0

ATHENS, GREECE


Greece has always just been that uncrossed entry in my “places to see before I die list.” It was just too far and too expensive to go to that I’ve always just put it aside…for a honeymoon getaway or for when I’m older and well, richer. :)

That’s why when the DBF pulled-off another epic surprise and brought me to Greece, he kinda looked so much more handsome in my eyes! hahahaha! I believe he also raised the bar for boyfriends all over the world with his Athens extravaganza! He said even he couldn’t believe that we were just in Greece! Ha!

As usual, I made a video of the short but memorable trip to Athens.

 

If there’s one thing we’ll miss about Athens, it’s the FOOD!!! I think I will be dreaming of the lamb chops, yoghurt sauces, and Greek salad with cheese very often!

The city must have taken a blow when their economy took a downturn but their culinary expertise stayed very much on top! Graffiti can be seen in most of the walls and a lot of billboard spaces especially along the road from the airport to the city were empty. These were just some of the telltale signs that Athens really had a tough couple of years. But the culture was still very rich. The tourist sites like the Acropolis and the temple of Zeus can still make you go ooh and ahhhh.

The weather was kind to us that weekend. It wasn’t very chilly. I was just wearing a knitted top and the DBF was even in shorts and slippers. It drizzled for a bit though when we were about to leave.

p.s. We bumped into my friends at the Olympic Stadium! They are newlyweds D and M (same as our initials) and they are on a EuroTour for their honeymoon. What a small yet oh so beautiful world!!!

Here are photos from our trip–

image_3 image_2 IMG_1794 IMG_1796 image IMG_1325 IMG_1337 IMG_1390 IMG_1798 IMG_1417 IMG_1430 IMG_1435 IMG_1442 IMG_1453 IMG_1472 IMG_1469 IMG_1466 IMG_1459 IMG_1457 IMG_1545 IMG_1535 IMG_1523 IMG_1484 IMG_1476 IMG_1580 IMG_1579 IMG_1565 IMG_1555 IMG_1547 IMG_1619 IMG_1617 IMG_1605 IMG_1603 IMG_1601 IMG_1708 IMG_1658 IMG_1657 IMG_1622 IMG_1620 IMG_1786 IMG_1769 IMG_1755 IMG_1748 IMG_1743 IMG_1740 IMG_1731 IMG_1721 IMG_1718 IMG_1713

 

0

ZAMBALES, PHILIPPINES


My base for the meantime is Manila, Philippines.

I’ve been accepting makeup gigs since I got back last January.

Just recently, I was on a beach work trip for Nivea Sun. Together with featured surfers Noelle Hilario, Nicola Sebastian, and Bea Vega, the production team By The Sea and Nivea’s digital agency headed to Zambales for a two-day video shoot.

I personally use Nivea Sun products when I go to the beach. I like Nivea coz it doesn’t feel greasy on skin. So I was so happy to find out that they’re getting me to apply sun-kissed and barely there makeup on the three girls.

The girls already have golden brown skin so all I really had to do was put on cream foundation on them and make sure that the makeup won’t wash away when they hit the beach. For a natural glow, I used cream blush and highlight on the points that bounce off sunlight.

 

Here’s the video we created. Featured in this clip are fine surf beaches in the Philippines: Capones Island, Camara Island, and Crystal Beach. All of these places can be found north of Manila–in Zambales. It was a 3 hour-drive from the city but definitely worth our while.

 

1781891_10152257476254493_1276622901_n 1982153_10152289421319493_1219794719_n 10013004_10152319789724493_1030757613_n

 

 

0

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA


We only had 3 days to go out of the country together. We chose Siem Reap because it’s near-by and small enough to tour in a short period.

We were like Lara Croft and Indiana Jones searching for lost treasures in the many temples of Siem Reap.

Seeing the Angkor Wat was the highlight of our trip.

Travel Tips:

1) Cambodia accepts USD as currency so no need to exchange your money to Riel.

2) Instead of renting a car to go temple-hopping, ride a tuktuk(18USD/day) and hire a personal tour guide(45USD/day) for the entire day. The car will just get stuck in traffic.

3) Look for The Angkor Pottery Center (along the street going to the Floating Village, on the right). You may take pottery lessons for 5USD/30mins. Go on your first day in Siem Reap so you can have at least a day to wait for your ceramic vases or beads to be “cooked” and painted on.

4) Pub Street Finds: Khmer barbecue, Fish or Chicken Amok (with herbs, coconut milk and Khmer curry paste) and cheap Silver trinket finds! Always haggle. They don’t have fixed prices. Practice your haggling skills when buying carved treasure boxes, souvenirs, and other silver finds.

5) Aside from the tuktuk, you may hire an ATV or what they call a quadbike for a ride outside of the city center.

6) Always ask for a hotel room upgrade and airport pick-up and transfer. There are so many hotels in Cambodia competing with one another . They would definitely want to leave a good impression on you for your next visit.

Here’s our fun video:

Snaps from the trip–

IMG_7748 IMG_7771 IMG_7773 IMG_7785 IMG_7791 IMG_7798 IMG_7814 IMG_7842 IMG_7844 IMG_7913 IMG_7926 IMG_7936 IMG_7955 IMG_7969 IMG_7971 IMG_7994 IMG_8013 DCIM100GOPRO IMG_8037 IMG_8053 IMG_8082 IMG_8085 IMG_8097 IMG_8107 IMG_8127 IMG_8129 IMG_8136 IMG_8044 IMG_8152

0

TURNING THIRTY


I’m an imperfect human being and so to feel loved perfectly is such an overwhelming feeling. The past few weeks have been crazy beautiful for me. I have been on the receiving end of soooo much love from the people that I value most in life. Let this blog post be my way of thanking each and everyone who has made me feel like I’ve done something good in my life to make me deserve such thoughtfulness and attention.

THE BIRTHDAY SURPRISE

I knew that the DBF won’t be able to fly to London on my 30th birthday because it falls on a weekday and he has work. He gave me my birthday gift in advance on the last day that I was in Zurich.

Ok… so… 4 days before my birthday, my flatmate G invited me to the Royal Opera House. He said we were going to this event of his friend and that I should dress-up well so I did. I even posted a picture of us on Facebook while waiting for his “friend”.

1461213_10152114519804493_885611133_n

His “friend” turned out to be…The DBF!!! Yep, he surprised me the weekend before my birthday. I was on Atkins diet and wasn’t eating carbs for weeks so when I saw him enter the door of our flat, I literally felt weak in the knees!

My first question: “So we’re not really going to the Opera???”

LOL my thought bubble: what a bummer. hahaha kidding!

His reply: “No, babe, sorry. But we’re going on a date night!” So we went to this cozy Chinese restaurant near our place and talked about how he planned the surprise. As soon as we finished eating, he asked me if I wanted to have some drinks at the bar.

1461301_10152114798884493_1950644463_n

He led the way to Zebrano, a famous mixed bar in SOHO. We went to the Basement where hiphop music was playing and what greeted me was essentially the biggest surprise of my life! My friends… from random parts of the UK… from Luton to Peterborough… were all there with a fancy cake from Patisserie Valerie and a sparkling champagne bowl to greet me!

1463159_10152115852409493_1847133016_n

I think I was in shock for a few good minutes. I couldn’t believe how my boyfriend who lives in far Zurich managed to organize a surpise for me in busy London town! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined organizing such party myself! I can’t even pool all of those people together considering their conflicting schedules and random zip codes! I truly got myself a rare find.

936027_10152115476354493_324881504_n 1461033_10152115862414493_1630429356_n 1508021_10152115852164493_1453821840_n 1514574_10152119606169493_1521555102_n 1514940_10152119605954493_1327425650_n

Half-way through the party, I recognized two people coming down the stairs…it was B and C!!! Our friends from Zurich!!! They flew to London to surprise me as well!!! I screamed my lungs out as no words were coming out of my mouth! At that point, I was already in shock overload.

1462902_10152115477689493_1205651680_n 1474387_10152115475499493_2008661441_n

Turning thirty wasn’t so bad after all.

1507642_10152119858619493_1210014975_n

COUSIN BONDING

The Monday after that epic weekend was quite special as well. My baby cousin B, a flight attendant for Philippine Airlines, arrived in London and spent 3 whole days with me! She’s the first family member to visit me in London! I was beyond excited! I toured her and her friend around.

1476684_10152121803499493_478267107_n

IMG_6106 v e f g i p t u

We even have a video of our bonding moments:

CHRISTMAS MTV

Christmas Eve was spent with friends from London, Brussels, and Zurich. We ate at Acqua, a Japanese restaurant along Oxford Street.

1538753_10152139344049493_409323732_n

Our friends from Luton adopted us on Christmas day. We happened to be mostly couples so I had this funny idea of creating a super cheesy Christmas video. Watch at your own risk:

We also had a quick photoshoot as it was freezing outside. :)

1554412_10152154908629493_822141366_n 1538697_10152154908309493_1530150421_n 1557494_10152154907824493_688753835_n 1459066_10152154907789493_2034463033_n 1546198_10152154909069493_1558197831_n 1528711_10152154908974493_610215333_n 995266_10152154908939493_773325814_n 1515050_10152154908729493_826777880_n 1557497_10152154908704493_1544244766_n

NEW YEAR

I met the DBF on January 1, 2013. We promised to be together on New Year’s Eve to welcome another year. So we welcomed 2014 at our flat’s rooftop in SOHO. The fireworks from the London Eye can be seen from where we were. We brought a bottle of Möet which we shared with two more friends. We ended-up partying at two bars around the area.

20140120-220703.jpg

20140120-220711.jpg

20140120-220728.jpg

20140120-220738.jpg

20140120-220748.jpg

20140120-220758.jpg

20140120-220805.jpg

It was an eventful December 2013 for me. Everything passed-by so quickly. I am now back in the Philippines, my home country. I have successfully passed my MBA. I am now back to where I started. I am thrilled and scared at the same time.

Thank you for following my story. Cheers to an even more packed new year!

0

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND


“Let’s go to Scotland before they breakaway from the UK.”

“Ok.”

This was the exchange I had with my friend C a few weeks ago.

Then I found myself chatting over dinner with my flatmate G who’s a flight attendant at Virgin Atlantic. I told him that I was thinking of visiting Scotland before going back to the Philippines for good. He said, “Ok, I’ll go with you.”

We checked our schedules and then he smiled and asked, “How about tomorrow?” “We can take the first Virgin flight out then the last one back in.”

Without batting an eyelash, I called my friend C to confirm her schedule and it was set. Early the next day, we were on a Virgin Atlantic flight headed to the land of scotch whisky, skirt-wearing men, and Braveheart.

Here were our goals for the day which we were proud to have accomplished:

1) Take a picture at the Edinburgh castle

0379d6025b5b11e397a10eb94f794f39_8

ae8a9e1a5b9611e3bcfc12facb05b98c_8

2) Ask the men in kilts if they wear underpants. ( They do but only when it’s cold. haha)

z10 z4 IMG_4555

5e81c1d25b7811e382a612aaab3f1ecf_8

3) Check-out where Nessie, The Loch Ness Monster, lives (Somewhere out there!)

8056f8625c0511e39d7c1206781074b2_8

4) Visit the Christmas market by the Scott monument

bc5882765b8e11e3a778129d8c452bbe_8 e9e394de5d0911e39bff123acba2e1d1_8 845fb4985bed11e3800a121c8d97d176_8

5) Have fun, make a travel video, and make the most out of the day in the Scottish Highlands!

d4ede69a5cca11e38f8e0e917fe276d3_8

This seals the deal for 2013. I’m ready to come back home enriched with all of the lessons I’ve learned in my travels. I will never forget to live a life of gratitude and lift everything up in Jesus’ name! Now it’s time to come home, work hard, and save again.

d.

0

A MONTH IN ZÜRICH


GOOGLE

I spent almost the entire month of November in Zurich! How I managed to eat in a country where the average meal costs as much as 3 meals in already expensive London is also a mystery to me. Oh yeah, the DBF sponsored the groceries! Saved me from a month of starvation. haha!

This time, the highlight of my trip was not some magical lake, cable car ride, or mystical glacier. It was actually visiting one of the best places to work in the world–GOOGLE!

The DBF’s housemate, A, is a Googler. He invited me to visit their HQ. One bummer though: I wasn’t allowed to take photos inside. I had to sign an agreement of non-disclosure. So I will just be sharing the photos I took outside the office.

I think all Googlers have high EQs aside from having really high IQs. Imagine working in a place where there is a wine cellar, liquor bars, rooms for sleeping and relaxation, arcade games, 24/7 free food, all-you-can-eat and free-for-all cafés! How can they possibly find time to work when they are surrounded by all of these awesome “perks”? All Googlers must have been subjected to the marshmallow test and passed with flying colors before they got accepted!

By the way, this is A wearing his Google Glass and holding the pancakes he cooked for breakfast. :)

IMG_3577 IMG_3386 IMG_3380

There was a mommy-kiddie tour! How cute that the kiddos in bubble jackets and beanies held tightly/were tied-up (?) to the line rope. IMG_3388 IMG_3381 IMG_3366

HALLOWEEN

Another trip highlight was partying with friends at a Halloween house party. I came in as a fashion victim hip hop girl coz the theme was to wear something mismatched or ugly. I ransacked the DBF’s closet and borrowed his cap, shades, jacket, and jogging pants. I “excessorized” with a lot of bling, of course!

IMG_3024 IMG_3087 IMG_3158

IKEA

I think I went to Ikea thrice to 1)eat Swedish meatballs, 2) buy throw pillow cases 3) buy more bedsheets. I was a “domesticated-goddess-in-training” so I had to manage the household while the “bosses” were away.
IMG_2812

The DBF inherited these floral cases. They’re pretty but not befitting a bachelor’s pad. I changed the cases into more quirky ones that complemented the green stripes of the couch.
IMG_2728

COOK-OFF AND DATE NIGHTS

I am so helpless in the kitchen. It’s always hit or miss when I cook. Good thing I have friends and the DBF who patiently teach me their tried and tested techniques and recipes.

My friend C adopted me for a night to teach me how to cook her pasta dish. When it was time for me to do it by myself, I tweaked it a bit to taste a bit like frutti di mare. The DBF and A gave me a high score for it, for once!

IMG_3133 IMG_3129 IMG_3127

Here’s my version–

IMG_3201

On days when the DBF gets tired of eating mediocre-tasting food (a.k.a. my cooking!), he begs for a “Date Night”. Date Night means we either go out for dinner and watch a movie or buy dinner somewhere and watch a movie at home. Either way, that means we’re eating something yummy so I’m happy! hahaha (that also means no dishes to clean afterwards!)

IMG_2462 IMG_2506 IMG_3295

This is my favorite meal in Zürich– Korean Beef noodles at Yumi Hana! I can eat this everyday.IMG_3293

There was a week when I was down with the flu. The DBF volunteered to cook hot Filipino dishes to make me feel better. He asked the recipe for “nilagang baka/beef” and “tinolang manok/chicken” from his mom. He nailed both dishes! Thank God for boyfriends who know how to cook well!!!

IMG_3347 IMG_3323

Date nights would also sometimes include his friends…IMG_3472

and his family… This time his mom treated us to cheese fondue!

One of the best date nights was when we visited the Christmas Market. We had raclettes, flammküchen, and glühwein. I definitely felt the Christmas spirit!

I’m going to miss Zürich ;(

IMG_3568

Switzerland, it’s been fun hanging around. ‘Til we meet again,

d.

0

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS


Our friends from the US, Canada, France, UK, and Switzerland visited The Philippines. They got back with amazing video clips taken using their GoPro video cameras.

I edited the clips and came up with this video that makes me wanna go back to my home country and hit the beach!!!

The Philippine Islands are so beautiful! Watch as our friends enjoy and discover what we really mean when we say ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines!’

Travel on, d.