Because we are Human

Thursday, November 15, 2012

While I was writing a paper on the human reason, I randomly remembered a film by Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon. I watched it over a year ago in my Introduction to Philosophy class. It was quite an old film, but watching it makes you ponder about things regarding life, humanity, and morality. Some questions that popped into my head were on the idea of lying and selfishness. This is not a review of the film, and some of you may or may not agree with me in some points.

Is it okay for man to lie because he is human?

According to Akira Kurosawa's Film, Rashomon, men lie because they are human, and for the bandit Tajomaru, lying is okay. Sometimes people lie to save themselves, or to get what they want. It's inevitable in life. In my opinion, though, I don't think being human is a good excuse for lying. Not telling the truth can harm others, or it can lead to something worse, like breaking of relationships and trust.

I asked the opinions of a couple of people, and they also believe that lying should not be considered “okay.” In fact, it may be one of the things people hate the most. A female friend told me that, “Although humans have a lot of flaws and the freedom of will, we should still choose to be honest and tell the truth. Another student thinks that, “Lying is the same as intentionally deceiving one person. If you can't tell the truth, then it is better to not say anything at all.”

If you're a believer of God, the Bible (NIV) says in Exodus 20:16, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." and Proverbs 11:3, "Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people." Honesty shows your character, and when you speak the truth, it helps other people too. Even so called “white lies” are not okay. If a person lies to make another person feel better, I do not think it would work because that person deserves to know what you really have to say.

Can a person live and survive without being selfish?

The word 'selfishness' can mean a lot of things. A definition I got from the dictionary is that it refers to the “arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others.” In the movie, the answer to my question was 'No.' To be selfish is to be human. In Tajomaru's case, though, he already knew that the lady was the wife of the samurai, and yet he made plans to steal her away from him. The samurai, too, was selfish in the way that he left his wife and was led to the woods in hopes of getting a new sword.

Though there is nothing wrong with doing something to get what you want, but it becomes wrong when the means of attaining happiness hurts others. I agree with the answer that the movie provided because though man can act selfless, he cannot always think of other people first. Nothing would progress in your life if you would not think and do something for yourself.

A friend shared with me her thoughts on this, saying that it is part of human nature to be selfish. “Yes, man is capable of being selfless,” she said, “but men fall short of the glory of God, so I don't think it's possible to entirely not be selfish.” I agree with her on that. It makes one think that although we can be generous to others, we are still, by nature, a little selfish. But that does not mean that being selfish makes you a bad person. The tendency for humans is to do things to please themselves.

An article by Scott Hughes, “Moral Philosophy – Selfishness and Kindness,” describes that being selfish and selfless could be compatible with each other. You can be kind to others and at the same time act according to your own interests, to be happy when another person is feeling happy.

In the view of the Bible, Romans 15:1-2 mentions, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (NIV) This means man must not always think of himself, and when he sees another man, he could reach out and help. ☺

Perks of Being Imperfect

[This was an article I wrote a month ago, originally published in the E-magazine project a friend made, Upsize. I am re-posting it here because I find the topic still very relevant to many girls my age. :)]

We live in a world where one's physical appearance is highly regarded and valued. The looks of a person can be a basis for determining one's social status and who he/she hangs out with. Media portrays a significant role in shaping the mindsets of people, especially the youth. In a research done on eating disorders, Kim McDonald said that before the arrival of television, the women in Fiji wanted to be stout. They used to believe that the fatter you are, the wealthier you seem. All that changed since social media came. Three years after the arrival of western television in the island, teenage girls who induced vomiting to control weight rose from 3% to 15%. A lot of girls feel insecure by just looking at themselves in the mirror.

Filipinos are no different. Social networking websites such as Twitter has been an avenue for teenage girls to rant about their insecurities and dissatisfaction with their bodies. The notion of Filipinos being a race of 'short and brown' people has been blurred since the increase of interracial marriages and waves of immigration. Now, for many Filipinos, the 'ideal' figure would be someone tall, thin, with pinkish-white skin - as suggested by some of the TV commercials being shown all over the country. Beauty pageants showcase the prettiest girls in the region, but they do not encourage much diversity in terms of body shapes and sizes. Where does that place those who do not fit the mold of the 'ideal'? Being too small or too big does not automatically make one an object of ridicule, it has perks too.

Petite Girls, Short Boys

According to the 6th National Nutrition Survey carried out by Food and Nutrition Research Institute in 2003, Filipinos have an average height of 163.49 cm (5' 4.4") for males and 151.76 cm (4' 11.8") for females. That means that Filipinos who exceed the said height are remarkably taller, but are still below average when it comes to global height comparisons. What good does being short give you? In basketball, for example, boys that lack in height make up for their speed in the game. Short boys and girls also do not neet to duck too much when riding a jeepney or entering an area with a low ceiling. Petite girls would also have no problem finding a date or a partner in a dance. It would also be easier for them to join cheerleading squads because they weigh lighter and can be thrown in the air as 'flyers' more easily.

Lasses with Less Curves

Girls are often insecure about being small chested or having small butts, this is mostly because women with curves get more attention. Most Asian women have smaller chests compared to Caucasian women, but that does not make them less pretty. Some of the advantages of girls having small chests and butts would be that they can appear more youthful and graceful, like a ballerina. They would literally feel less burden on the shoulder area because they carry less weight on their chest. They are able to fit more clothes because it is easier to look for the right size.

Huge Thighs and Arms

Both men and women worry about being too big, in the sense that they do not have toned arms and legs as they wanted. Flabby arms, wide hips - it is not all that bad. Having big thighs and arms can give one better chances in sports like volleyball, track and field, and fencing. Although a lot of people continue to struggle with the images that media show, there are efforts from some industries who chose to counter the trend. The Quebec magazine Coup de Pouce includes full-sized women in their fashion pages for several years now. Also, Spain came up with a project aiming to standardize clothing sizes. This was made possible through a process in which a laser beam is used to measure the body of normal-sized women in order to find the most realistic size for clothes. Madrid, one of the world’s biggest fashion capitals, also banned ultra-thin models from the runway in 2006. Girls do not have to have skinny legs like super models, and guys do not have to get biceps like men from Calvin Klein.

Some people even went to the extent of undergoing gruesome surgery to get taller and slimmer legs. In China, a new type of surgery is becoming popular. The concept of being a tall in relation to success has been embedded on people's minds that they painfully break their bones and lengthen them through surgical means. Some men do this to get better jobs while some women do this to achieve a doll-like figure. If Barbie were a real woman though, she would have to walk on four legs because of her disproportionate body. Hence, she would not be a functional paradigm.

Imperfect? Join the Crowd

Everyone is insecure about something in one way or another, but they must learn to love and take control of their bodies. You are amazing the way you are. Stop hating your body. You can get teased but you can also shift your focus. Decide to do something about yourself and how to help others, rather than endlessly thinking about how you should look. Some people do not even have limbs or proper functioning body parts in the first place, so it is always good to be thankful and be happy with what you have.

Review: [Etude House] Hot Style Bubble Hair Coloring in #5 (Sweet Orange)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bubble Hair Coloring is a new and easier way to color your hair. It's different from other DIY coloring sets because instead of meticulously brushing gel on every part of your hair, you would only have to pump bubbles and massage it on your head. I have read so much about it that I had to try it for myself.
Hot Style Bubble Hair Coloring in No. 5 (Sweet Orange)
Image from their official website.

I bought the Hot Style Bubble Hair Coloring in #5 (Sweet Orange) for only PHP 378.00 in Etude House. It's way cheaper than other permanent hair dyes in the market. So far, Etude House offers seven colors to choose from: #1 Deep Black, #2 Dark Brown, #3 Natural Brown, #4 Wine Red, #5 Sweet Orange, #6 Gold Blonde, and #7 Mocha Pink. I got the Sweet Orange shade because I wanted my hair to have a kind of chestnut brown tone, which was similar to the one printed on the box.

Inside the box, you'll find: a 30ml sachet of hair coloring (no.1), a 50ml bottle with pump containing the oxidizer (no.2), a 10ml sachet of silky perfumed conditioner, gloves, vinyl gown, and the directions (which was kind of useless for me because it was completely written in Korean).

There are lots of tutorials available online, but for blogging purposes, here's what I did:
  1. Wear the gloves and vinyl gown provided. 
  2. Pour the sachet of hair coloring (#1) into the pumping bottle with oxidizer (#2). Screw the cap back on, including the stopper to lock. 
  3. Tilt the from side to side about six times for the solution to mix. Do not shake it! You would notice that the solution would heat up a bit. Remove the stopper. 
  4. Pump out the bubbles and apply it evenly on your hair. Start from your roots to your tips. Massage your scalp so that the color would spread. It's as simple as applying shampoo. Use up all of the contents in the bottle so that your hair would be completely covered in foam. 
  5. Let the foam stay on your head for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how much you want the color to take into effect. You would notice that the color of the foam would change the longer it stays on your hair. The purple suds turned brown in mine. 
  6. Rinse your hair. Use the Silky Perfumed Treatment as a conditioner to make your hair soft and smooth. 
  7. Dry your hair and see the results. 

Helpful Tips:
  • Wear an old shirt under the vinyl gown because the shampooing part can get a bit messy. 
  • Use the entire bottle! Make sure your hair is evenly colored. The foam won't last long so it can't be stored. It's better to put everything on your hair than throw the excess away. 
  • Section your hair so it would be easier to put foam in the inside parts of your hair. 
  • Be careful when applying the foam on your hair or while waiting, as the coloring agent might get to your eyes. 
  • Do this in a not-so-humid place to avoid the perspiration of your scalp. 
  • The box clearly says that the foam cannot be used to dye eyebrows... but I did it anyway. Haha I was worried that the shade of my hair would be too light so I put a bit on my eyebrows and carefully rinsed it off after 15 minutes (I wouldn't want my eyebrows to be too light). Again, be careful! If it gets into your eyes, rinse with water immediately. 

I heard Kao Liese / Prettia is a good brand too. My friend tried the Liese Bubble Hair Color in Milk Tea Brown and it turned out nice. The light brown shade is very evident in her hair probably because her hair is reactive to the chemical or she let it stay on her scalp a bit longer. I have read from Kao Liese's website that "Results will vary depending on the shade and lightness of hair before coloring, the hair's condition, room temperature and how long the mixture is left on. It is useful to know your hair condition prior to coloring." ☺

Now the results! Do take note that I used flash when I took these with my camera.

Dark roots are showing! Eek!
I have only dyed my hair once, so I was worried that the color would not take that much effect since I had really dark hair.

My hair is shiny and silky smooth~

After the bubble hair process, the color of my hair turned even from the roots to tips. The foam was so easy to apply and spread all over my head. I used flash in taking this shot so the color is bright, but under normal light, it's not really like that. My hair now appears a bit chestnut brown when under the sun, but the bright orange color that I wanted is not that obvious (again, it's evident in the picture because I used flash), so I was a tad bit disappointed.

I like how my hair did not dry and that even if I had the foam on for more than 30 minutes, there was no itchiness or burning on my scalp. The silky perfumed conditioner did the trick! It had such a nice smell too. If it's not enough for your hair, you can use your own conditioner. Overall, I am rating this product a 3.5/5. ♥ I'm satisfied with the results because it's not too drastic and still noticeable at the same time.

Update Dec 2013: I tried the Wine Red version, and the color isn't as noticeable and as long lasting as Sweet Orange. It only added a slight hinge of red to my dark hair, and it bled out after a few weeks. The result was uneven also (I guess it really depends on how good you are in making sure your whole hair is covered). It was nice while it lasted though.

Eliza Eats: Foodie Finds in HK

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Our first day in Hong Kong started rather late, but it was fine because we were staying in TST, where food establishments open later than usual. My siblings and I had brunch at Kam Tao Restaurant (金淘餐廳), which was only a few seconds walk from Hop Inn on Carnarvon, where we were staying.

They serve different dishes everyday. They have a menu for a particular time period in a day, so if you want a particular dish, you have to go to there depending on when they serve it. For 2:30pm-6:00pm, they serve french toast, special hot dog, special pork bun, deep fried chicken, and other yummy dishes. We ate at around 11:00am. At that time they were serving their set lunch for $40 each:

A - Grilled Pork Chop and Fried Egg served with onion gravy
B - Braised Seafood with mushrooms
C - Steamed Marinated Chicken
D - Sweet and Sour Pork
E - Braised Chicken with bean curd and salty fish

I think they also have an all-day set, but the lady that served us directed us to their lunch menu. My sister spoke to her in Mandarin, but she seemed like she was used to tourists as she sometimes conversed in basic English. Oh, and the menu is in Chinese and English so it is very easy to order.

Dichi and I ordered set E, which was Braised Chicken with bean curd and salty fish (HK$40), while the rest ordered Grilled Pork Chop and Fried Egg served with onion gravy (HK$40).

These come with soup and complimentary coffee or milk tea. It was actually a great deal. all for $40 each. For customers that prefer cold beverages, you have to pay an additional $2 for iced drinks and $4 for a coke.

The serving was huge. It was worth every cent! I felt like I ate for three people, and in the end I couldn't finish my rice. The braised chicken meal was soft and sauce-y. I didn't get to taste their grilled pork chop, but it looked good to me. The HK-style milk tea was very authentic, with the tea taste strong and distinct that I had to add two packets if sugar to make it taste all sweet, just the way I like it. The lady that served us kept smiling when she saw me taking pictures of my food before I gobbled them up.

If you are looking for a restaurant that serves Hong Kong style food, tea, and fresh bread (it's a bakery too!) in TST, then Kam Tao Restaurant is the place to go!

Kam Tao Restaurant 金淘餐廳 is located at 尖沙咀寶勒巷3號萬事昌廣場地下9號舖. Translation: Shop 9, G/F, Multifield Plaza , 3 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. They are open everyday (Monday to Sunday) from 07:00-03:00 according to ☺

'Hop Inn' to a Living Art Space

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Over week ago, my siblings and I went to Hong Kong and stayed at Hop Inn on Carnarvon Road. It's a tourist hostel well known for the artistic designs of their rooms, and that was what got us interested in the first place.

Each room was uniquely designed by a local artist. Guests are not allowed to choose their rooms, so whatever room you get would be a surprise. The drawings in our room were a bit quirky. There were strange characters with some plant sticking out of their bodies near the bed. It's really interesting.

drawings on the wall
The room themes range from grunge to bright colors. Since there were five of us, we got a twin/double room and a triple room.

A panoramic view of the triple bedroom. The curtains in the bathroom are drawn halfway.
This is a view of the double room from my bed. It's a bit small, just right for two average-sized ladies.
I really liked how an ordinary piece of art can be transformed into a living space. 

Even the door of this room is painted.
The doodle on this door says "I Love my Room." Cute!
Also, the bathrooms in each room are see-through. The only thing that separates the room from the shower/toilet area is a glass wall and a translucent curtain. It's actually pretty neat because the light seeps through the glass but you can't see anything when the curtains are drawn, for privacy, of course.

the thin glass wall separating the bathroom from the bedroom

What I like about it:
  • There's free WiFi internet access in the rooms.
  • The towels and bed sheets are spotlessly clean and white.
  • Toiletry (liquid soap, shampoo, and a roll of tissue) and drinking water are provided.
Liquid soap and shampoo are located near the sink. The soap smells nice, imo.
  • It's conveniently located at the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, so shopping malls such as the K-11 Art Mall and The One in Nathan Road are walking distance from the hostel. It only takes about 5 minutes (at most) to get to the nearest MTR Station, Tsim Sha Tsui. There's also a convenience store (7-Eleven is right next to it) and other Chinese restaurants nearby so getting something to eat would not be a problem.
The MTR System Map painted on the wall of the common room.
  • The staff and managers are friendly and accommodating. They speak good English too.
  • The place is quiet and cozy.
the main hallway
  • The rooms get all tidied up when guests back to their room at the end of the day. I remember our room being a mess when we left it before, haha.
  • There's a common area where guests can read books, play table football, or chill outside the balcony/rooftop area. 
The common area is a nice place to hang out with friends.
  • The air conditioning and boiler works well.
  • Guests can request a hairdryer, power adaptor, or a laptop with webcam for their personal use, to be returned at the end of their stay.
The plug holes in HK are different from the ones in the Philippines so my sister and I had to take turns charging our phones because we only borrowed one power adaptor.
  • It's an environment-friendly place! They use energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances.
  • The room rates are very affordable.
  • They have good security. There are security cameras all over the common places and the guard at the ground floor strictly locks the gate during ungodly hours. Also, guests can only open the section where their room is located. (It was quite inconvenient for us because dichi and I were staying in Room L6, while my other siblings were at Room R3. Our key card only works on L rooms so whenever we want to visit them, someone from their room has to wait for us near the door so it would be opened.)
  • They have a weather forecast board posted near the elevator. It's being updated every now and then.

What I don't like about it:
  • There's only one pillow per person, and that one pillow is too cute that it's too small for my comfort. I hope it could be fluffier or maybe provide two pillows, at least.
  • The place is kind of difficult to find when we first got to TST because the entrance to the building (which was partly in construction) is kind of dodgy looking.
  • I hope there would provide another keycard for guests staying in the triple/double/quadruple rooms.

  • A friend told me that it's a bit hard to get a reservation because the rooms are almost always full, so it's better to book in advance, especially during peak seasons.
Hop Inn in Carnarvon is located at: 9/F James S. Lee Mansion, 33 - 35 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. They have another branch in Hankow, also in TST. Visit their official website at: for more information. ☺

Review: [The Face Shop] FACE it Power Perfection BB Cream SPF37/PA++

Friday, May 11, 2012

FACE it Power Perfection BB Cream
(image from their official website)
The Face Shop has a wide variety BB creams for different needs and skin types, but the Power Perfection BB Cream is their newest and best one so far (that's what the TFS lady told me when I visited their branch in Megamall just recently). It is said to be a "3-in-1" BB Cream for anti-wrinkle, whitening, and sun protection. It promises to provide "total skin treatment to achieve a 'power perfection skin' by imparting proactive care to overall skin problems, including bagginess, roughness, and dryness." It comes in two shades: 01 light beige and 02 natural beige. 

his is my second BB Cream. I have been using the SkinFood Gingko Green BB Cream for over a year now and I am quite satisfied with that product, but I think it's about time I try another brand. I got my FACE it Power Perfection BB Cream from my sister's friend who went to Korea (thank you dichi and achi Krissca! ☺), but it's also available in all TFS shops here in the Philippines, only a bit more expensive. It is available in a 20ml (11,900 KRW) and 40ml (22,900 KRW) tube with a pump at the bottom, which is convenient and hygienic to use. 

Like other BB Creams, the FACE it Power Perfection BB Cream
evens out my skin tone. I have been using it for about a month now. I'm not sure about its whitening properties, but it does make my face lighter upon application. The lady from TFS Megamall said that the 01 light beige suits my skin color more, but I use the 02 natural beige for a more natural look. My face looks really fair despite using a 'darker' shade (I feel like I might look too pale, almost ghastly pale, if I use the lighter shade). 

oil control properties are average. I have a normal skin type, and my T-zone area gets a bit oily through the day, but I think that's only natural.

coverage is great. I have been reading mixed reviews on this BB cream, some say that it's heavy or a bit cakey on the face, but it's actually the opposite for me. The texture of the cream is very light and it spreads easily. I only need a pea-sized amount for my whole face, because using more than that would make me look too white. It gives my face a healthy dewy finish that lasts long. It covers up my dark eyes and blemishes that I no longer feel the need to use foundation. It's a good moisturizer too. 

I like the smell, it reminds me of baby powder but not that strong, which is nice. 

What I love most about this product, aside from the coverage it provides, is its
sun protection factor. It has SPF37, the highest UV protection that TFS offers in their line of BB creams. Because I commute everyday, I get exposed to the sun a lot. The previous BB Cream that I used didn't have any SPF at all, so I am very happy with this one. 

BB Cream swatches for comparison

From the image, you can see that my skin tone is closer to the TFS Face it Power Perfection BB Cream in natural beige. The Gingko Green BB Cream #1 is a bit lighter and I still use it sometimes, because my skin is very comfortable with it and it makes my face glow, but I would have to say that a lot of BB Creams can do a better job. It has very little coverage. I do give it some credit because it's SkinFood's very first BB cream, hence it doesn't have SPF and it acts more like a tinted moisturizer. 

There are so many types of BB Creams out in the market now, but it's all about matching your skin to the right product. Now that I have discovered the wonders of this Power Perfection baby, I'm never going back to the old Gingko Green. Just remember, when using this BB cream, just use a
pea-sized amount on your finger. Use that amount to put dots on your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin, then spread evenly. I'm stressing this point because it would get cakey and too white on the face if you use more than that.

Overall, my rating for this BB Cream is 4/5. ☺

Walking on Sunshine

Monday, May 07, 2012

I'm not really a morning person, so getting out of bed early is kind of a big feat for me. A few days ago, we had our inter-college enrollment online. I woke up extra early so I could enlist in classes that I want while there are still slots available, but because of server problems, I didn't get the classes that I desperately needed. It was an unpleasant way to start my morning. I didn't want to think about it much so I decided to treat myself to something nice. 

I took a jeep to Ortigas to see my sister. It was her lunch break and she asked me if I wanted to eat with her. From her office, we drove to Kapitolyo to eat brunch at Milky & Sunny. I have always wanted to eat there because I've seen pictures of their cute interior and yummy breakfast meals online. It was a small place, quite hidden and difficult to find if you're not familiar with the area. It's right beside Moonleaf Tea Shop and also a few blocks away from my old nursery school, Humpty Dumpty School! I get all nostalgic when I see it (my old nursery, I mean). Haha. My sister didn't eat breakfast while I only ate salad that morning, so we were both starving. When we got there, there were only two other customers.

I love how light everything is. The whole place is themed blue and white, which reminded me of clouds in the sky. We were seated beside the window, so sunlight shone through the glass and made the place even brighter. Everything in sight was clean and tidy. There were paintings displayed on the walls, some pillows, and magazines that customers can use while waiting for their orders.

Inside Milky & Sunny
I wanted to try almost everything in the menu. Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day because it kick-starts our energy levels and metabolism, and I think it's also the yummiest. We ordered Choco Hazelnut French Toast (Php130) for our starter. It smelled so good when they placed it on our table. The taste did not disappoint. The toast was soft to bite, especially because it's still hot. The chocolate syrup generously lathered on top was heavenly. I'd love to try it again in my next visit.

Choco Hazelnut French Toast
After that came our next orders, Eggs Benedict (Php150) for me and Chicken and Waffles (Php150) for my sister. The servings were huge and we almost couldn't finish them because we were already stuffed from the french toast we had. The Eggs Benedict was absolutely delicious. The ham, bacon, some leafy vegetable, and a perfectly poached egg was placed on top of a muffin swimming in egg yolk and butter. 

Eggs Benedict
The Chicken and Waffles is a combination of sweet and salty flavors, just the way we like it. Chicken fillet, bacon, and cheese was sandwiched in between two yummy waffles with sweet syrup. 

Chicken and Waffles
After eating so much, I felt a bit guilty because we were supposed to be on a diet. They were just so good. The dishes were hot and freshly cooked, which made it even more mouthwatering. ☺ Aside from the classic English / American breakfast, they also serve pasta, cereals, milkshakes, and Filipino-styled breakfast meals (their Tapa with garlic, egg, and rice is a bestseller).

The designs hanged on the wall add character to the whole place.
Milky & Sunny is the place to be for the best comfort food. It's a very chill place to hang out with friends and family. Here you can eat breakfast at any time of the day. They're located at 9 East Capitol Drive, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig. Check our their website or their Facebook Page for more information.

After our meal, my sister had to go back to work. She dropped me by Raffles building in Emerald Ave., Ortigas because I wanted to get a haircut at Hair News, a small Korean Salon that she recommended to me a week ago. She already had her bangs cut and her hair colored a shade lighter there, so I knew my hair was in good hands. When I entered the salon, I was greeted cheerfully by the owner and hairstylist, Ms. Julie Park. The salon gave a kind of homey feel. There was only a middle-aged Korean customer getting his hair done when I came. Her two assistants were also friendly and one of them kept chatting with me because I was a new customer.

I had three inches of my hair chopped off, layered, and my bangs trimmed. I look like my old self again, and I'm quite happy with the result. Their prices are relatively cheaper than other Korean Hair Salons. Their regular haircut for men and women is Php 450. I wasn't able to ask about the rates for their other services though, but my sister told me that their hair colouring services is cheaper because they use Korean products. After my cut, I was given three business cards so I could recommend the place to my friends. They were really nice to me and I would definitely go back again. For those who want to try their services, visit them at Unit 103 G/F, Raffles Bldg, Emerald Ave., Ortigas Pasig City or call 916-4582.

I didn't have a car, so I walked to Podium then to Megamall to kill some time while my sister's still working. Walking from one place to another makes me feel independent and street smart. Ortigas seems like a small place because the places are pedestrian friendly and the malls and offices are just walking distance from each other. I passed by Strata 100 again, which made me miss my internship at Meg. At around 5:30 I walked back to her office and we ended up buying Korean goodies in Easy Kitchen Sonamoo Mart. It's the usual place where I buy my favorite Binggrae banana milk and Melona ice cream treats, but now I wanted to try the green tea ice cream. I was a very happy girl when I got home. ☺

Time to Indulge

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's my summer vacation! I now have more time to do non-academic things - for leisure and for helping around the house. I wish I could go somewhere out of town to really experience summer but I'm terribly broke and stuck in Manila. To cheer myself up, I have been trying to spend each day of summer worth while.

I sleep really late every night (or rather, very early every morning) because I have been doing my chores and watching dramas/movies online. I have been engrossed in the world of Asian drama, particularly the Korean drama Love Rain, starring Im Yoona (from SNSD) and Jang Geun Seuk (I've been a fan of him since his appearance in Hwang Jin Yi and You're Beautiful ♥). They say that the show had low ratings in Korea, but that did not stop me from watching it! I'm still waiting for the release of episode 11, so I could not say much about it as a whole.

Being in front of my laptop the whole day gets pretty lonely and dragging at some point, so once in a while, I try to spending time with close friends, both from high school and college. I chat with Tricia almost every night, just exchanging ideas about film and fashion, and when we're both free, we go to the mall to shop. I also bond with my high school friends. The girls came over to my house the other day to play, and they made other plans for next week too, I hope they push through!!

spent Friday the 13th having fun with high school friends
I have been writing a lot as well, revising a few pieces of poetry and journalizing my personal thoughts, hence, this blog. I have a bunch of books to read in my bookshelf! Seeing them keeps me excited because I never had the time to read for fun with my majors and thesis work last term. I have been reading and familiarizing myself with other blogs too. A week ago, I managed to win a pair of purple-white shades from Matchmakerme x Firmoo blog giveaway (see their press release here to find out more) and a couple of lovely cupcakes from LLC x Style Surgery by Megann. Yum! Thank you, guys!! ♥

Because this blog is all about my summer indulges, I could not help but confess that I also have been eating like a pig. Seriously. I have been trying to reduce my calorie intake but my mom brought home a sack full of chocolates, so I have been eating nonstop. Self-control, where are youuu? I have been having a yoyo kind of diet, which is not good. I'm trying to convince myself that by eating, I am making myself happy. And well.. I really am, honestly. I'm helping other people decide what to eat, too! How? By writing food reviews~

Today, I commuted under the scorching sun, traveled via Jeepney-MRT-LRT to Taft for my love for cupcakes. I think I have gotten two shades darker because of the Manila heat and sun, but I'm not complaining. I got to spend time with my best friend, doing what we love best - eating! I'm still so full from what I ate earlier. It's kind of funny when I remember how my day went. Here's a part two of my Little Louie's Cupcakes flavor adventure, including two of their latest flavors--

Overstuffed PB&J Chunk: The taste is definitely different from other cupcakes. It's like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich plus more. You won't get bored eating it because it's loaded with flavor. The first layer of vanilla cake matches well with the peanut butter and you get a bonus of chocolate frosting topped with nuts and a drizzle of strawberry jam. The design is also very chic: a heart-shaped fondant is placed on the middle, surrounded by honey roasted peanuts. Sweet!

Hazelnut Dream: Since I am a huge fan of chocolate cakes, this has become one of my faves! It's yummy and rich. The frosting melts easily when you bite, giving you a taste of Nutella mixed with the buttercream frosting. The hazelnut on top gives me the same delight as when I eat the almond in a piece of Ferrero Rocher chocolate. Will definitely buy more of theseee!

Jack Daniel's Cupcake: I ordered this cupcake for my sister because she was curious about how it would taste. I took a bite of it myself. There's a faint taste of alcohol in it, adding to the richness of the chocolate. The crushed nuts sprinkled on top seals the overall flavor. 

Golden Banana Crumb: The banana is my favorite fruit of all time. I love everything banana - banana split, banana bread, banana shake, bananaque, turon, banana chips, and now this. The whole cupcake design is simple and is very true to its name. The golden crumbs add crunch to every bite, and the sponge cake, with noticeable banana dots, is moist and full of flavor. For me, it's like a yummy cupcake version of a banana bread.

I wish I had pictures, but the cupcakes have been through so much that they became unphotogenic by the time I reached home. It was reaaaalllyyy crowded in the train; people were pushing each other, including me, cupcakes in hand - but that's really no surprise. It's a good thing that I still get to eat them. See the first part of my LLC blog post here! ☺

A Mind-Blowing World of Science

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, Ivan and I went to The Mind Museum at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig as an alternative class for Physics. I have always wanted to go, but I never had the time to. My sister gave me four passes to their soft opening last month, but I was not able to use them, so I was really happy about this fun, albeit spontaneous, trip.

The Mind Museum completed its construction last December 15, 2011 and it finally opened to the public on March 16, 2012. It celebrates the infinite story of science and promotes learning to Filipinos, both young and old. The museum is the very first world-class science museum in the country, and encourages the understanding and advancement of science to help with the development of our nation as a whole. We went to the 3-6pm time slot. When I got there, there was already a crowd of people lining up to enter the museum. Parents were trying to get their restless children to behave, while some others were taking pictures at the Introduction Hall. The facilities were wonderful. Even the lavatories were clean and modern-looking.

The very first thing that you see in the museum is Aedi, the robot. She welcomes the guests, advises them to read the signs, and tells them to enjoy their Mind Museum experience. I would have to admit that I was not able to really maximize my stay there because I was too preoccupied with taking pictures. The signs are insightful and they are there to help the visitors understand the nature of the display. There are four main galleries found in the first floor: Universe, Earth, Life, and Atom. The second floor showcases the Technology gallery, and it is also where the function rooms, cafeteria, and auditorium are located. I felt like a little kid exploring the whole place. Ivan kept asking me, "Why are you so happy?" because I could not stop smiling in awe of the whole place. Each gallery has a unique and enlightening story waiting to be shared.

The Majesty of the Universe

The Universe Gallery gives one the feeling of being outer space. It features a mini-planetarium, a ceiling of stars, images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and models of the planets. Unfortunately, during our visit, the Mars Rover exhibit was not working because it got too tired from too much rough play. Still, the exhibits are fun in a way that one could explore the story of the Universe on his/her own, by listening to the speakers, pressing touch-screen monitors, and just appreciating how much space travel has developed. My favorite part of this gallery would be the part where you can control and see different phases of the moon. It was fascinating and educational at the same time, and I think it was the closest I can get to attaining my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut.

Nature Across the Breadth of Time

From the Universe Gallery, there's a Tunnel Craft corridor that leads to the Earth Gallery. It makes one dizzy because the whole thing kept spinning but it was really cool because I felt being warped into a different zone - from a star-filled galaxy to the prehistoric age of the Earth. The Earth Gallery focuses on nature and the history of our own planet. From viewing the exhibits, I learned how the natural history began with the Hadean Eon 4.6-4 billion years ago, followed by the Archean Eon, Proterozoic Eon, the Cambrian period, all the way to the Quaternary period where the evolution of man came. The highlight of this gallery would be the “tyrant lizard king” or T-Rex named Stan. It amazes me how about 65 million years ago, this dinosaur was alive and walking on land. I also read that the scars on his bones are signs of the wars he fought for survival. There were footprints of Stan and some rocks (one guide said it was actually his feces that hardened and turned to rock. Uhh.) around the 40-feet skeletal creature. The gallery presents the development and lifetime of the T-Rex and also other educational exhibits such as mass extinctions – how destruction was “a part of life,” the formation of the tornado, fires/eruption of a volcano, oceans, and the how the sky gets its blue color from the scattering of short wavelengths.

The Exuberance of Life

The Life Gallery is all about the human body, the living organisms, and its habitats. The exhibits shows theories on how life began, the Human Story – from “Lucy” to Homo Sapiens, DNA, and other parts of the body. One feature was the enlarged human brain and its different functions. For example, the Hypothalamus is responsible for hunger and thirst, while the Amygdala for feelings of anger, fear, and distress. There was also a life-size model of whale shark, the largest fish in the world, on display. I also enjoyed the rubber displays of different animal teeth, the Amino acids that light up when you press them, and the exhibit on taste of the human tongue.

The Strange World of the Very Small

Beside that is the Atom Gallery, which showcases the world of the very small - things we do not often notice. What lead me to this gallery was the huge melting chocolate bar that represented how all of the things are made up of atoms. I had to hide my disappointment when I found out that it wasn't a real chocolate bar. Haha. One of the things I liked most about the gallery is its interactive displays. I had fun posing in the shadow box, where the wall absorbs light flash and retains my silhouette for a few seconds. There were also exhibits on the Static Van de Graaff, where experimenting with electrons and current leaves your hair strands standing, the Newton's Cradle, frequencies, energy forms, and functional groups of the organic molecule. I remembered things I learned in high school, which was really nice and kind of nostalgic. There is also a Light Tunnel that is connected to the Universe Gallery. It shows the decreasing wavelength, examples of Gamma Rays, X-Rays, Ultraviolet, Visible Light (my favorite part - the lights were colorful and pretty), Infrared, Microwaves, and Radio Waves.

The Showcase of Human Ingenuity
From the original Gutenberg printing press to helper machines like the MIROSurge Robotic System, the last gallery, Technology, shows the development of human life itself. It presents different fields: mathematics, literature, agriculture, as well as technological innovations like robots and cars.

The Mind Museum definitely offers a very unique learning experience for everyone, and I was glad that I was able to see the wonders of science in a dynamic kind of way. Here are some suggestions for those who want to visit The Mind Museum:
  • Come on time so you can maximize your stay. Three hours may not be enough to explore the whole place.
  • Bring a nice camera so you can take good pictures of the exhibits. I only used my iPhone camera so the images I have are a bit low-res.
  • Read the signs and use the touch-screen monitors. Some people don't notice these things but they are really useful and educational. There are even mini games in some touch screen monitors.
  • Have fun! You don't have to be a science geek to enjoy the experience, just let curiosity take over your mind. ☺
You can buy tickets online or at the museum itself. Visit their website to find out more. ☺

Forever Grateful

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Remember, there are no mistakes, only lessons. Love yourself, trust your choices, and everything is possible." - Cherie Carter-Scott
I'm typing this because grades were just released online. This blog is an avenue for me to over-share, and at the same time, encourage some readers out there who might be going through a similar situation. This is not an I'm-so-happy-I-feel-like-bragging kind of post, but a way to express my thankfulness and awe to the Most High. I checked my My.Lasalle account this evening, not really hoping for anything. Being that it is already my third year in college, I have grown accustomed to the servers crashing, students complaining, and, yes, failures.

Just to give a background, during my 1st year I was a consistent dean's lister. Back then, we were still adjusting from high school and only had floating / general ed subjects. ENGLRES (Basic Research) was probably the most difficult class we had that year. My second year grades were mediocre. It was my first time taking majors. I was no longer a dean's lister, and I told myself I would do better next term. I never had a grade lower than 2.0, so I was still in running for Latin honors, which was kind of a big thing for me. My third year started okay. It was fun and I enjoyed being one of the veterans or the more experienced people on campus. Sure, classes became even more challenging but I felt unbeatable. Eliza is someone who never fails. She's smart and responsible, an admirable student... Little did I know that I was going to get the biggest slap in the face that term. I did all I can as I soon became aware of the danger I was in (academically), but in the end, I failed not one, but two classes - which is equivalent to six units total. I don't have to share all the details, but I felt terrible. My friends and family, especially Ivan and my brother, had to deal with me crying all the time. It was the worst feeling I had in a long time. I could no longer get a Latin honor award even if my CGPA reached the minimum requirement because of those 6 units. I was no longer graduating on time because one class I failed is only offered seasonally, so I have to extend a term to take it again. It seemed like everything was going against me. I was ashamed to be in front of my friends and my parents. People who don't usually show concern would surprisingly try to make me smile and all. My seatmate tried cracking jokes, another friend hugged me in the hallway when I passed by her. Some sent encouraging text messages. It was comforting and I appreciated it, but I was still so disappointed at myself. It does not erase the fact that I was a failure.
"When a person's steps follow the LORD, God is pleased with his ways. If he stumbles, he will not fall, because the LORD holds his hand." - Psalm 37:23-24 (NCV)
Even though I felt down, I knew I couldn't stay like that for long. I still made mistakes here and there, and I even almost failed again because of tardiness, but God was faithful all throughout. Everything He created is a solution to a problem, and in my case, failing that one time became a huge wake-up call. I could not blame anyone else. I have broken my focus, and that was why I have fallen, but God is holding my hand and helps me back up. It's okay not to be perfect all of the time, and my parents would still support me no matter what. A WWJD Power Statement says, "Jesus' style was to take the value system of the world and turn it upside-down. Winning and success are highly prized in our world but God can use failure and defeat to make us more like Himself." :) I could not agree more. My mistake made stronger and strive harder. I am not proud of that really ugly mark in my transcript, but I am sure proud of my God. By faith, I handled failure well. It doesn't matter how deep you fall, but how high you bounce back!!
"Have faith in God today. He holds all the answers. He sets miracles into motion. He will begin to change things in your favor." - Joel Osteen
Back to my story: So I checked my grades. Surprisingly, My.Lasalle was working well and I was able to see them without delay. I was still lacking one grade, but I already knew what I got because we computed it earlier in class. It was already my second take that one class, so I worked extra harder. From 0.0 I got... a 4.0. ☺ Imagine the whole hallelujah chorus in the background when I computed my grade. As for my other subjects, I am really happy with them - thesis, majors, and floating classes alike. 1st honor Dean's Lister again this term - I'm back on track! I really could not get over the fact. After seeing my grades and computing my GPA, I ran to my brother's room and really cried. I think I got tears and snot all over his pillow, haha. He laughed at me and gave me a hug. After a really terrible 1st term, I ended my third term of my third year well. I'm praying for even more wisdom and guidance so I will be able to keep this up. Thank you, Lord, for your goodness and overflowing love for me. I take back what I said - I am not a failure. I may have lost a couple of times, but I definitely won the battle against myself and my own ego. Working my butt off was really worth it!

Love for Literature

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Last Wednesday was one of the biggest days of my life as a literature major - we had our very last major class with my block and the dreaded Thesis1 Defense. The night before, I was very unsure of how I should prepare. I was really worried that I might fail, afraid that the panel was going to grill me alive. I ended up doing my nails while re-reading my thesis to ease my nervousness. On the day itself, I arrived three hours early so I could watch my classmates with their defense. I met my mentor outside the classroom. He was very kind and supportive. He told me that there is nothing to worry about and that I should just be confident with what I have prepared. I made at least five trips to the library that day. At 1:30pm, the Vice Chair asked me to begin with a word of prayer - this really helped because one can never say too much prayers. God always listens. ☺ The defense went smoother than I had imagined. Despite my stuttering and inability to express my thoughts well, the panel was honest and suggested a lot of ideas to improve my work. I would look at my mentor from where I was and he would give a reassuring nod. I'm doing okay. After deliberation, they told me my grade. It was a lot higher than I expected, and I was really happy. 

Thesis1 Defense done! ☺ with lit blockmates Clari, Marian, and Bea
As I was walking along SJ Walk, I passed by one of my batchmates. He had his final thesis defense that day and passed with flying colors. I congratulated him because after three grueling years in college, he was graduating. As cliche as it may sound, really, time flies so fast. It made me think a lot. Just one more term, I would say to myself. I would make my parents proud too.

After a few hours of chitchat in school, Sharmaigne, April, and I proceeded to Bistro Remedios in Malate for our Southeast Asian Literature class Fellowship Night. It was our very last 'class' together so everyone was feeling nostalgic. The whole restaurant was designed like an old Filipino household, with stained glass and classic wooden interiors. Several musicians serenaded our evening with traditional Filipino songs and a couple of Spanish songs. The food there was also very delicious. They served our rice from split bamboo shoots. It's sticky and flavored with small pieces of chicken, mushroom, and shrimp. Aside from the yummy Bamboo Rice, we also had the Adobong Kambeng (goat meat stewed in soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic), Binukadkad na Crispy Pla Pla (butterflied fried pla pla fish served with bato bato and fresh mustard leaves), Sinigang na Tapi at Bangus (traditional Filipino sour soup with milk fish and vegetables), and another white dish with sauce (I think it was the Hipon sa Saluyot at Labong, tender bamboo shoots and jute's mallow sauteed with shrimps and enriched with coconut cream).

Binukadkad na Crispy Pla Pla - my personal favorite

We had Golden Banana Crumb from LLC for dessert. Thanks, Jes! 

Smile and I were both in costume~

Peter was reciting a poem that he wrote.
We ate heartily, played guessing games, and just walked down memory lane. Some classmates presented their final creative project and gave parting gifts, while our professor, also the Chair of the Literature Department, took commemorative photos. It was a pleasant time to eat good food with great company. After dinner, we proceeded to Cafe Adriatico to end the night with a more conversations in a relaxing atmosphere.

I took a cab with April and Sharmaigne back to La Salle because it was already getting late. It was overall a wonderful and memorable day. As I was in the train going home, I got a message from April saying that she had a great time and was thankful for our company. Again, it reminded me of how much we have gone through as a block together. Surviving the qualifying exams and interview, a probationary period as majors, the comprehensive exams, and now, thesis - I have gotten so far in the program. I could not count the times I have wanted to give up or shift to another course, something that others would deem 'useful' in the corporate world, but I always convince myself that I am pursuing my passion.

After three years in college, I have learned that it takes a whole lot more than love for reading to survive in the literature program. You would be forced to read things you may not like or agree with, to finish a number of novels and write critical papers in less than a week, to theorize and over-analyze, think twice about your taste for books, and you may end up disliking the very thing that you love doing all together. It happened to me, and at some point in my lit 'journey' I had wished that I had taken a different course in a different college. When people find out that I am taking lit as a degree, they would follow up with a question of "what will that make you?" or "what job would you get after graduation?" A lot of my close friends know that I have been constantly asking myself whether I want this or not. Am I doing this right? How will this help me with life or business in the long run? I'm still striving. And little by little, I get answers.

I am very thankful for the professors and the friends that had been with me in the program. They make me feel that what I am doing is really worth it. I still have a term (hopefully) to go before I finally march down the graduation aisle, so I still have a lot to do and learn. I may not have classes with my blockmates any more, but I'm sure I would still see some of them around campus. At the end of my third year, I now find myself looking back at how fun and stressful the years had been.

There are days where I feel like I don't want to do anything productive. I was already taking Thesis Writing 1 along with my major and general classes, so it was really one helluva term. I have already experienced failures and disappointments, and yet I am a queen of procrastination. I find a lot of reasons to keep myself from doing what I have to do. People say that when choosing a course or a job, one should pursue the thing that they love the most. I took up literature because I love reading. It was as simple as that. Reading is a way to explore the world outside my own, to learn and appreciate life through the written word. I like the smell of freshly printed ink on paper, the feel of running my fingers through pages and pages of paperbacks, the sound of someone reciting lines of a sonnet... No matter how tough it gets, I'm finishing what I started.

I love literature. Let's leave it at that.

Credits to Peter Pichler for some of the photos. ☺