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Images of Powerless

>> Wednesday, September 28, 2011

According to the weather station, around 20 storms hit the Philippines. Yesterday was storm #16 (if I'm not mistaken). The office advised us to stay home and meet our deadlines. My afternoon class was cancelled which means I had all the liberty to do my work and my homework.

Then power was cut off.

My dad was able to provide internet and power for a whole two good hours, but we had to give priority to the television and the news. I just went online to submit my deadlines (and harvest my crops over at Zombie Lane on Google+ -- be my neighbor!), then I handed over the extension cords to mom. I have an awesome Dad because he made an inverter that converts car battery power to electricity.

With no power, no internet and nothing else to do, I found another battery powered gadget and put it to use.

Cue in the song "Blackout" from the musical In The Heights and let's start the camera clickin'.

Reading in the dark with my booklight

Tried studying with my other booklight, but it didn't work. I fell asleep in an instant.

Our battery-powered radio had a TV channel. So we were all huddled by candlelight by the radio as we listened to the evening shows. We went back to the 80s-90s habit of listening to radio dramas. haha It was a fun set-up.

Little critters joined me in bed and snuggled under the covers. Yeah, I was that bored, I drew on my toenails.

Droplets from the corner of our roof

The candle on the floor cast a wonderful canvas for a shadow play on the ceiling.

The storm is about to leave the country and we're expecting another one on Friday. Stay prepared and safe people.


Dashing Davao

>> Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This has to be the grandest and farthest field trip that I have experienced in all of my schooling experience. Forget the buses because me and 20 of my classmates boarded a plane and traveled to the south of the Philippines, to the land of durian and suha -- DAVAO!

For two nights and two days, we stayed in Davao for class requirement to observe public schools and various DepEd programs. My respect for dedicated public school teachers shot out of this planet. With a minimal salary and allowance, they are able to go from one town to another just to make sure that the students of Davao get the education that they need. If you think teaching is an easy course and job, then you can all feed yourselves to crocodiles. Maaaan, teachers are my heroes.

I'm sure that all the hard work and sacrifices pay off when the teacher sees the smiles of your students. Nothing beats the sight of your students getting the lesson and making a connection from what you are saying to their actual lives.

Besides the school hopping, we were also given free time to check out the city. Besides buying pasalubong for our relatives back in Manila, we visited two tourist spots: Davao Crocodile Farm and Eden Nature Park. Sights to see and experience!

Tribu K' Mindanawan at the Davao Crocodile Farm

Davao Crocodile Farm - yep there were other animals in the farm besides crocodiles

Eden Nature Park


I did not experience any kind of traffic in Davao City.

Flight back home to Manila

The trip to Davao was a wonderful experience. I also met up with relatives from the father's side who are residing there, and spent two dinners with them. It was nice seeing someone familiar in an unknown land. I am in love with the place, even if I lost to eating durian. It's like Manila, but a million times better in terms of trash management, traffic and road congestion. In my two-night and two-day stay there, I only saw 3 buses; where in Manila, I can spot 30 buses with just a blink of an eye. haha I think I can give up living in Manila with a life in Davao, except that I first need to learn the Bisaya language and learn to love that darn durian fruit.

More photos in my Multiply.


The Card Project

>> Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Last week, I got tweets from my lovely ladies, telling me that they my cards have landed on their doorstep. It was a go-signal for me to finally write this entry about my card project.

I like sending mail -- the slow kind. In this fast-paced era, letters are easily sent through e-mail. With just one click, you can communicate with the person halfway around the world. With this technology, it seems that other people are just beside you and anything digital can be exchanged back and forth. Letters, images, videos -- name anything digital and you can have it in a jiffy. All you need is a trusty internet connection and a computer unit.

When email was invented, getting one was like opening a birthday present. I remember being greatly overjoyed if I received an email. My friend Regi and I even promised to regularly send email to each other, recalling the events that happened on that day. Email for us became our first online journaling. I'd read every chain mail sent and religiously forward them to people. I collected email addresses from every person I knew and sorted them by affiliation (school, family, friends, online friends, church friends).

Now, I ignore and delete forwarded email. Yahoogroups are now a thing of the past. Recounting daily events are now transferred to online journals. Building your network happens on social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

It is just fitting to go back to basics -- the joy of sending and receiving snail mail.

I took a weekday off from my usual schoolwork to making specialized cards for four of my friends. The theme for the card project is "Interests," something that tickles their happy mood.


Ian is one of the awesome photographers I know. She also loves her cameras. If I am not mistaken, she has an Canon DSLR and three film cameras (Flexaret, Lomo LC-A, and an SLR). Once in a while, she'd give me pointers on how to take photos. She knows all about the different kinds of film and the different kinds of processing them. She was also the reason why I bought my own Lomo camera. I'll get a Mini Diana and a Fisheye and a Supersampler and and and... soon. I have to overuse my Holga first.

One of Ian's film cameras.

Getting the idea from an image on Tumblr, I created a camera postcard for Ian using texturized paper. I did cut outs from magazines and wrapping paper and put them together to form a camera.

I used a black marker to outline the camera and make it recognizable. I don't know yet if Ian has received the card or if it arrived at her place. haha


I think Kel moved places already because my letter was returned to me by the post office. She used to stay in a dorm while studying to become a doctor. Now that she graduated and is now doing her doctorly duties, I have a feeling that she chose another place to stay. I must tweet her and ask for a new address.

If I were to relate Kelly to something, I would pick four ideas: Starkid, Harry Potter, the color purple and being a doctor. Those four things are the topics that we usually talk about in our letters. I chose the doctor theme for her card since that's her profession and she's really doing a darn good job at it. She has bragging rights to be one, now that she was able to pull a bullet out of a patient!


It's my first time to send something to Alex, who lives on the other side of the Earth. Alex loves them Asians, especially the people who are part of WongFu Productions (check them out, they make awesome online films) and 2PM (a K-pop group). She also loves Harry Potter (she recently got into Starkid... yay!), the Jonas Brothers and the one that brought us an internet friendship, Josh Groban.

I fail at doing people cutouts so creating a card about 2PM, WongFu, Jonas Bros and Josh is out. That leaves me with Harry Potter. We were in the middle of the Pottermore craze (we were all waiting for our welcome letters at that time) so it was fitting to send my own Pottermore welcome letter.

The front flap of the card was patterned to the Quill Challenge. Pottermore allotted seven days for the fans to register to the site. Each day had a Harry Potter trivia question that had to be solved and the answer would lead you to a website. On that website, a white quill on a pinkish background must be spotted which would allow you to finally register your email to give you beta access to Pottermore. I did a cutout of the quill, painted it to look like the quill on Pottermore and made it pop out on the card using paper "elevators."

Once opened, an envelope with a Hogwarts seal is seen. My letter to Alex is inside it. Everything is handmade, including the Hogwarts crest. I just drew shapes for the animals because the details on the crest would take me forever to finish. I sent my card via the slowest owl ever because Alex received the card weeks after she got her official Pottermore welcome email. She was sorted to Slytherin while I was thrown to Hufflepuff.

Again, what the hell is a Hufflepuff?


I think I went overboard with M's card, as I attempted to make a pop-out card for her.

M has a lot of interests. If you look at her Tumblr page, she listed her likes and interests.

I ♥ pretty things, beautiful homes, breathtaking views, Harry Potter, Darren Criss, Glee, Josh Groban, jewelry, NCIS Los Angeles, Criminal Minds, Bones, Doctor Who, and more.

For her pop-out card, I chose "beautiful homes," "breathtaking views" and "more." "More" meaning her new Lumix camera and Starbucks. A doesn't pass for M without getting an iced full leaf tea from Starbucks. She does love her iced tea and her Starbucks very much.

I'm not sure if my backyard is can be categorized under "breathtaking view," but I used on of the prints from my SLR shots for the front of the card. I cut it up in pieces and formed them back again like a puzzle.

Pop! Goes the weasel. A cut out three things appear when the card is opened. She recently bought a camera, just in time for her Josh Groban concert experience. She's satisfied with it because she was able to take awesome close-up shots and HD videos -- which I have yet to see. The frame on the far left is supposed to be a photo of the house exteriors that she loves to post on Tumblr. Aaaand of course, the Venti Starbucks cup of her favorite drink.

I made her card a little bit interactive. I placed a cup of straws on the left side of the card, with one loose strip for M to take and place it in the slot where the straw is supposed to go. I also wrote short instructions.

It was fun making the cards. Mailing cards is really a heart-felt experience, knowing that so much work was put to it before the other person gets it and reads it. Besides the card-making and thinking of materials and themes, there's the act of traveling to a post office, pasting the stamps, and putting the envelope in the right slot. The card is entrusted to another set of people, who would properly sort them in the bins (foreign or local, to which continent) then another set of people who would load it in the airplane to be sent to their respective places. It will then be again sorted before deploying the mailmen to the areas to deliver the mail. It becomes a collective effort by so many people just to send one single card. It's fascinating.


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