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.

June 19, 2016

Weekend trip in Puerto Galera

Summer in the Philippines isn't complete without swimming at the beach or pool. If given with enough time, resources, and preparation, I would want to spend much time taking a dip in some clear waters. Especially in summer time when it can get extremely hot and humid, who would not enjoy a trip to the beach?

Last April 29, we arranged a trip to White Beach, Puerto Galera (PG) with the TPWNs (read as Tapawan: my husband's family). Unfortunately, Tatie, my father-in-law did not come with us because it was far. Travel from Naic to PG could take at least five hours so we opted to leave early. There were a lot of tourists waiting for their scheduled trip, both locals and Koreans! We would have chosen to go to PG on weekdays to avoid the crowd but unfortunately, Michael's siblings could go during weekends only.
An hour and a half boat ride - Father & Sons Shipping Line
Upon arrival in White Beach and after paying the environmental fee, we started looking for an affordable accommodation for two days and two nights. We did not book in advance because we were quite confident that we could find one when we were there already. After half an hour of search, we chose a non-beachfront AC cottage with a kitchen for Php 2 500/night. It wasn't a bad deal at all but it was surprisingly more pricey than our accommodation in El Nido, Palawan! Anyway, it was nice that they didn't charge us with a per-head fee.
Welcome to White Beach!
We put our bags in the cottage and took a rest for a while before we went out for a late lunch. We ate at Foodtrip sa Galera and strolled at the shore after. We decided to buy at the talipapa and cook for dinner instead. Late that afternoon, we had a swim and there were a lot of people! I could say that the water was not as clear as before. When I went there for the first time, I was actually amazed at the blue waters!

Lunch at Foodtrp sa Galera. Ryan and Ruth weren't here yet.
The next day, we woke up early and headed to the town church to listen to the mass. The ride from our accommodation to the church took 20 minutes; it was far! Only a few people were waiting for the mass to start. After the mass, we asked around to find the market and buy food for our meals. We wanted to save as much and the kitchen in our cottage was a big help. I think we spent around Php 1 500, good for three meals for seven persons.

Around ten in the morning, Ryan and Ruth (Michael's siblings) arrived in PG. We called Ate Jenny to set an island hopping tour for us. We got to know her when we were looking for a cottage. Island hopping tour costs Php 1 500 for our whole group. Snorkeling gears were also included, but we had to go to another port where the boats were docked and were waiting for the tourists. We listed our names in the logbook, paid some fees (which I already forgot how much), and waited for the boat.
At the port, waiting for the boat.
The first activity in the tour was snorkeling. The water was clear and blue and we saw corals and some fish. The tour guide told us that we could rent small boats to get us to prettier snorkeling sites where we could do other activities such as fish feeding. We did not take the offer and we went off to another place with a lot of sea stars.
Snorkeling and looking for schools of fish!
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