A Better Place

Once upon time, there was a young lady who thought that she already knew everything there was to know about the world. She began living on her own at the age of 18 and thought that she was the most mature adult there was just because she had to start paying her own bills, preparing her own meals and driving her very own car around the metro. To add to that, her weekly schedules were pretty hectic because she was studying and working at the same time. She’d tape her shows from 6am until 7am the next day and then go straight to her 8:30am class. Because of this newfound sense of responsibility, this young lady thought that there wasn’t any more growing up to do — She was already all grown up. (Cue music: Independent Women Part 1 by Destiny’s Child.)

Ahh, the adult life! She never felt so independent and free! She went through college eating nothing but fast food and all kinds of junk because it was more convenient than cooking her own meals. She always had to have her yaya around to clean up after her. She would even make her driver run errands for her, especially when it was time to pay bills. THIS was what she thought becoming an adult was all about. Just because she was living on her own, she thought that she was no longer immature nor irresponsible.

This set up continued even after she graduated from college. When she was finally able to finish her studies, she felt even more mature. She thought that since she had already done all that she was supposed to, she could finally make time for all the other things she wanted to do without anyone telling her otherwise. That, for her, was the best part about being an adult: No one could dictate to her what she was supposed to do anymore. She was finally her own woman.

What this young lady didn’t realize was that as she was “growing up,” she was becoming the most naive and uncertain she had ever been. She relied on other people when it came to decision-making. She would always just follow the crowd and do whatever it was everyone else was doing. She was so easily swayed by her so-called “friends.” All these wrong life choices worsened her attitude over the years without her even knowing it. She rolled her eyes at people, called pretty girls “ugly” because she was insecure, refused to take pictures with her fans just because she didn’t want to be disturbed and couldn’t talk about anything else other than gossip. And because she was used to studying and working at the same time for so many years, when college was finally over, she had so much free time that she started going out night after night after night. Alas, she got drunk and wasted so many times that she couldn’t remember much anymore. She had officially entered the darkest and most relentless chapter of her life.

During those troubled times, she was a million lightyears away from the person that her friends and family once knew. She would only appear at family gatherings for the heck of it, barely spoke to her friends and became the unhealthiest she had ever been at 105 lbs. The worst part? She had no clue that she was doing anything wrong. She answered back to her mom and sisters who she thought were just nitpicking. She thought they were ganging up on her and making her look like the bad guy when really, she was just “living life.” She kept telling herself that she was happy. And she started to believe her own lies.

One day, things took a sharp turn when she partied too much out of town that she missed her flight going back home where she had to work. Her family couldn’t reach her and they were all so scared because they knew that with her chosen lifestyle, her life was in serious danger. She wasn’t taking care of her health AT ALL. She kept drinking, smoked cigarettes every 5 minutes, barely ate anything and slept only for a few hours. All she cared about was the way she looked. As long as she was thin enough to fit into all those sleazy-looking dresses she wore to parties, she was fine.

After that crazy night, when her mom was finally able to book her another flight home, she thought of her dad who was already in heaven. She thought, was he proud of her and all that she was doing? Was he going to look down from the heavens and smile at her? Would he be able to look at her and proudly call her his daughter? She knew the answers to all these questions and yet she found it hard to accept. But when she saw her mom’s disappointment and sadness when she came home to Manila that night, she finally had the courage to admit defeat.

Slowly but surely, she turned her life around. She stopped going to clubs, she lessened her alcohol consumption, she started exercising and eating healthier. In other words, she started loving herself. She began seeing what her dad, mom, siblings and friends always saw in her: A person worth loving. Today, she is the happiest and healthiest she has ever been. She finally knows who her true friends are, she loves spending time by herself and she hasn’t smoked a cigarette in a year. She smiles at strangers, says thank you to everyone who helps her out and can’t stop talking about her dreams and plans for the future. It’s funny how things eventually work out, isn’t it? Just when she was already prepared to accept that she was going to be that party girl for the rest of her life, she was finally able to take control and change for the better.

What people just like her fail to understand is that they are the only ones in control of their lives. They shouldn’t let others decide for them nor should they allow themselves to be blinded by all the wrong things in life. It’s understandable though that difficult situations are really very hard to break away from. But it is NOT impossible. If they ever find themselves stuck in a rut and feel as though they’ve reached a point of no return, just pray and remember that it is NEVER too late to make a change. What they neglect to do is learn how to truly value and love themselves. Keep the faith that once they already do, everything will fall into place.

It’s true what they say: One won’t be able to appreciate light without darkness. And Just as this young lady came from the darkest and scariest place she had ever been, she can’t thank the heavens enough for for the bright and colorful place where she now confidently stands as a woman.

Who is she? SECRET. ;)

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Hey June

Like every other day, I woke up at around 6:00am today. I don’t know why but my body clock always wakes me up before my actual alarm clock does. I think it’s because growing up, due to class and taping schedules, my body got used to being up before the sun even rises and thus the reason why I’ve always been a morning person. I appreciate everything that mornings bring such as beams of sunlight that peek through the window, the awakening aroma of coffee and of course, the smell of bacon frying that fills the entire house. These are just some of the things that make me want to get up and get moving! There were even times when I’d go jogging at 5:30am just in time for the sunrise because running towards the sun always gave me a feeling of spiritual rebirth; like I was running away from the darkness and into the light.

This morning was a bit different though. As I was checking the time on my phone the minute I woke up, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The date said June 1. JUNE 1. Can you believe it?? Because I certainly can’t! I can’t believe it’s already June! We’re already halfway towards the end of the year!

And because we’re already 6 months into the year, this is the perfect time for us to reflect and look back on what 2014 has brought us, so far.

I've been working out three times a week with Saab under the Froilan Dioso Fitness Science program with coach Tina!

I’ve been working out three times a week with Saab under the Froilan Dioso Fitness Science program with coach Tina!

A healthy kind of happiness :)

A healthy kind of happiness :)

Loving every second of my alone and quiet time at home. <3

Loving every second of my alone and quiet time at home. <3

These two have been living with me recently and we always have the best time together! Always laughing at funny movies and listening to music together.

These two have been living with me recently and we always have the best time together! Always laughing at funny movies and listening to music together.

I've also been spending more time with this beautiful bride! We still have a LOT of planning to do! :)

I’ve also been spending more time with this beautiful bride! We still have a LOT of planning to do! :)

I've travelled and spent more time with my best friends!

I’ve travelled and spent more time with my best friends!

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Blessed to be able to work!

Blessed to be able to work!

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I've gotten a lot closer to my family. <3

I’ve gotten a lot closer to my family. <3

For all these things and so much more, I will be forever grateful. This is the happiest, healthiest and most peaceful I’ve ever been in my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It may already be June which means we only have another 6 months left in the year but that’s okay! If in the first half of 2014, I’ve already accomplished so much, then I still have the rest of the year to do even more great things! The possibilities are endless.

Learn to wake up every morning with a positive attitude so that the rest of the day will bring nothing but happiness and good tidings.

Good morning! :)

Good morning! :)

Rainy Days

Ahh, yes. After weeks of experiencing the extremely hot and humid weather during Philippine summer time, a thunderstorm suddenly poured down over Metro Manila today. And I have to admit: It was perfect bed weather. It was absolutely calming, relaxing and quite a refreshing change from the unbearable heat everyone was suffering for the last couple of days. I even noticed the increase in the number of hate tweets posted by people who just couldn’t take the heat anymore, saying that it was the kind of weather allowable only at the beach. Now, I don’t mean to cause confusion because although I confess to being beach-obsessed, I still believe that too much heat in the city can possibly make someone go crazy. I kid you not, summer in Manila will make you wish that you were at the beach every single day. However, although I could relate to the people complaining about how insanely hot it was becoming in Manila, I couldn’t help but see the bright side of the situation. Pun intended. ;)

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been fascinated by the sun, the stars and the moon. I find all the things that can be found in the sky just so magnificently beautiful. I mean, who wouldn’t be amazed at how pretty the skies look, whether it was day or night? Whenever I step out of the house, I immediately look up and search for fluffy clouds floating among the bluest skies during the day or gaze at twinkling stars at night and choose which one to make a wish upon. Whenever I see a full moon, my heart immediately skips a beat as I gasp at the fullness of such an illuminating force that lights up the sky. It’s true what they say: The best things in life are free and I don’t think anything can ever beat witnessing a majestic Boracay sunset with the love of your life. You see, it really isn’t so hard to look around you and take notice of all the things that you can be grateful for. I know the weather in Manila recently hasn’t been the most tolerable but let me ask you this: If the weather wasn’t extremely hot, would we be able to appreciate the sudden downpour of rain as much? I don’t think so. The reason why everyone started raving about the unexpected thunderstorm and how much they loved it was because of the intensity of the heat that they were experiencing before the rains fell.

The surprising downpour of heavy rain today was very exhilarating which made me realize — Just as we learn to appreciate rain after weeks of unbearable heat, we should also learn to appreciate the small things that make us smile during painful experiences. I know, I know. It’s very hard to stay positive and have a cheerful disposition especially when going through tough times but that’s the actual beauty of it! To be able to remain positive during life’s most difficult struggles is one of the greatest things we can ever hope to achieve. Think of it this way: Life is always going to have its ups and downs. The sun will shine and the rains will fall but it is up to YOU to know how to weather every storm that comes your way.

It’s all about perspective, really. If we open our eyes and truly see the good in everything that surrounds us, no amount of rain can ever cloud our judgment. I’ve always viewed the sky as a symbol of hope because of its vastness and infinite potential. It’s like an empty canvas that can be painted with colors of endless possibilities. For me, hope is one of the most positive attributes anyone could ever have. Hope is a good thing — maybe even the best of things because it provides us with the motivation to keep going and to never give up. Hope makes us believe in something good without the guarantee of it actually happening. And if we believe hard enough, we will learn to trust that the good will always prevail. After days of extreme heat, the skies bring about a downpour of invigorating rain. And just as a rainbow appears after a storm, remember that pain in life is only temporary. So, when you’re feeling sad and down, remember to keep your head up, look at the sky and prepare yourself to be encompassed by its breathtaking beauty.

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City sunsets make Manila even more beautiful.

City sunsets make Manila even more beautiful.

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So many different colors in one sky. Amazing.

So many different colors in one sky. Amazing.

Blue skies and white fluffy clouds could brighten up anyone's day!

Blue skies and white fluffy clouds could brighten up anyone’s day!

Sunset surfing in La Union

Sunset surfing in La Union

Cotton candy skies are my my absolute favorite. <3

Cotton candy skies are my my absolute favorite. <3

<3

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Went for an evening run at my alma mater.

Went for an evening run at my alma mater.

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I know I’ve always had a sunny disposition and that my love for the sun will never wither but lately, I’ve learned to appreciate rainy days as well. In life, we wish never to see darkness or experience pain because as much as possible, we want all our days to be bright and joyful. What we don’t realize is that without darkness, we will not be able to appreciate the brilliance of the light. Without pain, we will not understand what it is like to be genuinely happy.

In the words of my dad,

“Rainy days are here again
It’s the time of year my friend
And I pray it never ends for you,
For me, for them…”

He was one of the most positive people I ever knew and for him, rainy days are like showers of blessings upon everyone. So for rainy days, sunny days and all kinds of days, let us learn to be thankful. If the sun can shine after a rainy day, we too can wipe away our tears and learn how to smile again. :)

Make Your Own Havaianas 2014

As much as I love getting dolled up for events, I will not deny that I also love wearing a tank top, denim shorts and flip-flops on regular days. I feel so comfortable going around the metro in laid-back outfits especially since our country is a tropical one and summer in the Philippines brings about the hottest days. So far, Manila’s hottest day this year was May 1, 2014 when it sizzled at 36.4 degrees Celsius. I swear, one of these days, Nelly might just appear out of no where. Talagang “It’s getting hot in herrrrrre!”

For so many years now, our family has been a strong supporter of Havaianas just because we love the quality and style of their flip-flops. They’re quite sturdy! Plus, I am in love with their bright colors. A few years ago, my mom started collecting them. She loved them so much that she was able to make her collection grow up to 200+ pairs! She can actually put up her own Havaianas exhibit if she wanted to. It’s really because of her love for the famous flip-flop brand why our whole family fell in love with it as well.

Every year, Havaianas Philippines holds an event called “Make Your Own Havaianas” where customers are given the chance to mix and match colors for their customized flip-flops. They can even put different studs and pins on the straps! Fun! In my opinion, MYOH is one of the funnest and most playful events in Manila. For 2014, the event’s theme focused on the brand’s hometown Brazil where the 2016 olympics will take place. MYOH 2014 was actually a two-day event for us. On May 4, the VIP launch was held at the Glorietta activity center.

My flip-flop cheat sheets!

My flip-flop cheat sheets!

The pretty ladies who helped guests enter the event. :)

The pretty ladies who helped guests enter the event. :)

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My dates Lauren and Victor Young. <3

My dates Lauren and Victor Young. <3

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The waiters went around serving yummy hors d'oeuvres in such festive platters!

The waiters went around serving yummy hors d’oeuvres in such festive platters!

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With a legit Brazilian model, one the of the most beautiful faces I've ever seen, Vanessa Matsunaga!

With a legit Brazilian model, one the of the most beautiful faces I’ve ever seen, Vanessa Matsunaga!

With our flip-flop queen, mama!

With our flip-flop queen, mama!

Beshies represent! Here with Lauren Young and Janna Tee.

Beshies represent! Here with Lauren Young and Janna Tee.

Decisions, decisions. Choosing our soles, straps and pins!

Decisions, decisions. Choosing our soles, straps and pins!

On May 6, Saab, Elmo and I went back to Glorietta for another round of slipper-making fun!

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Goofing around :P

Goofing around :P

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We were trained by some of the staff so that we could help people assemble their customized flip-flops!

We were trained by some of the staff so that we could help people assemble their customized flip-flops!

Here with my first customer, Yeshua Camille! I was able to make 7 pairs in total :)

Here with my first customer, Yeshua Camille! I was able to make 7 pairs in total :)

My own pair! Please don't mind my ugly feet :)

My own pair! Please don’t mind my ugly feet :)

The pair that I made for the boyfriend! Chino loves the color orange. Isn't that "Hipsicle" just the cutest pin ever??

The pair that I made for the boyfriend! Chino loves the color orange. Isn’t that “Hipsicle” just the cutest pin ever??

I had so much fun at MYOH 2014! It was so great being able to help other Havaianas fanatics make their own pairs. I was able to make the most number of pairs out of the three of us! Saab made 5, Elmo made 6 and I made 7. I could make a career out of this!

Congratulations, Havaianas! See you again next year for MYOH 2015! :)

Congratulations, Havaianas! See you again next year for MYOH 2015! :)

Maxx Kitty and Alli Cat

Last year, I was given an opportunity of a lifetime by TV100 and the One Mega Group to host a show called “I Am Meg” on the channel ETC. It was the second season of the show that was in search for the next Meg Ambassador. I really didn’t have that much of an idea what the show was about until I actually started doing it. I was amidst a lot of 18-25 year old ladies who were avid readers of Meg magazine and they were all competing for the title as the next Meg Ambassador. Throughout the show, I would give them advice based on my own personal experiences such as how to deal with haters or what to do whenever they’re feeling insecure. I was so glad to have been able to help the ladies even for just a bit and witness them blossom into such confident, strong and even more beautiful women who believed in themselves. I definitely learned a lot from the experience.

You see, hosting is and forever will be my first love and this realization only dawned upon me when I agreed to do this particular show. I mean, I love to act too but my heart really belongs to hosting which is why I am so thankful that my producer/director, Mike Carandang chose me to be the host of his show. Mike had just gotten back from the US where he also worked as a producer for shows such as Jerry Springer and America’s Next Top Model for more than 10 years! Amazing, right?? Reality shows are really his forte so becoming the head of TV100 in Manila is the perfect job for him and I am just so honored to have been able to work with him. You won’t even believe how simple and laid-back he is! I love him!

Anyway, for one of our episodes on I Am Meg, we had a very special guest judge who was in Manila fresh from New York for work. She was going to be the judge of the new season of another one of Mike’s TV100 shows, Mega Fashion Crew. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I found out that I was actually going to meet her! Saab and I loved watching her on the hit show America’s Next Top Model when she became one of its contestants. Yup, you guessed it right! I’m talking about everyone’s favorite real-life doll, Allison Harvard!

I was so starstruck seeing those big round eyes in the flesh! I used to just see them on TV! Gorgeous!

I was so starstruck seeing those big round eyes in the flesh! I used to just see them on TV! Gorgeous!

Me, Allison Harvard, director Mike Carandang and Mega Young Designers winners John and Paul Herrera on the set of I Am Meg!

Me, Allison Harvard, director Mike Carandang and Mega Young Designers winners John and Paul Herrera on the set of I Am Meg!

In between takes at taping, I found out from Mike and Allison that he actually flew her in here from the States so that she could host one of his shows, Mega Fashion Crew: Reloaded. It wasn’t her first time in the Philippines but it was going to be her first time to stay here for 6 months to do the said show! Exciting! When taping ended, we bade each other goodbye and parted ways. I really didn’t think that I would get to see much of Allison while she was in Manila because I figured that she would be busy with work for weeks on end.

All of sudden, one day, I got a very special text message from One Mega Group’s Executive Creative Director Suki Salvador, asking if he could call me. When he finally did, I couldn’t believe my ears. If getting to work with Allison on I Am Meg wasn’t enough, the universe blessed me with an even greater opportunity. Not only was I going to be on the cover of the country’s best fashion magazine MEGA, I was going to be alongside Top Model Allison Harvard.

FOR REALZ.

I was in complete and utter shock. The shoot was going to be in 3 weeks and I was not even close to being prepared! Ahh! The excitement! I couldn’t hold it in! Strict dieting and workout sessions were a must!

Finally, the day of the shoot came and I was just on cloud nine the entire time. There were so many pairs of Levi’s jeans (I was one of their Revel collection ambassadors at the time), so many gorgeous shoes and what made my jaw drop the most was the selection of fine and expensive jewellery from Bvlgari and Charriol. Plus, I was going to be styled by MEGA Fashion Editor Patrick Galang, directed by Suki Salvador and shot by master photographer Xander Angeles at his very own studio. Oh, and did I mention that my makeup was going to be done by THE Jigs Mayuga?? I was in fashion heaven.

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Behind the scenes at the MEGA December 2013 cover shoot. Allison and I share a lot of things in common -- One being we both love taking selfies!

Behind the scenes at the MEGA December 2013 cover shoot. Allison and I share a lot of things in common — One being we both love taking all kinds of selfies!

Allison and the rest of the production team were such a breeze to work with. We were able to finish around 6 layouts in just a matter of hours. I was so ecstatic that for my very first fashion magazine cover, I was with a real and legit Top Model. Talagang hashtag blessed.

The ladies of TV100 on the cover of MEGA December 2013

The ladies of TV100 on the cover of MEGA December 2013

I’m really glad that my friendship with Allison did not end there. To be quite honest, she is one of the simplest and most adorable girls I have ever met. We have so many things in common: We love all things sweet, cute and charming! Little things such as kitten cartoons and images of fairies and princesses could put huge smiles on our faces. There’s just so much more to this amazing woman than just being a Top Model.

I swear, she looks amazing in all angles.

I swear, she looks amazing in all angles.

I seriously think both of us are just cats trapped inside human bodies.

I seriously think both of us are just cats trapped inside human bodies.

With our love and mentor, Mike! <3

With our love and mentor, Mike! <3

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The day we decided to test each other's drawing skills.

The day we decided to test each other’s drawing skills.

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Mine stunk BIG TIME compared to hers. Hahaha! She is a natural artist. I love how unique her artworks look.

Mine stunk BIG TIME compared to hers. Hahaha! She is a natural artist. I love how unique her artworks look.

Such a doll <3

Such a doll <3

Last week, Allison and I took her friend Felicia Jade Rein who was visiting from NYC out to dinner. I asked Chino for advice on where I should bring them and he suggested Vask because of their yummy squid ink risotto.

What a pretty place!

What a pretty place!

BEST CRISPY SHRIMP EVER!!!

BEST CRISPY SHRIMP EVER!!!

Chino was right! Their squid ink risotto is just divine. So creamy and delicious! And those scallops melt in your mouth.

Chino was right! Their squid ink risotto is just divine. So creamy and delicious! And those scallops melt in your mouth.

Rosé <3

Rosé <3

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Felicia does all kinds of weird poses. She's such a character!

Felicia does all kinds of weird poses. She’s such a character!

Allison's cool Daria backpack! Oh, and there's crazy Felicia once again! Haha!

Allison’s cool Daria backpack! Oh, and there’s crazy Felicia once again! Haha!

Belated May the fourth be with you, guys!

Belated May the fourth be with you, guys!

Cool elevator interior!

Cool elevator interior!

You guys can't put a big black horse in your lobby and not expect us to take crazy photos with them!

You guys can’t put a big black horse in your lobby and not expect us to take crazy photos with them!

Mwah!

Mwah!

One thing I really love about Allison is the fact that despite her success, she remains to be a simple and soft-spoken girl who loves her family and friends. She loves her job so much that she flew here to Manila just to be able to explore and do more! With her, anything can happen because of her spontaneity and child-like aura. Plus, she loves Pokemon and her recent favorite dessert is halo-halo. She is the sweetest, most random and adorable friend anyone could ever ask for.

Can’t wait for our next adventure, Allicat! Welcome to Manila! We are definitely more than happy to have you here. <3

P.S. Catch Allison as a judge on Celebrity Dance Battle on TV5 every Saturday at 9:15pm and Sunday at 12:30pm!

Omelette’s 20th

The day has finally come — Our little brother just turned the big 2-0. I say “big” just because Elmo turning 20 makes me feel so OLD. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I am in life right now and age is just a number after all. I guess it’s just because when Elmo was born, I was already aware of my surroundings. All five of us, ate Unna, Nic, Frank, Saab and I, grew up together. Six years after the baby of the bunch Saab was born, a little boy who our parents named after a Sesame Street monster came into our lives. Trivia: Mama and papa were actually choosing from three Sesame Street characters: Oscar, Grover and Elmo. Aren’t you all glad they chose Elmo??

So, when Elmo was still a baby, I was already big enough to remember seeing him grow from the cutest little boy to the tall, talented and respectful gentleman he is today. THIS is why I feel old. Haha!

Elmo Moses Arroyo Magalona was born on April 27, 1994. Our family was already quite big at that time with five growing kids from the ages of 6 to 11. So when Elmo arrived, everyone got excited. He definitely became everyone’s baby! He was the cutest most adorable little boy who loved to pretend that he was already as old as his ates and kuyas. We couldn’t really blame him, though! He was always surrounded by us big kids which was why he always thought we were all the same age.

Even as a baby, Elmo would act as if he could already take care of himself. Look at this little boy trying to put on his socks without anyone else's help! Good job, Mosey! :)

Even as a baby, Elmo would act as if he could already take care of himself. Look at this little boy trying to put on his socks without anyone else’s help! Good job, Mosey! :)

And who could blame him for feeling as if he was old when at 5 months old, he already posed for an album cover??

Baby Elmo on the cover of one of our dad's albums, "Freeman."

Baby Elmo on the cover of one of our dad’s albums, “Freeman.”

Seeing Elmo act and perform on television today makes me remember how much of a goofy little boy he was. He was always such a natural, posing in front of the camera!

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Yup, he can still make that face today.

Yup, he can still make that face today.

So imagine growing up with that little boy and seeing him all grown up today. Yup, you would feel old too. Haha!

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HINDI KO KINAKAYA. Gaaaah! But, ages and numbers aside, I am so proud of the man that Elmo has become. Today, he is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful and nicest 20-year-olds I know. Because he grew up with people who are much older than him, he is definitely more mature than most people his age. Sure, there are times when Elmo would be stubborn but it’s only because in his head, he has his own way of doing things and he would very much like to go at his own pace. Whenever he and I have conversations about work and life in general, I am always blown away by the way he thinks and how he sees the world. I am proud to say that my 20-year-old brother has taught me a lot.

For his 20th birthday celebration, we all got together for a simple and quiet dinner. Elmo chose one of our (and papa’s) favorite restaurants: Gloria Maris!

YES PLEASE.

YES PLEASE.

Would you look at the size of that?? Sarap!

Would you look at the size of that?? Sarap!

The Mr. and Mrs. and the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. :)

The Mr. and Mrs. and the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. :)

Cutie pies Jim and Chino!

Cutie pies Jim and Chino!

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Here come the singing waiters and cooks! Haha look at the birthday boy's big smile! :)

Here come the singing waiters and cooks! Haha look at the birthday boy’s big smile! :)

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Elmo and Lulu have a weird relationship. Here she is trying to fly with Elmo's help. :/

Elmo and Lulu have a weird relationship. Here she is trying to fly with Elmo’s help. :/

Happy birthday, Elmo! :)

Happy birthday, Elmo! :)

To my dearest brother Elmo, I want you to know that I am so proud of you! People call me “ate ni Elmo” sometimes and it just makes me feel so overjoyed seeing how happy your fans are because of you. And I know that they made the right choice by choosing you as their idol because I know the kind of person you really are: humble, kindhearted and hardworking. Underneath all that fame, you have remained the same sweet little boy we all fell in love with the moment you were born. I believe in you and I trust that you know what you are doing with your life so just keep going, Moe! Don’t ever stop. I will always be here for you.

I love you! Happy 20th birthday, Omelette! <3

Please Me

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I am NO makeup junkie. Both my mom and my sister Saab have been encouraging me to take care of myself and to put on even just a little bit of makeup especially when going to important events. Admittedly, I used to be one of the laziest people in the world. I could care less about appearances. I HATED having to put on makeup on a regular day. I always thought, “Akala ko ba it’s what’s on the inside that counts??” Hahaha! I wasn’t being serious though. I was just plain LAZY so I kept making all sorts of excuses just to avoid putting on makeup. I guess it was also because I was never really good at it that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much as Saab did. My makeup kit was nothing compared to hers. I only had the basic stuff such as concealer, powder and mascara. She had EVERYTHING. From eyebrow pencils to bronzers and all different kinds of eyeliners. I swear, she and my mom could become professional makeup artists. They’re so natural at it! Trivia: My mom was the one who did my hair and makeup from when I was 15 up until I was 21. She was my first makeup artist and I always loved how she made me look.

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This was just a fun photo shoot we did in our house in Antipolo . Mama did my makeup and papa shot my photos. <3

This was just a fun photo shoot we did in our house in Antipolo . Mama did my makeup and papa shot my photos. <3

How’s THAT for Throwback Thursdays?? Hahaha spell NENE! Anyway, back to makeup — I don’t know how or when it happened but one day, I just found myself obsessing and trying to get the perfect eyebrows. I was officially in love with my makeup. So, what happened? What was the cause of this sudden change of heart? As I type this, I am realizing that the reason why I started enjoying putting on makeup was when I met Chino. EEP! I remember feeling so nervous for our dates. He always chose the most romantic and beautiful places to go to so I always wanted to look nice. I wanted to look nice for him. So, on every date that we’d go on, I made sure that I put on just the right amount of makeup on. Because of all those dates, I started taking makeup seriously. Because I am in the entertainment industry, it’s always best to be prepared because no one ever knows what could happen. It’s showbiz. Anything can happen. One day, you could be getting a call about an audition that could change your life FOREVER and you’re hesitant just because you don’t have the faintest idea on how to apply makeup! So take my advice — Learn how to do basic makeup. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself trying to get the perfect winged eyeliner. I never knew makeup could be so much fun! Today, Chino is going to pick me up for our very special “Labor Date.” And of course, I want to look nice for the guy who makes me happy so I put on a little makeup. Here are some of my essentials for everyday makeup:

IMG_1261 First things first. I wash my face and make sure that it is completely clean and moisturized.

Me with no makeup.

Me with no makeup.

Then I apply my Naturactor concealer plus NC40 powder. After this, I start doing my eyebrows. Oh, Lord. The eyebrows are always the most difficult for me! I’m proud to say that I used to do it for half an hour but now, I can get them done in about 10-15 minutes. ACHIEVEMENT.

Hey look -- eyebrows!!!

Hey look — eyebrows!!!

I brush my eyebrows first before drawing them with my Spiked eyebrow pencil from MAC then I apply the Beguiled brow gel from MAC a few minutes later. Then I put on eyeshadow — I am obsessed with my Caramel Sundae eye shadow palette from the MAC Archie’s Girls collection. Next, I curl my lashes and apply mascara. My favorite is MAC’s Haute and Naughty Lash which has two applicators — one with very fine bristles for the first layer and another one which is the thicker one for the second layer. I like putting on A LOT of mascara because my eyes are small and my lashes aren’t that plenty. #sad Next step is a trick that I learned from my mom — the wonderful Watts Up soft focus highlighter stick from Benefit. It is absolutely a god-send. My mom taught me to apply it under my eyes and smudge it with its sponge until it’s spread on evenly. It will literally make you look like a fairy or an angel. It’s amazing. Believe me. After that, I apply my MAC Pink Swoon blush on and use Benefit Hervana blush for touch-ups during the day. When you guys finally try this out, you’ll see why I love my Benefit Watts Up stick — it always blends so well with all my blush-ons and gives them that added sparkle. LOVE. Last but not the least, I put on lipstick. And my absolute favorite is MAC’s Please Me matte lipstick. I love all matte shades. Here are some of my favorite lip colors from MAC:

IMG_1237 IMG_1239 I remember hoarding a handful of Please Me lipsticks in Hong Kong when they weren’t available in the Philippines yet. I am in love with it!

The finished product!

The finished product!

Yay! Forgive me for my excitement but I’m just really proud of how I got to practice putting on makeup and finally learning how to do it properly. It’s these little things that make me see my progress and growth as an individual. It’s such a nice feeling when you start seeing your worth and truly loving yourself that’s why you want to start taking care of your health, hygiene and the way you look. Oh and one more thing — always keep in mind that no matter how much makeup you put on, if you’ve got a nasty attitude, no amount of cosmetics can conceal that kind of ugliness. :P P.S. Make your makeup experience even more fun by listening to the kind of music that gets you in the right mood. For today, I listened to “Hol’ Up” by Kendrick Lamar and “Flawless” by Beyoncé. Who better to tell you you’re beautiful as you put on your makeup than Mrs. Carter, herself??

Strawberries and Hot Chocolate

Driving up to Baguio is always such a fun road trip for me. It takes about 5-6 hours to get to Baguio City from Manila via the NLEX and the TPLEX. Usually, it’s best to leave your house a little after midnight so that there will be less cars on the road and you won’t even notice how far it really is because if you fall asleep (given that someone else is driving, of course), you’ll already be at your destination by morning! Anyway, it doesn’t really matter to me how long the road trip takes because I’m always too excited to feel the cold weather, drink the best hot chocolate and eat the freshest strawberries. Food always excites me — especially when travelling. Ironically, however, we weren’t able to drink hot chocolate and the strawberries were too small to even harvest when we went there for Holy Week. Instead, we experienced a whole lot of new delicious discoveries! Exciting!

When we got to our hotel Azalea, we knew that our suites would have kitchens which was why we brought a lot of food with us. These were the turkey sandwiches that Frank and Saab made for the whole family for lunch!

When we got to our hotel Azalea, we knew that our suites would have kitchens which was why we brought a lot of food with us. These were the turkey sandwiches that Frank and Saab made for the whole family for lunch!

For our first night, we had eat-all-you-can Mongolian for only P220 at O' Mai Khan! I had two bowls. I loooove Mongolian!

For our first night, we had eat-all-you-can Mongolian for only P220 at O’ Mai Khan! I had two bowls. I loooove Mongolian!

It's been some sort of family tradition to get ice cream at the Filling Station located inside Camp John Hay. The ice cream joint there is known as, "Strawberries and Cream." Sarap!

It’s been some sort of family tradition to get ice cream at the Filling Station located inside Camp John Hay. The ice cream joint there is known as, “Strawberries and Cream.” Sarap!

One of my top agendas for the trip was to make sure that everyone could try the food at Hamada, the Japanese restaurant located inside the Baguio Country Club. Growing up, Papa loved bringing us to teppanyaki restaurants such as Benihana and Kimpura for Sunday lunches. So, I figured that they would enjoy Hamada as well just because it is also a teppanyaki restaurant.

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I always enjoy watching the chef cook our food while doing a mini-show of egg throws and food flames! Lulu kept squealing and hiding behind her mommy. ;)

I always enjoy watching the chef cook our food while doing a mini-show of egg throws and food flames! Lulu kept squealing and hiding behind her mommy. ;)

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I'm glad everyone enjoyed!

I’m glad everyone enjoyed!

Since we were already at the Baguio Country Club, we certainly couldn’t leave without placing our orders for raisin bread and banana bread at their famous bakery!

One of Chino's most unforgettable contributions in my life is Baguio Country Club's raisin bread. It's become an absolute favorite of mine. I could never go to Baguio without buying some! Thank you for sharing yours with me, bop! I love you more than I love this bread! <3

One of Chino’s most unforgettable contributions in my life is Baguio Country Club’s raisin bread. It’s become an absolute favorite of mine. I could never go to Baguio without buying some! Thank you for sharing yours with me, bop! I love you more than I love this bread! <3

The next day, we went to the strawberry farms after lunch because ate Unna wanted to bring her babies there for some strawberry-picking fun! But unfortunately, the strawberries were still too small. There would only be handfuls of really good ones so we just left it all for the little ones to enjoy. Meanwhile, we found ourselves food-tripping!

My first time to try strawberry ice cream at the strawberry farms! It tastes just like fresh strawberries. Sweet and tart at the same time! A cup costs P15.

My first time to try strawberry ice cream at the strawberry farms! It tastes just like fresh strawberries. Sweet and tart at the same time! A cup costs P15.

FAVORITE! A classic cup of shredded sweet corn topped with melted butter and powdered cheese for P40. My only complaint would be that the corn was too tough to chew. They were not as fresh as I had hoped they would be!

FAVORITE! A classic cup of shredded sweet corn topped with melted butter and powdered cheese for P40. My only complaint would be that the corn was too tough to chew. They were not as fresh as I had hoped they would be!

For our last night, Elmo treated all of us to a yummy brick oven pizza dinner at Amare La Cucina, a restaurant he and Frank found online that had a lot of great reviews. And quite frankly, Amare did not disappoint. Everything was a sure hit with the whole family!

Where all the pizza magic happens. <3

Where all the pizza magic happens. <3

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At Amare, the kids are allowed to help assemble the pizzas! Ivo and Zoie had so much fun, they ended up assembling almost all of our pizzas! We ordered 5 different kinds.

At Amare, the kids are allowed to help assemble the pizzas! Ivo and Zoie had so much fun, they ended up assembling almost all of our pizzas! We ordered 5 different kinds.

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Clara with her "boyfriend." She is in love with pizza and is not ashamed to admit it! No, siree!

Clara with her “boyfriend.” She is in love with pizza and is not ashamed to admit it! No, siree!

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Oh my. Would you look at that?? It's their famous Nutella pizza! Too bad I wasn't brave enough to try it. I was so scared, I thought that once I had a taste, I might finish the whole thing! Dangerous! Haha!

Oh my. Would you look at that?? It’s their famous Nutella pizza! Too bad I wasn’t brave enough to try it. I was so scared, I thought that once I had a taste, I might finish the whole thing! Dangerous! Haha!

Too bad I forgot to make everyone taste my favorite cup of hot chocolate at the Baguio Country Club! Next time na lang!

I love food and I love taking photos of it. And I have to admit, I became a better “food photographer” because of my photography master sensei Chino! I admit that he really taught me a lot when it comes to taking macro food shots. I just love the way he takes pictures.. But that’s a totally different story. ;)

Thank you for the yummy food trip, Baguio! *burp*

Hamada
Baguio Country Club
Country Club Road, Baguio, Luzon, Philippines
+ 63 74 619 2050

Amare La Cucina
EGI Albergo Hotel, #1 Villamor Drive
Brgy. Lualhati, Baguio, Luzon 2600, Philippines
+63 917 790 0294

Tokidoki in The City

Remember the time when the Internet became all the rage with everyone signing up with Multiply, Friendster and My Space while chatting with each other on mIRC and/or Yahoo! Messenger? Everyone couldn’t get off their computers. I was online almost everyday, searching for so many things that I was curious about such as fashion trends, song lyrics, movie quotes, sceneries and tourist spots all over the world and photos of cute puppies and kittens. The list could go on and on. I was so amazed at how the Internet was such a vast entity that it made me even more curious. Actually, there are a number of things I would like to thank the Internet for namely email, online shopping, social media and Neopets. But if there was one Internet discovery that I am most definitely proud of, it would be the day I stumbled upon the cutest and most colorful image filled with rainbows and stars. I was looking for a possible wallpaper for my computer and with one click of the mouse, there it was; the very first Tokidoki artwork I had ever laid eyes on.

I'm such a fan of rainbows and stars. Always have been, always will be! :)

I’m such a fan of rainbows and stars. Always have been, always will be! :)

If I had to be all sentimental about it, I’d have to say that the woman in the cartoon spoke to me. For some weird reason, I saw myself in her. MAY GANON. Seriously though, I’ve always appreciated Asian beauty and the creator behind Tokidoki always made the Asian woman shine in all his artworks. So when the day came that I finally saw pictures of the man behind Tokidoki, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A young Italian man by the name of Simone Legno was definitely no where near my mind when thinking of the person responsible for Tokidoki. I was pleasantly surprised! This made me admire his work even more.

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As luck would have it, Saab informed us that there was going to be a Tokidoki event at SM North EDSA wherein Simone Legno was set to appear and that she was invited so she was wondering if any of us would want to accompany her. In my head, Mr. Assimo was going, “Ay.. HINDIIIIIIII!” in the most sarcastic tone ever. Of course I wanted to go! I didn’t have any plans that day anyway and besides, it has been a while since I last went to the mall! It was going to be fun for sure. :)

Here's Saab posing by one of the unique and colorful artworks made by Simone Legno.

Here’s Saab posing by one of the unique and colorful artworks made by Simone Legno.

And here's Lauren doing the creepy version of Saab's pose.

And here’s Lauren doing the creepy version of Saab’s pose.

Our beautiful dates Nyko and Lauren <3

Our beautiful dates Nyko and Lauren <3

There he is! The creator of Tokidoki Simone Legno visits Manila, Philippines! Standing next to him is the event host-slash-Zombette Sanya Smith!

There he is! The creator of Tokidoki Simone Legno visits Manila, Philippines! Standing next to him is the event host-slash-Zombette Sanya Smith!

As he was being interviewed, I learned so many more fascinating things about Simone. I never knew that he was part of a band called Happy Noise. And apparently, he’s quite the traveller. The whole idea of Tokidoki actually came to him when he went to Tokyo, Japan at the age of 19. The city inspired him so much that he decided to name his brand after the Japanese word Tokidoki which means sometimes. He chose this word in particular because according to him, “Sometimes, dreams come true.” Aww!

In the middle of the program, Sanya was encouraging the people to ask Simone some questions. In my mind, I already had the perfect question that I’d been dying to ask him. I always wondered who that mysterious woman is that he loves to draw and include in his masterpieces. So, I asked him if that woman was in fact, a real person and if she serves as his inspiration for Tokidoki. His answer was that the woman was not a real person, he just wanted to draw something that could represent the beauty of women. Not bad, Simone. She is one fine lady!

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Some of Simone's Tokidoki artworks on display at the SM Block Atrium. The exhibit and pop-up shop will  run until June 15.

Some of Simone’s Tokidoki artworks on display at the SM Block Atrium. The exhibit and pop-up shop will run until June 15.

Look who suddenly joined us! Adios is actually a devil that got kicked out of Hell because of his good-natured ways.  He is one of Simone's famous characters. Want to have your picture taken with him too? Go to SM The Block Atrium every Saturday & Sunday of May & June from 2pm to 5pm!

Look who suddenly joined us! Adios is actually a devil that got kicked out of Hell because of his good-natured ways. He is one of Simone’s famous characters. Want to have your picture taken with him too? Go to SM The Block Atrium every Saturday & Sunday of May & June from 2pm to 5pm!

Of course, I had to have SOMETHING signed by the artist! So I went to the pop-up store and bought a Tokidoki notebook! All proceeds of the Tokidoki pop-up shop will go to the victims of typhoon Yolanda through SM Cares.

Of course, I had to have SOMETHING signed by the artist! So I went to the pop-up store and bought a Tokidoki notebook! All proceeds of the Tokidoki pop-up shop will go to the victims of typhoon Yolanda through SM Cares.

My new Tokidoki notebook! According to the Tokidoki website, "The Unicornos were once simple little ponies that were out trotting and wandered into a magic waterfall. Passing through the waterfall, the ponies transformed into unicorns and found a hidden magical kingdom. The Unicornos live between the magic kingdom and our world." Cute!

My new Tokidoki notebook! According to the Tokidoki website, “The Unicornos were once simple little ponies that were out trotting and wandered into a magic waterfall. Passing through the waterfall, the ponies transformed into unicorns and found a hidden magical kingdom. The Unicornos live between the magic kingdom and our world.” Cute!

I am now the proud owner of an autographed Tokidoki notebook, signed by its very creator, Simone Legno! (Excuse the awkward selfie pose.)

I am now the proud owner of an autographed Tokidoki notebook, signed by its very creator, Simone Legno! (Excuse the awkward selfie pose.)

When I saw this shirt, I knew I had to get it! Pinoy Pride, all the way! Thank you for this awesome limited edition Philippine shirt, Tokidoki! 100% of the proceeds of the Tokidoki pop-up shop at SM The Block Atrium will go to the victims of typhoon Yolanda through SM Cares.

When I saw this shirt, I knew I had to get it! Pinoy Pride, all the way! Thank you for this awesome limited edition Philippine shirt, Tokidoki! 100% of the proceeds of the Tokidoki pop-up shop at SM The Block Atrium will go to the victims of typhoon Yolanda through SM Cares.

While he was signing my notebook, I told him how much of a huge Hello Kitty fan I was and that I was ecstatic when Tokidoki collaborated with my ultimate favorite character! He proudly responded, "We've been collaborating for 8 years now." Awesome! It was definitely such a pleasure having to meet the creator of Tokidoki, a brand that I've adored so much for so many years now! What an honor!

While he was signing my notebook, I told him how much of a huge Hello Kitty fan I was and that I was ecstatic when Tokidoki collaborated with my ultimate favorite character! He proudly responded, “We’ve been collaborating for 8 years now.” Awesome! It was definitely such a pleasure having to meet the creator of Tokidoki, a brand that I’ve adored so much for so many years now! What an honor!

Thanks again, Saab! This was definitely a dream come true! Ahh yes. The perks of being a blogger's sister! <3

Thanks again, Saab! This was definitely a dream come true! Ahh yes. The perks of being a blogger’s sister! <3

Meeting Simone Legno and hearing him talk about dreams and the possibility of them coming true even if it were only “sometimes,” made me look up to him even more. Through his works of art, he wants people to realize that anything is possible. A cactus can be your friend, unicorns exist and dreams sometimes come true. Thank you, Simone! Thank you for your cute contribution to the art scene!

Baguiong Buhay

One of the things I value the most is family and ours happens to be a really big one. In total, we are 8 children: 4 boys and 4 girls, plus our parents. Unfortunately, we lost our dad Francis to leukemia back in 2009 and it was definitely the most painful experience our family had to go through. And even if I was the most devastated I had ever been, I still remained positive and chose to see the bright side. One of the things that I will be forever grateful for is how we all definitely became closer and stronger as a family after papa passed away. And even if we already lost the most important man in our lives, we are so blessed to have four new members: My sister’s husband Bryan and their three adorable little kids, Zoie (my inaanak), Gavin and Lulu! Family is indeed forever and we should remember to tell them how much we love them, make memories with them and truly appreciate them every chance we get. This is the very reason why I am so thankful for holidays such as Christmas and New Year because these are the times that we are given to spend with the people who mean the most to us. One of these holidays is Holy Week wherein the whole country takes days off from work to reflect on the death of Christ and the true meaning of His resurrection. And since so many people are so stressed from work, they see this as the perfect opportunity to relax and get much-needed rest. Most Filipinos enjoy flying to the beach on this holiday. Our family, however, has always preferred driving up to Baguio during this time of the year.

This year, we came prepared. Thanks to our super organized ate Unna, we had a whole itinerary planned for our 4-day stay in Baguio. Yay for OCD!

We left Manila at 2am Thursday morning and arrived Baguio at 8am. Not bad considering it was Holy Week.

We rented two vans for the trip. In one van, there were ate Unna, mama, Clara, the babies and Bryan. In our van, there were Saab, Frank, Arkin, Nic, Elmo and Me. So I guess you could imagine how rowdy and noisy it was in our van. Frank was in charge of the music. I love road trips!!!

We rented two vans for the trip. In one van, there were ate Unna, mama, Clara, the babies and Bryan. In our van, there were Saab, Frank, Arkin, Nic, Elmo and Me. So I guess you could imagine how rowdy and noisy it was in our van. Frank was in charge of the music. I love road trips!!!

For our first meal, we decided to go to one of papa’s ultimate favorites in Baguio, O’Mai Khan! I personally love Mongolian so I was so excited. Plus, it was an eat-all-you-can dinner for only P220!!! WHAT A STEAL!

Smiling while patiently waiting for our Mongolian rice bowls.

Smiling while patiently waiting for our Mongolian rice bowls.

Obviously, the boys enjoyed the buffet the most.

Obviously, the boys enjoyed the buffet the most.

Of course, a butterfly magically appears out of no where inside the restaurant. Right beside our table! I wonder who it could be? :)

Of course, a butterfly magically appears out of no where inside the restaurant. Right beside our table! I wonder who it could be? :)

Happy tummies! That was a very good first meal after a long road trip! <3

Happy tummies! That was a very good first meal after a long road trip! <3

For our second day, we went to the Botanical Gardens, Camp John Hay and the Baguio Country Club. None of us are members of the club but our hotel was nice enough to make arrangements for us. Yay!

Day 2. The boys were always the hardest to wake up.

Day 2. The boys were always the hardest to wake up.

My very first time to visit the Baguio Botanical Garden! Also my frist time to have my picture taken with legit igorots.

My very first time to visit the Baguio Botanical Garden! Also my frist time to have my picture taken with legit igorots.

Zoie looking so cute!

Zoie looking so cute!

And of course, Lulu didn't want to get left behind. Every time someone would praise Zoie, she would come in and exclaim, "Me also!!!" in her high-pitched voice. Adorable!

And of course, Lulu didn’t want to get left behind. Every time someone would praise Zoie, she would come in and exclaim, “Me also!!!” in her high-pitched voice. Adorable!

Ayaw magpa-kabog ni Barbie. Getting ice cream at the Filling Station is a family tradition in Baguio!

Ayaw magpa-kabog ni Barbie. Getting ice cream at the Filling Station is a family tradition in Baguio!

Lulu loves her cupcake which her daddy gave her! :)

Lulu loves her cupcake which her daddy gave her! :)

Here is ate Unna having a mommy moment with her baby. She loves posting pics of them on her Instagram! I would too if my kids were as adorable as hers. :)

Here is ate Unna having a mommy moment with her baby. She loves posting pics of them on her Instagram! I would too if my kids were as adorable as hers. :)

The girls all excited for a Japanese dinner at Hamada.

The girls all excited for a Japanese dinner at Hamada.

The boys, too!

The boys, too!

I wish I could also post the picture that came after this. We put on some of our ugliest faces. Mama wouldn't be so proud. Haha!

I wish I could also post the picture that came after this. We put on some of our ugliest faces. Mama wouldn’t be so proud. Haha!

We also used some of the facilities at the Baguio Country Club! We love to go bowling!

We also used some of the facilities at the Baguio Country Club! We love to go bowling!

For day 3, we went to the strawberry farms and back to Camp John Hay for a picnic and also, mini-golf! We just couldn’t go to Baguio without playing mini-golf. It’s become some sort of a tradition for us!

Ate Unna and Lulu about to pick fresh strawberries at the strawberry farms!

Ate Unna and Lulu about to pick fresh strawberries at the strawberry farms!

We left the strawberry-picking to the babies and opted to do a photo shoot instead just because the place was so beautiful!

We left the strawberry-picking to the babies and opted to do a photo shoot instead just because the place was so beautiful!

Here's Frank modelling in a sea of iceberg lettuce!

Here’s Frank modelling in a sea of iceberg lettuce!

Gavin pulled me aside to show me that he had discovered a "tree-chair." He sat on it proudly and smiled for my camera. How precious!!! :)

Gavin pulled me aside to show me that he had discovered a “tree-chair.” He sat on it proudly and smiled for my camera. How precious!!! :)

Here's mama serving us some banana bread goodness fresh from the Baguio Country Club bakery! SO GOOD!!!

Here’s mama serving us some banana bread goodness fresh from the Baguio Country Club bakery! SO GOOD!!!

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This is what happens when we scream, "Oh candid naman! Candid!!!"

This is what happens when we scream, “Oh candid naman! Candid!!!”

Running to the mini-golf course! So excited!

Running to the mini-golf course! So excited!

Lulu trying her best to play golf!

Lulu trying her best to play golf!

Mama was always so good at playing sports!

Mama was always so good at playing sports!

For our last day, we heard mass in the morning at the lobby of our hotel and we were so glad that we chose to hear mass there just because our priest made a lot of sense in his homily. I like it when the priest speaks to us in a language that most people will understand. A homily that is short and straight to the point is always better than a long one that no one understands. Basically, he spoke to us about how important it is to keep the faith. He reminded us that even though we go through very painful and traumatizing experiences in life, we should always remain faithful in God and His plan for us. What struck me the most was when he said that although pain and suffering seem so difficult for us to endure, if we choose to remain faithful in God, we will learn HOW to suffer. We will be able to surpass anything painful and come out stronger and wiser. Wise words from such a young priest. I’m so sad I don’t remember his name but he was, without a doubt, so helpful in making us understand the Word of God. Amen!

After mass, we all started packing our things to go back to Manila.

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Until next time, Baguio!

Until next time, Baguio!

For this and so many other family trips, I will always be thankful. Nothing will ever beat seeing the happy faces and hearing the sweet laughter of your family during this holy time. The Lenten season is a reminder to each and every one of us to become the best versions of ourselves because when Easter comes, it is a time for change. The perfect second chance that God so lovingly gives us every year to make things right. Let’s not forget the real meaning of Holy Week and remember to strengthen our relationship with the Lord while strengthening our relationship with others. Have a blessed life, everyone! God bless you all! <3