Knots and Dogs

Yesterday was my first visit to Barkin’ Blends Dog Cafe since my dad’s passing. It was bittersweet because I was at their other branch when my dad passed away. I felt the healing power of dogs and their dedication is admirable. Of course, the first doggo I hugged was my favorite one, Ella.  

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Later during the day, I finished crocheting the scarf I was making using one of the yarns from my Rosario Yarn Adventure

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With dogs and crafts, I know that I will be able to carry on just fine.  

Summer Pinks

I just finished knitting this infinity scarf at the hospital where my dad was confined. He told me that he wanted a blanket from me, and when I asked which colors he would want me to include in the project, he told me that he was simply thinking about it. 

I finished this scarf right before my dad passed away. 

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It was handmade with love for my cousin Abby in Canada. I hope that she will like it. 

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Life is too short. Here’s to more stitches and ties that bind us. 

Cupcake Beanie

Today’s my blog anniversary! I started speakoutsam.com two years ago when I had a job in IT. I was the program officer of my alma mater’s IT department for during that time, and I felt that I needed to have something for myself that was related to my field. I am not a coder or a programmer, so a blog was the most logical choice for me to set up. 

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I enjoyed blogging so much that I ended up doing it everyday. I got to share about my interests such as knitting and crochet. Incidentally, I just finished knitting this beanie for my goddaughter. So, if there’s anything that I can say today, it’s that you can blog about anything that makes you happy. If you have a hobby, then you can share about that. If you have a job that enriches your life with skills and training, you may also apply your learnings in your blog. 

It is also my first day at my new job. It’s at an IT company again. As my blog turns two, I am thankful for blessings that come my way, and for opportunities that lead me to where I'm meant to be.  

Here’s to more years to speakoutsam!

Manila Fame 2019

Yesterday, I woke up to a postcard sent by my good friend Nurai. She’s based in Germany, but she posted this from Spain while she was on holiday. 

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It was the ideal preview to my artistic day ahead. I rode the LRT 1 and hailed a tuktuk to take me directly to the World Trade Center. 

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I went to the Manila Fame to immerse myself in Filipino artistry. My short visit last Friday was too brief, and I really wanted to spend more time at the fair. 

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I started my visit with some refreshing liquer de calamansi. 

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Then, I had some good coffee.  

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I dropped by the Handcrafted by Harl’s booth because I love their advocacy in supporting differently-abled artisans. I bought a handbag from them last year, and it’s still serving me well. 

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I joined a leather-crafting workshop for only Php50. I made a leather coin purse with the help of their talented deaf-mute artisans. 

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I ended up being the empowered one because I learned a new skill and got to learn from a differently-asked person.  

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It was lovely to see fashion influencer Lolaandrogynous at the fair! I totally dig her style. 

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I also bought small trinkets from another social enterprise, Kilus.  

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I got to appreciate the finer details during this visit.  

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I finally got to try 1st Colonial’s sili ice cream and it was delicious!

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I had a wonderful evening at Manila Fame and I’m very proud to be Filipino.  

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I ended my day with cheese sticks, so I’m also doing the same here. 

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Here’s to more opportunities to be proudly Pinoy! 

Rainbow Scarf

I knitted this rainbow scarf while attending conferences, at a coworking space, at a focus group discussion, and while reading books and listening to music at home. I am fond of unplugging from social media from time to time and just allow myself to knit. The handmade pastime keeps me busy as I process my thoughts on work, the challenges I am facing, and everything in between. 

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I am straight, but I respect people of all genders. It is my hope that by knitting this rainbow scarf, I can continue embracing diversity and the colorful future that awaits me.  

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The joy that knitting gives me is priceless. Having a hobby that keeps your hands busy will reward you with a better attention span, the best sparks of brilliance (I’ve experienced having creative ideas while knitting and crocheting!), and a renewed appreciation for the simplicity of handmade. 

I hope that you will also discover the joys of knitting or any handmade hobby soon! 

Common Ground

Last March 28, I got to witness the opening of Common Ground , a ceramic art collaboration of Israel and the Philippines. It was held at the UP College of Fine Arts (UPCFA). 

It was my first time at the beautiful new building of the UPCFA. It was the perfect venue to showcase the exhibit, which was the culmination of a week-long partnership between noted Israeli ceramic artist Roy Maayan and the UPCFA students. The college is planning to institute a multi-disciplinary Ceramic Arts Program as a new minor in the future, and this collaboration is in line with that vision. 

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The Embassy of Israel has been a cultural partner of the UPCFA, and this collaboration has not only benefited the students and the artist himself, but also the public at large. The exhibit is just the beginning of a visual conversation between the Israel and the Philippines through ceramic arts. 

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Jezzel Wee, one of the artists in the exhibit, hosted the event and brought a youthful vibe to the evening. 

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Dean Leonardo C. Rosete welcomed everyone by saying that ceramics are “vessels of cultural exchange”. The masterclasses and open studio which was shared by the guest artist and the students has created an environment where art could be created and cultural ties could be strengthened.  

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To continue with the theme of cultural exchange, the Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Rafael Harpaz has mentioned in his speech that he made ceramics as a child. His early exposure to the arts has led him to seek “culture as the highest form of satisfaction” amidst his hectic schedule and diplomatic career. He cited as an example of his visits to local tourist attractions and the simple joy of eating halo-halo in the Philippines as his introductions to our local flavors. 

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Later during the evening, I chatted with him about his early interest in ceramics. He said that while he no longer practices it, he is still appreciates the art. He is happy to continue the long-standing partnership between the Embassy of Israel and the UPCFA to bridge our common cultures and inspire the future of Philippine art.  

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The UP President, Danilo L. Concepcion (second from left), has also spoken during the event. He said that since assuming his presidency, he has declared that each new building in all UP campuses should have an artwork. He mentioned that the education of artists is important for our culture, and that international art collaborations is essential for the university. He thanked the Embassy of Israel and Roy Maayan for their efforts in enriching the UPCFA with this endeavor. 

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The UP Kontra-GaPi performed lively musical numbers during the intermission. 

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Lastly, Roy Maayan himself said in his message that he was happy to witness firsthand the talents and skills of the UPCFA artists during their masterclasses and activities. As an Israeli “Clay Ambassador”, he shares his rich expertise to students and artists around the world. He mentioned that he has found friends amongst the Filipinos he has worked with during this collaboration. I witnessed this first-hand as the warmth between the artist and the students was present. 

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Finally, it was time to open the exhibit! 

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Roy Maayan has used the Tembel hat, an Israeli bowl-shaped cloth hat as his cultural “base” for his works in this exhibit. 

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He mentioned that he combined tuff, a volcanic rock found his his country to be combined with some of the tembel hats, like the two bottom hats in this photo. He said that tuff and clay both share common processes of firing in order to form hard objects, and this is something that he highlights whenever he goes around as a clay ambassador. Every culture has something worth exchanging and elevating into art!

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Another Israeli element which Roy Maayan has used as a base for the exhibit is the matka. It is a wooden paddle which the UPCFA students has embellished with local elements, making it entirely their own.  

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My personal favorite was “Hangover” by Blessi Bariuan, because it spoke to me about overcoming a night of drinking and paddling through to carry on the next day. 

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Roy Maayan has given the students the freedom to inject local elements, while also contributing his own matkas with natural and earthy themes to showcase the commonality between all cultures: we are all made of the earth, and we can all collaborate together. 

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The mix of students, faculty, the diplomatic community, the media, and art enthusiasts like myself has made the evening a memorable and fun exchange between two rich cultures. 

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I was able to meet new friends from the Embassy of Israel, appreciate beautiful works of art made by an established Israeli clay ambassador and emerging Filipino artists, and witness the friendship formed over clay and culture. I am thankful that there are events that showcase the commonality that we all share in order to enrich our own respective experiences and perspectives. The future of art lies in collaboration, as the world is becoming more connected by globalization and social media. It is up to us to personalize the art that we make and share the art that we appreciate to make the world a better place to live in. 

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The Study Workspace

I was invited to try out The Study Workspace, a coworking space by Enderun Colleges. It is conveniently located at The Podium, Ortigas.  

The Study offers the following facilities: 

 -Fast internet

-Complimentary coffee, tea, or water

-Comfortable sitting desks

-Conference rooms for rent

-Printing services   

-Free access to The Study events, and

-A great community  

(source: The Study Team) 

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I occupied room M1, where I got to finish some deadlines, charge my gadgets, listen to music, and knit! 

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The place has a lively hipster vibe which I totally dig. 

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They also have books, a pantry area, a restroom, and spacious common areas.  

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They also had good coffee.  

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I enjoyed my stay here and I highly recommend this place for your coworking needs.

For more information, please visit  https://www.thestudyph.com/the-study-workspace/

Assam Milk Tea Vibes

Last Sunday, I started my day with some handmade accessories: my ceramic earrings from Maria Ceramika and my stainless steel and crystal necklace from Made by KCA.  

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I was happy to spot some pretty tiles while ordering milk tea.

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I was feeling festive, so I got myself some Assam Milk Tea with Pudding and Pannacotta. This drink simply reminds me of good vibes and simpler times. 

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Then, I got myself a bracelet spelled g-r-i-t from Bedazzled Accessories at The Craft Central. It should remind me to keep going during tough times because I’m resilient and resourceful. 

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It was day two of the Destash Bash at The Craft Central Cafe! My favorite yarn store, The Attic Yarn and Craftery had a booth there, where they sold affordable yarns and makes.   

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I got myself this lovely cup cozy crocheted with love by Ceryl, one of the women behind this brand. I am thankful to have found this brand, and I look forward to more years of friendship with them.  

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I also returned to Made by KCA’s booth at the bazaar outside Vertis North. I got myself a moonstone ring inspired by my undying love for Bella Swan of the Twilight books. 

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I will forever support handmade because it inspires me to be a better person! I may not have much, but because I have grit and a good eye for local treasures, I know that I will survive anything that life throws at me. 

And at the end of the day, there’s always milk tea.  

Handmade Gems

I dropped by the Destash Bash at The Craft Central Cafe yesterday. I was looking for new stud earrings, and I was not disappointed!

Maria Ceramika had accessories that spoke to me. I love handmade earrings because they perfectly complement my pixie cut. The brand is run by emerging ceramicist Aileen Viñas from UP College of Fine Arts. I’m a fan of her work and I’ll surely watch out for her brand’s growth. 

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I also dropped by my friend Jensen’s booth. She sold some cute trinkets at her booth. She’s my favorite Craft Central employee, and she knows all the cool handmade brands to watch out for. 

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There were other booths in the Destash Bash offering affordable art and home supplies.  

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I ended up buying a couple of ceramic studs from Maria Ceramika. 

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Then, I proceeded to the bazaar outside Vertis North to buy a handmade crystal necklace from local brand Made by KCA

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I already got a pair of dangling earrings from the brand at the now-defunct Wanderspace Cafe last year. This time, I selected a trio of pendants for everyday wear: aquamarine, peridot, and rose quartz.  

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I love my new accessories! I always choose stainless steel pieces because I have acidic skin. 

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Here’s the handpainted pencil case I got from Jensen and my new necklace. I love how the colors match- and how handmade continues to make me happy. 

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I’ll forever be a handmade fan! Do check out these brands and keep on following my blog for more local discoveries in the future. 

Spring Scarf

Yesterday, I knitted while watching Jordyn Woods’ interview at Jada Smith’s Red Table Talk. I feel sad for her because she lost almost everything that she has because of one bad decision. It was painful to watch her interview, but I know that she’s intelligent and that she will somehow find her way through life. I just know it. 

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I continued knitting well into the night, until I finished this scarf that evokes sunshine and happiness.  

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Every time I finish knitting a scarf, I feel as if I am stitching together my story. Just like Jordyn, I’ve made some difficult decisions in the past. I’ve committed mistakes, and I have risen above them. More importantly, I have learned from them. I am thriving, crafting, and becoming. 

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Just like my scarf’s colors, I am in the springtime of my life. New beginnings usher in blessings and positivity. I am optimistic that this is my season, and that I will finally get the right job opportunity for me.  

Joy in the Bag

I recently purchased this yarn bag from local brand Gantsilyo Guru. It is a collab with another local brand, Beyond Stitched, which is known for sturdy canvas bags and personalized purses. This is not a sponsored post- I just love supporting local craft brands and what better way to do it than to buy something that I can tote around while knitting on the go!

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I got the medium yarn bag in midnight.  

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It snugly fits a cake of Lion Brand Mandala Yarn purchased from The Attic Yarn and Craftery

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While my knitting needles don’t exactly fit inside the bag, they sort of protrude outside the sling and this makes it easier for me to whip out my project for easy knitting in transit. 

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I roadtested it at my neighborhood cafe. I must say that using it while having coffee makes knitting a breeze. I just sling the bag on my wrist and stitch my day away. (Yes, I had lunch and dinner at the same cafe).  

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I would recommend this yarn bag because it is important that we support Philipppine-made craft tools! Also, it is convenient to use. The minimalist design matches well with any outfit. Overall, it’s a great product and I would certainly use it a lot.  

Farm Saturday

Yesterday, I visited the GK Enchanted Farm with fellow Human Nature Core Advocates for a tour and immersion. This was my sixth visit to the farm. My previous tours were as a social business camper and with friends. Now, I am back as a core advocate with my own Human Nature Online Shop.  

But first I needed to fuel up at McDonald’s.  

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We met up at the Human Nature Flagship Store.  

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We were also given some nibbles by a fellow core advocate.  

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Then, it was time for our journey!

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We reached the farm at around 9:30am, and we started the tour.  

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Our bubbly tour guide, Gelai, is a graduate of the SEED School. She speaks French, English, and Filipino!

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I had a wonderful day of touring the farm, it’s various social enterprises, and of course, enjoying the delicious bounty of the earth!  

It was time for our ride back to the city.  

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And before going home, I enjoyed an early dinner of toasted naked longganisa at Breakfast Bin. 

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I needed the farm tour to realign myself with my values and to appreciate life more. I am proud to see the farm grow, and to be in the company of kindhearted friends.

Here’s to more goodness and opportunities!

1995

Yesterday, I went to UP Cine Adarna to go back to 1995. I was nine years old during that time, so I indulged on a childhood treat: bicho-bicho right outside the film center.  

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Then, I watched Sana Maulit Muli starring Lea Salonga and Aga Mulach. 

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It was released in 1995. It was a nostalgic trip back to the 90’s. Plus, it was a treat to watch a young Lea Salonga onscreen. 

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I had a lovely time, and I proceeded to some self-care at a spa. 

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I had early dinner at Breakfast Bin, where I had the delicious veggie skillet. 

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For dessert, I had matcha and banana ice cream scoops from Papa Diddi’s. 

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By the time I got home, I was inspired to finish knitting this cowl using yarn I bought from Rosario, Pasig

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It was time to continue knitting, so I chose a ball of Mandala Yarn from The Attic Yarn and Craftery. I carried on from there. 

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Sometimes, we need a trip back in time to appreciate the present more. I look forward to enjoying more vintage films in the future to inspire me to cherish my time.  

Knitting Anniversary

Today is my knitting anniversary! It’s been a year since my fateful Knitting Adventure at the Banaue Rice Terraces. It was where I first learned to knit. The lesson wasn’t easy for me, and I did struggle at first. But with a lot of practice, I did get the hang of it. And I even re-learned how to crochet along the way!

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To celebrate this important milestone, I crocheted and knitted this infinity shawl using chunky yarns from my favorite notions store, The Attic Yarn and Craftery. The ladies behind this local shop has become my friends, and it is touching how this friendship has also become a source of strength and inspiration for me to keep going. 

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My knitting and crochet abilities are in line with my goal to diversify myself through continuous learning of skills. You may be wondering how this connects to my goal to work in a corporate setting. Well, knitting and crochet has taught me patience, perseverance, resilience (especially when I would drop a stitch and have to start over!), creativity, and imagination. I have also learned these skills from scratch through workshops (like the advanced crochet one I attended with Mayown last year). If I can train my mind and hands to manipulate yarn, needles, and hooks, then I’m sure that I am ready to learn new programs, business platforms, and skills. 

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I have also started a new scarf using the knitting needles that came with my kit at Banaue. Using these 6mm bamboo needles again is humbling, as I recall the awkward stitches that I have made 365 days ago in the mountains. Now, I am in my room in the city, with pop music blaring in the background. I have yarn from Pasig, the yarn bowl that I gifted myself with on Valentine’s Day, my first knitting needles, and the determination to keep going. I have amazed myself with how far I’ve come in my creative journey. 

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I know that this is only the beginning. 

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Valentine’s Clutch

I’m single and happy on Valentine’s Day. While I’m looking for a partner, I’m also happy with myself. I think that’s the perfect foundation for a relationship, because I’m already fulfilled on my own. 

Having said that, I finished crocheting this clutch using cotton yarn from my favorite local notions store, The Attic Yarn and Craftery.  

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To celebrate, I got myself some ensaimada and iced coffee from my neighborhood cafe.  

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I also got a pixie trim and I feel fabulous! 

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Self-love is the best foundation for a relationship. I am fortunate to have found fulfillment with my own talents, such as crochet! I know that whoever will date me in the future will be a lucky man because I’m already comfortable in my own skin. 

Stuffed Dreams

I stayed home yesterday to spend time with family. While doing so, I also crocheted using red yarn from The Attic Yarn and Craftery. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and I felt inspired to create using yarn that’s on-theme. 

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I like surrounding myself with stuffed animals which were created by women in communities that provide them with better opportunities. My knitted dog Ella was named after my favorite dog from Barkin’ Blends Dog Cafe. She was knitted by a mama who also plants rice at the Ifugao province. I have traveled to the Banaue Rice Terraces last year because I was so inspired by the story of Knitting Expedition, the company that creates these knitted toys. This has since sparked my own crafting journey, and to this day, I still knit and crochet. I will forever treasure this trip. 

My crocheted unicorn is from Mayown, which is a brand that sells amigurumi dolls crocheted by underprivileged women in Manila. These dolls are designed by Leen Van Dyck, a Belgian expat who works as a teacher in an international school and also trains women to crochet so that they could provide for their families. I have joined her workshop last year, and it has also inspired me to create more! 

Lastly, my Tubbs cat doll is handmade by Pop Junk Love, a local brand that sells hand sewn dolls at indie store Commonroom. I admire the women behind this brand, whose growth I have witnessed ever since their bazaar days. I will always treasure this doll to remind me that it is possible to grow once passion is combined with hard work. 

I surround myself with these dolls to push me to continue creating and dreaming. Whenever times are challenging, it can be difficult to dream, but these dolls remind me that it is a must to continue aspiring for better days ahead. I’m sure that things will drastically improve in the coming days and weeks. All I have to do is dream, and carry on!

Infinite Fan

Yesterday, I finished crocheting this möbius shawl using chunky yarns from my favorite yarn store, The Attic Yarn and Craftery. I am excited to use this in my future job, and also during possible travels! It’s warm and cozy. 

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All that crocheting made me hungry, so I ordered the Chicken Chizu Curry from Tori Chizu. 

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It was a delicious baked rice meal which combined cheese and curry! I’ll definitely order from this place again. 

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Then, it was time for me to book a ride to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. 

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The church is notorious for road closures during fiesta, so I opted to book a ride for a worry-free journey. 

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Before the fiesta procession, I fueled up first with some food. 

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I bought myself a Jolly hotdog and a choco float from Jollibee. Still so good!

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I also prayed for my intentions, such as my dream to land a job very soon, and healing for my dad. 

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Before I knew it, it was time for the procession!

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It was a spectacular procession, just like the one last year. I am a Lourdes devotee because of the miracles I have received from Our Lady. I continue to pray for good health for myself so that I can still be a blessing to others. I also prayed hard for a job that will enable me to support myself and my family. 

Life is still a beautiful journey, and my faith keeps me going. For now, I will continue crafting, eating yummy food, and praying for more blessings! 

Mentor and Manila

Yesterday, I dropped by UP to quickly print some documents for jobhunting.  

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Then, I met up with my college mentor Mitzie for some Thai noodle soup at Sen Lek. 

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We later had bubble coffee at Kape Tayo. It was good! 

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We then parted ways and I proceeded to Binondo for a meeting. But first, I passed by Escolta to admire the heritage buildings there.  

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I had an insightful meeting. I went home and received snail mail from The Pink Sisters Convent. 

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I also got my yarn orders from The Attic Yarn and Craftery.  

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And finally, I received a postcard from my good friend Nurai, who was on holiday at Cappadocia.  

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I am very lucky to have few but well-meaning friends. I even have sisters who constantly pray for me. And I have a mentor who still advises me to this day. Here’s to a wiser adulthood and better decisions ahead.  

Rosario Yarn Adventure

Last Saturday, I went to Lacion General Merchandise right beside Rosario bridge in Pasig. You won’t miss it- it’s located on the corner unit of a pink complex. There are sacks and bags filled with yarns! 

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I freaked out and wanted to buy so many yarns. But I resolved to only buy one kilo. This store is famous among local knitters and crocheters. Just search “Rosario Pasig Yarns” and you will know what I mean. 

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The store spins their own yarn imported from Taiwan. You may mix variegated and solid colors, and each kilo retails for Php390. 

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They also sell machine-spun shawls made of the same yarns. 

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After searching through their bags and chatting with the owners, Kuya Miner and Ate Gladys, I finally selected five balls to consist one kilo.  

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They recommend a size 4-5mm hook for their yarn. I am currently knitting using one of my purchases with a pair of 4.5mm needles, and the weave is so soft. 

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I highly recommend this shop! It’s definitely worth visiting and the yarns are worth the commute. The owners are also kind and honest. Drop by soon! 

Manila CPO Tour

Yesterday, I joined the Postal Heritage Operational Tour organized by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour Group. I am a philatelist, and I am fond of activities organized by Pilipinas Philately, such as the stamp forum that I attended last year. This was why it’s not a struggle for me to wake up early on a Saturday morning to join a tour in Manila. 

I started my day by having taho for brekkie.  

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I rode the LRT, and in half an hour, I was greeted by old school downtown Manila.  

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It was my first time to cross the famous Jones Bridge on foot. I was so giddy during this moment as this was a focal point in the movie Last Night starring Toni Gonzaga and Piolo Pascual.  

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After literally crossing the bridge, I reached the beautiful Manila Central Post Office.

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There were stamps for sale at the lobby during the event.  

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Again, I was delighted to be there because the central post office building was featured in the film Hintayan ng Langit starring Gina Pareño and Eddie Garcia.  

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Naturally, I gravitated towards Rizal stamps.  

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I crocheted while waiting for the lecture to begin. 

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We all received a welcome packet with some stamps! 

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And I was happy to see a model of the Murillo Velarde Map, whose original I saw in person last year. 

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I was especially drawn to the P.O. boxes as they had a classic vibe.  

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Look at these doors!

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This staircase is gorgeous. 

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After the lecture, we got to tour the post office and learn about the operations of the government agency. 

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It was lovely to be in the company of fellow philatelists.  

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Our last stop was the postshop, where we all got to purchase current stamps in circulation. 

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This is my haul. I got stamps that make me smile, such as valentine symbols and year of the pig stamps.  

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I had the time of my life at the tour and I am looking forward to more philatelic geekery in the future! I hope you can also join a post office tour in the future. Just look them up on Facebook for more details. It’s free, and I’m sure that you will also have a good time!