Testing my app

Saturday, 5 May 12

I couldn’t access my blog on my laptop so I’m checking if I could do it via my iPhone.

Hope this works!

Gato de Velázquez

Thursday, 24 February 11

He reminds me of a Velázquez painting. ;o)


Why so serious? ;o)

Kitty burrito about to drink his vitamins.


Wednesday, 23 February 11

Twister having a ball ;o)

Meet Twister, the stray kitten I rescued two days before V-Day. Friends suggested that I name her Valentina o Caramia (I tried to bring her home in a cake box from that shop), but I found out later on that she was actually a he so that was the end of that. I thought of Vincent (I was having dinner at Van Gogh is Bipolar when he appeared) and Spock (I did a Star Trek movie marathon that weekend), but Twister seemed appropriate–he has a broken, crooked tail.  I’m not even allowed to have pets here at the apartment… but what the hey! He’s so quiet you barely notice that he’s there. He’s such a calm but playful kitten. I think I needed him more than he needed me, that’s why he appeared at my side that night and slept on my feet. How could I resist? ;o)

Malignant void

Thursday, 13 January 11

A malignant void that can suck you in. It looks alive.

I think I was drawing an ulcer. Stomach painful again. Bad, bad, bad.


Thursday, 13 January 11

The inside cover of my Nightmare Sketchbook.

Still have a LOT of work to do. Wish I had more time. :(


Monday, 10 January 11

“I have always admired the ability to bite off more than one can chew and then chew it.” -William DeMille

I’ve gotta chew more. ;o)


A photo taken during a breather while spelunking in Sagada.


Sunday, 9 January 11

Taken on a rainy sunday afternoon

A nice image for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Contemplating on art

Sunday, 2 January 11


Thinking again of the long road ahead.

“To contribute toward the future, the artist must have a keen intellect, a strong body, and compassionate spirit, as well as a developed inner vision and far-reaching outer sight. Keep your eye simultaneously on your next step and on the long horizon.

Cultivate stamina, for the artist’s vocation is strenuous. It is not for everyone.”

— Deborah J. Haynes


Misty Mountains Adventure

Saturday, 1 January 11
Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines

A shot of the Banaue rice terraces on the way to Batad

Day 1: Monday, 27 December 2010 (on the road)

Location: Florida Bus Station, Sampaloc, Manila

Departure, Manila-Banaue, 22:45; ETA 07:00

Actual time: departure at 23:00, arrival at 07:15

Cost: taxi ride from home (100 pesos plus 20 peso tip—the taxi driver was nice!), bottled water (P25), bus ticket (P450)

Diet: Ritz biscuits, water, trail mix bar, gingerbon candies

Song: The Bridge of Khazad Dum by Howard Shore

Mood: Excited, sleepy

Road from the Batad junction to the Saddle Road from the Batad junction to the Saddle

Day 2: Tuesday, 28 December 2010 (Banaue-Batad)

Time: 06:15 – 21:00

Activities: breakfast in Banaue, haggling with the Mafia transport group for a reasonably priced ride to the Batad junction or The Saddle, 350 peso tricycle ride to the junction, stop-overs for pictures and side-stepping landslides, 4.5 hour uphill hike with my 20 lbs knapsack from the junction to the Saddle, another 2 hour hike to the viewpoint area, quick lunch and a beer at Simon’s Viewpoint Inn, a much-needed nap, a much-MUCH-needed shower, dinner, sleep.

Cost: breakfast (P150), 1 liter bottled water (P60), trike ride (P350), Room (P200), lunch (P115), a pail of hot water (P30), dinner (P100)

Diet: ham and eggs with red rice, coffee, lots of chocolate, water, corned beef with vegetable rice, San Miguel pale pilsen, cheese omelet, pancit, more chocolate, vitamins

Song: none. All I could hear was the sound of my ragged breath, trickling water, cracking wood, crickets, and the wind.

Mood: tired, scared, overwhelmed, proud, exhilarated, fatigued, catatonic


Steps leading to the Saddle

We opted to take the longer route --but less steeper road-- to Batad from the Saddle, but we hiked up these steps on our way back (faster but more dangerous hike for first-timers like us). It started drizzling 2 minutes before we reached the top.

Day 3: Wednesday, 29 December 2010 (Batad-Banaue-Bontoc-Sagada)

Time: 05:30 – 23:00

Activities: hike back to the Saddle, breakfast at a sari-sari store, long wait for the jeepney driver, rocky ride back to Banaue in the rain, quick lunch at a carenderia, 2 hour jeepney ride to Bontoc, 1 hour ride to Sagada, stroll around the city, dinner and beers at the Yogurt House, a beer in front of the Traveler’s Inn convenient store, hot shower, tummy trouble, interrupted-kinda-horror-story-sleep.

Cost: breakfast (P35), jeepney ride to Banaue (P150), lunch (P65), 4 Cloud Nine bars (P32), jeepney ride to Bontoc (P150), jeepney ride to Sagada (P40), room w/ own bathroom (P250), dinner and beers (P275)

Diet: trail mix bar, 1 pancake, 3-in-one coffee, 2 bags of Dory chips, pork adobo with rice and a bottle of Royal Tru Orange, Cloud Nine, Strawberry creme filled Sunflower crackers, water, butter mint candies, two spoonfuls of yogurt, 4 San Mig Light beers, roasted eggplant pasta, a bag of Okeji tempura style chips, vitamins

Song: Crazy by Alanis Morissette

Mood: fatigued, excited, contented, relaxed

Picture of a bench hanging over the Banaue rice terraces

Day 4-5: Thursday, 30/31 December 2010 (Sagada-Bontoc-Banaue-Manila)

Time: 07:15-03:00 (the following day)

Activities: breakfast at Masferre’s restaurant, tummy trouble still, 20 minute leisurely trek to the Lumiang burial cave, another 30 minute trek to the Sumaging cave, spelunking for 2 hours (with unexpected anxiety attacks!), 10 min jeepney ride to the Sagada town proper, 15 minute shower + packing, race to catch the last jeep to Bontoc, jeepney ride to Bontoc, jeepney ride to Banaue in the rain, tummy trouble again, lunch/merienda/dinner, bus ride back home.

Cost: breakfast (P100), cave guide + jeepney ride from Sumaging (P250), 1.5 liter bottled water (P20), a pack of Sagada arabica coffee grounds (P175), frozen yogurt to go (P100), jeepney ride to Bontoc (P40), jeepney ride to Banaue (P150), lunch/merienda/dinner (P140), bus ride back to Manila (P450), midnight snack (P70), taxi ride home from the Florida Cubao bus station (P50)

Diet: corned beef with pandesal, papaya, fried plantain, frozen yogurt with fresh strawberries, Cloud Nine, pancit canton, Royal tru orange, arroz caldo with egg, watermelon flavored Fit and Right drink, water, vitamins

Song: Beautiful by Trading Yesterday

Mood: fatigued, sick, peeved, sad, accomplished, melancholy

Things I realized along the way

  1. I am extremely unfit (shame, shame, shame), which is why I am determined to go back to my daily ashtanga yoga practice.
  2. I also need to eat better. I’ve been pushing limits when it’s really not the time or place to do it– drinking all night, snacking on fatty processed foods, etc. I’m not young anymore and could get a heart attack from my careless decisions and apathy. Not only that, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis almost 10 years ago and I’ve been lucky enough not to have bad attacks and relapses. I should not be a slave to my condition, but I also should not ignore it. Fatigue is my constant companion and I am prone to melancholy bouts because of MS, so I should be more aware of what I do to myself and not take my health for granted.
  3. I’ve always known that I love being in the mountains more than going to the beach, but being there is different from getting there. I need to prepare myself more (physically, mentally, emotionally) for the journey. I can’t just apparate on top of a mountain whenever I feel like it; I have to earn my way to get there and stay there.
  4. Again, I was ashamed to realize that I was not only physically unfit, but I was also mentally weak. I was able to go up and down the perilous trails on sides of mountains and inside the cave, but my mind was plagued with negative, self-defeating thoughts the whole time. Sad, really. The trip became more draining because I was physically being taxed by the mountain and I was mentally flagellating myself at the same time. Again, shame, shame, shame.
  5. Realization number 5: my comportamiento, my performance, how I reacted during the trip made me see–actually made me admit to myself what I had already suspected in a long time—that I’ve turned into a shrinking violet, a scaredy cat who doesn’t want to take risks anymore and have refused to participate in her life. I checked out on myself a while back, I bailed, I let myself down all because I do not want to get hurt anymore, don’t want to fail, and don’t want to be disappointed.
  6. But, despite all the negativity I created for myself, I realized that I can achieve anything if I put my mind into it. It makes me look back to the times when I’ve achieved something or overcame something seemingly impossible… I’ve done it before, so I should be able to keep doing it again and again.
  7. Which makes me wonder why I haven’t been doing it…
  8. And makes me think that 2011 is the perfect time to do it!
  9. Synchronicity or messages from God or the Universe is an oh-so-real thing. I wasn’t planning to go on this trip, even thought about backing out, but I threw my doubts out of the window and got on that bus and did it. This was exactly what I needed to clear my head and rediscover myself.
  10. It’s the first day of the new year, a new decade—Stardate 1/1/11 ;o) –it’s like my life’s counter just rebooted and it’s giving me a new slate, a fresh start. That innocuous trip to the Cordilleras might have been the first step that gets my life back on track, the thing that sweeps me back to my destiny.

Hobbit feet! ;o)

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door…You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo Baggins of the Shire

¡Maligayang Pasko * Feliz Navidad * Bon Nadal * Bo Nada * Zorionak eta Urte Berri On * Joyeux Noël * Vrolijk Kerstfeest * Merry Christmas! ;o)

Friday, 24 December 10

Christmas with the kids at Bahay Maria Orphanage (Makati City, Philippines)