28 May 2015

'All the Good Things' in Singapore

28 May 2015
I've only been out of the country twice so far, and both instances have been to visit Singapore. On my first visit as one of the Filipino teenagers to represent the country for Sunburst Youth Camp, I was fascinated by how it resembled a real-life Sim City. A little less than six years later, I went back with my friends and was blown away by how much the Lion City has changed in that short span of time. At the time Universal Studios wasn't fully constructed yet. When I go there again Universal Studios and the Marina Bay Sands will definitely be in the itinerary.

In recognition of local talent, the Singapore Tourism Board recently collaborated with award-winning Philippine indie act Up Dharma Down for a song and an accompanying music video inspired by Singapore. The song is named 'All the Good Things', and it's such an upbeat song with a catchy beat. Indeed, music is a universal medium of artistic expression that transcends geography and culture.


We went to the launch held in 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub last week, and it was a perfect date night filled with great music, great food and drinks, and great company.


Armi Millare said “the song is about having an idea of what’s good but only coming to terms with it upfront by actually doing something about it, such as traveling after a long time of toying with the idea of it. It’s about being open to new experiences, having that proactivity and positive outlook.” Meanwhile, the music video for 'All the Good Things' was inspired by the creativity, progressiveness and energy of Singapore, as shared by director Johan Polhem, former Senior Creative Director at MTV Australia and Gold Awardee for Music Video at the New York Film Festival. Watch it below.


The video documenting their exciting visit draws back the curtains on a fun and thrilling side of the country they had not experienced before. It takes us through Up Dharma Down’s journey to various iconic and off-the-beaten-track locations in Singapore, sharing the experiences and personal moments that inspired them to create their new song.


Were you enticed to visit Singapore after watching those videos? Well, great news! In celebration of Singapore’s 50th year, having these inspiring experiences to shop, eat and play is made even easier with the Golden Jubilee deals. The Golden Jubilee promotion is an exciting selection of exclusive deals on flights, hotels and more. Take advantage of special airfare deals, stay at any one of the participating hotels in the city for two nights to get the third night free, shop 'til you drop during the Great Singapore Sale for a chance to win S$500 daily, and embark on a gastronomic adventure with exclusive dining discounts from various establishments. To know more about the exciting Golden Jubilee deals, visit here.

Now that you have listened enough and enjoyed it a lot, visit YourSingapore.ph for more exclusive content and to download the song for free!


Congratulations for a successful launch and big thanks to the Singapore Tourism Board, Up Dharma Down, and GeiserMaclang for having us!


25 May 2015

Currently Vol. 21

25 May 2015
If there's one luxury I miss, it's the luxury of being able to read a book at my leisure. I'm so glad I was able to do that this weekend, but I wish we have more hours in a day just so I can have more me-time. I don't even ask for much; it can be as simple as having more time for painting, reading, writing, catching up on TV shows, or spending time with someone special.

Now, following its previous success, lifestyle market The Caravan is back in town and is getting up-close and personal by celebrating the much craved “Me Time” through a shopping bonanza this coming May 30 and 31, 11AM – 9PM at the Kirov Model Unit (beside the Rockwell Tent), Rockwell Center, Makati City.


The Caravan is a unique shopping affair designed to bring back days of talent discovery, quality products, and a complete celebration of the senses. It was created through the collaboration of ARC Public Relations, Inc. and the Collab Contessa as they looked to piece together a compilation of exceptional experiences into a lifestyle market, where carefully chosen brands from budding entrepreneurs of the Philippines are to be curated and exhibited. Here are some of the brands that will be featured:





The Caravan is bringing people closer to their “Me time” cravings through a shopping event that is all about accommodating everyone’s guilty pleasures. From fashion to home to health and beauty and more, everyone will definitely walk out of The Caravan with a haul of great products and a really great time. Come Join The Caravan and this new wave of cult shopping!

CURRENTLY VOL. 20

READING
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. This was an impulse buy because I'm a fan of xkcd. I'm so glad I was finally able to open it after weeks of getting it!

WRITING
Two sponsored posts.

LISTENING TO
The mellow pitter-patter of rain outside my bedroom window. Finally, rain!

WEARING
My favorite pair of pajamas. I am so ready for bedtime!

THINKING
Of my to-do list for this week.

FEELING
Happy. ♡

LOVING
This feeling. ♡

WANTING
More me- and two-of-us-time.

NEEDING
More me- and two-of-us-time.

WISHING
For more me- and two-of-us-time.

Is two-of-us-time even an accepted word? LOL. Whatever. Have a great week ahead, you! ♡ 


20 May 2015

{Blog Tour} Buqo YA Bundle 4: Heart Choices

20 May 2015
Hello, everyone! Welcome to my stop for the blog tour organized by Dianne in support of the Buqo YA Bundle 4: Heart Choices. I'll be sharing excerpts from the stories in the bundle with you today.



Sometimes it’s hard to choose. Do you stay or do you let go? Should you become friends, more than friends, or stay strangers? Would you risk love for popularity? You’re invited to explore these stories and find out each character’s choice from the heart.

Until the Race is Over by Lyka Caparos
Rico wishes Lianne back in his life, but because of that viral article that Traecy posted on their school paper's website, it appears to be impossible for them to be together again. Traecy on the other hand, had only one wish for her birthday, to spend it with the one she admires since high school – Rico Avila. How can fate brings the two together in a race that would definitely reveal small discoveries that can lead to two choices: either to tear them apart or hope for a more unexpected relationship?
“When I see her, I always feel na gusto ko siyang kausapin. I want to keep her nearer and nearer to my world. It breaks my heart whenever I saw her talking to someone else. Na parang naka move on na siya in just two damn months.” He said laughing though I know he’s deeply hurt, then continued, “She doesn’t realize how hurt I was. She doesn’t even care about me anymore. Ang daling kalimutan para sa kanya ang mga pinagdaanan namin. But for me, it hurts like hell.” Napayuko ako ng hindi niya makita ang reaksyon ko sa sinabi niya. Tama nga Traecy, gumising ka sa katotohanan.
Gusto ko siyang samahan kahit ngayong araw lang. Gusto kong pasayahin siya kahit para sa kanya corny.
Gusto kong kahit ngayong araw lang, makalimutan niya ang sakit na nararamdamn niya sa babaeng ‘yon.
Sa maswerteng babaeng si Lianne na hindi man lang na appreciate ang lalakeng tunay na nagmamahal sa kanya.
“Mahirap ang makamove on. Mahirap ang makalimot. Mahirap ang magbigay ng payo lalo na kung wala ka naman sa lugar. Pero gusto ko lang sanang sabihin sayo na… libre ang maging masaya Rico. It really takes a lot of time para makalimot, and it takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and to love yourself this time. Alam kong… hindi ako ang tamang taong magbigay sayo ng advice para sa ganyang bagay pero sana makatulong ako. Sana kahit hindi mo ako ganoon ka kilala, sana maalala mo man lang ang mga sinabi ko…”
“Looks like you’re good at advising ha. Sige nga, can you give me your final blow?”
I smiled and cleared my throat before saying anything. “If you’ve given a great love to someone before and that person never gave it back to you… someone will.”
Blog | Twitter

In That Summer by Jayen San Diego
Senior high school student Jane Enriquez is the ‘dream-girl’ of all male students at Southridge Montessori. Well, except the geeky student leader Sean Villamayor. Opposing from the start, Sean never expected Jane would become his partner for this year’s Summer Camp Immersion. Will this be their worst summer? Or will it turn out to be different?
“Ordinary? Are you really that blind, Sean?” Red asked.
Sean self-consciously adjusted his eyeglasses and added, “Well, she’s not that stunningly pretty. I even doubt if she still looks cute without her makeup on. She’s only here because she’s the chairman’s daughter.”
Red did not say anything, and Sean already knew that it was the end of their conversation.
“Are you done with the supplies?”
Sean was startled when he heard Jaine’s voice come from behind Red. He glanced at Red, who looked equally surprised by her presence.
Did Jaine hear what I said? Sean wanted to ask.
When neither of the guys answered her, Jaine added, “There are still a few boxes in the stock room. And Miss Darson said you should hurry up.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Red responded.
He gave Jaine a playful salute and his infamous smile. Other girls would have swooned at this. Sean noted that Jaine wasn’t even slightly affected. Maybe Sean was wrong. Maybe Jaine wasn’t like every other girl.
Red left, enthusiastically roping other basketball team members into helping him on his way to the stock room. Sean turned his attention back to his task. He expected Jaine to leave, having accomplished her  task. But she stayed and stared at him.
He wanted to ignore her, but he was surprised to find he felt self-conscious. He then reasoned to himself that it was just because he wasn’t use to working with someone watching him.
“Do you need anything else?” he asked without looking up from his checklist of supplies.
He waited, but Jaine just continued to stare. Irritated, he finally stopped working and gave her the attention she wanted.
“Do you need anything else, Miss Jaine Enriquez?” he asked again, giving emphasis to his formal way of addressing her.
To his bemusement, Jaine smiled. Her whole face brightened up when she did. And Sean was reminded of this season, of summer. He knew she wasn’t ordinary. But Sean would never admit he’d been wrong.
Blog | Twitter | Wattpad

On the Outside Looking In by Claire Du
Seventeen-year-old Freya Mahilum has always been in love with football hotshot Ezra Montelibano. Ezra, who’s too caught up with family pressures and his so-called girlfriend to pay attention to a geek obsessed with him. Freya knows she'd never stand a chance with him, but then fate conspires to bring them together. Will getting to know each other prove that love knows no boundaries or will they find that they're better off existing in two separate worlds?
“Come on! We need those points! Run for it!” someone shouted from the benches. I knew that was Ezra’s ever-supportive dad who cheered for him at every game. I’ve been to all of them, too.
“Duck!” another spectator shouted.
My eyes followed Ezra, and I saw that he was running toward me. He was looking right at me! I wondered why.
*BAM!*
A football hit me in the face, blocking me from seeing the love of my life.
“Oww! That hurts!” So that was how people in Tube’s Funniest Videos felt. It wasn’t funny at all.
I held my face in my hands. It hurt so much that I thought my head cracked and I’d feel blood trickling on my arms. The football was there, lying innocently next to my feet.
“Hey, can you throw the ball back?”
Oh my freakin’ ball of fire. That was HIS voice. I composed myself and slowly raised my eyes.
Unconsciously, I batted my eyelashes, so he could see how long they were. His hair was ruffled, his forehead glistened with sweat, and he had these lines between his eyebrows as a result of him frowning. But that face, with the thick brows, piercing brown eyes, and those lips that looked better when he smiled—that was the face I couldn’t seem to get tired of staring at.
“Here you go. And don’t worry, it’s totally okay. These things happen to people,” I mumbled.
I couldn’t stop from smiling widely even though I knew I had a big, red splotch on my forehead. Add to that my uncombed hair and the tears that were about to fall due to pain, and you have a good idea how pretty I felt right at that moment. Not.
Claire has been a bookworm ever since she can remember. Her passion for reading started when she met Archie Andrews at the Airport Bookshop. Aside from writing short stories, she also enjoys reading and reviews at http://thebookjunkie.weebly.com, playing the keyboard, and just cuddling with her dog Frou. She's the author of He Loves Me... Not?, one of the short stories in an anthology called Luna East Vol.1 : Kids These Days.

Blog | Twitter | Wattpad

What About Today by Dawn Lanuza
Aiden's stuck working for his family's amusement park, Funtastic World, for the whole summer. Nothing amuses him, until he met this terrified girl.

Gemma's stuck in Funtastic World thinking she could handle the park's rides. She couldn't. Good thing she met someone to guide her.

As the day comes to a close, Aiden and Gemma ask themselves if one day is ever enough to decide if they were better off as friends or strangers.
Gemma glanced at her watch and remembered that she was supposed to catch the bus heading back home at 7 in the evening. It’s already 5. Did she really spend a lot of time staring at The Big Red Dragon earlier? Or did she take too much time at the gift shop to buy nothing?
She started feeling like two hours wouldn’t be enough to complete everything. Could she maybe extend? Then again, how would leaving play out exactly?
“Alright, I need to go” isn’t going to cut it. She and Aiden already had moments. Now they’re in this limbo between being strangers and friends. They weren’t exactly strangers, but they weren’t friends just yet.
Plus they’re in an amusement park. They just met. Did it count for something?
She wished this could be more of a train incident where people smiled at each other when one offered a seat and that’s the end of that. They all get off their stops.
And if she and Aiden were ever going to be friends, in the real sense of the word after today, how’s that going to work? They’re going to stay in touch by texting? Chatting online? It all seemed superficial. It was not like meeting someone in school; she’s required to see that person almost everyday, which made being friends with someone almost compulsory. But meetings like these...what did one do with them?
File them to chance encounters.
Gemma betted that if they lived in a different time, this is the kind of thing that would produce a pile of letters, mailed back and forth within long intervals. It could take days, weeks, and months even. But people were cool back then. Now, relationships could completely end over a person forgetting to text or call overnight.
She didn’t want that.
Dawn Lanuza started writing stories when she was just a kid (the drafts weren't good or even finished). She works for the music industry by day and writes meet cutes and snappy comebacks by night. She currently lives with her family and an adopted dog.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Waiting for Whatever by Fay Sebastian
Denise knew pain at an early age. She has been waiting for her true love since she was 11, but she never gave up, knowing she'd meet him someday.

What she didn't know was that she already met the man she's been waiting for, and that he's sitting beside her at the airport. The thought never crossed her mind because she's seated between two guys who broke her heart before.
I’m not a big fan of waiting. Ayoko sa mga taong laging late, sa mga mahahabang pila, sa kahit anong delayed—flights, release dates, pag-ibig...
Well...
Ayoko sa delayed na pag-ibig, pero naghihintay pa rin ako. At maghihintay pa rin ako. Kahit gaano pa katagal, hihintayin ko siya. Si TL, si The One, si soulmate, si ano, whatever you’d like to call him. Basta kung sino man siya, kung sino man ang inilaan para sa’kin, hihintayin ko siya.
At dahil nga ayokong naghihintay sa kahit anong bagay, ayoko ring nagpapahintay. Nasa airport ako, naghihintay sa pagbubukas ng check-in counters. Maaga kasi akong nakarating, maaga pa sa maaga. I came here early because I’m extremely excited for my flight and because if there’s one flight I can’t miss, it’s this one.
I don’t want to be late for Paris.
Tita Mel gave me a roundtrip ticket to Paris as a gift for my 18th birthday. I’ll stay in the city of love for two weeks. Part of me wants to believe I’ll meet him there. Maybe while staring at the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, someone would say hi and poof. Let the magic begin.
Nagdala ako ng babasahin kung sakaling matagal-tagal pa ang hihintayin ko. Dinala ko yung novels sa reading list ko, pero nasa maleta lahat yun. Isa lang ang iniwan ko sa shoulder bag ko. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen—may nagsabi sa’kin na ‘di raw ‘to nakakasawang basahin nang paulit-ulit. We’ll see if that’s true. Let’s put this book to the test.
There’s a vacant seat between two boys near the check-in area. I wanted to take a seat and start reading the book, but when I saw who the two boys were, something inside me made me think twice.
Fay started writing stories since she learned how to write with a pencil, but she only rediscovered her love for writing when she was a high school freshman. Since then, writing has become her life.

Now a Speech Communication student at the University of the Philippines, she writes even during the busiest of days because writing prevents her from being a college zombie.

Why she holds writing instruments in an odd way will always be a mystery to the world.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Barely Even Friends by Kristel S. Villar
For pretty and athletic Emily Fonseca, nothing’s better than getting invited to join Luna East Arts Academy’s most popular crowd, the Elites. She only has to fulfill a list of dares to prove that she’s got what it takes. But will it cost Emily her rekindled friendship with language tutor and childhood friend Noah Calderon?
“Someone’s coming!” he announced, walking towards me in panic.
I quickly stuffed the paper inside my pocket and closed the drawer in haste. I watched Noah scan the room to look for a place to hide, and tugged me on my elbow when he saw a door at the corner of the room. He pushed me roughly inside just in time the front door opened.
We were in a dark and tiny broom closet. The air stank of floor wax, dust, and wood, making my nose itch. I reached up to rub my nose, but my elbow caught one of the shelves and it made a soft clatter.
Noah seized my arm and cupped my mouth with his other hand, hushing me to keep me still.
“Hello?” the female voice asked. I recognized it as one of our substitute teachers, but I couldn’t remember her name.
We stood there for God knows how long as we listened to the shuffling of papers. I felt Noah’s chest rise and fall, and his hot breath on my forehead. I felt the way my small frame measured to his lean build, and the warmth of his hand holding my arm. I closed my eyes, feeling the skin of his palm on my lips and inhaling the scent of his cologne amidst the stench of the closet.
Stop it, Emily, I scolded myself.
The room fell silent a few minutes later. I pulled his hand away from my mouth and leaned over the door to get a better hearing but Noah pulled me back in his arms, perhaps afraid that I would make
another noise.
“Do you think she’s gone?” I hissed at him.
“I dunno. I haven’t heard the door open yet. Keep still,” he whispered back.
Kristel S. Villar covers sporting events for a national broadsheet by day and tries to write fiction by night. In between, she takes care of her husband and son. She has penned Blast from Two Pasts. a contemporary romance novella, and The Rumor About Me, her first short story for the Luna East anthology. Her second Luna East short story, One on One is featured in the quarterly online romance journal, Clara.

Twitter | Facebook | Wattpad

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There's also a special giveaway for everyone, thanks to Buqo!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get your weekly dose of feels and get the Buqo YA bundles now! Heart Choices is available on Buqo at a special price of only $0.99 (P45) this week! Purchases can be made using a credit card or your Smart/ Sun phone. Enjoy!

PS: I also have an ongoing giveaway for those who have a copy of the Sweet Complications ebook bundle. Check here. ♡


19 May 2015

Wingstop Takeover in Bonifacio Stopover!

19 May 2015
How do you solve a problem like chicken wings cravings?

By going to Wingstop, of course!


With over two billion wings sold, Wingstop has captured and perfected nine recipes with flavors that have made everyone who has ever tried them crave for them. I first got my taste of these world-famous chicken wings just a little more than a month ago and I've come back more than five times already. The taste buds want what it wants, and my taste buds have taken a great liking to Wingstop. My personal favorites are the Louisiana Rub wings and Teriyaki Boneless Bites, but I literally wouldn't say no to any of the other flavors available.

Philippine All Stars during the launch of Wingstop Glorietta
Wingstop has been in the local scene for only about a year with seven stores currently open and a quick growth projection of opening 50 more in the next six years. The branches already open now are in Glorietta 2, Eastwood Citywalk, University Mall in Taft, Fairview Terraces, Starmall Prima, Starmall, Estancia, Greenhills Promenade, and TriNoma.

Well guess what, Wingstop is opening their newest branch in Bonifacio Stopover tomorrow, and they're givng away FREE WINGS!


The Wingstop Takeover will begin at 5 PM and will end promptly at 8 PM. No catch, no purchase required, all you have to do is BE THERE to receive your free five pieces of any flavor wings! It doesn't matter if you're the next to be served; free wings will stop coming at 8 o'clock, so you better be there early to beat the long lines!


Will you be there to get the goods? I'm not sure if I can make a quick escape from the office, but I will definitely be there on Thursday after TOMS One Day Without Shoes to check out the new store. Tweet me if you'll be there!


Check out Wingstop on Facebook and Instagram to connect and be updated!

Tsk. Now I want me some wings.


18 May 2015

Currently Vol. 20

18 May 2015
I'm on leave from work today because I figured I needed a day to rest after our Pahiyas weekend. Aside from finishing the last two episodes of Will & Grace Season 3, I was fairly productive: I managed to get some work that needed urgent attention done, I managed to tick off some items in my to-do list, and I completely scrapped the first few pages of my Spark NA novella so I could begin from the top. 

Yes, my friends, I am beginning again.

Unlike my Buqo YA experience where everything started to flow the moment I decided, "This is it. I am going to write now." and fingers hit the keyboard, the magic just isn't happening for me this time. I couldn't embody Tanya's voice. I couldn't hit my stride. I couldn't make it happen. So, yes, begin again it is.

At this rate I don't even know if I'm going to reach the deadline. Please cross your fingers for me.

On to this week's Currently.

CURRENTLY VOL. 20

READING
Still the same book I've been reading for the last three weeks. What happened to me?

WRITING
See above.

LISTENING TO
My everyday playlist that contains songs from The Neighbourhood, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Yellowcard, Dido, Owl City, Nate Ruess, and songs from The Voice Season 7.

SMELLING
Like clean soap. I just took a shower.

WEARING
A casual shirt and shorts. I'm just waiting for my friends and then we'll go to our carpool-mate's house for a birthday surprise. Yep, I have all these deadlines but I still couldn't miss this.

THINKING
Of all my deadlines.

FEELING
Anxious. I really want to finish my novella but self-doubt has crept in and at this point I don't know if I could still fight it.

LOVING
New possibilities.

WANTING
More free time to work on everything I need to finish.

NEEDING
More free time to work on everything I need to finish.

WISHING


For the chance to just pause and watch the sun set and give way to the night. It's always my favorite time of the day not just because of the gorgeous colors that line the sky, but because it reminds us of the possibility that dark and light can coexist at the same time.

Also, Before Sunset is one of my favorite movies.

I wish I can go star-gazing.


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