One Saturday in UPLB

I had a work trip and some free time so I made arrangements to meet with my college roommates. We have not seen one another in 12 years.  I stayed for one weekend in the house of one of my roommates and we agreed to meet  my other roommate who lives in Laguna.  All of us needed a break from work and school. We brought my roommate’s kids. Laguna is a perfect escape from Metro Manila.

Because my roommate spent her high school in the University of Philippines Los Baños’ Rural High School, she is familiar with the campus and toured us. We were all roommates at the University of the Philippines in Diliman (UP Diliman). I love the UP Diliman campus but I have to say UP LosBaños (UPLB) has its own charm. I should have cross registered and took some subjects there for one summer.

I’ll take you to some places we visited though my photos. This is the park near the entrance.


UPLB has a Thai Pavilion.  I do not know what the structure is for but anyone can hang out here.


One of my roommates and I at the Nihon Koen Steps. It looked like we’re in Japan, eh?


If you get tired after waking on these steps, there are benches where you can rest.


Going up the mountain, there is the Boy Scouts of the Philippines Jamboree Site.


This site is near the entrance to the National Art Center of the Philippines.


On our way up, we passed by this open church, where a wedding scene in one of Aga-Regine movies was shot.


These are the buildings of the Philippine High School for the Arts. Artistically-inclined scholars study high school here. 


The topmost area in this route is the National Arts Center.


On this plateau, we can see the Alligator Lake, parts of Los Baños and Calamba. I think.


All the touring made us thirsty. We dropped by the College of Agriculture.  They sell delicious fresh milk, yogurt, pork and beef products!


We still have a lot of time in our hands so we visited IRRI (International Rice Research Institute).  This is the Ipil drive on the way to IRRI.


We visited  IRRI  a month before Bill Gates did. (Not an important information, I just want to mention that. Hahaha)  IRRI is the premiere institution in the world that conducts research on rice.   The top rice scientists from all over the world work here.


They study different varieties of rice from all over the world.


They have different enclosures that mimic the climate of a particular country.


At the end of the road at IRRI, we found the UP Open University Oblation.


After this tour, we hung out at the open field in UPLB near the fertility tree.  The fertility tree is just a large acacia tree. It is called as such because a lot of things happen underneath the tree.  What are those things? Your guess is as good as mine.

IMG_1413We had dinner at Dalcielo inside the campus and we called it a day.

It was a wonderful day with friends.

8 Relevant Quotes for My Awesome February and March 2015

John Lennon is right. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. All the wonderful things that happened the past two months seemed like a blur now as I try to go back to my regular routine.  I finally had the time to reflect on those things. I am thankful for all the opportunities the past two months.  Here are some quotes that proved to be true for me:

1.  “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

One of my aunts was the youngest in the family. She never took interest in cooking since someone else in the family took charge of that task while she was growing up. My aunt is almost 60 but when there was a TESDA culinary training program in our barangay, she enlisted and learned to cook.  We were just too happy to be taste-testers.

This is the pasta dish she cooked.


Because she gained confidence in kitchen, she cooked caramelized bananas.


2.  “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.”

 I read this quote somewhere. I am not sure who originally said this. I have several projects for the past two months that sometimes, it felt like I needed a break. Sometimes, I fear that I might not be able to perform well.  But the trick was to just show up, do the best work and you get your rewards. Mine reward was in artwork and chocolate.


3. “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world”. -Gustave Flaubert. In my case, I was a small girl near a big tree.


4. “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” – Malcolm Gladwell. I found time to practice watercolor painting, drawing and calligraphy. I tried a little poetry, too.


5. ” The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart”. -Elizabeth Foley  

I got to go out with my longtime friend in Manila. I got to bond with my college roommates in Laguna. I have not seen them in 12 years.  I also visited my good friend in Singapore.  I met up with my college classmate here in Butuan.


6. “OHANA means family, family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten”. -Lilo and Stitch My aunt volunteered to repaint my living room.


 This was after I came back from a trip and found my entryway colorfully repainted.  I am blessed.


7. “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” Robert Collier

I have been religiously exercising in February and it felt great. Travel got in the way in March. I am trying to get back to the routine this April.

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8. “Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer.

 I got to know Johanna Basford through a Facebook post by Patricia. I kept telling myself. Why did not I think of that? Johanna is an artist who creates intricate drawings using inks (pen). She published 2 coloring books for adults and I want a copy but they are sold out at Amazon.  The following are her books:Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book and Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book. I just made my own coloring page inspired by her artistic skills.


I also discovered Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye. Such refreshing talents.


Thank you, God, for the awesome two months!

The Art of Writing

My aunt is a retired elementary teacher and she has beautiful penmanship.  She told me that back then she would know a pupil’s grade 2 teacher by the penmanship. It was in Grade 2 when students were taught cursive writing.  I don’t know if there are still handwriting classes in grade school especially with the existence of mobile phones and computers.  I am still lucky because I was able to enjoy the analog world. We used to write notes instead of texting.  These are my friends notes for me in college. They left me written messages in my table in the dormitory when I am not around.  Priceless!


It has been years since I have actually written a letter and gone to the post office to mail them so I welcomed Fozzy‘s invitation to write her a love letter.


Well, I poured my heart out like a giddy fan! It was written in my regular pensmanship on a card I made myself. I painted watercolor flowers.


I got my reply back and I also got another letter from a friend. Sweet!


I finally bought myself a calligraphy kit for beginners from The Craft Central.


I tried writing using the calligraphy oblique holder with NikkoG nib. I need more practice.


Have you mailed a handwritten letter lately?

Vacation Home Pleasures


When you go on a vacation with your family, you might think that the only option for somewhere to stay is at a hotel. There are Singer Island vacation rentals and other homes that you can stay in that have most of the amenities that you would find at home. These types of rentals have more room and are ideal for large families or a group of friends who want to stay under the same roof instead of getting a few hotel rooms.

If you want to stay in a location that is quiet and away from all of the sights and sounds of the city, you can often find a vacation home much easier than you can a hotel. There is plenty of space, including separate bedrooms and a living area as well as a kitchen so that you can prepare meals together. Most vacation homes allow pets where hotels usually don’t allow pets. This makes it easier when you are faced with putting your pet in a kennel while you are out of town. While you are in the home, you will likely be in a residential area. You can see what life is like if you are thinking about moving there or if you want to go back in the future.

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