Back to Baclaran

Wednesday is known as Baclaran Day. Devotees of Our Lady of Perpetual Help flock to Baclaran Church to pray for personal intentions and of course, to give thanks.

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I went there to pray for this job that I want very much.

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After spending the afternoon praying and reflecting, I proceeded to Sinirangan Coffee Shop inside the church grounds. I ordered Meal 1: a hot cuppa paired with delicious ensaymada. Perfect with my crochet project!

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I ended my day with a special purchase. I got myself a one-year bible. I am finally reading the greatest bestseller of all time from cover to cover. Please wish me luck as I embark on this mission! It is my goal to deepen my faith and to live out the Gospels.

I hope to get that job soon and I look forward to visiting more churches that enrich my belief in an unseen God.

Embracing Myself

Yesterday, I began my day with some word search and a cuppa.

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Then, I got my mom a birthday cake for her 60th year.

I chose Remilly’s yema cake, which was my late dad’s favorite.

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Then, my mom and I went with my Ninong Oscar to MIBF. I got myself a copy of Walk Manila, which was produced by FEU. I was ecstatic to find this, as I enjoy commuting and walking around Manila.

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Then, we attended the book launch of our family friend Fr. Phil Estrella. He released his book Embracing the Thorns of Our Hearts last night to a crowd of his friends and followers. It was a fun celebration of life and friendship.

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Of course, my MIBF experience wouldn’t be the same without the sumptuous food. I had a bahn mi and macaroni, which were both delicious.

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I ended my MIBF visit with a Star Wars crochet book.

I cannot really embrace myself, so best path to self-love is through books, food, coffee, and friends. I am well-stocked with all those, and I am truly fortunate.

Hail Mary!

Yesterday, I got to attend the launch of Mama Mary and Her Children Book Six. It was a packed event at National Bookstore Glorietta, where the book’s contributors and friends of the late Fr. James B. Reuter, SJ gathered to witness this event. I got to see faith in action during the party as one of the authors, Rowie Matti, personally welcomed me. It was quite awkward for me to be there as Fr. Reuter was a friend and mentor to my ex. We would even visit his grave at Novaliches, to pay respects and to recharge amidst the trees planted on Jesuit property. While it was a blessing to have discovered the Mama Mary book series in 2017, I had to let go of this relationship as it was no longer serving me as a person.

Since then, I focused on myself and rebuilt my faith. I was genuinely surprised when Rowie messaged me a few weeks ago to invite me to the book launch. I explained to her my hesitation, but she reassured me that she will see me there. And she told me, it’s Mama Mary’s birthday after all.

And so, armed with courage, I attended the event. My ex was not there! But Rowie, who is now my friend, was there to welcome me. So was an army of fellow Marian devotees! I received a rainbow rosary and a Divine Mercy stampita, which is bittersweet as it was my late father’s devotion.

I bought the signed copy of the book, which is a compilation of personal stories of people who were blessed through Mama Mary’s intercession. Not all of these stories can be considered miracles. Most of them in fact were about everyday breakthroughs and challenges which were overcome through prayer. In an age where technology is overtaking our lives, it is refreshing to read ordinary stories of faith, hope, and love.

I highly recommend this book, as it is a reminder for everyone that when God closes a window, He sends us his Mother to help us pass through the door He has opened.

‘Til the next book launch! Ave Maria!

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Big Bad Wolf 2019

Yesterday, I ate brekkie at our neighborhood canteen. I had tortang talong (eggplant omelette) and rice. It was so good! 

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Then, I had lunch at the 24-hour pop-up food court at Big Bad Wolf 2019!

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I got my usual at Potdog: crab egg with rice. Yum!

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It was cool to see social enterprise goods by Gawad Kalinga at the food court. 

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I was excited for this year’s Big Bad Wolf as I was able to hunt some fabulous finds last year

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The overwhelming amount of books did not faze me as I clearly knew what I wanted. 

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Still, I browsed through the stacks of books and enjoyed the hours I spent at the fair.  

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I stuck to my shopping list and bought three adult coloring books. I have already migrated to using ebooks, but the joy of coloring cannot be replicated by an app. I needed the real deal. 

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Before leaving the fair, I dropped by the Red Readerhood booth. 

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I donated two books for Gawad Kalinga kids. Of course, I had to select dog-themed books. 

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I offered eggs and prayers at St. Clare to ask for miracles for my family.  

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I wrapped up my day with some coffee jelly and coloring therapy at the café near home.  

Books, food, knitting, and coloring spark joy for me! I will be back for next year’s Big Bad Wolf for sure! 

Yarn and Healing

Yesterday, I had to sort out some personal challenges. After I got those out of the way, j rewarded myself with lunch at Embrace Cafe.

The cafe employs marginalized and disabled staff. I admired the staff’s positivity and excellent service, despite their circumstances. It is clear that they feel empowered at work.  

I had a delicious plate of carbonara and a cold glass of coffee jelly.  

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I knitted and at the cafe for hours, so I ended up eating spaghetti for dinner there. 

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Sometimes, I just need to be exposed to people who feel empowered with opportunities to know that I am also capable of improving my life. I know that I am doing my part, and with consistency, I will be one resilient woman.  

Sunday Slowdown

Yesterday, I heard Sunday mass with my family.  

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We later had Chinese brunch as my dad wanted comfort food.  

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Then, I packed all these stuff for my crafternoon at Makers Cafe. 

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I went there to buy my minimalist stainless steel Catriona earrings. 

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But I also went there to hang and knit!

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I had carbonara and a long black to energize me as I craft. 

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Then, I took out my copy of Always Be Creating by Abbey Sy and my journal to answer some journaling prompts from the book.  

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I realized that I wanted a daily reminder of my late friend Diane, so I bought this side moon gold-filled necklace from Pulseras by Kim. 

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Feeling inspired, I continued journaling using Abbey’s book. I also finished reading it in the cafe, and I no longer felt overwhelmed with my life. I realized that there is a process to pursuing my purpose and achieving my goals. And it pays to be creative in order to find beauty and meaning as I go along. 

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I finished knitting my scarf. As I began crocheting a new one, I was privileged to witness the procession of the Black Nazarene. 

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I packed my art bag and proceeded to Cinema Centenario to watch Rainbow’s Sunset. It was touching and heartwarming. 

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I later had dinner at Get Greens. 

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It was my first time there. Their green pesto pasta did not disappoint!

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Then, I stitched my scarf together to turn it I tom an infinity one. 

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I enjoyed my day at Maginhawa, and I got to do a lot!

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Here’s to more crafternoons and warm memories. 

Keeping Up with 2019

Yesterday, I had another meeting. I think it turned out fine! 

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After my productive morning, I had my pixie trimmed. Haircuts really have an amazing effect on my confidence, that’s why I get one each month. 

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I had the Sgt. Steak salad and garlic hummus for lunch. 

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Then, I visited Barkin’ Blends Dog Cafe for some cuddle time with Ella and my other furry friends.  

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I ended my day with a breakfast smoothie from Go! Salads. I like this place so much, I had my lunch and dinner there.

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2019 is turning out to be a fruitful year for me. I am eager to keep up with this year’s challenges by looking for the right opportunities to pursue, and balancing them with my passions. 

Bring it on!

Training Day

Yesterday was a gorgeous day to drive and run some errands.  

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After accomplishing some important morning tasks, I had breakfast and a couple of cups of coffee.

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Then, I took a train to Cinema ‘76 to watch a movie. 

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Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa was a moving love story between two people who cannot be together in real life due to convention. It still remains to be one of my favorite Filipino indie films, and I love how the film celebrates commuting, music, and walking while thinking introspectively.

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I ended my me-time with some prayer and thanksgiving at St. Joseph’s Shrine, then I ran some more errands. 

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I am grateful for people who care for me and check on me. Thank you for following my journey! I am taking care of myself so that I can also watch over my family and ensure that they receive the care that they deserve. 

I still have more trains to ride, movies to catch, and tests to pass. Let’s do this, 2019! 

Reading Again

I have recently begun reading again, and it has been wonderful. I started with the book that I was asked to review a few days ago, and now I can’t stop.

I have since moved on to Nicholas Sparks’ latest novel, and yesterday, I took it with me to lunch at The Sandwich Guy. 

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Ever since my dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I have dropped some hobbies such as reading to give way to running errands and doing some work for him. Now that I have established a routine of sorts, I can already read novels again and enjoy a good plot.

I am thankful for new beginnings, and I can’t wait to see how these stories will influence me for the better.  

Flipping the Script Book Review

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I love supporting local authors, especially those who are just starting out. One of the ways that I do so is by reviewing advanced reader’s copies (ARCs) of new novels and novellas in the #romanceclass community. The said community is a growing family of Filipino authors, both seasoned and newbies, who mostly write romance novels. They also write beyond that genre, so it’s inspiring to see the group diversify and grow through the years. Founded by bestselling Filipino author Mina V. Esguerra, the community fosters partnership and engagement between its members, and reviewing new works is a fun family tradition.

I was thrilled to be one of the first to read the ARC for Flipping the Script, a novella by newcomer Danice Mae P. Sison. It follows the story of Miri Dela Merced, a seventeen-year-old high school student who interns at a film studio that is owned by her family’s rival, Santelmo Pictures. Her Lolo Ikong used to be the studio’s prolific director, until its matriarch, Barang Santelmo, had a huge falling-out with him. Decades later, Santelmo’s heir Pabs Paglinauan meets Miri in the said internship program. Sparks fly between the two, and in between the mundane tasks of film production (sticking masking tape! coffee runs! all-night film editing!), the two get to know each other beyond their families’ rivalry. 

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I truly enjoyed this novella because it was more than just a predictable teenage love story. There was a strong cast of support characters, and I liked Tetet most because she complemented Miri’s tomboy style and sensibilities. I also appreciated the pop culture references to 90’s Pinoy movies that I grew up with.

The story was believable in the sense that the author did not try hard to draw us into the story. With her witty writing style that includes chat groups, recommended 80’s flicks, film studio descriptions, and light banter, I felt seventeen again and totally transported into the world of campus life and filmmaking.

I wish that the novel was a bit longer, but I felt that the story was already a complete one. I just couldn’t get enough of Miri and Pabs, and it would be nice if this could have a sequel. All in all, I would give it five stars. I strongly recommend this novella! 

Flipping the Script will be out on February 2019. According to romanceclass, it will be released “worldwide, in digital and print formats, via Amazon, The Ripped Bodice, The Book Depository, and other retailers.”

For more Filipino novels, novellas, and awesome resources for authors and readers, visit  http://romanceclassbooks.com/. You may also follow Mina V. Esguerra and Danice Mae P. Sison online. 

Staying True

Yesterday, I had a meeting at Cafe Mary Grace. As it is one of my usual coffee shops, I opted to change my order and try something new. I had their Spanish sardines pasta, and it was so flavorful. I will definitely have it again. 

I managed to crochet while eating and wrapping up my meeting. I have always advocated integrating my handmade lifestyle with my daily grind. So far, it has been a success and yarn can really open up my world to possibilities, thanks to the focus I gain from the repetitive stitches. Having a hobby can work wonders on one’s overall well-being, and I am no exception. 

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After lunch, I bought my second cup of coffee because I felt that my cuppa from Mary Grace was not enough. I wandered into Booksale and I had a lovely time browsing. It really is a happy place for me.  

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Staying true to myself is never a problem. I know myself very well, and I am able to live out my ideals amidst the busyness of adulthood. With that in mind, I am confident that I will be able to hustle with a heart and stay loyal to my tribe. There is no need to compromise my values, as long as I remain authentic. 

MIBF 2018

Yesterday, I went back to the Manila International Book Fair. My trip last Thursday was only ten minutes long, so I braved the typhoon to return to my favorite annual book event. 

My haul for this year consists of my Didache Bible reflections for next year and a bunch of history books. I had authentic pho for lunch at the Vietnam Pavilion and it was delicious! Of course, I took the chance to fangirl and take pictures with Rizal props. 

I love attending book events because I get to see like-minded individuals and purchase hard-to-find reading materials. I still have Goyo hangover and I can’t wait to read my history haul. I’m sure that I’ll attend more book-related events in the future, because these inspire me to tell my own story and speakoutsam!

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ADB Transport Forum Day 2

Yesterday was the second day of the Transport Forum 2018 at the ADB. I continued learning on how technology is advancing the cause of transport efficiency in the Asia Pacific region.

As a blogger and daily commuter, I understand how simple posts online could inform others on traffic, train station queues, and safety concerns. I am more determined to continue sharing my experiences on getting from point A to point B to hopefully reach those in authority in order to improve our transport system.

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I also got to attend the second day of the Manila International Book Fair. I was only there for ten minutes. I will go back on the weekend, should the weather improve.  

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I am thankful for opportunities to learn and grow at the ADB. It was also fun to spend the conference with my high school friend Luane. I can’t wait to continue learning at the third day of the forum. 

Fiesta, Footwear, and a Festival

I celebrated St. Clare’s feast yesterday by dropping by her monastery. I braved the rain and offered eggs in her honor. 

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Her feast day is just a couple of days before my birthday, which is why I have a special devotion to her. She has been a powerful intercessor through the years.  

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It was also inspiring to be with other devotees on this special day.  

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I got home to my new Renegade Folk shoes in Timeless. This is my third pair from the Marikina-made shoe brand. They create shoes which are perfect for my style. Also, I can walk in them comfortably, and I love supporting local!

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I later visited the annual Philippine Readers and Writers Festival at Raffles Makati. 

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This year’s festival featured author talks and signings, as always.  

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But I was delighted that this year’s festival pass contains free entrance to next month’s Manila International Book Fair! 

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I enjoyed browsing through books... 

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...saying hello to history bae Jose Rizal... 

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...and playing with the photo booth! 

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In the end, I purchased four local books, and I can’t wait to read them all.  

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As a Youngblood baby, I always find myself attending their workshop at the festival. Pam Pastor’s wit never gets old. 

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After the workshop, I proceeded to National Bookstore’s booth, where I won an advance reader’s copy for Ghosted by Rosie Walsh.  

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I had a lovely afternoon at the festival, and I am excited to be back next year! 

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As a bookworm, blogger, devotee, and lover of all things local, I can say that my Saturday was quite eventful! Here’s to braving the rain and participating in more activities that will remind me of how blessed I am, and how I can write about them all on my blog.  

Prayer, Paws and Empowerment

Yesteday, I worked out, and had chicken sopas and quick fried beef for breakfast at Tropical Hut. 

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I also got four vintage saucers at my local weekend market for Php20. 

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Then, I attended The Feast for the second time. 

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I felt so blessed! 

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I also knitted while worshipping. Talk about offering my handiwork to the Lord!

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Then, I had the cheesy meaty spaghetti from Mister Donut. It was delicious! 

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I spent time at the PAWS Pet Cafe to meet some puppers.  

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I met Dr. Argus, Dr. Leo, and Dr. Torby, who are part of the Doctor Dogs program. They visit schools and hospitals to bring cheer and love. 

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Then, a fourth Doctor Dog, Storm joined us for some cuddle time.  

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I also went to the dermatologist’s for some acne care. Here I am with Melody, the fab lady who assists me whenever I’m there.  

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Let me rock these pimple injection stickers! 

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I dropped by the new branch of Books for Less at The Block. It’s a wasteland for all ages. They have secondhand books and stationery items!

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Look at these handmade secret book boxes!

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They also have a handsome shelf of vintage books. 

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After buying a pre-loved book, I headed over to The Craft Central to purchase this gorgeous yarn. 

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And, I was able to score this killer duo of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls books at 20% off at the Fully Booked sale!

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I am always happy with new books.  

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For dinner, I had my favorite toasted naked longganisa at Breakfast Bin.  

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And I ended my Sunday with a full-body massage at my nearby spa.  

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I had a lovely Sunday. I spent it worshipping the Lord, hanging out with volunteer doggos, taking care of myself, and buying for soul food (read: books and yarn). I also sketched my food. 

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Life should be spent well, with a balance of work, leisure, and self-care. There is nothing more empowering than the fact that I can support my favorite causes and practice my faith in one day. Here’s to better days ahead!

Signed Inspo

Yesterday was a rainy one, so I decided to stay at home. I worked out, carried on with my reading, and listened to classical music.

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Imagine my surprise when I finally received the print copy of The Crime Circle by Yeyet Soriano, a novel which I have reviewed a few weeks ago here on my blog. I won the digital raffle for the participants of the said novel’s blog tour, and I was lucky to be one of the winners.

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I was glad that the book came with freebies which enhanced my appreciation for the book. The postcards and bookmarks feature haunting illustrations and quotes from the novel.  

I can’t wait to reread it, because we all know that the print edition is always the best reading experience for a seasoned bookworm. 

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Like most avid bibliophiles, it is especially thrilling to have my books signed by the authors themselves. I do consider Yeyet as one of my friends, so the personal message is more than appreciated. It is especially empowering to receive  motivating words from a strong and talented author!

I am lucky to be part of the local writing and reading community which has enabled me to appreciate our local culture better through novels written by Filipino authors. I am also happy to be a part of more blog tours for upcoming novels! If you want to have the same reading experience, check out Yeyet Soriano’s novels and continue following me here on my blog! The Filipino reader and writer deserves more love, and there is no better time to begin the journey to reading local than now.

Rainy Day Knitting

I always knew that living the handmade lifestyle will be beneficial in the long run. Yesterday was no exception. I was stuck at home due to the rain, so I finished the novel I was reading. When I realized that I needed a short break from books, I picked up my knitting needles and continued working on the scarf I began a fortnight ago. 

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This project was actually painful to finish. I was knitting this scarf while having a particularly difficult conversation with a friend, and yes, it helped me calm down. Knitting does that to me- it eases me through pain and helps me clear my mind. Picking my needles up again was my cue to carry on with life. For every stitch, I become a stronger version of myself. Just like the scarves I make, I become warmer and more resilient because I was made to withstand tough times. 

I look forward to knitting, going back to reading, and yes, living a handmade lifestyle during this rainy season and beyond. Life may throw some challenges along my way, but I was built to handle them with a couple of needles and a bunch of books. I hope that you will also find your own handmade lifestyle, so that you will see the difference it can make! 

Diane’s 31st

Yesterday, my friend Luti and I remembered our high school Diane. She would have been thirty-one. 

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We went to UP Town Center for a food coma worthy of our late friend. She was a foodie as well, so we planned on eating nothing but the best. 

First stop was local favorite The Chocolate Kiss.  

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Luti had the taco salad, while I had chicken satay with nasi goreng. Both of our orders were delicious!

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We stopped by Biblio, a secondhand bookshop for good measure. Diane loved to read. 

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I bought a bamboo toothbrush holder for my toothbrush made of the same material. I also got a pack of world map postcards. I was able to score free Sagada coffee with my purchases. 

Diane would have loved this bookstore, as well as their local coffee.  

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Next, we went to Waffable by Rustic Mornings. I got an apple crumble waffle. It was amazing!

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Later during the day, we had an early dinner of hotdog and mac n’ cheese at Starr’s. 

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Then, we returned to The Chocolate Kiss for cake slices in honor of our birthday girl. 

Luti chose the devil’s food cake, while I had my favorite, dayap chiffon!

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Happy birthday Diane!

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Lastly, we passed by Diane’s final resting place. 

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We all miss our friend. 

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We hope that shes in a better place now. 

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And someday, we will see her again. 

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We hope that Diane likes our simple tribute to her in the form of yummy mains and cakes. It was a food coma to remember, and a celebration that we look forward to observing again next year.  

I hope that you will also make time for your late loved ones, and continue praying for their eternal repose. They are our guardian angels. Let us never forget them.  

#TheCrimeCircle

I am honored to be part of the Blog Tour for Filipino multi-genre author, Yeyet Soriano’s latest novel, The Crime Circle. I received a review copy from the author, and since I have previously read her other works, I already knew that this book will be awesome. 

I was not disappointed, as it was everything I needed during the past week. It helped me relax and get lost in the world of four novellas which told the story of four different crimes.  

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Interestingly, the four novellas are released separately, enabling readers to have a dose of crime and mystery the whole year. The first novella, 3B4U, was already relased as an ebook on Amazon last March 24, 2018. 

The Crime Circle print versions are now available in its entirety via the local print order form and the international print order form

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It follows the journey of David Roces from 90’s fictional rock god to social hermit. The unexplained deaths of his fellow rock musicians have caused him to disappear from public view. It was a fun read because I felt so invested in the story as I am a 90’s rock fan! I felt that Ms. Soriano has truly captured the grit and spirit of that era- and its tendency to be conducive to fan obsessions. 

3B4U is already available online through the local print order form, the international print order form, and via Amazon

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Lost  follows the story of Zia, an artist who is haunted by childhood traumas. Her mother-figure, Steph, helps her emerge from the shadows to eventually overcome her demons. I enjoyed this novella because I also had some battles to fight in the past (didn’t we all?). It is truly inspiring to follow a female protagonist as she uses art to empower herself. 

Lost will be released as an ebook on Amazon on May 31, 2018. It is already available via the local print order form and the international print order form

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 Climb was about Pablo, an IT professional/erotic fiction writer/subdivision heist intel broker. Wait, what? If that doesn’t interest you yet, then I don’t know what will! Also, I think anyone who lives in a subdivision will feel the chills as this novella narrates a series of home robberies. You will definitely rethink about who you trust, and how you secure your valuables.

It will be released as an ebook on Amazon on August 2018. It is already available via the local print order form and the international print order form

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Last but not the least, Breathe was an entertaining read as it followed a fictional Filipino female crime author who writes about her memories of a childhood crime. I am happy to see female protagonists who have unconventional jobs, like crime authors!

It will be released as an ebook on Amazon on October 2018. It is already available via the local print order form and the international print order form.

So pour yourself a cup of coffee, and give your usual novels a break. Give The Crime Circle a chance as it was an engaging read. It will restore your faith in our country too, because while we have so much crime in our society, we also have a lot of goodness around us. Congratulations to Ms. Soriano on another successful novel- and I look forward to reading more from her in the near future. 

SCbit

Yesterday, I drove to the UP Main Library to catch SCbit, an exhibit to remember the UP Shopping Center. Despite having been burned down, many people have wanted to relive the memories in this nostalgic place. I myself had a lot of happy memories here even if I wasn’t a UP student. I drank strawberry chocolate shakes, ate plates of tapsilog, brought my books for photocopying, and even had a pair of fashionable specs made.

The facade of the library was lovely! 

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I think it is commendable that students from the UP Library Science department have taken the time to put this exhibit together. They have diligently looked for photos, interviewed stakeholders, and researched at the University Archives.  

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My photos were included in the exhibit! I am thankful that Nicole, one of the organizers, has reached out to me to ask for permission. I gladly said yes!

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I miss the Shopping Center (SC), primarily for the food, cheap photocopy shops, and the Sarabia Optical Shop, which was where I got these fashionable specs!

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The exhibit was a walk through memory lane. It was touching to see the efforts of the students in putting this exhibit together. I hope that the SC will be rebuilt so that more people will be able to have a one-stop shop in the middle of UP again.