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. =)

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.

wearing reymund claridad

i’ve always been supportive of reymund, not only because he’s my friend’s younger brother but because i can really see his talent and his passion in fashion design. the kid dresses better than me, for crying out loud! and who wouldn’t find those dimples and that laughter adorable? seriously, he’s definitely one of those people you’d wanna spend an afternoon and have coffee with because he’s just so funny and so full of chikas. so what if you’re not into coffee? his company more than makes up for it.

trust me, i know. that starbucks afternoon girlie and i shared with him years ago was definitely one for the books. my jaw hurt from laughing too much.

so, anyway, right before i left for australia, he gave me one of his creations. a dress i saw on his facebook that made me go, “wow! that is a very nice dress!”

“you want it?” he asked. “maybe you can wear it after your wedding or something.”

long story short, i grabbed his offer because i’d be crazy not to. hand carried it all the way from cebu to singapore to melbourne just so i wouldn’t ruin it, knowing how much effort he had made in ironing it the night before he gave it to me. not to mention how he painstakingly sewed it himself, some elements of it he had to glue or stitch by hand.

seriously, it is a really nice dress. the closest to haute couture as i could get. now, bear in mind that when i first saw a photo of the dress, a tall, skinny model with killer legs was wearing it so of course it looked fucking amazing.

i just hope i did his dress justice, though. lol. i did promise him i’d ask jeff to do a photoshoot of me wearing it. last sunday, we finally did.

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as it was a beautiful warm and sunny day in melbourne last week (a glorious 24 degrees, baby!), jeff and i decided to take advantage of the weather and the fact that i was all dolled up. (i sure as hell didn’t wake up like that. prior to that shoot, i looked and felt like shit. because, you know, hormones.) anyhow, the princess-y dress magically transformed me from an ugly frog to a decent-looking human being. now that’s something! i bet reymund’s creations can have that effect on you too. not that i’m implying you’re ugly or anything.

so, yeah, jeff and i… #losers

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love lock bridge

melbourne love lock bridge

if my sister hadn’t told me, i would have never known. and to think at the time, she’d been in melbourne for only what, a week?

apparently, southgate footbridge has played host to thousands of couples literally putting their love on lock; throwing away the keys into the yarra river below, never to be seen again.

i wonder if all of them are still together.

just as i wonder if those padlocks are still there. last i heard, the city council wanted to get rid of them as they were weighing the whole structure down and compromising the safety of the bridge.

according to the news, a nearby cafe was interested in displaying those locks but i don’t know what happened to that either. when my sister comes back here, maybe we’ll have a look again and see if they’re still there.

that was last autumn, after all.


7 weeks later, here we are.

it’s funny how some things in my life happen real fast. moving to australia to study definitely started the ball rolling. which is more like an avalanche, really, if i think about it. i was told by this indian guy who once read my future out of the leftover grounds in my coffee cup that i had weak knees. that’s probably one of the reasons why i wasn’t able to run fast enough. the other minor reason is that i’m too fucking lazy to exercise. but either way, yeah, i found myself in melbourne’s city tram thinking, “i wanna raise my kids here.”

which caught me off guard the exact moment i thought of it because i was never one of those girls who dreamed about marriage and kids. my barbie went to work on a bicycle and always went home alone. but she had friends and her outfits rocked. the idea of settling down and actually popping babies weren’t exactly on top of my list. more like in the bottom, even — somewhere between doomsday and my own death, whichever comes first. that’s where it stood, as far as timeline goes.

but the universe is a cheeky little bitch. because then i met jeff and my so-called timeline became as erratic as the graph on a heart monitor attached to a patient in the throes of a violent ventricular fibrillation. we hooked up, i moved in, he proposed, i said yes. two years later, we got married.

and now we’re having a baby.

which, once again, caught me off guard because i just started working and changing diapers was probably the last thing on my mind. next to doomsday and all the prepping jeff feels we need to do because he’s a firm believer that the world’s demise would be in the form of an electromagnetic catastrophe.

digging a backyard tunnel and planting our own crops for survival might have to wait.

because first, he needs to build a nursery.

and as far as catastrophes go, my unpredictable manic-depressive shifts from one end of the mood spectrum to another like a fucking pendulum ought to be enough to keep him on his guard.

much more than watching for signs of the sun burning upon itself.

pink has never been this pretty

spring flowers

it stands in the middle of our front yard, this tree. i don’t know what it’s called but right now, it’s the prettiest i’ve ever seen it. blossoming wildly in the beginnings of a warmer season. pink and white petals on the branches and on the ground. a beautiful confetti scattered on top of the grasses that badly needs jeff’s mowing.

spring is finally here.

i can’t wait to do up the yard my green thumb is itching. hahahaha. if you know me, you’d also know that’s the biggest joke ever. i don’t have a green thumb. i once planted weeds — weeds! — and they died. in spite of me watering them regularly and all that shit. (for the record, they were the kind of really nice-looking flowering weeds that grow near rivers so, no, i wasn’t crazy.)

but, yeah, the flowers at the front look so lovely they deserve a blog post. thank god i have a photographer husband who’s happy to go along with my request, on account that he just bought himself a sony A7R mark 2.

or should i say, THE SONY A7R MARK 2. in a morgan freeman voice. because apparently, in the world of cameras, sony’s killing it. you should hear jeff talk about this shit. if the topic won’t hold your interest, his unbridled enthusiasm definitely will. lol.

anyway, back to the pretty stuff:

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these photos were taken last sunday. he took some nice pictures around the neighborhood too ‘coz he went for a walk. ironic, because i was the one who bought a fitbit on that day to challenge me to take more steps and he was the one who went for a walk. go figure.


wanna build a snowman, bro?

mt. bawbaw, victoria, australia

it was a good 1 and a half to 2-hour trip up to mt. baw baw from moe. there’s not really much to see along the way, unless you’re the type who gets blown away by stunning scenery. which i am. except that i was sleeping pretty much the whole time, like i said. a waste of window seat jeff was kind enough to offer, with me being a snow virgin and all.

mt. baw baw, victoria, australia

after what seemed like 10 years, the bus suddenly moved at a very slow pace. a long line of cars. some moving slowly with us, the others parked on the side. i was suddenly giddy.

is this it?

but where’s the snow?!

turns out we had to do a bit of a pit stop that didn’t involve emptying out your bladder. apparently, the roads were f*cked. meaning, it was iced all over and every one who wasn’t driving 4WDs needed to put on tire chains to temporarily boost the industry that’s supplying, manufacturing or renting them out.

now, i’ve read about tire chains in books but prior to that day, i had no idea what they look like or how you put them on. i know they prevent cars from skidding on icy roads but at the same time, i also wondered if having chains around the tires would also prevent them from rotating. because, you know, janjan’s law of motion or whatever.

it still spins but it does affect the speed of the car. but i reckon a slow-moving vehicle on an uphill drive is better than a fast-moving one sliding downhill out of control. jeff said that if your car’s engine is at the front, the tire chains go on the front wheels. if it’s at the back, then they go on the back wheels. i’m no expert in cars so i might just have to take his word for it. this time.

and so with probinsyana curiosity, i watched our driver, as well as other drivers, attach tire chins. kneeling on muddy ground, placing the chains in position, moving the car forward to align the chains to the tires, getting out of the car to secure the chains into place. doing the same routine again for the other tire. at that point, i was just really thankful to not live in a place where there’s snow and ice. no offense to the people who do. but i could just imagine the hassle of going through all that, i don’t know, every day?

mt. baw baw, victoria, australia

it took a while before the snow-covered trees and plants manifested themselves once we hit the road again — albeit, slowly. everything was so white and oh-so pretty it kind of makes your heart skip a beat.

“OMIGOD, ARE YOU CRYING?” jeff practically shouted asked, loud enough for the other passengers to hear. tormenting me with his teasing laughter.

for the record, something got stuck in my eye and jeff was being a poofter.

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i have to admit that the moment i jumped out of the bus and into the snowy pavement for the first time in my life, the first word that came to my mind was slush. because where i was, it was wet and well, not snow white snowy, you know what i mean? not the pretty white but rather, the gray or brown ones. dirty, leftover footprints and tire tracks melting into tiny, dark, disheartening puddles.

but the walk inside the resort was something different, though. i felt like a kid teleported to the north pole.

“merry christmas, jeffy!” i greeted him maybe once or twice. okay, thrice.

i couldn’t help it. i’ve always equated christmas with snow and reindeers and santa claus. typical illustrations on the holiday greeting cards i grew up seeing right around january because the local post sucked at delivering snail mails on time.

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one of mt. baw baw alpine resort‘s popular tourist activities is tobogganing. i’m kind of a scaredy cat when it comes to pretty much everything adventure-y stuff (except for ziplines. the longer and higher, the better. the shorter ones kind of induce irrational panic within me like that time when…). but, man, even the 3-year old kids sliding down the slopes looked like they were having the time of their lives i figured, hey, why not?

turns out, it was actually quite fun. but then i worried too much about running into other people that i would keep trying to slow my pace with my feet if i could help it. because forget steering. those split-second decisions of veering left or right had me gripping on the ropes and mentally making the sign of the cross while i closed my eyes and prayed that i don’t hit anyone to a point of concussion.

but everyone hit everyone at one point anyway and they’re all cool with it so no dramas. when you’re there, you just have to watch out for yourself and not deliberately ram into people like a tobogganer from hell.

mt. baw baw, victoria, australia

as it is an alpine resort and all, you can also go skiing in there. i saw a lot of little kids practicing on their cute skis and an even cuter grandma who was doing the same.

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if i really think about it, jeff and i were just there for picture-taking purposes. and speculating whether or not to buy this gorgeous lodge for sale that we both know we could not afford. yet.

mt. baw baw, victoria, australia

and settling with taking photos of adorable huskies who’ll take you and a friend for a ride for $100+ a pop.