Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012: My Year In Review

Bid goodbye to Shimmer, my nearly four-year old laptop. Welcomed Shadow, a Sony Vaio S series laptop named as such because of its sleek black color.


On this month, I also went home in Aklan and celebrated Kalibo’s renowned Ati-Atihan Festival.

This month, I got reunited with a friend and together, we embarked on my most unpredictable trip yet to Siquijor: the trip was canceled because of an earthquake, pushed through with it the following day but on our way back almost got stranded in the island because of rough seas. Still, seeing the beauty of the said mystical island was worth all the (mis)adventures we had.


On the 26th, I was a nervous wreck when we went to the US Embassy to get visas and was particularly ecstatic when I did get it. My Facebook status update summarized it all.

After feeling zombiefied from lack of sleep due to a very early flight & an early interview, having to contend with my heart roaring from what seemed like galloping horses & the knots of tension that formed at the pit of my stomach (these put the phrase, “butterflies in my stomach” to shame) as I waited in agony for my turn, I am over the moon for this recent blessing.

Thank you, dear God & thank you, daddy. I know you are watching over me. 🙂

Was so toxic with work I did not get to travel.  As my therapy, I spent most of my days working on a scrapbook project as a July birthday gift for a dear friend.  I ended up not finishing it so I thought of just giving it as a Christmas present.  As of this writing, it’s not yet done.  Ha ha.

Went island hopping to the islands of Nalusuan and Olango.

Another toxic work month because of the Holy Week.

Time to reward myself after two grueling work months.  Summer fun with friends whom I haven’t seen in years. Trekked Sumilon Island, swam with the whale sharks, discovered Tumalog Falls, and climbed Osmeña Peak, Cebu’s highest point.


My most awaited and exciting trip yet. Visited Incheon, South Korea and Narita, Japan before finally arriving at Los Angeles.


Also toured Las Vegas.


And rode the cable car and enjoyed the sights of San Francisco.


Took a short course at Cornell University.  Enjoyed going back to school even for a while.


Made the most of our last stop of our US trip: New York.


Also became a 5-year veteran at work and this photo caption on my Facebook page best showed how proud I am to be working for one of the country’s premier resorts.

Happy anniversary, Plantation Bay. You’re sweet 16 today & as our GM touchingly shared, are coming of age. You’ve proven your resilience over the years & done us proud with the many awards you reaped. But more than the pride for these awards is the honor of me being part of your distinct brand of service that creates a unique experience for & leaves imprints into the lives of not just our guests but on ours, your PB family as well.

It’s been 5 years since I joined you & all these years, I have been very happy to be working for you.

Today, as you acknowledge my contribution, I am feeling proud & humbled at the same time. Thank you.

Cheers to many more years of weaving magical moments with & for our guests! 🙂

This month, I was also offered a different position in the same company, shaking my very well-laid career plans to the core.

Accepted the challenge of my new position and wrote about my hopes and fears in this post. Part of it read:

I am really thankful to my company for believing in me and for giving me the chance to contribute to it through my passion for writing. And though I still feel a little wary of things to come, I resolve to myself to give my best to this endeavor and make the most of it.

Bring it on.

A mostly toxic month as I started learning the ins and outs of my new job. Funny how my Facebook page used to be so updated prior to this but come September, it only showed birthday greetings from friends.

As mentioned, this is my natal month. And days before I turned 29, I wrote this piece about how some people are bothered by my being single at this age. I just said it’s my choice and really not a problem for me since I’m happy being one. Because really, since when did marriage have a deadline? More importantly, since when did one’s (marital) status define a person or his / her happiness?



First year death anniversary of Daddy. While time helped us accept his loss, I will never get over missing him. Funny. The longer he’s not a (physical) part of my life, the more I am reminded of him. I still cry over the songs played at his funeral and always talk to him every day. I once even bought his favorite chocolate and ice cream only to realize when I got home that he’s no longer around to share it with the family.

Really had a blast at home. Enjoyed my much-needed break from work and spent my days doing nothing. We even went to the beach like we used to when I was a kid.


Also welcomed Andie, my Samsung Galaxy S3. Yeah, I know. I name all my gadgets. It’s one of my idiosyncracies.

Our traditional Christmas Tree Lighting got more fun with my four best gal pals in the office. For weeks, we agonized over what to wear to this Filipiniana-inspired event. Thank heavens we managed to pull it off.

This blog, Thoughts, Tales, and Whatnot, was also born.

Perhaps my most memorable company Christmas party to date. Village People-inspired with our department having construction workers as our sub-theme. Proud that this was the first time in my adult life that I went onstage to dance.

Mid-December, I visited Manila to attend a good friend’s wedding. Revisited my beloved alma mater, the University of the Philippines in Diliman.


Also got reunited with people I haven’t seen in years and visited Tagaytay and Batangas.


Got myself a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as a Christmas present (the S3’s my company phone) and loving it to bits.

So there goes my 2012.  And as I bid adieu, I thank my loved ones for the memories and life lessons they brought into my life this year.

And to my Lord and my God, thank you for always blessing me with much much more than what I think I deserve.

Giftwrapping: Recycled Plastic Bags and Lay’s Potato Chips Packaging as Wrappers

Now that I’m not so busy with Christmas preparations, attending Christmas parties and anything Yuletide-season related, I will share how I wrapped my Christmas gifts for friends and colleagues.

I have long stopped buying giftwrappers (unless I use them as sheets or cut-outs for scrapbooking or cardmaking) and prefer recycling whatever’s at hand.  And since  I have a lot of plastic shopping bags, I decided to utilize them to help save Mother Earth.


The above is the front portion of the plastic bag from my favorite craft store.  The back portion is not printed at all so it makes a good wrapper.  For small gifts with no boxes, I’ve learned that it makes sense to put them inside an empty toilet paper roll and wrap them candy-style.  The resulting wrapped gifts look like this:


So as to differentiate both gifts, I used different ribbons: recycled plain red ribbon and in true Yuletide color scheme, red and green yarn.  The gift tags are from my supply way back in 2009.

Here’s another gift wrapped using the back portion of a Healthy Options plastic bag.  The letters J and B were traced using a red Sharpie pen on a lettering set.  Craft-punch Christmas trees were then added as an accent.

Lastly, for my plastic-wrapped gifts, there’s this.


The wrapper is again the back portion of a Healthy Options plastic bag.  The dotted and lined borders are recycled wrapping paper.  The gift tag is handmade with a shoelace-like ribbon for its borders.  The letter F foam letter is the recipient’s first name that I colored with green Crayola Flip-Top marker.  I finished this off by scattering green metallic stars around the letter F.

These gifts are wrapped using the back portion of Lay’s Potato Chips packaging.  This is actually from last year’s batch of Yuletide gifts that I never got to post.


These actually make a good substitute for metallic paper, which is very expensive.  As accents, I used a gold ribbon, metallic blue stars, and craft-punch snowflake from a recycled blue metallic paper.  The gift tags are store-bought.


Here’s another one.  The gift tag is from Hallmark and I just added a blue metallic ribbon over it.


For those who want to use such a wrapper, please make sure to thoroughly wash each prior to use.

Missing Daddy at Christmas


photo credit

Christmas used to be a very festive occasion for me. It’s my daddy’s birthday so it also served as the day when the family got together. Everyone in our street also got invited for lunch. Daddy’s a known cook and I just loved hearing our guests rave about his famed bakareta and hamonado.

As a child and up to my college years, Christmas was my favorite time of the year.

When I started working, I got to go home for Christmas only twice in seven years since my work in the service and travel industry required me to be on duty as the yuletide season happened to be one of our busiest.

Last year, I lost my dad two months before Christmas and when December 25 came, it was my worst Christmas to date. I was thankful I had my work to busy myself with but the moment I got home, I couldn’t help but feel so sad. I missed him so much. I missed greeting him a Happy Birthday. I missed hearing his laugh and his making lambing on what he wanted for his gift. I just missed him missing me.

This year was no better. Though my current work did not entail me working on holidays, I chose to not go home in our province because I still couldn’t bear being in the home I grew up in and not seeing my dad on what used to be his most special day.

I have long accepted that he’s gone and though there is no more pain from losing him, there is and will always be that pain from missing him.

Daddy, I miss you so much. Each day and especially at Christmas, we all miss you so much. And yesterday, as I lit a candle in your memory, I offered a prayer and thought of what I told a friend two days ago.

Me: You know, I’ve never been lucky in raffles but this year, I won a printer and some appliance in the events I attended. Daddy sure is looking after me.

And it made me remember this too:

“My father died many years ago, and yet when something special happens to me, I talk to him secretly not really knowing whether he hears, but it makes me feel better to half believe it.” – Natasha Josefowitz

But unlike Natasha Josefowitz, I do know and believe with all my heart that from up above, you are looking after us. This was what comforted me in those days of great sorrow and now, it’s something that takes away my sadness.

I know my future Christmases will always be tinged with sadness because you will not be here to share it with us but there’s a certain gladness in knowing that we now have an angel dad to cheer us on and lift us up.

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, Dad.

Christmas Card: Quilled Angel and Quilled Star


Background: The top is plain dark blue paper crumpled and creased then sprinkled with Leeho glitter glue in turquoise and blue. The bottom is yellow gold corrugated cardboard.

Main design: Quilled angel. On the upper right corner is a quilled star sprinkled with gold glitter, also by Leeho.

Accent: Four light yellow sequins placed on the lower left side corner.

Sentiment: Computer print-out colored using Crayola crayon in dandelion, topped with clear glue to give it texture.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  🙂