Exploring the Universe: La Luz, Batangas

A few months ago, we visited one of our favorite resorts in Batangas: La Luz!

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I have been here several times already, but this is the first time that I got to snorkel without my family and friends with me. They were resting, and the sun was up and the sea looked so inviting, so I went on my own. Confession: I’m not really that good of a swimmer, and some fishes scare me but I decided that this was the time I was going to face my fears. After all, I was wearing a life jacket, and other people were also swimming in the area. This was also the time that I was participating in the #30bravedays challenge, so I was feeling extra brave. And competitive.

So I did what I was afraid of doing. And I was able to take photos of some pretty cool (not scary-looking) fishes. I swam up to the raft in the middle of the sea and got to see a blowfish–which was exciting, but also very surprising (and scary) so I was panic-swimming for a bit. I think I swallowed some seawater in shock.
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Here are just some of the fishes I saw:
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I had to take a selfie at the raft because it was a major accomplishment for me:

I didn’t take after my dad, obviously, who swims as far as he could each time we visit a beach, (see below) but baby steps:
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Before the sun set, I explored the borders of the resort. I reached the rocky cliff and hiked to the top of it:
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View from the cliff:
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The next morning, I had some heart-shaped pancakes which I ate with brown sugar, and some eggs:
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I collect kitty photos. I saw this lovely cat when we arrived:
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The day ended with a lovely meal at Casa Rap, but that’s another story. Happy Sunday!
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Wrap-up: 30 brave days (and 30 more)!

In a past post, I mentioned how I wanted to be “braver” and jump out of my comfort zone. Thanks to Wanderrgirl’s #30bravedays challenge, I’m happy to report that the past month has been a very exciting one! Check out new brave things I did:

✔ Play the harmonica in my instagram account
✔ Create art using a pin and nail polish (inspired by @paperfashion)
✔ Meet, greet, have my harmonica autographed by all the members of Moonpools and Caterpillars. Ask for a hug from all of them
✔ Paint my wooden matryoshkas. Do not fear messing it up.
✔ Make mango salsa
✔ Try and join something that would require me to pester everyone to vote for me
✔ Taste new indian food and dine by my lonesome: dhal soup, paneer pudina tikka
✔ Agree to make commissioned artwork in watercolors
✔ Digital papercut using photoshop and mouse
✔ Try making loom bracelets
✔ Start of teach yo’self challenge
✔ Highlight my fave passages from books
✔ Draw my dream dresses from fave designers and tag them
✔ Teach myself Italian (Thanks Booksale and Duolingo!)
✔ Embossed tattoos! Take advantage of my dermatographia
✔ Frida tattoo from SF
✔ Draw using found branches
✔ Draw using a mechanical pencil–with pink lead
✔ Draw on black paper using glitter glue
✔ Climb rocky cliff on my own
✔ Swim to balsa on my own! Snorkel on my own, dive from balsa (all by my lonesome)
✔ Do that string art glue thing
✔ Make 30-second gesture drawings
✔ Buy things I do not know from Taiwanese grocery, eat them: asparagus ginseng juice, vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce, five-spice tofu (which I ate raw kase pwede daw)
✔ Embroidery portrait of my mom
✔ Make a watercolor portrait of my mom for mother’s day
✔ Make fashion sketches, and use fresh flowers for the dresses of the ladies (inspired by @grace_ciao)
✔ Paint a bottle from a photo I took, using gouache
✔ Get both sides of my head shaved, take selfies
✔ Start a makeup blog

I love how this challenge sort of “forced” me to think of brave things I can do every single day, things I probably would have put off for a later time because there’s no sense of urgency. Because of this, I am now inspired to do more acts of bravery, acts that would make myself proud, no matter how small it might seem to others.

The grand finale is my new makeup blog! I’ve been inspired by these lovely women, and this is something I’ve been thinking of doing for the longest time, but certain fears stopped me before: lack of funds for swanky makeup, mah bitchface when not smiling and uneven face when smiling (very awkward selfies, you have been warned), lack of a nice camera/computer for taking said selfies, lack of self control which might render me deep in debt, etc. etc.

 

I conquered all my fears today. In the end, my desire for having one won, and the basic reasoning that the “if you don’t like it, don’t look at it” rule can be applied in this case for haters of my face/my makeup experiments haha. When I am old and makeup can be bought and worn automatically through tablets rubbed against your face, that blog will make me nostalgic for the good old days. And I like memory triggers so here I go!

Interested in my new blog? Here it is. 🙂

 

Quick quick sketches

Despite not being very good at it, I still enjoy making hurried sketches. I believe doing them trains me to think quickly and draw without inhibitions, and in turn, makes me more confident and less nitpicky.

In a way, it makes me braver. For the #30bravedays challenge, I dared myself to draw poses for 30 seconds each and not be too concerned about the output. A year ago, I joined a Dr. Sketchy drawing session for the first time and even if my output wasn’t spectacular (unlike all the great work of the teens beside me), I still had a great time.

When I discovered the site http://quickposes.com, I felt like I struck gold. You can choose a male or female model, choose the time, and choose if you want the models to be nude (which I’ll try next time).

Since I wanted to challenge myself to the max, I chose a 30-second interval and used my pink mechanical pencil. I’m not fond of using pencils but I tried it this time too. A non-mechanical pencil might be a better choice, since the lead of mine kept breaking. After doing 14 drawings, I switched to a ballpoint pen and it was much better.  I was able to draw 9 figures in about 5 minutes:

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P.s. We went to the beach last weekend and I can’t wait to share more about the adventure with you soon!

P.s.s The “adventure” involved a real live blowfish, which was scary and awesome at the same time. Mostly scary. And exciting!

Drawn with thread

My lolo Maning was an excellent boxer, farmer, and tailor. He had a tailoring shop in Gagalangin and he made the most beautiful barongs for my dad, and uniforms for me. It’s quite sad that he was shot to his death by robbers inside his shop, but I keep fond memories of our happy times together and know him more through my mom’s stories about him.

My lolo Floring was a colonel, a Bataan Death March survivor, and he also sort of led our brothers/sisters in faith in our spiritist “church”. (Yes, I am a spiritist.)
He often fetched me from school when no one else could and I have a lot of fond memories about him as well. He often sewed shut the holes in his clothes, and would ask me to thread the needle since his eyesight wasn’t that good anymore.

Don’t even get me started on my lolas and their sewing skills. My lola Nena used to help me with my sewing homework and mostly ended up doing it because my stitches were crooked and really messy. My mom used to sew outfits for me, and I remember a very cute bolero she made me, long before I even knew what a bolero was.

In short, everyone in my family can wield the needle and the thread with confidence and flair (including my dad). Except me. I don’t have the patience for it or the hand-eye coordination, it appears . I bought myself those thick embroidery/needlecraft books from Reader’s Digest and Good Housekeeping and promised myself I would conquer embroidery/sewing one day. Because, possibilities.

The day came when I was brave enough to give it another shot. I  got all my materials ready, including gold embroidery thread and other luscious thread colors. One thing was missing, though, and that was–my needle. That big embroidery needle that I might have accidentally left at that book-binding workshop I attended months ago at 98B. Oops.

So my plans were scrapped. Until now. I plan on sewing my mom’s portrait for Mother’s Day so help me Universe. Here’s my work  in progress:

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It’s also part of my #30bravedays challenge, which I’m enjoying so much! More on that soon.

Wish me luck! 🙂

Teach yo’self!

I have this nasty habit of buying books just to have them and then forgetting about them once I’ve stored them. When I’ve unearthed my books related to arts/crafts, I’ve discovered that they’re quite a lot, which should be something that I remember each time I’m inside a bookstore, to help me curb my buying enthusiasm (which my wallet’s not supporting completely).

The recent #30bravedays challenge has been making me dream big, and I’m planning on taking a dream trip to my dream destination next year (please, Universe, please) which means NO unnecessary spending. I consider books and learning a neccesity, but this time I would have to set a strict budget for that and stick to it, no matter how hard. This means no arts/crafts workshops for me this year. 😦 If you read my blog from a year ago, you’d learn that I am a huge huge fan of workshops (I took two classes last year, printmaking and drawing, all within the same day during weekends because why not), so this saddens me a bit. But eyes on the prize, they always say, so my monies will be going to my grand travel plans, because I’ve also found a workaround.

I shall be teaching myself, at my own pace, free of charge, within my time limitations. Using these books, and maybe the internet, I will be studying everything I can using materials I hoarded and sharing it in my instagram (I’m @aphazia there, let’s be friends!) and here in my blog.

I know that I have an extremely short attention span, and having a variety of books on different subjects will help me not lose interest in this challenge, hopefully. 

Here are my books:

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For my first challenge, I used an exercise from the book “Just Draw It”, and it involved drawing on a huge piece of paper while listening to music. I stuck scratch paper using washi tape to the wall since I didn’t have a large piece of paper, and used a brush pen since I didn’t have a charcoal stick. I listened to “Your Hand in Mine”, by Explosions in the Sky and closed my eyes so I wouldn’t be too conscious re the output. I had to hold the wall constantly though, since I might accidentally draw on the edges. I took occasional peeks as well. I still managed to draw on the wall accidentally though, despite these precautions, since my pen passed through the paper gaps, lol. At the end, here’s my artwork:

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I did another exercise, which was to draw while walking and to never take your pen off the paper and I did it inside the grocery, which resulted in this:

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Wish me luck! Happy Easter! 🙂

30 brave days

“Brave” isn’t really a word I use to describe myself. I consider myself shameless, yes, and maybe strange, but never brave. For some reason, I equate being “brave” with grand things that aren’t really on my bucket list, like skydiving, or swimming with sharks.

When I stumbled upon the “30 brave days” challenge from Arriane’s blog: http://wanderrgirl.com, I knew this was something I should be part of. Seeing the other acts of bravery from the other participants made me realize that just going out of my comfort zone is enough to warrant it a “brave” act. It doesn’t have to be grand, and it doesn’t have to be impressive to others, but it has to be something meaningfully courageous to YOU.

I have a neverending list of stuff in my private bucket list in my listography (http://listography.com/aphazia), and each time I try something new, I add it to my “Happy Times” list.

Aside from my dream trip to Japan, I’m actually pretty surprised that the Universe helps me tick off items in that list. Slowly but surely. Mostly in surprising serendipitous ways.

One of the items there included seeing one of my fave bands, Moonpools & Caterpillars live. Alas, I didn’t have enough funds for a ticket and had to accept that I might not be able to see them this time. A few days before the event, our good friend Evee, was kind enough to give us two passes! I think I almost cried a bit with happiness.

My first entry involved me playing the short harmonica intro to their song “Summertime” because I haven’t played my harmonica in public (see it in my instagram feed: http://instagram.com/aphazia). Started it last April 9 too, coinciding with Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor). My lolo was a Bataan death march survivor and one of the bravest and kindest people I know so I am doing this in honor of him as well.

Day 2 involved me drawing using a pin and nail polish, since I’ve always admired Katie Rodgers’ artworks using a pin and paintblobs (check out her instagram:http://instagram.com/paperfashion)

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Day 3 involved having my harmonica signed by Moonpools & Caterpillars, and asking them all for hugs (thanks again, Evee! :))

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It was a great night with a lot of jumping, dancing, singing, and fangushing, heh.

Day 4 involved painting on blank wooden matryoshkas. I received this as a gift from my mom years ago and always dreamt of painting them but I was scared of messing it up, so I never did.

But the #30bravedays challenge seems to be working in making me braver, so this morning, I decided that today was the day:

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I learned a lot from today’s painting adventure:

1. Use paint that isn’t clumpy and a good quality brush. My acrylic paint was clumpy and my brush was losing its hair and it was a bit annoying.

2. Build up your layers. This is my first time to paint wood, so that’s another item ticked off my list!

3. Who cares if it isn’t perfect?