Wednesday, December 25, 2013

christmas after yolanda

During last night's midnight mass, Fr. Edgar said, "There is something special, something unique, something memorable about Christmas 2013 in Tacloban." And I couldn't help but nod in agreement.

Indeed, this year Christmas is more special because we need something tangible to uplift our battered spirits after the devastation our city suffered from Yolanda. And we have more to celebrate and be thankful for - not only the birth of our Savior, but also because we are among the fortunate ones who lived to tell the tale. 

Every year, I'd complete the 9-day Misa de Gallo, and attend the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. And usually I'd just be at home with my family on the 25th, or hang out with my closest friends. I seldom go to mass on Christmas day, but today, I did. 

As Fr. Edgar said last night, this is probably a once-in-a-blue-moon, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The opportunity to hear mass conducted by the Papal Nuncio. Sacred Heart is and always will be my home parish, for it is the only church where I can attend mass and come out after feeling blessed. I never feel comfortable hearing mass at Sto. Niño because it's always congested, and it doesn't give me the familial feeling that I always get at Sacred Heart.

But today I was there, and I was getting irritated by the ill-mannered kids sitting beside me (who were only there because of the relief goods they gave away after the mass, I think). Plus,the state of the church is just depressing. Parts of the roof were blown away, and were covered by tarps, but still, rain is pouring in and the floor is flooded with rainwater. The benches were all wet, but I didn't care. 

I purposely sat near the center aisle, fourth row from the front; just so I'd get a better view. It happened by chance, since I was staring, but as the walked down the aisle, the Papal Nuncio smiled at me. And I swear, a sense of calm came over me. And I had this feeling that things are gonna be just fine.

It was such an honor to be able to hear mass presided by the Pope's ambassador to the Philippines. Feels like the blessing came straight from the Vatican. I wanna say thank you to Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto for spending Christmas with us.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

a very late yolanda-induced rant

Ever since I got out of Tacloban, people would ask me if I'm ok, and I'd say yes. Because really, what else is there to say? Saying no would lead to more questions, and I'd end up recapping what we went through.

But instead of asking me if I'm ok, why not ask me how I'm really faring? Because in reality, I am not. We Yolanda survivors are not ok. We are not fine. But I do know we are strong, because we were able to face the worst storm our country has ever faced, and came out standing, albeit battered and broken.

Try living out a category five-likened typhoon. Try having your house flooded up to the second floor. Try looking out the window and see a pick up float by. Try watching 3 men on a roof pulling another man who was being dragged by the storm surge to safety. Try watching roofs peel from houses. Try watching people loot from stores, and wonder where they'll hit next. Try living out in fear, as looters were getting more aggressive each day. Try fuctioning with almost zero sleep because you're afraid that looters would come in while you were sleeping. Try watching people steal from your house, ransack it, and being powerless to stop it. But that isn't even the worst part. The worst part is not knowing how your friends and relatives are, if they are alive, dead or missing, because there is absolutely no way of communicatung with anyone, unless you meet them accidentally while going around Tacloban.

I consider myself lucky, as my story is not as tragic as most people's were. Yes, we got flooded. Our house was damaged. We had little food and little water, but at least we had a roof over our heads. We had to give up the luxury of bathing daily (disgusting, I know), for we had to save water. Food must be rationed carefully, because we didn't know when we'll be able to buy more (turned out, we won't be able to because looters went thru groceries like ants). We had to sleep in total darkness, because flshlight power had to be conserved, and we dare not leave a candle overnight for fear of starting a fire.

We were blessed to have other people help us. I owe a lot to Alexis' family, for including us in their plans to leave Tacloban. I'm also thankful to friends and families who offered help, who gave us clothes because we left Tacloban with so little stuff. I'm grateful to those who gave us financial assistance to help us with the repairs for our house. I was blessed with a generous employer, for Maybank gave me the biggest assistance, ever. I'm also thankful for my family in Bacolod, and Canada, who sacrificed the income they would have gotten from the branded clothes they were supposed to be selling. Ultimately, the best part for me is not getting out of the warzone. The best part is knowing that people care.

Tacloban is a nice place. It may not be that famous and well-known, but I do love it. It is a big city, but it has a small-town vibe. You go around downtown, and chances are you'd bump into someone you know. There's minimal traffic, and every place is accessible either by walking or by public transpo. Our province, Leyte, have different tourist destinations. And if you'd prefer beaches, you can just cross over to our neighboring island, Samar.

That's why walking around downtown after the typhoon is just heartbreaking. Most of the houses were damaged. Electric posts were down. Cars lay on top of the other. Debris was everywhere.

I was just lucky that I never saw dead bodies, at least not until we were on our way to the airport 3 days later.

Our government received a lot of negative feedback. And I agree with most of them. I do not blame the local government, however. They tried. And they were victims, themselves. I wouldn't even blame them if they left the city, for I know they have the means to do so. And yet, they stayed. Maybe because it's their obligation, but I believed they stayed (yes, they left to secure their families and children, but they went back) out of love for the place they call home.

Our national government, however, could've done more. But what happened? Military came in too late, and even when they arrived, they were unable to stop the rampant looting. The president came in the first day, handed out several bottles of water (for photo ops, maybe), walked out when someone asked for Martial Law, and left. Mar Roxas was there, and guess what he was doing when we saw him on our way to the airport? He was in the middle of the road, directing traffic (or causing it, more likely). I mean, really. What was he doing there? He has men to do that, why do it himself? Photo ops, again, Mr. Aspiring President 2016?

And I won't even mention the Korina-Anderson debacle, for that would surely be an even longer rant. Let me just say that I'm on Anderson's side, and his comment on how strong we Fiipinos are touched me and brought tears to my eyes when I read it on the newspaper.

Donations are pouring in, both in cash and in kind, but where do they go? I have friends who never left Tacloban, and they tell me that relief goods are not being distributed properly.

I saw pictures on Facebook, where the noodles were repacked with the yellow ribbon (the symbol of the Aquino administration), and a pack of relief goods bearing our VP's name in bold letters. Gentlemen, this is not the time to promote your name or political party. People are in dire need, children are starving. Save your campaigning for the elections. If you showed compassion, true service to your country, then let that speak for itself. I'm sure when the time comes people would remember you for that.

And please stop holding foreign donations at customs, and subjecting them to tax. Those are donations, for God's sake.

It's shameful. The whole world is watching our government's corruption and inadequacy. To quote what I read on Facebook, "I'm proud to be Filipino, but I'm ashamed of our government."

Now, I didn't write this to bash our government, to attract attention, or to gain pity. I'm ranting because I can't believe how inconsiderate and tactless some people are (and if you're reading this I hope this not-so-subtle hint hits you right in the face). I'm ranting because I can't unload on my friends, because they have problems of their own. I'm ranting because 18 days (did I count right?) after Yolanda, I'm still feeling as lost and as unsettled as ever.

I just wanted to lock myself in my room, and do nothing but sleep and cry. I got the flu a day before Yolanda, which worsened because I got wet both from the flood and the rain. I'm glad my voice is back, but despite the antibiotics and meds I took, my cough just won't go away. My body still aches, and I don't know if it was because of the flu, or the heavy stuffs I carried up to our rooftop. I still have bruises, some have already healed and faded, but I still have a big dark one on my knee that still hurts (should I be worried?). My cuts have healed to, and I shall consider them as battle scars.

I just want to rest, to do nothing, to let my mind and body heal. But I never had that luxury. I was lucky our company reassigned us here temporarily, so even if my body was complaining, I went back to work a week after Yolanda. You might think a week of rest is enough, but I wasn't able to rest those days, for there were many things we had to do, still.

So, work it is. Because our store was hit hard. And our tenants were hit hard. There are so many repairs to be done, and money is tight. And even if I don't want to work, I needed the steady income it would give me.
I'm just lucky my company is generous, and my department heads are all understanding, compassionate, and just plain awesome.

This is not purely ranting, however. Despite all my complaints, I am still able to wake up and thank the Lord everyday.

I am alive. My parents are alive. My parents saw firsthand how much I love them, and how much I want us to be together (got very hysterical when my Dad told me he'd be staying in Tacloban all by himself while my Mom and I evacuates to Manila). No one in my immediate family was harmed. Our helpers and their families are ok. My closest friends and their families are all accounted for. No one I know intimately has died or is missing. We were able to get out of Tacloban before everything went crazy. We still have a house to get back to (it needs a lot of repairs, but we'll cross that bridge later). My dogs are being taken care of. I found out who truly cares for us. My bookshelves and my books were all intact (this may seem petty to you guys, but I have a lot of books and my collection cost me a lot of money over the years). And the list goes on and on.

I'll be flying back to Tacloban with my Dad tomorrow (thank you Ma'am Sue, Sir Joel, and Ma'am Fides for granting my leave request on such short notice) to check on our house, and do partial clean-up.

I want to go home, permanently. I hate Manila, no offense to those who live here (but I don't hate it when I'm only here for my usual vacations). I hate the traffic, I hate the rush hour. I hate how it takes 1 hour to reach a place that's supposedly only 15 minutes away. I hate how congested this place is. And this is very shallow of me, but I hate going around the malls, seeing something I like, and not being able to buy it because our money is being set aside for the more important matters.

It is my fervent wish to be able to spend Christmas at home, but even now I can see that it would be a tough wish to fulfill.

I'm hopeful, though. For a lot of things. For Tacloban to emerge from this destruction, stronger and better. For the people to move on, and use this experience to pave their way to success. For us to be able to finally go home and get on with our lives. :)

Posted via Blogaway

UPDATE: I'm sorry for the multiply typos, but I composed this using my smartphone, and typing a really long-ass post is difficult to proof read on such small screen.

Friday, September 13, 2013

blogger app

I've recently discovered the Blogger app for Apple devices (or is this fairly new?). But anyway, I can't say how glad I am to finally have this. Hopefully, I'll be a more active blogger again.

I mostly use my iPad, and my laptop seldom gets turned on. So this app is perfect!

Currently at work, so I'll keep this one short. Just a small update on my boring life. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Why one should never judge a book by its movie.

Yes, I am really doing this. Because I am a such a nerd, and I really need to get a life. 

So how do I do this, and where do I even begin?

1. Grover was searching for Pan, and like most satyrs who did before him, followed the scent of nature exuded by the fleece. Of course, it wasn't Pan he found, but Polyphemus. He pretended to be a female cyclops and was preparing a wedding dress slowly to stall the "wedding". He created an empathy link so Percy was having what he thought were dreams but it was actually Grover trying to communicate with him to ask for his help.
2. Percy and Tyson met at Meriwether College Prep where they're classmates. Tyson is a homeless kid, and the school adopted him as a community service project. He did not live in the woods. He lives in a cardboard refrigerator box in an alleyway.
3. Annabeth summoned the Chariot of Damnation on the way to camp. And she did it not by whistling, but by shouting something in Ancient Greek and throwing a drachma to the asphalt. It wasn't yellow, it was smoky gray. At least they got the coordinates right, though.
4. The camp was already under attack when Annabeth, Percy and Tyson got there.
5. Where the hell was Tantalus?
6. Why wasn't Chiron blamed and fired for the poisoning of Thalia's tree?
7. Tyson was supposed to be claimed by Poseidon at camp.
8. Chariot races and Stymphalian birds. Where were you?
9. Clarisse consulted the Oracle, not Percy. And speaking of which, Percy was told about the prophecy, but he didn't hear the full version of The Prophecy until the fifth book. And it said "A halfblood of the eldest gods, shall reach sixteen against all odds. And see the world in endless sleep. The hero's soul, cursed blade shall reap. A single choice shall end his days. Olympus to preserve or raze." Sixteen, not twenty. And the cursed blade was definitely not Riptide. Plus the history of the blade was just wrong.
10. They did not seek out Hermes, Hermes was the one who approached Percy. He did give them the thermos, and a set of vitamins, but no magic tape.
11. There were three Hippocampi. What happened to the two?
12. The Princess Andromeda was not a yacht. It was a cruise ship. They weren't taken as prisoners. And what Luke said about digging into the depths of Tartarus for Kronos? Pfffft. Kronos is slowly reforming. With every recruit who pledges to their cause, a small piece appears in the sarcophagus.
13. After escaping the Andromeda, they went into one of Annabeth, Luke, and Thalia's past hideout. There they fought a Hydra, with Clarisse arriving aboard the CSS Birmingham just in time to save them.
14. They passed Charybdis, but where the hell was Scylla? And they weren't sucked into the Sea of Monsters. The ship exploded; they got separated. Annabeth and Percy washed ashore on Circe's island "spa" and Circe, man-hater that she was, turned Percy into a guinea pig. The vitamins Hermes gave them turned Percy back, along with the other guinea pigs, one of whom was Blackbeard. They stole Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, and left the island.
15. A cyclops did not kill Thalia. They got delayed going back to camp because a cyclops tricked them, allowing the other monsters to catch up to them.
16. Island of the Sirens, anyone?
17. Polyphemus did not eat his sheep. He has a flock of them. And when they reached his island, Clarisse was also already a captive. When she heard about Polyphemus marrying Grover, she said he was a satyr which made him very angry. He threatened to eat Grover, and marry Clarisse instead. 
18. Annabeth donned her invisibility cap and used The trick Odysseus used, taunting him about Nobody. She wasn't stabbed by that scorpion-like tail, Polyphemus caught her and dropped her head-first into the rocks. The fleece did heal her, though.
19. Tyson survived the blast, and was found by Rainbow, one of the Hippocampi. Both of them were searching the Sea of Monsters looking for Percy and Annabeth before finally arriving at Polyphemus' island.
20. Clarisse brought the fleece back to camp. Luke caught up to Percy, Annabeth, Tyson, and Grover just about after Clarisse left. Luke never got the fleece.
21. Chiron and his fellow centaurs attacked the Princess Andromeda. Party ponies!
22. Kronos did not re-form. Yet. 

I wonder if I missed anything.

Granted, I don't care if they don't follow the book chapter by chapter. Even Harry Potter changed some of the scenes to fit into the movie.

What frustrates me is that they MESSED UP the storyline big time. So what happens on the third movie? Luke miraculously survived being trap with Polyphemus? Kronos reforms yet again? And what about the Great Prophecy? It was supposed to be fulfilled on the fifth and final book. What happens then? 

Aside from Harry Potter (because, who doesn't love HP?), Percy Jackson remains to be one of my favorites series. Harry Potter was great, and I did grew up with it, but wizards and magic aren't just my thing.

Greek mythology, however, is. I love the stories about the gods, and the way Rick Riordan incorporated it into the modern world is just awesome. This is why I really hated the way they turned the book into something not worth watching.

Sorry movie fans. I just had to.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

recently read - may 2013

  • Inferno 
  • The 5th Wave 
  • The Program 
  • Legend 
  • Prodigy 
  • Life Before Legend
  • Matched
  • Crossed
  • Reached 
  • The Selection
  • The Elite 
  • The Prince 
  • Razor Sharp
  • Walking Disaster
  • The Last Letter from Your Lover
  • Vendetta
  • Love Irresistibly 
  • Soul Possession
  • Weekend Warriors 
  • Fast Track
  • Cross Roads 
  • The Jury 
  • Deja Vu 
  • Beautiful Stranger 
  • Collateral Damage
  • Lethal Justice
  • Someone to Love
  • Vanishing Act
  • Home Free
  • Just Remember to Breathe
  • Free Fall 
  • The Trouble with Love 
  • Fool for Love 
  • Seeing is Believing
  • Game Over 
  • Burning Rubber 
  • Deadly Deals
  • The Best Man

maybe sometimes it's ok to judge a book by its cover

We were told early on to never judge a book by it's cover. Of course, this English idiom, according to Wikipedia, is a metaphorical phrase which means "you shouldn't prejudge the worth or value of something, by its outward appearance alone."

Now, literally speaking, we shouldn't discount a book just because its cover is ugly is hideous isn't pleasing to the eye.

I've been known to break this rule every now and then.

I'm not a picky reader. If you recommend a book saying it's good, chances are I'd add it to my reading list and get to it sooner or later. I do have specific genres I stick to. I'm a fan of all things romance (I mean, come on, who isn't?) and chick-lits. However, my ultimate favorite would be suspense, mystery and crime; mostly law (John Grisham, etc.), forensics and police work (Tess Gerritsen, JD Robb, etc.).

I also read young adult fiction - I literally grew up with JK Rowling's Harry Potter (which is THE ultimate, in my own opinion). And I'm a fan of Rick Riordan's books, too. I read a few fantasy books, such as Abbi Glines' Existence Trilogy, but that's about it.

I was never a fan of Dystopian novels, until about recently. And even now, I'm still not sure if I'm a fan per se, but I do enjoy it.

The first Dystopia-type books I've read was the Hunger Games Trilogy, and I was a bit late in that. I had no actual plans of reading it, but last month, I finally gave in. It opened up a whole new world for me, and that was the start of my Dystopian adventure. Friends gave me more recommendations, starting with Veronica Roth's Divergent, and Lauren Oliver's Delirium Series.

I preferred to choose on my own, though. I was still undecided when I saw Kiera Cass' The Selection. Now, if you've seen this book, then you can see why I was attracted to the cover.

Isn't it pretty?

So I read it because the cover was nice, and I continued reading it (even finishing the 2nd book and the novella) because the story was good.

This is a very Dystopian month for me. After Kiera Cass, I moved to to Ally Condie's Matched Trilogy, Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave (sadly, I didn't like this), Suzanne Young's The Program, and the first two books of Marie Lu's Legend Trilogy.

Dystopia aside, I also discovered lots of authors this way. I've been "judging" books by its covers way back, and from time to time, I'd pick up a book with an author I've never heard of. And despite being unfamiliar with the author and the way he/she writes, I'd read that book because I liked the cover. If I didn't like the book, then no harm, no foul. But if I did, then I can add another author to my must-reads. I think it's a win-win situation for me.

So maybe, just maybe, sometimes, something good comes out of judging a book by it's cover after all.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

kindle giveaway from inspired kathy

Inspired Kathy of is giving away a Kindle Fire! =)

May Kindle Giveaway

Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
  Or $199 Gift Card (International)
  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Sponsoring Bloggers & Authors
  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Girls with Books
  4. Just Bookin' Around
  5. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  6. Books, Beauty and Bodacious Deals
  7. Author Emma Michaels
  8. Page Flipperz YA
  9. Lori's Reading Corner
  10. Oh, Chrys!
  11. Author Josh Baker
  12. Author Roxanne Crouse
  13. Eve's Fan Garden
  14. Author Elizabeth Isaacs
  15. Chapter Break
  16. Buku-Buku Didi
  17. Molly & Mel's Obsessions Book Blog
  18. Author Jennifer Laurens
  19. Author MK McClintock
  20. Bookhounds
  21. Step Into Fiction
  22. Author Lena Sledge
  23. Author Taylor Dean
  24. Leisure Reads
  25. Libby's Library
  26. A Bookish Escape
  27. Ramblings of a Diva Book Nerd
  28. Suspense Author Kim Cresswell
  29. Suzy Turner, YA Author
  30. Books Unhinged by StacyHgg
  31. Author Lori Verni-Fogarsi
  32. Fae Books
  33. Word to Dreams
  34. Kid Lit Frenzy
  35. Author Tressa Messenger
  36. Auggie Talk
  37. Phantasmic Reads
  38. Kerry Taylor
  39. Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
  40. Marissa's Space

Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). Ends 5/31/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

can't wait for my new kindle

I'm moving on. I've been in denial over the past few months, unable to accept that my Kindle isn't working anymore (yes, I'm one of those weird people who get attached to inanimate objects). But now I'm finally moving forward.

I contacted Amazon's support team by chat, and they placed the order for me. I wanted a brand new unit, but as a replacement for my damaged Kindle, I have the option of getting the refurbished unit PLUS a 20% discount. Yes, it's not brand new, however it's like I'm still getting a new unit since a refurbished unit looks and works like new, and it also comes with a 1-year warranty.

And I know that there a more high-end units available, like the Touch, Paperwhite and Fire, but I still chose the cheapest and simplest one. Yes, I am on a tight budget, that's not the main reason, though. I simple prefer a unit with page-turning buttons at the side.

I ordered on May 16, and had it shipped to my boyfriend's brother-in-law who's currently at the States. Yesterday, Lex told me that my Kindle is already with RY. Granted, I won't receive it til he comes home late June, but still.

I'm so happy that I was able to save a couple thousand pesos on my purchase (on eBay Philippines, Kindles are usually priced around 4000-7000 pesos each, depending on the unit). I was able to get mine for only $51.45 (that's roughly 2000+ pesos), and Tamryn, the support who placed the order for me, kindly waived the shipping fee for me.

On another note, Tamryn told me that she'd email me a pre-paid post label so I could ship my old Kindle back. They'd be the one to recycle it. When I mentioned that the unit is here in the Philippines, she told me that they'd refund the shipping cost, but if it is too much hassle, she told me to recycle it in a safe way. I opted to keep it, but I'm not recycling it. No, I'm keeping it as a souvenir. Maybe I'll start my Kindle collection. =)

So now, because I had a little extra from the money I set aside, I'm currently browsing thru the Amazon website looking for accessories. =)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

recently read - april 2012

  • Twisted Perfection
  • Hot Ticket
  • The Silver Linings Playbook
  • I Choose You
  • Unmaking Hunter Kennedy
  • Stealing Parker
  • Trust in Me
  • Things I Can't Forget
  • The Hunger Games
  • Rock Hard
  • Emancipating Andie
  • Snowed In
  • Hawthorne, Rachel
  • Make it Last
  • Mockingjay
  • Fever Dreams
  • Selling Scarlett 
  • Catching Fire
  • Calculated in Death 
  • Running Time
  • Backstage Pass
  • Double Time 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

i guess this is goodbye..

I'm a well-known bookworm among my peers. I'd read almost anything I can get my hands into (well, except for textbooks - they bore me), and I'm usually seen with a book, even way back my elementary and high school days. I'm the student who always carries a novel with me, I knew who Albus Dumbledore was even before JK Rowling's books became a worldwide phenomenon, and I'm probably the only one in class who never complained about our quarterly book reports.

In this day and age of technology, I guess it came as no surprise when I was the first among my friends to get a Kindle. I prefer reading an actual book, but back when I was unemployed, books became an unnecessary expense. Of course, it didn't stop me  from buying them, but even on sale, it still cut a huge chunk out of my budget. It was by chance that I discovered Amazon's Kindle. And from the very first time I read about it online, I knew that I just had to have it.

Of course, buying it was a problem. I don't know where I can buy it here in the Philippines. I thought about buying it straight from Amazon's website, but I figured the shipping fee would be expensive. So I decided to wait it out. And good thing I did, too. Last February 2011, Mom went to Singapore with her brother, and lo and behold! She brought home my very own Kindle

For almost 2 years, I was never without that gadget. I bring it almost everywhere with me (yes, even when I have to go to the comfort room). I was so proud of that baby, proud of the fact that I owned something most of my friends never heard of. I loved that little thing.

That's why it breaks my heart to say goodbye to this nifty gadget, my bestfriend, my reliable companion. 

It started having problems late last year. While I'm reading a book, it would suddenly freeze up, then it would restart on its own. And just when I thought all is well, it would freeze up and restart all over again. I contacted Amazon support, but none of the troubleshooting tips they gave me worked. So I had to stop using it.

Sometime last year, I bought an iPad Mini. It now doubles as a tablet, and my primary e-reader. 

But despite having a new gadget I can use for reading, I can't seem to let my old Kindle go. A couple weeks ago, I picked it up but when I slid the sleep button, it won't turn on. I tried charging it, but it still won't power up. So I contacted Amazon support again, and they said that my Kindle's issues can't be resolved. They provided me with replacement offers, though. I can buy a refurbished Kindle (it's "like new" and also comes with a one-year warranty) with discount.

I opted for the Certified Refurbished Kindle (I think some call this Kindle 4) that costs $59 that became $47.20 because of the discount. I'm having it shipped to my boyfriend's sister's husband who's in the States right now, and he'll bring it home to me.

And the customer support I chatted with was so nice. She gave me an option of a $13.98 2-day shipping or the free super saver shipping, so of course I chose the free one, but then she said, "Actually I will leave it on 2-day shipping. I have waived the shipping fee for you." How's that for awesome? Thank you, Tamryn.

For only $51.45 ($47.20 for the unit, plus $4.25 tax), it's a steal. I can't wait!

So I guess this is the end of the road for us, buddy. We had fun together, but nothing lasts forever, so.. Thank for almost 2 awesome years together. I'll never forget you.

RIP Kindle 3
February 14, 2011 - May 16, 2013
You will be missed.

Monday, April 29, 2013

recently read - january - march 2013


  1. Fallen Too Far
  2. Waking Up to Boys
  3. The Secrets of Boys
  4. The Perfect Boy
  5. Forbidden Boy
  6. The Other Boy
  7. Flirting with Boys
  8. Already Home
  9. Cut and Run
  10. Betrayals
  11. Midnight in Death
  12. Second Chance Summer
  13. Interlude in Death 
  14. Overprotected
  15. The Lady Most Willing...: A Novel in Three Parts
  16. Shades of Gray
  17. Bittersweet
  18. Perfect Fit
  19. All She Wants For Christmas 
  20. Back to You 
  21. Hometown Girl
  22. The Racketeer
  23. A Rare Gift 
  24. The Litigators


  1. Just for Now
  2. The Vincent Brothers 
  3. While It Lasts 
  4. Because of Low
  5. Breathe 
  6. The Vincent Boys
  7. Abandon 
  8. Dark Sky 
  9. On Fire
  10. Hurricane


  1. Cold Dawn 
  2. The Boyfriend League
  3. Take Me
  4. Tempt Me 
  5. Suite Dreams
  6. Try Me
  7. Immortal Ever After
  8. Playboy Prankster 
  9. Slow Burn 
  10. On The Move 
  11. Total Control 
  12. To The Limit 
  13. Dangerous Curves 
  14. On The Edge 
  15. What Happened to Goodbye
  16. The Truth About Forever
  17. The Valentine's Arrangement
  18. Luscious
  19. Crazy Thing Called Love
  20. Love Unrehearsed
  21. Love Unscripted 
  22. Caribbean Cruising
  23. Eighty Days Yellow
  24. Beautiful Bastard 
  25. Never Too Far 
  26. Ceaseless 
  27. Predestined 
  28. Existence

Thursday, April 25, 2013

confessions of a bookaholic part 2

I'm a The Hunger Games Trilogy late bloomer. I know the first book was released 2008, and it became even more popular when the movie came out on 2012, but I just wasn't feeling it, you know?

All my friends know what a bookworm I am, and almost all of them kept asking me if it was good. And I kept getting these shocked looks when I told them that I haven't read it, and that I've no plans to read it. 

It's quite known that I'd read absolutely anything (well, except for Sidney Sheldon, Stephen King, and a handful of other authors I really don't like, but that's another story), but it doesn't mean that I'd read everything. I'm open to trying authors I've never heard before, and despite the saying "don't judge a book by it's cover", I've been known to pick up a book and start reading it just because the cover's pretty.

I don't read books because everybody's reading it. I've never been known to jump into a reading bandwagon. And there are certain times when I've already read a book even before it became popular. Case in point: The Twilight Saga. I've finished the first three books, and was waiting for the release of the fourth. I even told my friends to read it, because while I never thought of it as a really good book, I felt as if it has potential. But did anybody listen to me? No. And then when the movie tie-in was announced, well it was pretty much everyone could talk about. And it irked me. It irked me so much that when the books were all sold out, I gloated over the fact that I have all four books, in hardbound. And no, I didn't allow then to borrow my copy. (Bitter, huh?)

So what made me change my mind?

As I've said on my Instagram post, I had four reasons for reading it.

Number one would be because I ran out of books to read. I have several books that I downloaded from torrent, but since I'm not familiar with them, I decided to skip them first. Hunger Games has been on my Kindle, then my iPad, ever since the books came out. So I told myself, what the heck and just got on with it.

Two, was for my friends to stop telling me "but you're a bookworm, you love to read, how come you never read Hunger Games?" blah blah stinking blah. It's like I'm committing a grave sin, the way they look at me when I say that I don't like to read it. 

Reason number three would be because I'm tired of defending and explaining myself that being a bookworm  doesn't necessarily mean that I'd be devouring every available book there is.

And lastly, number four would be to satisfy my curiosity. Almost all my book-lover friends read it, and they kept saying how good it was and all that shit. So I decided to see for myself what the hype was all about.

So I finished all three books in two days, but since I'm a naturally fast reader, time isn't a good indicator of how good the book was. I thought it was good enough to keep me reading, but frankly, I got tired of Katniss and all her self-centered, self-loathing thoughts. The first book was ok, but when I got to the middle of the second book, I got bored already. I was hoping that Katniss would die in the arena so that the book would finally end (despite the fact that Katniss is the main protagonist, and let's face it, the lead characters seldom die). By the time I got to the third book, I was already speed-reading. I expected the third book to have more action, and in the story it did, but it was just dragging on and on and on. I'm so glad when it finally ended. I did wish for a much more detailed epilogue, though. I felt like it left me hanging.

All in all, it was a good book. Definitely a step up from the Twilight Saga (which was so ugh), but still worlds away from my favorites: JK Rowling's Harry Potter Series, and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson Series and The Heroes of Olympus Series.

Oh, and I haven't watched the movie, too. But maybe I will, now that I've read the book. Also because of Jennifer Lawrence. I liked her in X-men First Class, loved her in Silver Linings Playbook. Might as well see how she portrayed Katniss. =)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

confessions of a bookaholic part 1

"Hi, I'm Belle, and I'm a bookaholic." Everyone else (in monotone) "Hi Belle."

That is what I always hear in my head everytime I go into a bookstore. I rarely leave without buying anything, and ever since I've been able to hold on to money, bookstores became on top of my favorite places list.

I'm a semi-shopaholic, meaning I do enjoy shopping but I'm not driven by a compulsion to buy everything I like. I can pick up a dress, try it on, and return it back to the rack (even if the dress is really flattering) as soon as I see that the price is out of my budget range. I prefer buying clothes on sale; sometimes going to secondhand shops known here as ukay-ukays. I don't mind hand-me-downs from my aunts and cousins, and since I have a small frame, I get a lot of those, too.

Books, however, are a different matter. No matter how expensive they are, I just have to have it. I've been an avid shopper at National Bookstore since my elementary days more than a decade ago. It used to frustrate me, because the only time I get to splurge on books is during summer, when I go to Manila for month-long vacations. And then I'd blew my pocket money away in one swoop. 

I remember going to the mall, armed with reasons why my cousin (or whoever I'm with) should leave me at NBS. They'd go grocery shopping, or watch a movie, while I'll be contented spending the whole day inside the bookstore. I used leave my money at home because I know I won't be able to resist buying. There was a time when I was there less than two hours, but I've gathered almost a dozen books, costing me to more than 8,000 pesos.

That was indeed a wake up call. Imagine spending 8k for books, in a single receipt purchase, at my age that time. I think I was only 14 years old. My Dad got mad at me (he found out because I didn't have enough money and he had to pay for the rest), and he got even madder when he had to pay for excess baggage at the airport (books are heavy, you know?).

I had to lie low for a while, but the need (yes, NEED) to read is making me crazy, and I cave. Then I discovered Fully Booked. I mean, it's no different from NBS, they carry mostly the same titles, but I do love how they arrange their books alphabetically, making it easier for me to find books under my favorite authors.

Of course, in the past few years, I've been content to get secondhand books from Booksale, occassionally shopping at Fully Booked or NBS for the titles I want to add to my brand-new collection. 

And since technology is ever-evolving, Mom got me an Amazon Kindle last 2011, when she traveled to Singapore. It saved me A LOT of money, since I just download eBooks for free off the internet. And what I couldn't find, I buy from a seller on Facebook. She sells eBooks in all aformats for just 10 pesos apiece. My Kindle, however, died late last year (from overuse, according to Mom), and I've upgraded to an iPad Mini. Different gadgets, different formats, but the end result is the same: I can still read on my device.

And it suits me just fine.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

recently read - december 2012

  • A Winter Scandal
  • Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
  • Kismet
  • Fated
  • Leave Me Breathless
  • Back to Basics
  • The Best Thing
  • The Proposition
  • Bared To You
  • Reflected in You
  • The Marriage Bargain
  • The Marriage Mistake
  • The Marriage Trap
  • Riding Wild
  • Riding Temptation
  • Riding on Instinct
  • Riding the Night
  • The Next Always
  • The Last Boyfriend
  • The Perfect Hope

Thursday, January 17, 2013

i haven't posted for two months.. what?

Seeing as it was Christmas, a time for celebrations and what-nots, I should have been blogging like crazy. Actually, I had A LOT to blog about. But I had the longest case of laziness in the history of laziness, so I ditched my blog and just posted one-liners on my Twitter

And anyway, this is not an update. This is just me checking in to see if my blog is still alive. Maybe I'll post one later, or tomorrow. =))

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