26 October 2014

My Uncle Karl

Hello world wide web, I would like to introduce to you my Uncle Karl.

Uncle Karl or, as I lovingly call him, Kuya Kalbo (a nickname he got because he was bald as a kid) is my mom's younger brother. He's also my godfather, so on Christmas days I would go to their house, call him Ninong, and demand my gift. He was married to my Tita Wheng and they have two kids, my cousins Loui and Migui. He was a pro when it comes to bowling and he loved travelling, always taking advantage of airline sales to book flights for his family. As you can see on the photos, he was also very handsome.

He was the older brother I never had. We used to play with his Family Computer when I was very young, and he was the first one to teach me how to use a computer. When I didn't have siblings yet and I was still his only niece, he used to buy me really nice toys. My favorites were the complete Popeye character dolls, the beach-themed Nano-Nano dolls playset, and a Mickey and Minnie kitchen playset. When I used to spend my summers at their old house in Valenzuela, he would bring me the song hits I asked for. When I was in high school, he would tell any guy who called our house that I wasn't there and that they should never call again. It used to annoy me so much, but now I think it was cute.

I would never admit it to his face, but I thought he was really cool. He loved tinkering with stuff, and put something on their bathroom that plays music the moment you turn on the lights and shut the door that you can never shower nor poop in silence whether you like it or not. He also loved making home videos and slideshows. Oh god, how he loved them. Every trip they've ever taken and every occasion celebrated merited a slideshow of videos and photos accompanied with Top 40 hits. Cheesy? Maybe. But sweet, really.

Last night, he was involved in an accident. Motorcycles, drinking, and not having a helmet are never a good combination in the first place, and for him it proved fatal. There was a procession earlier in the day and local officials put metal barricades on the road to stop traffic for the afternoon. They were supposed to take it out after the procession, but they didn't. He was in a coma. We prayed and prayed and prayed for him to wake up but it was not to be; he passed away this afternoon. He was 47.

It's so easy to think that we are invincible, that time is on our side, that it all lasts forever. But as proven time and time again, everything is fleeting. Just like that, his warmth and energy and laughter and light was extinguished.

Why did you have to go so soon, Kuya? I am not ready to refer to you in past tense yet and this is breaking my heart so much.

I am not ready for any of this.

25 October 2014

The last two days

I always strive to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and the last two days is a perfect example of that. Although the hours are not that crazy (I get to the office before 8 AM and can leave before 5 PM), I belong in an industry where stress levels are high but in my two years of being here, I have learned to choose my battles and let things that are beyond my control just slide off me. This has resulted to a better attitude towards work and a more efficient way of dealing with things.

Anyway, I just wanted to share the highlights of the past two days. ( ⋂‿⋂’)


I went to The Philippine Literary Festival  2014 organized by National Bookstore and held in Raffles Hotel, Makati. Things like this do not happen often so I took a two-day leave from work which my bosses readily agreed to. I spent many days being excited for this and it's extremely important to me that I get to attend.

I am terrified of people I don't know but I managed. The three best things that happened to me that day are:

Finally seeing Miss Pam Pastor again after I sat next to her during a hair makeover-event three years ago. I am so kilig that she remembered me! I'm just going to overlook the part that she probably does because I 'like' her Facebook and Instagram posts all the time. (◡‿◡✿)

Getting Miss Pam to sign my copy of Paper Cuts. I teared up when I read what she wrote. This is my current cover photo on Facebook. ❤

Seeing Manix Abrera again and having him sign my copies of Kikomachine Komix #10Abangan: The Best Philippine Komiks 2014 where he contributed a story, and his new book of silent comics 14. I think Alvin and I waited almost two hours for my turn, but it was a blip compared to the six hours I spent waiting at Komikon last year. 。^‿^。 Bonus points for seeing Manix do a 'reading' of three chapters from 14 and being there for the Q and A portion! (And hey! He still remembers me!)


I meant to attend all panels for the PLF 2014's second day. I really did. But the day being the same day as Forever 21's (which is our client) show for Philippine Fashion Week constantly nagged at me, and I felt too guilty for leaving my other officemates to do all the work, so I just decided to go to the show in time to help at the Registration Area. This meant missing at least two other panels I wanted to go to, but it's okay. My favorite parts of this day are:

Being at the Amy Tan | Author Spotlight panel hosted by Jessica Zafra, because what could be better than two literary giants sharing a stage? I instantly liked her because she's funny, self-deprecating, and very inspiring. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never read any of her works *proceeds to hang head in shame* but that will be rectified soon! I regret that I didn't brave the crowds and line up for her autograph today. (⌣_⌣”)

For some people who are sad for missing the Philippine Literary Festival 2014 (like my friend Alex), I'll try to write a more comprehensive post about my PLF experience within the week!

Pulling through for the Forever 21 PhFW show. Despite a teeny-tiny mishap, the show was successful and well-attended!

And finally, that incredible feeling of accomplishment after a long and extremely busy week and you can say, "Hello, Friday!"

So, yes, it is possible to have a healthy work-life balance so long as you manage your time well, sort your priorities, and make sure to attend to your responsibilities! It is important for me to take time away for my hobbies and other interests outside of work because when things in the office get a little bit crazy crazier than usual, they are the only things that keep me sane.

23 October 2014


It's astounding how some people lack compassion.

I should be excitedly typing, sharing my experience and excitement at having met some of my idols from the local publishing scene at the first day of The Philippine Literary Festival 2014 held in Raffles Hotel today, but instead I am reeling. 

Yesterday, MRT operations were disrupted after a man threatened to jump. Lots of commuters had to walk or find alternate means of going home, causing massive traffic and major inconvenience. I could sympathize as I used to take the train and I know how much of a hassle disruptions like this bring. What makes me sick though are comments about how that man is so selfish, that he just wants attention, and - this seriously made my skin crawl - that he should have just killed himself at home. For someone to even think of ending his life means he is in a very dark place and help must be sought immediately. Sadly, for most, that is not an option because it's either they don't have the financial capability to support treatments, or they feel the stigma and get scared to reach out until they're driven into that even darker space they can't get out of anymore. Suicide is a serious issue and jokes about it should never be thrown around.

Don't even get me started on horrible, horrible things I hear people say about Jennifer Laude and how she "deserved" what happened to her. I pity them for their bigoted minds, and then I feel disgusted.

Have we become so callous? I know we are all entitled to our own opinion, but with views like this, are we saying that this is the new normal? That hearing news about someone being murdered or someone wanting to take his or her life doesn't shock us anymore? We should be shocked. We should be angry. We should be angry at a society that thinks murder is justifiable and where suicide gets taken lightly.

I have so many feelings about this.

20 October 2014

Forever 21 sets trends at Philippine Fashion Week

FOREVER 21, the Los Angeles-based retail giant known to bring the freshest trends internationally, joins Philippine Fashion Week this October 24 at SMX Convention Center.

Showcasing the brand’s latest collections for women, men, and girls, the show sees the return of Forever 21 to the catwalks of PhFW since the fast fashion brand first heated up the runway in 2011. Taking on the contrasting moods of fun fashion and sophistication, Forever 21 is ready to show the Philippines how to spark up in style this holiday season.

Taking on the contrasting moods of fun fashion and sophistication, Forever 21 is ready to show the Philippines how to spark up in style this holiday season.

What's more, each look you see on the runway will be readily available for your consumption right after the show! Yes, you read that right, a pop-up shop will be set up so the pieces on the runway will be available for purchase right away!

Would you like to go to the Forever 21 show? Check my Instagram as I'm giving away a pair of invites to three lucky winners. ^_~

19 October 2014

The Philippine Literary Festival 2014

On my fourth month with ARC PR, my boss Jenny took me to a meeting with a potential client where she said, "We have to do things that move our hearts." when she was talking about one of her passion projects. That quote has stuck with me since then and has been a constant driving force in my life, and so far I know I'm in the right path. (Incidentally, it is also her birthday today. Happy birthday, Jenny!)

That is the quote that was running in my mind when I asked her and my other boss Celine for a two day-leave from work on October 23 and 24. For what, you ask? For this:

The Philippine Literary Festival 2014
The Philippine Literary Festival is a three-day conference filled with book signings, discussions, and panels about books and literature. Think Comic Con and music festivals, but with books and authors. Huge thanks to National Bookstore for making this possible! The highlight of the three-day event is the Author Spotlight on Amy Tan and Chang-rae Lee on Saturday where they will also sign books. It will be held on October 23 to 25 at Raffles Makati and admission is free! You have to come early though, as they do not offer pre-registration and venue capacities are limited. You may view the full schedule of the different panels and speakers here.

My dilemma is that there are a lot of interesting panels sharing the same time slot that I wish I can divide myself so I can go to all of them! Having a Time-Turner may be a better option, if only it were possible to have one. For example: Poetry Jamming and Pushing the Envelope: Trends in New Philippine Writing share the 9:00 - 10:30 AM slot of October 23 while Speculative Fiction: Why Libraries Must Have Them and Writing Non-Fiction Today are happening on 11 AM to 12 PM. The 1:30 to 3 PM slot is the worst, as I would have to choose among Buqo: Publishing in the New Millennium, The Science of Magazine Covers, and Summit Books: Writing Romance! Why why why must I need to be interested in all three? Why why why must they all be scheduled to happen at the same time?

I guess I have until Wednesday night to decide and figure out the panels I will go to. One thing's for sure, though. I will be at Manix Abrera's Book Launch of his newest silent comics titled 14! As you know, I am a HUGE fan and I can't wait to buy his book and have him sign it!

It is my fervent wish to publish my own work so I'm sure it will do me a lot of good to be there. It would also be a great place to meet people with similar interests and a viable venue to expand my professional network but I'm terribly shy and scared of people so I don't know how that will work. Please cross your fingers for me!

I feel guilty that I will be gone from the office for two days, especially since Friday will be particularly busy as one of our clients has a show for Philippine Fashion Week and the team needs to take care of our guests from the press, but I absolutely, cross my heart hope to die, can't miss this. I will just have to make sure that I take care of all my tasks and responsibilities before I leave the office Wednesday night. Not everyone can say they have bosses that let them do things that feed their soul, so I am really lucky to have bosses who are big proponents of this.

Are you going to The Philippine Literary Festival, too? Which panels are you most excited for?

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