September 1, 2016

Happy five years!

I just realized today that this blog has been going on for five years already! I started this blog in June 2011 and had my first post in August 2011.

It is nice to read the things I posted here and be taken back to previous occasions in my life. Nothing much has changed with how I write and the themes that I'm writing about. I still do not want to post too much negative stuff here, simply because I do not want to remember those unpleasant things whenever I read back - so I'm still sticking to writing about the good stuff and sharing some good music from artists who deserve more love.

Kudos to the readers and one-time visitors of this blog and to the experiences that inspired five years of blogging. Also, please take some time to listen to the song below. Cheers! :)

August 22, 2016

Guitar and ukulele wall hanger ideas

My husband and I were looking for wall hangers for our guitar and ukulele since last week because they were just lying around in a corner. We thought that these musical instruments deserve more love so we were really glad when we found the right items to hang them properly.

After some tour and search in IKEA, we found the Betydlig wall/ceiling brackets and Grundtal hangers. They worked perfectly fine with the guitar and ukulele and didn't cost us much. Here is how they looked like after Michael fixed them on the wall.
They look neat!
Up close
You just have to get the right measurements for the ukulele and guitar to fit and voila.
 Grundtal hangers for towels, now for ukulele
 Up close
 Betydlig wall brackets turned upside down - the anti-slip liners made for good cushion
Musical instrument wall hangers do not need to be expensive. There are a lot of cheaper alternatives you can find in hardware stores. We just found ours in IKEA and hoped this helps. Also, I'm sharing this cute song from Petite League. :)

August 18, 2016

Two days in paradise

Philippines is undoubtedly a tourist destination. With its lovely beaches, islands, and mountains, it is easy to be attracted to its charm and desire to visit some of the country's beautiful sites.

Traveling to the Philippines' amazing places can be really expensive to most ordinary wage earners, that's why traveling as a hobby doesn't seem to be for everyone. For example, if you dream to go to the northernmost province of the country, Batanes, you have to save enough money for the airfare, accommodations, and food allowance because they cost a lot. It may take time given an individual's priorities and responsibilities, but it is doable. While there are really expensive tourist destinations, there are others that were stereotyped to be only for the well-off, like El Nido, Palawan. But sometimes, it only takes some skills and planning to afford the costs of traveling.

I am not one of those who makes a list of must-see places, but when I saw the beauty of El Nido, Palawan in photos, I knew I wanted to see it someday. Checking out airfares, tours, and accommodations online gave me an impression that El Nido is really quite expensive. Through Cebu Pacific's seat sale, we were able to book cheaper tickets for the family a few months before the trip. My husband and I couldn't decide at first if we were going to stay in El Nido or Puerto Princesa, but after some thinking and calculations on expenses, we chose El Nido and we're glad we did.
Waiting for boarding
My two other siblings didn't join our trip: my sister was in UAE and the eldest brother didn't want to come. Nevertheless, we were really excited since it would be our first time in Palawan. While on flight, one of the flight attendants announced about available shuttle vans from Puerto Princesa Airport to El Nido. We inquired about the tickets and purchased afterwards. It cost Php 600 per person. The van was spacious and the roads to El Nido were long and winding. It felt like the driver was really in a hurry, I didn't sleep during the travel because I was kind of worried that I'd break my neck. It was that fast!
Welcome to Puerto Princesa!
After roughly five hours, we reached El Nido safely and took a tricycle to Joyful Guesthouse. It was our home for two days and we paid Php 2 200 per night. All the seven of us stayed in one family room. Since it was dark when we arrived, the inviting clear blue sea welcomed us in the morning.

Our view from our accommodation

July 4, 2016

Making good ripples

One of the downsides of living away from home where Catholic church life seemed impossible, is the lack of opportunities to personally share thoughts about spirituality and relationship with God. I was invited by colleagues to join them in their church, one was Christian (they were somewhat affiliated to Hillsong), and the other was a foreign Catholic community. I would have accepted their invites but I wasn't up to meeting a lot of new people at that moment, besides the pros and cons. It was a conscious decision my husband and I had made.

Living here stripped us of the experience to physically belong to a catholic community, though I knew few people who still enjoy their spiritual life amidst the prohibition of religious practices other than Islam. Fortunately, we will always have a community back home where we feel a sense of family and belongingness.

During our holiday in the Philippines, my husband and I tried to squeeze in our schedules some of the activities of Antioch community. A good friend asked me (nicely and pressingly) if I could prepare a talk for the Recollection, so I did. (Thank you JM for asking!) It was a window to meet again the new members of the community and to bid goodbye to good friends since it would be the day before our flight to the kingdom.

Choosing a topic for the youth has always been a challenge. However, during that time, I remember that I have always wanted to talk about the ripple effect. I am fascinated by how one's simple acts could bring up a change in unimaginable ways, like a small rock thrown in a calm pond creating ripples. Thus, I settled in talking about making good ripples.

The ripple effect is a spreading, pervasive, and usually unintentional effect or influence. It's a single act that gets magnified over time affecting a larger group of people. It happens everyday, both in positive and negative ways. This video is a good story of how far and long our ripples can travel, while this one takes on how ripple effect can be damaging.

Most of our actions affect other people, sometimes without our knowledge. A smile or a nod can make someone's day brighter and productive, while an unintentionally hurtful joke can add up to someone's depression. Our ripple effects may go a long way; they are not always abrupt, some take time. Knowing that everyday we have an opportunity to make ripples in the society we are in, wouldn't it be better if we choose to make good ones, instead of undesirable ripples? I listed down six ways to help ourselves in making small waves of goodness, here they are:

June 27, 2016

Wonderfully melancholic

Penny Dreadful Season 3 finale was also the series finale. Sadly, the series won't be returning with a new season, leaving some audience asking for more. The Blessed Dark (the last episode) showed us how the characters who we have followed since Night Work (first episode) embraced, fought for, and claimed their destiny.

There were some ways I would have wanted to change the choices made by the characters but in the end, I understood that the creators of Penny Dreadful would want to show that the characters could not do so much to escape their fate.

The opening scene of the last episode was utterly moving, preparing us for the ending we would not want to come. The lullaby was a warning that it wouldn't be a happy ending. But who was actually expecting for a happy ending when we knew from the start that the characters are doomed and scarred by their own sufferings? Part of the lullaby was from an old bedtime prayer for children.

When I was young
And scared of the world 
My mother would sing me a song 
A tune that I keep in a sacred place
Because I know that my life won't be long
It tells of the place where you go
When your time here on Earth is through 
A beautiful place we call heaven
Is it true? Please God I pray that it's true

'Cause once this land was heaven on Earth 
Green hills were all you could see
But now it's soot and steel and brick 
So it looks more like hell to me
And each day brings more and more suffering 
And each night is silence and fear
And I wake to the sound of your voice 
But you're not here, why aren't you here?

So now I lay me down to sleep
 I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Please let me die before I wake
So the Lord my soul, can take
Then maybe I'll finally find you
'Midst the beauty of paradise
And you'll sing not of dying but living
Wouldn't that be nice?
Wouldn't that be nice?

Some of the scenes that I love from the finale are as follows. Dorian Gray and Lily conversed about the consequences of immortality and losing the passion to live as time wears one out. In the end, Lily chose to leave Dorian and claimed her independence from men.

The team fought against Dracula to save Vanessa Ives.

Ethan and Vanessa finally met after being miles apart for a long time.

 Sir Malcolm asked Ethan if he wishes to stay. Ethan acknowledged his family in London.
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