Snowboarding in Hakuba, Nagano

OMG! One month of hiatus??? I didn’t even notice that it has been a month since I posted something here in the blog. Let me dust off the place first. *cough cough* I’m sorry for the long absence and as much as I want to give reasons why it happened, it wouldn’t really matter at all coz I’m here now.

Last weekend, I went to my first snowboarding experience in my life. I’ve been living here in Japan for 8 years and in that span of time, I’ve learned how to hate snow. If you’ve been a long follower of my blog, you’d know this for sure. But I’ve always wanted to try snowboarding so when my friend Phoebus invited me to go with his friends for a 3 days and 2 nights snowboarding trip , I didn’t hesitate at all and said yes.

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Me on the summit of Mt. Happoone during our third and last day. It was snowing and by the time we reached the top, the clouds and winds came in and we couldn’t see anything. The height and the zero visibility took the best of me and I cried like a child because of fear. Good thing, my friend Rhea was with me at that time and we were able to manage to go down through our amateur falling leaf boarding skills and a lot of stumbles. Hahaha!!! I don’t think I’d do that again even if I become really good at this sport.

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FACT: The Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort was the venue of the Nagano Winter Sports Olympics last 1998. I kinda feel bad ass snowboarding in the same place where world class pro athletes gathered to play their cards. Hahaha!

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These were some shots I took with my iPhone in the entire trip. We were so lucky to have beautiful weather the whole time. I realized that I didn’t really hate snow. I hate it when it hits and messes up the city.

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This is a cool shot taken by my friend Rhea during a stopover on the way back to Tokyo. I was really sad going home because I had so much fun.

If you wanna see how much I enjoyed snowboarding, here is the third episode of my vlog series “Ano Na, Teh?!” (which I launched 3 weeks ago, thus making me absent in the blog too) which features a clip of me, practicing how to snowboard.

I wanna thank Phoebus for inviting me to this trip and teaching me the sport personally. I remember how I cried when I did my first S and he told me how I’m doing so well for a first timer.

As I’m typing this, my body is still sore from my recent snowboarding trip but I don’t regret going. Hell no! I think I found my new passion. At age 28, I thought I needed to learn something new to shake my world a bit and snowboarding just came on time. I’m still having dreams about it and I can’t believe I’m saying this but I can’t wait for winter to do snowboarding again.

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If you guys are interested to snowboard, here’s a short list of things and reminders that you might need.

* The proper attire (wear, undergarments like leggings, socks and shirt, boots, goggles, bonnet or helmet, neck warmer or a mask that can cover your lower face to avoid goggle tan lines and gloves). You have an option to buy them for your own or rent it in a nearby rental shop in the ski resort. It’s better to rent first during your first time and buy your own stuff once you’ve committed to the sport.

* Some pain relievers like plasters and drink medicine. Snowboarding is a physical sport and falling and tumbling down are inevitable. It’s gonna make your body sore for a long time especially for first timers so it’s best if you have pain relievers with you.

* In relation to the previous tip, a hot bath after snowboarding will be very helpful to calm your tensed muscles and lessen body pain.

* Bringing chocolates and energy-boosting treats will also help for apparent reasons.

* Have the right attitude especially for first timers. Snowboarding isn’t an easy sport. It requires a lot of dedication, patience, balance and awareness of one’s body to fully understand and do it. It actually tested my willingness to learn until I could finally do an S motion with my board.

じゃあね〜!

Marks & Web

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Hello guys! Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I just want to share to you my latest move in skin care. I started taking my skin seriously since I became friends with my girl pals here in Tokyo. I’ve tried a few products here and there, local and imported, for men and for women. The last brand I used almost got my lifetime loyalty until I recently learned about organic products and how better they are compared to those with high chemical compositions which can affect the body later on.

I discovered Marks and Web when I was on my way home from work. It’s a Japanese brand which is very famous for their botanical and herbal skin care and hygiene products and other life style accessories like brushes, organic cotton towels etc. This is the list of what I use as of late.

Fragrance Free Face Washing Foam
This one is for merely washing the face, removing all dirt and excess oil. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t expect it to get rid of acne and pimples because I don’t think it’s chemically made for that purpose.

Herbal Shave Water
Totally recommending this for the guys because it lasts for 2-3 months and it doesn’t have that sting once you apply it to your face like other after-shave liquids.

Moisture Herbal Water
I’m using the herbal water as my toner before putting on the moisturizer.

Face Moisturizer
Super loving this moisturizer because one and a half squirt of is enough to cover your entire face, neck and chest parts. The only downside is its amount because it only comes in small bottles.

Herbal Eye Essence
If you’re looking for something to get rid of those dark circles and eye bags, I’m not recommending this one. However, it’s enough to moisturize the eye area and isn’t strong enough to hurt the eye if accidentally applied on it.

Body and Hand Lotion
This one has my full recommendation because it perfectly moisturizes yet not greasy. I remember applying this lotion on my feet and heels became softer in a matter of three days.

So far, I’m totally enjoying using Marks and Webs and I don’t any reason why I should stop using it. I’ll be posting more reviews here in my blog once I try their other products like body soaps, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner etc. Going herbal and organic can be a little pricey but I just think of the benefits it gives to my body especially in the future. Think less cancer risks.

*じゃあね~*

P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post

Stick To The Now

I’m not a fan of snow but since it’s a good backdrop for outfit photos, I’ll take that as a reason to love it. These ones were taken in FujiQ Highland Theme Park when my friends and I went there last month.
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sweater: T by Alexander Wang
sweatpants: H&M
leggings: UPSTAIRS Shibuya
sneakers: New Balance
beanie: Alexander Wang x H&M
bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs
sunglasses and photos: Kiko Cagayat

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Being the eldest among my blogger friends here in Japan, they sometimes tease me about my age. I don’t really mind it at all but all of us has this side that gets conscious about our number of years. I admit I do. But whenever I ask myself if I wanna go back in time and be younger again, my answer is no.

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To be young again could be great but I’m now in the state of my life wherein I’ve learned how to stick to the now. Youth can be synonymous to being carefree and how wonderful life would be if we could live it that way. But then I feel I’m growing old in a good way. I love that I’m getting all this wisdom from experience. I can say that my younger days were really happy but I’m also loving how my life has changed in so many ways, mostly positive changes. I don’t think I wanna change that for anything.

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The secret to life is knowing that your power is in the present. The past is gone. The future is uncertain. The only thing that we can do something about is the time we have now. If we can let go of the pains of the past, the worries of tomorrow and enjoy the moment we have in our hands, life will be so much easier than we thought.

*じゃあね〜*

FujiQ Highland Theme Park January 2014

Hello guys! My friends Kiko, Satchiko, Kaila, Gilbert and I went to Fuji Q Highland Theme Park last month. I’ve always wanted to go there ever since I’ve heard about the place so when Kaila invited me to go to FujiQ last December when we went to Tokyo Disneyland, I didn’t hesitate to say “YES”.IMG_7264.JPG

It was a cold beautiful sunny Sunday and we met up at Shinjuku station. We took the bus going to the theme park and after about 45 minutes (thanks to no traffic), we arrived in Yamanashi.

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Look at that magnificent Mount Fuji overlooking the whole park.

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FujiQ is world famous for its crazy roller coasters. It has four main roller coasters including Fujiyama (was once the tallest roller coaster in the world), Takabisha, (world’s steepest roller coaster) Eejanaika (4th dimensional roller coaster which means your seat also goes around while the roller coaster itself loops around) and Dodonpa (was once the fastest roller coaster in the world and still the fastest in acceleration during take off). Imagine all of these Guinness Book of World Record holder of roller coasters “abusing” my whole being with their speed, height and all of those shite.

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If someone will ask me what’s something that represent Japan the best, it’s definitely Mount Fuji.

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The Fuji Q crew

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Kaila was filled with glee when she found this Peko Clock Cafe in FujiQ. For lunch, we ate at Pizza La where they serve good French fries.

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Serving you health goth. I don’t really like snow but it’s a good backdrop for my black outfit.

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Aside from the roller coasters, we also took the chance to ride other crazy attractions like Panic Clock, Pizza La and the famous Haunted Hospital which is the 2nd largest haunted attraction in the world. Kaila, Satchiko and I chickened out in the middle of the haunted hospital but Gilbert and Kiko were able to finish it.

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Once of the famous attractions for kids in FujiQ is the Thomas Land which is dedicated for the well known train character and his friends.

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FujiQ memorabilia include Fuji-chan (Mount Fuji character), merchandise, snacks and boobie pudding.

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We spent the rest of the night ice skating which was so much fun before going back to Tokyo. After all the FujiQ shenanigans, my body was all sore. But it was a good and unforgettable one.

*じゃあね〜*   

Hongkong January 2015

Here are some snippets of my Hongkong getaway which is my first travel goal for 2015. I totally enjoyed the whole trip except for the fact that I lost my camera. Thus, all these iPhone photos with VSCO cam enhancement. I felt really down for losing it after 3 years of usage but I chose not to dabble on the sadness. I was rather thankful that I only lost a camera and not my precious life. It made me felt better.

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I fell in love with Hongkong. My jaws dropped in marvel when I saw the modern architecture of the whole city. As much as I love Tokyo, I must admit that Hongkong’s architecture is more impressive. A modern jungle of skyscrapers indeed, I was amazed with how the city managed to maximize the limited space they have.

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 The King of Hongkong films Bruce Lee in the Avenue of Stars with the infamous Hongkong skyline as his backdrop.

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The Central District and the Po Lin Monastery where the famous giant Tian Tan Buddha resides. As the city progresses, a part of history remains in Hongkong.

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When in Hongkong, one should eat dimsum and dumplings. My grade school friend James took me to a street in Jordan where this famous dumpling house is. Too bad I forgot the name of the dimsum place.

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I took with me some of my favorite winter pieces. Hongkong winter was friendlier compared to Tokyo but the wind made it colder for me. No T no shade but I thought it was funny and weird to see people there wearing a down jacket with shorts and summer flipflops in the middle of the cold season. I just couldn’t handle the madness. Is it cold or hot? Come on and make up your mind!!!!!!!!

Knowing that it’s a haven for shoppers, I also visited the famous shopping districts of Hongkong like Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui and the Tung Chung City Gate Outlets. Yet the only thing I was able to purchase was a pair of basic black shorts from Armani Exchange and some goodies for my friends in the Night Street Market in Jordan.

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My Hongkong-based friend from university Ben toured me around the city. It was so great to catch up and shared with him some enlightening talks while enjoying Lan Kwai Fong.

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I love Repulse Bay! I wish it was summer so I could have a little dip in the ocean. But I heard that Hongkong summers are nasty because of humidity. Errrrr no thanks!

And I love that Repulse Bay was dog heaven. There were a lot of K9 friends in the area being walked by their owners and helpers.

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More city shots of Hongkong

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So good to finally eat Twelve Cupcakes and Jollibee again. I almost cried while eating Jollibee because it was a big part of my childhood. *sniff*

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Last dinner at Hongkong International Airport before going back to Tokyo.

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My favorite spot in Hongkong, the Victoria Bay where you can see the most beautiful skyline in the world. It’s a testament of Hongkong being Asia’s World City.

I never thought I’d say this but I really love Hongkong. I’m pretty sure that I’ll come back here not only because I haven’t visited Ocean Park and Hongkong Disneyland (I’m planning to go there with friends next time) but because of the vibrant energy it gives to whoever visits it.

*じゃあね~*

A Guide to Self Confidence

It was a sunny afternoon. My co-teachers and I were talking when one of them asked me,

“How did you become this confident person that you are right now?”

The question actually made me think.

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T-shirt: Uniqlo heat tech
Leather jacket: resale FUGA
Pants: GU Japan
Leather backpack and leather baseball cap: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Shoes: Zara
Photos: Rexcy Domingo

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I was bullied in elementary school. I went to this all-boys Catholic institution where all my classmates picked on me for having an unusual long chin. They were calling me names like crescent moon and stuff and they even told me like I shouldn’t bow down coz once I did it, I would kill myself from getting stabbed by my own chin. Aside from that, I was also bullied because of my flamboyancy. I  even remember my 6th grade adviser (equivalent of a homeroom teacher) getting angry with me and my other effeminate classmates because we’re too gay. At that time, I felt so bad it made me cry buckets of tears that I wanted to leave that school.

After I left grade school, I promised myself no one can ever do those things to me again. Nobody can ever step on me like how my classmates and my homeroom teacher did to me. I went to high school and university and thank goodness, I became one popular kid who was loved by most people including my teachers and classmates, though there were a few who misunderstood by sharp tongue and loudness. But this time, I knew how to protect myself and brush off the haters. So what happened?

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Confidence is a very important factor in life. WIthout it, there’s a lot of things that we can’t achieve. But there’s a bunch of people out there who are all having problems with their self-esteem. Based on my experience, these are some ways how I boosted mine.

1. Know thy self.

You have to be aware of yourself. You have to know the best and the worst things about you, your strengths and weaknesses and your assets and your liabilities. It’s actually better if you also try to understand why and how you become who you are. If there’s one person who should know yourself the best, it should be you. Ever since I was a kid, I knew I was special but during my elementary years, there were a lot of things that made me feel insecure which made me forget about my specialness.

2. Accept and love thy self.

I cried too much because of the bullying but I stopped and examined myself. I believed my chin wasn’t funny and my flamboyancy doesn’t annoy myself. I knew myself more and I came into terms with myself. Once you’ve known yourself, you have to accept who you are. You should embrace your wholeness because it’s you and when things go wrong, the whole world can turn its back against you and all you got is nothing and nobody but yourself alone. It’s very hard to exist in this lifetime when you’re not at peace with yourself.

Once you’ve found acceptance, love comes in. This one may take time because  it takes maturity to finally realize what self-love is really all about. It’s not that kind of narcissistic and egotistic kind of self-love but it’s more of, like what I said, accepting who you are and having peace with it. They even told me like I shouldn’t bow down coz once I did, I’m gonna kill myself.

3. Use your assets and work on your liabilities.

If you think you got the face and body plus the talent, go and be a model. If you’re good at calculating numbers, be an accountant. If you’re good at designing and drawing, do something related to it like painting, architecture or fashion or industrial design. If you can write well, be a journalist, playwright or whatever occupation that has something to do with that. You have to make use of your talents because those are your tickets to success. Things will be easier if you’re doing something that seems to come out so natural from you. And when it comes out from you easily, it breeds that certain confidence in your heart.

On the other hand, there are two things that you can do with your weaknesses. One is working on them. You can go there, study it and turn it into a capability. Because sometimes, we just need to be familiar with something to be able to do it. I suggest that you try doing it because sometimes, it’s just us who limit ourselves and our capacities. But if you’ve already tried and nothing’s happening, you just have to let it go (no music cues happening here, okay?). You’re human and we are imperfect beings. We have to accept the fact that we can’t have everything. That’s why we meet people on the way who can help us with these kind of stuff. And whether you buy this or not, sometimes, these little imperfections are what help us to find the right people in our lives. With that being said, we go to number four.

4. Surround yourself with the right people.

My family always believed in my talent. My grandma specifically would go and brag about me to her friends about my activities in school and my latest achievements. I also have a solid group of friends who stick to me no matter what and they aren’t afraid to spill to me the truth once I’m lost.

When I say “right people”, I mean the people who will cheer for you because they believe in you. They are the ones who are gonna push you up and help you float when you’re drowning. They are also the ones who you can seek advice from during times of confusion. They are also the ones who aren’t afraid to break it down to you once you’re blinded by your ego, emotions and even if you only have bothering booger in your nostrils. They can be your family, friends, mentors etc. They don’t have to be a lot. Choosing the members of your support team is like shopping for clothes- quality over quantity.  Once you’ve done this, you can see yourself in a more positive angle.

At the same time, you need to let go of the people who are toxic to your being. These are the ones giving you metal balls of negativity that don’t help you to walk forward in your journey or drown you in the sea of self-pity and insecurity. You need to stay away from them because they are stepping on your confidence which can’t help you to blossom in to this great person you are destined to be. I’ve met a lot of these people. I would usually feel bad to delete them from my life because I’d love to have peace with others as much as possible. But they weren’t helping me at all so I had to do it even if was hard for me.

5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Mistakes don’t happen just to put us down. We have to see their brighter sides. They happen for a reason and that is to teach as a lesson or two. We need to bump our heads in sharp edges most of the time to see until where can we go far. Once you’ve failed, never hesitate to try again because once you’re familiar with something, it can be easily done the next time.

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Confidence is a vital tool in life. It will help you seize different opportunities that will also help you be the best person that you can be. Fashionably speaking, it can help you in finding your own style. Once you’ve become confident, you’re not afraid to experiment with clothes and find what message or story you really wanna tell through what you’re wearing.

*じゃあね〜*

Resolutions

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T-shirt: Adidas Originals
Hoodie and shoes: Nike
Harem shorts: LATokyo
Oversized zipped hoodie on the waist and leather backpack: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Ranger bucket hat: Funktique Tokyo
Photography: Rexcy Domingo

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Hi guys! Happy New Year! How were your celebrations? I hope it was all merry and for my Philippine-based readers, I hope your fingers are still intact with you. For the benefit of those who don’t know, Filipinos celebrate New Year with firecrackers like how the Chinese do it in the Lunar New Year. Annually, there are numbers of people- from adults to children- who get injured due to this tradition, and sometimes, stray bullets from irresponsible gun-holders. Oops! No intentions to start with negativity in my first post of the year but there’s nothing wrong if I remind people about responsibility. Ok, that’s it!

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These photos were taken on the last few days of last year so I was having second thoughts if I should post this on the first day of 2015. I didn’t wanna start the New Year with an early throwback because things should be moving forward, not backwards. But since January 1st is a Thursday, I might as well just do it.

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This is the outfit that I wore to Disneyland with my blogger friends. Because I was having so much fun, I didn’t bother myself from taking photos for an outfit post which I didn’t regret at all. I decided to have the same look when I visited the Esprit Dior exhibition in Ginza and the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu-seum in Roppongi with my girl Rexcy. The temperature was a bit higher during my Disneyland and Ginza-Roppongi days which allowed me to walk around without a jacket but I knotted that oversized hoodie around just in case it becomes chilly at night (which eventually did).

The t-shirt was given to me by my dearest Emika on my birthday last year. I couldn’t wait for summer to wear it so I decided to put it on my trusted black hoodie with a heated technology undergarment beneath. It just fits with my new bucket hat which I bought in Funktique Tokyo during their second anniversary party. There was a black version of it but I decided to get the white one since I’m eyeing another black hat from somewhere.

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Speaking of New Year, did you guys write your resolutions or goals for 2015? I already did and it includes physical fitness, traveling, branding, business and personal matters. They are small goals but I hope I can achieve them since I was able to achieve most of my goals last year.

And let me say this: I wish for romance this 2015. I usually don’t say this because I feel so desperate and pathetic and I’m actually not in a hurry. However, I don’t see any harm if I shout that out to the universe for a chance of being heard. Yes, I want a handsome, smart, tall, rich and generous partner. Find me already, for goodness sake!

How about you guys? What are your resolutions this year? Is there something specific that you’re excited about this 2015? Tell me.

*じゃあね〜*

PS: Yes, guys! I’m trying out some different stuff, like the text alignments, outfit details etc, here in the blog because it’s the New Year and it’s the perfect time to do some changes. Tell me how you think about it.

The Best Year Ever

Before I start, I apologize for the lack of creativity in the title of this year-ender post. It also sounds like a cliche that every adolescent girl says if you try to speak it aloud. However, I can’t think of a more appropriate title than this one because 2014 is basically the best year ever in my life. So I think you and I need to just deal with it. In addition to that, this is gonna be a lengthy and wordy post with almost 2,000 words. But I hope that you will stick until the end because I poured my heart to it. Ok, here it goes!

2014 was a good year to me. More than the bad, there were a lot of good things that happened. It was so remarkable that I still can’t believe that it’s almost over now. Where did 2014 go? Maybe I was enjoying it too much that it just went down the drain…in a good way. Let this post be a review of how this year became to be the best year of my life.

1. Moving to my new apartment. Doors opened when I moved out of my parents’ house and decided to live on my own in February of 2014. It’s been a plan since I got here in Japan and after years of gaining courage and money, I couldn’t be happier when I finally did it. Moving out and living on my own terms made me realize a lot about myself. Learning to be independent, being responsible and budgeting my own money are all included in that package but the best thing about it is finally having my own space and peace of mind. Like what I said, I grew up in Manila being so noisy outside but when I get home, all I want is a peaceful room to be in. Plus, I get to practice my amateur cooking skills at times.

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My first day in my empty apartment last February

2. Got promoted in my job. After 6 years of working in the same school as a kindergarten teacher, my efforts have been finally rewarded. I got promoted and I am now the current head foreign teacher in our school. I know I couldn’t get the job if two of my senior teachers didn’t leave. I didn’t want to be in a higher position either because I didn’t want extra load of work. But it happened like a bird landing on my shoulder for no reason. Through this blessing, I learned so much about coping with people at work and understanding them. I know there’s more knowledge that will come my way with this new challenge and responsibility and I can’t wait for them.

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Me while waiting for the kids’ graduation ceremony in the silliest way

3. The year of travel. Three years after I first did it, I was able to travel again. My Southeast Asian trip (Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, Singapore for the second time around and Bangkok, Thailand) was one for the books. It taught me so many things about our Southeast Asian friends and their cultures. I’ve seen so much beauty and moreover, I was able to see my best friends again after a long period of time. Traveling, indeed, is something that you spent money on and makes you feel richer. It makes your mind and your soul fuller with all these knowledge and experience you gain from it. I even once said that traveling is better than shopping in a sense that your clothes will get old, damaged and might be even get stolen from you but all that memories you have in a foreign place will always remain and locked up in your heart forever.

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Top row: Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia, Center: Singapore for the second time, Bottom: Bangkok, Thailand

I also went to some places here in Japan like Kozushima Island and Shimoda City in the Izu Peninsula. It made me realize that there are more wonders I need to discover also in my second home.

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My Izu and Kozushima adventures with friends

4. Becoming a fan of RuPaul. RuPaul and his famous reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race has been in my radar for three years but I never really paid attention until this year. I’ve enjoyed every season and episode of the show that’s why I even downloaded his What’s The T podcast with his best friend Michelle Visage. And what a blessing! This podcast didn’t only make me laugh until my bladders bleed, it taught me a bunch of things ranging from beauty, gossip, life, love and relationships. Not taking life too seriously, the importance of vulnerability, meditation and metaphysical truth, enlightenment and others. I truly believe that this contributed on how I see and treat my life now. Subscribing to their podcast and following RuPaul were the best decisions I won’t ever regret for the rest of my life.

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5. Gaining new friends and cherishing the old ones. I’ve met new friends in my life this year and I’m so blessed that the universe continues to bless me with an abundance of good people. I know I’m a hard pill to swallow most of the time but I appreciate the fact that I’m still able to make new friendships and relationships with others. I credit this mostly to my blogging life. I’ve met (well personally and online) amazing spirits through the Internet and it feels like I’ve known them too long. Thank you and welcome to this crazy world of mine!

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From top left: With Misaki Hoshi of Vintage Qoo, With Saki of H&M PR Team, With Natalia of Tokyoholic.me, With Harajuku fashion icon Elleanor, With Ashley, Misato of Funktique and Tokyo-based Singaporean designer Josiah Chua, With Japanaese brand MYOB creative directors Tanimi and Comi, With Yiling and Dann, and with LATokyo team Leo and Eddie

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From top left: With the Philippines top female fashion bloggers Laureen Uy, Tricia Gosingtian and Camille Co, with the Magno siblings Angel, Aemanuelle and Aivan , with my JP-based blogger friends Kaila, Emika, Kiko and Ashley, long time JP-based friends Dhang Corpuz of FilJap Magazine, Mariye, Din, Ogh, Rexcy, Carey, Ashley and visiting Justin, and with Harajuku style icons Elleanor and Hirari Ikeda

But I wanna be more thankful particularly to those people who’ve been with me even way before I came here to Japan. From my elementary and high school clique to university friends, I’ve learned that friendship is like shopping for clothes- quality over quantity. It doesn’t matter if you only have a few friends but what really matters is the fact that they’re the ones who’ll stick with you till the end. They are the ones who’ll cheer and support you all the way and who’ll break it down for you once you lose your way and get blinded with your ego. The people who can do all of the above are who you call true friends. The numbers don’t matter as long as you have a strong wall of these people at your back. And this year, I’m really thankful for realizing who they are in my life.

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From top left: With my best friend Zowie and her daughter/my goddaughter Raya, With high school best friend Micko in Singapore, With my best friends from theater days Joy and Apprelle in Bangkok and with one of my grade school best buddies Jowen in Ginza 

6. Finally understand and experiencing the essence of family. I grew up in a broken family that gave a me a deep wound in my heart that won’t be healed forever. My life will always be an incomplete jigsaw puzzle. But this year, I was able to celebrate most of the occasions with my family here in Japan, especially Christmas and my birthday which I used to celebrate alone or drunk with my friends and neighbors in Manila. That’s why family celebrations don’t really mean a thing to me while I was growing up. I didn’t really have a full understanding of family is. Or better yet, I didn’t have a family  that made me feel belong. Even if my grandparents and my relatives tried their best to fill the hole, they just could not. This year, finally, after, moving out and finally getting my personal space, I realized that nothing beats the presence of family. Though you will need to be alone a lot of times in your life, there will be moments in life life that’s worth sharing with a group of people who know you in a more personal way. And that’s your family.

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7. Finally realizing that I’m a goddamn lucky person and finding happiness from within. When I came to Japan, I had to remap my goals because everything just got swirled by a huge hurricane. I used to hate the fact that I was here and I felt so unlucky and damned because I was getting left behind by my peers who were advancing in their lives with their doctoral degrees and university teaching careers. I wanted the same in my life but I was brought to a foreign path which I thought was too dark. I felt sorry for myself and usually questioned why it happened to me. When I went home to visit three years ago, a wise professor told me that I shouldn’t compare my life to other people because my luck is different from the luck of my peers. I didn’t get it at that time but I certainly do now. I live in a first world country where living is easier compared to where I grew up as a little boy. I have a good job that pays my bills and lets me do whatever I wanna do in life like shopping and traveling. I can do whatever I want in my own terms because I’ve learned how to be dependent on myself. I didn’t have to sacrifice anything in my life and suffer so that others could realize their own dreams. A lot of people are dreaming about the life I have which I used to take for granted. Since then, I learned to appreciate more what I have in my hands. I can dream bigger but I always feel thankful for what’s on my plate now. Through that, I found happiness deep within. It’s the kind of happiness that’s so simple and yet, it sheds a warm light that fills any void in my soul.

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2014 was so good that I’m quite scared what 2015 Year will bring to me. Yet, I learned also this year that the NOW should be the one that always count. The past is in the past and thinking of the future might make you more anxious so the only thing that you have in your hands is the present (nope! I’m not gonna cue Let It Go here). That’s the only thing that you can change and it will only change for the better if you choose happiness. It’s hard to let go of a beautiful past but there’s always a bright promise from the future so I will face 2015 with great hopes.

Have a good year everyone!

“Dear universe, thank you for a wonderful year of blessings that you gave me. I keep all the positivity within me and release all the hurt and pain of the past and may you transform them to an energy called love. Guide my thoughts and feelings so I may face the future with optimism and strength. Let the people I love feel the warmth of my heart and may you also bless them with all good things. Thank you.”

*chu*