I set foot on this foreign land on winter time. The bite of winter chill lingers on the skin and tingles in the spine. Everything's new that time. The row of trees whose leaves have fallen, not a pretty sight. Finally after a month spring has come.

The whole neighborhood started changing and thus made it more inviting for warm afternoon walks. Who wants to get stuck in the house all day? Well definitely not me. I took the initiative to explore this new neighborhood together with my trusty camera. I wandered and walked all throughout the area enjoying all the great new things worth discovering. Some views of the neighborhood truly captivated me so I started clicking away, snapping shots of everything I came across which I find interesting.

Pretty isn't it? Who can resist such a beautiful tree in full bloom? The cherry trees all over the area started blooming with small lovely pink flowers. This of course is not as lovely as Japan's Sakura which is in grander scale. Imagine walking through an entire street of Cherry trees in full bloom! This is actually one reason why i want to visit Japan during spring time. I want to witness the Sakura Festival and enjoy the traditional Hanami. Although Philippines also has Cherry trees, it's not so common to see it everywhere.

Everything comes to an end, same thing with the cherry blossom. After few weeks in bloom it started falling and deep red / maroon leaves started growing. I can tell that I enjoyed the Sakura season here. As much as I wish for the flowers to stay there a little longer, it's inevitable since nature has its own course.

I still had my luck one sunny afternoon when I saw this lonesome flower by the cherry tree's trunk. (that's really rare!) I tried my best to get a good shot but the flower was too high and it's hard to keep my hands steady as I stretched upward. I might not be so lucky with the shot but I guess my luck was more of spotting this tiny flower, the last of the cherry blossom. =) What do you think?

Since my previous blog was about our little chocolate business, I think I better introduce my bestfriend who's the other person behind those creations.

...4th yr college 2002...

Do you believe in opposites attract? I guess that applies to me and my bestfriend. We're quite opposite with many things so we end up always joking that we'll never fight over a guy because we're opposites. We've been together for many years, I think 15. Can you tell how much we matured all those years? Forget about the weight gain, I think it comes with age! =P

...salon days 2005...

She's the witness to all my stuffs like relationships, school, family, etc... In fact she's considered as family already at home and same thing goes for me in her place. We're both trusted by our families and welcome to join family activities.

...my birthday celeb 2006...

This is the first time we ever separated this far. We're both missing the sleepovers now, she comes over usually when stressed and just want to spend some time with me. If not we meet somewhere and just hang out. We're not the typical girlfriends who would chat all night and giggle over boys, that's not our cup of tea. When we spend time together, our favorite activity would be "food trip" and spa (this one I'll blog about next time). We eat crazy like we won't eat anymore tomorrow. Hahaha, turn off? We're both simple girls, easy to please but not with foods. We might be your worse food critic! hehehehe! Nah, we love the kitchen and grew up with delicious meals. Can you blame us for being such a critic? But we're not picky, we eat most foods just make sure it's delicious. =)

I miss you bes!

I've always looked up to my dad and been really close with him since I was a kid. I tend to copy and do things he does even his carpentry and car mechanic check-ups on weekends. I admire that crafty side and his artistic skills. He may be too damn strict but a dad's a dad, he makes the rules. =) The song below is specially dedicated to him, a song that always puts tears on my eyes whenever I hear it since I had this for him on my wedding day. We danced to this song as he handed me over to my husband. I miss dad. Even if we always had few exchange of words and conversations, we enjoyed and loved all those things that we do together. Often I would tag along with him because he likes it when his kid/s come with him when he goes to the relatives. I know he's crying inside all those times like the wedding and when they brought us to the airport on the day that I'll be leaving them. We're not mushy and sweet so no i love you and anything cheesy when we talk. Since it's a special day, I'll take the chance to express how I feel for my daddy....i love you dy!

...my dear daddy with our little cutie Elisse...

Butterfly Kisses

There's two things I know for sure:
She was sent here from heaven and she's
daddy's little girl.
As I drop to my knees by her bed at night
She talks to Jesus and I close my eyes and
I thank god for all the joy in my life
Oh, but most of all
For butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer;
sticking little white flowers all up in her
hair; "Walk beside the pony, Daddy, it's my first ride."
"I know the cake looks funny, Daddy, but I sure tried."
In all that I've done wrong I know I must
have done something right to deserve a hug
every morning and butterfly kisses at night.

Sweet 16 today
She's looking like her mama a little more everyday
One part woman, the other part girl.
To perfume and make-up from ribbons and curls
Trying her wings out in a great big world.

But I remember
Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer; sticking
little white flowers all up in her hair.
"You know how much I love you, Daddy, But if you
don't mind I'm only gonna kiss you on the cheek this time."
With all that I've done wrong I must have done
something right to deserve her love every morning
and butterfly kisses at night.

All the precious time
Like the wind, the years go by.
Precious butterfly.
Spread your wings and fly.

She'll change her name today.
She'll make a promise and I'll give her away.
Standing in the bride-room just staring at her.
She asked me what I'm thinking and I said "I'm not
sure-I just feel like I'm losing my baby girl."
She leaned over...gave me butterfly kisses with her mama there,
Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair
"Walk my down the aisle, Daddy-it's just about time."
"Does my wedding gown look pretty, Daddy? Daddy, don't cry!"

Oh, with all that I've done wrong I must have
done something right.
To deserve your love every morning and butterfly
kisses-I couldn't ask God for more, man this is what love is.

I know I gotta let her go, but I'll always remember
every hug in the morning and butterfly kisses.

...papa-in-law with his little girl jacqui...

I thank papa for bringing my husband out in the world and raising him as a responsible and caring man. To all dads out there, Happy Father's Day!!
It all started as a passion for crafts and some side business and a lot of planning but our original idea didn't work out for us. At first we thought of making some custom bags and that was during those busy school days. The craft alone will take time to finish so everything was put on hold.

...milk & dark chocolate w/ sprinkles, cookies and cream,
chocolate rice crispies, chocolate marble & double decker...

Me and my bestfriend see to it we meet every now and then no matter how long or short our meeting would be. It was nearing the Christmas holidays when we came up with a small chocolate business. It was more for fun and not a serious business since we're both tied up working in different offices. That time was perfect for small sweet giveaway gifts, we marketed our products to her office and mom's.

...simple choco cups with fun designs...

It was a success! We're not talking here of thousands worth of investment return, but at least our accumulated profit was good enough. Given the short span of time (dec-feb) we were able to do more than just chocolates. We tried making banana choco chip loaves and re-packed some chocolates for smaller giveaways. To double our capital was a success for us already considering we were just doing it as a means of our bonding time (yes our chocs were reasonably priced). Working overnight was our only way to do it, no sleep... but we're happy! =) Sounds crazy huh?

...experimenting on cute packaging...

...we found these cool native boxes...

...banana choc chip loaves...

...plain vanilla, vanila choco chip & chocolate petite muffins...

Bes (bestfriend) and I enjoyed our little crazy time schedule working. It was more of a challenge for us on how we could make it through together. Making most of our time together, creating cherished moments would be the best way to describe those times. We both knew I'll have to leave for US soon, that's why.

I'd like to thank Ai for wanting to see our chocolates, it all began when I saw her cute soap designs. After long time searching for the photos, finally I was able to work on this post.

p.s. the images are of poor quality, taken from my oldie cp cam =)

How can you explain that good feeling after helping someone and accomplishing something? Isn't it great to be able to do things while you're still young? This post has nothing to do about bragging or showing-off, just remembering some dear people who trusted us so much for their dream. A dream which is not cheap to begin with. One thing we all learned from this experience, nothing's impossible with trust, honesty and hard work.

...Tabios Residence Project...

I met the Tabios Family through my brother. One of the daughter's my bro's classmate in his master studies. So how did I get into the picture? Mr. Tabios (tito Orly) was scheduled to retire soon, him and his wife (tita Remy) thought of using the retirement money to build their retirement home. Something bigger than what they have which is a bungalow. Thinking that the kids are getting married and soon the whole family will be expanding, their home needs to expand as well. Knowing I work in an architectural office, they asked my bro favor for me to have it checked and quoted and see if our office can meet their ends. Apparently, big money's at stake and they only have limited budget of Php2M. Our boss can't see the possibility of the office taking over the project, he felt like they will lose so much money having it professionaly done by any architectural company. Boss then thought of me helping them out instead to just get the project myself and do it for them. At least they don't need to pay me as much as the office, you know how hard it is to bill friends with business. =) Done deal, with boss' suggestion I took the project to help them out.

...verandah, garage & garden-pond-grotto...

That time I took the lead, I was still on the process of taking my license meaning I can't sign the plans undermy name. It's ok, the fact that I get to design a hose that will be really up for construction was more than enough for me at that time. Given the situation, I can bill them with the amount that they can really afford. It won't be the same if I already had my license, it's against our code to do that. After several meetings with the the Tabios, I came up with plans all all necessary construction and building permit sheets. The lplanning was a big challenge because it's an inner lot. Good thing not much revisions and they were happy with the planning & design. Next step was finding a trustworthy contractor...which in our field is not an easy task. We needed someone willing to help them with their dream and luckily I knew who can do the work. After the estimates and all the deals (permits & clearances), we agreed on a contract and settled everything.

...common area, living, dining & entertainment rooms...

After almost a year, the house was finally finished. It was initially 6mos for the construction but due to insufficient funds things took longer than expected. Little by little the Tabios Family worked on the finishes. At this point, I gave them the freedom to do as they please with the colors and materials. I just gave suggestions for comparison but all the rest was still their discretion. They had to do the most practical way with the finishes and following everything I specified will definitely cost them a lot more. Everything turned out good after all. They painted it green because of tita Remy's love for plants. As long as they are happy and they love it, I'm ok. They consult me anyway for everything.

...my dear Elisse with me on site visits...

One thing that I enjoyed most during the entire construction was the site visit. That's part of my contract obligation with them, I do periodic visits. When the place was almost done after the dusty construction time, my dear Elisse joins my visits. She loved going there! Later on I received a call from them inviting us all, my whole family for the house blessing. Everybody enjoyed their new home that night.

The original design on the other hand was not followed exactly due to its cost. It was estimated at Php8.8M and they were so shocked with the price. I blamed my bro for that...hehe! He told me to go all the way and just make the design really good for them. I didn'twant to knowing their deal but bro's being so nosy...always checking and seeing the design. I did what he said but it ended up disappointing the clients. They felt like it's impossible for them to have the house constructed given such tag. Just did minor revisions and extensive deals with the contractor. It wasn't easy but I enjoyed it so much....the design, inspection, everything! I'm very much thankful also to my husband who checked & approved my designs from day 1 and on, this house kept us working together despite our distance. We shared the same passion and excitement doing this project. I was able to bring him to the site when he came for a short vacation last December. =)

The reason why I posted this is because I thought of tita Remy and everybody the other day. We're supposed to see them again before we left but we didn't have time to do so anymore. =(
Marrying Your Opposite

Two individuals who are very different from each other
can either be supremely happy together,
or they can be miserable together.


1. Understand that what you so admired in your husband or wife may be the very quality to which you must adjust.

2. You will either compete with each other or complement each other.Follow these four guidelines a daily discipline to help you find the middle ground of common interests.

  • Guideline 1: Respect each other's differences. There can be no real love apart from respect. When you really love someone, you are willing to accept the fact that different people operate differently. While there can be lots of differences in a relationship, there has to be a core of respect that can't be violated.
  • Guideline 2: Talk about it. Free and open communication is a must for a successful marriage. When taking the kids and climbing Mt. Makiling is more than you can take, say so without attacking the other person. There has to be a solution that keeps you both happy.
  • Guideline 3: Compromise. Marriage is not a competition, but an ongoing dialogue. Someone said that marriage consists of one "I do" followed by a lot of "uh huhs".
  • Guideline 4: Submit your differences to higher Court of Appeals. Make Christ the head of your home. Pray together. Ask the Lord for His help and direction in solving the conflict that come because you are different from each other. Yes, two people can be very different and yet very happy.

This is the 2nd part of the book about making marriage work by Harold Sala. For those who are in a relationship and those who are married, this might be helpful to keep your connection tight with your partner. As you read through the post, take time to reflect and assess yourself. Feel free to express your views about this article. To read the 1st part, Recipe in Marriage you may click the link or check on the label Relationships and Marriage.
Did you enjoy the first part of our trip? For those who missed the first part of this story (One fine day) you may see it here.

...how many starfishes can you see?...

We had our snacks while just sitting and watching everything around. It's almost sunset and time to eat dinner. We scouted the diners and restaurants and found some place to get our meals. Sharing a serving of Fried Calamari with fries and Clam Chowder in Bread Bowl nearly completed our little sidetrip. You must be thinking why I said "nearly"? The day's not over yet and there's one more thing which will best conclude the day.

...we enjoyed the meal, delicious!...

After our nice dinner treat we decided to start walking back to the shore then we spotted this classic beauty. I hurriedly snapped some photos while nobody's walking around to block my view and it was a success! Nice body, don't you think so?

As we looked farther out to the waters we saw all the people kayaking despite the cool breeze. We were thinking it must be freezing out there, I hope nobody caught colds after that. I was getting more and more excited walking back the shore because we plan to see sunset from there. My non-stop clicking somehow stalled us, I would stop walking without notice once I see anything interesting for me to shoot.

...we had a great view of the entire shore from the boardwalk...

...Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Amusement Park...

...love this shot! my lighting was diffused by the sun's glare...

...seagulls scavenging by the shore...

After a long walk we finally set foot on the cold sand of the shore. The time will be just right for sunset for us to reach the far end to the amusement park. Who would've thought our lazy Sunday could turn into a very fun and leisurely side trip at the beach? This is the time when I love my husband being so spontaneous with things since I'm very much of a planner. Some people were still having fun with their kids playing on the sand, making wood structures and flying kites. The pirate ship kite didn't escape my lenses. It was hard focusing on the shot due to the strong gust of wind and that kid running with the kite. A blogger friend once posted kites in her blog and told her I'll share the one I captured in time. Here it is now Mei (haha, it's not as artistic as your shots!).

...certified flying ship!...

Never thought the shore was that long, too long for a leisure walk. =) Finally the walk's over and the sun was setting brightly on the clear blue sky. The sunset was not as spectacular as I thought it would be but the shadows and the darkness that covered that entire side made it picture perfect for my festive eyes.

Time for us to go home, we were able to relax and enjoy some quality time together. We passed by a group of people going out and one lady exclaimed "they look good together!", my husband said she looks drunk. Haha! Funny but that was a nice compliment from a stranger seeing us as a good couple... ehem... despite our height difference (and I mean big difference). May she be drunk or not, that's something pleasant to a husband or wife's ears. The air was getting intolerably cold and the car's too far away. The amusement park was closing, no more wild screams from all those people riding for the thrill. It was more calm and peaceful now that the sun's about to retire. We drove home with smile on our faces and a felling of content for a fun-filled "one fine day".

Do you always plan for your trips or you tend to be spontaneous at times? Which one turns out to be more enjoyable for you? Do you also wait for the sunset once you go to the beach?
Just doing this for fun courtesy of Foongpc =) who told me not to be lazy and just do the tag! *lol*

*Begin Copy Here*

1. Start copy from "Begin Copy Here" until "End Copy" to your blog.

2. List your favourites from A-Z.
For example, starting with the alphabet A, you can list down your favourite Actor, your favourite Anthem, favourite Aerobic exercise or even your favourite ABBA's song. As long as it starts with the letter A.

Then move on to alphabet B. You can list your favourite Book, or Bag, or Blog, or even your favourite Boxer shorts! It's entirely up to you!

Repeat the same with alphabet C, D, E and so on until Z.

If you can't think of a word that starts on that particular alphabet, you may visit My Very First Blog for a comprehensive list of words.

3. Tag 7 people.

*End Copy*

My A-Z Favourites List
Age - will be 28 =)
Book - Garfield Digest
Career - Architect
Day - Saturday
Entertainment - Movies
Fastfood - Jack in the Box
Gift - SPA certificate
Hobby - Photography
Interest - Travel
Jelly - Green Apple
Kebab - Shrimp
Lingerie - Cami see through =)
Martial Arts - Taekwondo
Niece - Elisse
Object - camera
Phone - nokia
Quiche - cheese
Recreation - beach
Song - Butterfly Kisses
Temper - hot
University - UST
Vehicle - car
Wish - house
Xray - chest
Yoghurt - Lucerne kiwi strawberry
Zodiac - Leo

Same time, I'm posting the personality test from
Mariuca =)

The rules are:

1. Open this website : http://www.quizbox.com/personality/test82.aspx
2. Take the Personality Quiz (it's VERY short and easy, really)
3. Copy Paste the result to your blog.
4. Tag as many friends as you can and link to the friend who tagged you.

My Personality

Your view on yourself: You are down-to-earth and people like you because you are so straightforward. You are an efficient problem solver because you will listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision that usually appeals to both parties.

The type of girlfriend/boyfriend you are looking for:

You like serious, smart and determined people. You don't judge a book by its cover, so good-looking people aren't necessarily your style. This makes you an attractive person in many people's eyes.

Your readiness to commit to a relationship:

You prefer to get to know a person very well before deciding whether you will commit to the relationship.

The seriousness of your love:

Your have very sensible tactics when approaching the opposite sex. In many ways people find your straightforwardness attractive, so you will find yourself with plenty of dates.

Your views on education

Education is very important in life. You want to study hard and learn as much as you can.

The right job for you:

You're a practical person and will choose a secure job with a steady income. Knowing what you like to do is important. Find a regular job doing just that and you'll be set for life.

How do you view success:

You are confident that you will be successful in your chosen career and nothing will stop you from trying.

What are you most afraid of:

You are concerned about your image and the way others see you. This means that you try very hard to be accepted by other people. It's time for you to believe in who you are, not what you wear.

Who is your true self:

You are mature, reasonable, honest and give good advice. People ask for your comments on all sorts of different issues. Sometimes you might find yourself in a dilemma when trapped with a problem, which your heart rather than your head needs to solve.

As for the personality test, it's about 90% accurate =)

Don't get me wrong, this is not about the movie "One Fine Day" and completely nothing to do with it. When we arrived here last January the weather was way too extreme. I expected that right away knowing it's still the winter season. There were freezing cold nights and dawns but the real deal was when it rains. It was surprisingly rainy for the succeeding days and weeks making it quite impossible for us to enjoy going out and seeing places.

Finally, one fine day came. After all the rain, the sun once again brightened up the skies. It was a free Sunday for me and my husband and all we had to do was to give the car a nice scrub. We like attending the Saturday anticipated mass and try to fit in all errands and grocery shopping the same day to give way to a relaxing Sunday. After the carwash a little after 2pm he just asked me if I wanted to go to Santa Cruz Beach. Of course I'd love to go there after being confined at home during the rainy days. It was a quick decision and we headed to Walgreens and grabbed some snacks for our short trip. It only took us approx. 30mins to reach the place.

...the boardwalk...

He's been wanting to bring me to the boardwalk since we came and we're glad we finally made it. This place served as a retreat place for him and papa during those oven hot days and when he feels so stressed from work and all. But don't be fooled by the sun's glorious shine, for those who came from the tropics (like me) you wouldn't enjoy the freezing bite of cold air. We wanted to enjoy the sun so we left our sweaters in the car (so far from the beach) and experienced the chilly air as we strolled along the beach. Expect to have a tan by the end of the day after soaking under the sun.

...seagulls by the shore...

I started taking photos right away and I enjoyed seeing all these busy seagulls fishing out for foods. Still a long way to go to reach the end of the boardwalk leadingto a viewdeck. I spotted a small fishing boat displayed by the deck and thinking it would be a good photo subject, I started clicking away with my cam.

...a display boat, Marcella...

We're almost halfway the viewdeck and along the way on our stops, these beautiful creatures stole my attention once again. I didn't stop til I got a good shot of that goose swimming freely in the waters. It was swimming quite fast making it harder to get a centered shot. Upon several clicks, alas! The sun shining so brightly against my lenses gave way to such dramatic effect (haha, that's just my description) .

...look, the bird's posing for me! hehe...

After a long leisurely walk passing all those overlooking diners and restaurants, we finally reached the end of the deck. Nothing really special but a wider view of the waters. Some seals were swimming playfully but didn't get good shots because they were too fast going up and down the water. Wait, something interesting was there and people with great huge dslr were taking shots of this lazy lovely big bird. Why lazy? Maybe it's more appropriate if i use the word still to describe this pelican. It hardly moved and was just there so still for a long time. I wonder if standing steadily there on a metal pipe backsplash isn't too hard on it's small feet supporting that heavy looking body. I didn't dare touch or disturb this resting bird because I was scared if it gets nuts....it's pretty big you know!

...lovely pelican and a far away sailboat...

It must be fun to go fishing there that's why we saw many people trying to have some catch (hehe, but didn't see anybody catching one). Can you see that tiny sailboat on the photo below? That's the same one above, I just tried zooming to get a better shot. That's one fun activity, to sail but I'll give more consideration on summer time.

So many seagulls who were scavenging for food, you have to be careful with the poop! The restaurant crews would often alarm people to not leave their foods (the seagulls will snatch it!) and watch their heads (bad birds who poop!) because the seagulls were just all over the deck. I managed to finally caught two in action. Been waiting for such opportunity!

What's next? Sorry guys I have to cut my story for now and continue on part 2 later on. I don't want to make this post super long or else I might just bore you as you read along. =)

Have a great weekend!!


...apple tree at winter, can you see who's feeding?...

So many squirrels in the neighborhood hopping from tree to tree, climbing on fences. electric cables and roofs, some even running across the streets.

These shots were my first encounter on squirrels here one cold morning as I was catching some sun by the hall balcony. This little fella came down from the roof and hopped on to the screen curtain along the balcony leading down the rails and on to the smaller trees in the courtyard. It's amazing how it managed to cleverly plan it's way to the apple tree. Seeing it in action made me grab my camera and stole some shots while it's feeding on some apples. I had to really be sneaky and quiet not to startle this hungry squirrel.

...cute squirrel eating apples...

See that green background right there? That's the screen curtain where this squirrel climbs down to get into the courtyard. This squirrel sure knows where to pose, I was able to capture a shot with a nice background and good natural lighting! :)

After the apple frenzy, it hopped from branch to branch down from the tree and off to its course to the roof. It's probably gonna feed on some other fruits by the neighbors' trees. So long little squirrel, see you again when the apple tree blooms!
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