Friday, October 27, 2017

Making the transition from Apple to Android

I was an Apple iPhone user for only about 4 years or so, but I honestly cannot remember the time when I was using an Android phone. It certainly felt like I've been using iPhones forever.

My first smartphone was a Samsung Galaxy W. I recall it fondly, because what I really wanted the S2 but it was way too expensive and so out of my budget so I settled for a cheaper one.

It lasted a couple of years, and when it finally broke I went back to using a basic keypad phone that basically had no other functions than call and text. I didn't mind, for at this point I already had an iPad and that's what I used for light internet usage.

When Yolanda happened and I was left with no phone and no tablet, I then bought a cheap Cherry Mobile android phone. It served me well for a few months, and while it was a good phone, I never really liked it much. The battery was crap, it overheats fast, the camera stinks, and while it was quad-core, the phone slowed down after I installed basic apps.

So then I switched to Apple.

Getting an iPhone wasn't an intentional decision, though. Having owned an iPod and an iPad for years, I was used to an Apple OS but I find them to be very expensive (and I still do). But a family friend was selling his months-old iPhone 5 and I bought it at a bargain price. I upgraded to a 6 then a 6S later on.

And that was when my love for Apple started.

I find iPhones to be more user friendly than Android phones. I know there are plenty of iPhone users who buy it for the status, but I chose it for it's functionality. The Boyfriend is a Samsung guy all the way, and we've had plenty of debate regarding the two.

I really thought I'm going to be an iPhone user for life.

Then iPhone 7 came out. And *gasp* there was no headphone jack!

For me, Spotify is life. I pay for a premium account because I want to be able to hear music whenever, wherever. I get bored easily and music helps me pass time. I have my headphones on when running errands. I listen to music while doing chores.

Sure, Apple introduced the Airpods, but for someone as forgeful as I am, it'll only be a matter of time before I lose one or both of them. And I'm certainly not going to shell out a bunch of money for me to lose them again.

Then Samsung announced the S8.

And oh my Godric Gryffindor, it was love at first sight. I'm no techie but even I know how to understand basic phone specs. And the camera, oh my. *fans myself* As someone who takes a great deal pf pictures, damn the camers is heaven. I can count my pores when I take a really close up selfie.

Then an upgrade for iOs 11 came out.

My iPhone friends upgraded, and their feedbacks were all positive so I did, too. But for the life of me I never really like iOs 11. I can't point a finger as to why, just that I didn't like it.

When I finally decided to ditch my iPhone, I was faced with another indecision when Samsung announced the Note 8. Took me a while to decide but I finally settled on the S8.

There was a brief adjustment period, but ultimately no regrets!

I love how I can download Torrents directly to my phone, how easy it is to customize my phone's look according to my preferences, how I can use my own ringtones, and how easy it is for me to transfer movies to my phone without having to go through the process of formatting the videos so it can play on my phone.

And the best part: expandable memory.

There are a couple of things I hated about Samsung, though. First, the emojis. And I cannot stress that strongly enough. Samsung's emojis are fucking ugly and I hate that I can't change them without root. Second, I miss the recently deleted folder on the iPhone.

I've been using the S8 for 10 days now and so far I'm really loving it! 

Friday, September 8, 2017

midlife midlife crisis

Or as everybody calls it, the Quarter-Life Crisis.

I prefer to call it my midlife-midlife crisis, though. Has a nice ring to it.

Feeling a lot of this lately, but it really hit me bad yesterday. I've been stressed AF with all that's been going on, and then my Mom and I had a big blow up over something so small when she effin' overreacted.

Now, I don't have the best relationship with my Mom. I don't know if it's because we're too much alike or too much different, but small arguments could turn into big fights in a blink of an eye. I love her, that was never in doubt. I just don't like spending too much alone time with her because she gets on my nerve.

That was the last straw. And everything just sort of came crashing down on me. I felt like I was having a breakdown, so I went to the church for a little alone time at the Adoremus. 

There are so many things going on to people everywhere, and my problems are nothing compared to those of others', but why do I feel as if I'm bearing the weight of the world on my shoulders?

I have parents who gave me nothing but the best, a boyfriend that I find annoying at times but loves me very much, a best friend I don't always see but can always rely on, and friends who always have my back. I live a good life; I have a business that's not making me a lot of money but is doing great;and by the grace of God we have another one opening up soon. 

By all intents and purposes, I shouldn't be feeling so down. I have so much more than what other people have, and I should be thankful. And I am. I am thankful.

I just want to be happy. Not the I-have-everything-I-want happy, but that my-life-is-shit-but-tomorrow-is-a-new-day-and-it-will-get-better happy. The kind of happy where the world may end tomorrow and I'll face it with a smile because I'm contented with the way I lived my life.

I just want to be at peace. The kind of peace where I know in my heart that whatever obstacle life throws my way, I can get pass it because God is always with me. The kind of peace where just let go, and let God. My faith is strong, but just like everyone else's, it wavers at the most difficult times.

I want to feel fine and stop being a bitch. I want to stop being cranky and snapping at people. I just want to be okay,

And just how sweet my is my BFF? 
She sent me chocolates to cheer me up. ♥

Saturday, June 3, 2017

adulting

2 days ago, the Boyfriend and I signed a lease contract with Robinsons Malls.

I've been working for our family business since I was a kid (those Asian memes where a 7 year old child tending to a cash register at a family owned store are true), I've been a nurse (albeit only for a short while), I've tried my hand at being a baker, I've worked at a bank, started my own business.. But this? This made me feel like I'm finally transitioning into the actual adulting phase of my life.

I don't know why. Maybe because I think it's a big deal to be signing with a big, national corporation. Maybe because this feels like legit grown up stuff. Maybe because I'm ready to take on more responsibilities than what I actually have on now.

Whatever it is, I'm excited to see what possibilities the future holds.

Friday, June 2, 2017

on friendships and whatnots

I'm not really a social person. Sure, I have no problem talking to strangers, I can go to a party and mingle with people I don't know, and I'm always open to meeting new people. But deep down I know I'd rather stay home alone or hang out with the small circle of people that I'm always with. I'm not the type who needs to surround myself with friends to feel good about myself. I don't need a lot of friends, just a few who's proven to be loyal along the way.

I've met a lot of people in my 20-plus years, and while most of those became friends, there's only a select few that I proudly claim as my best friends.

In friendship, I value honesty and loyalty above all. Honesty, because I don't think a friendship - or any type of relationship, really - can survive on lies. And loyalty because friends should always have each other's back, no matter what.

Events these past few months made me realize that no matter how much you think you know a person, they can and will always surprise you - and sometimes not in a good way.

My friends and I, sometimes we talk about other people behind their backs. Not just strangers and acquaintances, either. We also talk about our friends who have the misfortune of not being with us at that moment. But we don't do it in a malicious way. It's just during one of those typical conversations where his/her name may come up, and it's not something we do intentionally to badmouth them.

And when word got to one of those "friends" (emphasis on those quotation marks), that person took offense, got mad, and started acting cold towards us. I mean, sure I can understand why she got mad, and I would've apologized for hurting her feelings had she told me, but no. She kept her feelings bottled up for months without saying anything, leaving us to wonder why she stopped talking to us.

It was only about a year later when we found out. From one of our common friends, no less. So apparently everyone knew about her offended sensibilities except for us. She's the victim, with her hurt feelings pouring out, and we are the villains, her "so-called friends talking shit behind her back."

It wasn't something I was expecting, really. We've known each other since we were kids, and though we weren't as close as we were before, I would've thought that our friendship was worth something. That she could be mature enough to confront us and ask for the truth, instead of believing the exaggerated tales of the person whom I stupidly blabbed my mouth to.

And to think I was friends with the traitor first. And I was nothing but a good friend to her. They became friends because I'd bring the traitor to our circle of friends, and the traitor chose a new friend over the one she's had for years.

It hurts me that she'd betray a friend to gain the approval of another, when she could've had us both. And it also hurts me that my long time friend would choose to believe someone she's known only a few years.

I'm still on speaking terms with that long time friend, though the best friend is not. But it's not the same kind of friendship we had before. It's more because we have the same group of friends, and to drop one would mean dropping them all.

The traitor, though.. That's a different situation. I mean, we didn't have concrete proof that she was the one who babbled, but there's no one else who could've done it. We actually bumped into each other recently, and she greeted me and acted as though nothing happened. I smiled back, but that was it. I want to be the bigger person and just let bygones be bygones, but bitch, no.

I'm not the easiest person to get along with - I'm moody, I'm mean, and I can be a bitch, but if there's one thing I'm proud of, it's that I'm loyal to my friends.

The best friend and I made a pact that we'd tell each other the truth, no matter what. And that if, for example, someone would tell me that she's been talking behind my back, that I'd respect our friendship enough to ask her for the truth before believing another person over her. And that's one promise I'm pretty sure we'd have no trouble keeping. Because really, what kind of friend would you be if you just assume the worst about each other?

Our friendship is far from perfect. And we're not the hangout everyday nor talk every night kind of best friends. We seldom talk and we don't see each other that often, because adulting keeps us busy. But we take comfort in the fact that when the need arises, one will always be there for the other, come what may. And to me, that matters more than anything.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

My El Nido Adventure

I've always thought of El Nido as a destination that is beyond my budget. Whenever I would suggest it to my friends for our next barkada outing, they'd always say, "mahal ang El Nido" (El Nido is expensive). So of course, we'd pick a place that is within our tipid budget.

I've never given up on El Nido, though. It's always been a dream of mine to visit Palawan, but I didn't know that I'd get to see it sooner rather than later.

Last year, AirAsia had a seat sale and without even thinking twice, I booked a round trip Manila-Puerto Princesa flight for me and the Boyfriend (without his knowledge &/or consent LOL).

My friends were making plans for us to go to Hongkong, but I was getting antsy with all the planning and nobody was even buying tickets, so I went ahead and purchased my own, to a different destination. They all went to Hongkong without us, but we didn't really care because, hello... El Nido!

It took me a lot of planning and budgeting, and a ton of research. I read a lot of travel blogs, I searched Google for whatever info I could find, I emailed several travel agencies for price quotations. I was deciding whether to join a tour or DIY our trip when my cousin suggested the freelance tour guide they hired during their visit. So I found him on Facebook, messaged him, and decided to hire him as our tour guide, too.

The initial plan was to join a group tour, since it was just me and the Boyfriend. The Boyfriend and I are not very social people, though, so I took a chance and asked about a private tour. And because the price difference wasn't that much, we took that one instead.

We paid for more than our initial budget for the tour, but it was worth having the bangka all to ourselves. 

Day 1, March 8 - Manila

Our Tac-Mla flight was moved up a day because our original flight was cancelled due to the radar repair. So we had to spend a night at Manila, which we spent visiting with the Boyfriend's college barkada.

Day 2, March 9 - Manila-Puerto Princesa-El Nido

The initial Plan was for Kuya Ryan (our guide) to pick us up at Puerto Princesa airport, but since he was already in El Nido, he had Kuya Ogie (the van driver) pick us up instead. He thoughtfully reserved the seat behind the driver so we'd be comfortable during the 5-hour drive. We picked up passengers along the way, and then we were off to El Nido. We stopped for dinner halfway through the drive, and we arrived at El Nido around 9 PM.

Kuya Ryan checked us in at Ricgem Place. It's a nice little lodge that is a 5-10 minute walk away from resturants and bars. Breakfast is included, and the place is clean. Clothes racks and hangers are provided for guests to hang their wet clothes after swimming. The only downside, if you're like me who only takes hot showers, is that there is no hot water.

Day 3, March 10 - El Nido Island Hopping

We planned an early start, but we got delayed because the breakfast we ordered was served late. A big group staying at the hotel ordered ahead of us, and I guess it took a while for the cook to finish all their orders.

After breakfast, Kuya Ryan met with us and we took a tricycle down to the beach where a lot of pump boats were docked. Then off we go for our tour of the islands.

We had the whole bangka to ourselves. It was just me, the Boyfriend, Kuya Ryan, and two boatmen. We initially picked tour A (Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, & 7 Commandos Beach), but since we opted for a private tour, to maximize our use of the bangka, Kuya Ryan added tour B's Snake Island and Cadugnon Point and Cave.

We went kayaking around the Small Lagoon, went swimming at the Big Lagoon, took pictures at the Secret Lagoon and Cadugnon Cave before heading off to Snake Island. There we hiked up a little hill which provided us an amazing view before heading back to the bangka to eat our lunch. After eating, the Boyfriend and I went walking along the sandbar at Snake Island, all the while taking a lot of pictures before heading back. Our last stop for the day is the 7 Commandos Beach, where we ate mais con hielo, and spent hours swimming and just bumming around.

Later that night, we walked around El Nido, and since we weren't hungry, we just grabbed a couple of burgers at a cafe.

Day 4, March 11 - Inland tour, back to Puerto Princesa

On our fourth day, we woke up early since we only planned to do a half day tour before heading back to Puerto Princesa.

We hired a tricycle to take us to Nacpan Beach, which took about an hour's drive. What's disappointing is that because of a land dispute, we weren't allowed to go up to where we can take a picture of the twin beaches. Nevertheless, Nacpan Beach was by far my favorite spot. There were very few tourists, so it felt like we had the whole beach to ourselves. The water was so clear, and the sand felt so fine.

The Boyfriend spent a lot of time swimming, while I alternated between taking a dip and lying on the sand and getting a tan. We had lunch early, then we decided to head back. But before dropping us off at our hotel, we had one last stop. 

We spent maybe a maximum of 20 minutes at Las Cabanas Beach. This is the only beach we visited where we didn't do any swimming -  we just sat there taking in everything, and appreciating the view. There were lots of tourists around, and it was fun seeing them enjoy in one of our country's most beautiful places. Come to think of it, around 90% of tourists I see in El Nido are foreigners. 

When we had our fill of the view, we went back to our hotel to have a quick shower and pack. Then we met up with Kuya Ryan again at the terminal to catch a ride back to Puerto Princesa. We arrived at around 5 PM, and checked in at Edezer Pension. It's small, but clean, and the staffs are all so nice. And it is conveniently located very near to the airport. There, we parted ways with Kuya Ryan, as he won't be accompanying us to our Underground River tour the following day. 

Since we had time to kill, we took a tricycle and went to MCA Pasalubong Center. We were supposed to buy only a few trinkets to give to our families and friends but we ended with up a box full of goodies - from cashew butter to cashew polvoron to cashew pastillas, we just took a little bit of everything.

Later that night, we had dinner at Kinabuch Grill & Bar, which is located just right across the street from where we're staying. The place was packed, which explained why the service was slow.

Day 5, March 12 - Underground River

Of course, one can't go to Puerto Princesa without seeing the Subterranean River National Park, or more commonly known as the Underground River. The van picked us up at our hotel, and we joined several others for the tour. A two hour van ride going to Sabang, followed by a short boat ride to the entrance beach. The river tour itself lasts for about 45 minutes, followed by a complimentary buffet lunch.

We were back at Puerto Princesa by 3 PM. We were supposed to have the Iwahig Firefly Watching Tour that night, but due AirAsia changing our flight's time the following day (with no prior notice; we only found out because I went to their website to buy additional baggage), we had no chioce but to cancel our tour and fly back to Manila that night, or risk missing our connecting flight back home to Tacloban the following day.

That was such a big disappointment for me, since I was really looking forward to firefly watching. I was a big fan of the teleserye Dolce Amore, and that TV show gave me some serious #alitaptapgoals. Not to mention, I wasn't able to try Puerto Princesa's delicacy, the tamilok. Tamiloks are shipworms, which can be found in rotting mangrove wood, and is served as kinilaw. I was supposed to try it that afternoon, but due to the AirAsia debacle it slipped my mind.

Mind, it was our first time flying AirAsia, and despite a long conversation with their customer service, they were unable to offer any solution other than rebooking our flight to that night. So, left with no choice we forfeited the payment that was settled for our last night's hotel stay along with the Iwahig tour. Needless to say, we are not flying AirAsia again.

After packing up our things, we went to the airport to catch our flight back to Manila. We landed at NAIA at around 9PM, went to the condo to drop off our things, and since we've got nothing better to do, we got a massage. 

We went to Hue House Massage, since it is near our place. I went for the Lavastone Massage Package D (1 hour Swedish Massage, and 1 hour Lava Stone Massage), which I recommend. By the time I got off the massage table, I was feeling so relax that I didn't even care about the AirAsia fiasco anymore.

Day 6, March 13 - Manila-Tacloban

Last day of our vacation, we packed our bags and headed to the airport. I didn't want our trip to end (I mean, seriously, who does?) but the real world is calling. 

This trip ranks up to one of my favorites, though. El Nido did not disappoint. I've been to Coron, and while I was impressed, El Nido is by far more beautiful. Even though we went over our initial budget, it was all worth it. El Nido was everything I ever expected it to be, and more.

Also, Kuya Ryan is an awesome guide. Everything was arranged by him - from our transpo to our accommodation to all the tours - we haven't had a single problem. To contact him, visit his Facebook page or call/text him at 0926-038-7378 or 0947-617-3708.


Kayaking at the Small Lagoon
Cheers to more travels together ♥

Just look at how clear the water is.



Beach bummin' at Nacpan Beach.



Rock formations at the Small Lagoon.
Overlooking Snake Island


Apparently, this monkey is a fixture at Snake Island.

Las Cabanas Beach

Crystal clear waters at Nacpan Beach

Entrance to the Big Lagoon

Nacpan Beach. Feels like we had the whole place to ourselves. 


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