Fashion Tips for Sinulog 2018


Photo from Philstar

Pit Senyor! Sinulog is just around the corner. I now sense the joyful and lively vibes in the city brought by the drumbeats beginning to fill the air and festive colors popping everywhere. I know you’ve heard a word or two about this festivity. Maybe you’ve seen it on TV, social media or heard about it from a friend or strangers. Sinulog is known to be the first biggest and grandest festival in the Philippines!

Sinulog is the ritual prayer-dance in honor of the infant child Jesus, the Holy Child of Cebu also known as Señor Santo Niño. He is known to be miraculous. The dance consists of two steps forward and one step backward, done to the sound of drums. Sinulog Grand Parade is the most anticipated part of the event. It is the very exciting and fun highlight that one shouldn't miss. Dancers from all over the country gather and perform their dance interpretations in the street which lasts for 9 to 12 hours attracting millions of viewers all over the world. I still remember my chaotic but fulfilled experiences with this!

As years passed by, Sinulog has grown from purely a dance of faith into a sophisticated festival nowadays. A lot of enthusiastic parties also take place in Cebu during this vibrant season.

In this post, I will name some fashion tips you can pull off during Sinulog festival. Are you guys ready to celebrate? 
1. Styled Sinulog T-shirts
Sinulog T-shirts are just a grab in every mall corner and street stalls. Ditch the common look of cotton shirts and loose blouses. This is the perfect time to opt for a customized t-shirt. What I meant for that is the hand-cut and styled t-shirts then pair it with tattered jeans or denim shorts. Guys and gals can do alike! If you have no time to do this, head to Island Souvenirs in SM City and Ayala Mall and let them do the styling for you at a very small fee.



2. Fancy and festive hats/headdresses
In order to combat the heat while watching the Grand Parade, one must wear a heat protection on our heads - a hat or any headdress. Umbrella is not advisable especially because it is going to be a jam-packed event. When it comes to hats or headdresses, I do not mean the normal hat that most people wear. I mean the colorful and vibrant ones because guess what, we need to blend in! It is a colorful celebration afterall.



3. Henna tattoo
This is my most favorite thing to get during Sinulog. I always make sure I have this. I love art secretly (though art doesn’t love me, lol). I want it to show on my body even at least once a year. Henna tattoos have also been used to adorn women's bodies as part of social and holiday celebrations for centuries. So there is nothing wrong to get this.  Speaking of that, I should go the next day and get this on my arms. So excited!



4. Colorful eyeliners and eyeshadows
These are for ladies. Take a rest from the normal black liners you wear everyday. Wear the bright and colorful ones. Choose the colors that symbolizes your personality. Bright eyes, bright life! Yay.



5. Colorful hairs
No, do not get a  permanent hair color treatment in salons and toss bunch of pesos. Fake colors for your locks on this specific event can be bought in malls and pharmacies at a very affordable price. Plus, they are washable.



6. Bulky earrings
I personally love to wear bulky earrings but I can't do it in the office because I would look like a joke. I sometimes would wear them if I go shopping though a lot of people would look at me and think if this girls is just okay. For some of you who are like me, this is our time to pull these cute stuffs off. Remember to choose the vibrant and colorful ones always.



7. Face paints to spice the look
Sinulog celebration would be incomplete without face paints. This is another thing I always look up to. We can pay a small amount of fee to have an artist stylishly put it on our face that would match our Sinulog outfit. Or if you want to get it free (like me hahaha), head to Baseline street and come out like a wet chick that just finished swimming in a pool of body paints. Your Sinulog t-shirt would look like a canvas of all the mixtures of paints too. The outcome is a beautiful mess . Just the perfect thing I like.



8. Old-school shoes
Sinulog celebration also means lots of walking the streets because there are no vehicles. Roads are closed by authorities and there are road blocks scattered everywhere. Make sure to have your shoes ready. Nope not the brand new one you just recently bought and love the most, but the old one that even if hundreds of people would step onto it, you'd just be okay. See to it that your lovely feet are comfortable and can move freely.



9. Vibrant phone case
Almost all of us love taking pictures. Millennials be like picture here, picture there, picture everywhere. (I am guilty of it.) Put your phone in a waterproof/sweat-proof case in order to avoid getting it wet from all the paint and water wars along the streets.

There you have it! I hope you'll have a memorable Sinulog celebration.

December to Remember



I can’t believe we are now in the year 2018! It feels like January 1, 2017 is just yesterday and yet here we are, facing another year, welcoming another chapter of our lives, embracing another set of 365 days to work on achieving our goals and being awesome. Before I initiate a kickstart of my 2018 year, I figure to mention worth-sharing events and activities that happened in my December 2017. 

December means Christmas Season to most of us. Especially to us Filipinos, December is the festive time of the year. This is one of my favorite months because aside from the fact that there a lot of holidays with red marks on my calendar, there are lots of celebrations over food, too. (Of course!). A lot of really great things happened during this month that made me happy and caused positive impacts to me. 

To mention, the following are some highlights of my December 2017:

Christmas Party almost every weekend!

From setting up the Christmas decorations and playing Yuletide songs, part of Filipinos’ tradition is to throw Christmas parties almost everyday. Yes, you heard it right! Philippines has been known to have the longest Christmas season in the world. When you say about Christmas Parties here in my place, it usually means a joyful celebration about Jesus’ birth month usually eating together over sumptuous foods, exchanging or giving of gifts to your friends, colleagues and families as well as giving appreciations to the people who matters to you and played important roles in your life. Sure, you can do this everyday, which really is the right thing, but doing it during Christmas Parties makes it also appeal extra special and remarkable at some point.

In my case, I celebrated it every weekends because I have work during weekdays. Since I am a member of a few organizations here in Cebu, I had attended lots of parties. This also means a lot of preparations that range from dress and heels to wear, gifts to buy and schedules to comply.

Optum Christmas party –  My team joined a caroling contest. We had to do a practice. It was a little bit exhausting, but very amusing and entertaining as well.

Alumni Scholarship Christmas party – I was one of the organizing team of the party. With me being the incharge of the party program and the prizes, I bought gift cards in SM City mall and picked lots of goodies in Ayala mall to give as prizes to the lucky participants.

Blogger’s Appreciation Night – One of the nicest things celebrated was be my 1 year of being an official blogger. I joined one of Cebu’s blogging group named Cebu Blogging Community with the hope of growing my network of friends and improving my writing skills. Being part of the party was such a night full of positive feelings that I did the challenge. Now my additional challenges would be consistency and continuous improvement of the stuff that I am doing. It’s nice to receive a pat on the should for facing and completing the organization's challenges. They turned out into something helpful to me personally, too.

Google Developer’s Group Cebu Christmas Party – My GDG Cebu family holds a special place in my heart. Everyone in my team is close to me, they know me and I can literally share anything as long as I want to. This party was full of Trivia from artists, to general facts and even to technologies. We had lots of games and lots of  yummy prizes. Compared to my alumni organization, nope, I was not part of the organizing team of this party. I am glad about it. Hahaha!

Christmas party with college buddies and other close friends – With the very busy schedule almost all of us have, giving a time even sometimes to be with the friends whom I shared memories with when I was still schooling is important to me. We had Karaoke during this even if we are not singers. This made the experience so much fun. The building's wall had cracks everywhere because of our terrible voices. Hahaha!


I won best dress awards.

Christmas parties are associated with dresses, heels and other cool clothes you like to pull off. If I am to be asked, I’m personally okay with me dressing myself elegantly and putting on colorful dusts to my face like a pro because I have been always sitting on my office chair wearing corporate attires, t-shirts paired with jeans during dress down days, pajamas and loose dasters or bulky sleeveless at home. Putting myself into fancy dresses and heels even once a year sounds great to me.


I visited my hometown Canlaon City and celebrated Christmas day with my family.

I had never been home for almost two years already due to corporate job responsibilities. What makes my December 2017 quite special was the fact that, I went home to Negros province and be with my parents and siblings once again. I treated them a day of eating what they wanted. We went to one of the calm parks in San Carlos City near the seashore. We also went to one of the beaches in the island with our neighbors.

One tragic accident happened though. My brother was rushed and admitted to the hospital because he encountered a vehicular accident that caused him to pass out for 5 minutes. Gladly, he's just okay. Only burns on the legs and minor cuts were the issues. Our motorcycle was properly crashed too so I needed to have it repaired.



I knew someone closer to my heart.

For some time now, I have been dreaming for that someone compatible to me both emotionally and intellectually. I am not into rushing things just to be clear. Rushed things often lead you to stumble and fall. I don’t want that. I just want someone whom I can share about anything under the sun and not judge me for it as much as possible. Then, I meet this someone. He is a stranger at first, but I found this connectivity with him both emotionally and intellectually in a small span of time communicating with him. Not to mention, our humors definitely click. So, looking forward for a stronger bond in the coming days.

That are some of the cool things that occurred in my December 2017. I know a lot of awesome adventures and great happenings are waiting for me out there as the days pass by and as I continue my journey. I am very excited to experience them with open arms. How about you, what are the cool stuff that happens in your December?

(more pictures tomorrow)

Island Hopping in Mactan, Philippines



It is said that “Go on island hopping in the many beautiful islands of the Philippines and return home with unforgettable memories and one of a kind experience!” So, together with my office friends, we went on an Island hopping. This is my 2nd time doing such activity and I still want more.

Philippines – a Southeast Asian country in the Western Pacific, consisting of about 7,641 islands, is a beautiful paradise where breathtaking beaches, mountains, rivers and waterfalls reside. This is the country where I am born. Filipino – that is what they call us as the citizens of the Philippines. Almost the entire islands in my country have beautiful nature spots one could ever imagine. I was born in Negros Island where astonishing waterfalls and mountains inhabit. I am now living in Cebu Island where you can find attractive beaches, mountains and rivers alike. Cebu’s neighboring island is called Mactan and it consists of teenie weenie islands called islets which are perfect for island hopping adventure.

If you live in Cebu Island just like me, there is no need for you to travel to other places just to experience island hopping. Mactan Island is just a few-minute-ride from the city. If you are outside Cebu and Mactan Islands, then why not book an adventure to this place? Promise it will really be worth it and a bunch of fun. Well, at least for my experience. So better be prepared. ;)

Pump boat. That morning was cloudy.

Why Island Hopping?

As you may not know yet, it has been only two months since I moved and started working in one of the companies here in IT Park, Cebu City, Philippines. My decision to move serves as a promotion to myself and my roles. From dealing with all IT-related issues and technicalities to IT-Security audits and assessments, this is a new challenge and I am totally excited for the new learning, knowledge and opportunity that this advances me.

With that being said, I am a new joiner to the IT Security team – a newbie. My colleagues were really thoughtful. They planned on throwing a team-bonding activity together with the other newbies as well. Majority of us chose island hopping so we pushed it!

Island Hopping is a travel from one island to another, especially in an area of small islands. Guess what, we chose Mactan Island and its incredible islets.

Finally, the day!

I was as if like a floating zombie on the day of our escapade. I just had 2 hours of sleep because we had a Christmas party the night before it together with my college classmates and co-scholars. We perfectly enjoyed the time of being together again after few months of being away from each other. We even didn’t notice the fast switch of time. We ended the fun at dawn already!

Okay, going back on track. After my 2 hour-nap, I went to Talamban City Time Square near Jess’ place (my colleague). This would serve as our meetup point and everybody would be there then headed to Mactan Island. Together with 2 other friends, we hitched into Jess’s car. Spice Girls and Britney Spears were our kind of jam that time. Little taste of heaven, wink!

Spice Girls and Britney Spears playing on the stereo. We are a fan! 
We took a 40-45 minute road trip going to Boyla, where the pump boat was waiting for us. Everybody was excited. Our faces below is the evidence. We hopped onto the banca (small manual-operated boat) going to the pump boat. We did this because pumpboats are not allowed in too shallow waters. We had lots of bagaggaes especially food packages. I haven’t took a picture though.

My hat steals the show. Richard carrying the roasted pig because tarungon jud ug gunit ang lechon besh.
Finally, we're in the pumpboat.

The kalog team! Ladies are the princesses. The rest are bodyguards. Nah, just kidding. :D

Now, the islands...

1st stop: Hilutungan
An enjoyable 30 minutes boat ride brought us to Hiluntungan Island, a snorkeling paradise as this site was declared as marine sanctuary for decades. This island has a triangular shape, but only once side is easily accessible due to the shallow waters around. Divers visiting Cebu will definitely dive here. Well, at least for me, I went snorkeling.

2nd stop: Nalusuan
10 minutes away from Hilutungan, stays the island of Nalusuan. It is another marine sanctuary with excellent marine life for snorkelers. The island can’t be mistaken with any other due to its long wooden pier crossing its shallow waters. During low tide, a beach appears on the opposite side, facing Cebu. I went snorkeling again and diving, too. Lol.

3rd stop: Caohagan
Kaowagan Island is about 45 min away from Fun and Sun. Some native huts are standing on a small beach and offer some pleasant shade where you can try out some of the island dish cooked a few meters away. There is a small fishermen village, you can decide to explore, probably guided by dozen of kids.

Wetwew. Hi chix :) Alona, me and Anj.

Expectations and Realizations

When going on an island hopping, you must bring your own snorkeling gears and fins in order to experience a total bunch of fun. Astonishing and beautiful ocean species just await for you to be seen just like colorful starfishes, nerve-wracking sea snakes, attractive corals and colorful fishes. They are magnificent! You may also rent snorkeling gears. Just be sure to thoroughly clean and wash them  with alcohol before using it.

It is a happy and peaceful place down the water. It really is! I always feel empowered when diving and swimming. I totally feel that I am in control of my life; that I hold the steering wheel of my life's journey and I can maneuver it to wherever I want to. How about a little bit of detours? Kidding.

There are still a lot of islands waiting to be ventured. I wish someday I get to visit some of them and hopefully work and schedule will permit me.

Sirena sa umaga; Prinsesa sa gabi.


Cebu Food Destinations (Part 1)


Who loves food? US!

Who among you considers FOOD as everything? Of course, I know you do! It is almost the default answer to everything. Take it from me, I can’t live a day without indulging my food, lol. May it be in any special occasion, celebration, promotion, or even during breakups and when in depression, you name it! FOOD - there is always be food ready to fill your inner needs, heart’s desires and self’s emptiness. It catches you if life’s rhythm is a little bit unsteady. Okay, enough with the cheesy tickly lines, hahaha. 

A lot of my friends have been asking me about new food destinations in Cebu. They are under the impression that since I am an online influencer or a blogger, I should know everything. That is funny. Are you kidding me? *insert blank stare here* Trust me, I don’t. I am just a normal (well sometimes, above normal) person in this city trying to find my true calling and I don’t know everything, but I can share some places I have been into and can narrate my experiences and observations. There are heaps of restaurants in this city that you probably already know so I am going to mention the following destinations that are new to me (and I think new to you, too).

Okay, here we go!

1. Cafe Egao
If you are wondering what “Egao” means, it is actually a Japanese term for “smiling face”. Expectedly, you will see staff’s smiling friendly faces in this place. Café Egao is Filipino-Japanese café located in Nasipit, Talamban, Cebu City just in front of Adolfo’s Furniture shop. This is a cozy and homey place where you can spoil yourself with dishes, desserts, pasta, salads, snacks, teas and lattes. The outside view of the café is a cool sight of green shade where big trees and bushes grow thick and free.

Yeah, that is a happy "me".
It was so funny finding my way here because I thought it was very far. Gosh gracious, it was the very opposite because it was just a 15 minute walk from my place (near USC-TC). Okay, this seemed to be one of the signs that I should start exploring cool places near my private place.

What are my personal favorites in this place? Takoyaki, Baked Penne and their signature no artificial sugar added drinks. I sometimes needed to surrender sugar in my diet so this place is just perfect.
 

2. KKD BBQ + STK
If you want authentic Filipino dishes, then head to this restaurant. Mind you, it will really be worth it! This is located in M.C. Brioness St, Cebu City, just in front of Plaza Independencia. They have all-Filipino-staff so if you are a Filipino, then how about “mang-spot tag chix” kind of conversation with them? Nah kidding! If you are a foreigner, then this is the perfect place to know how Filipino foods taste and what they look like.

I’m not really a guru when it comes to Cebu City's specific places. I might be living in the City for eight years already but I still don't know all the road mazes, shortcuts and whatnots. Jeepney conductors, Google maps and Uber/Grab are always my friends when I'm going to a specific places. They are a big help in getting me out from the labyrinth kind of feeling I always get. So when I went in KKD BBQ +STK restaurant, I was lost. I entered in Plaza Independencia. Very funny! Well, I saw couples dating, kids playing, dancers practicing, group of friends lying on benches and then there’s me - a lost puppy, huhuhu. I messaged my co-influencer friend and he picked me from there.

Pak na pak ang awra!
This place was once a garage but the owner transformed it to something more worth visiting for... thus, a restaurant. They have nightly live band that a music addict like me enjoyed very much.

What are my personal favorites in this place? All, because hello I am a Filipino. Manok Bisaya, Pork Nilaga, Scallops and Leche Flan are worth-mentioning. Okay, I’m drooling now.

Baked Scallops in Butter
Pusit / Squid
Manok Bisaya. Messy looks but tastes good.

Pork Nilaga. Hello cholesterol :)
Crispy Pata
Leche Flan with Manggo
Prices are affordable that range from 100 to 300 pesos.

3. MAO JIA Hunan Cuisine
Now that we are done with our Filipino cuisine, let us jump to Chinese cuisine, shall we? Okay, fasten your seatbelt and get ready your milk because this will be a spicy adventure. MAO JIA Hunan Cuisine is located in Crossroads Place, Cebu City besides The Distillery. As the name suggests, this place is serving authentic Hunan Cuisine. Wait, what does that mean?
Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine, consists of the cuisines of the Xiang River region, Dongting Lake and western Hunan Province in China. It is one of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese cuisines and is well known for its hot and spicy flavours, fresh aroma and deep colours. To say it directly, foods here are spicier than my normal preference and taste less numbing and sourer.

My friends invited me to eat in this restaurant during my sleeping hours so obviously, I was still daydreaming when I was on my way towards here. But when I got inside and started gulping their foods, I felt alive and hotter, lol. Their spicy foods did it to me. I gulped chilis peppers! I am not really a big fan of spicy foods. I mean, I wish I am but my tastebuds just couldn’t handle the explosion it will cause inside my mouth (it likes sweets; it always does awe except kimchi of course). Spicy foods makes me cry inevitably. Crazy, I know.

So, for those of you out there that likes spicy very much, this is your place. Get over the processed noodles in Samyang Spicy Noodle Challenge and switch to “real” spicy foods in this restaurant.

What are my personal favorites in this place? Cabbage, Eggplant and the peanut in the chicken dish. I set aside all chili peppers.

Cabbage
Spicy Celery
Spicy Fish
Spicy Chicken with Peanuts. I love the peanuts!
This will be all for now. I still have lots to share. Watch out for more food destinations and my experiences in my next posts. Ice cream? Burgers? I will cover that too. Let us be hungry together.
Bon appetit!

Synchrony Financial in Cebu City



Synchrony Financial is a premier consumer financial services company with headquarters in the United States. Their roots in consumer finance trace back to the year 1932. Presently, Synchrony Financial is the largest provider of private label credit cards in the United States based on purchase volume and receivables. They have approximately 70 million active consumer accounts. They offer credit products through our partners' over 365,000 locations across the United States and Canada.

Synchrony Financial strives to provide a great work-life balance for all of their employees.  They pride themselves for extending equal opportunities to all, regardless of age, educational background or sexual preference. Synchrony is a place to be yourself. In fact, the company insist on it. Their Diversity Networks help to cultivate an environment of inclusiveness that allows employees to bring their best selves to work every day and contribute to the business in an impactful way.

Synchrony Financial considers the Philippines as a good destination for service centers. The reasons behind are the following - The wealth of talents in terms of workforce that meets the company’s global standards, The ICT (Information and Communications Technology) infrastructure is mature and at par with the US and the Philippine governments’ friendly policies for business processing companies.

If you are looking for a great company to work for, one that has a genuine concern for your well-being as an individual and a valued team member, be sure to visit their website at www.synchronyfinancial.com for a listing of available career opportunities.