Explore, Motivational, My Life Story, travel

Albay Adventure

 

This month’s TRAVEL has been quite the experience for me. Unlike many others, this is the first time I’ve booked a ticket less than a week before our scheduled flight. Oh, little did I know this is just the beginning of all the spontaneity I’d be facing this week!

BICOL has long since been my second home, where I spent countless summers shopping at the local mall, cooking for my relatives and yes of course, eating. But I wanted this time around to be different.

Spending too much time in the metropolis just, kills. I wasn’t a shriveled prune yet from all the hustle and bustle of the city, but my soul just wanted to feel alive again. Free of routines, free of rules and free of all the rushing. I sought to find peace, to find – something.

All set and packed with a last minute plane ticket, a pair of rubber shoes, a hand-drawn map of our itinerary and a head full of hopes, we boarded the plane and on to Legazpi we go!

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A sketch of our itinerary (not drawn to scale)

 


Quitinday Hills, Camalig Albay

Upon reaching the hills, there was quite a drizzle causing the soil to be quite a challenge to walk on, especially this being an uphill climb. The weather wasn’t ideal (of course, this was expected travelling during low-season), but the view was spectacular nonetheless. The view was most beautiful upon reaching the first hill.

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For the brief moments spent atop Quitinday Hills, I breathed more than just fresh air. Within me came an overwhelming sense of awe for all the beauty I didn’t know I’ve been missing out on for so long. Looking at the 360 degree embrace of nature, there was no better feeling but to know that there’s so much more just waiting to be seen.


Sumlang Lake, Camalig, Albay

After a quick lunch at one of the best places for PINANGAT (A native dish made from Gabi Leaves and Coconut Milk), we headed on to Sumlang Lake. Pleased that the rain stopped and Mt. Mayon finally came out to say hello.

I believe it’s just beautiful how the land and the sky meet to form such a sight.

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Sumlang Lake


Cagsawa Ruins, Albay

We headed on towards the ever-so famous tourist destination in Bicol, the Cagsawa Ruins. Just imagine how much history this site holds!

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From where I stand : CAGSAWA GROUNDS

Okay I guess I have to explain why the photo below was one of my favorites (aside from Mayon photobombing quite nicely).

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Mayon ATV Experience

I am an introvert, shy, reserved and I often keep my opinions to myself (whether or not I believe it will win the argument). I was brought up that way, and I guess it came to mold the person I am now. I believe time is gold, and would never spare a second to be idle. I work from 7:30am to 8pm these days. Thus, I can be quite the control freak when it comes to planning, wanting everything ironed out, neat, tidy and on-the-dot. Sometimes I can shift from happy to angry in a snap, yes, the little things can unsettle me in ways. I am uptight, never bending my own rules and being an INFJ – I’m a downright walking contradiction. (Read more about personality traits here: INFJ PERSONALITY)

I started out scared as hell as I’ve never been lucky when it comes to vehicles (I crashed a car once, and it’s traumatizing). But ten minutes later, I revved up the engine wanting to go faster! (P.S. I was trying so hard not to overtake our guide).

Kidding aside, this short trip made me find myself. By “finding oneself” I mean to say: to know oneself better, to find one’s strengths and weaknesses and to love oneself a little more. This was the first time in a long time when I actually let loose and go wild.

I knew this trip was definitely unlike any other. With no final schedules of our own, driving on unknown roads, battling the moody weather and facing full uncertainty, it added to the thrill of what the journey brings.


Vera Falls, Malinao, Albay

The journey to Vera Falls was quite an adventure! The road reached a dead end, where the bridges were destroyed by the recent floods in Malinao. The locals were so kind to volunteer to get us to Vera Falls. I felt a rush of excitement as we hitched a ride with them on their motorbike up the lofty hills and through the quiet town.

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The rapids.

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It took less than thirty minutes to reach the falls, and behold the roar of the water came to welcome us to one of the hidden gems in Bicol.

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You know when you’re happy, when it’s not your lips that do the smiling, but your heart. Being happy is rare for me, but that’s what I felt as I sat there. Enjoying a dip in the cool water, smelling the freshness of nature, listening to the joyful chirping of the birds, and watching the violent cascade of the water.

Nature truly holds a cure for the city-living, it heals all the senses and revitalizes the mind. It shows us how simple life should be, and how difficult we all choose to make it.

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In this Bicol adventure, I found a piece of myself. One where I learned to embrace the uncertain, let loose and live one day at a time.

 

 

XO,

Pearl


 


I’ve been reading through “Steal Like an Artist” (Austin Kleon) this February, and came across an enlightening tip for creatives. Here’s an excerpt that inspired me to get up and go.

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RULE # 8 : GEOGRAPHY IS NO LONGER OUR MASTER

LEAVE HOME.

“At some point when you can do it, you have too leave home… Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings.”

“You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend time in another land, among people that do things different than you.Travel makes the world look new, and when the world look new, our brains work harder.”

“It helps to live around interesting people, and not necessarily people who do what you do. You have to find a place that feeds you – creatively, socially, spiritually and literally.”

“Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” -Jonah Lehrer

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Explore

I Left my Heart in Madrid

The breathtaking sights of Spain has caught my heart since day one; with its clear blue skies, lush green pastures and its well-preserved architecture. What’s not to love?

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I was able to stumble upon by chance, an antique flea market where I was able to score calligraphy nibs from the 1900’s. I admire the value they have on culture, more so on their handicrafts. One such piece I treasure to this day is a pendant, hammered by hand in gold by their master metalsmith.

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The intricate pattern says so much about life, I realized. The process is oftentimes long and painful, but the artist knows exactly the kind of beautiful the final outcome is meant to be.

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I fell in love with their keen attention to details, as every figure and design carved atop their stone buildings have a significant story to tell.

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See those details? Aren’t they just stunning?

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Not even a hundred photos can truly capture the beauty of Spain.

It is amazing how quickly I felt so at home in this country. Perhaps it’s the similarity of Spanish and Filipino culture. Or maybe because I admire their happiness in living a simple life. Contentment and peacefulness have become so rare these days.

Things like these are priceless.

Perhaps that’s why I believe Spain is a rich country, full of life, love and laughter

(-oh, and Tapas).

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Make a wish, may they reach the heavens and grow from where your heart is planted.

XO,

Pearl

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Motivational, Random, Thoughts

2015 Wanderlust

Hello everyone!

How time flies! It’s been such a long time since I last wrote. December has been a month for last-minute 2015 memories and adventures, for me. Oh! Before I forget, I’d like to take this chance and this post to greet you all (albeit very late) a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🙂

Before 2015 came to a close, we figured it would be a wonderful way to end the year with new memories. I thought it would be a good time to refer to my bucket list!

One of the few items on it are:

  • A visit to the Pinto Art Museum
  • Relaxed brunch at Rustic Mornings by Isabelo.

…and so we became adventurers!

The abundance of malls in Manila get tiresome after a while. Being a nature person, the city scene not quite the place to be. So we set out on an adventure, in search for a quiet respite from city living.

The one and a half hour (WAZE-less) drive to Antipolo became worth it, after witnessing the beauty of the Pinto Art Museum.

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Captivated by the rustic and mysterious ambiance of the museum.

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The building housing ancient Filipino sculptures and figures.

Situated among hectares of lush greenery, the small buildings’ architecture is reminiscent to that of Santorini.

 

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A little church, beautiful both inside and out.

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Yup, I’m particularly fond of this balcony! You could see the entire place from high up. You don’t see this much greenery in the city. Nature lovers, this is the place to be.

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The museum holds endless artworks from various Filipino artists: Paintings, String art, Installations and Sculptures. I stand in awe, marveling at the beauty that human hands can create.

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My comedian over here…

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..and my emotions right there.

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The biggest painting I have ever laid my eyes on. Beautiful. Amazing.

 

A stroll through the museum was an adventure in itself, by the end of the tour, our stomachs were begging for a good meal!

So, I thought of the second item on my bucket list, Rustic Mornings!

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Artsy-fartsy friends, this is the perfect place for a quiet brunch. 🙂

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I don’t normally take photos of food, do you think I should start to? I suppose the food and the ambiance here, is something that would be best experienced first hand. 😉

2015 did end wonderfully, in the presence of both friends and family. These two places topped it off really well, too. The year has been full of both laughter and sadness, both trials and victories too. With new memories and new lessons learned last 2015, I can’t even begin to imagine what 2016 has in store for me.

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There is always beauty for those who take time to look around. It’s still a lesson for me to learn to see the beauty in everything. It takes practice, it may even takes years, but when our eyes are open, I believe life CAN really be pretty amazing.

Cheers to new adventures this 2016.

Until next time!

 

XO,

Pearl

 

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Motivational, My Life Story, Products

Find Beauty Among the Ruins

Last summer, I went on a journey to explore the beautiful country of Greece. Little did I know that I would be overwhelmed with how seamlessly ancient ruins could weave itself beautifully into the fabric of modern Greek society.

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The majestic temple of Zeus standing tall and proud in the heart of Athens. Just look at how those columns have stood the test of time. Imagine how every piece have been put together by the ancient Greeks. It never ceases to amaze me.

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At Syntagma Square with these hungry pigeons.This first stop was followed by a magnificent trip to learn the history of the Acropolis Stadium. This was just my first glimpse of Greece.

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We were walking around the city of Athens during the first day and I couldn’t help asking: “What’s that structure on top of the hill?” My question was answered the next day when we climbed up to see that what is there is so much more than what I had expected.

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Seen from the city is Acropolis, the highest point of Athens. Beautiful isn’t it?

Sometimes in life, you can’t see the breathtaking view until you muster the courage to climb the mountain.

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During our day-trip, we ventured on a boat ride to see the different islands surrounding Greece. One of them is this quaint island called Hydra. This little island is a town in itself, with little shops and cafes near the water. What’s fascinating is that the townspeople here have donkeys to get around, nope, no cars!

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This breathtaking view where the sky meets the beautiful Greek dome-shaped architecture was taken from the island of Santorini. We stayed here a couple of days, and if I could, I would’ve stayed much longer. There were numerous mini-shops greeting passersby along the alley, from nifty book nooks to one-of-a-kind trinket stores.

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The town of Nafplio. Bustling with life through it’s diversity in art, music and delicacies.

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I love the bliss whenever I draw my adventures on my journal. It helps me remember not only the place, but also the little memories that come with my travels. When I look back, it’s the little moments that touch my heart to this day. Such as the time my mom and I shared a large Greek pretzel-like dessert, the ice cream cone I had in Athens despite the biting cold winds or the fact that not a day goes by without a serving of delicious Greek yogurt (yummy!), and the time when I looked down from the highest peak of Greece and thought to myself:

“All these man-made bricks, statues and temples  are truly majestic, but nothing compares to the beauty of nature that my God has surrounded it all with”.

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I am often asked how I find time to draw during these trips. Despite the hustle and bustle during the morning tours, I try to find time to relax in a cafe as a short pit-stop to write down the events that happened during the day. Always remember to write down the important details, you can sketch them later in the evening (if you aren’t too tired!)IMG_4458

The Greeks have a habit of drinking Frappe every now and then. I find that I also belong to this place where it is bursting with art, history, culture…and yes, coffee!

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The mystical trail of Delphi, after a hike atop the mountains of Greece.

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The Dyonisus Theater. It’s size and design is jaw-droppingly (if that is even a word) – incredible! It may be huge, but dropping a coin or stomping your feet at the center circle of the theater can be heard throughout the entire stadium.

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For those who are wondering, what is Greek food like? Three words. Fresh, Simple, Flavorful. This is my favorite, which I have learned to make at home. The Traditional Greek Salad. (Bell Peppers, Onions, Lettuce, Olives, EVOO, Tomatoes and Cucumbers, Generously topped with Feta Cheese!)

Aside from the Greek Salad, I have enjoyed the Greek Yogurt, to which none can compare. Not a day passed in Greece without us having a portion of this!

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Travelling is a perfect opportunity to experience something new. I give myself time to think when I travel, knowing that the adventure that lies ahead is so much greater than what I have left behind. It’s such a memorable experience when you put your thoughts and emotions down on paper, because every step of the journey is an adventure.

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I’m opening classes once more for a basic lettering workshop, and since vacation is just around the corner, I thought a travel journal would be perfect! If you’d like to learn the art of handlettering and how to start your own travel journal, you can

Register for the workshop here:

2015 TRAVEL JOURNAL WORKSHOP

Hope to see you soon!

Say yes to new adventures. 🙂

*All photos taken with an iPhone5

XO,

stamp design

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My Life Story, Products, Thoughts, Tips and Tricks

Live to Wander.

While packing my bag for my trip to Japan, I brought along a sturdy notebook. Little did I know that it was going to be my travel buddy throughout my journey. Each day I wrote down the wonder I felt when I saw new sights, the unexpected joy as I walked the unfamiliar streets and the even the simplest reflections I had were not left unrecorded. This year in Japan, I discovered the importance and the thrill of documenting one’s adventures.

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I’m a kind of person who finds joy in the simple things. When something makes me happy, and I immediately write them down. Sometimes I feel so shallow haha! Some of my entries even include the inflight wifi and the yummy inflight meal – in a bento box! Oh I just love airplane food, don’t you? 🙂

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Just in case you’re wondering, Tokyu Hands is a craft store HEAVEN in Japan. Five to seven floors (depending on the branch) of pure crafty bliss. Planners, Craft items, Notebooks, Pens, Brushes and a chock-full of stationery supplies! Don’t ask me how long it took me to go through all of it…

Two Hours.

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Japan is known for it’s rich culture and creativity. Art is everywhere! The walls, the streets, their everyday products and even food. I don’t normally take food photos but I do sketch them onto my journal.

I personally have no sense of direction when it comes to roads and places. It was truly an adventure going through the streets of Tokyo with my little brother.

Every New Year’s Eve, I make it a point to read my Bible and claim God’s promise for me for the coming year. I prayed a simple prayer expressing my fears, doubts and worries about life; and He gave me this verse. I wrote it down: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” It brings me great comfort up to this very day.

The morning of January 1st, I looked out the hotel window and to my surprise, the rooftops were covered in white – it was snowing! I smiled because it feels like God wants me to know that this year will be beautiful. In spite of everything that will come, through the storms and the pain, God is there to watch over and let blessings come down, just like snow. And when it does, I will smile and wonder why I was even worried in the first place.

 

 

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After experiencing the beauty of traveling with a journal, I wanted to share the joy of it with others and teach them how to create their own.

For the month of March, I held a tandem workshop in partnership with Life on Ink, which we called the 2015 Travel Journal Workshop at Mrs. Graham’s Cafe (Scout Rallos, Tomas Morato).

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The workshop covered the basics of lettering, the tips and tricks of layouting and what to write on one’s first travel journal.

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It was a small class, but I loved it! More often than not, I enjoy teaching in small groups because I get to know my students personally. This bunch is such a lively group of ladies, I can’t wait to see how beautiful their worksare when they travel this summer!

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popoppOverall the workshop has been a blast! I have enjoyed getting to know the ladies of our first 2015 Travel Journal Workshop and I was so blessed to have the opportunity to share the beauty of documenting one’s adventures. 🙂

None of this would have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors: Paper St. Ph Sketchnotes and Mrs. Graham’s Cafe.

We live to wander.

FOR MORE WORKSHOP SCHEDULES this 2015:

SNAPPERDOODLES WORKSHOPS

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Motivational, Random, Thoughts

Life is an Adventure

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There aren’t many instances that got me speechless. Probably because I hardly left my comfort zone before June this year.

I always choose the safe side, where I am just plain-old, COMFORTABLE.

I am a pessimist, which brings me to over-think every situation. I can strike up a conversation, but I never tried to sustain one that actually lasts ten minutes. I can make artworks, but my fear to give more effort to create a masterpiece always gets the best of me. Deadlines? No problem, I can meet them, but I’m not sure I’m giving 101% in my work. I’ve maintained my weight but I’m not exercising enough to be physically fit. But amidst all this, I feel that something is still missing.

Sure I might be doing good, but like they say, there is always an opportunity to be better than who I was yesterday.

I came to realize how “dead” most aspects of my life can be because I’ve been living in the security of COMFORT. I always think: “Yep. That’s good enough.” At work, in gatherings, my physical health, I have constantly been giving less than 100%. Recently during the Sunday service in CCF, Pastor Peter said: “In everything, do your BEST for the Lord.” From then on, I began the conscious effort to glorify God through SnapperDoodles art commissions by giving it my all.

Also, by being a wallflower, I have deprived myself of trying new things. This year God has blessed me with a friend to show me how much I was missing out on. There is a whole world to explore, many things to be ticked off the bucket list and thousands of things to learn; and none of it could be made possible by constantly saying “no”.

You can’t travel the world if you refuse to leave the doorstep.

Life should be an adventure. Live for the moments you can’t put into words.

I will take on this challenge this coming 2015, to live life out of the comfort zone and do my best in all things – for the Lord.

 

X,

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