Saturday, July 9, 2016

I Miss School, What?

1:02 AM
Being unemployed and a not so fresh graduate (it's been 3 months since my graduation), my mind tends to wander whenever I have the time to do so. Aside from the constant thought of getting hired soon, I sometimes couldn't help but miss college - and yes, I can't believe I said that either.

One thing I miss most about college are my challenging subjects. Really, my last year consisted of me juggling overload subjects for the whole school year. I hated everything I was dealing with back then. Especially my Photojournalism class which I considered for the first meetings a hellish subject.

At first, I didn't get the point of having to do photo walks. Living in a country like the Philippines, it's normal to feel terrified walking the streets of a large city like Manila. Let alone with DSLR cameras. Having this kind of mindset prevented me to actually give the activity a shot (Pun! Lol.). Long story short, I had terrible photos. For the first activity, I remember my professor telling me that my set of photos were inconsistent. I strongly agreed with him since most of my photos had the wrong framing, some were overexposed and the worst part was it was all taken with an automatic setting.

(A drifted boat by the shore of Manila Bay)

I failed terribly and got even more depressed since I thought that I might fail for the rest of the semester and I really wanted my professor to be proud of my work, even just for once.

So for the next activities, I did my best. Along the way, I started loving the subject even more with the help of my then schoolmate turned best friend and boyfriend. I learned that you just have to put your heart into what you're doing and not just do it for the sake of only doing it.

(Shutter speed Activity)

From my midterms to my finals, I'm pretty sure I did a good job.

(Family Portrait for my Midterms)

(Defying Age for Finals)

Needless to say, the subject that I used to hate is now really memorable for me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Café Travel (Taft, Manila): The Former You is Missed

2:36 AM
If there was one thing I constantly thank my five year stay in college for, that would be for me to explore tons of different cafes and restaurants around Manila.

Cafe Travel located in Taft, especially, holds a special place in my heart since it was where me and my boyfriend had one of our first dates at. Back then, I loved the idea of getting to hang out at a cafe where you can get your own piece of quiet and privacy since this cafe in particular has small cubicles where you can somehow feel as if you're at the privacy of your own home. This is a big deal considering true blue coffee shop campers know that popular cafes can get a little crowded and therefore, lose its essence of being a place where you can read a good book while sipping on your favorite drink.

But just the other day, I forgot why I loved Cafe Travel in the first place. Its once bearable looking walls which was a reminiscent of unique because of its "you-can-write-anything-on-the-walls" is now an eye sore. Really, it hasn't even been a year since I last visited this place and already it looks like a vandal's mecca.

If you're a common millennial who loves owning a crisp, feed goal worthy Instagram, I suggest you opt for other cafes.

Most of us were trained that we shouldn't be picky when it comes to places we dine in or hang out at and always look at the brighter side of things - Cafe Travel's menu is still wonderful, though - but I think things have gotten out of hand for this cafe joint. I remember telling my boyfriend the other day that it would probably be better if the management would paint over their walls every month or a few weeks or so just so they can keep their notorious "freedom of expression" in check without sacrificing the actual look for the interiors.

Aside from the interiors (yes, it's not only the walls that are heavily scribbled in permanent marker), the ambient music has also been a concern for me. I consider their playlist to be inconsistent, something I call out-of-place rap music. I have nothing against this particular genre (truth be told, I think Drake and Fetty Wap are musical geniuses) but for a person who would like to study/hang out/chill - rap music isn't exactly the first thing I'd like to listen to on my playlist.

Cafe Travel, I care for you. I really do. But please make more of an effort with keeping your interiors clean and pleasing to the eye. If your (cleaner) San Fernando, Pampanga branch were only nearer, I'd go there in a heartbeat. You also need to know your identity, ASAP.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mariquina: Revisited

9:53 AM

The summer of this year I had my internship at ABS-CBN Publishing. From the interview to the first few days I considered were the most nerve-wracking times of my life. It was my second job experience, but my first time indulging into it like I was actually working. (Okay, so to clear things up, I had my first job as a writer and researcher for a San Francisco-based cocktail blog which I had to do online.)

The first few days I felt like a fish out of water. Everyone around me were adults and, well, let's say I didn't get their wavelength at the time yet. I honestly felt like I was at the wrong place and wished that I was designated to Metro Magazine instead of Metro Home and Entertaining magazine. I craved for fun and relativity back then and having to go with my boss to furniture shops didn't help ease the anxiety I felt. That all changed until I found out about the other gigs she and her friends had besides from publishing and interior designing.

Apparently my boss was one of the producers of Mariquina - an entry to the Cinemalaya 2014 Film Festival. Being delighted that I, too, was a fan of local films - she asked me what I thought of it.

"I liked it a lot," I smiled while I was seated at the back of her SUV. She thanked me a couple of times, saying that she really appreciated it since they worked real hard producing it. "It's a great movie, I can totally understand why Barbie Forteza was mad at Ricky Davao. He cheated big time."

I cringed to that thought as I'm typing this down.

No cheating happened in Mariquina, 2014 Lyn.

Fortunately, my boss didn't think of me as idiotic during the time I told her that even of all people I could say that to, it was her. One of the pioneers who knew the ins and outs of the film. After a few minutes of flashbacks remembering the scenes and debating with myself if I should turn the conversation around, I struck up the nerve to genuinely say that I had the wrong interpretation eversince I watched Mariquina which was last September 2014. For 6 months, I blamed Ricky Davao for cheating on his wife and causing his own death.

So I've decided to go back to my blog and straighten things out. I love Mariquina and it is probably one of the saddest movies ever made in the local independent film scene, Kasal being next on my list.

If you've seen Mariquina and experienced the downfalls of some of the characters, you'd know why it was so gravitating.

Barbie Forteza who played teenage Imelda Guevarra did a great job in her role, her scene most especially when she was talking to her mother on the phone. She delivered the role perfectly and staged the realities of a broken daughter who was lost, trying to understand what went wrong in her once perfect family.

Mylene Dizon was also spot-on. She showed the struggles of moving on from her past issues with her father who, despite passing away, she had a hard time forgiving herself due to the treatment she showed to her father when she still lived with him. Her biggest concern in the film was getting her father shoes before his burial and of course having heavy flashbacks in between.

Ricky Davao who played as Romeo Guevarra, in my opinion, is what you call an almost-perfect father. He had everything planned out, really. And if you think about it, the only fault he had was being passive. He knew that something was coming when his wife started to refuse having sex with him and who could deny the fact that his business partner was all googly-eyes for him? But maybe what I liked most about his character was his unfathomable love for his daughter, Imelda. Even when shit hit the fan (their shoe-making business falling to bankruptcy, his wife leaving him for Hawaii, his daughter hating on him for the next years of her life/thinking that it was all his fault their family fell apart and his business partner treated him more than just business), he kept his composure being a loving dad to Imelda. It was evident that he loved her deeply which caused him is own death, putting the blame on himself when in fact, he didn't really do anything wrong.

Cheryl Ramos as Leonor Guevarra also executed well as a loving and supportive housewife. She realized mid-movie that love wasn't enough for her and Romeo to be together which made her decide to leave him and her family.

Bing Pimentel as Tess... probably the most hated member in the whole cast. Maybe she didn't mean it, we can never really tell but she, too, loved Romeo wholeheartedly. Fortunately, towards the end of the movie she had a smoke with Mylene Dizon who laid out that there wasn't any bad blood between them.

If I could rate this movie, I'd give it an 8.

The casting was great. Most of the cast are veterans which adds to the credibility of the film. Visuals were also up there. I liked the rustic feel of the colors used since it worked well with the film's setting of vintage. Cinematography was seamless. Every scene was still-worthy.

Also, the plot and delivery was a nice take on showing both sides of the story in broken families with third-party issues. It wasn't an in-your-face kind of thing which is common in most mainstream shows and films. The only weakness in my opinion was there wasn't any hard-hitting plot twist or climax to the film itself since sadness was felt throughout after the first few scenes of when Barbie grew up, showing the real score on what her family really dealt with. 

P.S. I really liked Imelda Marcos' cameo in the film.

All in all, my boss joked to me that she told her co-producer that next time, they should make a happier film since this one was sad af. Nevertheless, I loved this film and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in anything melancholic.

P.P.S. Still shots were taken from Mariquina's official trailer on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Beer and Booze Galore: Oktoberfest at Poppins

3:45 AM
October has always been a special month to me. Not only is it a month set before my birthday, but a lot of other greater – and exciting events happen on this whimsical month.

First off, Halloween!

Halloween has always been a magical time for me. Although not much trick or treating is recognized in the Philippines, the cold air adds up to the Halloween and almost-December feel, and not to mention those times when we watch re-runs of our favorite Halloween specials. Can I hear a Treehouse of Horror Specials from The Simpsons?

Second is, college is out! For a couple of weeks, that is.

A few weeks of sem break didn’t hurt anybody.

Lastly, Oktoberfest.

For you guys who haven’t heard of this, here’s a little overview of what Oktobeer… Oktoberfest is.
Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world which originated from Munich, Germany.

Locally, in Germany, it is often called the Wiesn, after the colloquial name of the fairgrounds (Theresienwiese) themselves. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the original Munich event, and luckily, the Philippines also celebrates this one-of-a-kind event.

I’ve always been a beer kind of person so people who appreciate beer, you might want to check this out if you haven’t tried the Oktoberfest experience yet.

Of course, we just don’t celebrate beer on Oktoberfest. More than just the alcohol, we get to commemorate the good times of having our families, friends, and loved ones around. In my honest opinion, I think that’s what Oktoberfest is all about. The beer is just an added bonus.

If you want to experience a dose of Oktoberfest, Poppins is just about the right place to head on over to.

For the whole month of October, Poppins will be throwing its very first Oktoberfest where you can enjoy beer and play games that would bring you back to the good ol’ days.
Enjoy their casino-inspired drinking games, family card games with a twist, and their drinking games which any college student would love to try.

Booze and Beer Price Rundown

For those who fancy beer more, you'll love that Poppins has made it more affordable despite its high-end ambience. San Miguel Light and San Miguel Pale Pilsen are made affordable from the price of 62php to 32php for people who will be playing the games.

If you're the adventurous kind, hard drinks will only be priced at 8php per shot for those who will be playing games with shots.

And if you're like my best friend who loves Red Horse Beer more than anything else, you can drink all the Red Horse you want with just the price of 175php.

Not to mention prizes and giveaways await the lucky winners!

Curious on what the games are? Here are the game descriptions to keep you hyped up:

Indoor Games:

Liquor Roulette – 1 shot of Vodka, (No. of people in the group.) shots of water. See who’s unlucky within your group.
Wheel of Shots – Test your luck. Get a free 300 points worth card with Zing Rewards or win a free prize from Emperador or a free bottle of Smirnoff Mule. There is section in the wheel where you may have to do an ‘acrylic kiss’, it may be a reward or a penalty. If the player cannot do the challenge the player will be fined.
Monopoly Board Game (with a twist) – Chug a beer when you lose a property, drink 2 shots when you go to jail, or take one shot when you land on chance.
Uno Playing Cards (Adult Style) – Each time a player will a lose the game the player must drink 2 shots, each time a player receives a +2 card or a +4 card the receiver will have to drink 1 shot.

Outdoor Games:

Twisted Beer Pong – This is like the original game with its original rules, except rather than just having cups of beer, a number of cups are filled with mysterious liquid in them which the player must still drink.
Flip Cup – Ordinary rules apply. Each team who will win may receive rewards or prizes shouldered by Emperador.
King’s Cup – Ordinary rules apply. Each team who will win may receive rewards or prizes shouldered by Emperador.
Cup Swap – 2 individuals will be provided with 2 cups each, 1 cup is filled with beer while the other cup is empty. They will be given 30 seconds to transfer the beer (using a teaspoon) inside the cup into a vacant cup they are provided with. The player who transferred the most wins, the loser would have to chug all the beer.

Overall, different individuals have different tastes when it comes on picking their poison (booze and beer, for this matter). Let Poppins keep you company this October.

Poppins is located at Tomas Morato corner Sct. Madriñan, in front of IL Terrazzo, on October 2, 9, 16, and 23. (6PM - Onwards)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Sweet Escape to Gillian Gail Desserts Buffet #lynnikaeats

9:04 AM
If you feel down and out, tired from the usual post-Christmas feeling - wouldn't the words "buffet" and "desserts" make you feel like the joyous spirit of Christmas magically came back?

A couple of days before Christmas, my best friend Erika invited me to have lunch with her at Katipunan. I'm pretty sure she wanted to try something different and knowing her - Gillian Gail was a perfect contender since it screamed desserts. We were bummed when we found out that it wouldn't be open on the 23rd which was supposedly our lunch date out. But considering that it were the holidays, it was reasonable considering even establishments needed a couple of days off to re-energize and get on with the holiday spirit. We opted for finding somewhere else to eat, but we really wanted to eat at the said desserts buffet so we just waited until the 27th.

Gillian Gail is a quaint, cutesy (but mostly fancy-looking) restaurant nestled in the 3rd floor of the Oracle just along Katipunan. If you come from the North (where I come from), you would want to pass through the farther end of Xavierville so you can just drive by the streets of Katipunan with ease. It's really easy to find, too.

Upon entering, most of the shops in Oracle were closed which made it a really nice quiet. The staff greeted me sincerely, where Erika was already seated down in one of their plush sofa-looking chairs. The first thing that caught my eye in the desserts area were the many colorful candies and pastries. I didn't fancy the candies in this situation (don't get me wrong, I can eat a whole bag of Jellybeans) since it was accessible pretty much anywhere.

First, pastriieessss (insert heart-eyes emojis)

The first thing I tried from the pastries section were these yellow cake bars. What I liked about it was the moistness of the cake. It was also light and it being moist was already good enough for me.

Next were the red velvet cupcakes (which one of their lovely staff offered to us). I was surprised when one of the kuya staff gave it to us - since I read from another blog (I read a couple of blogs which had reviews about Gillian Gail the night before) that the cupcakes costed around 70 pesos each. I was saddened by this and instilled into my mind that the cupcakes weren't part of the buffet. I told this to Erika and she quickly shot an "Pang take out siguro yun kaya may bayad." So I'd like to confirm that THE RED VELVET CUPCAKES ARE FREE!!!! Yay!!! 

(Red velvet cupcake with my unlimited cup of coffee)

The red velvet cupcake was really moist and also had layers of jam (I think) in between.

(A cupcake ferris wheel!)

Next on my to-eat list for pastries was the apple cobbler and bread pudding. Again, one of the kuya staff initiated that he heated the apple cobblers we took (he was really nice that Erika dubbed him as Kuya Rainbow) It had mango ice cream on top when he gave it back for us to devour it. It resembled a hearty apple pie and was also flavorful without sacrificing the amount of juicy apples in it. As for the bread pudding, one of the chef/owners suggested that we try it so like Kuya Rainbow - he had it heated and topped it with also mango ice cream. He insisted that it was supposedly vanilla ice cream, but they were out of stock so the mango had to do.

Next, non-pastries.

(An assortment of gummies, jellybeans and apple cobbler servings at the back)

Panna cotta were one of the items on the table that was foreign to me by taste. Only in Masterchef had I heard it often so it was kind of a coming of age moment for me. Erika described it as "pillows in your mouth" (or something like that! Basta may pillows) and told the tale of how her elder sister considered it as her favorite dessert. It indeed was a nice moment of feeling the sweet cream travel around the insides of your mouth - the sweetness not too much that you couldn't handle, and I hinted a note of vanilla in there too.

Next was the crème brûlée which was also my first time to try. Lo and behold, the nice kuya staff suggested that he torched it first for us. Just like my experience with the panna cotta, it was all the while worth it. The thin layer or caramelized sugar was just ace, more so on the creaminess hiding beneath it.

Both were, as I would say - a gastronomic event for a person who doesn't eat desserts on a daily basis.

Next was the fried palitaw which was served to us by one of the ate staff who was just as nice as the kuya staff. It had peanut butter and sesame seeds and was a good take on a classic Filipino favorite. It kills me that I haven't took pictures of the last 3 desserts. I enjoyed it so much that I had to dig in right away.

Erika had gotten the last mango cheesecake on the display so I didn't bother getting another cheesecake flavor. It wasn't your regular cheesecake since it was neatly cradled in a shot glass and the consistency of the cheesecake itself was above par.

Last on my list were the brazo de mercedes cutlets. Light and sweet - it's your typical brazo de mercedes.

We all know that too much of anything is well... too much. In this case, you wouldn't want yourself to get into a dessert comma where you haven't tried what's left to be eaten. A nacho station, siomai station and "kwek-kwek-nalang-street food-na-talaga-to" section" are also provided to aid you in your quest for a happy tummy.

Nachos were great. Cheese wasn't clumpy. Sad that I didn't try the jalapenos though.

I give Gillian Gail's siomai an A+. Siomai in general - A+. My best friend even joked, "Siomai lang talaga ang pinunta dito e." I think I was able to down at least 8 pieces.

Last review are the marshmallows which were injected with jelly. I heard their coffee was the best flavor they had but they were all out. Although the rest of the flavors were still good.

(An assortment of truffles, mallows and cookies)

Writing this review made me realize that I wasn't able to try their blueberry crepe which was made to order and their ice cream selections as well. I was so caught up with our kwentuhan sesh which made me forget about trying everything else - which goes to show that this is a very fitting place for catching up with a friend, family or even a special someone if you have. Quick segue, the price ranges are from 299 - 499 pesos. If you'd like to have rice meals, I suggest you go for the 399 and 499 meals. We just wanted the desserts so ours only costed for 299 per head.

(View of the busy Katipunan streets from Gillian Gail)

(The interiors were really nice so we had to take a picture or so)

Overall, I consider Gillian Gail Desserts Buffet as to that of a unicorn minus the "it doesn't exist" factor. Because in this case, nice things do exist. Good place, great food, an even better staff, and a humble chef/owner as well. 

(With one of the chef-owners - Dennis Choi)

Rooting to come back soon for more sweet and savory treats.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why Cheating Will Never Be a Trend xx

7:53 AM
Cheating has been around for ages and will still linger if people won't stop knowing that sharing isn't always the better option. 

From a girl who has experienced what it's like to be cheated on - somehow indirectly- there isn't any other worse feeling than being replaced. Thus, making you feel like you weren't good enough, self-esteem turned into dust and not to mention the fear of trusting again. 

There are basically many types of cheating but still unforgivable from any angle you look at it, namely:
1. Those who cheat because they feel lonely, lost the "spark" or basically just fell out of love with their partner.
2. Those who cheat but only did it for the hormones. 
3. Those who cheat because they had this certain "understanding" with another person- making them fall in love with them.
4. Those who cheat but the second partner doesn't know that the person he/she's dating is already taken.
5. Those who cheat and the second partner already knows that the person he/she's now dating is already taken but decided to push through with it anyway.

And many more. Every cheater has his/her own reason so feel free to add your mental list of reasons.

Aside from personal experiences- I've heard stories from people I know and even people I care about- to tv shows, Beyoncé, and the like.

Since I've already mentioned Beyoncé, rumors have circulated for the past months that Jay-Z cheated on her with another woman.... while they were on tour together. I'm not a big Beyoncé fan but I do admit that I've been smitten with her song, "XO" for the past weeks and its Beyoncé- the Queen B getting cheated on? I can't even fathom the thought of Jay-Z finding another woman since he's already with a beautiful and powerful woman in the music industry. Putting those rumors aside, it was evident during the 2014 VMAs that the two have reconciled with a genuine gesture by Jay-Z bringing their daughter, Blue, to the stage with him while he congratulated Beyonée for a star-studded, successful career over the past years.

(Photo from Tumblr)

And now I'm down to my 2 last examples - the Cinemalaya 2014 entry under the New Breed Category: Mariquina, and Kasal for the Director's Showcase category - both films having an intense screenplay regarding cheating.

Throughout watching Mariquina, I felt wavering emotions towards Imelda (played by actress Mylene Dizon and young Imelda by Barbie Forteza). I somehow related to the characters since, well- you probably might get it if you've watched the film. Heavy doses of trust issues, being lost and forgiving was executed in each scene. Long story short, Imelda's father who cheated on his wife eventually committed suicide due to his regrets in life.

(Mariquina Full Trailer)

As for Kasal- which won Best Film in the Director's Showcase category by the way, also dealt with heavy issues regarding cheating. Arnold Reyes who portrayed Sherwin was the man who was cheated on by his long time gay lover- Paolo who was played by Oliver Aquino. It was evident in the film on how Paolo's act of cheating played a huge role in their succeeding relationship as a couple. Sherwin became secretive of his actions, lost a big part of his trust for Paolo making their relationship suffer greatly, to the time even passing a masters grant in a university at Amsterdam was kept from Paolo- who was about to propose to Sherwin. The story ended in an open ending manner, leaving the viewers hanging and making them give their own spin on how the movie should end for them.

(Kasal Full Trailer)

People often make mistakes and it's really just human nature. But sometimes these mistakes are thought of before done- making cheating a very hard pill to swallow. If you aren't happy with your partner anymore, it's better to call it quits than fooling them into a faithful relationship.  

I may not be a big Beyoncé fan but listen to her song XO! Its lyrics' definition of love is pretty much spot on if you ask me. I find this song suited for this blog post since we're talking about love anyway.

I also love John Mayer's take on this song. I don't know why some people are hating on it though. I think his cover is gold.

Friday, July 11, 2014

What Love Is Not

8:16 AM
Since this year’s Live Pure Conference is just a few days before us, I've decided to write something about the main thing concerning the event – love.

Love is… what is love again? Or rather, what is not love about?

Speaking from a Filipino's perspective, remember those - “What is love?” questions scribbled down on your autograph book which was a big hit during your elementary days? As cliché as it may sound, the usual answer I can recall to that tale-old question is, “Love is like a rosary that is full of mysteries,” Feel free to roll your eyes and laugh at the latter statement because yes – these were 10 to 12-year-olds defining that love is a mystery.

Although as I grew older, I came to realize that love isn't a mystery. Neither is it blind nor is in the air – because honestly, 10-year-old me found those 2 statements hilarious but accepted its definition anyway. Falling in and out of love fast and the inevitable getting your heart broken was a practice I started quite young but until now haven’t even mastered yet. Sure it was all fun and games back then, but between those careless and petty almost-relationships I felt happiness and pain. And it was somehow too much for a then 14-year-old to handle.

Over the course of years, I've met people who know a thing or two about what love really is. And of course, you have to have a first-hand experience on the actual shindig.

One thing I've learned is that love is not only based on feelings but rather is mostly up to our decisions. Sure, you can like someone just for a very short period of time just because of the attraction you feel towards that person, but eventually those butterflies will die down and the urge to make an effort will fade. This is where the decision-making comes in – will you still love that person despite the lack of attraction and spark you feel? If yes, then I commend you for owning up to that person. If not, then pack your bags and start reflecting.

Another thing about love that I've learned is that there is no such thing as indispensable love. Love is not an easy thing to get rid of. If it does fade, it wasn't love to start with. But of course it still depends on a case to case basis depending on what kind of love you’re leaning on. Not only am I talking about the romantic side of it, but take a look at your family and friends – is your love towards them in any kind disposable?

The last thing I've learned about love, and I found it in a really unexpected place to begin with – is that attachment is a common misconception for love. If you've watched that episode on How I Met Your Mother when Robin told Ted that, “… the future is scary. But you just can’t run back to the past because it’s familiar.” And reading that line over and over again does make a lot of sense if you think about it.

My best friend told me the other day that familiarity is one of the better comforts known to human. And who can blame us for being ideologically dense for believing that love is the same thing as to attachment but in fact we're just used to having that person around? This, in all honesty - I'm still experiencing.

(Taken at Noriter Café -  Taft, Manila. Written by: a stranger)

I've had my fair share of taking and giving away (quite a lot) of love, feeling attraction towards other people and the like - but one thing's for sure, love should never be in a mediocre extent.

God Himself loved and is still loving us, and we are here to believe that He is the Almighty one - so who are we to treat love as an instant, spur-of-the-moment feeling? More so on the people we try to show our love to. If you want the right kind of love, give out the right kind of love. 

I have still so much to learn about love and these are only some of the few things I've learned and experienced. I also feel blessed that I'll be attending an event solely with the purpose of letting people know what love truly is.

If you're in Metro Manila and is more than interested to know what love is, head on over to the SMX Convention Center on July 13. Bring your family and friends and share the right kind of love!