Hello perfect vision! (Getting my first contact lenses)

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After years of harboring a fear of touching my eyeballs, I finally decided that it was time for me to try wearing contacts.  I’ve had glasses for almost 20 years now and I’ve always been curious about contacts, but the thought of placing a piece of glass directly on my cornea made me shudder. I’ve been told that it was painless and once you get used to it, you won’t even realize that it’s there – but there’s still the issue of having to touch my eyeball to put it on and take it out. I’ve always imagined myself trying out contacts and having to go to the hospital to get them removed because I’d be too scared to pinch them out myself. The thought of anything touching my eyes bothers me so much that I can’t even put eye drops on properly. I need to use at least 3 drops in each eye because 80% of it runs down my face. And although I’ve conquered my fear of applying eyeliner and mascara on myself (who knew vanity could be such a great motivator) I still can’t handle other people putting eye makeup on me. I would flinch and turn away whenever a hand (that’s not mine) comes close to my eyeball. I’ve been scolded several times by makeup artists at events because it’s so hard for me to keep my eyes open while they line my waterline or do anything with my lashes.

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Congratulations Ezra and Kurt!

I haven’t mentioned it here on my blog yet, but my baby sister got married last week :) I’m extremely happy for the both of them, and I can’t ask for a better brother-in-law. I’ve witnessed their relationship blossom and grow stronger over the past 14 years and I’ve never seen two people more perfect for each other.

If you read my blog, you would know how close Ezra and I are. We share clothes, interests, ideas, friends and secrets. We’ve always been each other’s outlets whenever we needed someone to talk to. The most we’ve been apart was when I lived in Katipunan for my graduate studies, but even then I would always come home during the weekend. We shared a room up until I was 15 and I remember how we used to love staying up, talking to each other. Even when we finally got our own rooms, they were right next to each other, separated only by a thin piece of plywood, and we could just yell through the wall whenever we needed to talk. If it was any other guy I probably would have a hard time letting go and giving her up, but I know that Kurt would take care of her and make sure that she remains close to our family. He’s not only my sister’s husband, but he’s also one of my closest friends, and that makes things a lot easier. The three of us went to the same high-school, and he was even part of my entourage during my debut. I love how they never make me feel left out when we’re together, and how they remember to include me in their plans.

They haven’t shared that many pictures of their wedding on social media yet and I don’t want to spoil it for them by posting photos before they get the chance, so I will leave you with this (which I grabbed from Ezra’s FB page).

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It was a court wedding and it only lasted about 15 minutes. Fortunately, the couple that was supposed to get married after them never showed up so we were able to stay inside the chapel for a few extra minutes and take some photos/videos. Besides, Ezra and Kurt already had an elaborate wedding shoot last January. I’m still working on the blog entry for that, but it should be up by tomorrow.

Congratulations to the happy couple! Wishing you the best on this new chapter in your life :D

My Diamond Princess Experience

Our family went on a cruise around Japan and Korea last month, and it was so amazing that I had to make an entry about it right away. I’ll be posting detailed entries about each day we spent there, but this is just a quick summary of our experience on the ship.  I did something similar for when we went on the Golden Princess last year (read blog entry HERE).  We had such a magical time back then that my parents immediately booked another cruise with them again last October.  Unfortunately, Ezra and I couldn’t come with them because of classes, so they booked another one this May for the entire family.  Both the Golden Princess and Diamond Princess are owned by Princess Cruises, so there were a lot of similarities between the two.

Our cruise started in Yokohama, at the Osanbashi Pier

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Ezra and I were so excited to be going on another Princess Cruise.  This year, Princess is celebrating its 50th anniversary, yay!

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Since we already had our luggage tags prepared, we just headed over to the luggage drop off counter and left our bags there.  After this we sat down and waited for the ship to start boarding.

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Bags at the pier waiting to be delivered to the guests’ rooms

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Ezra and I were assigned to stateroom C724, which was the room my parents had when we went on our Alaskan Cruise – though that was a different ship of course.  But still, we thought it was a funny coincidence.

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Our room looked pretty much identical to the one we had last year.

Since this was our second cruise with them, Princess upgraded us to gold card status :)

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(The blue card at the bottom is from last year’s cruise)

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We also found this “Welcome Back” card in our room

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Aren’t they sweet?  Since we are now repeat passengers, we were invited to the Captain’s Circle Membership Event

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It’s a simple event with cocktails and a raffle draw.  The ship’s captain thanked everyone for choosing Princess Cruises again.  They also gave recognition to people on board that have spent the most days with them.  The winning couple spent over 1000 days at sea already!  I can’t imagine how they did that.  That’s over 3 years of cruising!  So far Ezra and I have a total of 15 days with Princess.  We’ve got a looooong way to go.

This year, my parents got a room with a balcony, so we hung out there a few times during our stay

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This trip was meant to celebrate my parent’s 31st wedding anniversary, as well as Ezra’s birthday.  When you book your cruise, they ask you if there are any special events they should be aware of, so they can prepare a special gift for you.  You can specify the date you want that event celebrated, in case you are celebrating late or early.  In our case, my parents chose to celebrate their anniversary 4 days late, and Ezra celebrated her birthday exactly 1 month later.

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The wonderful crew at the Sta. Fe dining hall presented my parents with a cake on their “anniversary”

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And gave them this card

Ezra also received a card in our room on the morning of her “birthday”

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As well as a cake and birthday song during dinner (again from the Sta. Fe crew)

The staff also decorates your stateroom door with balloons on your special day.  This is what ours looked like since my parents’s room and our room were facing each other:
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(Ezra and I decided to wear matching dresses for her “birthday”)

Our cruise consisted of 4 shore excursions and 2 sea days.  We maximized our sea days (as well as our nights on the ship) by participating in various events and watching shows at the Atrium or Princess Theater.

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On our first sea day, the ship organized a $1000 treasure hunt.  To participate, you had to go to different areas of the ship and have your card stamped before dropping it off at the Atrium for a chance to win.

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INSTABITS : May 2015

May was an extremely busy and eventful month for me.  Besides having loads of things to do at work because of the end of the semester, I also struggled through some very personal issues.  This month made me realize how important it is to have people who will be there for you to support you and believe in you.

During the past years, May would be the time when we would go on vacation because of the summer break, but due to the shift in academic calendar, classes and exams are still ongoing.  However, we didn’t let that stop us from going out occasionally and enjoying the sun.

I kicked the month off with a trip to Laiya with Ma’am Chrys, Sir Marvs and Dustin. (Blog entry HERE, and you can watch the video I made HERE.)

We didn’t have resort reservations so we hopped around until we found one that could accommodate us.  We ended up at the Virgin Beach Resort (which was also where my friends and I went to back in 2013)

Needless to say we took lots of pictures during our outing

We learned that overnight guests can use the resort’s kayaks for free, yay!

Back at the office, Sir Taps, Dustin and I somehow found ourselves all wearing blue on the same day

This month my mom received an award for being an Outstanding San Pableño.  Yay!  We’re proud of you Mama!

The Physics Fair was also held this month.  Here’s a class picture with my C5L and EF6L students during the event.  It was extremely hot that day, but our students seemed to enjoy the games.

My EF6L class rented this pedicab for their game

(Grabbed this from Dustin’s IG.) After the students were briefed and the field was set up, I spent the rest of the time hiding in the shade with Dustin and Sir Taps.

Here’s an old photo of my mom and me which I posted for Mother’s Day.

My parents celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary this month, so I shared this old photo of them in their first apartment.

An LBC delivery man walked in my office one day with this huge box from Proctor and Gamble. It contained a flat iron, an epilator, an ionic brush and about a year’s supply of razors and razor heads.  I haven’t talked about it here on my blog, but earlier this year I was informed that someone stole a photo I took and entered it into a contest. The person who submitted it ended up winning first place with an amazing prize of a vacation worth 5000 Euros. I alerted the organizers (Gillette Venus UK) of the fraud and they eventually sorted it out. They sent me this for my troubles. (You can see the Facebook thread HERE)

To celebrate my parents’ 31st wedding anniversary, our family went on a cruise around Japan and Korea.  We arrived in Japan two days before our cruise started because we wanted time to explore Tokyo by ourselves.

We took a train from our hotel to Akihabara, where I found Summoners War, yay! (Since I wasn’t sure if I would have internet in Japan, I asked Raffy to babysit my account for me while I was gone XD  Thanks Wapeh!)

We also stopped by Shibuya to say hello to Hachiko :)

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Burning sand and freezing water! (Zuma and Playa Del Rey beach)

This entry’s almost a year late, but I suppose it’s alright since I’ve been seeing loads of pictures of my friends at the beach lately.  Our summer break doesn’t start until June, and by then the rainy season will be here.  I’m hoping that my friends and I will be able to schedule a trip to beach before that happens, but if that doesn’t push through then at least I have these photos from last year XD

Kurt took us to two different beaches during our California trip last summer.  Our first one was Zuma Beach in Malibu.

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 We spent the night at W Hotel in Hollywood because Kurt won a free night stay there from his company’s Christmas party

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 Such a “California” photo – convertibles and selfies

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On the way to the beach we saw lots of houses up on the mountains

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I joked that these were all Tony Stark’s houses (because it looks a lot like the area where he lives  in the movies).  Kurt pointed out that he lives in Malibu so it’s not such a crazy thought

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We got there pretty early so there were still lots of parking spaces along the side of the roadIMG_0208

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We expected it to be warm at the beach, but it was actually quite cold.  Ezra didn’t want to take off her jacket and sarong.

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Kurt wanted some “idol DVD” footage, unfortunately he was stuck with us as models, so it didn’t have quite the same feel XD

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Still, he had a lot of fun shooting Ezra running around the beach

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I was excited to go swimming and get some underwater footage with the GoPro, but the water was too cold.  I tried going in up to where the water reached my knees but I lost circulation in my toes.  (It’s the same feeling I get in my hands when I hold a piece of ice for too long.)  There was no way we were going to be able to swim at that temperature so we ended up just playing on the shore.

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We took turns burying each other in the sand

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INSTABITS : January 2015

The first month of 2015 is officially over.  We’re now entering the month of love ❤

Just like the past two years, my first post for the year was a family picture taken on New Year’s Eve. (Which you may have already seen since I also included this in my December INSTABITS entry.)

 

Raffy wasn’t able to make it to our Christmas lunch because of the flooding in Pansol, but he came over after New Years to spend a week with us.  In this photo he’s concentrating extra hard to beat my score in 2 Cars (which he eventually did and now I can’t beat him).

This month I found a YouTuber who does amazing piano covers of popular songs and shares her sheet music on her website. You can check her out HERE if you’re interested. I’m currently trying to learn how to play her arrangement of All Of The Stars, Thinking Out Loud and Let It Go.

Amie, Dustin, Arvin and Symon came over one afternoon to hang out. We spent most of our afternoon playing Just Dance and Band Hero on the Wii.

Ezra, my mom and I went to San Pablo to pick up a dress and some sewing materials. This was right before the fiesta, so there were colorful banderitas everywhere.

I found this adorable iPod case at the San Pablo market while we were there :)

Ninang visited the Philippines this month, so we went to go see her in Marikina. We picked Ckloy up on the way there. Ezra didn’t like seeing us too cuddly so she kept her hand between us.

Lollipop land at SM Marikina

(Grabbed this photo from Ate Jo’s IG.)  Kurt also visited the Philippines this month. Ezra and I went with his family to pick him up at the airport, and he treated us all to a nice lunch at Saisaki afterwards.

After having lunch with Kurt’s family, we went our own ways for a while to do some shopping. Brinky lives nearby so I asked her to meet me at the mall.  Her whole body was in pain (from going Dragon Boating that morning), but she came anyway :D

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Totem Poles in Ketchikan, Alaska – Golden Princess Cruise Day 6

On our 6th day in Alaska, we explored Ketchikan, AKA The Salmon Capital of the World:

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Like the newsletter tells us, Ketchikan is a great place to see authentic totem poles, so we signed up for a tour to the Totem Bight State Park.

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 We debated on whether to see the Lumberjack show too, but we figured one tour was enough for the day

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 We were fortunate enough to find ourselves on Rusden’s bus.  He’s definitely one of the best tour guides we’ve had.  He was funny, knowledgeable and very passionate about Ketchikan’s history.  He clearly loved what he does.  He even baked cookies for us the night before!  We were his first tour group for the season, so we were a bit special ;)

On the way to the park, Rusden pointed out something very interesting about Ketchikan – apparently, they have a lot of these stairway streets in town:

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Do you see it? They’re actual streets with street names and everything, but they’re essentially just a flight of stairs.

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 Here’s another one

Totem Bight Park was a short drive away.  On our way there, we enjoyed the view while Rusden told us stories about his experiences when he first moved to Ketchikan

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We arrived at the park shortly

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 It was extremely cold that morning!  We were totally unprepared!  I mean, I know that we’re in Alaska and all, but so far all the other places we went to (aside from Glacier Bay) had been pretty warm. I thought Ketchikan would be the same so I just wore a dress and stockings.

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 My poor mom shivering in the cold while she listened to Rusden’s stories.  He gave us a brief history of the totem poles and explained what each one was used for.

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 He also showed us the clan house where the Native Americans had their banquets, feasts and meetings

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