Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cold open.

This is the coldest way I've started a year so far.

My version of 2014 certainly went on a good start: According to superstition, if you are caught outside your neighborhood as the New Year begins, you'll have a year full of adventures and journeys. I am hoping that since I started the year with pleasantly cold conditions, I'll face fair weather all year.

Lo and behold, I was going to Hong Kong in early January! Not wanting to have a winter fashion faux pas similar to what happened to me in wintry England (and I blame this on the disorientation caused by my inexperience in traveling) many years ago, I made sure that I had enough clothes (I think) to warm myself for the chilly conditions in Hong Kong. After all, I do come from tropical Calamba City, where the temperature rarely dips below 20C. 

                 

The one thing I failed to bring with me on this trip was my trusty orange scarf which I got on a 70%-off, buy one-take one sale at the Debenhams branch in Nottingham. That scarf is now with Mommy. Hopefully she gets to use it more than I have. This is why I had to stop by the Temple St night market in Mongkok... I bought a cashmere shawl to keep my neck warm.

Back in the Philippines, the days are also chilly and pleasant. I really wish that this nice weather lasts for quite awhile. I don't think I'm ready for the heat of summer yet.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Home is all about comfort and security.

Daisy Tam (Research Assistant Professor in Humanities at the Hong Kong Baptist University) said during a panel discussion at Asia Society HK's "In a Grain of Rice: Food and Culture for South and Southeast Asia" program (January 12, 2014) that the sense of home is not necessarily tied to a geographical location anymore. Home is where ever one feels safe and comfortable.

For me, home is where my family is. 

While everyone was busy watching The Lorax, Patrick and I were busy eating our second round of dinner. :)
In this case, I spent Christmas 2013 with my parents, my brother and his then-fiancee (now his wife), my cousins and their children. Despite the stars of the night being those humongous steamed crabs (I had to eat by the couch and not with the rest of my family by the dining table), this year's Christmas party beats spending New Year's Eve alone anytime!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Generosity knows no borders

Typhoon Haiyan is one of the strongest and biggest storms to hit any country in recorded history... As luck would have it, the deadly path Haiyan (aka Typhoon Yolanda) took included a sweep of the central Philippines. Lots of people helped in their own way. I saw how crowded the relief goods preparation area was with the number of volunteers in Pasay City.

But what surprised me even more was how far-reaching the effect of media coverage really was. 

On the day I arrived in Hong Kong (with Chill Sapiandante) in January, I went to the Asia Society Hong Kong Center in Admiralty. We were there to participate, as IRRI representatives, in Asia Society HK's No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia program entitled "In a Grain of Rice: Food and Culture for South and Southeast Asia". As we were about to leave the building, I noticed the announcement for the event:


Wow!

I never realized just how big the relief effort was until I was outside the Philippines and I saw this poster! I feel that the society's current theme is just perfect: Generosity knows no borders.

Thank you, Asia Society HK!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

a winter visit to Stanford University

My family knows what a nerd (or is it a geek?) I am. So whenever I visit them, we end up going to universities I've dreamed of pursuing my postgraduate studies in. This year, we visited Stanford University... where Biboy took a few courses in the last term.


Since the day was short when we visited Stanford, I was reminded of my last days in St Lucia, taking photos all over the campus at University of Queensland. I just love the deep blues and their strong contrasts with reds and yellows. The cheshire cat was smiling up in the sky as well in Stanford... that was a bonus. :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello, 2014!!

In the Philippines, New Year's Eve is traditionally celebrated with lots of food and lots of noise (including firecrackers). It's one of the worst days for people with asthma and allergies and can turn dangerous, if not deadly, for people who choose to ignite firecrackers and fireworks.

I knew that this kind of frenzied revelry is not typical where my parents live but I never realized how quiet New Year's Eve really is there until I popped in for a visit. We just had dinner (which was courtesy of Mommy, Ate Gigi, and Patrick) and had a bout with the videoke machine.


 

But the fireworks and firecrackers were sorely missing. It wasn't as exciting as when us being on the sidewalk, actually lighting those sparklers, blowing on paper trumpets, and watching people risk life and limb just to light the next rocket.

Nevertheless, it's a holiday spent with my family. That is always the best way to spend New Year's Eve... specially after two consecutive years when I had to celebrate it alone.