back + copies of ‘unseen moon’ now here

And I’m back from my nine-day Hanoi-Bangkok-Siem Reap trip with friends! Will post a day-by-day detailed account – with itinerary and costing for interested travelers – after I catch up with my work emails.

UPDATE: Start reading. :)

Hanoi, Vietnam – Day 1 2 3

Bangkok, Thailand – Day 1 2 3

Siem Reap, CambodiaDay 1 2

Anyway, some photos from my phone:

preview 1
My high school classmates – and constant travelmates – relaxing outside a small restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam.
preview 2
A touristy photo inside Madame Tussaud’s Bangkok.
preview 3
Visiting the temples.

Also, the paperback copies of Unseen Moon are here! Will be shipping these out soon. Visit the Goodreads page or this page for reviews and details about the collection. Thanks to those who have ordered! I hope it’s worth the wait.

unseen moon print

unseen moon

Will work on the next posts/do my laundry/sign the book copies now. *flails and runs*

double housewarming

We finally had time to have some friends over. We served cupcakes!

Here’s the Gentleman’s Social c/o J and friends.

This shot! So candid!

Then I had the girls over the next day.


Vanilla Buttercream and the lone Red Velvet with yogurt icing. This is from Sweets N Things along JP Rizal – text (0922) 845 5197 to order!



Isa (seated) is a Non-Fiction Fellow for this year’s Silliman workshop! Congrats!

Rooftop madness.




(Photos taken via Canon are from Kate and Andrea.)

Home sweet home.

mini-housewarming + faburrito + potted potter + i might need to sell a kidney to get to thailand

What a weekend! First weekend we spent in the new place where we didn’t have to clean.  (Only because we had to clean on a weekday.)

Friday to early-morning Saturday, met up with my high school girlfriends to have dinner at Greenbelt 5’s Mesa. Really good food, so good we neglected to take pictures. I highly recommend the Crispy Boneless Tilapia with four sauces, and the Crispy Leche Flan. Don’t you already feel the oil boiling in your veins just by reading that?

Continuing the neglect to take photos, I invited them over to see the new place, and got suckered into a summer trip to Vietnam and Thailand. This will require an enormous amount of not spending. So help me.

A lotion straight from Fiji! Thanks Ghia! She had to wash dishes to get me this. Kidding! Or not.

Potted Potter

Saturday, I dragged J to have lunch at Faburrito at The Columns. Now I was able to take pictures.

Potted Potter

Potted Potter

Potted Potter

They serve affordable and guilt-free food. We got burrito with steak (for J.) and chicken (for me), corn soup, and mint tea. I found the mint in the mint tea overpowering, but loved the flavor of everything else.

Potted Potter

Potted Potter

We missed the first run of Potted Potter and were grateful that they came back.

Potted Potter

Potted Potter

Potted Potter in Manila, a parody that squeezes all seven books into 70 minutes, was performed by Jesse Briton and Gary Trainor. (It was originally a five-minute street show created by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner in 2005  to entertain the fans lining up for the the 6th book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.) And it was hilarious! Loved the Quidditch Match. It brightened up our Saturday. :)

The venue was small, so the view from our Balcony seats weren’t so bad.


Potted Potter

On Sunday, I just stayed home (J went off to a game at his friends’) and watched Gattaca. So good even Andrew Niccol can’t top himself. It’s ideas and emotional impact does not compare to his own S1mone and In Time. I was personally drawn to Jude Law’s character. The need for perfection has its own pressures.


Also: now reading Never Let Me Go. Sci-fi overload, and I love it.

the wedding-monthsary: almi + kim

Almi and Kim got married on Nov. 14 in Talisay, Batangas. There were debacles along the way (loud construction outside the church, tardy priest, strange homily, sudden heavy rain during the reception) but it was perfect. Love is a beautiful thing. Just ask the newlyweds, who remained in good spirits even as rainwater drenched one of the tables. For better or for worse, indeed.


View in Club Balai Isabel from the bride’s quarters.

The rooms are nice! I’d like to return here. Not necessarily to get married haha.

This is everyone! Photo from Kate.

Photo from Andrea.

PS The very creative Almi made most of the – collaterals? I don’t know what word to use – for her wedding day. Witness this madness the creativity here, starting with Day 100.

the awesome post-birthday weekend

Some people I know celebrate their birthdays for a week, even a whole month. I just eat a lot at home on the day, and then it’s business as usual.

This weekend, though, felt like an extra helping of blessings for my new year.

Friday, the completely unexpected GeekFight win

I’ve heard of GeekFight, and I have friends who have joined GeekFight, but I have doubts about my geek trivia skills. I know some things, but just basic info, certainly not the esoteric ones that get asked in hardcore trivia shows like this.

J found out that the Committee GeekFight for Nov. 9 is themed “Power of Myth” – Philippine myths, Greco-Roman and Norse myths, religions ancient and current – and he seemed to have great faith in my knowledge, which of course made me more nervous. I almost backed out the night before, thinking of the hassle of driving to Quantum Cafe and finding parking on a Friday night and losing. 

Well, I’m glad we went because we won.

The Modron Squadron!

We won! On our first game! It’s hilarious how our attitude changed from “It’s okay we’ll just wing it let’s just drink beer and have fun” to “MOTHERFUCKER WE HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN THIS SHIT COVER THE FUCKING WHITEBOARD”.

In the D&D universe, “Modrons resemble geometric shapes with humanoid limbs and represent a living, physical manifestation of law without regard to good or evil.” (Wiki)

Twelve teams fought in “Power of Myth”.

A highlight from the event:

Q: How is the monster from Cloverfield classified by the DOD?

Someone answers: Isa syang class-S na halimaw.


Needless to say, I had a fun Friday night.


Before the game, we tried Quantum Cafe’s food. These are really good:

Full Shroom, pizza on whole wheat (PhP 190)
Kare-kareng gulay! (PhP 220)
The kare-kare comes with sinantolan instead of the usual bagoong, but it’s a fun alternative.

I’d like to return to Quantum Cafe just to try the other dishes.

Saturday, Bwakaw, UP date

We weren’t able to catch the Cinemalaya and commercial run of Jun Lana’s Bwakaw, the Philippines’ entry for the Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars, so I was overjoyed to find that the UP Film Institute was going to screen it for a week. We caught the Saturday 1 pm screening.

Bwakaw features a heartbreaking performance by Eddie Garcia as the aging homosexual, Rene. It is a beautiful, sweet, affecting story told with grace and control. It has the elements that can very easily allow it to lapse into a cloying melodrama – a dying dog, a lonely old man – but it never does. Instead it finds brightness in a sad life, and inserts humor in the most absurd situations. (How incredibly funny is it to see Gardo Verzosa constantly fanning himself?) And something must be said about the amazing cinematography: J said the film is so immersive that he half-expected to find himself in San Pablo after stepping out of the Film Institute. I agree. The people I saw the film with had this look in their eyes after the show, like they had just been clobbered over the head. Maybe they were expecting the same thing, the San Pablo of Bwakaw: wind-swept trees, unpaved roads, an old man with a dog in his arms riding a tricycle home.

I loved the final image of the film: Rene walking up a path and disappearing into the trees. We are not told where he is going, but at least now we are sure he is going somewhere.

Am I glad I got the chance to see this film on the big screen.


After lunch at Chocolate Kiss, we headed to the Christmas bazaar. I got these beauties:

Bracelet (PhP 70), ring (PhP 100), peacock-cock-cock earrings (PhP 100)

While in UP, J kept hiding his cell phone screen from me while texting. I wondered about that. He usually even lets me read his texts.

We got to their house, and found out why:


J was with me in Bulacan, and noticed the conspicuous absence of cake during my birthday. So he asked the family to buy me a cake, and more besides.

My thanks to J, J’s ma, his Tita Jo, and the rest of the family for the surprise dinner party!

Sunday, something new for my nails

I regularly have nail polish applied to my toenails, but not to my nails, because I’m a klutz and I chip them easily, sometimes even as soon as I step out of the salon.

So I tried UV soak-off gel nail polish, which the advertisements (and my friendly neighborhood salon) promise will last for two weeks. Mani-pedi using UV gel nail polish is more expensive than using acrylic nail polish. Mine cost PhP 550 at B&W Beauty Salon.

It’s more expensive in the bigger salons, I’m sure. (Some salons, I heard, offer the service for PhP 500 just for the manicure.) That’s a con, but the pros are 1) the polish will last longer, and 2) it dries instantly. No need to ask someone else to open your can of soda after meeting with your manikurista.

I didn’t take pictures of the procedure, but the UV machine looks like this:

Read more here:

I can’t make this a regular thing because of the cost. Maybe I’ll have gel nails for special occasions? (Once a year?)

My nails! So shiny!

I am loving, loving, loving my 26th year so far.

That’s true.

this weekend in food

Crystal Koo came home to Manila from Hong Kong, so she invited fellow writers out to lunch and coffee. We went to Sa Kanto in Podium. J and I had fun listening to the Alfars’ and the Osiases’ adventures in Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and elsewhere, Crystal’s adventures in teaching overseas, Tin’s adventures in acquiring a master’s degree in Creative Writing (ha!), and Charles various dramas (yes). There were so many stories that we couldn’t get a word in edgewise! And that’s a good thing! Of course we talked about other people’s relationships over coffee in Cafe Breton (the Alfars and the Osiases, unfortunately, had to run to get ready for the Palanca Awards) because that’s what writers do. Really.

Photo by Dean.

Only J, Crystal, and I ate a lot. It was a bit…embarrassing. Haha! Especially if you’re seated next to Tin Lao who ate such a healthy lunch of eggplants and steamed rice. We all loved the Dynamite, chili fingers stuffed with beef and cheese, and I couldn’t resist ordering Kwek Kwek. The main dishes were so-so, and Crystal wasn’t a fan of the pork adobo. Next time, we’ll just order all of the side dishes – and a glass of beer. Check out this review, with pictures.

Nagutom ako bigla. Heh.

Thanks Crystal for putting this together. Let’s do this again!

And thanks Charles for these goodies:

In other food news: I loved this unagi casserole from UCC.

Got these German chocolate bars from J. It’s filled with strawberry yogurt. Yum.

In writing news: I am trying my hand at writing poetry in Filipino. There are two posted online, but they are friends-locked.

My brain is tired. I wish I had more time to read and write.