Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Dose of Sunshine

My Dad used to serve as a judge in a Regional Trial Court and some of the cases that were raffled off to him included murder, terrorism, rape etc. Pretty depressing but he manage to handle it well through prayer. Despite all those horrid things he had to handle he kept a positive outlook on life. There is not problem that cannot be solved. No prayer that will be left unanswered.

And this is one thing that held me together even during difficult times. At the back of my mind I always thought that there was sunshine out there even though there were times I stubbornly stayed in the shade. I hope I got some of my Dad's tenacity. When he wanted to do something, he did it. He'd find a way to do it. My Mom is the same. She's a great project manager and can get things done in a practical manner.

A few years back I wrote a blog post about the lack of good news about our country. I was happy to see that eventually some local media started putting "good news" sections in their coverage. But, I think it's not enough. Last November some of my colleagues asked me if it was common to see 5 murder stories on the front page of our newspaper. I was horrified because I knew it was an exception and I wanted to highlight the good things happening in our country.

After that I started to look closely into the news from other countries and realized that yeah we're pretty much a negative bunch. It's not only on the news, but also on social networking sites. I think what we need both as a people and as individuals is a heavy does of sunshine. Something that would make us have a positive outlook and determination to make things work. It's not bad to cover negative stuff in the news, but there should be a good healthy balance to show that some things do work and highlight what needs to be worked out. That's what I noticed in foreign newspapers. They would cover bad stuff, but give constructive criticism.

But that's just me and my bottomless optimism :)

"I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe." 
Dalai Lama

Monday, July 30, 2012

20 Years After High School

I never really thought about my future when I was in high school. It seemed pretty weird to me back then and my immediate plans revolved around graduating from college and finding a nice job. Things jumbled up a bit when I had Miguel in college, but things pretty much fell into place eventually.



My life was pretty routine when I was in high school. I'd get up at around 4:30 in the morning and the school bus would swing by for me at around 5:15am and I'd be in school at around 7. I ate with the same set of friends from my freshman year until senior year. And they're still my buddies until today. Come to think of it my science laboratory partner, Rica, was my partner for all four years too. She took care of all the gory stuff (think: frog dissection) and I did all the reports. We had a good team despite being complete opposites (she's now an awarded independent film director!).

I had to attend our high school reunion even though I was a bit freaked out about celebrating "20 years after high school". My seatmate/laboratory partner, Rica, was in the committee and she managed to bamboozle me to go home for it (I certainly had to  give up helping in a huge project for this!). So I arrived almost on time last Saturday to attend the reunion (but everyone else was almost 2 hours late!).


I should've watched "Romy and Michelle" again before attending the reunion. I had planned to wear a shirt and shorts +sneakers ensemble, but since I was scheduled to accompany Sweetie to another appointment I decided to wear blouse and jeans (minus the sneakers). Good thing I had bothered to get a hair spa on the same day because I was pretty surprised that everyone seemed to have worn make-up for the party (I guess it's just probably me who thought otherwise, the perils of working for a company which doesn't require you to dress up).

Our section wanted to win the "Hakot Award", but we had a low turnout and so there was only 9 of us. I realized then that a lot of my batchmates are already based in other countries and I was mightily surprised that I had batchmates who live in Singapore too! It was a fun evening reminiscing about high school. The short skit done by some batchmates highlighted our heavy use of the following back then -- Trapper Keeper, Denman brush, Aquanet and our bulging pockets which housed all of those things plus our wallet/album. Of course there had to be a dance number. I took a short video but I'm not going to upload it (I'm not sure it will be welcomed.).



I wouldn't be where I am today if not for the discipline instilled on to me by my teachers (especially the terror ones). I was really happy to see some of them in the flesh - Ms. Galan (P.E.), Ms. Mina (Filipino), Mrs. Se and Ms. Dehesa (now Mrs. Isidro). My Filipino teacher I mentioned in a previous blog post gave us a message through a video. We all shrieked when she appeared on screen. She still has the power to make us sweat even after all these years (haha). One of the things I remember she kept harping on back then was, "Always be prepared even with the small things." If you didn't bring your own paper you weren't allowed to take a quiz.

That's Rica, my high school seatmate/laboratory partner. Still makulit as ever. 

It was great to see my classmates again and I think in the coming years the the "section border" is going to blur and we'd eventually just remember we're from one batch. It was also interesting to see how people have changed physically and mentally in the past 2 decades. I gained 30 pounds since high school! It doesn't look like it, but I used to be reed thin back then (I'm just hiding everything now in my pata). And I can say a lot of us from the "quiet group" have come out of our shell (probably wreaking more havoc than the notorious ones back then).

Well girls, see you in "the nearest Sunday to February 10" in 2017 for our silver jubilee! Block your calendars now!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Slippers


This is how bad my blog back-log is. I actually took this photo in October 2009 at an event in Limketkai Mall, Cagayan de Oro.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What to Do When the Internet is Down at Home

I was going bonkers the other day when my internet connection at home kept going down. 3G connection was of no help either since signal was very low. I had to go out to the street to ping my colleague to call me up because I couldn't join the Hangout. Anyway, it was hard, but I survived the one hour call.

I just could not, not do anything so I tried to do some work that did not require me to be online. There was only one task I could do offline -- edit a video (the result). It took a lot of time (and help) and by the time we finished with the video (around 3 hours later), internet was back.

I thought I'd list down some stuff I could do whenever the internet goes down. I remember when we moved to our new home it took the telco 3 weeks to move our line and so I had to survive on 3G for a few weeks.

(1) Cook - during that time because I had to be disciplined about my time online I had the chance to try out new dishes.

(2) Chores - with more time in my hands I had the chance to do more chores and organize my stuff.

(3) Gardening - spent time weeding and planting new stuff in my garden. I had my Mom adopt most of my plants since most of them started to die when I moved to Singapore.

(4) Read books - this is one thing I do whenever I travel. I get dizzy when I try to use my laptop in-flight, so I just read. (A bit curious though about the Kindle since that would be lighter to bring).

(5) Sleep! Or go to the spa - this I have not tried to do.

Well... have a relaxing weekend everyone! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Josh Art: Bead Bracelet

I had the opportunity to have dinner with my playmate Josh last night and he gave me this lovely bracelet. I truly appreciate home-made gifts and I remember Sweetie used to make me home made cards when we started dating (teehee). There's much more effort in that than buying expensive gifts.
Thank you Josh, this will be part of my gPhilippines outfit :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hanoi Life

The few days I was in Hanoi does not do any justice to what it has to offer for its visitors. I was so busy I didn't have any time to go around. The few snapshots I got were mostly stolen shots white I was in transit or waiting for a cab.

Here's a woman with her trade crossing the street amidst fast moving cars and motorcycles.


Unique tricycle rushing around. I was actually surprised to see a man walking beside it since we were in a busy street. 


One thing I noticed in Hanoi was they had special motorcycle riders-fashion. Here's a girl wearing a long sleeved shirt that has a hood that also covers the face and the sleeves cover the hands too. The child had a special protective covering. Helmets were also very different and there were for female only helmets where you can hang out your ponytail. 


This is a common sight in Hanoi. People hanging out at the park seated on plastic stools. In the mornings they drink coffee, in the evenings they eat sunflower seeds. 


I was really surprised to see a street that had many different shoe shops. It was shoe heaven! I wanted to buy several pairs of sneakers but was too lazy to bargain, maybe next time :)



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

GSA Philippines in "Call Me Maybe"

We shot this video during the Google Student Ambassador SEA Summit in Singapore a few weeks back. I attempted to edit it in Bali, but ended up sleeping the whole weekend (sorry kids!). Sweetie took pity on me and took over editing hehehe.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Uncle Angel

I was so anxious all day yesterday about Sweetie because he hurt his back. Matters of the spine need to be taken seriously so I quickly re-booked my flight and dropped everything to get home as soon as I can. What made matters worse though the airline double-charged me for re-booking my flight. This was brought to my attention by the airline crew at Changi Airport when I called up to check if it was okay just to pay when I checked-in. They said that it was unfair, so they took care of calling up the Manila office to re-do the fare computation.

I had to wait a long time to get the fare re-computed. I just wanted to get home as soon as I can. I sat near the counter and was watching a little boy who was showing the world what terrible two meant. An uncle, one of the many airport crew, sat beside me and watched the child too. The parents was just letting him run around by himself and the uncle looked like he was ready to run and rescue the child in case he hurt himself.

To distract myself I started chatting with the uncle and we both agreed that the child was indeed very active (malikot!). The uncle said that Europeans and Asians bring up their children very differently. I told him that in the Philippines parents always make sure that their kids are within safe distance. He said in Europe parents usually just leave the kids running around. He also shared that Europeans don't believe in "whacking" the kids, but was glad that in Asia parents are generally disciplinarians.

We had a very good discussion. After parenting we started talking about health because I told him I was going home for a family emergency. I didn't notice the time, but soon enough the ground crew called me so I could check-in. It was just a few minutes before boarding time so I hurriedly left for the counter. As I was leaving the uncle I was chatting with waved to me and told me to have a safe flight.

As I was rushing to get to the boarding gate I realized that God sent me an angel to calm me down. The uncle looked a lot like my Dad - same height, white hair, wore glasses, except he was fair skinned. My Dad used to be able to calm me down in an instant and I guess he was watching over me yesterday to make sure I get home safely to my family. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gastronomic Delights in Hanoi

Spent a few days in Hanoi for some events. As usual I did not have time to go around, so I made up for it by eating every chance I got (it helped that the heat during the events helped burn everything I ate immediately). I asked my superstar travel blogger friend - Nina - what's the best thing to do in Hanoi. She said that I can not go wrong with food, because everything was delicious in Hanoi.

I was too tired to go out on my first night so I just had late merienda/early dinner after my afternoon meeting. I was asleep by 9 in the evening, but was up early the next morning and had some pancakes in my room. I made sure my stomach was ready to take in lots of food by lunch time since Phillip said that Spices Garden Restaurant at the Sofitel Metropole Hotel was probably the best Vietnamese cuisine restaurant in Hanoi. I tried many different things - pork (like tapa), spring rolls, fried bao, traditional fried pancake etc. - and I loved it all. The buffet made available many Vietnamese dishes and it was hard to choose since everything looked delicious.

I piled up a lot of fried stuff on my plate (bad, bad, bad!), but I balanced it by eating a couple of all-veggie spring rolls. I couldn't resist eating a couple of fried bao though. It was just truly yummy.



This is Phillip's healthy plate. I would've gone for the prawns, but I was scared of having my allergies act up.


In the evening we headed to a French restaurant - Green Tangerine Cafe & Restaurant. The dishes we got were quite unlike anything I've had. Reminded me of the stuff they make on Master Chef. My choices though was pretty limited because most of the dishes had chicken in it. (Apologies for the bad photos, it was pretty dark and I couldn't get the right camera setting).






The next day we had lunch in Venus Palace. The restaurant mimicked a typical street food set-up in smaller towns. We had to get coupons so we can "buy" from one stall to the other. I had a bit of a hard time ordering food since I wasn't sure about the ingredients. I'm glad though we had Phillip and Dung help us with our orders.



My trip was too short to see the beautiful sights around Hanoi, but I'm glad I managed to make up for it with food! Since my trips are always for work, I guess I'll just focus more on posting about food and what you can do with limited time in a country. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yogyakarta

It took me several visits to Jakarta before I managed to say the correct pronunciation for Yogyakarta (it's Jogjakarta), much to the consternation of my Indonesian friends. As a Filipino we were trained to pronounce words based on their spelling so I also found it difficult to remember that "C" in Indonesia is read as "Ch". I'm glad though that I have the opportunity to learn more about the other cultures in our region.

I managed to visit Yogyakarta for the very first time last week, but only for less than 24 hours. I asked Pungkas lots of questions about Yogyakarta all day (hope he didn't get annoyed haha). I learned quite a lot of things from him.

I was surprised to find out that Jogja has a Sultan. He lives in a palace which is at the center of the axis from north to south. The city was also built in a way that the Sultan can see across the city. Pungkas explained to me that Yogyakarta was supposed to be a separate country, but because of good relations they have with the Indonesian government, they have an agreement that it will be run by the Sultan.

I didn't get to see much of Yogyakarta since I finished work late. One thing I certainly enjoyed though (aside from the warm welcome I got) was experiencing the local cuisine. Pungkas brought me to Bale Raos, known to be the Sultan's kitchen. I loved the fact that the food wasn't spicy and tasted very similar to some Filipino dishes. Aside from the lovely food in the restaurant they also had a huge souvenir shop where I ended up buying another batik blouse (oh no!).

Hope to be able to come back to Yogyakarta again and have some time to visit Borobudur.

Thanks Pungkas for the warm welcome.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Half-Way

I'm half-way through my 30-day blogging challenge and I'm pretty happy that I've so far held up. There are days though when I almost forget to blog but it's become a habit and I just instantly remember that I still need to do something before I sleep.

I've been blogging for more than 5 years now and I realized in the past few months that I haven't been blogging regularly that I needed to write. I just feel incomplete when I don't and when I see that I have a gazillion un-blogged adventures.

Things I want to blog about are still piling up and oftentimes I just find myself too tired to write, but at least I've managed to revive my blog. :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dusk in Bali



My forehead's peeling! I don't recall this happening to me ever and I didn't even swim when I was in Bali. I just spent approximately 15 minutes by the sea shore of Kuta Beach to catch the sunset. It's a sign though... I need a real vacation!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ina, The Penafrancia

I randomly looked for photos in my Picasa folder to see if there was anything I haven't blogged about and chanced upon the album of my trip to Naga in 2010. Immediately saw the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia and thought I'd blog about her.

My Mom has a deep devotion to Our Lady of Penafrancia. Fondly called Ina (Mother) by Bicolanos. My Mom grew up in Naga, Bicol and eversince I was a baby we'd always visit Ina every time we go home. Sometimes we'd go to the old church, sometimes to the basilica. My Mom has shared to me the story of the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia which is believed to be miraculous. She'd always tell me that her prayers were always answered and I believe her.

Everytime I visit Ina I always feel deep joy. It's quite unexplainable, but I always feel at peace whenever I'm there and I probably have a silly smile after I touch her. The last time I managed to visit back in 2010 I just said a prayer of thanks, most especially since it was a day before my birthday.

One thing I have not had the chance to experience though is visiting during the fiesta. I have not witnessed first-hand the fluvial parade. My favorite aunt, Tita Olive, always goes every year and I don't think she's missed it ever. She was the one who accompanied me to visit Ina back in 2010. She's my most loved Tita because she took care of me when I was a baby and also took care of Miguel when he was a baby (2 generations of my family had gone through her care).

Here are some photos I managed to take that day :)





And please say this prayer with me. 






Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Filipino Food Cravings

It feels like I've been away from home for about a year already, but it's just been about a month. I've been living in Singapore for about 9 months now, but I always start itching to go home just after a few days of being away. And I become badly homesick in about ten days. Good thing I've been so busy at work and it ain't so bad after awhile.

Aside from my loved ones, the gastronomic delights we have at home makes me want to take the first ride available back to the Philippines.

Longganisa - is our local sausage. Mind you though there are many different types found all over the country.  The photo below doesn't do justice to it (I cooked that at home), but everyday I think about the different types of longganisa we have back home -- Pampanga, Lucban, Vigan. And for the desperate like me, Jollibee's breakfast longganisa hits the spot too.



Crispy Pata - I kid not whenever I tell friends from other countries that we have a lot of cardiac delights in the Philippines. These are dishes that are usually pork-centric and high in cholesterol. And here's the perfect example of a cardiac delight - the crispy pata. Best eaten with special soy sauce + vinegar dip.



Sisig - oh my and this photo I took in Bataan a few years back. Traditional sisig is made out of ******* (best not to disclose) but it's sooo yummy. In restaurants in the city though they usually either use pork or chicken with chicharon. A lot of people eat sisig as pulutan (best with San Miguel Beer!), but I actually prefer to eat it with rice. Sisig also comes in many different types. I love the one in Davao because it has mayonnaise.



Manggang Hilaw with Bagoong - green mango with shrimp paste. I love eating green mango with bagoong and usually have ensalada whenever I eat in Filipino restos. Best matched with grilled food.



Plain `ol Barbecue - I can easily finish three sticks of barbecue in less than 5 minutes (considering I'm such a slow eater!). I don't think I'll ever tire of eating barbecue. And I miss eating isaw too.



And that's all about I can write about now because my tummy's grumbling in protest over seeing all these yummy food that's best eaten when I'm home.



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Batik

I've been visiting Indonesia often in the last 2 decades because my brother moved to Jakarta in the `90s. I remember my Dad used to wear really nice batik shirts and a lot of people actually thought he was Indonesian! Well my "generic Southeast Asian" face makes me look local in a few countries here and oftentimes I get asked if I'm Indonesian. You actually get a lot of perks when people think you are a local in their own country -- i.e. I don't get over-charged when I take taxis/tuktuk in Bangkok, I get asked "Gerapa?" in flea markets in Bali etc. People only start asking if I'm Filipino when I start talking. They say I have a very thick Filipino accent (I actually do!).

Anyway, I digress (I've been up since 4:30am and I'm blogging this late Monday evening). Going back to Batik. I've actually been so fascinated with the many different types of batik. My Indonesia friends told me that each design has it's own story and each region in Indonesia has it's own special design. In Yogyakarta the sultan used to have his own special batik design (formed after a weapon), until it was eventually allowed to be used by everyone (but it's still a special high-end design).

Aside from the unique designs of batik dresses one thing I really like about it is the fabric. It's soft and cool for the skin. They also say that when you were a batik dress when you have meetings in Indonesia, it signifies that you give respect to the people you are meeting.

Here I am in one of my batik dresses with my dear Indonesian friend, Pungkas. Nice noh?


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 16: Stranger in the Night

I'm really bent on completing my 30-day challenge. Hotel's wifi isn't working so I'm posting via the Blogger Android app. Might as well turn in early since I have an early flight tomorrow.

I had trouble sleeping last night even though I turned the lights off at eleven. I had the misfortune if being placed under the room of honeymooners. In the morning I woke up to the sound of something banging over my head. I got up and tried to shrug it off. It didn't stop so I decided to make myself some coffee and read some updates online. I quickly shut down my laptop when I heard what sounded like a battle cry. I was so weirded out I SMSd Henky to meet me at the lobby.

I spent most of the day out so I could avoid whatever it was happening above me. Was so tired so I decided to turn in early. A few minutes after I turned the lights off the banging sound started again. When I finally dozed off I was awakened by loud laughter and what seemed to be a party happening in the room above me. I know I should've called reception but I was just too tired and my head started to pound.

A few hours later I was again rudely awakened by the incessant ringing of the doorbell. I checked the time and my phone showed that it was just 3:41 in the morning. I dragged myself out of the bed and got nervous when I couldn't see the person at the door. He or she was slumped by the door. I didn't open it for fear that it might be a bad person or a drunk guest who might force his or her way in my room.

I immediately left the door and contemplated on whether I should call reception. I felt though that it might've been just a drunk guest who got lost. So I just went back to sleep.

Glad I'm attending a self defense class later this week!

My First Camel Ride

It's been quite some time since I tried something new (minus trips!). I was doubtful at first about riding a camel. I've seen them in zoos and photos. Thought it would be the same as riding an elephant which I did in Taman Safari in Jakarta a few years back.

I watched Henky and his brother get on the camel first. Took some photos and then they went around for a short ride. One thing I noticed though, the camel sounded like it was complaining. They were both bellowing/growling (not sure about the right term).



It was kinda scary, but I gamely got on the camel. I held on for dear life when the camel stood up. It took its sweet time to stand on all four legs and the caretaker told me to lean back so I don't fall off. And I finally got up with a flourish!


And more photos with Henky and his brother (doing the Henky pose of course!).




There was a newly married couple who were having their nuptial photos taken by the beach. Met two folks who were part of the entourage and so we took the chance to have photos taken with them. The photographer was Henky's wedding photographer (what a small world!).


Oh, and wanted to greet my dear friend, Chare a happy, happy birthday!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hello Bali!


It's been 5 years since I've been to Bali. The last time I visited Bali I was with my whole family - my parents, Miguel, and my brother and his whole brood. And wow, Bali's changed a lot in the last 5 years. I remember the airport used to be smaller. It's undergoing renovations now and they're also constructing a new terminal for international flights. The hill which led to the hotel where we stayed the last time is now dotted with many new hotels and resorts and you can't see the ocean anymore. Every available space has been filled up too in the city area.

I almost arrived bikini-less in Bali. I had assumed that I had at least a pair in my apartment in Singapore, but it seems I didn't have one so I had to do some cramming at the airport. Goes to show that I haven't had a real vacation for a long, long time. It's just been pretty hard to turn off work when you have events ongoing in weekends.

Oh well, I'm here for work, so let's see what happens, haha.

Bali, please work your charm =)

Friday, July 13, 2012

C is for Cookie

This past few weeks I've been playing Cookie Dozer on my phone. I discovered the game while playing Coin Dozer. This game though makes me crave for Mrs. Fields cookies! Unfortunately in Singapore there is only one Mrs. Fields branch and more Famous Amos branches. My craving was so bad I tried to substitute  coffee shop cookies while I was in Bangkok. It didn't work!

Last weekend though I was feeling lucky! I chanced upon a shop at the Marina Bay Sands that sells Mrs. Fields cookies. Eureka! I made sure we'd pass the same way on the way home so I can get some. I would probably not have cared if each cookie was SG$5 each (haha). I just bought three cookies and savored each and every bite.

Ganun lang kababaw kaligayahan ko, haha!


Anyway, Sweetie shared this video with me in our Hangout tonight. I couldn't stop giggling because I can honestly say that when I brought a cookie to work I did not share it with anyone (sorry!).

Don't you just love Cookie Monster? He's my favorite Sesame Street character.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

gPhilippines 2012



Google is giving lots of love for the Philippines this year with gPhilippines 2012! It's a 2 day conference for businesses, marketing professionals, webmasters, developers, government, academe and students. Lot of really great talks have been prepared for this two days. First day is for businesses and government agencies. Second day is for the academe (faculty and students). The GDG DevFest will also happen on the second day.

It's a free event so to attend just send in your application at the gPhilippines 2012 site.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dolphy

The Philippine King of Comedy passed away last night. He was 83.



I have so many fond memories of Dolphy. He is truly the King of Comedy in the Philippines and I grew up watching his TV shows - John en Marsha and Home Along Da Riles - and some of his films. I just remember laughing at his antics and punchlines. He is one artist who can make me laugh even without saying anything.

Thank you Mang Dolphy for all the fun and laughter, for being part of my childhood. Please say hi to my Dad up there in heaven!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mayday Music

I normally make my posts just before I sleep, but have a raging headache now and I could just see half the screen, so I'm cheating for Day 10 and posting a video that made my jaw drop last weekend. You see, I play the piano, but I cannot claim that I play it well. I quit taking lessons when my teacher started me on David Benoit pieces. I also found it too complicated to do a trio - with each of us on our own piano (sorry to my piano buddies!). My tiny hands and my eyes weren't just too quick to hit all the gazillion notes... just like how Jon Schmidt plays on this video (which is btw his own composition I think).


So I'm forever stuck with Pachelbel's Canon in D as my best piece (that's why I insisted it be used during my wedding, haha).

*Hey, but do check out The Piano Guys on YouTube. They're awesome!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kandy, Sri Lanka

We left our itinerary planning to my favorite Sri Lankan, Rohan. He just warned me that our schedule was going to be packed. I thought I normally drive myself hard, but I was mighty surprised that Rohan did pack our day and night. It was a pleasant surprise though since I got the chance to visit Kandy.



Kandy is about 4 hours away from Colombo, Sri Lanka's main city. The weather is pretty cool (just like Tagaytay) because it's high up on the mountain. We traveled in the evening so I wasn't able to appreciate the scenery (and I was praying so hard because the driver was driving like a madman). The next day though was an awesome experience. The hotel was pretty full because it was wedding season and so all the hotel cars were taken. Running late we had to take a tuktuk to our event venue.


Our tuktuk driver was an old man who had a polo shirt and a sarong. I noticed along the way to our event venue that a lot of men wore the traditional sarong. He was indeed a jolly man and knew a lot of short cuts. Our tuktuk broke down twice (see the video), so we thought that Rohan and Ola got to the venue first. We took a lot of short-cuts so I was really surprised that we were ahead of our colleagues. Got lost a bit, but finally got to the venue of our event.


After a long day at the event we headed to Amaya Hills. It was far up in the mountain. I was glad Rohan managed to hire a van because the roads going up was pretty steep and scary. It was worth the trip though. The scenery was very beautiful and the weather was even cooler. We ordered some snacks and I had some yummy strawberry milkshake. I also had the chance to have a photo with a flower girl. I had wanted to take photos of the bride and groom in their traditional wedding attire, but I got shy.



The next day was an amazing race back to Colombo. We had to attend a couple of meetings on the way back to Colombo. We had to rush though since we were launching the GBG Colombo that evening and we didn't want to be late. Along the way I saw a lot of couples having their nuptial photos taken. They were garbed in traditional Kandy wedding attire. Rohan said that this was common only in Kandy and not in Colombo. The guests were also garbed in saree and sarongs.

At a stopover we witnessed the arrival of a newlywed. They also had a ritual to welcome the newlywed who just arrived from their honeymoon. Traditional dancers and musicians welcomed them and they were presented in a procession followed by their family and friends.



Sri Lanka's culture is very much alive and strong. The road back to Colombo certainly showed it. I hope I'd be able to come back and appreciate all of these things better.


And here's my favorite Sri Lankan, Rohan!


Thank you so much Rohan for the awesome time I had there!