dandenong festival of light 2015

dandenong lights festival

you know how some people have an english name and another one in their own language?

dandenong festival of light was kinda like that. i mean, it was officially called that but then the name on the pagoda read chinese lantern carnival. which is more apt, i think, considering how everything there looked like they were stamped with some form of chinese influence one way or another.

except for the food trucks. the mexicans beat the chinese to it, selling nachos and burritos instead of dim sims. i expected chinese food to be sold there to go with the concept but, no. the organizers probably never thought of that. next time i hope they would. make it more legit.

dandenong festival of light

the main feature of the festival were these miniature temples lit up with LED lights that changed colors every now and then. upon closer inspection, i found that they were actually made up of all these blue and white chinese ceramic mugs and plates and spoons and whatever dining utensils they could find. you can just imagine the amount of labor it took to create it without running the risk of breaking them. more so with its transportation. jeff reckons they probably assembled it on the spot.

all i know is that the dragon looked sick!

dandenong festival of light

there were heaps of installations on display there. so much so that simply standing in between them actually gives you enough warmth against the chilliness of the evening. or maybe i was just underdressed then. 3 layers of clothing and it still wasn’t enough for melbourne. (you, bitch.)

anyhow, here’s some of the rest of the brightly lit, multi-colored lanterns. i wish my nieces were there with me that night. they’d enjoy it, for sure. especially those with a bit of an australian flair, like the penguins and roos and koalas and stuff.

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jeff, on the other hand, blissfully found himself in la la land. that poofter. posing with the butterflies and the pandas against a backdrop of flowers and rainbow. gay pride galore!

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*7 weeks pregnant

national gallery of victoria

i’ve always liked art. even though i don’t always understand them. some people get very technical about it while i usually go by the feel. or rather, how it makes me feel.

it’s true, though. art has a way of stirring your emotions. looking at a beautiful piece of artwork is like getting both hemispheres of your brain to function together simultaneously. you appreciate the artist’s skill in bringing colors to life. at the same time, you probe deeper into your neurons to understand the meaning behind the picture.

when i don’t high-five myself for being such a genius when i figure out the connection, i make peace with the fact that some days, i. just. won’t. get. it. and that’s okay too. i mean, by default, i’ve always been kinda slow anyways. while some people barge in and tackle knowledge head-on, my brain prefers to walk in the park and smell the freaking flowers en route.

national gallery of victoria

this is one of the paintings at the national gallery of victoria that had me staring. hard.

as this was taken a thousand years ago (i told you, i don’t blog in real-time. and lately, it’s getting worse on account of me feeling so lazy uninspired), i have forgotten what this painting was about or who the artist was behind such painting. all i know was this made me stop and stare. don’t you just love it when a painting does that to you? like it really grabs you by the collar and holds you captive to it. there’s just no way you cannot not take notice.

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same with this one too. which, i think, is about good and evil. the innocence of babies juxtaposed with the meanness of the world and then there’s me channeling pocahontas with the earthy tones in my outfit and the poncho that kept me warm on that cold winter’s day where i thought i could wing it sans leggings.

those little white baby heads in the art installation looked so much like my goosebumps, i tell you.

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national gallery of victoria

a historic building in itself founded in 1861, the nice thing about NGV,  as it is popularly called, is that it holds a vast art collection featuring australian and international paintings, sculptures, antiques, etc. (that intricate cradle was definitely one of my favorites. it still is.)

but the best thing about NGV? it’s free.

knowing me and my sister, we tend to gravitate towards that 4-letter word.

national gallery of victorianational gallery of victoria

doveton show

and so i came to a general conclusion that it’s pretty much the same anywhere in the world:

people enjoy going to fairs.

it’s probably that feeling of being a part of the bigger community. seeing something new. even if it’s the exact same event year in and year out. the same rides. the same food trucks. the same venue.

now, i have never been to the doveton show before so jeff decided to baptize me. said i should at least experience it even just once “for the love of dovey,” a term of endearment for one of victoria’s notorious suburbs. as a matter of fact, i once read in the local newspaper that a good chunk of the state’s 6,000+ prison population comes from good ‘ol dovey.

but it’s not as bad as it sounds though, i think. i mean, you probably heard a lot of bad rep about the philippines and while many of them may be true, it will always be home to me. (just make sure to stay away from certain areas and be hypervigilant when you find yourself in there.)

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apparently, the doveton show has been an annual event for the last 11 years. i don’t really understand what the whole concept is all about, to be honest. maybe just to get the locals together or something.

it was alright. there wasn’t really anything there that piqued my interest although i did find myself caught in a rather educational conversation with a honey vendor which cost me $10 in exchange for a big tub of pure australian honey made right at his backyard.

doveton show

bees are intriguing creatures. on that day, i learned that queen bees can get kicked out of their throne too if the whole colony becomes unhappy of their, um, service. a coup d’état similar to that of the human society. there were a lot more interesting trivia he said but that’s the only thing that stuck because i honestly thought queen bees were queen bees forever. i never imagined that politics can be just as dirty in a beehive.

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the show also featured a lot of vintage stuff. the kind that wasn’t really to my palate because i didn’t even know what they were. jeff did, but that’s because not only is he a fossil, he has a pretty good grasp of how engines work even at its most basic state.

the vintage cars looked pretty cool to me but other than that, i saw how tedious it must have been to start one considering how they had to manually crank the engine up with a wrench thingie to bring it to life. well, that white car anyway where gramps had to give it a go several times before he finally got it up and running. it’s cute how he looked like a vintage aviator with his googles and helmet(?).

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as it was held at myuna farm, i got to pet some of the animals to make up for my disappointment in missing the goat milking demonstration. i’ve been there before so it wasn’t anything new. and we used to have pigs and turkeys and chickens in our backyard back home so that wasn’t new to me either. my mom used to raise a lot of farm animals. except for water buffalos. but i’m personally making it my mission to ride on one the next time i go back. that, and sinking my legs ankle-deep planting rice in muddy paddies. stuff i never got to do in my dad’s province because i was too busy eating fresh young coconut and riding on motorcycles designed to seat 2 people but re-engineered by the local folks to seat 6-8, depending on how cleverly the driver arranges his passengers. lol. i kid you not. my parents didn’t want me riding in them going to town but i was young and it was so much fun. kinda scary, but fun. nevermind your sore ass once you reach your destination.

*9 weeks pregnant

no, this is not a pregnancy update.

someday i’d probably regret not posting enough about my pregnancy journey.


probably not.

right now, i just feel like it’s a very private thing. and at 15 weeks, i still feel my entire face burning when people ask me how far along i am and all the obligatory questions they feel they should ask a pregnant woman.

for the record, i don’t like being the center of attention. it flusters me.

also, i found i don’t like it when people suddenly touch the bloated area where my abs used to be. lol on abs. but seriously, i get very territorial when it comes to my personal space so the whole belly-touching thing is something i would rather people NOT do, thank you very much.

every pregnancy is different, that much i’ll admit is true. while some women are experiencing the full force of their hormones, i’m just here chillin’. they say i’m lucky to not be barfing every 5 minutes or so and i guess i am lucky in that aspect. what i have though, most of the time, is the lack of appetite. sometimes, i feel like i could go for days not eating. until, of course, hypoglycemia kicks in and i’m furiously slicing apples in the kitchen in what may look like a real-life adaptation of fruit ninja.

for what it’s worth, jeff is now eating for three so that should cover us as a family, nutrition-wise. he keeps saying he’s showing more than me. and he is. as sadistic as this sounds, i kinda enjoy listening to him complain about how his jeans or vests hardly fit anymore. not that i want him to go obese or anything. just, you know, it’s nice to know that we’re in this together. whether he likes it or not.

couvade syndrome. that’s what it’s called. it’s when the husband feels and looks more pregnant than his pregnant wife. it’s a very loose definition so believe me at your own risk.

we don’t know yet if we’re having a boy or a girl. a lot of women have told me that we must be having the latter, on account that i look blooming as hell which then makes me wonder — am i really that good with makeup or was i really that ugly?! either way, we won’t find out until our second ultrasound. as a matter of fact, we don’t even know if we actually wanna know so we’ll see how that goes.

as for our first ultrasound, it was quite surreal to see a tiny alien-looking creature on the screen. jeff was on his full-on geek mode, rattling on and on about the theory of sound waves, as well as other nerdy stuff he randomly dished out, to the poor technician trainee who was trying to concentrate which baby part is which while i struggled to make sense of the images morphing from one abstract figure to another.

it was probably the excitement of it all that made jeff seem like he just downed 5 bottles of red bull but if you know him like i know him, he gets really animated over things he’s totally passionate about. you can leave him alone on a bench and he’d probably start talking to the freaking bench with the same intensity as if that bench understands technology like he does.

i hate to admit this but sometimes, i am that bench. in a sense that i am equally just as inanimate.

he’d make a really awesome dad, jeff. i just know. he’d definitely excel as far as parenting is concerned. i mean, you can tell by the way he handled popit in this video.

rest in peace, little one.

sometimes this blog feels so dead. or it could just be my muse who’s dying. i have a lot of things to write about but then those very things end up lost in a vacuum somewhere.

like it doesn’t matter anymore. and i wonder why that is.

yesterday morning i buried a dead bird. a familiar-looking bird similar to the one popit brought in by its neck the other day to showcase her hunting skills. i literally pleaded with her to please, pleeaase not hurt the little bird as i slowly maneuvered my way into grabbing the poor thing away from her claws. finally releasing it out through the window.

it didn’t seem to have any problem flying so i don’t know if it was the same bird i found lying stiff on our front yard. either way, i sympathized for it the way you sympathize for somebody you think you know. and then all of a sudden, bam! i felt very emotional, tearily calling jeff to tell him i love him and that i didn’t want him to die and all that drama that you tend to say when you’re pregnant and all your hormones are out partying and getting wasted.

that little bird is now resting in peace in the shallow grave i dug. but if there’s one thing i learned from yesterday, it’s that life is all about family.

at the end of the day, my prayers are for the people i love most in this lifetime.

there’s a first time for everything

and, yes, that includes birthdays as well. i’m waaay past the cutesy age so i have had my fair share of birthdays. except that out of all those birthdays, i can only remember celebrating it thrice. and when i say celebrating, i mean like a relatively big celebration. and by relatively, i mean there’s other people involved aside from my immediate family and my staple group of friends.

the first was when i was 10 years old. the second when i turned 27, on account of it falling on 10/10/10 and my dad thought it was auspicious enough to warrant a surprise party. and the third was last saturday when i turned, well, halfway through a middle-age crisis.

truth is, i’ve never really been one to celebrate my birthday. i’m too antisocial shy for that. quiet dinners with family and very close friends to acknowledge another year is more than enough for me. something i expected for my birthday this year. just me and jeff.

turned out his mom had a plan. a plan that involved ordering lechon (roasted pig) because it’s my first birthday in australia and she’s having a grandchild! (i reckon the latter probably weighs more but hey, lechon, baby!!! lol.)

it was very short notice. i didn’t even know about his mom’s plan until two days before where she said something about having dinner on saturday and i was like, “what’s the occasion?”

we had the get-together here at home. a few close friends came and it was perfect. i’m grateful to all of them for taking the time to drop by. it felt really nice to be welcomed by his family and friends whom i now consider my family and friends. it was a very unexpected birthday celebration but it was one of the best birthdays i’ve ever had.

to my dearest husband who was washing dishes in the middle of the party, thank you, thank you, thank you. i love you heaps. (when i’m not psycho and you’re not a pain in the ass. lol.) mwah!!!

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p.s. to my bestfriends who sent me their best wishes through instagram and facebook, thank you so much for brightening my day. it was such a lovely thing to wake up to. the next lovely thing were my adorable nieces singing me a happy birthday on skype. =)

*12 weeks pregnant

werribee open range zoo

the night before, jeff and i were arguing if lions are actually cats. i mean, you know, same way tigers are considered cats? i stubbornly insisted that lions belong to the lion family. like they are their own brand or something.

“how can you not know this?!” he asked incredulously.

“google it!” i challenged him, mentally crossing my fingers he’s wrong and i’m right.

he was right. jeez, he’s such a nerd. #bitter

“and do you know hippos practically live underwater?” he added rather matter-of-factly. i kind of had a feeling he was rubbing it in and secretly enjoying every minute of it. this is a guy who can differentiate dinosaurs by their names, for crying out loud! the only dinosaur name i know of is littlefoot from “the land before time.”

gotta give it to the dude. i have no choice.

anyway, the reason we were talking about animals was because i was going to the zoo the next day with kb and her family. for the record, our conversations are not always geeky like that. we usually discuss light topics such as global warming, the hypocrisies of the american government, the plight of syrian refugees and its consequences on world economy, etc. nothing that would make ordinary brains explode. like i said, light stuff.

werribee open range zoo

so the moment i saw this gorilla, i couldn’t resist the urge to call and tell him, “your twin brother very close relative said hi.” partly out of spite for the night before, and partly to ask how to operate his friggin’ camera which he was kind enough to lend me.

speaking of cameras, at the risk of sounding like jeff, i must admit that i enjoyed using the sony a7 because of its lightness. of course i still shoot in auto because that’s just how i roll. but it wasn’t when i started editing that i got to fully appreciate the camera for the quality of its pictures.

i’m not saying that the pictures i took are up there on a professional level. all i’m saying is, it exceeded my standards.

i don’t have very high standards.

werribee open range zoo

inclusive of the $31.60 ticket is a safari tour where you get to see different kinds of grassland animals from far away a safe distance. the place is HUGE! i’m talking 550+ acres huge. i may not have an idea of how big an acre is but 550 acres pretty much sounds like the whole island of cebu to me so yes, i reckon it’s a really really big land area for a zoo to occupy on. the animals run wild and free. (well, sort of.)

werribee open range zoo

i’m surprised they didn’t offer binoculars to their guests. you couldn’t really see the rhinos from this distance. or most of the animals, for that matter. however, the truck does move in somewhat closer to them at some point. otherwise, this is pretty much what you’ll see. well, it was pretty much how i saw it anyway. (although it must have been worse for kb. not only is she near-sighted but she also left her glasses in the car. lol. talk about blurry!)

if the succeeding pictures look like i’m up close and personal with the animals, that’s because i cropped the hell out of them. and they still ended up sharp so make that another reason why i’m loving the sony camera more. it has something to do with the megapixels, i reckon. whatever. ask jeff.

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on this safari tour, the guide said we were lucky to catch the hippos during their feeding. it’s rare to find them on land, she said. said that they’re immersed in water 80% percent of the time because they don’t have sweat glands so it’s their way of keeping themselves cool. although personally, i don’t know why they have to bother considering how cold melbourne can be. must be those fats. who knows?

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now, for my million-dollar question: are zebra stripes white on black or black on white? because sometimes, they look freakin’ brown to me.

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after the tour, we followed the walking trail to see more of their animals. again, from afar. african wild dogs, ostriches, kangaroos, lions, etc. animals whose pictures you won’t see in here because, f*ck it, even the sony gave up trying zooming in in vain.

oh, and that last picture up there? i don’t know if you can see it but those are actually koalas. my first time to ever see koalas and it had to feel like i was looking for waldo.

so, no, technically, as far as i’m concerned, i have not seen a koala. like, ever.

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but the meerkats made up for it, though. it’s just weird how they seem so small and so different compared to the meerkat commercial i see on tv. i expected them to be bigger.

werribee open range zoo

i know, some people aren’t really comfortable with the idea of supporting zoos because they take away the animals from their natural habitat and enclose them in fences. but i think that only applies to those zoos which do not have the proper facility and a decent amount of space for the animals to move around in.

in fairness to werribee zoo, they promote the conservation of animals that might have gone extinct if not for their successful breeding and recovery programs. in the grand scheme of things, i think that’s better than nothing.

*9 weeks pregnant