I'm a Junkie.




My current snack obsession: Pipino's Mini Donuts

Hi. I'm Junkie. Junkie Pacquiao. Hahahaha.

I'm a consummate snacker. I'm a master snacker, I can snack and type (I'm devouring a bag of Beer Match Cracklings as we speak)..I can snack and drive..heck, I bet you a thousand bucks I could snack and shower. But that would just be too gross..soap sud flavored chips, anyone? Hmm.

My snacking comes in phases. And my snacking phases are obsessive. Some food phases last for days, some weeks, but the best ones last for months!I've talked about this previously but just remembered again over a dinner date in Jollibee the other day. I had a peach mango phase which brought me to Jollibee almost every day..then a few weeks later, I had a chicken nuggets phase which let me crossover to the golden arches.

I had a kiamoy phase when I was back in college. It lasted a whole year! My Chinese dorm mate would buy a whole tub of Kiamoy from Quiapo every week and leave it in my room. My tongue would turn numb from the saltiness and my fingertips would always be red. In exchange for the steady supply of kiamoy, I happily served as our dorm janitress and mopped our kitchen floors every other night. All for the love of kiamoy!

I also had a pretty bad hawflakes phase. In fact, it was so bad that my classmates would give me hawflakes for Christmas!! Mukhang hawflakes na kasi ako. I even got into a fight with the cafeteria lady when they raised the price from 75 cents a pop to 2 pesos! I was fuming mad!!! "Kalokohan 'tong hawflakes inflation ninyo!" I could see in her eyes though that she was quite threatened by my complaint..after all, I was the only person in Ateneo who actually bought hawflakes from her! I was the lone Hawflakes patron in school.

My close friends call me Ms. Salty-Sweet-Salty-Sweet. It's self-explanatory really but allow me to expound. As soon as I put something sweet in my mouth..I start craving for something salty..then it leads me to something sweet..it's a never ending, insatiable foodie roller coaster ride. But mind you, I'm a discerning junkie. Hindi ako cheap noh! It's not like you can just throw me a bag of potato chips and I'll give in..I know my junk and I am very particular about my snacks. I'm faithful to my favorites and have stood by them through the years. Through the good times and the bad..Naks, long term relationship ba ito?! Well, I'm more of a loyal polygamist..devoted to many. But only when it comes to food..OK! Hahaha! :) I love food so much that whenever I'm depressed, I head straight to Makati Supermarket. I remember failing my Philo exam and crying in the Imported Chocolates section. I also dealt with my heartaches in the Frozen Goods area. I tell you, I've found peace in these aisles.


Maltesers. Piknik. Hawflakes. Ruffles. Kiamoy. Lychee Jelly. Nerds.Ricoa Flat Tops.


One of my most intense phases was my Lychee Jelly addiction. It was borderline psycho. I even recall one instance where I was ransacking our kitchen, opening all the cupboards looking for more Lychee Jelly. And suddenly I saw our little old manang, Ate Este who's been with us since I was 2, wrapping her arms desperately over our pantry closet, shouting "WAGGGG!! Sabi ng Mommy mo hindi na pwede!Naka-ilang packs ka na!" And there I was like a manipulative vampire ready to pounce on my helpless prey.."Ate...hindi naman niya mahahalata noh..sekreto lang natin..dali na, isang pack nalang..." to which she shouts "HINDI TALAGA!!! CHE!" Hahahahaha!!! I love how "CHE" is so Pinoy and so appropriate for certain circumstances. Like how "BAL" (with the rolling eyes and rolling tongue) makes no sense but just makes you sooooo aggravated! Ilang beses na akong napikon sa BAL-BAL-BAL!

Growing up in Magallanes, my sister Daniela and I would save our allowance to buy Nerds at Bad Habit (Shell station Maga). It was 12 pesos per pack back then...extremely pricey back in the day. It would take us a whole week of saving just to get a pack each. So when I started earning my own money, the first thing I did was go to Shell. I bought myself a whole stash of Nerds. I felt like it was the ultimate grown up moment for me! "Hahaha, see world! I'm rich now!!! I can buy all the Nerds i waaaaant!! Mwahahaha". Dream big, Patty, DREAM BIG!


Cuban Corn. Edamame. Fish Balls. NYFD Fries. Takoyaki Balls.



My chocolate addictions

My love for chocolates deserves a separate post, respeto lang naman. That is a post I need to really prepare myself for..how can you even start writing about the Love of your Life. How can you find the words to say what you truly feel?! Hay, impossible. But allow me to express my undying devotion to this beauty. I'm a snob and a half, I tell you. I hate chocolate posers. And trust me, Ive encountered a lot...those pretending to know their shizz, who act like they eat chocolates all day, blahblahblah..FAKERS!!! I know my chocolates and you cant fool me! When you've studied chocolates for years (and by study, I mean LAMON), just like me..you can spot a genuine from a fake a mile away. I remember having an intense chocoholic discussion with my buddy Jinno Rufino one day..as we were exchanging chocolate stories comparing Ritter Sport White with Hazelnuts and Ritter Sport with Cornflakes, I realized that there really is a science and art behind Chocoholicsm. Or maybe it could even become a religion.

Thank God for the Mayans and their cacao. Did you know that they fed chocolates to the virgins before sacrificing them to the gods? What a genius idea. Drunk with chocolates, nice one.

MAYAN PRIEST: "Uy miss, gusto mo ng tsokolate...eto kain ka lang.."
DUMB GIRL: "Wow..thanks..ang sweet mo naman, kuya"
MAYAN PRIEST:"Halika, akyat ka dito..ganda ng view diba..."
DUMB GIRL: "Wow! Ang ganda..sarap magpa-picture taaaaaaaakkkkkiiiiinnnnggggggggg!!!!!"

*Mayan Priest pushes her. She falls into the volcano. Pagan gods happy. No more famine for 9 years.*

Ok, this post just gave me a tummy ache. I seriously need to change my diet and start a healthier lifestyle. *burp*


My Life at the Office

After 5 long and beautiful years of teaching,  I've decided to take a little break so I can become a student again. I'll be teaching part-time and studying. Keeping my fingers crossed and praying that I will be able to go back to grad school in a few months :)

As I was clearing out my iphoto albums, I stumbled across these pictures and started getting teary eyed!! I miss my little rascals!!:( Summer breaks are always too long for me, it keeps me away from my little ones! So here's a post dedicated to my kids...with some old posts as well :)

Here's a random video clip of my JK students. Prior to clicking the record button, we had a whole spiel practiced..but as soon as we started rolling, it was total chaos! No, we were not filming in the basement of Makati Med..hehehe :) These kids are the sane kind of crazy..or so I think. I'm sure they got the crazy from their teacher..ahem,ahem.

video
 

 
An excerpt from a blog entry,  September 2009.

Teaching is H-A-R-D. And I'll have to admit there are days when I feel like quitting--with all the stress, expectations, and even the drastic weight loss. (I had to double my food intake ever since I started teaching dahil ang bilis ko ng pumayat!) But the one thing that keeps me sane are the insane comments I hear from my kids. Araw-araw may baon akong kwento. My dad keeps telling me that I should write a book! Well, maybe in 2-3 years I'll have enough material! :)

I'd like to share with you some of my favorite classroom scenarios. It's not Dave Chappell or Rusell Peters level of funny, but still worth laughing over. You'll have to work with me here, syempre mas nakakatawa if I re-enact it with their facial expressions and actions..but just try to imagine that they're only 3 feet tall with so much spunk and attitude and hopefully you'll get it!

*I had to change their names to protect their identities.*

Two boys building a tower with lego blocks…
Boy 1: “Hey JP! You have to look for the red piece!”
Boy 2: “It’s not here!!! I’ve been looking and looking but the red one’s gone!”
Boy 1: “Ugh! It’s over here! Hay JP…you’re really not good looking!”
Boy 2: “Teacher, Max said I’m not good looking…huhuhuhu”
TAMA NGA NAMAN--HINDI MAGALING MAGHANAP IN ENGLISH= NOT GOOD LOOKING!

Two boys seated next to each other…
Boy 1: “Get away from me Josh, you’ve got bad breath!!!! Yuckkk!”
Boy 2: (crying) “Teacher!!!!! Mark said I have bad breath!!”
Teacher Patty: “Well darling, that means you’ll have to brush your teeth more often. You see, if you don’t brush your teeth..the germs will live inside your mouth!”
Boy 2: (trying to stop his crying) “Ok, Mark *hiccup*, Mark, listen to me please… I’ll brush my teeth…*hiccup*…and then..and then..you smell my mouth ok?? You promise??”


Just a few days after the passing of MJ…
Kid: “Teacher, Michael Jackson is black and white right???”
Teacher Patty: “Ummm..actually..he was black then became white..so yes, you’re right in a way!
Wait ,who is Michael Jackson? Do you know him?”
Kid: (looks at me in this annoyed“Hay naku, bakit di mo siya kilala?!” way then whispers into my ear) “Teacher?!?! He’s the greatest musician of all time!”

Two “cool” kids and one “slightly less cooler” kid playing…
Pa-cool Kid: “Hey guys, hey guys, can I sit with you? Can I sit here please?? Oh please, John..I want to sit here next to you!”
Cool Kid: “Ughhh..No! I don’t want!”
Pa-cool Kid: “Oh please, please,please. I’ll let you borrow my OCTOPUS prime!”
Cool Kid’s Sidekick: “Jay, you just want to sit next to John because he’s POPULAR!!!!”
Teacher Patty: (intervenes) “Children, you have to learn to be friends with everybody. By the way, do you understand what POPULAR means?”
Cool Kid’s Sidekick: (looks at me with a cocky “I know my Shizz” attitude, sits on the chair na naka-dequatro then waves his hands to the air) “Of course! Popular is when you’re FABULOUS!”

Talking about G.I. Joe...
Teacher Patty: “So Andrew, what did you do over the weekend?”
Kid: “I watched G.I. Joe! I really like Scarlet!”
Teacher Patty: “Yes, I like Scarlet too! I don’t like that other girl..the one with the black hair..Anna?”
Kid: (blushes dahil kinikilig) “I like Anna!! Because she’s TOTALLY HOT!”
Teacher Patty: (laughing) “Darling! That girl is too old for you!”
Kid: “I love checking out chicks! When I grow up I'm going to check out ALL the chicks in the wooooooorld! yesssss!!!”
PATAY!

Nagdadabog na bata...
Teacher Patty: "Oh, what's wrong? Why are you angry?"
Kid: "I hate Frank Sinatra!!!!"
Teacher Patty: "Why?? But he's a really good singer!"
Kid: "Because he's my lola's boyfriend!!! I only want her to be with my lolo! Everyday nalang,she always talks about Frank, Frank,Frank!"
SOSYAL SI LOLA

Kid asking for alcohol..
Kid: "Teacher, pahingi ng hangkolol"
Teacher Isa: "Lauren, it's al-co-hol...ok..sabihin mo AL"
Kid: "AL"
Teacher Isa:"CO"
Kid:"CO"
Teacher Isa:"HOL! ALCOHOL!"
Kid: (with a big smile)"HOL! HANGKOLOL!!!"

An excerpt from a blog entry, March 2010. 

I've heard it probably 4-5 times before, the odd question:"Kailangan ba lahat ng preschool teacher maganda? Parang basta maganda ka, pwede ka na magturo." One person even asked me if facial symmetry is a factor in hiring teachers. (Well, he did have basis for this so I'll have to give him points for making a little sense. There is after all a study that shows babies respond to symmetric faces positively.) So if this were true, a job interview over the phone would go like this:

Applicant: So I graduated magna cum laude....
School Principal
: Yes, yes, sure..but are you PRETTY?????
Applicant: Uhmmm.. i guess so.
School Principal: Then you're HIRED! You start monday!

I'm still trying to figure this one out and haven't really mastered the proper way of responding. Is this a supposed compliment? Then why do I feel insulted and not flattered? Or am I just being defensive? So far, I've settled for a sweet "sige lang, sige lang" smile hangga't nahanapan ko na ng tamang anggulo 'to. I guess it really depends on the person asking, like any other question..if it comes from a well meaning friend then it makes all the difference in the world.

But you know what, in my own simple words with nothing close to scholarly to back me up on this, I really think preschool teachers "look good" simply because we're happier than everyone else in the workforce!:) Sure, we dont get paid well but we get hugs and kisses 100 times a week. We get "You look so beautiful today, Teacher!" every single day. Even on days when I feel like crap..those days when I'm PMS-ing and got only 3 hours of sleep, oddly enough..maganda pa rin ako para sa kanila! Kahit may malaki akong tigyawat sa ilong, they'll just say "Oh poor Teacher Patty, she has a wound in her nose". Don't you just love it when it's called a "wound" as opposed to "pimple". Hahaha!:) I've received the best compliments of my life in my four years of teaching-- wearing no make up and dressed in ill fitting clothes, than during the many years of doing modeling and tv work kung saan feeling glam girl pa ako! Haha! But during weekends I really desperately dress up just to keep my cool mojo..even just for one night a week!

****
I think there are many valuable lessons I learn from my kids everyday. Things you tend to forget when you get older. Things that adults can't seem to understand.

1. Kids always tell the truth.

2. They don't care who you are, what you look like, or where you're from. They don't care about what you did 3 years ago..well, partly because they weren't born yet..but that's not the point, hehe. But they do care about how you smell..so that means no one will love your feet unconditionally, well maybe Jesus..maybe,just maybe.

3. Boogers can taste like Burgers (when you're desperate).

4. Hindi sila nagtatanim ng galit. Tampuhans last for 3 minutes tops and everything can be resolved through hugging. "Sorry" is easy when you really mean it.

5. Laughing is like breathing, you need to laugh to survive! If you ain't laughing, you ain't living!

An excerpt from a blog entry, March 2009.

Dear Six Year Old Patty,

I've got two words for you. HAIR BRUSH. It's this magic instrument human beings use to groom themselves.. maybe you should try using one, it will change YOUR LIFE. Who knows, maybe your crush will start calling you "Patty" instead of "Panty". Oh, and please tie your ribbon. I know you've always been a non-conformist..but who has those issues in the first grade? No one. So just tie your ribbon and look pretty like everyone else!

Love,
Twenty Five Year Old Patty




Obviously this photo was taken after a game of Ten-Twenty where I was the perpetual saling kit-kit because I was too much of a pansy to play the actual game. Yes, I was THAT kid. The smallest kid in the class who was always eager to play but never really had the SKILLZZZ to be in any team. They just put me there because I was NICE! Aguuuyyyy! The PAIN.

This photo revokes my license to poke fun at dugyuts.. because as you can see, I was a little Stinkinella! I actually don't look stinky here..I look SALTY!!! Now, if you didn't get that it's because you're too clean! Hahaha!

So to all my friends who make fun of me for being a neat freak and for taking too many showers in a day...AHA! Here's proof that I was once a happy, dirty, little rugrat!


You can become a 100% Guilt Free Shopper!

 
I was so honored to be chosen as one of the Philippine ambassadors of the World Fair Trade Organization. Here's what it's all about...
We love shopping. But sometimes the products we buy come at a terrible cost. Millions of workers and small producers around the world suffer poverty wages and exploitation, and are at the mercy of companies and business owners who care more about profit than the welfare of the people.

This simply can’t go on.

What if one can use the power of his/her purchase to change the lives of millions of people around the world? What if by simply shopping differently, one can ensure not just personal satisfaction but can spread happiness all over the globe? What if by simply SWITCHING, a sustainable solution to the world’s problems can be delivered?

The 100% Guilt Free Shopper campaign that aims to inform the consumers that they have the power to eradicate poverty, stop child and forced labor, advocate for gender equality, support sustainability and capacity building, safeguard the environment, promote equality in trade, and open opportunities for health and education with a single, conscientious purchase through Fair Trade.

BEAT POVERTY, BEAT CLIMATE CHANGE, BEAT EXPLOITATION, BEAT DISCRIMINATION, BEAT IGNORANCE.

Be a 100% Guilt Free Shopper. Make the SWITCH.

To get more involved, log on to www.wfto.com for more information! :)




The Talented Mr. and Mrs. Catilo


Meet my gradeschool bestie, Sheila Juan, now Sheila Catilo. We were the classic gradeschool frenemies. I would bully her on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and we would be partners in bullying other kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We were the annoying eager beaver nerds in class! Yung tipong pinapadala to compete for quiz bees..lahat nalang ng quiz bees ata sinalihan namin from Math Bees to Bible Bees to Spelling Bees..and of course, the Bee of all Bees, Jollibee! (wenk,wenk,wenk!) She would always be Top 1 of her class and I would be numero uno of mine. Yes, believe it or not..I was once a smart kid! Consistent Honor Student and Class President pa ako noh! So what happened to me and my brain?!? Frankly, I dont know. I guess some people get wiser as they age..and some, ahem, well..ayun. I represent the Charlie Sheens and Lindsay Lohans of the world! Those who started out with so much potential then just crashed! Hahaha!:)

I was the funny one in school, always cracking jokes and doing weird dance moves. But Sheila, she was special. She was always the more creative one. She always had an eye for things and even as a child, it was pretty clear that this was a gift that she really was blessed with. Now, she is a full fledged photographer..teaming up with her partner in all crimes, her hubby Jorem. Get ready kids, because I'm about to show you some drool worthy photos by the Catilos! On your mark, get set..gooooooo!

Photos taken by the husband-wife team while on vacay in Batanes...

  
Here are some snapshots from the most beautiful wedding I've ever attended..at hindi ako biased ha, I speak the truth!!! My sister Daniela married the love of her life, Stefano last December in Shangrila Boracay.. Sheila and Jorem did such an awesome job! 


 And here are some photos of Santiago Montenegro, the adorable son of Hans Montenegro and Marilen Faustino-Montenegro. I know what you're thinking..yes, these two are possibly the country's most genetically compatible couple..when you look the way they do, you're bound to have an attractive baby! 100% positive! Hahahaha :) But even if this is an impossibly beautiful family, I still feel that the Catilos did justice to them by capturing them in their most intimate moments :)




And now, here's another personal favorite. The engagement shots of Lawrence Aritao and his lovely bride, Giancarla. Hayyyy. When I saw these photos, I just wanted to fix myself a cup of hot choco and put lots and lots of marshmallows!!! So sweet and genuine :) Bravo Sheila and Jorem!!!


Next we have a baby bump shoot with yummy mummy, Hilary Isaac. You can definitely feel the love between mom and baby Asher! Sheila, Jorem..tama na..naiiyak na ako sa mga pictures ninyo!!! :) Check out Hil's mummy blog http://imamumnow.blogspot.com/



I would love to add a thousand more photos by Sheila and Jorem but that would take me a day and a half..so perhaps it would be better for all of you to just head on over to their website www.catilo.net :) For inquiries, just leave a message on their site and they will happily accommodate you. Aside from being extremely talented, they are the sweetest.. most easy going couple you'll ever meet! :)

I've already booked them for my future wedding, my future kid's baptism, my future kid's high school grad, and my 90th birthday celebration. It's always best to book in advance, mahirap na..baka busy sila on those dates. I think I'll plan a road trip with these two soon, they make normal day trips look so magical. They could shoot you in a vacant lot at mukhang nasa Santorini ka na! Kahit yung talahib nagmumukhang sosyal eh! Hahaha :) But seriously, they're that good.







Network of Champions

I was chosen to be part of TEAM PHILIPPINES for Shell's Network of Champions along with Eventologist Tim Yap, Beeboy Bargas and Vernon Sarne of Top Gear Philippines, and of course the Shell Dude himself, Jinno Rufino! We were joined by other Shell V Power Champs from Germany, UK, and the Netherlands! We were the only Asians in the program..REPRESENT the CONTINENT, oh yeah!!!

The first leg of our program was held in the United Kingdom last March. Next stop, Singapore..then we'll be visiting Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi! Can't wait :)







You too can be part of the Shell V Power FUN! Just log onto the website for more details http://www.shell.com.ph/home/content/phl/products_services/on_the_road/promotions/ferrari_world.html :) Wooopppeeee!!!

Make Your Own Havaianas

Photo by Arthur Mejia

My bestie Alessa and I finally made our own Havaianas!:) You can never ever have too many flipflops, this is my Nth pair of Havaianas! Another treat for my happy feet!!!

Welcome to my New Home, Homies!!!

DAPAtty. This was a nickname I acquired in high school. Needless to say, I was famous for tripping, falling, bumping and crashing. As a freshman, I slipped on a wet ramp and flashed my lavender so-en panty to a bunch of hot senior guys. In my junior year, I was rushed to the clinic once for tripping on a pebble, not a rock, a friggin' pebble!!! One time, I fell and was forced to go skiing on a flight of stairs and they had to ice my bum for a whole afternoon.  I even tripped while I was getting out of my car..and bruised myself pretty badly on the pavement. Not exactly something you'd like to be known for, but yes, that was my reputation in high school. The school klutz. The girl with a bruised knee. Tapilok Queen. DAPAtty. When they said "that girl is such a trip!" they didn't mean it in a hippie kind of way, they meant "trip" as in to fall.

I remember the moment they announced my name when I won as our school Prom Queen..it was the biggest moment of my teenage life! It was my time to shine in my 800 peso dress (my father's an Ilocano, go figure!) and I was thrilled! But I couldn't fully enjoy my BIG superstar moment because my whole barkada kept chanting "Ops, ops, wag kang madadapa! Ingat at baka matapilok!" as I was making my way to the stage to claim my prize. It was perhaps the longest 5 minutes of my life, dancing to "King and Queen of Hearts" trying desperately to keep my two feet grounded! Hahaha :)

As i was thinking of a name for my new blog, I was struggling with all these cool and catchy names. I had several options actually like: "www.myblogiscoolerthanyourblog.com" and "www.pleasemaawanamankayo.com". I also wanted to go with something really unique like "www.facebook.com" or "www.youtube.com" but for some reason nabili na ata yung mga domain na yun..ang labo nga eh. What are the odds? Anyway, I wanted it to be awesome. Then I realized that by putting an awesome name, you'd have to have an equally awesome blog to go with it. It was too much pressure, I didnt want to impose impossible expectations on myself! Especially since I wouldn't want to let down the 8 members of my blog fans club. Mahirap na, baka bumagsak yung followers ko from 8 to 6! Whoa. Big numbers right there. I refuse to be a failure! So there, after the 30 minute internal debate..I thought of using my name again (how original, Patty, nice one) but this time I got clever..I added a DA! Not a THE, because that would be too predictable..not DUH, because that's just dumb..but DA! As in TA-DAAAAHHHH here's my new blog!:)

The Flying Gerbil

I've been approached on numerous occasions by random, lovely people in random, lovely places from Rockwell, Cebu to Cagayan de Oro..all asking about my little adventures. I can't even begin to describe how flattering it feels to know that people actually care about my blog and the things I write here. I am not a traveler by profession (nakkks, professional traveler! I WISH.) nor am I an expert in the industry of tourism. I'm just a little girl with a big dream..and that dream is to see the WORLD!!! *pasok Philharmonic orchestra* Hehehe, somehow that moment was much cooler in my mind. Sa totoo lang, I think Ive received more compliments about my budget traveling skills than my actual physical appearance..teka lang, does that mean..hmmm...tsk,tsk.

For those of you who are not familiar with my little life plan..I've been trying to match my current age to the countries I've visited. Sofa, so gooood. I have 27 on my list as of my last count. I just turned 28 this April, so I have roughly 11 months to visit my 28th destination. Pending, pending. Naku, kailangan ko na naman mag-ipon! Dear barkada, if you dont see me in the next few months..alam niyo na kung bakit! Lutong bahay everyday at mukhang DVD night nalang ang gimik ko..AGAIN. :) Of course, when I finally get married and have kids..I would have to start rethinking my travel plans and start setting aside my moolah for more important things (you know, my children's education plan LANG naman,hehe).. but for now this is what makes me happy :)

So here is a mash up travelogue with snippets of my old posts and some new posts injected in between. It's a chopseuy of my travels with my family, friends, and also trips I took alone. There's a whole chunk of travels (mostly throughout middle school-high school) that are not included here..those days were just bad, let's just say I wasn't a very good looking adolescent. I had poor fashion sense and I was sporting a boy cut. Those photos are not for public consumption. Hahaha.

It's not as organized as I would have wanted it to be, but I hope this will do for now. I must admit, I feel like giving myself a pat on the shoulder..a pat by a pat..for a job well done. Especially since I've always been traveling with a very tight budget. It took me years to master the art of kuripotness! Ang hirap kaya maging budget traveler, it takes a lot of creativity! When you have limited funds, you must have an unlimited imagination to make things work!:)

My first trip on an airplane was when I was 3 months old. I spent my first few years as a Yale Baby.




An excerpt from a blog entry, March 2007.
"Hey, not bad. 22 countries in my 23 years! When we were younger, I never really understood it. Because my folks were always saving up for our travels, we were somewhat deprived of all the luxuries. My friends would have the latest Barbie dolls, tapos ako all i had was scratch paper and some markers to doodle on. I'd be invited to all these fancy schmancy children's parties but come April, I would celebrate with just a cupcake with a lone candle. All my classmates had Giordano Blues while I was comfy in my SM Tweenets. We even had this family expression "WE WERE SO POOR..." that we would add to every sentence. Daniela and I were these two cranky kids my parents had to lug around the world. We would constantly complain, "Why cant we watch cartoons?!?! Why cant we read comic books?!" whenever my dad would drag us to all these museums and temples. You can imagine for grade schoolers it was painfully boring to travel! (It's so funny because in every country, for sure may picture si Dan na nakasimangot with her arms folded over her chest!hehe) But now, I get it. I understand why my parents placed such a premium on TRAVEL. Some people dont understand it. Why be a slave for months, save and save, then blow it all off on a trip. I've emptied my bank account numerous times for trips, but I tell you it's so fulfilling! My travels have shaped me into the person I am today. Aside from being immersed in different cultures, reliving history, enjoying art and food...the best thing traveling has taught me is HUMILITY. You realize that you are but a small entity in this big,big universe. It's just so wonderful to be a witness to God's creation! Ang tendency kasi kapag dito ka lang sa Pilipinas, you become complacent. You know your environment so well, you feel you can go through life blindfolded. you stop asking questions, you stop trying new things, you stick to the cycle. But when you're in a new place, every person is a stranger and everyday is a new adventure. Travel is the best life teacher."

USA

ASIA

 




ENGLAND
An excerpt from a blog entry, July 2010.

The thing about growing up is that you never really become a complete "grown up". Even in my late 20s I still feel so young and inexperienced, with so much I still need to achieve..but when I feel like drowning, I stop myself and take a moment to recall a childhood memory. And then in an instant I realize, hey, the person I am today is the person I've always wanted to be. I'm actually here! It ain't so bad after all!
When I was in the seventh grade, I graduated Salutatorian of our batch and was rewarded by my folks with a trip of a lifetime! I was sent to a little town called Lowestoft in England at age 12 on a foreign exchange program. Coming from a working class family, this was not a luxury but a true blessing!

I know this sounds strange but instead of feeling insecure that I wasn't as wealthy as the other children in the program, I actually grew even more proud of myself and of my parents! Biro mo, my mom was just a teacher and my dad was just a humble employee and law professor..pero nakayanan nilang mag-ipon para sa programang 'to! I felt so lucky to be where I was and that made me truly appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of my parents at such a young age.


To this day, I always look back at the many life skills and values I picked up early on and credit this one summer I spent in Lowestoft.

1) I learned to be a global thinker with a Filipino heart.

Prior to this trip to England, I was always traveling with my family. And although we were fortunate to be exposed to different cultures through our travels..iba pa rin yung buhay turista sa buhay ng isang "local". This was my first trip alone and my first trip to Europe..a whole new continent!

I met so many wonderful people from different backgrounds. I learned how to be more tolerant of other people's opinions and world views, I became sensitive to global issues, and became more curious about other countries. And because I was being exposed to other nationalities, this made me more aware of my own PINOY-ness. I found myself researching more about my country and our history, finding little tidbits and links to other cultures, anything na pwede kong ibanggit sa mga small talk moments ko with the other kids.

2) I learned how to deal with boys!

I was 12 and was just starting to grow a set of boobs. I was transitioning from sando to sando-bra to bra. Hehehe! I was awkwardly chubby with braces and weird hair. Boys used to crush on me when I was a kid but in a very innocent "Please be my valentine" kind of way..yung tipong habulan sa playground level lang. Then all of a sudden, summer came and the boys were literally wooing me. Some wrote me letters and carried my books,some bought me kitkats, and two boys even fought over me! I was so excited about my pag-dadalaga and enjoyed all the attention. This made me cocky and at some point I had so much fun being a heartbreaker.(Akala ko naman ang ganda-ganda ko..buchug naman! Haha!) But I learned the hard way, nobody likes a mean girl. So I changed my behavior, I became more considerate of others, I learned to humble myself more. And so at age 12 I vowed to be fair to all the boys I would encounter. "Dont wanna be a playah no more!!!" Yuck ang feeling feeling ko talaga nun! Hahahaha! Of course, if you ask my high school friends..they'll completely disagree with you. I was voted as "The Girl who will make the most boys cry" in my Senior Year. This is something I am not proud of! But trust me, I've changed!!! I'm a good girl now and promise not to break anyone's heart!:)

3) I got lost and found my way--several times.

I lived with the True Family in Lowestoft: my host mom was a Supermarket clerk, my host dad was a Security Guard and my host sister was two years younger than me. On the first day, Mrs. True handed me a map and a bus pass. She marked an X on the map to mark our home and another X to mark the school. That's it. I had to learn how to get from point A to B on my own. So everyday was trial and error for me. At first it took me an hour and a half to commute, then after a few days it would be cut down to an hour and eventually on my third week, it took me just 30 minutes since I knew my route so well already. I even discovered little shortcuts, I passed meadows with wild hares frolicking around, I cut through stables, and even stopped by the local market for some snacks. Because of that experience, I have always been cool and calm about getting lost in a new place. In fact, if I dont get lost..it means the place is no longer new or interesting to me anymore.

4) I learned the value of money!

While the other children were swiping their Platinum cards at Bally for 25,000 peso shoes, I found myself counting each and every pound in my wallet. It took me a good 5 minutes to contemplate whether or not I could actually afford a scoop of Haagen Dazs ice cream. (At that time, wala pang Haagen Dazs sa Pilipinas so this was really a huge thing for me!)

I even remember my mom sternly warning me about the use of the credit card. She held the card firmly and told me repeatedly, "This is for emergency use only. You can only swipe this card if you're already in the hospital and about to die!". So the entire month, I didn't even look at the credit card out of fear! But one day,a boy who was twice my size stepped on the edge of my shoes which caused the entire sole to rip out. (galing sa SM lang kasi sapatos ko nun..kaya "high" quality talaga,hehe) I felt totally embarrassed because my toes were sticking out and I had to limp my way to watch Starlight Express on Broadway..not exactly the place where you want to start looking like a little pauper. The other kids told me "Just buy a new pair of shoes!" but it wasn't that easy for me having limited funds. It was time to finally use the credit card..after all this was an emergency, a FASHION emergency! But because I was too scared to even whip it out of my wallet, I decided to head to the nearest payphone to call my mom in Manila and officially ask for permission! My mom just laughed it off and said "Hay Patty! You silly girl! Mas mahal pa yung long distance call mo sa akin kaysa sa bagong sapatos noh! Go and use the card,anak!"

5) Instead of spending your time and money on things, spend it on experiences.

Life experiences are priceless. You can never ever put a price tag on these precious moments. Whether it's a mid-afternoon conversation about unconditional love with your lola, the most amazing chocolate cake with hot caramel sauce baked by your tita, or seeing Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night up close and personal..kung ang pinag-uusapan ay experience,something that involves the five senses... GO! DO IT! Taste it, feel it, see it, listen to it, smell it! Do not stop yourself from trying something new or from rediscovering something old. Ang kotse nabubulok, ang IPAD nalalaos. But memories will live forever!Oh yeah, sounds very Hallmarky!:)

INDONESIA 2001




EUROPA. April-May 2004.
Spain.Italy.France.Germany.Switzerland.Leichstenstein.Monaco.Belgium.Austria.

When I graduated from "THEEEEE AREENEO" My buddy Muffin and I decided to join a Student Travel Program to Europe. It was a bus filled with crazy Asian teenagers traveling all across the continent. Although half of the time we were busy pulling pranks on each other, overall it was a very interesting cultural experience. :)

Nice.Monaco.Paris.Grasse.







 

Venice, Florence, and TUSCANYYYY, mahhh peborits!!!




Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Belgium


Netherlands and Germany
  


TOKYO 2005.






CAMBODIA 2006.




PORTUGAL 2006.


BELGIUM 2007. 


DENMARK 2007. 
 

ESPANA 2007. 



NETHERLANDS 2007.


JAPAN
An excerpt from a blog entry, December 2008.

Ahhh..JAPAN! How can you not love this country and its amazing people???

KYOTO-- I absolutely fell in love with the still and grace of old Japan.


Time warp in Gion (Geisha District)


Livin' La Vida LOCAL-- our daily subway route via Kyoto station


Nishiki Fresh Food Market
There are a million things that I love about the Japanese people..but what amazes me most is their Cleanliness. Mukhang sineryoso talaga nila yung "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". This is the perfect example..ito yung palengke nila! Walang langsa, walang putik! Kainis, take a look at those crabs..so perfectly aligned! I look even more disheveled..and they're the DEAD ones!

Our private cooking experience with sensei EMI. She welcomed the three of us into her lovely home and we cooked right in her little kitchen!


NARA




Sing it with me: "I like DEER BUTTS and I cannot lie! Those other butts can't deny! With that ass so furry, and a tail so fluffy..DEER got BACK!"


At the Ishihara Ryokan where we slept on the tatami mats. This is actually a historical inn as film legend Akira Kurosawa was one of it's main patrons for 15 years...he wrote all his great screenplays here!!!


Ninja Kick na sumablay

The Gentle Crane of Serenity or "SHI-RA U'RO"
Takoyaki balls, Katsucurry, Fresh Strawberries and Persimon, Mochi with Red Beans, Gyudon, Sukiyaki, Tamago sashimi and the list goes on and on....The best part about traveling is that you're free to pull the "I want to try something new" card...you can always pretend that you're eating to be cultured. Just add a snooty line like " Oh yes, I believe Mirin is a kind of sweetening liquid used in traditional Kyoto cuisine..but it would be misleading to call it a form of sweet cooking sake. Could you please pass the sea bass?" Ayun! Hindi mahahalata na matakaw ka lang!

I'm a very honest person--when it comes to being honest with others. But with myself, naku--that's another story. I always try to open this dialogue with my stomach.

Patty: "Ok, Bundat..this is my last bite! We have to start living healthy. New year na,noh!"

Bundat (with sheepish look): "Aww, c'mon..just two more...masarap siya...and besides, what's the point of being sexy and miserable when you can be FAT and HAPPY!"

Patty: "Sige, last na talaga! RARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"

And just like that, another box of royce chocolates gone in a flash.

I know I'll look back at this post when I'm 40 and curse the monitor "Damn you, metabolism! You fooled me! Curse you to heck!". But in the meantime... ten ten tenen tenen ten...Sige lang, LAMON pa!!!

BACK TO THE NEW JAPAN--OSAKA
My dad loves Katsucurry more than Me, My Mom and Daniela combined! He was so happy to see this sign only to be disappointed upon entering the restaurant dahil sold out na yung Katsu-Curry!
"Kala ko ba CURRY FAIR?? More like---CURRY UN-FAIR!!!!!!!!! Palitan niyo na yung sign, you wretched deceivers!!!"

Quick Question?

When you greet Hello Kitty...do you say, "Hello, KITTY!" or "Hello, HELLO KITTY"??? Because her name is Hello Kitty, right??? Why Lord, Why must you make my life so complicated?

As a family we've been traveling since the 80s, back in the day di pa uso yung internet, fancy travel magazines or guide books..we had to do our research the old fashioned way. Watching world news, reading history books, even just talking to my Dad about a particular country's political system made us set up our battle plan.

Don't get me wrong, I've always been a fan of Lonely Planet and rely greatly on their website for travel inspiration. But I feel that travel guide books should serve as mere inspirations. It should never, ever be your template.

I find it silly when I see tourists holding guidebooks while crossing the street...or taking artsy fartsy photos of their guidebooks on a train seat. It shouts "Ooh, I'm a cool tourist..look at me!" It's so contrived. It's naive to think that because you're following the exact same itinerary the author took that you automatically are as cultured as he/she is. That author's experience was authentic because prior to that they had no one to pattern their travel plans to..thus, causing them to write the book.

My dad's eternal line when we travel is: "ADVENTURE!". It's that line that gives us that "you better be ready for anything" attitude. Kailangan mo talaga gumawa ng sarili mong adventure! You have to make your OWN mistakes to learn. You have to get lost, you have to embarrass yourself, you have to go through the hassle of miscommunication. The disconnection will cause you to work harder to blend in with the locals. If you just follow the guide book, then you just limit yourself to having only 150 pages of fun and culture when you could have so much more if you just let yourself go!!!

Chat with the locals, stalk a group of old ladies and follow them to their favorite restaurant, ditch the taxi and WALK! Be an open-minded and respectful guest in the country you're visiting and you won't have any problems :) You always have to remember that this place is their HOME and they have welcomed you into it with open arms, you must be appreciative of their culture..no matter how different (or even at times, conflicting) it may be to yours. You are the guest, be a good one.



THAILAND
An excerpt from a blog entry, March 2008.

Thanks to another PROMO (che-cheng! That's music to my kuripot ears!), we were able to plan our dream "girls only" getaway! God was so good to us..we barely had any money but somehow we not only survived, we even squeezed in a few luxuries here and there!

50% of the time we were just laughing and laughing..well, more like ale and muffin laughing AT me for being such a loser! Yung tipong pinagtatawanan lang nila ako kahit hindi ako nagpapatawa!

for ironing all the clothes first thing in the morning...
for my tour guide re-enactments...
for being CRANKY when I'm not fed...
for feeling like a local and trying to mimic the Thai accent...


Living together for a week helped us discover each other's quirks. Each one of us had a favorite question...
Muffin: "Where can I sit down?"
Patty: "When can we eat????"
Ale: "Can we shop some more???"
Looks like someone's really EXCITED...
Going wild at the airport. I look like a little freak who just escaped from the asylum!
East meets West: Loving the fine architecture and interiors of Jim Thompson's house.
Learning how to cook authentic thai food at Angsana's home
I'm a PAD THAI master!
Welcome to the good life!
Poor kids living like gazillionaires at Sirocco, The Dome!
From cocktails back to our good 'ol tetra packs...
The ancient ruins of Ayutthaya




USA May 2008


New York





My Little NYC pockets of happiness:
AVENUE Q on Broadway
Gin Blossoms concert at B.B.King
Cold Stone Ice Cream
Crif Dogs
Small talk with strangers
H&M
Zen Palate taro fries
Taking the PATH, the subway, and minibus alone and NOT GETTING LOST
Dunkin Donuts free Iced coffee
Mochi
Whole Foods
AT&T free minutes
My Urban Outfitters Rain Boots
The Met, MOMA, and Central Park
Marc by Marc Jacobs on Bleecker


Napa Valley 
From the gritty and busy streets of New York, it was so wonderful to see the sun again in Napa Valley! And to witness acres and acres of vineyards stretching as far as my chinky eyes could see..no billion dollar infrastructure can beat that! Nature kasi yun pare, NATUUUUUURE!! You can't beat God. Jesus is mah homeboy! I'm trying to be Jersey cool here, people!

I'm no wine connoisseur, I'm still trying to develop my sniffing and whiffing skills. But i can do a mean swirl and I have mastered the sophisticated nose dip.

I've tried desperately to appreciate the Cabarnet and Pinot (especially since in Napa, CAB is KING!) but they all taste like boiled leather shoes to me!(which is actually considered "good" along with cat's piss and cedar bark). I guess I'm more of a dessert wine person, and in wine drinker terms that's "sissus pantus" (sissy pants). I remember when we were at the Summers' Winery, they served the Rose' and Muscat which triggered some sighs of disappointment...I was the only idiot smiling and asking for a bottle to go! Hahaha! Basta matamis, that's my kind of wine! Maybe I should just settle for Franzia's wine in a box then..it tastes just like HI-C! Yeah, now that's what i call C-L-A-S-S-Y!





CHINA
An excerpt from a blog entry, March 2009.


I can die now that I've conquered the Great Wall of China!!!


I certainly underestimated this climb! The steps were so steep and never ending. The ultimate workout, let's call it the STAIRMASTER Infinity!They say you can see the Great Wall of China from outer space so I flashed my biggest smile up to the heavens while I was up on the wall..you never know, baka bumenta ako sa isang hot astronaut! Or a gorgeous Martian?! Mapapa-"Greetings Pretty Earthling" siya! :)


The Summer Palace


Lost in the massive Forbidden City





Dad: "People...I come to you as your great leader.."
Patty: "Ummm...ok, Dad who are you again?"
Dad: "The Last, Last, Last Emperor!"
Patty:"Oh okay..I thought you were Evita Peron singing Don't Cry for me Argentina"
Dad: "We're in CHINA, not Argentina!"
Patty: "Fine,fine. Now quit your acting and let's go! The tour guide's been waving her flag at us! Bilis!"


Dragon Lady
We were fortunate enough to catch a real Chinese Acrobatic show...these kids, I tell you, have no spinal chords! It was a nerve-wracking experience..parang kabadong-kabado ka para sa kanila. My jaw dropped for the entire hour! I felt like a back seat driver lola-- "Ay Hija, ingat! ingat! ay ay ay!"



My Father's Special Request: PEKING DUCK. We had the Signature Lean Duck (sexy!) at the Multi-Awarded Da Dong Restaurant.

Could I interest you in some scorpions on a stick? Too exotic for your taste?
How about a crispy little seahorse??

The shop owner doesn't seem too happy either...Mister POKER, PO-PO-PO-POKER FACE, nanananananah!

BeiHai Park





The Peking Opera


Ho-Hi
Sugar coated Hawthorn/ Strawberries














EGYPT
An excerpt from a blog entry, April 2009. 
Things to do before Patty dies...
__ Wave hello to a random astronaut from the Great Wall of China
__ Visit the Great Pyramids
__ Kiss Le Sphinx
__ Go camping in the Sahara
__ Go diving in the Red Sea
__ Flirt with King Tut

Check, check, check, check!!!

Wait, now that I've fulfilled all that..Papa Jesus..does this mean you'd like to take me home now??? But before I leave my earthly dwellings..can I just blog one last time? Are you sure it's ok? You don't mind waiting..I mean, I know you've got a bajillion things on your to do list..Oh, ok great! Thanks Papa Jesus, you're the best! I'll be quick, I promise.. 10- 15 minutes tops!

Alright people, let's make this FAST! We don't want to keep HIM waiting, now do we?! Remember Jonah? He pissed the BIG GUY off and got swallowed by a huge ass fish..or whale..or whale fish! Do I look like fish bait to you? Na-ah.

Ahhhhhhh. I could go on and on about my Giza experience but I'm afraid I'll just ruin it for you..so let's just sigh together,shall we? Ahhhhh...the PYRAMIDS.

I'm a tiny girl but the pyramids made me feel like I was Polly Pocket! These photos do no justice to the actual magnitude and glory of the Great Pyramids. We made it a point to celebrate my birthday at the Pyramids..but as soon as I got there, I was blehblehbleh@$%#@^&!..birthday??! huh?! what's my name again??!

One more time, AHHHHHHHH...the Pyramid. (isa nalang sa pic na 'to eh)
Again, AHHHHHH...si Patty. (O bakit, why'd you quit sighing?!)
Camping in the White Desert. SAHARA woman!!!
 

Kissing the Sphinx!

Conquering the Nile River
 The beautiful chaos of Cairo
Diving in the freezing Red Sea. (and being sexy, too)






ITALY
An excerpt from a blog entry, December 2009.

My first visit to Rome was back in college with my bestie Muffin. We were there in the middle of Spring of 2004, the rain was pouring non-stop which made me terribly sick with the sniffles. And to make matters worse, we were staying in an actual convent outside the Vatican and were given linen sheets (like back in the time of Jesus!) instead of real towels. Because I couldn't dry up properly, this made me even more sick! *and everyone knows gerbils can't stay wet!* But my foul condition, the gloomy weather, and other "unholy" creatures we encountered were not enough to hold me down..i still fell madly in love with the Eternal City and vowed to come back again and again!

Here are some pictures from my first trip. You have to remember that back in 2004, I was a jeans and Tshirt kid..and my concept of cool was Oakley. mwahahaha!








Fast forward to December 2009, with me looking more decent and Rome-worthy...(or at least trying to look better than '04)




Ahhhh, Rome. The most beautiful city in the world!!!! I say this with confidence and finality! I've been everywhere, but nothing compares to you..mi amore!:) There's something for everyone in Rome, it's the capital of EVERYTHING! Fashion, Food, Culture, History, Architecture, I could go on and on. There's THE Vatican, THE Roman Forum, THE Parthenon, THE Colosseum..and all the other "THE's". Notice that everything in Rome has to be "THE", heck, even gelato is THE Gelato, THE Stoplight, THE Taxi. It's because they're THE SHIZZ! Hahaha! Even the damn pigeons in the park have this sophisticated birdie strut.."We aint no ordinary pigeons, we're ROMAN pigeons! Pigeons of the Gods!". I'm sure these birds won't settle for your table scraps unless it's drizzled with truflle oil! Hahaha.




When it comes to shopping, Rome is the mecca of high fashion. All the flagship stores of designer greats such as Versace, Armani, Furla, Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, and Gucci are in Via Veneto. Since I didn't have the moolah for an impulsive splurge, all i could do was window shop! A lot of people are sure to criticize me for saying this, but I really do believe that designers are the modern day Michaelangelos and Da Vincis! What they do is ART. It's a shame though that their ART is not accessible to the majority. But thanks to big chains like Topshop, Zara, H&M, fashion is something that can be distributed all the way down to the regular folk like me. You dont have to be a bajillionaire to look great these days! It's all in the confidence! Kahit SM girl lang ako, mukha pa rin akong big time dahil nasa pagdadala lang yan diba?! (please agree with me...it would be so embarrassing if you didn't!) Kaya ok lang kung wala akong nabili sa Gucci! I don't need those fancy clothes to feel good about myself! Who cares if I'm poor and that I couldn't even buy myself a keychain..a darn keychain?! huhuhuhuhu... (spoken like a true bitter pobre!)







For the romantics out there, ROME is where ROMANCE was born. Literally. It's really a toss up between Paris and Rome for me. I'm equally obsessed with Paris, every time I'm in Paris I feel so in love with love! It's as if the city government filled their parks with special flowers that excrete love pollen all over..at sa bawat haching mo ay may love na kasama! But Rome wins over Paris based on a minor technicality--the root word! hahaha! Rome is like a LOVE ZOO! The couples are so animalistic- kissing, groping and holding each other like crazy. In the middle of the street,in a crowded park filled with children, even the subway is an extension of their bedroom! The PDA is just insane. It's the "I must have you now or I'll die" kind of PDA that makes tourists (from conservative nations) like me feel somewhat embarrassed. I was actually blushing "Hihihi, naghahalikan sila!". I always thought I was quite liberal and open minded about these things, but after catching myself staring at a couple for 30 seconds..naisip ko, hindi pa pala ako ganun ka modern. I'm still very conservative when it comes to expressing myself. I guess at the end of the day, there are things you still want to keep private and special. :)








Next to Egypt, Rome is second on my list when it comes to HISTORY. Each and every street corner has a story to tell. And because we're predominantly Christian in the Philippines, a lot of the history you'll learn in Rome has so much relevance to us. If you grew up like me, reading all these Bible stories, about St. Paul and St. Peter...you'll find yourself so amazed seeing where everything started. Even the architecture will show you how Romans transitioned from being pagans to strong Christians.

I especially love how Constantine (the first Christian emperor) closed down the Colosseum because he wanted the violent entertainment (gladiators killing each other) to stop..what a nice, sweet guy this Constantine. I can imagine how he would have said it "Hey gladiator boys..tama na yan..why kill each other, when we can LOVE each other instead???? GROUP HUGGGG!!! Now let's get all the marble from this place and build ourselves a church! Yeahhh!".










This year, we flew to Italy to spend the holidays with my sister's in-laws: the lovely Fois Family and Chloe, the cutest little dog (and my new BFF). I've been to Italy a couple of times in the past, from Venice to Verona to Tuscany...but never had the chance to visit the Northern region. The Piedmont scenery is absolutely spectacular! The Fois family lives just outside Turin, in a charming little town called Castiliogne. The view from their house is postcard worthy as they are surrounded by the Alps! Ang swerte nga nila that they're able to wake up each day to witness the glory of these snowy mountains!



It was negative 10 degrees when we arrived so you can imagine how cold we felt--coming from the 30 degree weather in Manila. (Tropicanas, represent!)But it was such a treat to have an actual White Christmas!



Laura and Daniele (my sister's in laws) were such gracious hosts and made us feel so at home! Laura prepared the most DELICIOUS dishes! I gained 5 pounds on my first day! I couldn't even wear my skinny jeans anymore! Sarap!:)





HONG KONG. Snippets from different trips. 
 


 



MALTA
An excerpt from a blog entry, March 2010. 

"Where on earth is Malta?" That was the first thought that came to mind when my folks mentioned it to me. It's a tiny country just below Italy, a ferry ride away from Sicily. I grabbed this image from the net to give you a better idea.


What used to be a sleepy fishing village, Malta is now a famous playground for rich Europeans to "park" their expensive yachts and ships. Since it is conveniently located on the Mediterranean, this allows easy sailing access to Italy, Greece, Tunisia and other countries in the area. Rumor has it that the Maltese Falcon, one of the most beautiful ships on the harbor, was sold for 120 million DOLLARS! not pesos, DOLLARS!!! Sige aaminin ko na, I tried keeping a low profile..mahirap na, baka ma-kidnap! The Falcon was mine.. I just had to sell it, lumang model na kasi siya..gusto ko yung 2011 edition na yacht. Umm, Patty I think your boat is sinking?? Hindi, hindi, pinasadya ko sa talyer yan! Gusto ko medyo lowered para fast and the furious yung dating diba?:)The boat is sinking..group yourselves into 3! hahaha!

The country's population is roughly at 400,000--that's just Muntinlupa! Hahaha!:) Native Maltese make up about 90% of the population and the rest are mostly British oldies who have chosen to retire here. With a crime rate that's close to zero and quaint little vacation houses, this is a Senior Citizen's dream!

I visited my folks as they are now officially "Maltesed" having been stationed here for a few months. My dad has been sent to Malta to finish a Marine Law course so at age 55 he feels like a 20-something university kid, walking to school everyday with his school bag (which is sadly a red shoe bag from SM that he insists on using everyday despite my desperate pleas to change it..magastos daw kung bibili pa siya ng bagong bag. He actually has 2 shoe bags, one red for school and one black for "special occasions". nyek! ) And how could I forget his favorite Petron Treats jacket (which he got for free last Christmas-- he doesn't want to change his jacket either! King Kuripot!). He has memorized all the local bus routes and keeps his daily allowance in check like a little school boy.

Since my Dad's busy with school most of the time, my mom and I have gone on little walking adventures around Malta and Gozo on our own. The whole country is frozen in sepia mode, sometimes I feel like even my face has turned yellow here! (Ok, fine..I have 1/16 Chinese blood so technically my skin may actually have a yellow tint) But I'm serious about the sepia-ness of this place, it's like stepping into a living Polaroid print!

The best cheap thrill in Mdina= the noon time concerts! We were so lucky to catch Ramona Formosa playing the Clavichord. The clavichord is possibly the sweetest sounding instrument I've ever encountered. It's played like a piano but sounds more like a guitar and a harp combined. :) Here's a picture with George as well, the cool Brit dude who actually built this amazing instrument..an exact replica of a 300 year old clavichord from Edinburgh! The clavichord's volume is extremely light and plays on pianissimo.


PATTY'S NERDY INTERMISSION!!!
The great George Frideric Handel used a clavichord in his early years of composing. As the story goes, his father wanted him to take up Civil Law and did not allow him to pursue his musical career. Handel was able to sneak in a clavichord and he would play it late at night at the attic of his house while everyone was asleep. Go Handel, Gooo!:) I can totally relate to Handel, I used to hide under my comforter late at night so I could listen to Oasis and Alanis!


Before flying to Malta, I spent a few days with my little sis who now lives in Clooney's Italian Playground (Lake Como). I regret to inform you that there was NO GEORGE CLOONEY sighting. Ok lang, di ko naman siya type eh! Hmph! (Bitter!) We spent most of the time indoors in Dan's warm flat because it was snowing like crazy. We couldn't even take photos because our fingers were too frozen which explains why I only have 4 pictures! hehe.

We crossed the border like fugitives and ended up in Switzerland with no passport! Smiled my way through customs and didn't get booked by the Interpol. *phew* All this effort for one little Prada bag (which is the reason why I can no longer shop FOREVER)! My sister is a master manipulator especially when it comes to shopping..initally the plan was to buy a small clutch but I ended up buying a bag which wiped out my entire pocket!! Nadala kasi ako sa whole speech ni Daniela-- "Pat, you deserve a grown up bag..a bag that you can pass on to your children, which they can pass on to their children.." My sister is quite the sophisticated shopper, she only wears Burberry and refuses to shop in H&M. She has great taste and impossibly high standards when it comes to things...our close friends say we're complete opposites, so does that mean I have bad taste and low standards, then?? Aww man! I hope that only translates to my taste in clothes..and not in men!Hahaha!




GREECE 
An excerpt from a blog entry, March 2010. 

France, United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, United States of America, Monaco, Australia, Mexico, Leichstenstein, Indonesia, Malaysia,China, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Cambodia, Portugal, Denmark, Egypt, Malta and GREECE!!! I made it, 26 countries at age 26! Well I'm just a month shy of my 27th, but still..I was able to accomplish my secret goal!:) Ok, so this is where 99% of you will probably say "Umm..ok. Woopee for you. But what's the big deal?". Only 2 of you will get why this is actually a BIG deal for me, one of the BIGGEST deals in the history of ALL BIG DEALS THAT WERE EVER WORTH MAKING A BIG DEAL OVER! So give me a moment to feel this moment because in a moment this moment will be gone!!! Got it?! Ahhhhhhh!

Alright folks, back to regular programming.

To celebrate our joint birthdays and their 28th year anniversary, we planned this little side trip to Greece from Malta before heading back to the P.I. :)

It felt so awkward seeing my parents being all cheesy throughout the trip (most of the photos did not make it to the final cut because they were too mushy for public viewing). My dad kept joking that they were having a crazy whirlwind love affair at ako daw yung "excess baggage". Hahaha! It was fun spending time with the oldie b'goldies in a new country! We rented a car and just spent hours driving to nowhere every day :)

The Lonely Planet guide was right! "Fantastic, fabulous Santorini deserves all the superlatives. Even the most jaded traveller succumbs to the awesome drama of this surreal landscape..."

I have to admit, I have my travel snob moments..but this place.. hayyyy...the charm of this tiny little island is just too sweet to deny! It's like seeing cute little puppies playing in the snow, even the most critical person will have no choice but to say "Awwwwwww....". This is one of the few places that looks ten times better in reality than in the photos. I used my crappy point and shoot camera for this trip and without any effort I was able to shoot some awesome photos!


Santorini has been a lifetime dream and I just can't stop thanking the Lord for this opportunity!!!! The only reason my folks and I were able to visit this place was because I stumbled across great off peak promos...our entire stay here cost cheaper than a trip to Boracay!:)





My 27th country at age 27, NEPAL. 
An excerpt from a blog entry, November 2010.

HIMALAYAN. HIMALA-YAN. In English "Wow! It's a miracle!"

So that's how I decided to begin this highly anticipated post on NEPAL..with a joke, and a lame ass one at that. (and by highly anticipated, i mean by ME and my two imaginary friends) I guess I'm just nervous. Nepal is a HUGE subject to tackle. It's more than just another country. I feel so ill equipped to write about NEPAL and I was this close to abandoning this post all together because I feared I wouldn't be able to write a decent post about this amazing country.

It's like talking about Monica Bellucci and not having enough synonyms for "beautiful". It's like calling this goddess "cute"..what a slap in the face, what an insult! I can imagine her going ballistic in her thick Italian accent, "CUTE?!?How dare you call me CUTE!?! Have you seen my perfectly formed breasteses?!John Mayer must have dreamt of me while writing Your Body is a Wonderland and not that Jennifer Love girl..now she's CUTE! NOT MEEEE!!"

I've been agonizing for days, thinking of a grand opening statement that will hit you like KABLAAMM! Something so brilliant, so clever, something so Hemingway meets Faulkner meets The Bible..it'll make you want to marry my blog and have adorable little babies that are half human-half blog! But once again, I have failed you my dear friends of the Philippine Islands. Photos are great storytellers and for such a photogenic country like Nepal, the best way to share my little Himalayan experience with all of you is by sharing our favorite snapshots from our trip!So let's do this...1-2-3...


 

ENGLAND, Again. Photos from March 2011.
An excerpt from a blog entry, December 2008. 




So this has been my obsession all week long--learning how to speak Brit, but not the proper Margaret Thatcher or Winston Churchill Brit.. I want to decipher the code of STREET BRIT! Obnoxious, blunt, and gritty linggo!

Just in case I stumble into a dodgy downtown pub in Liverpool one day, I'll be able to blend in with the locals with ease! (although, my chinky eyes will be a dead giveaway that i'm not exactly a "local")

Of course there are the popular expressions like "Bloody", "Saucy Minx", "Hanky Panky", "Bugger" and Austin Power's "Oh, Behave!". But here are some new terms I learned...

BLIMEY - "Another exclamation of surprise. It is all a corruption of the oath God Blind Me."
Pinoy Context: "Susmaryosep!"

FRY UP- "Fast food"
Pinoy Context: "Jollibee!"

BLINKERED - "Someone who is blinkered is narrow minded or narrow sighted - they only see one view on a subject. It comes from when horses that pulled carriages wore blinkers to stop them seeing to the side or behind them which stopped them from being startled and only let them see where they were going."
Pinoy Context: "Traditional Politicians"

CRUSTY DRAGON - "A booger. One of the really crispy ones."
Pinoy Context:"Cool-langot"

BOB'S YOUR UNCLE - "This is a well used phrase. It is added to the end of sentences a bit like and that's it! For example if you are telling someone how to make that fabulous banoffee pie you just served them, you would tell them to boil the condensed milk for three hours, spread it onto a basic cheesecake base, slice bananas on top, add some whipped double cream, another layer of banana and Bob's your uncle!"
Pinoy Context: "Yun lang!"

CODSWALLOP - "talking a load of codswallop. American kids might be talking baloney under the same circumstances."
Pinoy Context: "Woooshoo..Stirero ka naman!"

ADAM AND EVE- "Believe. Cockney rhyming slang. E.g."I don't Adam and Eve it, it's not true!"
Pinoy Context: "Bilib" (hahaha, I just changed the spelling)

RAT ARSED - "Yet another term for drunk, sloshed or plastered."
Pinoy Context: "Wasak"

PAVEMENT PIZZA - "Well here the pavement is the sidewalk and a pavement pizza is a descriptive way of saying vomit. Often found outside Indian restaurants early on a Sunday morning."
Pinoy Context: "Wasak na wasak na wasak"

BEER O'CLOCK - "The time one feels is most appropriate for some alcoholic refreshment , such as beer. Often used specifically to mean the end of the working day."
Pinoy Context: "San Mig time"

BELL ON EVERY TOOTH- "When applied to a person, noisy, loud."
Pinoy Context: I know someone and I'm sure you know who I'm talking about! Hahahaha!

BIG GIRL'S BLOUSE- A feeble and ineffectual person. Derog.
Pinoy Context: "Yung blockmate ko sa Physics--- or Philo--- or Theo...ah basta, kilala ko siya pero di ko maalala kung saan ko siya nakilala!"

BIT OF ALL RIGHT- "Something excellent. Often heard used with reference to a sexually attractive person. E.g."She's a bit of alright! I'm going to ask her for a date."
Pinoy Context: "PATTY LAUREL!!!!!!!" (hahahahahahaha!)

BEASTLY- "You would call something or somebody beastly if they were really nasty or unpleasant. "
Pinoy Context:"PATTY LAUREL!!!!!!!!" (ouch!)

AIR BISCUIT-An expulsion of air from the anus, a fart. See 'float an air biscuit'.
Pinoy Context: "Pooooooooorrrrrooooooootttttt"

HOP THE WAG - "To play truant. E.g."You see far too many school kids hopping the wag."
Pinoy Context: "Self imposed free cut!"

POET's DAY- "Piss Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday! Drink up!"
Pinoy Context: TGIF!

and my absolute favorite...

ABSOBLOODYLUTELY!!!!! (absolutely!)

Expect me to use this on ALL my future posts!!!

Do you love chocolates?
ABSOBLOODYLUTELY!

Do you love Fridays?
ABSOBLOODYLUTELY!

Wait, absobloodylutely ng absobloodylutely ka diyan! Are you even British???
NOT-SO-BLOODY-LUTELY!!!!!!

 

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