Happy New Year And What’s Up?

But let me get through this.
This is my new year.
Another year to spend.


There was no New Year’s eve dinner for us. Nothing fancy menu or the special menu we curate for the celebration. We only shared our normal dinner to get by. I am unhappy to make out of something in the kitchen with no electricity and if ever I pulled through cooking something it would have been spoiled the next day. Again, no electricity, no refrigerator. All I want, I can speak for all of us, was some cold salad and a nice dessert. It could be a no-bake mango graham cake or leche flan.

It was because of a storm hitting us last Christmas evening that we were in this state of calamity. Even our Christmas dinner menu didn’t happen. I decided not to anymore because our house would be quite rowdy with our furniture and fixtures made sure that it will be water proof.


I woke up early last New Year’s day. It was a Sunday so I attended mass at six-thirty in the morning. This day was planned out long before it came. For three years in a row now, I have been participating on our high school class outreach program. We prepare food packs, school supplies, medicines and some gifts for children. They are located in our mountain barangay so we need to clear our schedule to share time with them even for a few hours. Reaching them is a risk and sacrifice at the same time. With vehicles on hand, traveling is not for the faint hearted. Road trip up to the mountain is either an adventure or really a gut wrenching experience especially when you have the fear of heights. I am so up with the former so it is a joy for me always to see an unobstructed view of the plains of our hometown. It is something breath-taking. When you are at the top it usually feels like that. Your presence seems small but grateful that you are a part of this beauty of vastness.

Our class decided to prepare grocery packs for this year’s outreach program. With the imminent effect of the storm, people just want the basic needs. We packed rice, canned goods, noodles and soap and detergent. We also gave medicines and gift packs to the children.

After attending the mass, that’s the time I coordinated with our class president for 2016 in organizing the repacking of the goods to come up with 100 pieces of grocery packs. We coordinated to distribute these packs to 100 families instead of limiting it to children being fed and entertained. We all agreed on this after all we gathered enough fund.

I spent the morning with the rest of my classmates volunteering in repacking the goods. Some were weighing the rice and while others were putting the rest of the canned meats and noodles. I organized them like an assembly line and making sure that nothing will be missed or left out. We packed and finished until lunch time. We shared a warm meal that is everyone’s favorite-pork blood stew with innards and taro-over a heaping serving of white rice.

In the afternoon we were caught in a slight road bump when the time came that we need to go there soon because the grocery packs were already at the site and the families are waiting for us too. The bump was we do not have a bigger car to fit in all thirteen of us that volunteered to distribute and spend time with the families. Soon enough we were able to contact a van and off we go.



A lot of families came in to see us together with their children in tow. The sky was still gray and looming with rain. We grouped them in the middle of a basketball court with the mountain range and dilapidated classrooms as our background. The wind was chilly and it started to drizzle when we started giving the packs to each family. As we reached the half of our distribution rain came falling down pushed by wind sideward. Mothers opened their umbrellas shielding their kids from being wet. We told them to seek cover and we will just call them. But none of them went off, they stood in line waiting for their names to be called. The rain was relenting. It was a crazy kind of weather.

Smiles of joy and gratitude painted that moment and our presence together with our fellow townsfolk through our collective unselfish gesture was a great way to start the year .




So this was how my New Year started. Happy New Year to me and to you. Take care always.





As I sit in front of our reliable desktop computer, in my mind I was trying to form on how will I take this week’s photo challenge. Few hours ago I have already picked the photos from my archive folders while I took a sit-down break from cleaning the kitchen drawers. As I type and compose, I just finished watching a replay of Masterchef USA’s episode and it all dawned on me thinking about the “grid” theme. What about it?


It was a day after the storm. I was standing in our veranda looking at these men, a pair of them was a father and son tandem. I looked like being in a cage because of the chicken wire. It was attached for safety of our household as per request by my mother. Given our house was standing few feet from a rural road so strangers pass by everyday and we don’t know what might happen.

My thinking veered into reconsidering the photos I picked for the challenge. Indeed, I sound challenged but not really. I’m just romanticizing my way of taking this challenge. I’ve never been out and about—yet, since my previous post of temporarily moving away and then finding my way back to my archive folders—with my camera dangling on my neck and shooting at subjects that appeal to me just so I could put on a collection of images I can sift through in the coming challenges.

I’ve been out last week. Quite such a productive week. I helped a mommy friend make a DIY baptismal invitation for her baby. We worked on it for around 2 days but not straight. So to say I was on the grid of creativity last week. In between doing the invitation, I spent one day making my personalized first birthday present for another godson gained from a close mommy friend too. I thought lowly of myself that I wouldn’t be able to do it in just a day but I did. It was a papercut art. I’ve checked Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and some tutorial and added creative flare. It was the craft art I’ve been wanting to make more so of putting myself into a cocoon of inspiration and creativity. The same thing for wanting to try calligraphy and hand lettering too. It’s just like finding a match with these arts.

I am putting my DIY-er and crafty self on the grid, again.


Arts and creativity are two of the things that I am proud of myself. At such a young age I am aware of how I appreciate everything that surrounds me. I was always fascinated with so many colors. Blurred visions sometimes would synapse when I am trying to replay in my memory about my childhood. At this time, I am training my brain, my memory to relive and somehow retain at its soft if not vivid images of these moments.

Back to my childhood and my brain and memory and arts and creativity. Underneath all these, inspiration is where it all starts. My mother used to tell me how good I was in drawing. I remembered drawing vegetables and also some hand lettering to be displayed on her classroom boards for her 4th grade students. I started doing it for her when I was, I think, in my 2nd grade. That’s how she is so patronizing with my raw talent. She shares it with her students. I, an inspiration to others in some way as she puts it.


This is my try at doodle art. Doodle art is a trend now especially with the adult coloring books. During my elementary days, this is called a poster. It looks amateur. This is intended for my former online student and this forms the first few pages of the sketchbook I gifted to her before she flew back to Seoul. This is my outtake on time and memory. Our time and memory shared seven years ago was my inspiration in putting together this sort of mini-storybook. It is not bursting with random memories of our online classes but I tried writing my thoughts and adding pieces of advice now that she is a teenager. I have written how I am proud of her and other inspiring words about life in general.

She liked it. I bet she is trying to understand those words. I find that she still struggles in comprehending my long English messages, much it is constructed laced with my personal tone and vocabulary. I believe she’ll get the message eventually, I am confident about her being smart.

These drawings were inspired from her experience, now a memory. First, it was her first time to set foot in the Philippines and we boast our own fast-food chain. A ubiquitous face of a smiling bumblebee mascot hence Jollibee. She said that her teacher M brought them and dined there. The burger champ was her favorite. Second, it was me and her seven years ago. Again, my try at doodling. It was an online video-chat platform that we use to teach them the English language. I decided to toy with the idea of drawing her in that peace sign cutesy pose although she never did it back then. I picture she is smiling or funnily enjoying her childhood memory of me as her first English online teacher upon seeing this. Third, music. I really don’t know any recent information about her, her likes, dislikes. So I thought of music. Music is cool. She likes listening to Maroon 5 and I got her a snippet of my playlist there. It appears blank but I’ve written something there before I gave it to her. Maroon 5’s Sugar obviously is included. Take a closer look of the poster where the playlist is currently “playing”.


I have drawn quite a number of doodle arts in that sketchbook. I am sharing a few because I want to preserve my personal gift to her. When she would have the chance to read this post, I am at peace knowing that she would not be so shocked that I gave away to everyone with her thinking that it was solely made just for her.

Above is my favorite doodle art that I have sketched. This is also included in that sketchbook, which by now could be lying or neatly stashed in a shelf at her study in Korea. What I want for her is to read, to love reading. If not so much, I would want to encourage her to read a real book. With the advent of technology and how quick is its pace in her country maybe reading a real life book made of paper is not common with her generation. All but limited to textbooks at school. We didn’t talk about reading when we had lunch. I just hope she’ll think of that note I wrote in this doodle. A note about reading.

I feel inspired these days, not into more writing, not that I discount writing about my experiences over here but I am more drawn to just living the life I have. The waiting, the desperation mode and the options. All of it would want to eat me. I beg to be swallowed now rather I am doing all with my might to keep things, to keep the going-ons more at my taste, pace and time. Taking the moment in at some degree, yes. Mostly, I am keeping myself afloat of dreams, of future travels, of reading and my growing stash of books, of being alive for my family and friends and of wanting to build my future tree house or beach house.

These are my inspirations, now. Cheerios.


DSC00149Through reading I experience solitude and quietness encircling me. With me relishing and imagining every chapter I begin to realize that it also becomes a moment of self awareness and examination. You pause at certain lines that struck a chord in you. When I become vulnerable and sensitive at some point certain flashes of my life’s scenes are replayed in my mind. It is with reading too that I try to reflect back on matters and decisions I have made recounting failures, detours and success that makes the human in me whole.

A month and a half ago again I pushed myself getting to the big city. I brought with me two bags full of clothes and 2 pairs of shoes. My newly bought 2 books last December were also properly stashed in my backpack plus the third book I have not finished reading yet. I was doubly deciding in bringing it because it has really been a while. I was torn between finishing its last pages as to the two new books waiting, excitedly enticing my eyes and mind to unfold what’s in them. I ended up still bringing it.

As of this moment, I am finished reading it. I started reading one of the new books two weeks ago. I read slow. Relishing every word my mind captures. Imagining the characters in the scenes on how they move, how they converse down to some antics uniquely described by the author. I am not into voracious consumption kind of reading. When I read, I open my soul until it satisfies me. I may not finish the whole book in one sitting but on every chapter that strikes my attention it feeds a part of me. It opens me to a flow of creative ideas and it reconnects my mental self to a deeper understanding of life-like situations and just toughen up.