Thursday, December 31, 2009


I arrived home at around half past two this morning, a full moon smiling with me as I stepped out of the car and into the threshold. I came from an awesome night with old schoolmates from the absolutely amazing college of UP Fine arts. It was great to see them all again, all in one place, all at the same time.

I've been looking forward to a rendezvous such as this. It would be a decade since I last saw most of them (online / television / magazine sightings excluded), so you could imagine how excited I was.

We had dinner and drinks at a really cute, cozy resto in QC owned by 3 other schoolmates. Really, really lovely place. Would you believe it? - It's called Nomnomnom Happy Food. Wonderful healthy gourmet-ish food at fastfood prices. Highly recommended.

Some 60 or so folk came, UP CFA graduates from different departments and various batches of the late '90s. There was a whole lot of us from our block and we filled half the smoking area. Everyone sort of just adapted into the scene, as if simply picking up from where we left off almost a decade ago, like we were never separated by years. Most of them looked just like the way I left them.

A lot of things were pretty much the same ...

R and J were still the fist to arrive and the last to leave.
D still has the nicest camera, and is still married to R.

MB still looks like she did in college.
MD still has her subtle-funny way of telling stories .

G is still nicey and unintrusive.

A is still the pretty girl who has never had a boyfriend.

JP is still on whatever regulated substances those are.

AL is still the weird artist type (with ultraman toy watch to match), still talks like a cool geek and is still a self-proclaimed closet gay.

D is still openly gay and openly flirts with AB.
AB is still a sweet-and-sensitive toughie and is still dating C.
H is still a heckler.

L is still his heckle-buddy.

The single girls are still single.

And there was this whole confuddled commotion with paying the bill, like how things usually went when we ate at Mang Jimmy's ten years ago.

And JP hitched a southbound ride home with me like he used to.

... Though there have been a lot of interesting developments:

JP finally graduated (Centennial batch! Woot!) - big news of the evening.
D is a classy sort of sexy-manly gay who does some designing and a bit of modeling.
AB has a lot of uber-cool tatts.
MD just recovered from an operation that revealed she had a parasitic twin (oh yes, she gave us a detailed, descriptive report while everyone was eating).
MB, one of the owners of the resto we were eating at, is now a successful entrepreneur with a couple of businesses.
H is engaged.
D and R have three kids now.
R is a respected teacher at a girls' private school.
D spells his name differently now. He has a studio and does glamour photography; we see his work everywhere.
AL is a filmmaker and has a thing for K-pop.

It felt a lot like college hang-out days all over again - except that people were now more stable (in every sense of the word) and the guys knew how to handle their drinks (i.e., no drunken vomitfests). Too bad a lot of the other friends weren't able to make it.

It was a much-needed trip away from the usual everyday of present life. I'd love to call it a great night of catching up with old friends, but great is an understatement. Hoping and waiting for a second round ...

Monday, December 28, 2009

unconditional love

Found this sweet passage on a box of perfume I received.

philosophy: consider the opportunity to love the greatest of all blessings. the love you give is the love you get and it i all good no matter where love takes you. let the ability to love another belong to you forever and ever because real love stories never end.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

i finally bought me a sketchbook

I finally bought me a new sketchbook!

Well, it isn't exactly a sketchbook because I couldn't find any decent sketchbooks, just sketchpads - it's a hardbound journal with good paper and a magnetic close-flap. It was kinda pricey but I love it.

I haven't been drawing in a while and my skills have gone all rusty so I thought it would be good for me to start again. Having a good-quality drawing book will help me sustain that.

I was partially inspired by this site. I hope to fill my book with interesting, postable drawings. I'm more of a pencils person, though I'd like to get the hang of sketching with markers and watercolors. I'll get re-acquainted with my inks after I get a bit more confident with my pencils.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

bunny apartment

Pepper (foreground) and Davey (background) checking out the new bunny apartment.

I just assembled a new cage for my bunnies out of interlocking grid panels - it's a simple, see-through, 2 x 2 x 3 bunny-apartment with a small second floor. I furnished it with a toilet (i.e., a litterbox in a carboard hidey-hole), newspaper, a small towel, a plushie, a drinking bottle and some food. I asked Davey to try it out - he's liking it, so far. He just marked the four corners with his pee - that's a rabbit's way of saying "This is my space." He kept us up last night making a racket with his redecorating (i.e.,throwing and ripping the newspaper)

Our bunnies actually started out as free-roamers (i.e., not caged - because caged bunnies are unhappy and sickly) but ever since they reached adolescence, those boys have become too aggressive toward each other so we've had to keep them separated. Two big cages are out of our budget - as well as out of our floor area - so we made do with their taking turns in the 1 x 1.5 x 2 cage that we bought for them when they were babies. Eventually of course they've gotten too big for that tiny space, so we've had to acquire a bigger one. Luckily the Hubby saw those grid panels on sale - we've seen some BunSpace pictures of bunny apartments improvised from those grid panels, so we thought we'd give it a try.

So there, the bunnies have been upgraded from a tiny studio flat to a split-level loft. Since Davey isn't complaining, I thought of leaving him in there for a few more days while Pepper roams free. When the Hubby and I find a new, more spacious residence, we'll get another cage so they can both have their own apartments.

Monday, December 14, 2009

digital photography

I was musing this morning about how digital tech has made the art of photography so much easier and thus more enjoyable.

For one, it's much less time-consuming.

For another, you could immediately see your capture in the LDC-equivalent of the viewfinder, in just a second after you clicked your cam. It is certified true through-the-lens viewing. You don't have to wait until printing while tensely hoping that you got the right balance of light and color. You could view it right then and there, and have a retake immediately if you decide that you don't quite like how it turned out.

Gone are the days of trial-and-error bracketing. Thanks to the new digital viewfinder, you more or less have an idea of where to start after the first shot. No more need for a wide bracket. You no longer need to consume time on several permutations of f-stops and shutters in the hope of getting just the right exposure.

It's just as well if you don't have a light-meter. For that matter, you don't really need a light-meter anymore.

It's ultimately easier on the money. You don't need to buy several rolls of film with various speeds because the ISO-equivalent is easily simulated with the turn of the DSLR's dial. You don't need to purchase different grades of photo paper that create different contrasts, because contrast can be adjusted on the camera's settings too.

You don't need to spend several thousands on converting your extra room into a darkroom, no need for its numerous trappings - panels, electricals, plumbing, fireproofing ... enlargers tables pans chemicals canisters darkboxes curtains equipment ... Because there's no messy darkroom processing. No need for the tricky step of prying the roll with a pair of pliers in a dark box and winding the film around the coil, relying solely on touch, nor the time-consuming process of shaking-and-slamming a chemical-filled metal canister while anxiously hoping you have no kinks, sticks or bubbles in there.

No need for the meticulous methods with the enlarger - no contact prints, no test strips, none of the endless adjusting just to get the print right. No need to wait for the fixing and drying.

The digital "darkroom" is so much more convenient - plug cable to USB port and download. Contrast and color correction is a piece of cake. No need for testing various lengths of exposure against various enlarger f-stops against three different kinds of photo paper. Placing borders and watermarks - even fancy ones - is a cinch with Photoshop. You no longer have to cut cardboard for the borders or make an acetate overlay.

And when you want to create a special effect on your capture, you don't need to waste time and expensive photo paper experimenting, because you can just click on the various filters and styles on Photoshop, and easily undo if it isn't quite what you want.

Printing is just a few clicks of a mouse. Just install your photo-quality paper of choice into a good printer, click here, click there, and voila! For that matter, you don't even need to make prints. You can easily share your photos by uploading them on your site or FB account.

Digital photography is so easy, that anyone can be a "photographer" these days (That's not exactly a good thing though :p ) . But lemme just say not everyone can be an artistic photographer.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

daytrip to sonya's garden

I've been wanting to go to Sonya's Garden for a long time, and I finally got to do it last week with the Hubby's family. On our way to Batangas, we stopped by Sonya's for lunch and it was utter bliss. Here are some of my favorite captures from that daytrip.

I love the lush, natural greenery nestling the entire site. It provides a relaxing atmosphere that distracts you from the stressors of day-to-day existece.

I love the scent of herbs, flowers and honey and the sound of birds that waft through the air.

I love that there are fresh flowers all around, some of them oversized. Some of them I don't see in the city anymore.

I love the architecture and interior of the bed and breakfast.

I love the 19th-century Fil-Spanish style combined with early 20th-century Art Nouveau. It gives off a romantic, slightly surreal ambience.

I love the oversized windows that let the sunlight and scented air in, even the diaphanous white curtains they are trimmed with. I love the crisp, white linens, the fresh flower arrangements, the glass chandeliers and the knicknacks and reading materials purposely choreographed to create a place like a home.

I love how things were cleverly repurposed - wineglass bases in the stained glass windows, old wood beams that have survived termite attacks and have been reincarnated as flooring or paneling, antique calesa chasis as benches, colored perfume bottles as windchimes, authentic capis latticework panels as sliding windows.

I love how everything is shabby-chic yet pristine and uncluttered.

I love the bathrooms and washrooms with the beach-mimic baths, charmigly furnished with organic soap and rosewater. Not a single inch of mildew or stains anywhere.

I love the restaurant snuggled in the middle of the greenery.

I love the menu. The dalandan juice with mint leaves. The bread and kesong puti. The salad with fresh-picked greens from the very garden, including rose petals. The make-your-own-sauce pasta. The tarragon tea (I never knew tarragon could be made into tea)

I love the serene feeling it left in me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

i learned a new skill: fishing ^_^

I mean, actual fishing - real fish. I don't mean the other kind(s) of fishing (because those aren't exactly new skills).

On day two of our trip to Batangas, the Hubby and I spent a whole block of daytime on a decent-sized boat with his Uncle J and our brother-in-law D. Good thing I brought sunblock. Well, not that i needed it much; it was cloudy and cool the whole day, and we had sufficient shade on board. Uncle J taught us - uh, me (I was the only first-timer there actually) how to put together a line and cast it. The knotting business was kinda tricky since it required a special kind of knot, but I caught on quickly and had my line ready promptly.

And oh, I got my fingers and arm nicked a couple of times by those nasty little hooks.

Things were uneventful at first, but picked up pace when we got to reel in some. It was pretty exciting to see an occupied hook after another. I caught three serving-sized threadfin bream or bisugo. I was surprised to see that live bisugo are a bright orange and patinum, with neon-yellow streaks (no kidding, NEON). I've only seen them cooked or cleaned before, and I never thought they were this pretty when fresh. (I also caught two small, yellow fish, but they don't really count since I put the first one back, and I used the second one as bait since the hook went through its eye already anyway).

Fishing turned out to be a lot more fun and a lot less complicated than I thought it would be. It would have been more fulfilling if we started our day earlier (my bad - got up late and delayed the whole schedule), but it was nonetheless a satisfying experience. I mean, even with the nausea and lightheadedness that lasted until bedtime.