July 22, 2007

Minnie Mouse Pin

Last May, we visited HK Disneyland. Many people find it odd, but I had the time of my life! Me and my brothers were just running like crazy! It was so much fun! (More details on my future posts)

On our second day in the park (we were there for two days and we slept at the Disney Hollywood Hotel), while I was walking around, I noticed that my shoes made a funny clicking sound every time I stepped. *Click click* *Click click* It was as though a rock got stuck. At first I just ignored it, thinking that the rock would probably just fall off as I walked a few more steps, but it didn't stop! Finally, I got really annoyed so I sat down, looked at the bottom of my right shoe and guess what I found?! A Minnie Mouse pin, punched to the bottom of my red rubber shoes!

You must understand the gravity of the matter. First, thank goodness I wasn't injured. HAHA. Ok, so nobody really gets injured by a silly little pin, but hey! It punctured the bottom of my shoe (not severely of course, but still, it did)! Secondly (and the most important point of it all), I now had the perfect souvenir! It wasn't just something I brought out of the store, a real silly experience of my trip was attached to it. Now, every time I look at the pin, I remember that time, and it makes me happy! My brothers were laughing at me because of all the silly things to get stuck in my shoe, it had to be a Disney related something.

Plus, the design is very special! It features Minnie, in her Disney Cuties form (it reminds me of my own drawing style ^^) AND she's holding chopsticks! Heehee. The chopsticks are the best part, since I got it from HK Disneyland.

All hail pins that get stuck on our shoes!

July 21, 2007

The Circus In Her Head


"Little Annie couldn't wait for the circus. The red balloons, the clowns, the elephants... they all made little Annie so excited! Unfortunately, the circus only comes once a year and this made little Annie sad. But little Annie was a very smart girl. She thought, if she couldn't make the circus come everyday, then she'll never let them leave!

So the time when the circus came, little Annie watched happily and waited for the show to end. Just as the clowns were packing up, little Annie took out a certain device that she created and shrunk the entire circus!

Now little Annie was very happy because she can take the circus everywhere. But a few days later, she got tired of carrying the circus around. So since little Annie was a terribly good sewer, she sew the circus and the clowns on top of her hat. That way, they'll be with her wherever she goes!"

The drawing

This drawing is one of my personal favorites (from the whole lot of my drawings). While I was drawing this, I did not have a particular concept in mind. I just doodled whatever came to me; I did not plan proportions, colors nor style. I guess sometimes, all you really need to make a masterpiece is not to plan on making one.

Some people have pointed out that the title ought to be "...ON her head" and not "...IN her head", but I assure you, that is no grammatical error. Haha. I really wanted to place IN her head because the circus really IS just inside her head. The drawing is the visual representation of how Little Annie feels. The circus is all in her head. I wanted a sort of double meaning kind of effect.

Daily Deviation

Last April 11, 2007, I got the shock of my life when I was notified that I got a Daily Deviation feature on DeviantArt. Having a daily deviation is an honor and only selected pieces are chosen each day. I never expected my work to be featured and I really couldn't ask for more. I was ecstatic that day; took so many screencaps of the front page. Haha! See the deviation here !

About the Story

I don't think I'm as good in writing as I am in drawing, though I try my best. But sometimes, I'd like to combine them both when I get really inspired. This is one of those times. I know the style is something that of a children's book and that was really what I was going for. One of my many many dreams is to be able to publish / write / draw for a children's book. I'd really like to make more mini stories. Maybe I will, when I get the time.

It's just different for me though; the illustration comes first before the writing.

July 12, 2007

70 Things To Do Before I Die

I've been making lists for as long as I can remember. I love lists. One of my favorite things to list about are the things I'd like to accomplish in my life. As you might have guessed, my Things To Do Before I Die List has been constantly rewritten and revised over the years. I once made a 100 Things To Do List only having half of them crossed out after my Europe Trip. Haha.

So this time, I'm making my latest (and hopefully last) list of things to do before I die. I reduced the number from 100 to 70. As of today, I have not accomplished any of the 70 goals presented here.

But of course, things can change overnight ;)

The numbers in red are the goals already achieved!


1. Visit all Disneylands
- LA, Florida, Paris, Tokyo (with Disney Sea) and HK
- Only Disneyland Paris left to visit!

2. Visit all the continents
- Asia, Europe, Australia, North America, South America, Antarctica, Africa
- Only South America, Antarctica and Africa left!

- Yes, I am gonna visit Antarctica! Though I have no idea how!

3. Visit the new 7 Wonders
- Only been to two: Great Wall and Colosseum

4. Visit all the sites nominated for the new 7 wonders
- There are 21 in the list
- Only been to three: Great Wall, Colosseum & Eiffel Tower

5. Visit the Banaue Rice Terraces

6. Visit at least 30 countries
- So far I've been to 15, halfway there!
- US, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, HK, Thailand, Singapore
- Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Netherlands (aka Holland), Belgium, UK,

7. Visit a remote village in another country

8. Build a snowman

9. Build a sandcastle
- Completed: May 10, 2008 at Subic

10. Learn how to cook
- I can't cook to save my life!

11. Learn archery
- Since I love Medieval stuff so much
- And since Elves (in LOTR) do a lot of bow fighting thing ;)

12. Attend the Ati-Atihan Festival

13. Attend the Carnival of Venice

14. Attend a traditional circus carnival
- With the clowns, cotton candy and popcorn!

15. Attend a Circe du Soleil show

16. Attend a FIFA World Cup game
- Well I hope it's gonna be a game with Les Bleus in it!
- Hooray for the French Team! Allez Les Bleus!

17. Converse well in a foreign language

18. Draw on a wall

19. Experience Winter
- Fuzzy clothes, ear muffs, cool air and snow. Mmm...
- I need this to build my snowman!

20. Experience Autumn

21. Spend a night in an igloo
- There are those igloo hotels during winter somewhere, right? I can stay in those.
- Or I can build my own fortress. That would be wicked cool.

22. Spend a night in a castle

23. Spend your birthday at some other country

24. Spend Christmas in New York
- Where I hear everything is just busy, crowded, confusing and oh-so wonderful

25. See the northern lights

26. See the original "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" at Beijing
- This is my new favorite painting!
- My blog entry about it can be found here!

27. See the pyramids

28. Have a tea party
- Whether with imaginary or real life friends!
- One lump or two? Biscuits, anyone? XD

29. Have a drastic hair style change
- I can have it permed, or cut super short, or dyed with obvious highlights, etc.
- Someday.... not today... haha. I still love my straight hair.

30. Have pictures taken in old traditional photbooths

31. Ride a camel

32. Ride an elephant
- Completed: April 6, 2008 at Thailand

33. Memorize all the capitals of every country
- know-it-all in the making. (haha XD)

34. Memorize all the flags of every country

35. Learn about other religions
- Since I'm a Buddhist and I studied in a Catholic School, both religions are excluded
- I plan on learning more about Islam, actually
- Must master at least three

36. Learn how to juggle

37. Make my own doll
- I'd REALLY like to make a wooden doll to add to my collection
- But if it proves to be really hard, I'd settle for an old cotton styled doll

38. Make 1000 paper cranes
- They say if you fold 1000 cranes, you get a wish ^^

39. Go horseback riding
- Though I've already ridden a horse before, I want to REALLY go horseback riding
- Meaning, really ride it far and not just a few turns round the range with a guy holding the rope -.-

40. Go fishing

41. Watch ALL Disney Animated Films ever made
- There are those really hard ones like The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad
- Have you ever heard of that one even? Haha!

42. Watch the sun rise and set all in the same day

43. Watch a show on Broadway

44. Get featured in a magazine/newspaper
- I don't care if they just place a headshot haha as long as it's printed, it's an achievement!

45. Get wooden dolls from all countries that I've already visited
- Like I mentioned in my previous entry, I wasn't able to get dolls from every country I've visited
- I still lack dolls from Singapore, US, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, France and the Netherlands

46. Apply for Disneyland and/or Walt Disney Pictures
- Just so I can tell myself that at least I tried :)
- It doesn't matter if I get accepted
- Though of course, it would really be a dream come true if I did!

47. Change someone's life
- Like make a really big impact on someone's life, in a good way, of course

48. Travel with no predetermined destination

49. Live in a different country for at least a month
- Hopefully it's some place more interesting than just LA (where some of my relatives live)

50. Immortalize Cippow in a 3D state
- Stuffed toy, sculpture, anything. As long as he's tangible to others now. lol.
- Cippow is my imaginary friend, in case you didn't know!

51. Plant a tree

52. Pick apples

53. Fly a kite

54. Cruise the Nile

55. Milk a cow

56. Stay awake for 24 hours
- For someone who has her bedtime at 10:30, this is a great achievement!
- Completed: December 21-22, 2007 at Tagaytay with friends

57. Sleep under the stars

58. Roast marshmallows in an open fire

59. Send a message in a bottle

60. Open my own store
- I really want to open a store and sell merchandise with my art ^^
- I am already earning with my drawings in the net but I'd like a real place to sell my works
- I'm taking up BS Management by the way, in case you're wondering haha

61. Fly first class

62. Find a four leaf clover

63. Paint easter eggs
- Easter isn't a very popular holiday over here, sadly
- I'd like to paint loads of Easter Eggs!

64. Own an I Heart NY Shirt from New York
- just cuz it's so iconic

65. Write a children's book

66. Participate actively in a non-profit organization
- Such as UNICEF or WWF

- I want to be able to work with them hands-on not just by mere donations

67. Dress up differently for an entire day
- Completed: May 29, 2008, at Edsa Shang-ri La mall with friends
- Curled my hair, wore a long skirt. People kept mistaking us for Koreans.
- Person taking my order at KFC spoke straight english thinking I was a foreigner HAHA.

68. Design completely someone else's room
- Since I've already done mine, and it seems as though people really like the way I did it
- I want to redo someone's room! (Just design though, not fund the project haha)

69. Decorate a cake

70. Wish on a shooting star
- I've never seen a shooting star yet :)

Photos were taken from Istockphoto.com

July 10, 2007

My Wooden Dolls Collection

I enjoy collecting things. But one of my favorite is my collection of wooden dolls. And for this particular collection, it is impossible to pinpoint exactly when I started.

Every trip, I'd always make sure that I bought sufficient souvenirs. Souvenirs and taking pictures are two of the things I love best in traveling. I'd buy everything from Venetian Masks to the smallest keychains; anything that would remind me of the happy experience.

Just before my latest trip to Hong Kong earlier this year, I decided that I wanted a particular theme for all my travel souvenirs. I wanted a collection which I can happily display side by side without looking like a mix of hullabaloo from all sorts of places. So I gathered all my past souvenirs (those which I can carry with my two hands at least) and sought for a common theme. Voila, the wooden dollies collection was born.

Since I just decided upon the theme, obviously I wasn't able to purchase enough dollies to accurately represent each place that I've visited (one of my few regrets in life). Here are the dolls that I was able to buy (by the way, I also include in my collection gifts from people of dolls form other countries. I shall note which are gifts)

In the picture, the Russian babooshka (I love this word! Russian for grandmother^^) dolls were from my mom's friend. All the other dolls are from trips I've been to like those two dolls at the back with pipes, I got them from Germany. The green one's name is Ludwig and the blue one's name is Albrecht. The male and female duo are from Korea (still nameless). The red one on the far right is Chimmi from Hong Kong. The two boys in the middle are my London boys named Edmund and Edward respectively. And lastly, the three little dolls left were from China and are still also nameless for the meantime.

As I was recalling the different dolls that I had, I remembered a Japanese little doll-keychain that I bought around 3 years ago. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it anymore. :( I searched all over my room and asked everyone in the house to hold a search party for her but to no avail. Luckily though, I was able to take a picture of her (I don't remember why I did that though). Sadly, that's all that's left of her, for now at least... I hope I find her soon! But if I don't, oh well, I hope she's in a better place.

Oh, and just a short sharing, the other night, I actually dreamt (how obsessed am I) of a doll that looked similar to my Chimmi doll only it was bigger and had a traditional Filipino Ifugao costume on. It was super nice. It got me thinking, do we have cute dolls like that in this country? If we do, I'd really really like to purchase some. ^^ It looked very pretty. If we don't, maybe the dream was telling me to start designing dolls like that! Haha.

Looking forward to bringing more cute dollies home!

July 08, 2007

My Europe Trip in a Nutshell

Disclaimer: This is an essay that I wrote early this year for my final paper in English class wherein I got a happy A. This is one of my favorite self-written essays and was originally entitled "Wanderlust" (one of my favorite words). Traveling is one of my great joys in life.

Like most, I had a lot of dreams as a kid. I knew that I wanted to do a lot and be a lot when I grew up. I wanted to be a superhero, a pop star, a princess and a Disneyland mascot. I wanted to save the world, earn millions and live happily ever after at the happiest place on earth. Great dreams, weren't they? But as I grew up, I found out that those were simply what they were, kids' dreams; far-fetched, extraordinary, and of course, impossible. But I realized that within those dreams, lies a different dream, one that bound these all together and that was my longing for excitement. Not just any kind of excitement though, what I wanted was the kind you got from doing something new. It was the feeling you got from witnessing a magic trick for the first time, or the kind you got from tasting a new ice cream flavor. I wanted to meet interesting people, experience unusual things and visit exotic lands. I realized then, that all I really wanted after all, was to travel.

St. Augustine once said that "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page" and this is what I believe in. The world is a huge place and it is there to be discovered. It used to be that every summer vacation, my family would go join tour packages to different countries; China, Japan, Australia, Korea ... well, mostly Asian countries (aside from the US trip) because my mom particularly hated long flights. I didn't. My philosophy was to be as far as I can as possible. The farther I was, the more exciting it got; the people all looked different (now I was exposed to all kinds of races, black, white, hispanic), the weather was different, the food was different, EVERYTHING was different. And well, my philosophy holds true for me even until this day. It was no surprise then, that during my 18th birthday, I asked not for a debut party, but for a trip to Europe.

Europe has always been my dream destination. The postcard-perfect pictures that I've seen almost everywhere have been enough to keep me dreaming about the day I'd be able to set foot on the place for years. I had the most cliche thought about the place too. I dreamt of music playing while I was walking down the streets, of Frenchmen selling baguettes while I was sipping coffee in a cafe, of pigeons flying everywhere surrounding Notre Dame, of the sweet singing of a gondolier and so much more. This was my fairytale. Though I secretly hoped that all these would happen, I knew somewhere in me that it couldn't be as perfect as I imagined it to be. But if there's one thing that my Disney-filled childhood has taught me, it's that fairytales do come true. Europe was all I imagined it to be and more.

The Masquerade

Roman guards, complete with armors and helmets, were roaming around the Trevi Fountain. Gold faced men in extravagant coats were waving to passers-by in Venice. The tin-man was dancing with a little kid on a street in Germany. Van Gogh was sitting on his stool along a sidewalk in Belgium.

All over famous spots and streets in Europe, these street entertainers entertain their way through the hearts of both locals and tourists. How life must be for them (and whether those flamboyant masks and costumes hiding their own faces and bodies was a good thing or not), I did not know. They would pose for a picture, dance, wave, smile--- all for you; as long as you drop enough euros in their can. I still cannot decide whether they were living "the good life", as they say, or whether it was just plain sad.

But it is true that each of us have a different story to tell. One may be in this for the money, the other may be in this for the easy task. Others may find their job amusing, while some did not have any other choice. And for everyone else on the earth, this holds true simply because we all have different reasons and purposes. Everyday we wear a mask, not any different from these people as we play the part that we have to play. Sometimes we need to give a performance, which everybody expects of us. Sometimes we put on a show. There are times when we need to be someone else for others and times when we need to follow our own hearts.

And maybe for them, one thing that they do is to make walking along the streets more interesting than it actually is. Maybe there are times when they need the cheering-up more than the people, but that is life after all. It is one hell of a big masquerade.

Childhood dreams

My father has been a fan of The Beatles for the longest time. He owns all their records, a few souvenir shirts (which he never really stopped wearing until the present on casual outings), and he was one of those few lucky ones who have been able to see them live when the band had their infamous tour in Manila back in 1966. Going to London was his dream, but it was not to step foot in Buckingham Palace, nor was it to look up to the Big Ben from below; it was to be able to walk down the famous Abbey Road where The Beatles had the cover picture of their famous 11th music album shot. No surprises there.

We rode the local taxi early in the morning and my dad couldn't hold his excitement. He was humming Beatles songs and fidgeting all through out the ride. He was like a 5 year old kid eagerly anticipating a trip to the amusement park and I was happy for him. Working hard at 55, he deserved this little nostalgic trip back to his childhood. The weather was extremely cold upon arriving to the place but it was like my dad did not notice. He handed me the camera immediately and asked me to take "a couple of shots" of him walking back and forth the pedestrian lane. He walked down the lane when cars weren't passing and even asked my reluctant brother to join him at one point. There were times when cars were arriving and he would have to run, but he did it over and over again anyway. If my mom hadn't been jumping because she was freezing already, my dad would not have stopped. After 50 (or more) shots, we finally decided to go back to our hotel. During the taxi ride back, my dad was reviewing the pictures I took. The shine in his eyes spoke for the happiness he felt and I couldn't be any happier for him. He was finally able to do something he always dreamt about as a young boy but never thought of being able to do. Nostalgia is one of my favorite emotions and I loved seeing it in people. I was glad to see this in my father but most of all, I was proud to be part of the experience.

Now I finally understood why the past is so enticing to us; why an old man's eye sparkles when he starts to reminisce the "good old days" and why nothing compares to the feeling of rediscovering our old childhood toys. As a person ages, the little magic he once knew about life disappears. He is now sure that happily-ever-afters do not exist and that "following your heart" is one the stupidest things that people made you believe. In looking back to our past, we remember our old innocence. For a few minutes, time stops and you return to your old self. You remember why you never really cared when chocolate dripped down your shirt. You remember why you never really worried about "the important stuff". You remember what it was like to have fun, to trust and to love. You remember what it was like to live. You remember what it was like to be a child once again.

Surprise Surprise!

France surprised me with surprises. As with every other place, I've had initial expectations and I always got more than what I thought, but not as much as I did in this country.

The Eiffel Tower has been the symbol of Paris for the longest time. It never struck me as anything special probably because it is one of the most overused subject in every postcards, photos, calendars and other prints. Nevertheless, I was excited to visit the tower up close since it has always been important to the French and France has always been my favorite country. When the bus stopped at the site, I quickly rushed down, ran to the perfect spot and took pictures (as usual, loads of them). Then we got our ticket, climbed road the tower elevator all the way to the second floor (the tower only had three). I was so excited, running around, taking more pictures, looking at the different people and the different view from above. After spending around 30 minutes or so, our tour guide called us back to the bus. I sat down, smiled, review the pictures as I always did. As the bus started to move, I bent down to pick up my notebook and write down how excited I felt, when I realized that, my bag was no longer there.

At first our tour mates went searching under their seats for my bag too, because they reckon it might have just slipped all the way to the back, but to no avail. A little while later, my mom noticed that one of our other bags (which contained medications, umbrellas and other basic things) was also gone. Soon, the entire group was checking their belongings to see if their bags were missing too and one of the couples were missing their video camera and bags containing more important things such as money, cellphones and the like.

Of all places, I did not expect that something bad like this would happen here. It was an unfortunate event for our tour group but inside, my family was thankful that even though we lost two bags, those two bags didn't contain anything expensive or important. I was sad about losing my notebook and a pair of earrings, which I got from Venice, but I was thankful that it didn't contain other more important things like my camera. It was just the first day of our three day tour in France, and though I felt sad about the losses, I did not let this ruin the rest of my time left there.

On my second night at Paris, we were scheduled to watch a show called Lido. I went for a walk on the Champs Elysees to pass time while waiting. As I loved collecting travel memorabilia, a souvenir shop along the place caught my eye and I ventured inside. I was looking around the different dolls and figurines when a man addressed me as "Mademoiselle?" and suddenly started to talk to me in an Asian language upon seeing me to the face. He was a boy who was probably but a few years older than I am, and I gave a little laugh "I'm sorry, I don't speak Japanese!" I blurted. "Oh, no, that wasn't Japanese, it was Korean" he said in English with his French accent. "This is Japanese" and he started to say things in Japanese. He could have been saying "You look very ugly", but it did not matter. I nodded to him in approval and he knew I was impressed. Who wouldn't be? He was French, he could speak in Korean, Japanese AND English. Not many French can speak in straight English even. We weren't able to talk for long because I had to leave already, but I was able to tell him that I was in fact Chinese, as he impressed me even more with a few Chinese words. I laughed appreciatively, said my thank-you's and I waved goodbye as he bowed his head to me and for the last time addressed me as "Mademoiselle". I was smiling all the way to the show.

We toured around the streets of Paris during the night. The Eiffel Tower was sparkling; its lights were blinking. I never imagined Paris to be this beautiful.

The world could really take you by surprise and this is one of the beauties that I have found in traveling because you never really know what to expect. It is as St. Augustine said, the world IS a book, and a very thick one at that too. You can try reading all the travel guides out there but you still haven't been there unless you've been there, and there is just so much to discover. You can go back to a place that you’ve been to before and find yourself in a totally new adventure.

Maybe one day I really could save the world, earn millions and live happily ever after at the happiest place on earth, just as I had dreamt when I was a kid. But I think I'll put that off for now. I have a number of pages more to visit.

My Pick for the Wonders of the World

They've finally announced the new Seven Wonders of the World (on 7-7-07), in case you've been living under a rock. The Chichen Itza, Taj Mahal, Petra, Christ Redeemer, Great Wall, Colosseum and Machu Pichu has made the final 7. I've been waiting for this day since I found out about the project but I have to say, I'm not that happy with the results.. well, for two of them at least... Don't get me wrong, the places are ALL beautiful and I will die happily if I have visited all those places in my lifetime, but I just think that there are three who didn't make it that really deserved to be there.

So here's MY pick for the new wonders. I couldn't narrow it down to 7 so I stuck to 8.

I didn't include Petra and the Christ Redeemer, like I said, not because I didn't like them, but because I wanted to include 3 others. So from left to right, top to bottom, here are my eight wonders: Chichen Itza, Taj Mahal, Great Wall, Machu Pichu, Colosseum, Angkor Wat, Stonehenge and the Moai Statues at Eastern Islands. Now isn't that a better list? ^^

Taj Mahal is one of my top picks, because the story of the place is one my favorites. Great Wall, despite being a product of slavery, remains a great marvel because the structure reminds us of the skilled workers responsible. Also, it is the only structure seen from the moon, the last I heard... does that still hold true?

Why did I choose the Angkor Wat, the Moai Statues and the Stonehenge? The Angkor Wat because of it's beauty and sanctity. It is a great place of worship and the intricate style and design done is hard to pass up. The Moai Statues because they were carved from compressed volcanic ash! How creative was that? And of course, Stonehenge. I really can't believe they didn't include this one. It was built during pre-historic times, withstood the test of time, and still remains to be one of the greatest mysteries in the world. How could you NOT include it?!

That said, I'm still pretty happy that they included really nice places in the list. And now, I am making it a life goal to be able to visit all the 7 new wonders and with that, my own list of 8 wonders. Currently, I have only been to two (on both lists); The Great Wall and Colosseum last 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Why was I wearing the same top?!