. Within the 17 days, I attended 2 short courses, took 2 out of town trips, saw 2 concerts, 1 musical, and 1 improv night, had a fitting session for a bridal gown, went to every spot in London I wanted to see, had dinner out with friends more 10 times, and took 3 travel tumbling shots. It wasn't a "rest" trip at all! It was an action packed, trip full of new adventures with amazing new learnings I will bring with me for life. And at the end of it all, I had what would be the start of a beautiful future to be planned waiting for me. 

My handsome sundo at the airport

Life is not just what happens to you, it is what you make of it. 

So really. When God closes a door, He not only opens a window.. He opens the airport and the world to you. When a door closes, it is your choice whether to be defeated by it or to take charge of the situation and make it work for you. 

And the most important lesson I've learned.. no matter how much you plan your life according to what you think will make you fulfilled and happy, God has plans for you that are far better than anything you can ever dream of. 






30 March 2014

#JCANDB



There are so many family members, friends, and NAIA Terminal 2 staff I am so thankful to for coming together (at 4 in the morning!) and making the most magical day of my life possible. But most of all, I am thankful to my fiancé JC (aaaah, fiancé!!!!) for being so amazing. I thought I knew him well after 3 years of being together, but I guess this goes to show that he can and will be pulling surprises out of his sleeves for the rest of our lives. I am really the luckiest girl in the world.

I would like to share with you two very personal videos sent to me by our good friend Mikaela Martinez, who was right there beside me that morning.

I felt something was up, but I had NO idea what was in store for me. Until, this moment:


video

I saw behind me my closest friends and JC's closest friends, JC's family (and apparently my family being updated every second via a Whatsapp chatgroup) at 5 in the morning, all also with a rose each. I could not stop the tears streaming down my face.

video

Sorry for the bitin video, the clip really ended there and Mikaela started taking photos. Thank you for this, Miks! 

JC and I are really both very private people and aside from the occasional Twitter or Instagram post about what we do or when we travel, we really don't share much about ourselves except to family and friends. Until now, I still really have no idea why JC chose to propose the way he did, but I don't really want to question it anymore because I just really feel lucky and blessed!!!!

What I can share and would like to share, that maybe other couples may be able to relate to, is a few things JC said when he was standing in front of me in the middle of the airport.

Just like in the movies, really. Photo by Mark Intal


He said, "Last night, you asked me how much I love you and I just said a lot. But, this," he looks around, and says, "this is my answer."

He added, "I love that you aren't perfect, and I've come to love your imperfections." 

This means the world to me. When we girls are single or in the start of a relationship, there is always this pressure to look somewhat perfect, to act somewhat perfect, to avoid mistakes, to avoid screwing up, to impress or keep the guy we like or the man we love. But we all know that we can't be perfect. And this man decided to love every imperfection of mine, and I really, really cannot be any luckier.

It was really all a blur at that moment, I just couldn't stop crying! Photo collage by JR Intal

To be honest, until now I cannot stop staring at my ring and when I try to recall that morning, I really cannot believe that happened to me!!!! Thank you Lord for this wonderful man! I keep saying that I must have done something amazing in a past life for me to deserve this.

I've asked the question, "how do you know he is the one?" And I've heard the answer, "you just know it." To be honest, I didn't know it. JC and I have both been in relationships that we thought was for the long run but wasn't. But what I can share is, and this I realized from something my good friend Mariel mentioned to me, is that you know that person is the one when that person loves you the way you have always wanted to be loved. 

This is a photo we took before my boarding call, that we sent to our private barkada chatgroup, and we had no idea our friend Cheska would post it online, so please do excuse me for that face. I was just so happy!!!!





I do wish I had put on lipstick, and I wonder about how agaw-eksena that backpack is, but how would I have known this would happen.. and at 5 in the morning!

Thank you again to every single one of our loved ones and even those who we have never met for the overwhelming love and support you have shown JC and I.
Cheers to new adventures and new chapters!!!!  




16 March 2014

#10QUESTIONS WITH RAJO LAUREL



RAJO LAUREL
("In my head I am perenially 28 years old")
Fashion designer and entrepreneur


A rare Rajo #selfie for the love of Lupita and her headband


One of the biggest names in the Philippine Fashion Design scene is also a major mogul with a number of businesses and collaborations to his name. He is one of the most generous souls, always ready to be fairy godmother to friends in need. He loves to travel the world and also loves to take foreigner friends (read: Sarah Jessica Parker included) around the country. Know Rajo more in 10 questions:




1. Do you remember every single dress or outfit you've made? Any one particular favorite?

I do have a vague recollection of each dress I have created although there will always be unforgettable ones. These are the wedding gowns of my sisters that are really close to my heart. What I remember clearly is what they looked like seconds before entering the church, that I will hold very close to my heart.

2. How many percent of a good design is product of formal school and training and how many percent of it is pure talent and creativity?


I believe that proper technical know how is extremely important in the execution of good design. Obviously talent is very important, but if there is no foundation on how the idea will be properly done then this will lead to failure. I always say that beautiful poetry can only be achieved only if one properly learns their ABC's.

3. Dream Hollywood client?


Cate Blanchett.

4. What one place do you love taking foreign visitors to here in Manila?


I would take them to a proper seafood "dampa" experience! There is nothing like an amazing Filipino meal that would make one trip extremely memorable.

5. One important business tip you would give a starting entrepreneur?


Know your numbers.  Proper accounting practices will be the best foundation for your business to grow.

6. When your creative juices aren't flowing, what do you do to get them flowing?


I try to escape and feed my desire to wander. Escape can mean just taking a break from your daily routine or a weekend get away. This practice clears my mind and gets me creative.

7. What is the sweetest thing your boyfriend Nix has ever done for you?


Nix's gift to me is laughter. He really makes me laugh. Although I remember him renovating our apartment while I was on a trip and coming back to a brand new apartment was really a fantastic surprise.

8. Your favorite song to sing in karaoke?


Creep. I like the message of the song and I can really give my lungs a work out when I sing this song.

9. Would you consider having children in the future?


I am blessed with beautiful nephews and nieces and my desire to have children have been taken over by their presence and love.

10. Is there really any ultimate fashion no-no?


I really appreciate all kinds of fashion and I don't believe in rules.  Fashion is a means of expression and for me this means that we should all enjoy it.  The only thing that I would be cautious about is appropriateness and this is something that one should always consider and think about when dressing up.



Rajo x 2 for his National Bookstore collection


Til the next #10Questions!



HOW I CELEBRATED MY BIRTHDAY WITHOUT CELEBRATING


Time really friggin flies. In my head I'm still 25 years old then all of a sudden I wake up and I'm 31

I am really not one for parties during my birthday. I always prefer just having quality time with my loved ones and enjoying a good meal (usually Japanese or Sonia's Garden, yes, every year!) and that's it. The only "party" I ever recall having was when I turned 1 and when I was 2nd grade, thrown by my parents. And when I was a PBB housemate, thrown by the staff. Other than that, I really prefer quiet birthdays.

This year was different because I may not have thrown any party, I had 6 intimate and meaningful mini celebrations thanks to special people who surprised me with the ultimate birthday symbol.. a cake! 





First was a box of cupcakes surprise from my Earth Faces team, in Coron, Palawan, the weekend before my birthday. We were shooting part of our advocacy campaign with Facial Care Center and they were so sweet to make a way to suprise me, with matching Happy Birthday song by the Lobster King singer of the night! (And a song while we were swimming in the Twin Lagoon earlier that day, so cinematic I wish I had a video of it!) Thank you Anna, NJ, Niccolo, Anton, Dwight, and Kaye.



On the stroke of midnight on the anniversary of my birth, March 11, I was surprised to wake up to the sound of my boyfriend JC singing me a happy bithday with matching cake and candle! With hair standing and probably muta in my eyes, I made a wish! He knows I am not one for big celebrations so this thoughtful surprise really meant so much.



On the morning of March 12, we had an editorial line up meeting for meg magazine, and after the "work" part was done, they surprised me with not just one, but two cakes!!!! Thank you to my girls Ning, Rain, Portia, Guia, Bea, Tin, and Ionne for the thoughtfulness. (They also gave me coloring books and crayons as a gift! I love it!)



On the afternoon of the 12th, I met up with a group of girlfriends for a crafternoon! It is basically an afternoon of DIY fun where we learned rubber stamping and basic calligraphy from Alessandra Lanot. In the middle of our class, I was surprised with the famous Choco Yema cake of Slice! Thank you Slice, and thanks to my friends Rina, Trisia, Trina, Marion, and Alessa!



On the evening of the 13th, I had taping for my show Cinemanews, and there, I was pleasantly surprised by not just the staff of the show (thank you Ate Kitty for arranging everything, and to my bosses Sir Ronald and Sir Amboy for the love and support), but my beloved Biancsters. Thank you Kate, Monica, Karen, Ate Juliet, Mabel, Eliza, Cay, Christine, Caroline, and Calc (who was there in spirit!)



On the afternoon of the 14th, I had my annual celebration with school kids in Taguig, and this time, Mayor Lani, the principal Ma'am Tess, and all the teachers and students of the 6th grade of Taguig Elementary School sang me a birthday song and gave me a cake! I really tried my best to hold back the tears kasi ang pangit naman kung ang drama ko. But it DID make me very emotional! Thank you Ate Lani for all the love, always.





So for a girl who doesn't really celebrate, 6 mini celebrations were really so much more than I could ask for. The funny thing though? Every single time I closed my eyes to make a wish before blowing the candle, I had only one wish in mind. And that wish, I would like to keep for myself. Haha. 

I admit I had the birthday blues. Questions on if I really am where I'm supposed to be at this point in my life, where am I headed, what should I do.. but I've accepted that as all part of growing up. I may have many worries, but I still am overwhelmed by and thankful for all the blessings and it feels selfish to even ask God for anything more. 

Thank you to everyone who extended their well wishes and birthday greetings!!!! I am humbled and blessed to be the recipient of such wonderful words. 












09 March 2014

#10QUESTIONS WITH SEN. PIA CAYETANO


PIA CAYETANO
47
Senator of the Philippines, businesswoman, triathlete, 
advocate of health and women's and children's rights, and supermom


Yes, senators can take #selfies too!


To celebrate women's month (and her upcoming birthday on the 22nd!), I would like to put the spotlight on a woman I consider to be one of my personal heroes. There literally is nothing she cannot do, and she inspires me (and so many others) that we can do whatever it is we put our heart to, too. Imagine, she answered these questions before and after running her first ultra marathon. Learn more about this modern day superwoman in 10 questions.





1. Why decide to train for triathlons at age 40? Were you ever scared it was "too late"?


It never occurred to me that I was too old cause I was a very fit runner when I started, plus it was always my dream! My brother Lino got me into biking the year before I became a senator. So I did duathlons for a few years, then I started swimming and eventually joined triathlons. Funny but in my first sprint Tri, all the other girls were like 16 years old! Then of course I felt old and slow cause they were all good swimmers. But I'm a strong biker and runner so I still felt confident. Today, I still love it.


2. What is the best thing about being in your 40s, that you didn't have in your 30s or 20s?


More confidence. I consider myself a shy person, or at least I feel that I was a shy person. I worry less now about what people think. I trust my instincts more. I trust my experience and my values and am able to make decisions that may seem unpopular or out of the ordinary but have the confidence to do it. 


3. Do you sometimes also feel like tweeting witty bashing posts when things get heated in Senate hearings?

Haha! Yes! But I have mastered the art of self-restrain and patient. So I take a few deep breaths then tweet something more professional. 


4. You are very tough but you also have a kikay side! What is the most kikay thing about you?


Hmmm, I like pink lipstick and nail polish. 


5. Who are the closest to you in the Senate, and what is the one adjective you'd use to describe them?


I'm close to many of my colleagues but I've singled out a few and have one word describing them in a way that many may not know. Alan (Cayetano) is funny! Miriam (Santiago) is the adviser (my love life adviser).


6. What is one thing you've learned from your kids Maxine, Nadine, and Lucas?


Max and Nadine are both in their teens. Max has this kind of grace under pressure that I absolutely envy. With Nadine, I look at her and see a wonderful balance of toughness and sweetness rolled into one. My little Lucas who is only 3, I look at him and he reminds me of a most basic fact - boys are not like girls! 

7. Why is women's month so important and what did you do this year to celebrate it?


It is so important to celebrate women's month in order to raise awareness about the discriminatory practices that still exist. Even women  are unaware of this and there is much work that needs to be done to make this a more gender sensitive country with equal opportunities for women. This year, I went to Cebu and joined the All Women Ultra Marathon. Being with these women who were doing a 50km run, many of them working moms like me, was just so amazing. I planned to do just half but ended up finishing the race, and doing my first ultra-marathon. 


8. One thing you still want to achieve?


Believe it or not, I never had specific goals in life. I simply believe in exploring opportunities that come your way and giving it your best.  What is still out there? The opportunity each day to make this a better world, to be a good mom to my kids and to make a difference.


9. How did you deal with the biggest heartbreak of your life?


Prayer and surrounding myself with people who love me and understand my pain, allow me to sulk a bit and be sad, but pick me up by makings laugh and distracting me. 


10. Your absolute favorite cheap thrill?


Taho and puto! Spotting the Taho vendor or the puto vendor on the road when Ice been biking for long hours under the sun! 


With her kids Lucas, Maxine, and Nadine


Til the next #10Questions!



07 March 2014

5 VERY SIMPLE WAYS TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE


I was quite the nerd when I was in school, and to this day, I have my nerdy tendencies intact. Here are a few tricks I've learned along the way:



1. List down everything you have to do at the start of the day.

Reading an actual list and seeing the items checked off one by one will help you feel productive, and give you that push to get every single thing on it done. 

My suggestion: Arrange your to do list either by order of importance (more difficult things first and easier tasks last) or in chronological order (with the time of when you have to do what right beside it).


2. Have whatever you need with you, near you.

We all have our "tools" to being productive. From coffee, snacks, and a glass of water, to a calculator, dictionary, and a pen. A lot of time is wasted when you keep needing to stand up to look for something.

My suggestion: Before you sit down on your workspace, put everything you think you may need or want beside you already.


3. Be a light, happy workmate.

A happy workplace is a productive work place. Who likes working with a bossy, snotty, whiny negatron?

My suggestion: When work gets tough, enjoy a good ranting session then a good laughing session with your workmates. Get through things together, and look back at it with fondness after. 


4. Workout in the morning.

Do you know that burst of energy you feel after a good run or after a challenging workout? Aside from the "happy hormones", getting your blood pumping at the start of the day can definitely help you eliminate laziness.

My suggestion: Wake up an hour before the actual time that you have to be out of the house to head to work. Use that time to sweat it out! Remember, a 15 minute workout is better than nothing at all.


5. Stop checking Twitter every 5 minutes, seriously. 

Distractions are everywhere and undoubtedly, social media is the number one enemy when it comes to trying to focus. Yes, you may miss being the first to find out about that super star studded Oscar selfie, but reacting to it one hour later isn't such a big deal when you got what you were supposed to do, done. 

My suggestion: Set a specific "break time" for yourself and checking your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts will be your "reward".


My doodle on a whiteboard


Have a happy workday!



01 March 2014

#10QUESTIONS WITH LUIS MANZANO


I'm starting a regular weekend post for my blog called #10QUESTIONS. I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people, from those in the public eye to those who quietly go about their day, and I would like for you to get to know them (or know them a bit better) because they really are people who make this world a better place.

And I wanted to launch this with a public personality who everyone pretty much loves. 


. . . 



LUIS MANZANO
32
Actor, TV host, businessman


He may have grown up being known as "I love you Lucky" or someone who was "just" the son of Edu and Vilma. But when he succumbed to his destiny to enter showbiz, he slowly developed his own unique style, sense of humor, and voice to become one of the most respected and awarded TV hosts in the industry. Behind the camera, he is a compassionate employer, smart strategist, and genuine friend. Get to know more about Luis in 10 questions.




1. What age did you realize or acknowledge that you were a "famous" baby?

I had a feeling already at a young age because everyone would be talking about my mom. There was also one instance she took me to the supermarket and it became an instant mall show.

2. What is your earliest memory of a girl at school making pa cute to you? How did you feel?

I can't remember the first time a girl made pa cute to me, but let's just say I had my first girlfriend when I was 7 years old. We lasted for more than a year if remember correctly.

3. Have you ever wanted to punch someone in the face?

Hmmm.. once in a while a basher or hater comes along and I want to pour every bit of my being into a punch or kick. It may happen. :)

4. Have you ever gotten an indecent proposal?

So far, no indecent proposals involving cash or favors. However, someone has asked for some "action" as a birthday gift. Hehehe.

5. When the time comes that you will propose to the woman you want to be with, are you the type to arrange a full production proposal, or something more quiet and intimate?

I honestly don't know but I will make sure she will cherish that moment forever.

6. What is one naughty fantasy that you have, whether it may or may not come true in your lifetime?

It's not the right time nor place to discuss my fantasies.

7. You love watches. What is one watch model you dream of owning someday?

Patek Philippe 5970P. It's my grail watch. If I get to buy one, I'd be perfectly happy ending my watch journey.

8. When people bash or troll you on social media, do you care? Do you block people?

Yup, block, delete, give them a dose of their own medicine. Or I just let them be, depending on my mood. I just try to understand that they weren't hugged enough as children.

9. What was the most stupid thing you did for love?

It wasn't even for love, but for attraction. I gave up my dream to be a doctor and followed a girl to HRIM.

10. You are a self-confessed "mama's boy". What is the most meaningful compliment or advice your mom ever gave you?

When she says she is proud of me. She never really gave me advice but instead, she showed me by example, the way she deals with people from all walks of life exactly the same way.







. . .



Next weekend again, for #10QUESTIONS!

25 February 2014

10 NON-ARTISTA INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS YOU SHOULD FOLLOW


Instagram is a major source of inspiration. From beautiful photos, to quotes, to documentation of your favorite celebrities' lifestyle, there are hundreds of photos to draw inspiration from day in, day out.

But artistas are not the only people worthy of your "follow" on social media. Here are 10 more awesome Pinoys you should follow now:



1. 
@EWWS
Ryan Vergara, photographer

He has a great eye for colors and details, and great love for his favorite subject, his wife Garovs.




2.
@jatadena
JA Tadena, cinematographer

True to his profession and passion, his photos feel like stills from a film. Plus I love B&W.




3.
@hellokris
Kris Aquino, professional editor, photography enthusiast 

No, not that Kris Aquino. I love her DIY designs and her eye that sees the pretty in everything.




4.
@pepediokno
Pepe Diokno, filmmaker, writer, and producer

His fascination with music, history, and film are translated perfectly into those little photo boxes.




5.
@alessandralanot
Alessa Libongco Lanot, crafter

With just pens and watercolor, she creates such beautiful images and letters. #talentenvy




6.
@vince_uy
Vince Uy, creative director

His Instagram account is as well-edited as his magazine covers, editorials and advertising campaigns.




7.
@manikayujuico
Manika Yujuico Kwan, fashion executive

I absolutely adore this Hong Kong and New York based girls' travels, life, and shoes. #shoequeen 




8.
@angelaamongstrangers
Angela Alarcon, stylist

She has beautifully strange taste in images, and shares fashion inspiration from just about anywhere.




9.
@catjuanledesma
Cat Juan Ledesma, writer

The former magazine editor shares her life as a wife and mom in her picturesque diary.




10.
@givemesam
Sam Lee, filmmaker

She who writes the best captions also takes the most enviable (non-annoying) selfies.




Happy following!