Are YOU Ready for May 9, 2016?

Are You Ready for May 9?

Six years ago, I voted for the first time, and I voted for someone I thought would be a great leader for the Philippines. I’ve even attended his miting de avance (see photo above). Heck, I even voted for his Vice President (VP) — even though a lot of people told me it would be “a waste of my vote” because he was a celebrity and inexperienced in politics. I still voted for my President’s VP thinking that since my presidential candidate chose to be “partners” with him, then my candidate saw him as the “best” person he could run the Philippines with. Why vote for someone who doesn’t share the same “vision and mission” of my President, right? But that was in 2010.

For my non-Filipino friends reading this, my President and VP back in 2010 were Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro and Eduardo “Edu” Manzano respectively. They both lost, by the way.

But even if they both lost, I don’t have any regrets. I don’t regret voting for them because in a way, I proved to myself that I could stand for what I believed in, regardless if many people were against my decision/s or told me otherwise.

Of course some will say that “standing for what I believe in” is also a dangerous mantra, especially if it’s something “wrong” in other people’s eyes. That’s where discernment comes in. And it’s always a case-to-case basis. I’m only talking about the elections here, capisce?

So yes, a couple of days from now (May 9, 2016), Filipinos will once again choose “leaders” who they think will bring the Philippines “improvement.” This is probably the first time I said anything about the 2016 Philippine elections (at least publicly), and man, I’m not liking the way how things have been diirrrty and uuugly.

Unlike in other countries who “benefit” from a two-party system, in the Philippines, that’s the exact opposite. Currently, we have five presidential candidates — and these five also endorse their own vice presidential candidates (unlike in other countries that whoever wins as President, his Vice President of choice automatically runs the country with him). So yes, you can say that Filipino voters carry a lot of “election weight” on their shoulders. Given the number of candidates, it’s also no wonder why the Philippines is now “divided we stand, united we fall.” 😦

We’re all divided right now because of the different candidates we support. Check at least the social media feed of one Filipino (voter or not), and there’s at least one election-related post. Some even became “friends to enemies” without realizing that at the end of election day, whichever candidates win, we’re all going to either rise or fall as one nation. And then these people will think, WAS ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA DRAMA WORTH IT?! Let me be the one to answer that: NO!

It’s clear that WE, Filipinos, are NOT yet ready for May 9. Or maybe that’s just me. But since we don’t have any choice, we must act on that day.

Coincidentally, May 9 is also the death anniversary of my mother. This year’s election day marks the Philippines’ 16th presidential election, and also the 13th year I’ve learned to live without my beloved mother. And although the pain of losing a loved one, especially a parent, never really goes away, I can at least continue to try to honor them.

Right now, one of the ways I can honor them is to fight for what I believe is right — just like how my parents raised me. I’m not gonna bash other candidates. I’m not gonna fight with my family and friends who will vote for other candidates I’m not voting for. I’m not gonna try to “convince” another person to vote for my candidate/s; that’s the candidate’s job. (Who are we to think that we’re better than others just because they want to vote for a different President/candidate? Don’t you think that doing so just makes you the “worse” person, trying to hold their free will and whatnot? So just don’t.) Heck, I’m not even gonna “blame” the next leaders of this country if the Philippines doesn’t change (and God forbid, gets worse!).

All I’m gonna do on May 9 is exercise my right to choose and vote. After that, I’ll continue to try to be a better person (and not just “a better Filipino”) than I was yesterday.

me, after voting in 2010

me, after voting in 2010

I’ll start by NOT throwing trash at inappropriate places. Simple, but effective. Maybe you have a different idea, and that’s okay. But come to think of it, maybe we should exert more energy on tackling climate change considering how HOT it has been in the Philippines lately. (Now don’t say that that’s probably a reason why people are also hot-headed these days. Seriously, how do you expect the Philippines to change for the better if YOU can’t change for the better?!)

For what it’s worth, I’m voting for a female presidential candidate. There are only two of them, but I’m still choosing not to disclose who. What for? Even if you knew and try to convince me to think otherwise, I won’t budge.

I’ve already decided who I’m gonna vote for this coming May 9, albeit not being “ready” in the broadest sense of the word.

How about YOU, my fellow Filipino voter???

Papal Visit 2015: How It Felt, Feels, and Will Forever Feel

Pope Francis finally arrived in the Philippines and as a Filipino Catholic, I can’t help but be in awe of everything. After all, the last Papal Visit in my country happened 20 years ago with John Paul II as Pope (now Saint John Paul the Great). I was only five years old back then, and I can’t even remember the exact details of that event. All I know was that my family and I tried to catch a glimpse of him at Taft Avenue in Manila. And we did (though from our vantage point, the Pope’s head was comparable to the size of a dot. Hehe!).

Fast forward to today, I suddenly found myself being one of my parish’s volunteers to act as a “human shield” when the Pope makes his way from the airport to his home at the Apostolic Nunciature — again, located in Taft Avenue.

At first, I was actually nervous about being a human shield. We were required to pass complete volunteer forms with pictures for background checking (not that I have anything to hide, but I realized security’s very strict that those with “records” weren’t allowed to volunteer anymore). The weekend before the Pope’s arrival date, we even had a briefing given by the archdiocese and the police. Of course it was all about what to expect, where we’re going to be assigned, and the things NOT to bring (which include umbrellas and opaque bags/backpacks), etc. Having said that, I was nervous because you know, I’m naturally an overthinker! Hahaha! So given the security measures being taken, thoughts of stampedes and whatnot entered my mind.

posing beside the standee before seeing the real one :) (and oh, only see-through bags allowed!)

posing beside the standee before seeing the real one 🙂 (and oh, only see-through bags allowed!)

But of course, my longing to see the Pope in the flesh was stronger than any of those doubts. 🙂 Our call time on January 15 (Thursday) was around 2PM, but we saw the Pope around 7PM. Yes, we waited for a little over five hours only to wave at the Pope for a second (literally!). But you know what? IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!!!

I FINALLY SAW THE POPE IN PERSON! And just a few inches away at that! I was so speechless, I wasn’t even able to say Viva Il Papa... naging woohoo nalang! :)) And to top it all off, kudos to the crowd for being well behaved. When the Pope made its way to where we were, it’s like everyone was glued to where they were standing and all they could do was shout their welcoming cheers. 😀

our parish's volunteers, on the way to Roxas Boulevard-Quirino

our parish’s volunteers, on the way to Roxas Boulevard-Quirino

worth the wait :)

worth the wait 🙂

That’s just the FIRST DAY. As of this writing, the Pope is still in my country spreading his message of “mercy and compassion” to ALL people — rich or poor, Filipino or not, Catholic or otherwise.

I know that for some, they’ve been lucky enough to go to the Vatican and see the Pope closer (case in point: my two older sisters!). But even they agree with me that nothing compares to seeing the Pope in our home country, where we can all feel the power and unity of the Filipino faith. It really is both a blessing and a privilege.

As you can see, I wasn’t able to take any pictures or videos of the Pope while he was in front of me. How could I? I was a “human shield” and my hands and arms were looped around the arms and hands of the people to my left and right. Hashtags #hawakkamay at #kapitbisig. Haha. All I’m left with now is that awe-inspiring memory, which I know can’t be “deleted” easily.

So yeah, I was in awe. I am still in awe. And I know that I’ll forever be in awe of this historic religious event in my country.

And despite the number of people criticizing the Catholic faith, I’ll strive to continue to defend (and strengthen) my faith and promote what it means to “be like Jesus every day.” Sure, we’re all humans. No person’s perfect. So whatever our religions are, let’s just strive to learn from our mistakes and be better every single day. Aside from that, give LOVE (and not just on Chistmas day! Hehe!). But if you can’t give love, at least give RESPECT. I respect my brothers and sisters from other religions. So please, also respect me when I say that I AM PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC.

For I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. 😉

How about you? What can you say about the Papal Visit 2015?
Sound off in the comments section below!

Made in the Philippines! :D

First of all, can I just say HELLO?! Not just to you, but to my blog itself! 😛 I know I’m not as active in the blogging world as compared to last year and the year before that… but here I am again! I already owe my blog seven entries (if I were to follow my “personal” blogging rule), so let this be one down and six more to gooo!

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to write about two brands — Snoe and Suelas — I’m patronizing for quite some time now. And then I watched Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo? in the cinemas that I decided to include local movies on my list. Why? I know that they’re all not making sense as of now but if there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s that they’re all PROUDLY PHILIPPINE-MADE! 😀

♥♥♥

local movies

As mentioned earlier, I just recently watched Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo? and boy, was I glad I did! It wasn’t just the laughtrip galore that I loved, it was also the locations they used — which are very dear to me. 😉

Let’s start with the first restaurant where Sandy (played by Kim Chiu) met up with his boyfriend Gardo (played by Kean Cipriano). That restaurant is named Lola Cafe + Bar. Just a piece of trivia, that exact same place was also where I spent most of my childhood Christmases, summers, and whatnot — only then, that whole restaurant used to be my late grandparents’ house in Quezon City. It was then decided that the place would be open for rent so it’s a looong story why it is what it is now but yeah, you can say that it’s a house-turned-restaurant. I just can’t believe that the place where me and my cousins used to play hide-and-seek is now a movie setting. Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Like I said, it’s a looong story. Haha.

On the other hand, another place that was featured was Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. I’ve been a Nuvali “native” during the weekends for more than a year already, and Nuvali has been a frequent hangout for me and my family. It was just so funny that the two places were shown one after the other, considering that the former is in the North and the latter is in the South! Talk about an evening taxi road trip for Kim Chiu‘s character!

Anyway, this won’t be a review per se but I just want to say that the movie succeeded in what it was supposed to do: ENTERTAIN. And my point is that whether it’s mainstream or indie, I enjoy watching local films that I actually find it sad when people say that they’re just “a waste of money.” Okay, sure. There may be some titles that are only worth-watching on DVD or your local cable channel, but at least don’t overgeneralize. Just because one wasn’t made in Hollywood, doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be valued any less. Movies are made to entertain and inspire. To some extent, it’s a form of escapism. If the one you watched failed to give you at least one of those things, then sorry. But that doesn’t mean that you should write off local films completely. Ba’t mo sasabihing “corny” kung mag-eenjoy ka naman? Ang pagiging corny ng isang bagay ay nakapende sa tao. If a movie made an impact on you in any way, that’s not corny. Trust me, there’s a number of foreign films I’ve watched that I’d completely trade for a few kilig seconds of Xian Lim Ramon Bautista on the silver screen! Hahaha!

Just give local movies a try. And NO TO PIRACY. That’s all.

Suelas

Moving on, my love for Suelas first appeared on my blog more than two years ago. That was the time I had my first pair and from then on, I just can’t get enough of it! Of course I had to “overuse” my first pair before I decided to buy a replacement. But after my second purchase, I’ve always been a loyal follower of the brand’s official website and Facebook page — always on the lookout for new styles that’ll tickle my fancy. You see, there are a few reasons why I love this brand so much: it has my size (I’m a size 10!), it’s stylish but also very comfortable (it’s foldable, too), it’s a Cebu-based business that now has several branches in the metro, and most of all, it’s “promoted” by one of my personal idols, Patty Laurel-Filart. Hihihi. Fangirl mode din ‘pag may time! 😛

my Suelas pairs… and still counting.

Suelas’ Celebracion collection, created in collaboration with Patty Laurel-Filart, is perfect whether you’re wedding- or work-bound. 🙂

And oh, before I forget! The Suelas team has always been very accommodating. I prefer ordering my pairs online and whenever I have a transaction with them, it’s always smooth sailing. In fact, I recently had “an unfortunate event” with one of my pairs and when I reported it to them, they didn’t think twice about repairing it — FOR FREE! So yeah, consider me one very satisfied customer. Can’t wait for my next pairsss! Mwahahahahaha! 😀

Snoe

Last but not the least is a local beauty brand I just discovered a few months ago, which I now totally swear by its effectiveness and quality! ♥ And because of my support for the brand, one of my posts even got featured on their official Facebook page:

So, what’s your beauty pick of the week? 😉

From bath essentials to cosmetics to skin care, there’s something for every Filipina at Snoe (pronounced as “snowy”). Aside from the fact that their vintage-like packaging is very eye-catching, their products truly deliver.

My Snoe purchases in the last four months? Hahaha!

I’ve already tried some of their products (and I’m not finished yet!), but my top three purchases are the Hair Heroes Drunken Master shampoo, Rouge Deluxe lipstick in Chili Pepper, and Body Ritual Recipes fragrance in French Macaroons.

(photos courtesy of Snoe Beauty Inc.)

What I like about the shampoo is that it uses unusual ingredients (beer hops, anyone?), yet it doesn’t have a strong smell. I actually consider it as the best clarifying shampoo I’ve ever tried in my life. No exaggeration! After every wash, it just really makes my hair feel soft, light, and clean. If you have colored hair, this shampoo will just make your crowning glory all the more vibrant.

For the lipstick, I’m thankful that I discovered it at a time when I was in the hunt for that. perfect. red. shade! I like the fact that it complements my skin tone and it doesn’t dry my lips. Best of all, the color doesn’t come off easily — which is a good thing because I don’t have to reapply every now and then.

And the fragrance? Who can resist French macarons?! The scent is truly unique, sweet but not in the annoying way that you’d actually think of it as a dessert.

I’ve to admit though, Snoe‘s products are a bit pricey for a local brand (the shampoo alone already costs almost P600) but I think it wouldn’t hurt to try them once in a while. If you can spend on international brands, I’m pretty sure you can afford to support our homegrown products too. In fact, it’s the goal of Snoe to be internationally-recognized in the beauty industry, just like the Korean beauty brands we see popping just about anywhere we go these days. Besides, they say that “you get what you pay for.” Well with Snoe, I say you get what you pay for… and more! At least I did. 🙂

♥♥♥

Sooo. If there’s a theme for this post, that’d be PATRIOTIC. Or maybe it was shopping? Haha! Kidding aside, I felt strongly obliged to write about these local brands simply because I want others to know that things made in the country can also be high in quality. Nowadays, being patriotic doesn’t necessarily equate to wearing our baro’t saya and answering in Filipino when you’re asked in English. Of course it still pays to be respectful to our national language and traditions, but you can now show your love for the country in different and simple ways (i.e., support local brands, yes? HA HA HA).

Anyway, that’s all I can give you for now. Just always be proud of being a Filipino and make the Philippines proud anywhere you go. That — that’s patriotic enough for me. 😉

P.S: I have another featured traveler at the end of the month, so I hope you’ll visit my not-so-abandoned blog anymore again by then! Mabuhay! Wahahahaha!