sea life melbourne aquarium. soothing the autistic in me.

for somebody who’s scared shit of jumping into the water, not because i can’t swim but because i start to get petrified the moment i couldn’t feel the solid ground beneath me, i do find the underwater life amazing. mesmerizing, even. especially so when i view it in a controlled environment.

like in a mega petri dish an aquarium.

or when i’m snorkeling and the salty water hasn’t yet penetrated my already-fogged up goggles and i see all them fishes darting in, out, and around gloriously colorful corals that seem to be dancing to the rhythm of the sea.

although i don’t mind watching the underwater life on the background of a videoke too. or on any tv screen, for that matter. 4k or not.

sea life melbourne aquariumsea life melbourne aquariumsea life melbourne aquariumsea life melbourne aquariumsea life melbourne aquariumsea life melbourne aquariumsea life melbourne aquarium

but aquariums are pretty terrific by themselves. especially the huge ones that could house practically the entire ocean in there.

and you’re there right in the middle of it all.

grounded in your smallness.

the huge stingrays swimming effortlessly all around you. giving you that awkward smile you’re free to interpret as either mocking or charming. it’s cute, though, their smiles. although i’m not a big fan of their stings because, you know, steve irwin.

sea life melbourne aquarium

they say that fishes are a good therapy for ADHD kids. calms them down. i don’t have it (jeff does. lol.) but something about the fluidity of the fishes’ movements calms me down. sitting there, i must have looked like an autistic child with her hands cupped on either side of her eyes, almost kissing the thick glass panels. (“look, jeff, this is so cool!”)

but trust me, you get the best view that way: an unobstructed macroscopic tunnel vision of the mini schools of fish scattered by the sharks that are not being chased by the stingrays because, for some reason, they all coexist together.

here’s a video of what it would be like once you drop your guard and pretend you’re a mermaid (which i may or may not have done at the time).

it’s not the best video, i know. i’m still in the process of working on my video editing skills, although i don’t know why i should bother when i have someone who can do it for me for free (hi, jeff!) but i didn’t want those clips wasted. jeff took some really nice videos. you can even watch my blonde moment in HD which he captured as well.

me (reading a sign on the aquarium about how the glass distorts the actual size of the animals): …(blah, blah, blah) can make the animals appear up to 1/3 smaller so it’s like, they’re 3x larger.

like, DUH! *facepalm*

but seriously, though. am i the only one who loves aquariums?!

libraries that’ll leave you breathless

i’m palpitating right now as we speak. consciously reminding myself to breathe because these images are currently doing some serious damage to that part of my brain that actively controls both my respiratory and reading muscles. firing up all these neurons into a state of hyperactivity only bookish people can relate.

i’d be crazy not to post this here. there are actually 15 on the list because they wouldn’t exactly call it 15 incredible libraries around the world if there weren’t 15 of them, right?

right.

sharing the top 5 pics that are cutting off my oxygen supply.

you’re welcome.

Admont Abbey Library, Austria

Admont Abbey Library — Austria

Strahov Theological Hall – Prague, Czech Republic

Strahov Theological Hall – Prague, Czech Republic

University Club Library – New York City, United States

University Club Library – New York City, United States

National Library of Finland – Helsinki, Finland

National Library of Finland – Helsinki, Finland

George Peabody Library – Baltimore, Maryland

George Peabody Library – Baltimore, Maryland

a belated birthday brunch and a sunflower surprise

not to brag but i’ve always been mistaken for something waaay younger than my actual age. i’ve had people guestimating me to be around 18. some were more generous with their allowance.

you look like you’re in your early 20’s. you must be — what? 28… 29 years old?”

when i’m not wondering if we’re on the same page as far as the definition of early is concerned, most of the time i take it with a grain of salt and a wee bit of smugness — it must be the smoothness of my skin. the youthfulness of my features. the “liquid brown eyes” which were the exact same words written on my high school year book to describe them. the same ones girly once said she would love to preserve in a formalin-filled jar as a table accent or a sick piece of artwork to satisfy her inner psycho killer interior designer.

i could flatter myself on and on but the brutal truth (and the closest bet i could ever get) has less to do with my complexion and more to do with my, um, cleavage. hahahaha. i know, i know. this time, we’re definitely on the same page here. all together now: WHAT CLEAVAGE?! lol.

but for the record, i am in my early thirties. which puts me somewhere around 38 or 39, if we follow the aforementioned people’s logic. jeff asked me what it feels like to be in this age i am now.

same feeling you felt when you were in this exact same age 2 years ago.” touché.

as far as i can remember, i’ve never been a big fan of my own birthday. it’s just another one of those days, you know. the only special thing about it is that i was born on the 10th of the 10th. which i think is pretty damn cool. not to mention that the first letter of my name is the 10th letter of the alphabet. plus, i have 10 toes and 10 fingers. if that’s not auspicious enough, then i don’t know what is! (i also obviously have the mental reasoning of a 10-year old.)

and because it’s just another day for me, i don’t really feel the need to celebrate it. the only time i did was when my dad invited my friends and relatives to surprise me with a party. it being a 10/10/10 which happens only what? once in a thousand years? other than that, nothing. (although he always manages to come up with surprises for me. tries to make it special somehow. shout out to all the best dads out there!)

birthday

this year, for some reason (god forbid it’s an ominous one), i felt like celebrating. nothing grand. just a very simple brunch with the freaks only friends i have. (guys, don’t die on me, okay? at least not at the same time. lol.)

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with advancing age comes wrinkles you never saw before, as well as several changes in your lifestyle. whereas before we would have made a beeline for a little videoke and whole LOT of beer session for a night of alcohol-induced insomnia to “morning the night away,” things are so much more tamer now.

i mean, come on, we had a fcking brunch. BRUNCH! (like hell we enjoyed that one too. it amazes me the way people adapt to life sometimes.)

so, yeah, in lieu of a set of ice cold beer in buckets, we had coffee afterwards. well, they had coffee. i had a tall cup of cold kumquat & lemon tea which, ironically, still had the same effect on my bladder as beer. only maybe healthier. that is, if they didn’t pour a whole kilo of sugar in it.

so that was how the rest of our afternoon went. drunk on coffee, tea, and girl talk. while looking at our toenails.

birthday brunch

but the icing on the cake that greeted me when i got home?

birthday

i don’t usually get girly girly over flowers but that night, i surprised even myself. my vocabulary was temporarily reduced to just “awww….” because it was a gesture i never expected from a guy whose idea of a perfect date probably includes strolling hand-in-hand through the romantic aisles of JB hi-fi; eyes lighting up over the sight of computers and wires and cameras and lights and flashes and everything electronic gadgets galore. except for e-book readers. that’s the aisle he never finds himself in. unless he starts looking for me because chances are, i’m there.

it was the card that really got to me, though. there’s nothing syrupy about it but those three names on the bottom?

that’s my family right there.

p.s. to every one who wished this old lady a happy birthday, thank you. =)

behind the scenes: gayle and aj’s pre-wedding shoot

you don’t exactly call it “gatecrashing” when you kind of ask permission to be there. and by “kind of,” i mean you simply tell them you’ll show up and they wouldn’t really have a choice because they wouldn’t wanna seem rude.

or was i formally invited?

i can’t remember now. all i know is that i was there. so was jelven and roma. our role, basically, was to be the cheerleaders. minus the “rah-rah-rah!” and the backflips. because we’re too old cool for that.

it was, after all, gayle and aj’s pre-wedding photo shoot. you don’t mess around during photo shoots as important as that, right?

wrong.

gayle and aj's pre-wedding shootgayle and aj's pre-wedding shootgayle and aj's pre-wedding shootgayle and aj's pre-wedding shoot

because mucking around was pretty much all we ever did. so much so that roma and i had our very own impromptu photo shoot on the side. you should have seen us lying on the grass like idiots, wearing that stoic facial expression of supermodels in a high fashion shoot. i looked, well, for lack of a better word — dead. but that didn’t stop us from going full on at it, anyway.

gayle and aj's pre-wedding shootgayle and aj's pre-wedding shoot

that’s not to say that we didn’t do a good job working behind the scenes. because we did great. while i shadowed the official photographer, jelven shadowed me. so in effect, we created a behind the scenes behind the scenes setup. you know what i mean?

and that’s my trusty old nikon digital camera right there. or should i say was? i had it for about 3 years. it taught me a lot of things as far as photography is concerned. modesty aside, i became a pro in taking quality pictures (at least, according to my standards. i don’t have very high standards.). my secret? i used the auto setting. all. the. time. (a lot of times it worked. other times, i just had to suck it up and deal.)

anyway, i gave that camera away. because jeff gave me a better one with the hopes that i would finally come around and start learning how to shoot in manual already. (trust me, it’s a million times better than auto, baby.) so i kinda promised him i will.

don’t tell him this but i still shoot in auto. all. the. time.

gayle and aj's pre-wedding shootgayle and aj's pre-wedding shootgayle and aj's pre-wedding shootgayle and aj's pre-wedding shootgayle and aj's pre-wedding shoot

all in all, it was a fun sunday afternoon. one of the concept coordinators (or whatever you call it) from cuckoo cloud concepts was actually a fashion blogger here in cebu so that was exciting for me. you know, to meet a blogger in the flesh. i grabbed the opportunity to have a group photo taken with her. i don’t know if you can still see me with her hair partially obstructing my face but it’s cool. =)

gayle and aj's pre-wedding shoot

at the end of the day, when gayle’s mascara started to smear and the oil in my face shone like the sun, there was the three of us just hanging around. lounging on one of plantation bay‘s chairs overlooking their vast pool.

laughing like freaking hyenas like we always do.

those times when a song says more than you could ever say

you know how some songs that, the first time you hear it, you immediately love it?

well, this is one of those songs for me. and it wasn’t even the recorded version i heard that very first time.

i was with jeff and his friends in his van. on our way to the city to go clubbing, although that is a very pretentious thing for me to say. because while they ticked off all the characteristics that define “clubbing” with their individual signature dance moves on the floor, all i ever did was down one shot after another after another after another. just one drink short to getting drunk but not getting drunk. because i’m awesome like that. lol.

anyway, so there we were in the van, yeah? one of the guys brought a guitar and somewhere between the small talks and their excitement to show off their dance moves (while i silently cursed the gods for not giving me that particular talent), they suddenly sang this song a capella. well, technically an a capella because i heard somebody mention that the guitar lacked a string or two and the ones that weren’t broken were hopelessly out of tune so they were practically ukelele-ing it.

but, wow. i was sitting there, right, and i know this sounds exaggerated but i swear on my great-grandmother’s grave i’m not kidding. I WAS BLOWN AWAY. cross my heart and hope to die.

i was like, “i wonder what the title of that song is and who’s the artist. because i sure as hell am illegally downloading that shit as soon as i get home!”

i was too shy to ask, though. because back then, i was still too shy, period. because, you know, introvert fresh off the boat from woop-woop.

so imagine me being blown away — again — when i found out that they actually made that song. like, they were actually the actual artists. i was an instant fan, minus the fanaticism because they were jeff’s friends and asking them for an autograph would have been awkward for all of us. so i played it cool. act the part of a nerdy kid invited to sit in the popular kids’ cafeteria table who couldn’t care less but was actually suffering a minor heart attack on the inside. (how many times do i have to say actually before someone shoots me?)

raquel, with her trademark red hair, was really nice. she was the one i talked to most of the time, on account of us being the only girls in the group. if my memory serves me right, the whole song started when she was ironing clothes while humming random lines and her husband (who’s also a part of the group) was like, “we should make a song out of that!” the rest, obviously, is history.

holler to everyone err won who can relate.

the road trip that was. and what’s a road trip without a bit of a car-aoke?

rolling out two highly incriminating videos of us belting it out like a bunch of crazies on the way home from dalaguete yesterday. i know, they’re pretty embarrassing but it was so much fun. the kind that, 10 years from now, i wanna look back on and wish for time to take me back to that moment in my life.

because it was definitely one of the best.

not to mention how jelven’s intense facial expressions never fail to crack me up even after watching the video a hundred times. i love that bastard. hahahaha.

and yeah, these songs are old school but what do you expect? we’re ancient.

gayle & aj’s pre-wedding photo shoot

i’ve known this couple probably for as long as they’ve known each other. which is like, 5 days. lol. i kid. they’ve been together for — (omigod, gayle’s gonna kill me if i mess up this one) — 10 years?

that’s a pretty long time, if you ask me.

long enough to observe how much they love each other simply by looking at them look at each other.

long enough to hang out with them on group dates and random drives down south (or round south, depending on the mood).

long enough to consider them as my family already.

like every relationship out there, they’ve had their ups and downs. but unlike every relationship out there, they managed to survive the trials of time.

and i’m happy for them both to have come this far.

rock on. =)

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