30 June 2011

Because of blogging, the world has become smaller and my social circle, wider. I have always been very vocal about how thankful I am that this blog has become a great avenue to meet new people who will hopefully become my friends. One of the best friends I met through blogging is Kym (regular office-worker by day, t-shirt designer and ninja by night), a Filipina whose family migrated to Hong Kong when she was two years old, then to Canada when she was eleven. She recently got married, and a day after her wedding she and Winmark, together with their respective families, flew to Manila to celebrate the happy news with their relatives here.

Of course I wouldn't let this opportunity pass without meeting her, would I?

We planned a shopping day after her reception here this coming Saturday together with our other friend Jessica, but last Monday, (because Kym knew it was my rest day from work) Kym invited me to Greenhills for a spontaneous meet-up/ shopping day. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was to finally meet her!

While waiting at our appointed meeting place, I was surprised when a pair of hands suddenly grabbed me! IT WAS KYM!! We caused quite a bit of a racket, hugging and laughing and jumping around. It was amazing-crazy-awesome :)

Everyone, meet Kym!
Go visit her blog if you haven't yet :)
We spent about an hour going around the different shops in Shoppesville, Theater Mall, and Virra Mall with her best friend Bernice and her sister-in-law Winella. It was fun seeing them haggle with the stall vendors, trying their best not too look like they're from abroad so the prices won't be jacked up. We also talked a lot about how cheaper it is here as compared to Canada. True enough, when we met with their families, they were all carrying lots of carrier bags! :p

Kym and I weren't able to take lots of photos, especially those jump-shots (haha) our other blog-friends have requested as it was quite crowded in the mall. We promise to do those on our next date! ;D

Kym and Krissy :)
After a thousand blog comments in each other's blogs, a hundred tweets, What's App messages, and Facebook wall posts and private messages, I am so happy I finally got to meet Kym in person and hang-out for real! It was so awesome that it seemed like we do this meeting-for-shopping thing regularly. Kym is so sweet, so bubbly and energetic, and so pretty! I love this girl!

Look, aside from a giftcard. Kym also gave me this pretty F21 necklace ♥
Aside from meeting Kym, I was also able to claim one of my prizes from Ana's giveaway: a pair of shoes (of my choice) from Pill Footwear. It was difficult to choose because all of the shoes available are so pretty, but in the end I chose this:

So purrrrty ♥
I picked this pair because the design is not normally one I would choose to buy if the money will come from my own pocket. Kinda like a "luxury item", you know.
I am also very proud of myself for not succumbing to the luring temptations of pretty dresses available for sale! Or maybe I really don't have money left any more?

Thank you soooo much, Kym! See you on Saturday, I'm sure you will look absolutely divine!

Coca-Cola and WWF urge us to Live Positively

27 June 2011

One event I regret not being able to attend is the unveiling of Coca-Cola Philippines and World Wildlife Fund's billboard in EDSA. Now before you say, "What? Surely there's nothing exciting about seeing a humongous piece of advertisement in Manila's busiest highway?", let me advise you that this billboard is actually the first of its kind in that it is actually made of, wait for it, PLANTS.

I wasn't able to go because my request for a half-day shift was not approved. The billboard was launched last Thursday, and I was invited by my friend Ed who also invited me to the Sebago event later in the day which I was able to attend. Even though I wasn't able to come I still wanted to share it with you guys because I really think it is very interesting and commendable. I'm sure it will go down in history as an iconic structure to represent the long-standing partnership between Coca-Cola and WWF to make a positive difference in the environment.

Some facts:
  • The partnership spans across two areas of Coca-Cola Philippines' Live Positively sustainability program: Water Stewardship (to conserve critical watersheds in the country) and Climate Protection (challenging individuals, companies and organizations to go "Beyond the Hour" in this year's Earth Hour).
  • The 60x60 plant billboard located along Northbound EDSA-Forbes utilizes a thriving species of Fukien tea plant which absorbs air pollutants. Cool huh? According to botanist Anthony Gao, each plant can absorb up to 13 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year, absorbing an estimated whopping 48,600 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere! Wow!
  • Recyclable materials were used for the over-all makeup of the billboard. 3,600 pots were used, recycling old bottles of Coca-Cola products. These bottles were filled with a potting mixture made up of a stable and lightweight formulation of a combination of industrial by-products and organic fertilizers. The bottles were also specially designed to contain the plants securely and allow them to grow sideways, while adding holes to allow drainage and hold the drip lines in place.
  • Trickle or micro-irrigation - a drip irrigation system - was specially installed for efficient water distribution that saves water and fertilizer. The system is operated on a schedule to give plants what they need (water and nutrients) when they need it. Amazing.

With all the eco-friendly mechanism it employs and the relevant advocacy it stands for, this innovative advertising is a salient reminder for everyone to take an active hand in protecting and saving the environment. A big congratulatory hug to the big minds and hearts behind this project!

I hope I am not being too preachy here, but the world will be a much better place for all of us if only we are more conscious of taking care of our environment. Collective effort does wonders, and it is never too late to do our part. Let us all be the positive change we want to see in the world ;)

Photo taken by Frank Ruaya
For more information about Coca-Cola Philippines and WWF, please visit their websites: www.livepositively.com.ph and www.wwf.org.ph.

Sebago X 65

26 June 2011

Last Thursday, I - with my friends from the office Mich and Frank and my Fashion Compass co-editor Ana -  braved the rains to go to Greenbelt 5 where Sebago X 65 was launched. In celebration of Sebago's 65th anniversary, an exhibit and silent auction featuring footwear art designed by the country's top personalities from different fields was held for the benefit of the Habitat for Humanity.

You can read all about the event on the post I made for Fashion Compass, for this post I would like to share some fun photos :)

Ribbon-cutting led by Sebago Philippines officials Gilson and Gifford Chu along with Sebago International Vice President Bill Mirecki.
The event was well-covered by the media.
Some of the personalities who dedicated their time, talents and effort to this worthy cause.
Look at the crowd!
Fashion Compass girls "hard" at work ;D
Some snaps with famous people:

With actor Enchong Dee
With designer Kate Torralba
With columnist and fashionista Tessa Prieto-Valdes
With my new crush, actor David Chua.
Yiheeeee ♥
This is how we lounge, y'all :D
With David Chua and Joseph Marco
And of course, with my fabulous friends Frank, Mich, Ed and Dewi :)
And my soul sister Ana :)
I advise you to check out the exhibit at The Gallery and see these exquisite works of art in person! For those who can't go, let me share with you my favorites. In no particular order:

"Space Invaders" by artist Carlo Ongchangco
"Perfect Opposites" by artist NiƱo Hernandez
"Faces of Brilliance Inside My Head Forever" by columnist Leah Puyat
"Well I Never" by top designer Kate Torralba
"Feet Don't Fail Me Now" by fashion editor Liza Ilarde
"My ZZ Top" by top designer Rajo Laurel
"Femininity" by top designer Patrice Ramos-Diaz
"Random Rainbow" by artist Nelz Yumul
"Sea Princess Gems" by columnist and fashionista Tessa Prieto-Valdes
"True Colors" by artist Julianne Tarroja
Everything is all kinds of amazing, yes? Click here to see the rest of the other designs ;)

I love attending events like this because they are perfect opportunities to primp, prettify, and dress up ♥ I channeled my inner Emma Watson for People Tree in this get-up :)

Face: Maybelline Clear Smooth Minerals Liquid Foundation in W03 Apricot Sand | Maybelline Clear Smooth Extra Shine-Free Powder Foundation in Natural | Everyday Minerals Blush in Back to School
Maybelline VolumExpress Hypercurl Mascara in Very Black | 
elf Eye Primer & Liner Sealer | YSL Ombres5 Colour Harmony for Eyes | Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black
Lips: elf Lip Primer and Plumper | Maybelline ColorSensational Moisture Extreme Lipcolor in Angel Rose   
Dress - Jellybean | Bag - Tomato | Suede kitten heels - Celine | Earrings and wired corsage - Maria Paulita
Big thanks to my friend Ed for inviting us! It was hell trying to go home because of the typhoon and we almost got stranded (got home 30 minutes before midnight), but it's all worth it! It's ALWAYS a pleasure to attend your events, especially since we still get to bond after ♥ Special thanks as well to my friend Frank who has lent his precious time with us and volunteered to be Fashion Compass' official photographer! All photos from the event were taken by him :) Everyone's support has been overwhelming, and really, the best thing I can do is give thanks to all of you ♥


Lost Book

22 June 2011

Yesterday I posted about feeling under the weather again because of some things that reminded me of some memories that are better best forgotten. Since I've been feeling sad again, I have gone back to my certified sadness-buster and hope-restorer: re-reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. Long-time readers of my blog are witnesses to the great number of times I have waxed lyrical about this book and how it has helped me deal with a lot of issues I went through last year. One would only need to do a quick search of the book title in this blog's Search widget and you would see proof of how much I've gushed about it and the lessons I've learned from it. During idle moments I just pore over my copy and re-read random bits of it. My book looks old already, but I didn't care. If anything, I took more pride with it as I considered the creases on the spine as proof of how loved the book was.

Now let's continue with my story. As I have acknowledged in yesterday's post, there's always someone who snaps me back and reminds me life is wonderful and there's no sense being sad about things beyond my control. Yesterday my friends Mich and Jonas assumed that role. They were out looking for an apartment for Jonas so I went out and met them after work to take my mind off things for a while. We ate at Jollibee, where we exchanged amusing stories while eating - they even bought me a cup of Rocky Road Brownie Sundae for dessert. It certainly took my mind off things, to the extent that we were already halfway home when I realized I left my beloved book on the table :(

Today I went back there to check, but the service crew told me they don't have it. I can post here and complain about how they were unhelpful (when I asked one of the crew if they saw my book, she just looked at me and said "I'm sorry, I wasn't here yesterday." as if she couldn't ask one of her workmates and check whether my book was found while our table was getting cleared) but it won't bring me my book back. Maybe I just wasn't assertive enough.Or maybe someone did endorse it but they've already forgotten about it. Sigh.

I have a copy of the book in my Kindle app, but I really prefer my dog-eared old copy. I feel really sad, but letting the sadness consume me won't bring me even a page of my book back. I take comfort in the thought that it was found by someone - a "lost soul" who really needs it.

Also, as Ana pointed out, maybe I lost it because I don't need a "guide" anymore. I will be very happy if that is really the case, then ;)

I'll leave you now with some of my favorite quotes from the book ♥

"You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight." 

"But if you can plant yourself in stillness long enough, you will, in time, experience the truth that everything (both uncomfortable and lovely) does eventually pass." 

"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it." 

"Someday you're gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You'll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing..." 


21 June 2011

One of the things I love most about my friends is that aside from being great company during fun times, they can also offer the most introspective subjects in conversations and lull times.

Last Friday at Greenbelt, after a fun and energetic Videoke night at Timezone, my friends Mich, Dewi, Ed and I lounged at Seattle's Best - people-watching and collectively wondering about our perennial singlehood. The topic unwittingly became our other friend Khel who seems to find love very easily. If it was so easy for him to meet people and make a connection with them, why is it so hard for the rest of us? Then Ed said he has already deduced that it must be Khel's gift - the gift of finding love so easily. He then added that not all of us are blessed with everything we want; we are blessed with one specific special something, it's just how we use it that makes the difference.

We then talked about what we think our own gifts were. Ed said that for him, it is the gift of building great relationships (not exactly in the romantic sense of the word) in that he has never been involved in so-so friendships with fair-weather friends. Mich said she has the gift of making it easy for other people to loosen up and share personal stories with her, even when she doesn't try to coax it from them. Meanwhile, Dewi has the gift of having a commanding presence and voice, in that everyone stops what they're doing and looks at her whenever she walks into a room. I know her personally, and it is really hard not to notice her in a crowd - not only because of her outfits but because of this powerful aura she exudes.

As for me, I couldn't really decide what my gift is so they all gave suggestions. Ed came the closest though when he said I have the gift of appreciation and gratitude. He said I have the capacity to stay positive even in the most trying situations, and that I have the ability to find beauty in the unlikeliest places.

I suppose he's right.

Today I'm going to add another gift I have been blessed with. Whenever I'm sad, someone always goes out of his/ her way just to cheer me up. I have been feeling glum at work because of some things I shouldn't be sad about any more, but my two friends Mich and Jonas instantly made me feel better.

I'm going through some sad stuff in my life right now, so I'm looking forward to harnessing the power of these gifts; I need them now more than ever.

What do you think is YOUR gift and how do you use it?

BPtW@7: Magic and Colors

20 June 2011

HSBC - HDPP recently celebrated its 7th year in the Philippines, and the highlight was the Family Day/ Employee Appreciation Day held at Enchanted Kingdom yesterday! The theme park was reserved exclusively for HSBC - HDPP employees, family and friends, and aside from the Wizard Money we were given to spend inside the park, shuttle buses were also provided for employees' convenience (even though we went in a van). It's things like these that truly make HSBC the Best Place to Work :)

All employees were given three Ride-All-You-Can day passes: one for us and two for our guests.
If we wanted to bring more, we can easily buy more tickets at special discounted rates (P280 only instead of P500).
 My family :)
My brother Ken, my sister Kyla, my Mama and Papa, and my cousin Jerico.
And there's me :)
Top - Onion Laundry | Pale pink shorts - True ♥ Love | Sling bag - WWW by SM Dept. Store | Loafers - Cathryn & Charlz
Necklace - ANAGON | Bracelets - handmade | Earrings (though you can't see it LOL) - H&M
My siblings and I explored the park on our own since Jerico is too young for the other rides anyway. 

The first ride we rode was Flying Fiesta. It's like a Merry Go-Round, only instead of horses on poles, it has swings suspended on the air.

I love these photos Ken took of me and Kyla, on the ground and up in the air :)
After that relatively tame ride, Ken and I then went to EKstreme Ride. It is a concessionaire-owned attraction meaning you'd have to pay extra even though you have a Ride-All-You-Can day pass, but because it was a special day the rate was also discounted. A ticket cost us P65 each.

In EKstreme Ride, you will be harnessed on seats that will ascend a 150 feet high tower in 45 seconds, after which you will be dropped free-fall  in 2(!!!!!!!) seconds! What's even more freaky is that there's no signal to say you will be dropped already; you are just there, marveling at how high you are perched (even higher than Wheel of Fate and Space Shuttle!) at the same time silently praying the ride's mechanisms won't fail, and before you knew it you are falling! EKstremely EKshilarating!

My father took these photos.
You can't see me because of the poor quality of these pics, but my mouth was opened WIDE in both in the original high-res images. Very calm and collected ;D
With my knees still shaking a good ten minutes after being in safe ground, we looked for my good friend and officemate Michelle who was also with her friends Jonas and Dax. We wanted to ride something sweet and safe so...

We went to the Space Shuttle!
We fell in line for more than 30 minutes!
Me with Dax, Jonas, and Mich. It's not too obvious in the photos, but Jonas is deathly scared of heights ;)
Ken was my seatmate in this ride.
I wanted to take more photos while we were twirled and looped about, but I couldn't feel my  hands! :D
After Space Shuttle, we went to my favorite ride - Anchors Away. I rode this about five times the last time I was there, and the stomach-churning thrill never goes away each time!

Up in the air!
Those are Jonas' hands, beeteedubs. He has conquered his fear of heights!! :D
The rest of the afternoon was spent eating and visiting souvenir shops. I really wanted another go at the Anchors Away but nobody wanted to go with me any more. Mich, Jonas, Dax and I were able to ride the EKstreme Ride, though! I was able to ride it twice in one day, I feel so brave haha!

I was also able to ride the Flying Fiesta again, this time with my friends.

Flying through the air!
1 - Dax | 2 - Mich | 3 - Jonas | 4 - couple I don't know who is seated in front of me. I took this photo as I couldn't exactly take a photo of myself, could I? ;)
At exactly 7PM, a fantastic display of lights and colors were shown to us when they lit fireworks in the sky! Dubbed as a "concert in the sky", it was a perfect way to cap the magical day. I will never get tired of being amazed by fireworks ♥

All photos taken with my 5mp Samsung Galaxy Ace.
In the souvenir shop by the Midway Boardwalk,

I saw loooots of Eldar the Wizard plushies
I already have two big ones, given by someone as a surprise for my birthday last year :)
And lots of Eldar the Wizard pillows, pouches, and other novelty items.
Giant Eldar the Wizard plushie
Seeing it brought back a rush of memories from the last time I was here.
I couldn't help but feel a bit sad... If you've been a long time reader of my blog you will know why.
The day was too beautiful to stay sad, though.
Look, my brother won a big shark plushie for me in the Arcade :)
FUN FUN FUN FUN! Even though it rained and we spent half the day falling in line, I still had a great time with my family and friends. Long lines were to be expected, seeing as how HSBC has so many employees! While in the restroom I actually overheard someone from the Registration Area saying that as of 4PM, more than 12,400 people had arrived! WOW!!!

Aside from the Magic and Colors celebration held yesterday, there is also an ongoing photo-exhibit at the office that displays photo-entries from employees that best exemplify the reason why HSBC - HDPP is the Best Place to Work. The photo in this blog post taken by my good friend Frank is one of the finalists in the exhibit. I am so proud of him! Tomorrow is his birthday, so Happy Birthday! ♥ And because the photo only shows my silhouette and not my face, I am so tempted to stand beside the photo and do the same pose until someone notices I am the lady in the portrait! HAHA kidding! ;D

Congratulations on your 7th year HSBC - HDPP! Long may you prosper and continue to be the Best Place to Work!