Year: 2012

Saying Goodbye to 2012

It’s the last few hours of 2012, right about the perfect time for me to look back at the twelve months that have passed. This year has been full of many firsts, endings and beginnings, challenges and adventures. At times, I felt like I was standing still, like the days couldn’t pass by quickly enough. Other times, I wish the hands of the clock would slow down, drawing each second to its fullest span, freezing my world in that very moment. Unfortunately, time control hasn’t yet been invented — but thanks to the powers that be, we’ve got cameras that encapsulate experiences in frozen images, and we’re all equipped with that incredible machine we call our brain, which stores memories and associates them with the corresponding images. So much has happened that I won’t attempt to remember them all, but here are some especially memorable moments that brightened up each month of my 2012 : Today, I give thanks for my many firsts — my family’s first time to celebrate New Year’s out of town, …

This Christmas Season

Once again, Christmas day has come and passed–all too quickly, it seems. Christmas this year wasn’t all that different from the last: there was no mind-blowing revelation, no grand gesture. The roads were still traffic all over the Metro (even more so, in fact), we still found ourselves doing last-minute shopping on the 24th, and my mom was still way too busy wrapping enough gifts to fill a sleigh. We chalk up all these things to being signs of the times, though maybe the traffic, consumerism and stress aren’t the best things to associate with the season. During our traditional Christmas eve mass, our priest, Fr. Danny Hwang, told us that it was his first Christmas back in the Philippines after years of being stationed in Rome. He spoke of the Filipino Christmas as being an experience of light, fullness and belonging (I sure do hope I remembered the three correctly!). His homily inspired me into making my own accounting, such as it is. Christmas in the Philippines is a feast for the senses. From the …

A Taste of Seoul: Caffe Bene

After months of waiting for the Philippine branch in Eastwood to open, it finally did–just in time for the holidays! Just a little backstory, when we were in S. Korea last summer, and every time we were on a bus of sorts, we’d keep seeing Caffe Bene. My sister’s Korean friend, Sue, told us that it was one of their main local coffeehouses, so of course I made up my mind to try it at least once before I left. Alas, as such things often seem to work out, once we were actively looking for it, we couldn’t find it. On the Sunday before my departure, my siblings and I planned to have breakfast at the branch nearest our meet-up point with Sue. We followed the directions we looked up online, to no avail. Ended up at Waffle Bant which, to be fair, did come recommended. The next day, on my last night in Seoul, we had several things to accomplish: 1) Hit up Etude House & Missha for our friends; 2) Buy myself a …

A late goodbye to NaNoWriMo 2012

Well, hello again, WordPress — it’s been way too long! I could say that I’ve been absent for nearly a month because of my preoccupation with school and NaNoWriMo, but that excuse wouldn’t fly. The voluntary hiatus was mostly due to my absorption in several newly-discovered series, foremost of which is J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Plus plain laziness, I guess. I’ve got a number of coffee post backlogs; however, before I get into those, let me close a valuable chapter in my life: my first NaNoWriMo experience. The funny thing is that I actually have two or three drafts that I typed out here during the last few weeks of NaNo. I never finished them because I kept having WiFi issues. Anyway, there’s no point in posting them. I’ll just say it now–I won the NaNo on my first try! Last November 28, I bid my laptop good night after validating my 50,697 word count, thereby attaining my purple bar. By the official end of November, I had 55,420 words. None of those …

Here’s to random beautiful things

We had a surprise guest during last Tuesday’s Creative Writing class, just as we were about to discuss the things that inspire us. I wouldn’t even have noticed if our professor hadn’t pointed it out. This huge ass butterfly, what we call a mariposa, perched on our window and stayed with us for the entire session. Makes me wonder what other amazing things I miss out on because I’m too busy to take a good look around me. We don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving in the Philippines, but today, I want to give thanks for all those chance moments that add a touch of magic to my everyday routine. Here’s to seeing that butterfly on the window! Happy thanksgiving to all 🙂

Bottled Kicks: Dare Double Espresso

Well, look at what we’ve got here! Thanks to my sister who’s fresh from a business trip to Melbourne (and my brother who picked it up for me), I’ve got a new coffee to try. So far, I haven’t featured any bottled coffees yet, but I just felt that this is more than deserving of its own post. Bottled coffees are much harder to get right than fresh ones. Maybe it’s the coffee-milk-sugar ratio that’s the kicker, but of all the ones I’ve tried, I can count only a few that I truly enjoyed enough to want to buy them again. Unfortunately, that’s not always easy since some are imported. There’s Starbucks Frappuccino (that one I’m able to buy here), Baristar Coffee from Korea (I love ’em Korean coffees) and the local Nescafe canned iced coffees do okay in a pinch. Most others I’ve tried were either too watery, too milky or too sweet. Let’s talk about Dare. The first thing that got me excited was, of course, the Double Espresso part. To be honest, …