new hopes in 2010

As the year 2009 comes to an end,
Gino and I are wishing you and your family
new hopes, new joys and new beginnings in 2010!

Credits HERE.

Happy new year blogmates!


home for the holidays

Three days before Christmas of 2009, Gino and I were still undecided if we will be joining my clan's yearly reunion in Pampanga. We thought of spending the day quietly, just him and me, somewhere in the metro. But my mama kept reminding me how rarely my relatives get to see me. That uncomplicated sentence carried a sensible thought. If you know what my relatives went through, you would do what we've done --- drive home to Pampanga early morning of Christmas.

From the time we rode my sister's Starex up to the time they drove us back home in Cainta, the whole family kept rolling in laughter. My camera kept capturing smiles and candid moments. The tripod I brought came in handy too as we did our funny poses. At the end of the day, Gino and I knew we made the right choice of spending time with our family and relatives. Truly,
there's no place like home for the Holidays!

Credits HERE.

View more photos of our Christmas with the Celiz family HERE.


dream big in 2010

The year 2009 is, by far, the best one for me and my husband. An abundant amount of blessings came by our doorstep --- some, we prayed for and some... just came.

As we reflect on it, Gino and I both wish we have thanked Him enough with the way we have touched lives. In our own little way, we have tried to put meaning in the lives of people with inadequate resources. We both know we can't change their lives permanently. But at least for the time we were with them, my husband and I were responsible for those smiles painted on their faces.

Exactly 79 hours from now, we shall all welcome the year 2010. We know not what lies in the coming days of the new year. But instead of fearing the unknown,
what we can do is to have goals. Think of bright days ahead. Plan. Work on your plans. Visualize your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Let us all dream big in 2010!

Credits HERE.

a child at play

You would have to do a lot of prompting before Terrence, my husband's nephew, poses for the camera. He loves to jump and move around, thus, making it really challenging for the person behind the camera to take a picture of him. But this holiday season, Gino and I discovered an easy way to trick Terrence. Play, explore and discover!

As he played, explored and discovered his grandmother's backyard in Sto. Tomas Batangas, Terrence acted as if he was in a whole new world! He gamely posed for the camera, unmindful of insects that crawled on his legs. He remained animated the whole time we were there as he discovered various organisms! With his Tito Gino acting as his Science teacher, I was beaming with happiness as I captured every discovery they made!

You can discover more about a person
in an hour of play than in a year
of conversation. - Plato

Title of the Photo: A Child at Play
Date Taken: December 27, 2009
Canon EOS 400D

View more Christmas photos with the Magtoto family HERE.


christmas gift tag 2009

It's 2 days before Christmas and I am still on a rush, wrapping some of the presents to be given to relatives. And just like last year, I made another personalized Christmas gift tag! This time though, I opted for just one design.

View the credits HERE.

Following a White Christmas theme because the song playing at the time I started designing was Bing Crosby's song with the same title, I used an adorable Snowman couple at the bottom right. I added some Christmas balls at the upper left part of the lay-out. I inscribed our names too so I won't have to write it on every printout of the tag. The rest of the task (aside from wrapping the gifts) is to print, cut the tags and write the receivers' names. Voila! Our very own gift tag!


the best christmas blessing

That would be her dear son, Kyle. I have seen Khaye bloom from the day she walked down the aisle up to the day she became a first-time mother. The brightness in those expressive eyes and the joy in her voice clearly declares to the world how fulfilling her life is. To let her know how much I love hearing her stories about her son, I made a December 2009 desktop calendar with her best Christmas blessing, Kyle!

I used a quickpage made by Michelle Batton. Thanks for this freebie Michelle! Now my dear Khaye, grab your calendar HERE!


december 2009 desktop calendar

With a number of photos from our Coron, Palawan escapade, I devoted my Sunday staring at each, thinking which one to use as my December desktop calendar. Calamian Islands Travel and Tours introduced us to various tourist destinations in Palawan. Recalling our vacation which happened last week, I asked myself which among those islands was on top of my list.

Without a doubt, my favorite spot would be the Black Island. Not because it was where Koh Lanta Palawan (Survivor France 2007) happened. Situated near Calauit Island, I loved Black Island because of its pristine water and its rich marine life. Add to that the mystery of the Black Island cave. I can still feel the coldness of the water when we swam in the cave. With that extraordinary experience, I chose this photo of me and my husband for my December 2009 desktop calendar.

food for the soul 12.2009

Are you able to find inner peace? This is a difficult task for many of us since the world is so busy and often frantic around us. In order to maintain good personal health it is necessary to think about inner peace. Find ways to reflect on your life and accept the things you cannot change. Meditation and breathing exercises can often help you calm your body down and find inner peace. If you cannot be at peace with yourself, it will be hard to be at peace at all...remember this as you try to become a more peaceful person. -SPARKPEOPLE

missing olive's bridal walk

I was tapped by Sherwin and Olive as an unofficial photographer for their wedding. Unfortunately, Gino and I arrived super late at the church ceremony at Mary the Queen Parish in Greenhills, San Juan. And so I missed my friend's bridal walk. But I captured their first kiss as Mr. and Mrs. Coronado!
I didn't know it would be so fun taking pictures at a wedding. And imagine this --- I was in my 3-inch heels wearing this killer dress but I was up and about roaming around the church capturing the lovely scenes. And when Olive tried to fix the trail of her gown, I knew I had to take a snap shot of it!

Again, wishing you blissful moments together Sherwin and Olive! Blogmates, you may view some of the photos I took HERE.


the surprise coron, palawan vacation

It was March of this year when I planned and booked a 4-day surprise vacation for me and my husband. Our destination? The pristine
Calamian Islands in Palawan. With the help of my 2 buddies from UP, I blocked the dates and kept mum about the trip.

You can just imagine how tormenting it was to keep the adventure from my husband for 8 months! Whenever I hear him mention the words travel, beach and island hopping, it was too difficult to shut my mouth. I couldn't even write about the vacation because he reads my blog. But I w
as successful! He only knew about my surprise for him exactly 4 days before we boarded the Cebu Pacific plane bound for Busuanga!

From the morning of November 27 until the afternoon of the 30th, we were lost in the beautiful islands around Coron. The whole time we were in that trip, made possible through Calamian Islands Travel and Tours, Gino and I were able to appreciate and love the Philippines more.
It isn't surprising to know one of the islands was a venue for Survivor France in 2007 dubbed as Koh Lanta Palawan. No words can ever describe how pristine the place is. Palawan is truly a paradise.

Despite having cough and colds, I was in high spirits the duration of our vacation as I marveled at the beautiful islands of Palawan. Add to that my husband's indescribable joy. A detailed story shall be posted soon!


of cars and driving

After buying me my Canon dslr camera, my husband has been vocal about living a frugal life in the coming months. He wants to save up for a bigger expense which he hopes to happen late next year. So what is he obsessed about? That would be buying our own car! I love the idea of him saving up for it. He intends to buy just a sedan, but I prefer a pick-up for traveling purposes. To drive a maroon-colored
Chevrolet Silverado won't hurt! It's big and bulky and is a good all-around truck conducive for a rough ride.

This early, I have reminded him to brush up on vehicle issues such as maintenance, auto repair and brake job. We are both clueless on this area so reading on it will be beneficial for us. I have heard friends discussing stuff such as brake pad, spark plug, exhaust and emission --- and I admit, my head spins whenever the pantry topic switches to that.

A friend who lives in Dallas, Texas recently bought her Ford SUV. The photos she has sent us leaves me green with envy because of 2 things: the liberty she enjoys as she confidently drives plus the knowledge and experience she is gaining on auto maintenance. She honestly tells me though, that she is still dependent on Dallas auto repair for major car issues. As for me, first-hand experience on driving will have to be put on hold. I'll have to be bookish for now as I read on stuff about cars and driving.


brighter than sunshine

I love listening to music and understanding every line each song says. Back when Gino and I were still friends, I remember how he would tease me whenever I discuss with him the meaning of songs playing on the radio. He tells me I have a habit of complicating the simple pleasure of listening to music! But through the years, maybe because we have been together everyday, he too, has been reflective of song lyrics.

To put character to my newest layout (finally not a quickpage), I added the lyrics of a song by the alternative band Aqualung. Their song entitled Brighter Than Sunshine speaks of embracing the beauty of love after brushing it off. For weeks now, this song has been my alarm tone. And it hasn't failed giving me bright mornings!

To complete the layout, I used a photo of Gino and me in our Anawangin and Capones Island adventure last summer. The kit I used for this layout? Of course they're all free! Credits HERE.

Well, I surely missed making my own LO. I might be able to make more this weekend with some freebies for you too!


bundle of joy

A personalized desktop calendar with photos of your bundle of joy on it? Who can resist that! Here is my little gift for the newest mom in town --- a November 2009 calendar with the latest photos of her baby! Looking at the pictures of Enan here, don't you agree he is such a bundle of joy?
I used a free quickpage I saw online. Ooh, this is embarrasing... I can't remember which digiscrap site I downloaded it from! Oh well. Whoever made this freebie, thanks a bunch!

Grab your November 2009 desktop calendar HERE Mommy Jowee!

the edge of satellite tv

Admit it. Sometimes, we are unable to enjoy TV viewing because our cable connection can't produce high-quality images and sounds. With the expensive cable fee we are paying monthly, the channels made available to us is so limited as well! If you are a couch potato who loves to navigate through various channels, then direct TV packages is what you definitely need.

Missing my favorite TV series because our cable connection is down today, I began surfing the web for
direct TV deals, curious if that is even possible. In bold letters, Google introduced me to satellite TV where high-definition programming is attainable. Imagine this -- digital direct TV satellite gives you over 150 channels in HD-quality! Aside from that digital offer, the edge of satellite TV is its easy and affordable set-up. Handling and delivery are free if you order online! Oh, and did I mention satellite radio channels too?

These direct TV offers are really tempting. Wait til I introduce it to my husband. He will love its sports programming made accessible 24/7!


a simple act from forest club

It must be Forest Club's way of thanking me for promoting them on my blog. Giving back, they featured my post in their website too! There's nothing much to it, really, except that they linked back to my blog entry entitled Forest Club: An Earthly Terrain.

However simple this act is, I truly appreciate what the owners of Forest Club did. If you look at it, this small act works both ways. Travelers will get to read about my experience at the place which means more visitors in my blog. And at the same time, Forest Club gets a reliable endorsement. You may want to see this simple act HERE.

If all vacation destinations we visited give back to its guests like this, then we will definitely keep coming back to those places and promote them too, right?

it's all about me

If you have noticed, I rarely scrap a photo of me. As to why, it's a simple fact. I would rather see family and friends in my layouts. Another reason is that I don't have enough photos of me because it is always I behind the camera, capturing the fun memories. But just this weekend, I downloaded this quickpage and I thought of adding my face on the empty frame! I used a photo from our Forest Club weekend in September.

Credits for this free quickpage goes to Carly. She used Expressions kit from Gypsy Couture. Thanks Carly! You really did a nice job on this kit!

Well, with a new camera and tripod as my newest buddies, I just might be able to include myself in merry moments I am going to capture!

my november 2009 desktop calendar

It has been proven time and again how my husband and I love the outdoors. Whenever handed out a rare chance to travel, we grab it right away and flee to a new vacation destination. The fact that we don't have our own private transportation yet does not stop us from moving around. There are disadvantages when traveling without the comfort of your own car, that is for sure. But most of the time, being adventurous commuters definitely add fun to the trip.

Here is my November desktop calendar showing 2 photos from our weekend at the Coffee Farmhouse last August. Credits for this November 2009 quickpage goes to Sandra Milie from her Once Upon A Time kit. Hugs to you Sandra for sharing this work of yours!

So, where are we off to this month? Sshhh. I will let you know soon!


thanksgiving party

It feels good to know you made somebody happy. But if you hear and see this happiness comes not just from 1 but 17 children, the feeling is just overwhelming!

To share the abundant blessings my husband and I have been receiving lately, we thought of visiting the children of Tahanan ng Pagmamahal in Pasig. We bought packed meals from Jollibee and some loot bags for them. Because we didn't prepare any parlor games, we had enough time to catch up with the kids! An exchanging of funny stories were made. There were reflective ones too. We found out some of them have left to join other organizations. There were also some additions to the family too. Ten months of not seeing them made us realize we have missed quite a lot of milestones!

The thanksgiving party was another event that humanized me and my husband.
Every now and then, we all need to experience such because it teaches us to share what we have and be selfless. Like what my husband always says, "God blesses us so we can be blessings to others".

More photos HERE.

kiss me

A quickpage comes in handy when you want to create a layout in just a snap of a finger. Rummaging through some of the QPs I downloaded a month ago, I was glad to find this freebie from Yari. It's from her At Last kit which is ideal for weddings and engagements. Rightfully so, I used one of our wedding photos to complete the layout.

For the journal, I had to use something that speaks about what the photo shows. I have to thank Faith Hill for her song entitled This Kiss. And so it says:

you can kiss me in the moonlight
on the rooftop under the sky

you can kiss me with the windows open

while the rain comes pouring inside

kiss me in sweet slow motion

let's let everything slide

you got me floating
you got me flying

More layouts to be posted soon!

food for the soul 10.2009

Have you ever thought about happiness as a manner of traveling? Most people try to count or remember the times when they are happy. What if you couldn’t remember the last time you weren’t happy? Can you imagine the difference in your life if you made happiness an essential part of living your daily life? Today is a great day to start making this one of your goals. Try to travel through life exuding happiness and reap the amazing benefits! -SPARKPEOPLE


It has been more than a month since I felt excited to work on any digital scrapbook layout. Finally feeling a touch of inspiration, here's what I made out of a free kit I got from Lutine. It's a freebie kit she calls Because of Sea and Lutine generously shares it for us to download.

The journal I wrote for this layout is from a song by Kevyn Lettau which says - Sunlight / Bring Me the Love I Need to Guide Me / Shining Deep Inside of Me. To make it more personal, I added 3 photos from my travel adventures with my husband. So why use a journal about sunlight? Simple. I miss seeing Mr. Sun beaming his smile on us. C'mon! When was the last time you've seen him here in the Philippines? He's always been hiding beneath those scary gray clouds.

A 3-day weekend up ahead of us. Is Mr. Sun going to shine on us as we visit our departed loved ones? I am hopeful of that.


reliving typhoon ondoy's wrath

Exactly a month ago, Filipinos experienced the most destructive typhoon in the country. Typhoon Ondoy's wrath was unbelievable as it damaged hundreds of millions of properties. Families lost their homes, furnitures, letters and photos of valued memories. Some, in a tragic way, even lost their kins and loved ones. Both the rich and the poor were left devasted. My husband and I were not spared from it.

What seemed like a typical rainy Saturday morning of September 26 turned out to be truly disturbing as the water went up on our street. We've seen the muddy water quickly rise up as we monitored on the terrace of our building. About 6 hours of heavy rains, the 1st floor units on our building were already submerged. Seeing just the roofs of one-storey houses on our street, we knew the muddy flood water reached a record of 7-8 feet.

We still consider ourselves luc
ky since the unit we are renting is at the 3rd floor. Except for some clothes left at the laundromat in the same subdivision, all our valuables were left dry. Our only struggle was being stranded on our building for 3 days without electricity, unable to leave since our subdivision was still submerged. On the 4th day of typhoon Ondoy's wrath, with flood just ankle-deep, my in-laws rescued us in their black Mitsubishi Adventure. For about 10 days, we stayed with them safely in Novaliches.

Our country is no stranger to typhoons. But typhoon Ondoy's wrath is not an act of God. It was a nasty price we had to pay for exploiting and abusing nature. Ondoy slapped us with the bitter truth of how our government has neglected an effective implementation of urban planning. It is disheartening we Filipinos have to learn our lesson the devastating way.

View more photos HERE.

*I sadly lost interest in my internet life for a month. If you witnessed typhoon Ondoy first-hand, you would understand me. After watching houses submerged in water, seeing countless of mud-covered properties being dried up on streets days after is an even more depressing sight. It made me appreciate the basic necessities in life. It made me hold on to memories more. It made me highly value my loved ones. In essence, the heartbreaking experience made me love and embrace the simplicity of life.


this boy is loved

ñigo Miguel is an ever adorable nephew! He's the 2-year old son of my cousin Ella and I haven't seen them both since they left for Cyprus about 4 years ago. Yeah, I only see this little darling in pictures since Ella gave birth to him there. But with the help of Facebook, Cyprus seems like a stone's throw away from where I live! They have no plans yet of visiting us back home here. When they do come for a visit, I am definite it's going to be a merry reunion for us all!

Since I only get to see how charming
Iñigo is in photos, I thought of making a scrap of him. This photo of him candidly touching fresh, yellow flowers is one of my favorites. To scrap it, I made use of a quickpage made by Denny. She used the Sweet Autumn kit of Lisete. Although it wasn't autumn when Iñigo's photo was taken, I think this quickpage highlighted the yellow flowers in the picture.

More quickpages soon!

this blog turns 2

You read it right. This blog turns 2 years old today! I have been a deliquent blogger several times by neglecting this little corner of mine. But after all the lethargic and sluggish days, my blog has survived! So here's a simple scrap with a 2-layered cake to announce to the blogosphere that it's a day to celebrate.
Credit for this little birthday announcement I made goes to: Numb Bumm for the 2-layered cake embellishment and Nicole for the paper from her One Day I'll Fly Away kit.

My blog wishes more blogging years together. More creatively crafted digital scrapbooks. More well-composed photos. More useful freebies. And more spirited blog hopping and blog link exchanges! Cheers blogmates!


refreshing moment

Oh! How I love a cold and rainy Friday night. With no work-related tasks to think of, it definitely feels relaxing to hear the sound of rain tapping on the roof. It is so relaxing I have here another digital scrapbook layout! The secret is that, it's another quickpage. All I had to do was look for a picture that suits the title "Refreshing Moment". And that photo is from our Coffee Farmhouse weekend.

This is a quickpage made from the Raindrops kit created by May S. This QP was creatively crafted by a scrapper who was generous enough to make a freebie out of the kit. That's you Denny! Like what I said, your LOs are really inspiring! I hope to see more freebies from you soon.