dromana beach and everything in between

when i don’t call him a nerd, i tell him he’s such a geek. because he is. he loves anything that comes with wires and batteries. electronic stuff whose manuals he doesn’t even bother to read because, hey, he pretty much knows where this and that goes and if he doesn’t, he figures it out. in less time that it takes for you if you were to actually read the manual itself. i personally think he’s a genius. (just don’t corner him for a heart-to-heart talk, though, ‘coz that’s pretty much his kryptonite.)

as smart as he can be when it comes to gadgets, there are moments when things don’t work out for him. those are the times i leave him to his own devices as he throws the defective item like a kid with a tantrum and shouts in frustration, “this was gonna revolutionize everything!”

being in such close proximity with him leaves me but little space to run away when he’s trying to convert me to his, um, religion. baptizing me not with water, but with detailed instructions bordering on obsession on how to operate his cameras. (yes, plural form.) of course, aside from the practical side of it, he also shows me the art of photography — the sleekness of vintage lenses, the clicking sound of the lens attaching to the camera whose precision engineering is music to his ears, and most of all (because it’s my favorite of all) the beauty of lens flare.

i’m not fully converted yet because his religion does take a certain form of dedication and practice but i guess you can say i’m halfway there. well, kind of. because while i like taking pictures too, i’m too lazy to be bothered with the manual settings. i like my photos bright and auto. no dramas.

frankston beach

so this is me at frankston beach a couple of weeks ago armed with his video recorder (which is really good with audio, he says) complete with a headset so i can hear the sounds better. and by “sound,” i mean that amplified noise made by the heavy wind singing bad a cappella with the waves.

i didn’t do a good job taking videos on this day. mainly because the wind was too strong that the sand particles were like bullets fired into my skin by a machine gun. it was fcking painful! i’ve never experienced anything like that before. i can only imagine how sand storms are a million times worse.


if memory serves me right, this was our first road trip during his holidays. there were several more after this but this was the first. just going whichever exit on the roundabout he felt like going and me riding shotgun in all of it. #theperksofhavingapersonaldriver


there’s this indian restaurant there at dromana that serves really good indian food. (i mean, duh!) i give their mango lassi 5 stars because it was better than the mango lassi in the city. jeff reckons i should start blogging about the food and the restaurants we go to but it’s kind of hard to do that when most of the photos we have end up looking like it’s been ravaged by two starving little filos. (see lower right photo above.)

olivers hill, frankston southolivers hill, frankston south

we also drove to olivers hill in frankston south (if my phone’s gps tracking serves me right). i liked the houses there. million-dollar houses overlooking the sea. jeff liked this one sitting on top of the cliff. you should’ve heard him talk about his plans on how he’s gonna do up the property and all the parties he’s gonna have once he buys that house. which he will. as soon as he wins tatts lotto.

olivers hill, frankston southolivers hill, frankston south

for now, he just has to be content with winning the best jackpot there is. ME. hahaha. =p

driving down the countryside

road triproad trip

until now, it still amazes me how huge and diversified australia’s scenery can get. victoria, in particular. granted, it’s not as densely populated as in the philippines. but what trips me out the most is the vastness of natural views. you know, like grasses and trees and bushes and anything remotely green against a backdrop of white and blue clouds with the occasional birds in flight that you see every now and then. it’s amazing.

the last time i felt this awed by nature while on a road trip was en route to el nido, palawan (which was like, a million years ago). every time i looked out the window to rest my eyes from crushing on this dude in front of me and saw all those greens, i was like, “wow!”

mornington pensinsulamornington peninsula

multiply that by 500% and that’s exactly how it feels like watching the roadside view over here. although i must admit you get kind of used to it after a while. after that you start thinking about bush fires. (that’s mornington peninsula, by the way.)

and did i mention how wide and smooth the roads here are? because they are. and to think some of the places we went to are already considered regional areas. meaning, you need to catch a v-line train to get there. which means they’re pretty much outside the metro. which means that to travel from those places to the city during peak hours is suicide.

but how can you resist the rural charm, though?

cows road tripcows road tripcows road tripcows road tripcows road trip

first day back

everyone asked me how my flight was. “okay” was always my answer. a jerk reflex response i automatically give without thinking.

truth is, it was one of my most stressful flights ever. not only was my cebu-singapore flight delayed by almost an hour, i got lost at changi airport with only 10 minutes to spare just in time to give my hyperventilating lungs a break and catch my connecting flight to melbourne. (note to self: panicking will only get you lost. but on the bright side, you needed that cardio exercise.)

7 hours later, the moment the plane touched down, my next concern after wondering if my eyebrows were still on point was the customs. because i brought dried fish and dried mangoes with me. items you need to declare. items that had me and my luggage lining up together with the others so that a sniffing dog could have a check on them and signal its trainer if there’s something, uh, fishy. it was actually pretty fascinating to watch the canine do its job. a labrador, i think.

you can say i heaved a MAJOR sigh of relief when the dog ignored my bags and i was cleared to proceed to the exit where jeff was waiting for me. the moment i saw him, i just wanted to melt into his arms and exhale all that stress away. which i did.

jan and jeff

so, as a way of “unwinding” me, he took me for a walk around the neighborhood when we got home. my calves and shins silently protested but, hey, it felt nice to be back.

hallam, victoria

my favorite trees. i call them “gnome trees.” just because.

hallam, victoria

his favorite type of weed. mine too. you’ll be seeing a lot of these in my succeeding posts. as well as cows. heaps of them.

hallam, victoriahallam, victoria

lastly, why buy plums when you can steal them off your neighbors’ trees? lol.

welcome to australia! =)

borrowed, bought, given 2014

what was supposed to be a year-ender post turned into another backlog. one of the many. (so, what’s new?)

anyways, i started this little blog tradition back in 2010. did it annually since then until i slipped up last year. and when i say “last year,” i’m talking 2013. hands down, that year has got to be the lousiest reading year for me. the nerd in me is ashamed to admit that out of those 365 days, i read only two books. two!

okay, i lied. one and a half. the full one doesn’t really count since it’s practically a children’s book but come on, you have to at least give me some credit for reading alice in the wonderland.

and the other 1/2? leo tolstoy’s “anna karenina.” aka the most potent sedative i have ever known. no offense to all the classics fanatics out there but to be perfectly honest, that book seriously knocked me out after reading just a couple of pages. the only reason i was able to go through 3/4 of it was because of sheer will. until i realized, “why the hell am i punishing myself reading this?!”

so, yeah, that was 2013 for me.

2014 was when i picked up where i slacked off, reading-wise. 13 books ain’t so bad. i mean, it’s better than 1 & 1/2 so i’m not exactly complaining.

cheers to 2015! =)


counting them on one hand

sure, the recent surge in spontaneous food trips is not doing any good to my arteries considering how we have been loading up on meat and pasta but these girls sure are healthy for my heart. yep, their boys included. (because they make very good drivers and/or photographers “upon request.” lol.)

so, yeah, instead of packing, this is what i have been doing lately: catching up with the freaks who’ve been by my side for 14 years. the precious few who saw me through the best and the worst times of my life and loved me just the same. nursed each other’s heartbreaks with warm words and cold beer. exorcised the demons haunting us inside with a few carefully chosen videoke songs. roma to the rescue when the notes get a little too high and our vocal cords were stretched to the limit.

somehow, as the years went by, the videoke sessions turned into food trips and the alcoholic drinks turned into coffee/tea. we’re getting old.

and i still am not done packing.

schizos at greenwich ayalatazza caferoma makeuphandurawtomo cafe

i’m leaving.

these photos have been sitting here for a very long time. far longer than they’re supposed to.

like the clothes on my bed and the books on my floor. all waiting to be sorted so i can start packing already.

but that’s the thing with leaving. i hate packing. more so when you’re leaving with no idea of when you’re coming back. so you wanna take as much of your old belongings with you to remind you of home. probably just as much as you wanna postpone the whole packing business to some inconvenient time where there’s no room left for sentimentality. say, a day or two before the trip.

yes, i’m leaving. in exactly 12 days, i will be flying to melbourne to be with jeff and to start another chapter of my life with him where new adventures and a whole lot of photoshoots await. it’s exciting and scary at the same time but i know i’m in good hands.

the day i received my visa, i was so happy i could cry. funny enough, two seconds later, i was literally crying. like, full on. the thought of leaving all the people i love behind and not knowing when i’d see them again made me bawl. you should have seen me as my sister saw me when i barged into her room. i probably looked like a borderline nutcase in the process of entirely losing her mind. i mean, when you’re feeling both extremes of the emotional spectrum at the same time, how much crazier can you get?

at 2am, i was dialing jeff on viber. not for a booty call, but for an emergency crisis intervention. practically begging him to tell me everything’s gonna be fine. not with me (because i know i’m gonna be okay), but with the people i’m gonna leave behind. my parents, most especially.

and like a true shrink with the soothing talents of a pastor, he offered me words of comfort that i know i’m gonna remember forever. about how, someday, technology would be so advanced that i can communicate with my loved ones here through a special helmet that would allow me to see and talk to them real-time.

“kind of like how Professor X communicates with the x-men?” i asked tearfully.

“yes! but even better because there would also be robots…” he went on and on.

i didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

so once again, i did both. which made me feel even crazier. but the happier kind of crazy, i guess. just knowing that somehow, someone’s got my back. (even if that someone’s idea of “words of comfort” involves words such as “aliens” and “robots” and some other stuff that science fiction is made of. lol. i appreciate the effort though, jeffy. haha.)

the special helmets and robots might take a while before they become mainstream. for now, let me just post these pictures as a remembrance of the happy times last summer. (and also to move on from this backlog!)

p.s. pardon the vanity poses. obviously, that’s what happens when you have a photographer boyfriend.

bluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resortbluewater panglao beach resort

i’m trying to be modest about this but guess who won the best cebu personal blogger 2014?! =D

“daddy, look!” i whispered excitedly, clutching the trophy in my arms. it was heavy.

you should’ve seen his face. it was definitely the kind of look a father proudly gives his daughter who has accomplished a little something in this 21st century.

the kind that briefly congratulates and then asks, “what is a blog?!”

lol. my dad’s really cute. i love him so much. =)

best cebu blog award 2014

so, yeah, i won. and the said trophy sits smugly in front of me as we speak.

BEST CEBU PERSONAL BLOGGER 2014. my name written in script right below it.

to be honest, i never really called myself a blogger. the term made me cringe. made me feel like an impostor. as far as i was concerned, i was just this random chick who happened to write about random shit online for posterity’s sake. i did it (and still do it) because i enjoy doing it. i was as happy doing it then when i only had girly as my follower (bless her) as i am now that it has multiplied four hundred times (bless you).

because of that, i didn’t really feel the need to market my blog. i’m too shy to ask people to “like” or to follow me (although it pleases me to know if they genuinely do). it’s a popularity contest and the limelight hurts my eyes. so much so that girly took the initiative to create a facebook account on my behalf so i can join blogging events and stuff like that which i didn’t have access to until the middle of this year. i guess you can say i was a little too blissful playing alone in my sandbox.

if there’s two people i wanna thank right now for bringing me out of my hermit shell and to embrace all the opportunities that this blog is opening up for me, it would have to be girly and jeff — girly since day 1; and jeff since that day he found out about my blog and started stalking my bikini pics. hahaha. i kid. he fell in love with my brain first. or so he said. i might have to double check on that. lol.

also, i wanna thank each and everyone who graced the pages of this blog with their faces and their memories. rest assured i sincerely plucked out photos of you with your best angles in them, unless they contradicted my angles. in which case, i win. (makes you wanna start your own blog now, huh?)

best cebu blog awards 2014

and, of course, to the people behind best cebu blogs awards — the organizers, sponsors, and participants — everyone who directly or indirectly contributed to the success of the event, a BIG THANK YOU to you all!

oh, and guess what, two of the bloggers i follow won! i am so happy for them. it’s just a really different feeling when somebody you actually know wins. well, not actually know know but, you know. reading their blogs makes me feel like i get first dibs over some aspects of their lives. jump over to their website. they’re pretty cool. =)

  • best cebu travel blogger: gian and his “sweetie,” sheila of adrenaline romance. they’re this really cute couple whose idea of a perfect date almost always involves jumping on a plane to somewhere to do adventurous stuff together. (i asked gian over twitter if i can expect a destination wedding soon. guess we’ll just have to keep ourselves updated through their blog. hehe.)
  • best cebu photo blogger: jewel delgado of jewelclicks. remember my bric’s post? that’s how i met her. she was so kind as to babysit my trophy for me that night. (thanks, jewel!)

to all the winners, congratulations! (same goes for the finalists too. because win or lose, the fact that you’re all following your passions is awesome enough as it is.)