Monday, December 17, 2012

A week of withdrawal

The 18-hour flight going back to the Philippines was a torture due to the fact that I was being carried away from the country I called home for 3 months and a week.  During the two flights, I secretly cried in my seat, hiding it from my fellow passengers. It was such an overwhelming feeling. I was crying when I was saying my goodbyes to my mum and Dave. I couldn't help it. Even inside the holding area, while talking to my mum on the mobile, I was crying really hard. I really didn't care if people stared at me. 

I even cried when I saw the Makati skyline not because I missed it, it is because I was wishing that I was back in the UK, not here.

The first week back was the hardest. I cried during the first 3 days of being here in the house. I was so unhappy. To top up my unhappiness, I started reminiscing everything that has happened to me for the past 3 months and a week. I wanted to get out of the house. Thank god, one of my bff invited me to accompany her to her work and an instant sleepover happened. But the loneliness  

Slowly, I was letting Philippines, my home, in again. It was so hard to say goodbye to the hospitality of every Filipino and English I met there that I seriously wanted to live right there and there. Well, because my mum was there too. And this person I met.

Happy to tell you that I have not been crying. Deep in my heart, I know that my trip that lasted for 3 months and a week is the not last trip I am ever going to make. I will definitely be back. <3 







Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The End is Near

In two days time, I'll be flying back to the Philippines. It's a bittersweet ending when I was just really opening my arms and letting England in. 

In the first few weeks of November, I was pretty much stuck inside of the house because my mom had hours of work. I thought for a moment there, my trip just ended. But nearing the last weeks of November, my mom's friend, Tita Gina, started inviting me to their night outs. I really didn't care if I was hanging out with probably menopausal Filipino women. I was glad I was out of the house. 

But really, I couldn't thank enough my mom, Estela and Dave for giving me this opportunity to visit this beautiful country, cold but beautiful. You took a chance on me! hahaha I love you both! 

The Goffs and Fishers, I am so glad to meet you all in person, not through Yahoo chat or picture messages sent by  mom.

Brighton Photo Fringe, for giving me the opportunity to be one of your volunteers. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of me, becoming an art photographer. So much inspiration to take home with me. 

Paula ( My Spanish little sister! )and your mom, coffee after mass! I'll miss it even though we sometimes got lost in translation. 

The Filipinas (Tita Lorna, Tita Angie, Tita Dory, Ate Carol, Ate Chari) here in Eastbourne. You crazy women!! Hope to see you again soon!

Tita Gina, Naman!! Thank you really. Inom pa! 

Mister Beer, you hardworking man! I will never forget you. You made me feel so special just by looking at me even from across the room. Those bottle green eyes. haaaay 

I've been secretly crying and the weather doesn't help at all.  I just don't want leave yet. But yes, the end is near and I can see how it will end. In tears.  

DeVotchka - How It Ends 

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Trip





“A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys.  It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness.  A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike” - Travels with Charley 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tidings

These past few days were kind of a blur to me.  Some things that were unexpected to happen or should I say, waiting to happen, happened. It was slowly sinking in until last Thursday, news came to me that my highschool ka-barkada is going to be a mother. 

And I was ecstatic! We knew all these years that she was going to be the first to be a mom. My whole barkada was so happy that some of us were actually crying, including me. It was overwhelming. You see, we haven't really seen each other for a long time. Like almost a year or two. We were never complete when we had gatherings and coordinating with them was a big pain in the ass (But thank you Elaine!).  So hearing this good news was really a blessing. It's the first baby of the barkada and I just know the baby will spoiled by us, the whole seven of us titas

To Mads and Carlo, Congratulations!! I could not be any happier for the two of you! 

Ten years bago naging totoo ang hula :D 

To Baby Tols, can't wait to meet you! 

To the rest of my barkada, I'll see you on December!! Let us brave the traffic of Zapote Road and visit our party house back in high school, more importantly, visit Mads and have blastin' Christmas! 

I  miss and love you all!! <3 

Us, some ten++ years ago 

This needs updating^^



Wednesday, October 24, 2012


1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for things that matter.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye… But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful.  Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to be happy.  But it’s all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose Life.
28. Forgive but don’t forget.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d
grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Realization

I went to visit the Brighton Photo Fringe 2 weeks ago. I volunteered to invigilate for some days in November and decided to check the venue as well as the exhibitions so I will get the feeling of it. 

As a struggling photographer, I was dumbfounded with the exhibitions I saw. I felt my works were immature and nonsensical. After reviewing my portfolio, gosh, it was awful. I had some catching up to do BIG TIME. Where the hell I have been all this time? I need depth, passion and determination. 

I want to tell you a story. I want to tell one so bad! 


P.S. 
Mr. Sun. please shine on Eastbourne. Pretty Please? 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monthsary

It has been a month since I arrived here in this beautiful country. I am loving every minute of it. I am very, very, very, very thankful!! 

I got hooked on the cycle craze! There was a week when all I did was cycle! I did cycle on a highway which was CRAAAZZZZZY (I will never do that again!) I would never do that back home but here, sige lang! I cycled on grass, asphalt, gravel, hay field, mud, uphill, downhill, under a bridge/rail track. I cycled under the rain which was fun and damp! I got stung by plants but kept going. I trespassed a farm in order to get to the pavement of a highway. I discovered lovely old towns like Alfriston. 

I must get a bicycle when I get home. I could cycle all day.

As a gift, I bought four books this week to celebrate my one month relationship with Britain. 


Next week, we'll be going to SCOTLAND!!! And the week after that, CORNWALL! And maybe a week after that, London naman or Harry Potter tour or Wicked musical. If not, I shall cycle all, er'day. 
Cheers Mate!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Coping


Every year, since my Lolo died in 2006, I try to remember him by making a “phenomenology” or a eulogy and submit it to Inquirer’s Youngblood. And every year, I fail to do that because the thought of him will send me to tears. Or so I think.  It is difficult for me to organize and recollect the life of my Lolo because back in my mind I know I could’ve asked him to share his story with me but opted not due to my selfishness, stubbornness and teen angst.

For the past six years, I have been visiting his mini library to know more about him. I browse through family photo albums and his work-related photo albums (Yes, he had a couple of them) to get the feeling of who he was. He did a lot of travelling and documented everything. He’d been to Japan, US and some parts of Europe. He submitted an article to Manila Times on how he travelled Europe by Eurail. He was a writer too.  He had a pen name and contributed articles to several local magazines and newspapers. He wrote love letters to my Lola and discovered them when we had a project regarding Hallmark cards. Every card that he ever received from family was pasted into a makeshift scrapbook and reading them one by one was very comforting and sad. And then there were birthday and Christmas cards from colleagues from different parts of the world.  He had known many people. I wish I knew him long enough to realize that he was essential to my being.

I remember calling him “Papa” during early childhood. I remember me him taking me and my sister to a gathering with his colleagues in a place where there was a waterfall.
 I remember frantically running away from the dance floor so that I will not be able dance the waltz with him in front of his department.

I remember him rescuing me and my sister from my mom’s night punishment. I remember when there was black out, he would dress up as hooded hunched back monster and would scare us with the aid of flashlight.

I remember him yelling at me after I spit water from my mouth in the dining because my brother was me telling a joke. He broke into a smile afterwards.

I remember him giving me 20 pesos for my baon back when I just started big school when we were only allowed to have 5 pesos.

I remember him buying me and my sister the Titanic soundtrack in Harrison Plaza after I recorded the soundtrack in a cassette tape, days before.

I remember writing him notes and leaving it on his desk or slipping it through the door of his room to ask if I could have some extra cash.

I remember him totally surprised and excited when I wanted to read the Harry Potter Series. He bought the first three series in hardbound for me. A few weeks later, he surprised with the fourth book.

I remember we used to pick him up after teaching either at UM or EAC. I clearly remember his attire when he goes to school to teach: long sleeves barong, slacks, Bass leather shoes and to accessorize, gold Cross pen.

I remember him giving me my first silver Parker pen back in 3rd grade.

I remember him helping me with my investigative report back in first year HS.  Using his typewriter, he pounded the keys of it to come up with scientific sentences.

I remember he introduced me to The Sound of Music, Matt Monroe, Madonna, The Bee Gees, and The Carpenters.

I remember accompanying him to watch Dr. Zhivago on VHS. He returned the favour: he watched The Ring with me.

I remember him feeling so restless and useless having his hip replaced and bed ridden for years to come until his death.  

I remember during the burial of his sister, he cried a lot when he saw his relatives. I cried beside him. I remember him not remembering us.

I remember myself crying while commuting to QC, having learned that my Lolo was in the ICU and a chance of recovery was ambiguous. I remember entering the ICU and tears started pouring endlessly, words left unsaid.

On the last day of his wake, I remember we, his grandkids, decided to sleep next to him, one last time.
I would love to go on remembering him here in this post but it will take me painstakingly forever and a bucket of tears to do that. These recollections of him are my way of keeping him alive in me no matter how melancholic things have ended. My little way of coping. 

No highfalutin words can describe how much I miss you. So today, on your birthday, I want to tell you that you are my inspiration. You have compelled me to do good, great things in life. Happy Happy Birthday Lolo Neilo! Cheers!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yes dear, a zine

Hi there! My friend, Camille and I are making a zine! Here is a sneak peak! 


I am so honored to be collaborating with this upcoming illustrator! Such an inspiration!
You can check her here!

Monday, September 10, 2012

I f*cking love you.

After almost 2 weeks here in England, my mum and Dave brought me finally to a city close to Manila. Well sort of.

I've been calling Eastbourne my home for almost 2 weeks. It's a seaside town in East Sussex. It's really quiet down here. Well, it's where people retire. I can't complain much. But I've been missing the hustle and bustle of Manila. So when I knew that we were going to London, I kept my excitement inside of me. I had to pinch to remind myself how lucky I am to be in this country.

We left Eastbourne around 9 in the morning. And around 10:30 we were slowly creeping to London, the suburbs of London.

My anticipation was so high upon seeing the busy streets that when I caught my first glimpse of Central London, I just had this big smile on my face. Really, it was breathtaking and surreal.

The first famous landmark that greeted me was the House of the Parliament. It was behemoth! No words can describe the architecture of the House of the Parliament.




When we arrived, there was an on-going Paralympic marathon on the streets of London. The crowd rooted for every athlete. It was a joyous celebration!



Then we he headed for the Westminster Pier. We passed by the Westminster Train Station and I heard music coming from within. I wanted to catch a glimpse of them since street musicians have a place in my heart.

My mom and Dave booked 3 tickets to CityCruises, tours along the Thames River. There was a long queue but good thing we bought ours online so hopping in on one was a breeze. i know, I know, it's a tourist trap but it is the quickest tour of London.

And here are some of the landmarks you'll see when you board CityCruises.









We got off at Tower Pier where a few yards away is the Tower of London. I was finally alone when I toured Tower of London. Entrance for adult is £20. (Mahalia) But you get to see the armours of the kings. Henry VIII was a big king! Oh and the crown jewels! They were an eye popper with all those sparkles! Too bad, no cameras were allowed inside the vault of the crown jewels.




We hopped on the boat again and headed to Greenwich Pier then back to Tower Pier again and then Westminster Pier.

The cabin crew guides of CityCruises were a fun bunch! They could pass for stand up comedians!

Oh, I was able to see the Tower Bridge's bascules go up to make way for a boat.


Then Dave continued touring me in Central London via car. I wanted to check out Buckingham Palace but roads that lead to it were closed. Some other time. OH OH OH OH My heart melted when I saw West End! So many great musicals! I hope I will be able to watch one! Wicked sana!

Oh Oh Oh, My twelve year old self wanted to get out of the car when I saw King's Cross Station! Hi Harry Potter fans out there!

Another reminder, I must insist on a Harry Potter Studio Tour.

I finally was able to satisfy my longing for the hustle and bustle. It was sweet and short but I know I'll be coming back again. Can someone in London adopt me for a week??

Hay London, I fucking love you!



Saturday, September 1, 2012

Becoming a National Trust member

National Trust iis a non-governmental UK organization that preserves and protects places, historical ones and green ones and everything in between. They depend on membership fees and donations for their income of their employees.

Most of the places that I want to visit are mostly part of National Trust like Basildon Park, and Stourhead Garden. All because of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie. Oh Mr. Darcy! And most members are above 60 years old! I think. Talk about aging quickly.

Anyway, I commenced my membership at Bateman's, the home of Rudyard Kipling, the author of Jungle Book. My mom and Dave paid 25 pounds for, I think, a one-year membership. My membership card will be delivered at their place and I received this swag!


It includes a car sticker, a handbook, a map of Sussex and the whole of UK and some other stuff.


I've been to three National Trust places since I arrived here Monday, August 27.

Bateman's


Bodiam Castle


Sheffield Park


Free entrance to almost 400 places! As if I'll be able to visit every single place. I'll make most of my time here.

I hope that one day, we will have something like this in the Philippines. An organization who will preserve and protect historical places so that we do not have to tear down such beautiful structures to make way for new ones (yuck!). I know it is wishful thinking. I may not to leave to see that day happen. But I am hopeful.

Looking forward to many more National Trust visits! For the meantime, it is really time to visit Banksy!

Later mates!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Departure


I left the house around 3:30 pm. My dad  dropped me to the airport. Bella didn’t want to kiss me but she waved goodbye to me. When were already in on the road did I just remember that I only had 200 pesos in my wallet! Thank you BPI for your internet banking service!


I bid my goodbyes then dashed off the entrance of NAIA Terminal 1. Emirates Counter was on the left side. There were no queues so check-in was a breeze. So was the immigration part. The only queue was the take-off part. It took us 30 minutes before our plane was given the go signal to take off. We need a bigger airport now! I don’t mind travelling to Clark if the airport will be transferred there. Seriously. BIGGER. AIRPORT. 

I was seated on the aisle. Good thing my rowmates to the left were women, they used the restroom once only and at the same time. I think they are OFWs. I heard them talking about their years of work in Dubai while trying to watch John Carter.  I wasn’t able to finish any of the movies in the in-flight entertainment. I just finished one episode of Friends.


The dinner was either pan fried cream dory or roasted chicken. I chose the roasted chicken. It was okay. I loved the baked potatoes that was served with the chicken. After eating, I was falling asleep! Baboy lang!!! I did that again when the snacks were served. I fell asleep right after eating the sandwich. When I woke up, my tray was gone! Baboy talagaaaa.  The flight lasted for 8 hours.

At the Dubai International Airport, everything is big:  runway, planes, the airport itself. I love the structure of the airport, a lot of lines and different perspectives. A lot of glass too!

It was a long walk from the security check to  Gate 211. As I was walking to Gate 211, I noticed a lot of Filipinos working as sales attendant at Duty Free. They were speaking in Filipino while there were no customers to attend to.

The internet connection at DBX sucked big time! I had to leech off from an unsecured network “masxpot”.

My rowmates on my left during the second flight were a Thai lady and an English Lady. I remember we were all sleeping before the plane took off.  I woke up and learned that we were 4000+ feet already. I missed the take-off. I finally finished watching Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close after 3 attempts.  My rowmate on my right was an English man. I think he’s metal. He has a piercing on his lower lip. He wore a black polo and a black blazer white trousers and snickers. He wore his hair up to his chin and he has moustache. And he was listening to his iPod. 

The flight attendant gave arrival cards for non-UK Citizens. The flight lasted about 7 hours. My ass!

Immigration was a breeze but the baggage claiming took forever. And then I saw my mommy and Dave!

Alas, Hello there UK! 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

World Gets Dull

My friend Trisha wrote and sang this lovely song.
 
World Gets Dull


I wish I could bring everyone I love with me. So I don't have to bring home 4 English men and an English Lady.

I've decided to let go of the barako.  I can always  buy from Agape.

On a stupid note, I got this this morning. There are two more bruises on my rib cage. I  thought I was going to break my leg and rib cage when I hit the door and the rocking chair! I live!





Anxiety Attack

Twenty six hours to go before I leave for United Kingdom, I am still buying things my mom made bilin. It has been a stressful week going back and forth to malls, groceries, dress shops and drugstores.

My titas just learned that I will be leaving tomorrow. They are frantically buying hopia and ube pastillas.

I have to make  a shopping list for my dad and brother for the monthly food marketing. Leaving two grown men makes me anxious. I do not know if they will fill the freezer with meat, chicken and fish. I am not sure if Arie will clean the bathroom.

I'll be parting with my french press for a while together with my arabica. The barako, I want to hold on it for my sentimental self.  I was supposed to give it to Camz. 

I still haven't decided on what heels to bring. I just need a pair.

My backpack's ready for my laptop and cameras. Arie accompanied me to Town and we ate at Banapple. I still prefer Conti's chicken pie.

I haven't fixed my iTunes and I still haven't bought new earphones.

My line is still cut.

I did not run this week. 

I haven't slept yet.

Twenty five hours to go before I leave. 








Friday, August 17, 2012

Gimme some love

Hi there! If you are not doing anything, drop by at Big Bad Wolf. I am having 12 of my photographs shown there. It runs until August 23, Thursday!  Check it out! 





Big Bad Wolf is located at Fairways Tower, McKinley Rd. cor 5th Ave, BGC, Taguig.
It is open from 10:00am to 2:00am. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Paris

I was supposed to get a Schengen visa. Since  I am already in Europe and every country is very accessible via road or train, why not visit some of them. Sadly, due to time constraints, I wasn't able to get one.

Come to think of it, Paris can really wait for a few more years <3



Au revoir! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Getting a UK Visa



Since last year, I have been preparing my documents for my UK Family Visit visa. I was supposed to visit my mum and her husband, who are my sponsors for my UK trip, by the way, last November but was moved to this year.

So first thing you have to do is gather all supporting documents. One important document that you must have is the invitation letter from your sponsor. That was the first one they asked for when I submitted my documents.  




Make sure to photocopy all supporting documents.  Include the original documents. It will be returned when you claim your visa or if you choose the deliver option, it will be delivered to your doorstep along with your visa.

Go to UK Border Agency and apply online.
(The application procedure last May2012 is now different as of today, August 11,2012)

Once you’ve finished applying online, book an appointment  in order to submit your  documents at VFS-Global Philippines. 

You pay the visa fee of Php5460 either at Unionbank in Kingswood Vito Cruz or at VFS-Global in Ecoplaza, Pasong Tamo Ext. 

Go to your appointment 30 minutes before. The queu might be long. My appointment was at 11am and I finished around 2pm. But once  your documents have been collected, you just wait for your name to be called for biometric  and electronic signature. Then viola! The agony of waiting comes upon you. 

By the way, you can claim your visa at the VFS office or have it delivered at your house. Claiming it cost Php140 for the texting fee and delivery costs around Php400. Just bring extra cash. 

I received a text that my visa is ready for pick, two weeks prior submitting everything. 





For more information visit UK Border Agency Philippines and VFS Global Philippines

Friday, August 10, 2012

First of Sorts


Hi! My name is Vitzka. I’ve been watching travel shows like Travelers and Lonely Planet (now: Globe Trekker)  since I was in 3rd grade . From then on, I considered myself as a traveller, writing down what sights to see and food to eat for my future travels.
  
I said to myself that I will explore the Philippines first then Southeast Asia then Asia then the rest of the world.  At 24, the farthest I’ve been to in the north is Ilocos and Saranggani Province in the south. Further than that, the cable TV has been my window to my homeland confinement.

I’ve never been outside the Philippines. Not even once. But this August 2012, I’ll be flying to Great Britain for a vacation, my first trip out of the country.  

Words cannot describe how I am looking forward  to this foreign land called United Kingdom.

First of Sorts has convened.