coffee beans

Who would have thought these ugly looking dried brown beans will turn into a cup of coffee with an all familiar
sweet-smelling aroma. Our weekend experience in the Coffee Farmhouse taught us the process of making coffee from harvesting, milling, roasting, grinding and brewing. The 5-step process in turning those beans to a cup of coffee are the very same reason why Starbucks and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf are now giant names in the cafe business.

Title of the Photo: Coffee Beans
Date Taken: August 30, 2009
Canon Digital Ixus 80 IS

the pool ball

I have never been good at playing billiards. Neither has my husband. We were both great pretenders as we aimed at the cue ball, looking as if we were professionals at the game. Seeing the photos now from our Coffee Farmhouse weekend, we clearly remember how hilarious it was to compete with one another. There was no pressure to impress anyone because it was
just the two of us at the billiards hall. There were no rules in the game too! And that truly added more fun to it.

To aim is not enough. You must hit.

Title of the Photo: The Pool Ball
Date Taken: August 30, 2009
Canon Digital Ixus 80 IS

walk your talk

If I could ride a vehicle that would take my weary feet to my destination, then I would. In other words, I never enjoyed walking or running. Lazy? I know I am. But if walking means having your feet touch the dew-filled grass while admiring the beauty of nature, then I would gladly do it.

I did a lot of walking and running during my husband's birthday treat for me in the Coffee Farmhouse. It did leave me with a pair of tired legs at nighttime. But in the end, what matters was the pleasant and engaging surrounding I got to see the whole duration of the walk.

Take the power to walk in the forest
and be a part of nature.
-Susan Polis Schutz

Title of the Photo: Walk Your Talk
Date Taken: August 29, 2009
Canon Digital Ixus 80 IS


With all the time in our hands, Gino and I tried all the activities the Coffee Farmhouse offers to their guests. The rain could not stop us from having a great time as there were indoor activities we could try. Playing the darts was one of those and I had fun aiming at the target.

Several attempts seemed futile as the dart pin did not even get close to the target. With my point and shoot camera hanging on my neck, I instead thought of taking a photo of the dart board with the pin stuck at the target.

Set your target and keep trying
until you reach it.
-Napoleon Hill

Title of the Photo: Bull's-Eye
Date Taken: August 30, 2009
Canon Digital Ixus 80 IS

a quiet farmhouse

A domestic and friendly setting in a quiet farmhouse with a lush of coffee trees and flowering plants. That was how I described our weekend destination in my previous post. Now that my husband and I are back in the city after the overnight experience, would I describe it the same way? You bet I will!

The Coffee Farmhouse is our newest vacation discovery in the outskirts of Tagaytay. Located in Alfonso, Cavite, this farmhouse is a laid-back destination which makes you forget about the pressure attached to city living. Time will be the least of your priorities the minute you step in the farm as you are at a liberty to do whatever you want. Outdoor activities are made available to guests who enjoy physical games such as badminton, basketball, volleyball and swimming. Bikes and scooters may also be used. For mentally-stimulating activities, boardgames, billiards and darts may be tried. These varied activities offered by the Coffee Farmhouse make the place highly inviting to anyone who hopes to find a quick get-away from the city. Oh, and have I mentioned the bottomless coffee for their guests?

Hungry for a detailed account of our weekend stay in the Coffee Farmhouse? I am still sorting my thoughts and the several photos I took. A narrative journal will be up soon!


caught guilty

It was absolutely a perfect sight to see as my husband took joy in the powder-like sand of Camiguin's White Island. Like a child exploring his new discovery, Gino could not stop himself from playing as he would roll by the sand. Just like a child caught guilty of misbehaving, that was how he looked like when I took a photo of him!

Title of the Photo: Caught Guilty
Date Taken: July 7, 2007
Canon Powershot A530


i ♥ faces photo challenge - "nostalgia"

I made an incredible discovery when I was 5 years old. It was the artistry of God exhibited through the beauty of nature. I can vividly remember the excitement I felt as the soles of my feet glided through the playful grass. It left me with wonderful memories of childhood simplicity. Back when soft taps on the roof meant playing in the rain. When a bell-like ringing meant your favorite ice cream on a cone. When tagging along with your parents at the church meant balloons and cotton candies. Such were our untangled days of childhood.

I find the photo above a perfect portrait of innocence and nostalgia. Innocence because of the simplicity of being a child. Nostalgia because it lets me remember the old days when I would take pleasure of the lazy afternoon by the grass.


post birthday celebration

Microsoft Excel deserves a standing ovation! My husband and I have finally decided where to go for my post birthday celebration. With the help of Excel, Gino compared 3 of our folksy destination choices.

A reasonable overnight accommodation rate. Adequate amenities and facilities. Appealing buffet meals. Homey and provincial feel. These considerations filled out 4 columns of our excel file which he labeled as Post Birthday Celebration. Was it helpful? 101% it sure was!

So where are we headed on August 29-30?
It is very near Tagaytay. This laid-back destination is situated somewhere in Alfonso, Cavite. It's a quiet farmhouse with a lush of coffee trees and flowering plants. Gino and I are counting the days until our toes touch its domestic and friendly setting. Until then, let me leave you wondering of this new intimate discovery of ours!


a kopiroti surprise birthday party

I was told to go to Kopiroti to give support to a friend's aching heart. It sounded urgent. I felt a rush of emotions as I hurriedly went to the coffee shop, worried to death what caused my friend's bitter-sweet situation. But what welcomed me wasn't a gloomy setting. Instead, I found a Kopiroti surprise birthday party, conspired by my Reedley friends and my dear husband!

Before I could even step out of the car, the sight of printed-out photos of me posted on the facade of the coffee shop made me teary-eyed! Knowing the cheap eyeliner I was wearing would smudge my look, I kept my composure and swallowed hard. Out of pure amazement, I pulled the hair of my 2 buddies, dumbfounded at how they connived in preparing the surprise party for me. I had no clue, whatsoever, they were cooking up something. They were all, my husband included, compelling actors and actresses!

That Kopiroti party was just one of the many surprises handed out to me. The surprises vary in logistics and the people involved. But they all carry the same intention --- to affirm the significance of my existence in my circle of friends and loved one's lives.

Time runs so fast when you're having a blast. Another year older. Another year wiser. Another year happier. To everyone who shared their time by greeting me on my birthday, I am heartily thanking all of you!

*Photos courtesy of Karla.


freebies: desktop wallpapers

There has been an addiction lately and it has grown full blown. But before you start raising your eyebrows and calling a rehab, let me tell you that this addiction is not the kind that ruins a person's life. As a matter of fact, it adds color to one's life! And one's computer!

For the past week, my husband and I have been dressing up our computer by changing it's desktop wallpaper. Kudos to wallcoo.com, an amazing site that shares an infinite number of graphic finds. Fellow Asians are the administrators of this site and it shows a lot of their artistic character. The best thing about it? These are freebies!

Here are my top 3 favorite designs with its links. Simply click the link and feel free to grab

Our current wallpaper! It reminds me
of Pixar's newest film Up.

Get it HERE.

Click THIS to download.

Click HERE to get this.


living the frugal way

I remember the many occasions my sisters tell me how stingy I am compared to them. But I refuse to be called that way. I think economical sounds better. With the current financial crisis the world is experiencing, shopping has taken a back seat for me and my husband. If it isn't necessary, we don't purchase items. We clearly draw the line between what's needed from what's wanted. Every centavo counts, really.

But Saturday night, as Gino and I went to SM Megamall Megatrade Hall's Shoe and Bag Sale, we totally forgot about living the frugal way. A few seconds after trying on a pair of Marc Ecko shoes, we found ourselves lining up by the counter to pay for it. We weren't able to resist buying 2 pairs of shoes at
50% less it's price! My husband's white and brown sneakers (shown above) was originally at Php3,600 while mine was at Php2,900.00. But with the discount tags, we paid just Php3,400 for both pairs!

Wait. I think that's still living the frugal way since we bought them on sale. And, that colorful Marc Ecko shoes is my husband's birthday gift for me!


food for the soul 08.2009

If a sport’s team did not have the dedication and will to prepare for games and practice to continuously improve, they wouldn’t have a chance. We can use this same thinking toward everyday life. If we do not spend the necessary time developing our foundation, we will never be able to reap the benefits of having a life of purpose. Creating a foundation is one of the core principles of the SparkPeople System for this reason. It is so important to start small and slowly move in the right direction, rather than start huge, fail, and give up. -SPARKPEOPLE

Start small and slowly move in the right direction rather than huge, fail and give up. I had to repeat that line over and over again because it made me hopeful of business plans I have in mind. I refuse to elaborate on it for now. Allow me to be secretive. But in a few months, on its kick-off day, the blogosphere will definitely be informed.


i ♥ faces photo challenge - “crazy, silly, funny face”

This week's challenge in I ♥ Faces is destined to be one of the most hilarious themes. Feeling the need to submit a photo entry, I found myself in a complete disarray searching through all our online photo albums. Confused which one to submit, Gino was kind enough to pick this photo for me!

For week 29 of I ♥ Faces, my photo entry is a 3-year old picture of my students back in Pre-School. It was taken on our last school day. Were they excited? They were mad!

sail thy ship

A ship. A yacht. A boat. They may all vary in size and durability but they all serve one and the same purpose: to lead you to your journey's end. If you are feeling philosophical, think of a sailing vessel this way: without your dreams and concrete plans how to reach them, you are like a ship that has no destination.

I'm not afraid of storms,
for I'm learning how to sail my ship.
-Louisa May Alcott

Title of the Photo: Sail Thy Ship
Date Taken: July 4, 2009
Canon Digital Ixus 80 IS


catching waves and moments

Moments after a quick swim in Laiya, Batangas, I caught my sister-in-law and her husband marveling at the boundless view of the ocean. Hurriedly, I aimed my camera and told them not to move as I was going to capture the quietness of their moment. As I pressed the camera, my brother-in-law pulled her dress up at the back, adding some humor at the seriousness of the photo.

The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.
- Richard Bach

Title of the Photo: Catching Waves and Moments
Date Taken: May 31, 2009
Canon Digital Ixus 80 IS


ninoy's last letter to cory

A love so strong that can withstand any form of adversity is what each of us long for. In our most private moment, we storm the gates of heaven asking God to let our one true love come forth in our lives. We fervently hope for that person, albeit our imperfections, to put up with us, through thick and thin. But this kind of love is not something that God simply grants us. A love that remains strong, amidst a cycle of misfortune, is a priceless gift a man and a woman gives to one another. It is something they willingly work on. Needless to say, it is a selfless act.

The slain senator Ninoy Aquino, in his last letter to the late President Cory Aquino, affectionately professed his eternal love for his beloved wife. True enough, theirs is a love story so true, withstanding all forms of misery. I snagged a copy of that letter and I am posting it here for the world to know. I am certain, that after a woman reads this, she will wish for her own Ninoy to come in her life.

My Dearest Cory,

In a few hours I shall be embarking on an uncertain fate, which may well be the end of a long struggle. I slept well last night for the first time since I left Boston -- maybe because I'm just plain tired or I'm really at peace with myself. I want to tell
you many things but time is running out and I do not have any machine. After a few more paragraphs, my penmanship will be illegible.

All the things I want to tell you may be capsulized in one line - - I love you! You've stood by me in my most trying moments and there were times I was very hard on you. But if anyone will ever understand me, it is you, and I know you will always find it in your heart to forgive -- and unfair and ironic as it is -- it is because of this thought and belief that I often took you for granted.

Early on I knew I was not meant to make money -- so I won't be able to leave anything to the children. I did what I thought I could do best, which is public service, and I hope our people in time will appreciate my sacrifices. This would be my legacy to the children. I may not bequeath them material wealth but I leave them a tradition which can be priceless.

I realize I've been very stingy with praise and appreciation for all your efforts -- but though unsaid -- you know that as far I'm concerned, you are the best. That's why we've lasted this long. There will only be one thing in the world I will never accept -- that you love me more than I love you -- because my love for you though unarticulated will never be equaled.

If all goes well I should be back in my cell before sundown. Should I be detained do not rush to get home. Take your time and enjoy a side trip to Europe with the girls.

I'll try to call you tonight if the authorities will allow me. Otherwise just remember me in your dreams.


P.S. I offered a special rosary for Papa and I asked for his intercession. You know he never failed me. (Ninoy here is referring to Cory's father, Jose Cojuangco, who died on August 21, 1976)


proud to be a Filipino

I am a Filipino. And I am proud to be one. I was born and raised in the Philippines. I love my country, and with my family, I will always fight for the Philippines' democracy.

I am especially proud that the whole nation sang Lupang Hinirang to pay their last respect for our democracy icon, President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, as her casket was brought out of Manila Cathedral. It touches my heart to see Filipinos gathered together as they join the funeral parade. Farewell Tita Cory. May the Filipinos always remember you as we protect our country's democracy.

Touch a blogger: Tie a yellow ribbon for Cory Aquino!

Laban Pilipinas! Let us not allow a repeat of the Marcos regime. Take it to the streets. Whenever. Wherever. As one nation.

I AM PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO. And I thank God for making me one! Are you? Tell the world and write about it!


vacation destination

A couple of months before our second wedding anniversary, Gino and I had to brainstorm on things we had to consider in choosing a vacation destination. Three A's were taken into consideration --- accommodation, amenities and
activities. Among the shortlist of vacation rental locations made available in the internet, the cozy ambiance Balay Indang offers won our hearts. Its main house filled with colors and fine details is shown in the photo below.

Vacation is what you take
when you can't take
what you've been taking any longer.

Title of the Photo: Vacation Destination
Date Taken: May 02, 2009
Canon Digital Ixus 80 IS


genuine happiness

The sun plus the beach multiplied with friends equals happiness. Our overnight adventure trip in Pundaquit, Zambales, which we fondly call Survivor Anawangin and Capones, is an experience we hold dear in our hearts. The adventure led us to the road of genuine happiness --- long road tripping, exciting island hopping, acquainting with new friends and the encounter of a primitive lifestyle. Below is a photo of our good friend Bels, with the blue-colored sea filled with corals, serving as her background.

What everyone wants from life
is continuous and genuine happiness.
-Baruch Spinoza

Title of the Photo: Genuine Happiness
Date Taken: May 02, 2009
Canon Digital Ixus 80 IS

light a candle for corazon aquino

In loving memory of former President Corazon C. Aquino, I am encouraging the blogosphere to light a candle for her. Grab the image below, add your prayer for Mrs. Aquino and link up.


1. Bits & Pieces - Thank you Lord for giving President Aquino
the gift of life. It was a well-lived life as she
touched nations all over the world.
It must have been difficult for her
especially the last months of her life.
But everything is well now as she joins you.
May her family find comfort knowing that
she is now safe in your kingdom.
2. Your Blog

august is the perfect reason

The clock just alarmed signaling it is the month of August! This month gives me the perfect reason to ask my husband for another out-of-town weekender. Why? Because it's my birth month! And how perfect the timing is! Marked in our calendar are 3 holidays --- Quezon City Day on the 19th, Ninoy Aquino Day on the 21st and National Heroes Day on the 31st.

Sure enough, time flies when you have a throng of things to do. But given the chance to quiet down and take a break, wouldn't you fleetly grab it?