Saturday Currently #2 and 2018 Goals

This will be a quick one! It’s 2:38 AM, and I’m wide awake because I fell asleep right after I got home. I’m currently..

..listening to: or more appropriately, watching the new Japanese Breakfast video for Boyish. This is one of my favorites out of the two or three songs that I know lol. Please watch!!!

..reading: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. OK, first of all, I didn’t know that this book was going to be too… literal. I mean I was expecting something else than a love story that is literally set during a time of cholera outbreaks. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it isn’t that.

Anyway, I don’t regret going in blind, because I don’t think I would’ve picked up this book if I knew what the plot was. The primary feeling that I get when reading this is that of discomfort, because of the racism, infidelity, social prejudice, and especially because I’m now at the part where (spoiler alert!) Florentino Ariza starts sleeping with a 12 year-old. I can’t wait to finish this book this weekend.

..watching: Well, I didn’t watch anything today, but a couple of days ago we tried watching Hyori’s Home Stay. I had to stop because the captions are blocking the subtitles, making it very hard to read.

..thinking: of all the things I want to do this weekend. I want to continue my 3d for designers course, and maybe one skillshare course, too. I want to go to the gym, and go to a flea market and meet up with a friend. I want to clean up our room, and finish my book. Two days is just not enough! I need 3 or 4-day weekends lol.

I’m also thinking of the goals that I’ve written for the year. I know, I only have 10 months left, but I think most of these are still doable:

  1. Read 12 books. I miss the days when I could read up to 60 books a year. This year I humbly and hopefully aim for 1 book a month (so far, so good).
  2. Learn basic nihonggo. K and I have been talking about taking nihonggo classes since we started watching Terrace House and I think it’s a good skill to have.
  3. Get life insurance. For someone who frequently thinks about what might happen after death, I sure am not preparing well for it. Ideally, I want to have paid off my life insurance before I turn 30.
  4. Try investing in mutual funds and/or bonds. I definitely have an emergency fund (6 months worth of expenses), and I’m also saving for my brother’s college education, but even then I think I’ll still have some left that will depreciate if I don’t invest them somewhere. I think mutual funds & bonds are a good place to start investing (aside from the house & lot that I started paying for last year). I will probably read up a bit, start on one that is low-risk, low-return, short-term, and another one that is longer term. Eventually (maybe in the next year or two), I’m hoping to try other investments such as stocks, land, a business, etc. The higher risk, and higher return ones. But not this year just yet.
  5. Get braces. This is a different kind of investment lol. But it’s also something that I’ve been wanting to do, because if I get married I want to have nice teeth in my photos ok!!
  6. Finish a project. I’ve made this super vague because it doesn’t matter what I finish, as long as I do finish it. It could be a zine, an e-commerce shop, or the 100 Day UI challenge.
  7. Finish my online classes (3d for designers, web accessibility, drupal, web dev. courses, and saved skillshare courses). Last year I bought two classes on udemy (one on drupal and one on web development), and early this year I joined 3D for Designers (which I am loving). A few weeks ago I joined Skillshare (I have a promo for 2 months, and I hope I can finish 1 or 2 classes a week), and earlier today I signed up for a course on web accessibility. I’m really happy that I have the money to pay for those courses, but now I have to actually finish them. Should be fun!
  8. Maintain a capsule wardrobe. I used to be super obsessed with thrifting, back in my college days (I sound so old when saying that wtf). I upgraded to fast fashion (H&M, Forever21, Cotton On, etc.) when I started earning money, but I find that the quality is usually poor (because it’s cheap), and that I even prefer my thrifted clothes over the newer ones. So I’m thinking, since thrifting leaves me with not enough closet space, and shopping leaves me with clothes I get sick of quickly, might as well invest on a few good quality pieces that I can just mix and match, then get rid of the other clothes that I don’t really like. I’ll have cleaner closet space, without sacrificing quality. Or maybe I’m just looking for reason to buy clothes in Uniqlo and Muji, I don’t know.
  9. Run a 5k/Learn jiu jitsu. What is a goals list without fitness goals! I can lock down 3.5-3.8 km+ in 30 mins, but I want to push myself to do a full 5k. On the treadmill or in a marathon, it doesn’t matter. Although, a marathon medal sure feels like a more tangible proof of achievement. Meanwhile, jiu jitsu is something that K wants to do, but I’m open to it too, as long as we’re both trying to stay healthy by exercising regularly and eating well. I read that one must clock in 100-150 hrs of exercise a day, and I hope I can do that through running or jiu jitsu.
  10. Maintain healthy eating and exercise habits. I am still so much in love with fast food and junk food (shame!!) But I think as long as I try to sneak in some veggies every now and then, I’m good. I’m just 24, after all. If there’s a good time to eat all the unhealthy food that I want, it’s now lol. People who naturally love salads and tofu and other healthy foods are so lucky!

It’s now 3:36 AM! I’m feeling a bit optimistic (and naive, maybe), but I have a good feeling about 2018. In any case, I hope I have enough strength & wisdom to deal with things that don’t go as planned. Bye!



Sunday Currently

Sunday afternoon shadows from earlier today

This week was slightly better than last week. I went to yoga (although I was almost 30 minutes late), went to the gym, finished another book, and was more productive (compared to last week at least). Side note to myself: I really should stop equating my happiness to my productivity.

  • Read: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • Watch: V for Vendetta
  • Listen: Stars’ new album called There is No Love in Fluorescent Light
  • Play: Arena of Valor

This weekend was happily lazy & uneventful, though! Friday night and almost the entire Saturday was spent playing a game called Arena of Valor. We are absolutely obsessed! I did the laundry too as well & we watched V for Vendetta. Today I worked on a DailyUI entry, had kwek kwek for breakfast (yes, don’t judge), had chicken rice for lunch, played some more, and helped cook dinner.

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A Tuktuk Ride, A Design Sprint, and Other October Highlights

From an exhibition about Hong Kong’s agri and aquaculture

Well, what a month it had been. One fourth of October was spent in Sri Lanka, two-fourths at home, unemployed. Read: I had quit my job of 2+ years! That job was my comfort zone, and stepping out of it, into an unknown future, is both extremely terrifying and satisfying.

I’ve had a lot of anxiety about it before, and I still do now, but the fact that I actually did something keeps me going. I guess it’s a little bit like a premature quarter life crisis. I am turning 23 and I don’t want to be spending my birthday in the same situation as I have in the past two years. It just doesn’t feel right. I have to be elsewhere, regardless if that place is better or worse. Moving on to other things…

Coffee Project at Starmall Las Piñas

This cute coffee place recently opened near our house (about a 10-15 min jeepney drive away) and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about it. I’ve always wanted to work in a coffee shop (idk, it’s just something I wanna do), and this place offers free wifi so it is beyond perfect. I can leave the house after lunch, order some green tea latte (the only good thing on their menu, trust me), and leave around dinner time. I love working there because I’m forced to actually get work done – or risk getting judged for hogging the outlet just for Facebook.

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Life Lately: Art, Batangas, and Other Stuff

Batangas: Nasugbu and Laiya

The beach in Pico Sands Hotel

I have never been to Batangas before. And this month I went for two consecutive weekends! The first one is in Pico Sands Hotel with my relatives, and the second is in Playa Laiya with college batchmates.

The beach in Playa Laiya

I’d like to note that for both instances, we went to the beach to play card games! My cousins and I played Cards Against Humanity and Avalon, while my college batchmates and I played Uno Spin. Damn I wish I can go to the beach every weekend.

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Tech it or Leave it

Apologies for the title that is shitty and my lame attempt at being witty. That rhymed. /hides in a corner

Unrelated illustration. Made it yesterday with some things I found on the innernets.

I’d like to believe that I’m not a very superstitious person. However, I also can’t help but think that some part of the universe is involved when the tv show I watched, the book I read, and my actual life all share a common theme.

A couple of weeks ago, I finished reading Microserfs, a book about a group of ex-Microsoft employees who moved to Silicon Valley to form their own startup company. Last week, I watched two seasons of Silicon Valley, an HBO sitcom about a guy who left his job at a huge tech corporation, to start.. guess what. His own startup company. And currently, I work for a startup company that also happens to be a Microsoft Partner and distributor. It’s divine providence!

silicon valley microserfs.png

Or maybe like one of those convoluted conspiracy theories you read online (side note, I came across this Swiftgron theory that says Dianna Agron and Taylor Swift dated! Swiftgron sounds like a Pokemon but whatever, I ship it. Speaking of which: we went on a Pokemon Go adventure in Singapore and it was awesome!)

Anyway, the universe may or may not be telling me something. But hell I love it when coincidences like these happen.

On Microserfs

I initially read this book thinking that it’ll be like what The Internship is to Google. Endless tales of free food, bean bags and awesome facilities that will make you hate your packed lunch and your 2.25 sqm cubicle. But, thank goodness, it’s not. It’s very much closer to reality, which says a lot, considering that it was a life before Facebook, iPhones, and Google (well, technically, Google was only three years young in the year the book was published).

Some interesting details to note:

  • Apple once sued Microsoft — and lost.
  • “Why do we always underestimate our shipping schedules?” This. Aside from coding, I am inclined to believe that developers are also very fond of digging their own graves by setting unrealistic deadlines.
  • “A good piece of technology dreams of the day when it will be replaced by a newer piece of technology. This is one definition of progress.”

The moments when the characters pause to reflect and ramble about random stuff are my favorite parts. But that is just one of the many good things about this book. The story is solid, and you finish the book feeling optimistic somehow.

On Silicon Valley

And then there’s Silicon freakin’ Valley. This show. Funny, but also stressful as hell. I mean, I don’t know why I’d expect anything else from the same channel that gave us Game of Thrones, but man I was not prepared for this.

“I booby-trapped the house with corporate resources!” I have very mixed feelings about Jared, but this is a good one.

Richard, the CEO of Pied Piper, just cannot catch a break. It is one obstacle right after the other, and I think it’s more stressful than GoT because it is all too familiar! I’m rooting for him so badly! (Except when I sneaked a peak into Season 3. It seems like he is turning into another anti-hero Heisenberg type of thing.)

Some interesting details to note:

  • In the world of tech, Manny Pacquiao — champion boxer, singer, basketball player, and, most importantly, homophobic Senator (insert sad disgusted face here) — is still, unfortunately, a big figure.
  • “I don’t know about you people, but I don’t want to live in a world where someone else makes the world a better place better than we do.” LOL
  • I just had a realization that HBO was willing to produce a show about five guys who aren’t exactly attractive! I mean, why can’t they do this for female leads? Look at HBO’s GIRLS. A show about four women, okay. But all of them are white, and two of them has to be really freakin’ attractive. (I’m not saying I hate GIRLS, I love that show, it’s just a perfect example for my point.)

Then there is the real life. Last Saturday I attended Google I/O Extended Cavite. A couple of weekends ago, I attended this Basic Javascript workshop in the Mozilla Community Space in Makati. Currently, I am working on a mobile scanner app, a new workflow for a current software, AND a new revamped version of that software. It’s a handful so I guess I gotta get some sleep.


On Fate and Casual Consumption

I’ve previously rambled on about how all our consumption (by reading/travelling/watching) hardly has any effect on how good of a person you really are. But this hasn’t stopped me from doing aforementioned activities. In fact, I’ve set myself ambitious goals for last year. I wanted to watch a hundred movies and read half a hundred books. And last year is the first time after two years of success that I failed my reading challenge. It’s very easy for me to blame work, and to an outside person that seems like a rational claim, but I know how much idle time I have in general and how much of that I spend on things other than reading.

I remember a character from The Secret History saying “It is better to know one book intimately than a hundred superficially.”  This is my attempt to know intimately all the recent shit I spend my time on. The connections that I find can either be fate, or my cheap shot at trying to bring sense and order to the unremarkable chaos that is my life (oh, and SPOILER ALERT):

birdman whiplash

Birdman x Whiplash I watched both these movies within a week and did so with only vague knowledge of what the movies are all about. I didn’t know that they explored the same themes and had so many similarities it’s uncanny: both protagonists aim to become legends. In Birdman, the guy is a has-been who gives one last try to rectify that label. In Whiplash, the guy, the cutie that he is, aims to become one of his idols. Both very ambitious aims, both requiring unimaginable means. In trying to reach their goals they sacrificed their relationship with their loved ones, they sacrificed their health, and one can even say they sacrificed their sanity. So both of them succeed, but only sort of. Birdman’s play is a success but he ends up shooting himself in the head, requiring a new nose, and, finally, jumping off the hospital window. Whiplash guy is given the chance to perform again, is sabotaged, and, is compelled to perform until his hands bled, until the end credits appear.

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Where to Get the Best Book Bargains

book bargains

If you have deep love for books and reading (like I do), but are perennially broke (like I am), then you have come to the right place, my friend. Even though I have loved reading since forever, my serious book hoarding collecting buying started only in college — a time when monthly allowances are plentiful and lunch breaks are scant.

Thanks to my newfound freedom back then, I got to explore different places in search of the great perhaps The Best Book Bargain. Here are my favorites in my favorite ranking (price: lowest first):

1. National Bookstore Warehouse Sales (price range: PHP 10-PHP 75)


One of the proudest moments of my life is when I managed to score sixteen (16!) books for only PHP 360. The best thing about the NBS Warehouse Sale is that aside from the huge markdown in the prices, there are still discounts when you get to the counter. For example, if you buy 3 books that are worth PHP 25 each, there’ll be another 50% off the total price. That’s PHP 38 for 3 books! Basically the more books you buy, the bigger your savings.

book haul
1. NBS Warehouse Sale in the District Imus. I got so excited when I saw The Marriage Plot. I’ve read it before but only as an ebook. 2. NBS Warehouse Sale in SM Southmall. Got everything for only PHP 275.

The second best thing about this is that they put popular titles on sale too. You do have to look long and hard for it, though. It’s a rewarding treasure hunt for the cheapskate bookworm. To get updates on where/when the next NBS Warehouse Sale will be, like their Facebook page.

2. Booksale (price range: PHP 10-PHP 50)


Speaking of treasure hunts, Booksale comes second in making you work hard for your bargain. I’ve been to about ten Booksale branches and I’ve observed that they strategically place their cheapest books in The Lowest Shelves. And you never know what you’re going to get in The Lowest Shelves.

I once got a book of postcards from The Lowest Shelves for only PHP 40!

Popular and good titles are fairly hard to come by, and when they do, they cost PHP 100 or more. It helps to have a personal limit to how much you are willing to pay for such books. My self-imposed budget only allows me to spend no more than PHP 175 for the books I really like (I bought White Teeth and Wonder Boys for the same price), and no more than PHP 400 for coffee table books.

3. (price range: PHP 50-PHP 150)

DSC_9375Okay, probably the biggest enemy of the avid online shopper is a little thing called shipping fee. Here’s how I deal with that: I make sure to buy more than one book from one seller (the more, the better), then I would divide the shipping fee with the number of items I will buy. Next, I add the result to the price of each book and only then do I decide whether it’s worth it or not. For example, I plan to buy 3 books from one seller for PHP 50 each. I divide the shipping fee, which is usually PHP 90, by 3, then add the result to the price of each book. I end up with PHP 80/book. Not bad, right? Here are my tried-and-tested favorite book sellers on ebay: temichico, curly2454, and temichi_on_sale.


4. Powerbooks ATC (price range: PHP 20-PHP 100)

The Powerbooks ATC branch carries a lot of local titles that are on sale. I managed to score a Jessica Zafra for only PHP 20! My wallet loved it.

5. Books from Underground (price range: PHP 50++)

The secondhand books they sell are not exactly cheap, but definitely a little cheaper than the ones you can find in other bookstores. They also sell rare titles for a reasonable price.

That’s about it. Remember, just like almost everything in life, getting the best book bargain requires patience, persistence, and pennies (har har).



On TWATD, The Goldfinch, and Phonogram

Ideally, this is where I channel my inner Michiko Kakutani. But let’s be real: I love the following books (technically, comics and a book) so much that I won’t be able to give an objective review of it all. I have so many feelings and not enough eloquence to express them, unfortunately. All I want to say is that this is more like a rambling of an over-zealous fangirl and less than a review of a literary critic. Let this serve as a warning. Also: spoilers, lots of ’em, ahead!

1. The Wicked + The Divine

The last row of panels is pure genius.

This is an on-going comic series by my new heroes, McKelvie and Gillen. The 3rd issue(? episode? I don’t know) just came out so everybody has plenty of time to catch up. It’s about a group of gods and goddesses who come alive and wreak havoc after every 2 years (an event also known as the recurring).

Everything is rendered so beautifully. The characters are mostly young adults but without the annoying YA stuff (well, except for the protagonist, but I feel like her angst is added for comic relief).

the wicked + the divine
Lulz. Same!

I’m crazy about their version of Lucifer (called ‘Luci‘). So much so that I already figured out who can play her if this is ever adapted to live action.

wicdiv2 wicdiv3

Dianna Agron from that The Killers video


Hannah Hart!

The writing is spot-on. I might be a little biased, though, because I’ve already established that I’m a huge fan of Gillen’s writing. Most of the mythological stuff goes over my head. It’s still very much enjoyable in spite of this. Gillen can explain TWATD’s charm better: “It’s a world we’ve created to lose yourself in, to become addicted to, to find yourself in.

2. The Goldfinch

I skimmed the synopsis of this book on goodreads and for some reason I thought that this is a modern fantasy novel. Kinda like Gaiman’s Neverland. At around 3/4 of the book I started doubting myself so I decided to finally read the synopsis very carefully. Bottom line: I am an idiot. This book is nothing like I expected it to be. And this is probably why this book is going to stay with me for a long time. It’s similar to how Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Rant surprised me and just blew my mind.

This book follows the life of Theo Decker starting from when his mom died. She died in a terrorist bombing in a museum, a few feet away from her son. Theo brings home a painting called The Goldfinch and this painting is what turns his life around. Like The Wicked + The Divine, I made an imaginary (and impossible) cast if this book ever gets adapted into a movie (which, I hope doesn’t happen, honestly).

fight clubyoung edward norton and brad pitt

Theo Decker and Boris: Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, respectively 

 I included pictures of the two from when they were younger so you could see how right I am with this one. As seen in Fight Club, Norton is amazing as a whiny, sad guy, while Brad Pitt is a great happy-go-lucky guy like Boris. They’re perfect! Oh, if we only have a time machine. See the rest of the fictional cast here.

3. Phonogram Volume 2: The Singles Club

Another Kieron x McKelvie! What!!! But this series is something that I would recommend to everyone, even to non-comic readers. This and Daytrippers, I mean, aside from introducing me to The Pipettes, this comic series introduced me to a whole array of feelings for music that I did not recognize before. My most favorite story is in the second issue, wherein the power of music made a guy sort of re-live his former relationship.

I realized how music lets you time travel. Back in my 3rd year in college, I found an mp3 player that I used in high school. It contains so many mixtapes, I was obsessed with downloading mixtapes back then. Now I just 8tracks that shit. Anyway,  it has a lot of nostalgic songs from The Hush Sound, Imogen Heap, The Bravery, etc!! When I listened to it again I felt like a high school student again.

But back to the Phonogram, I suggest you just read it. Or if you really don’t have time, just read the second issue of the series. I ramble more about this here.


Life of Pi: Brand New Eyes

“The theme of this novel can be summarized in three lines. Life is a story. You can choose your story. And a story with an imaginative overlay is the better story.”

– Yann Martel


A couple of weeks have passed since I finished this book. I promised myself I’m going to write a book review about it, only because I couldn’t seem to stop recommending it to my friends. I had a bad case of book hangover. It’s strange to note that while the popularity of its film adaptation is what drove me to read this novel; I cannot bring myself to watch the film just yet. Now here we are. The reasons why I was so smitten by it are now blurred, but I’m going to try writing it anyway.

Life of Pi follows the misfortunes adventures of Piscine Patel (a.k.a Pissing) a.k.a Pi. His family owned a local zoo in India. His childhood and teenage years are filled to the brim with stories about animals, religion, and life itself. This all changed when his family decided to leave their little paradise in India for Canada.

When I say that I am a 13 yr. old boy stuck in the body of a 19 yr. old, some part of me isn’t kidding. I slipped right into Pi’s shoes with little effort. Even though we barely had anything in common technically (except for an awesome name ruined by kids who didn’t know any better, just kidding), I was able to relate to him immediately. It is obvious that in a fight between men vs. nature; we’ll always root for the underdog: humankind. However, this isn’t the only reason why the protagonist of the story is somebody that the reader will root for. Pi’s character is very refreshing. His sincere and simple view of the world got me awe-struck. The curiosity he has for different religions is something that is present in me. His vivid description of the animals, the zoo, India itself, filled me with the same wonder that one gets when travelling a foreign place.

At some point, reading the book drove me to look again at the pictures I took at SG and Malaysia last year.

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Trip to Quiapo

It took two consecutive dreams of dyeing my hair blue for me to turn this to a reality. Off to Quiapo I –alone– go. I couldn’t say it’s a coincidence that this spur of the moment decision happened at the same day I planned to buy Trip to Quiapo.

Welcome, new friends, to the E-book era.

I finish school at 3 PM every Wednesday afternoon. This particular one is no different from the others: mercilessly, searingly warm. The dust from the road hang suspended in the unbelievably heavy midday air. Every where I look the sunlight seem to just attack my eyes. Distraught and already regretting my decision, I rode a jeepney.

I found out about a salon supplies shop along Hidalgo from a friend. Hidalgo is no new destination for me, I’ve been here a couple of times last year, thanks to my Photography class. This, however, is the first time I went alone.

photo (1)
Left: blue, Right: violet

Bought blue and violet hair color, both turned out too dark for my taste. This trip to Quiapo is not for naught, though. One can always derive a strange sense of being in control and independent from traveling alone. Just like what Trip to Quiapo implies, a one-way trip, when interpreted from varying perspectives, may mean more than just getting from point A to point B.

Besides, now I want pink hair instead.