Thursday, September 29, 2011

5 Years of An Apple a Day

Wow! How time flies! It's been exactly five years since I set up this blog right after I met the Blogger team in Mountain View, California. (Yes, this blog was born in the premises of Google!). When I set it up I actually had no idea what to do with this blog. I started off with a post which I originally made on Friendster. The post was titled, "30 things I did at 30". I was feeling brazen during that time and thought that I had finally come out of my shell. 

Looking back at that post I had just began the joys of traveling, gaining weight and coordinating weddings! But like any girl I had a lot of love related problems and if you've been reading my blog for 5 years I wrote a lot about love and relationships (those posts surprisingly still get a lot of views!). 

I would like to believe that I evolved in the last 5 years. From someone really scared of committing I got lucky, found the right one (thank you St. Jude!) and settled down. I also never imagined living elsewhere, but have since moved twice and I'm moving to another country in a few weeks! I hated public speaking, but I got over it (was forced to!). I was Mom to a sixth grader 5 years ago, now I'm Mom to a college student taking up robotics engineering. The farthest places in the Philippines I visited then were Banawe (north) and Cebu (south), now it's Ilocos and Zamboanga and I have friends all over the country now. 

I think I can attribute my growth to two things: love and opportunity. I have been blessed by very loving, supportive parents, siblings, son, husband and friends. I know I oftentimes made crazy decisions, but they never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do. I have also been really lucky in work and the opportunity to experience, learn more and acquire new skills has been abundant in the last 5 years (here's a sample of what I do). 

I was anxious about a lot of things in my life when I started this blog, but through prayer, de-stressing through writing and taking things one day at a time, things just fell into place. I'm about to start a new adventure in a few weeks and I'm really, really excited about it!

I guess it's time to change my favorite slogan, "Do not take life seriously. After all, no one has ever come out of it alive. - Bugs Bunny"

Now changing it to -

"To infinity and beyond!"


Oh, happy 4 years Sweetie!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An App a Day: Pedring Crowd Map

My good friend Brian Tan-Seng, the genius behind one of the elections projects I supported ( created this crowd map to allow people to send in reports and tie it on a map. This would certainly help authorities to find out areas that are severely affected, very much like how the Google Typhoon Ondoy Disaster map helped two years ago.

Here's a screenshot of the map:

You may access it here.

Other disaster-related/weather apps made in the Philippines:


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Help for Typhoon Pedring

Posting for the Philippine Red Cross

As Typhoon Pedring (international name: Nesat) continues to slam the Philippines, authorities have ordered more than 100,000 people to shelter from rains and winds of up to 170 kilometers per hour, which prompted the closure of schools and government offices. Electric power has been cut in many parts of Luzon, flights have been cancelled, inter-island ferries have been grounded as thousands of civilians are stranded and more than 50,000 have moved to evacuation centers or relatives’ homes nationwide.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has deployed 2 rubber boats and a 6x 6 truck to Baseco, Manila where a mass evacuation of an estimated 800 to 1,000 persons was conducted. Approximately 200-300 individuals were evacuated and moved temporarily to a covered basketball court. 469 families who were moved to the Delpan Sports Complex earlier were transferred to the P.Guevara Elementary School in Manila. PRC also deployed 2 rubber boats a 6x6 truck to assist 100 individuals being evacuated to the Dagat-Dagatan Elementary School. The PRC also responded to Payatas where a structure collapsed. A 6 x 6 truck, amphibian and 3,000 watt generator have been deployed to the Ospital ng Maynila to assist in the evacuation of 300 persons. 115 bags of blood from Ospital ng Maynila have been temporarily moved to the PRC National Blood Center for proper storage during the power outage.

PRC maintains strict 24-hour monitoring of all situations throughout the country, while conducting detailed assessments in close coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. Evacuation centers in Nueva Ecija, Manila, Marikina, Rizal West and La Union are temporarily housing a total of 3,098 persons. Hot meals have been prepared for distribution in evacuation centers. 3 welfare desks have been situated in Metro Manila. 36 PRC search and rescue teams and more than 1,056 staff and volunteers have been mobilized or on standby for further intervention.

Pedring has claimed the life of one year-old baby Shawn who drowned in Catanduanes after falling into a river. Four fishermen have been reported missing. 45 passengers were stranded in Tabaco Port in Albay. In Camarines Sur, 6 small fishing vessels manned by 27 fishermen were found in Butawanan, Siruma. In Sorsogon, 150 passengers were stranded in the Pilar Port. A tornado hit the town of Maconacon, Isabela yesterday that lasted 4 minutes, destroying properties along its path and ripping the roofs off of 5 houses, injuring at least two people.

Pedring is the 16th cyclone to lash the Philippines this year. As we continue to wage this battle against disasters, we are in need of cash assistance to provide ongoing relief and recovery efforts for all affected communities. We are appealing for your support to be able to continue to provide food, non-food items and our services to the most vulnerable in the hardest hit cities and provinces. Through your generosity, we can stand prepared for the onslaught of disasters. We appreciate your continued support to the Philippine Red Cross. Thank you!

Cash or Check Donations
Account Name: Philippine Red Cross
Bank Name: Banco De Oro
Peso Account: 453-0018647
Type of Account: Savings

SMS Donations
Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)

Two Years After Ondoy

How time flies. It's been 2 years already since Typhoon Ondoy struck our country. I remember when it happened Sweetie and I had to decide whether to push through with our wedding or move it to a later date. Both our parents said that we should proceed with the wedding since it was exactly 3 months away, plus they thought that we should have a joyous occasion after going through the disaster.

I still get antsy whenever it rains hard. Sweetie and I made sure to find a place that doesn't flood, but it doesn't take away the worry we have for our parents who both live in places that flood. We're just thankful that in the past two the typhoons have been less fierce and I guess the work Maynilad did in our village has helped alleviate the flooding.

One thing I really kept to heart since Typhoon Ondoy is living simply. I used to be like Imelda with tons of shoes and bags, but I have since just narrowed down my collection to the basics (I haven't even replaced my sneakers yet!). Everytime I buy clothing I force myself to retire some clothes which I don't wear often and I have since learned the joy of donating stuff to Caritas. This was reinforced when my Dad passed away and we realized that he didn't really have that much material things, just books and a couple of clothes.

And so it took me 2 days to write this post (that's how little time I have for myself these days!) and there's another typhoon ravaging the country. We don't have electricity at home so I can just hope and pray that this would be the worst experience for everyone else (no flooding and flying roofs!). Just stay home and be safe!

Friday, September 9, 2011

For AJ

I woke up today to the news that my dear friend, AJ, has gone to heaven. Juned said that despite the pain that all of us, especially his family, is going through it should be a joyous occasion because he is now with our Creator. I am just telling myself that at least AJ is now relieved from all the pain that he has gone through in the past year.

The first time I read AJ's blog in 2007 I became an instant fan. I kinda stalked him by leaving comments on his posts and eventually got the chance to meet him at the Taste Asia bloggers event in July 2007. He was all suited up because he said he just dropped by before heading for work. I was ecstatic to finally meet him and had the chance to get to know him better in the last four years. We always updated each other about our love life and cute boys.

AJ was full of life and I was envious on how he was always full of energy and always all over town. He's just like a rainbow, colorful, glowing and you'd definitely not miss him in the crowd because he always stood out. Through AJ I understood my best friend better. AJ is one of the glittering gems in my life and I will forever cherish the times we've spent together.

It's been months since I last saw AJ, but I've been texting him just to say hello and see how he's doing. He had grand plans and one of them was building a church for his hometown. I told him that he should sync with my Mom on how to do it. He was very excited about it and I would pray every night that he would be able to fulfill his dream.

AJ visited me through a dream early Monday morning. He told me, "Ate okay na ako, tara lakwatsa tayo! Rampa na!" It was a very brief dream but it felt real. I'm sure AJ's now strutting around heaven. Creating rainbows in another dimension.

Thank you AJ. Thank you for sharing your life with me. You certainly brought color to my life. Do not worry about your family, as I told you, kami na bahala. Love you friend, please say hi to my Dad when you meet him :)

Help Needed

The Philippine blogosphere is coming together to help AJ's family in this time of grief and need. For more info please visit the FB page.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An Evening of Pinoy Music

I am a big fan of Filipino music, it's what brought me and Sweetie together since he owns the oldest Filipino music website ( I oftentimes work alone so music is my companion during the day.

I discovered one day at home. I don't have a radio so I had to look for other means to find new Filipino music (so thank you Google!). I've always been curious so I grabbed the chance to experience the indie music scene together with some friends last Monday evening at Guijo.

Guijo Street in Makati is known to be the hub of independent music artists. My friends, Karla and Sha, go there oftentimes and have been telling us we should spend some time there. Sweetie and I arrived at Shift Restobar first and I noticed that the neighborhood was quiet. founders Norman, Vin and Ali explained that Mondays are usually their day off, so our visit was really a special treat. My friends arrived one after another, Nina, Sha, Karla, Anne, Harry, Markku, Hana, Juned, Winston, Coy, Gail and Marc.

The first thing we did was try out the cherry beer. I haven't drank beer in years! So, I was a bit hesitant at first, but it smelled so yummy I just had to try it. I ended up drinking a glass and a half (Harry's fault!) because it tasted just like juice (that's what my Mom used to tell me to be careful about hehe). And then we tried an assortment of pika-pika, burger, steak sandwich, tacos, bacon-wrapped cheese (heaven!), the La Sallian sisig (it surely tastes like Kaibigan's!) and the chocolate siomai (not sure what they call it). Yum! (more about Shift Restobar here).

The best treat was listening to live music. First was Boogie Romero who sang "Wag Mag-alala", "Photos" and "I'll Carry You". I absolutely loved Boogie's soothing voice and he mentioned that he's launching his album on Wednesday evening. Next was Nino Avenido (Greyhounds) who sang a couple of alluring (nang-aakit!) songs. His music had a different flavor and charm and I felt the kilig he was feeling while singing the song (perhaps because he was inspired!).

Jazz legend, Johnny Alegre, followed Nino's performance. I remember attending his album launch a few years back. Sweetie reminded me that he used my photo for his post on his site. Johnny's a very, very talented jazz artist and I look forward to hearing his contributions on Pinoy Tuner once the jazz section is up. He graciously shared a Stevie Wonder song with us and then did a couple of songs with Mayo Baluyut.

Mayo Baluyut traveled all the way from Tarlac just to be able to share his music with us. That's what I call passion! He sang a couple of songs for us, "Visions of Missiles", "The Girl Who Spoke In Songs", "Me & Mr. D.", "I Fell In Love With You", "Nearness of You", and "Conspiracy Theorist".

With Francis Reyes (rockstar, legend, musician).

Funny, I met Vin Dancel as a lawyer first before I realized that he is a rockstar legend (and brother of Ebe Dancel). Which I think is a good thing because I would've probably been too starstruck to talk to him (check out my Toblerone post to get an idea). Anyway, he rocked the place last night with a couple of songs which he performed with the legend Francis Reyes. Vin shared the story behind each song (unbloggable sorry!) and yeah Francis was right in saying that you'd feel like there's a frog stuck in your throat when listening to Vin. Anyway, I took vids so I can share the experience with you. Check them out at my Youtube channel. Here's my favorite:

Anyway, I don't think I was able to capture on my post how much fun I had and how excited I am to share my discovery. Please do check out Pinoy Tuner and Dig Radio!

I love, love, love Pinoy music! Hope you do too :)

Thank you Norman, Vin, Ali and Francis for the awesome evening!
My other vids:
"Ispelling", "Isandaang Araw", "Agawan Base", "Tayo", "Bakasyon"

Sunday, September 4, 2011