…was, am, and will forever be a Candy Girl ♥

Just last March, the Philippines’ #1 teen magazine — Candy — celebrated its 13th anniversary!

Next, next month, I’ll be celebrating a decade of being a loyal reader.  Yes!  It was in July 2002 and I was in my sophomore year in high school when I first became a Candy Girl. 😉

It all stared with THIS issue! Haha! (photo courtesy of CandyMag.com)

And then six years after that, I made my teenage dream come true when I was given the chance to be one of its contributing writers (as well as appear in the magazine itself from time to time!) 😀

some of my Candy features (articles not included)

It started in the year 2008, I was 18, and I just graduated from college.  And even though I decided to have some sort of a “gap year” by focusing on my Master’s Degree and not diving into the corporate world head-on, Candy gave me a sense of self-worth by helping me develop my writing skills, gain a new and once-in-a-lifetime experience, while getting paid all at the same time!  So you can say that my “glory days/years” were those when I was still with Candy. 🙂

Anyway, even though almost two years have passed since my last article was published, I still continue to be a very loyal Candy Girl. 😛  And just today, I finally got my last charm for my Candy bracelet!  Hahaha!

this “Keep Calm Candy Girl” charm comes with the June 2012 issue

The Lady’s personalized Candy charm bracelet!

Why PERSONALIZED?  Simply because during my Council of Cool days, Candy happened to celebrate its 10th anniversary (2009).  And that year, they also gave away a free charm bracelet.  You can say that for the past three years, I’ve been wearing my own Candy charm bracelet — which included acquiring my own charms, apart from the free ones.  And knowing me, each charm has its own meaning.  Haha!

5 charms; 5 meanings

The “C” (middle) was the very first charm I had.  It represents the Candy logo.  And well, it doesn’t hurt that my surname starts with this letter too!

The Mini Cooper with the Union Jack (top left) represents…  err…  my Anglophilia. 😛  It was also my niece’s Christmas gift to me, so that makes it extra special!

The Cross (top right) represents my faith.  Roman Catholic all the way, AMEN.

The Heart with the Universal Studios Singapore logo (bottom left) represents my family.  I bought it during a family trip to Singapore, and the heart shape just says it all.

The “Keep Calm Candy Girl” (bottom right) represents my two loves: the U.K. (Keep Calm and Carry On, anyone?) and of course, Candy!!!

For those who collected, collect, and will collect the Candy charm bracelet, you may ask what happened to the other bracelet and charms?  Well don’t worry!  I’ve been keeping them…

…and I’ve been planning to give them to somebody.
(I still just don’t know WHO!  HA HA HA)

So TEN YEARS, huh?  Well, I can truly say that it was the sweetest decade of my life!  It just amazes me to think how one simple form of media can affect not just my life, but the lives of many Filipino teenagers!  And I know that some of you may say that I’m already too old for THIS…  you’re right.  After all, Candy‘s main market is girls aged 13-21.  But for someone like me who actually grew up with the magazine, it’s a whole different story.

Yes, I’m 22.  And yes, I’m still very much proud of being a loyal Candy Girl.  In fact, I think that if there’s one thing Candy has taught me, it’s loyalty — loyalty to my family, loyalty to my friends…  but most of all, loyalty to myself.  And as cliche as it may sound, you can’t deny it: it always pays to be true to who you are.  And for that, I’ll forever be grateful.  Grateful for Candy for being my best-est friend for the past sweet ten years…  and for the many years to come.  May you continue to inspire the current and the next generation of Filipino teenagers!  More power to you!  And of course, Happy 13th Anniversary again!!!

Having said that, know that The Lady was, is, and will forever be a Candy Girl.  I, thank you. ♥

When in Bohol and Cebu… KEEP CALM, CARRY ON, MAKE LEMONADE, and HAVE F.E.A.R!

Intrigued by the title?  Well, my latest domestic trip pretty much revolved around those Words Of Wisdom…

…but before I tell you all about THAT trip, have you watched the parody movie A Tale of Two Cities and Three Friends?  It’s actually a local indie film released early this year, and its synopsis is quite relevant to this post.

So if you still haven’t watched it, the synopsis is about three friends who went to two cities (DUH — what a stupid introductory sentence!  Haha!).

Anyway, they arrived at the airport ON TIME, underwent the usual airport protocol, found seats near their boarding gate…  sat still there until it was already near their boarding time.  When they realized that it was already past their boarding time and they still haven’t heard anything from the airport announcements, they assumed that their flight must’ve been delayed.  And so they waited…  and waited…  until it was too much.  It was really odd to have a delayed flight just like that, so one of them decided to finally ask an airport staff.  That’s when they found out that their plane had already taken off and they were left behind at the airport! x_x

Of course it was a total bummer, but one missed flight wouldn’t stop them from pushing through with their trip.  They immediately went to the ticketing office inside the airport, booked the next flight (even though that meant spending half of their pocket money!), and attempted to get their luggage BUT they were told that those could just be redirected to their next flight.  And they believed it.

When they finally boarded the next flight, it turned out to be 2 hours delayed! Yes, TWO FREAKIN’ HOURS!  Upon landing on their first destination…  surprise, surprise!  Their luggage was missing!  Turns out that the airline failed to “redirect” their luggage to their destination, and the three friends were forced to spend one whole day without any of their clothes!  Of course they decided to buy toiletries at the nearest store, and considered THAT action as their “first lemonade.”  But c’mon, mamon!  Take a bath, but wear the same clothes for more than 24 hours?  Survivor Philippines ba ito?!

Okay, their luggage arrived just before lunch THE NEXT DAY.  From then on, they “traveled” happily ever after…

Aaand you caught me!  What indie film synopsis was I blabbering about?  Indie film?!  More like hindi film — dahil hindi talaga yun film!  Hahaha!  That “synopsis” you just read was exactly what happened during my trip to TWO CITIES in Bohol and Cebu, with my two friends Carol and Maxine. 😛

THE Three Friends! Hahaha!

That’s right.  Those things happened to us!!!  And when faced with those kinds of scenarios, we turned to “words” for help — our Words Of Wisdom.  Having said that, let me enlighten you more with the aforementioned WOW.

Mika: “KEEP CALM…”

Since we were able to score round-trip tickets to Cebu-Manila and vice versa at very reasonable prices, our original travel plan was take a plane to Cebu, ride a ferryboat to Bohol and stay there for 3D/2N, and then go back to Cebu for an overnight stay.

But when we found out that we were left by our plane (1/8 of the blame goes to the airport; the rest is on us!  Haha!), there was nothing left to do but to KEEP CALM.  And how did we do that?  We decided to just buy the next direct flight to Tagbilaran, Bohol.  Of course that time, there was no promo.  So we had no choice but pay the original price — which kind of defeated the purpose of buying our “promo” fares because when we added the total price of ALL our tickets, it seemed like we paid the original price from the very beginning.  Right.

Mika: “…AND CARRY ON!”

When we finally had our NEW boarding passes, we tried to get our luggage but the airport staff reassured us that they could just change the sequence number, blah, blah, blah.  Edi syempre we had no choice but leave everything to the travel gods…

And then when we were already on our plane bound for Bohol, our flight was delayed for TWO HOURS!  I repeat, TWO HOURS!!!  Okay, CARRY ON.

Carol: “WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS, MAKE LEMONADE!”

Upon arriving at Tagbilaran, my friends and I were even joking that our luggage must’ve went straight to Cebu…

…turns out, hindi pala joke yun!   Grrr!

Nasa Cebu nga ang mga luggage namin!  This time, hindi na namin aakuin ang pagkakamali!  Ibang usapan na ‘pag sinabi sa inyong “ililipat” ang sequence number whatever, tapos hindi naman pala magagawa!

Kumulo talaga ang mga dugo namin!  Lalo na siguro ako at nasabi ng mga kaibigan ko na hindi na daw talaga mapinta ang mukha ko!  And to make things more lemon-y, our Tagbilaran flight was the last flight for the day!  P***** ***** **n!  Oops, sorr-eh.  PEACE.

So anyway, since our airline doesn’t have Cebu-Tagbilaran flights, our luggage had to go back to Manila, and then from there, fly to Tagbilaran — THE FOLLOWING DAY!  Since we were so hopeless, we just decided to buy toiletries at the nearest drugstore AND try to survive for the day…

tadah!  Instant SWEET LEMONADE, made from 100% BITTER AND SOUR LEMONS!  Wahahahaha!

Extra squeeze: When traveling, ALWAYS include your first articles of clothing in your carry-on bags!  No exception!!!  —Credit goes to my friend Carol.  Heehee.

We stayed at Bohol Bee Farm in Panglao, Bohol and I must say, I felt like I went to a detox retreat or something because everything was organic!  Not that I’m complaining, thank you very much! 😀

organic food!!!

Plus, their ice cream was to die for!  My favorite flavors are malunggay and tsokolate (made from cocoa tablets!)  YUM!!!

Maxine: “HAVE F.E.A.R. (Face Everything And Recover)”

Now, we’re on the “tour” proper.  When our luggage arrived just before lunch the following day, we were finally able to kick-start our “travel plans” — the PLAN B version! 😉

Bohol

My friend Maxine was able to find a Van for Hire, with Kuya Rommel as our driver:

If you happen to be in Bohol, I recommend that you give Kuya Rommel a call at 0906-7462885.

Having said that, we went to the following places:

THE BLOOD COMPACT SHRINE

BACLAYON CHURCH

BUTTERFLY GARDEN

MAN-MADE FOREST/TARSIER

CHOCOLATE HILLS

ALONA BEACH

Cebu

From Bohol, we rode a ferry called SuperCat to get to Cebu.  The entire trip took almost 2 hours, but it was smooth sailing so no biggie! 🙂

aboard the SuperCat…

Aside from checking into our hotel, which was Cebu R Hotel, the first thing we did upon arriving in the Queen City of the South was — guess what — go malling at Ayala Center Cebu!!!  But can you blame us?  We’re all self-proclaimed mall rats anyway! =))

We actually watched the movie Battleship there and then in the evening, we went to Marriott Hotel Cebu to have our buffet dinner!  Thanks, Max!  SIMPLY DELISH!!!

just look at that LECHON! crruuunch.

buffet dinner = lamon forevah! harharhar.

But wait, there’s mooore!  After dinner, we went back to Ayala Center (isang tumbling lang siya from Marriott, btw!) to meet our friend Biboy.  We all found it so funny to meet in Cebu after NOT seeing each other for yeeaaars!  Talagang sa Cebu pa nagkita-kita eh noh?  Iba talaga ang mga college friends ko!!! 😀

Biboy, we missed you!!!

The following day — our last day in Cebu — we attended Holy Mass at BASILICA MINORE DEL SANTO NIÑO, visited MAGELLAN’S CROSS, and ate lunch at CASA VERDE (which serves different kinds of steaks at very affordable prices! Awesomesauce.)

And that’s how we FACED EVERYTHING — by simply enjoying our trip!  I think even the clouds on our flight back to Manila would agree…

heaven?

Now the next thing to RECOVER from is figure out a way to be NOT broke!  Haha!  I swear, my friends and I were so surprised to realize that we spent A LOT on this trip…  halos triple nung nagastos ko sa Brunei, which was my latest international trip.  Must have something to do with using the same currency and not thinking about conversion, etc?  Oh well, perang papel.

And that’s it!  Whew, right???  But just think about it…  if all those things from the start of our trip hadn’t happened, then this blog entry would’ve been entitled “Bohol and Cebu” or “My Bohol and Cebu Trip.”

Honestly, that would’ve been plain BORING!  And who needs boredom when you can have fun, right?

Exactly!  MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES it is!!! 😉

Now, now. I wouldn’t trade “having MORE fun” for anything! Would you?

A Floating Bookstore, A Dose of Carbon Dioxide, And A Whole Lot of Fun!!!

Weird title?  Heehee.  But yeah.  Even though this is already considered a “late” post, let me tell you first about my Manila adventure with my two friends Mark and Maica, one fine (spontaneous) day…

(photo courtesy of my friend Mark)

Last week, we went to the heart of Manila with the hope of having a one-of-a-kind bookstore experience: the MV Logos Hope.  As self-proclaimed bookworms, the three of us traveled all the way from Makati just to have our hands on very rare, but cheap finds! 😀  But lo and behold, it seemed that we lacked in the “research” department because when we finally arrived at the gate, we were told that the ship’s closed on Mondays!  On MONDAYS!!!  And we went there on a Monday.  Fuuudge. 😐

Since we didn’t want to “waste” one whole trip (not to mention “excitement”), we decided to go to the Manila Ocean Park instead.

And that’s when ALL THE FUN started!!!

MANILA OCEAN PARK

It was already my second time to go there and honestly, I didn’t even think that I’d be back when I went there the first time!  Oh well.  I guess this spontaneous “excursion” was another proof that it doesn’t matter WHERE you are…  what matters is WHO you’re with!  Ahem!

Plus, it was nice to see Maica HAPPY after finally seeing penguins in the flesh!  Trust me, you don’t know how much she loves ’em!!! 😉

Maica and her beloved penguins!!!

As for me, I kind of “penguined” out when it was my turn to feed them…  that’s why I could only get as close to a penguin like THIS:

penguin hugs, anyone? HA HA HA

Good thing there was also another attraction to SMILE about inside the Trails to Antarctica part of the Park: SNOW VILLAGE!!!

Traveling to Antarctica is a dream of mine too, ya know? 😛

Ready for some snow…

…and MORE “FAKE” SNOW!

After that, we decided to try a five-minute 4D movie (thanks to my insistence!) located at the mall outside the Park.

But wait, there’s more…

Once at the lobby, I suddenly saw a familiar “sight” — Mr. Carlos Celdran of Walk This Way fame!


ME: Carlos Celdran!

CARLOS CELDRAN: Hi, how are you?

ME: *smiling like an idiot* =))

I swear, I’ve been planning to go to one of Mr. Celdran‘s Manila tours since time immemorial, that’s why seeing him in person even before availing of his tour spelled only one word: STARSTRUCK!  Hahaha!

I plan to FINALLY avail of his tour THIS YEAR and of course by that time, I promise to have my picture taken with him already.  Don’t worry…  knowing me, you’ll read all about THAT on THIS beloved blog of miiine!  *more hahahas*

Lastly (for that Monday), I realized that with happiness comes PANIC MODE!  On the way home while on the jeep, I witnessed my very first “snatch” encounter!  I don’t want to rehash the details anymore, but I was ThisClose to being the victim!  I’m just really relieved that it wasn’t me, but still sad for THAT lady… 😦  Overall, it was truly one OMG moment for me!

Nakakalokang OMG MOMENT talaga that it made me avoid public transportation for a week!!!  I’m starting to get back to my usual “commuting ways,” but Mayor Lim, do something about THIS for the sake of my fellow Manileños, Taft Avenue, and the City of Manila in general!  Please and thank you.

Moving on…

The following day (Tuesday), we finally stepped foot on the MV Logos Hope (we’re so full of HOPE, no?) with our other friends Angela and Jen. 😀 😀 😀

…some of the places the MV Logos Hope has been to. “Some” being the operative word!

Inside the MV Logos Hope were BOOKS (duh), a cafe, and hundreds of volunteers!  Actually, volunteering for the ship is NOW part of my bucket list!  So when it gets back to our shores, I’ll definitely apply!  Hehehe.

…couldn’t really decide what to buy, so may the heavens help our credit card! =))

a cafe inside a ship – reminds me of our cruise trip! Not bad. Not bad AT ALL. 🙂

And there you have it!  After all that’s been said and done, I realized that no amount of carbon dioxide (sad but true) can stop me from exploring the streets of my beloved Manila!

As posted inside the MV Logos Hope,

“Life is a journey. We’re all going somewhere, but where are we going?”

My answer?  Might as well go somewhere you’ll always keep coming back to (THAT song was right after all)…

…and for me, that’ll always be my hometown: MANILA. ♥