Summer with Friends

Labor day holiday! It was one of those rare moments when my friends and I all had holidays from work, and it happened to coincide with the homecoming of one of our friends who’s been based in Singapore for a while. And it’s the middle of summer! It was only natural for us to go to the beach. This year, we decided to go to two islands in Quezon: Puting Buhangin and Borawan Island.

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Traditionally, people would also go to Dampalitan Island, but we decided that we liked staying in one place better and we used the time we gained by going on a side trip to Lucban where we bought yema cake and other pasalubong.

We left the city via a hired van early in the morning of April 30 (before 4 a.m.) and arrived at Padre Burgos, which is where you take the boat to the islands, around 8 a.m. After a quick stop at the market to buy our food, we got on the boat and it took us to Borawan island where we set up our tents and left some of our stuff. We got on the boat again right away to go to Puting Buhangin island. We got there around 9:30 a.m. It’s one of the most beautiful islands I’ve been to, seriously. Blue and green clear waters, not-so-rough white sand, and wonderful wonderful sea breeze. 🙂 I really liked the time we spent there and wish we could’ve stayed there for a longer time. But alas, we left all our food at our campsite in Borawan so we had to go back once it was lunchtime. But I’m glad we were able to spend a good two hours there. 🙂

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My friends, swimming at Puting Buhangin Island

Back at Borawan, my friends started setting up the things we needed for lunch (charcoal, grill, etc.) and I told our boatman to pick us up at 9 a.m. the next day to go to Dampalitan island. He said okay and left, and that meant that we would now have to spend the night there. Though that’s actually what we were meaning to do.

We had pork chop and alimasag for lunch c/o my friend K, and they were delicious. K is a really really good cook. He likes to joke about how we only include him in summer outings so we’d have someone to cook for us. I’m neither going to confirm nor deny that. 😛

We set up camp near the end of the island and as soon as the people who went there on a day trip left in the afternoon, there was hardly anyone around. By the time we were eating lunch, we had the beach all to ourselves. It was amazing.

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Borawan Island, all to ourselves

I read somewhere on the Internet that there are many activities to do in this island. There’s a volleyball court and there are some kayaks that you can rent. You can even climb the rocks and get to the top where you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view. But my friends and I not being the most active people in the world, were content to just swim in the beach and sit around telling each other stories.

For dinner we had leftover pork chop and adobo. And beer. And a drinking game. A drinking game that halfway through we already knew would render us all useless in the morning, so I texted our boatman around 8 p.m. to pick us up at 10:30 in the morning instead of 9:00. Because we figured we would no longer have the energy to go to Dampalitan island.

We were right. The last of us to sleep slept around 2:30 a.m. (It was me, in case you’re wondering.) and when everyone was awake the next day, none of us felt like moving too much. 😛 Well. I have no regrets. Anyway, even though I was the last to go to sleep, I woke up earlier than everyone else so I walked around the island for a bit and was able to catch the sunrise. It was prettttyyy.

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The night sky was pretty, too. After “lights out” (around midnight), it was a small feat to see some shooting stars. And the water, I think it had a version of those bioluminescent planktons at Maldives because there were shiny shimmery twinkly dots whenever we touched it or waded in it that night. It actually felt kind of magical.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any pictures of this because not only do I not have a really good camera, my mobile phone’s battery was almost completely gone by 9 p.m. The island has limited power, so there was no way to charge our phones, which is kind of bad but I guess kind of good, too. We all know the advantages and disadvantages of technology.

The next day, we had breakfast (eggs and leftover adobo c/o B, why yes, we have a different cook for breakfast food 😉 ) and started packing up. The boatman arrived at 9 a.m. anyway, but said it was alright for him to wait for us. We left the island around 10:30 a.m. with the following happy memories:

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See you all on the next adventure! 🙂

 

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Paellyeah!

Once upon a coffee break, M asked K what his hobbies were. And K replied, “I like cooking.”

Naturally, M’s next question was, “What kind of food do you like to cook?”

And K, being cocky and original and cute and whatever, said, “What kind of food do you like?”

M, being as crafty with wit, replied, “I like paella. Can you cook paella?”

And before we knew it, two weeks later, I had people over at my house on a Saturday afternoon for a Spanish-themed lunch and videoke party.

Don’t ask how I was suddenly involved in the matter. I think it has to do with my house being the most geographically convenient for everyone involved. And I guess because, well, who gives up the chance to eat paella? 😀

So this is K, preparing the ingredients. And you can’t see her, but Ate M is in the background, washing the shrimp. 🙂

And these are my friends (L-R) M, V and K2, gossiping and such as K cooks the paella. Please excuse that we’re in the kitchen, though it was kind of fun for me to entertain guests in the kitchen for a change. Hehehe!

Almost done, and…

PAELLYEAH!

(L-R) Me, R, K2, V, M and K ready to eat paella. 🙂 The other stuff on the table are the chicken from S&R and some greens with raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Frozen Brazo de Mercedes for dessert, ordered by me from Dimpy’s.

And after the happy lunch with Flamenco music playing in the background (c/o of my crazy parents who take themes way too seriously), it was videoke time! Because what’s the point of having friends over if you don’t use the videoke machine? 😉

What a fun Saturday! Our semi-funny faces in this picture, due to all the beer on the table. 😉 Haha!

A Different Place Again

Oh, Fate. You’re almost just as stubborn as I am.

As Fate would have it, we have, yet again, transferred work stations. I guess this is proof of either how routinal our work is — that we not only switch responsibilities with one another so as to keep everyone learning new things, or how not routinal our work is — that there are constant changes that need to be implemented.

Personally, I don’t mind very much switching work stations, but only every quarter or so. It’s difficult to transfer files and all that stuff, but in a way it is kind of fun, to have new seatmates and new “views”. I used to sit by the window and look out all the time. And then I was placed near the aisle and everyone would see me when they walk past. Now, I’m smack in the middle of things. It’s my first time to sit here, I realize only now. I wonder what this station entails that’s different from the  others.

Ah, but what does all this have to do with Fate? Well, let me put it this way. Because Fate is looking out for me, every time there’s something new in my life, that I have to move past from, it puts me in a different place, physically — either a new office, a new building, or in this case, a new work station. Do you believe that a change of environment will change your point of view? Or, at least, a change in position? Like in Dead Poets Society, when they stood on their desks and said, “Oh captain, my captain!” Surely you know the scene. Anyway, I think this is Fate’s way of making things easier for me — if I’m in a different place than I was, then maybe it’d be a lot easier for me to adjust to other changes in my life.

And by the way, I’ve also changed my shift to 6AM again. Is that Fate going the extra mile?

6AM. Monday. And a Holiday, Too.

Not the best time to be in the office working if you ask me. Or anyone. But the stars make me feel a lot better. What stars, you ask? Why, the Halloween decorations, of course!

We had a Trick or Treat Activity in the office last Friday and it was fun. 🙂 The kids in costume were cute and the candies were delicious. Oh wait, I wasn’t supposed to eat the candies. Hehe. But I also actually really enjoyed decorating our work stations. I got to work with my teammates on that, and I think we all had fun. We always actually have fun when working together on non-work-related stuff, hehe. Like singing contests, and lantern-making, and decorations.

This year, because they didn’t want the kids to get scared, they decided on a fairy land theme. So pastel colors and glitters all around. And there are stars hanging from the ceiling, and pictures of Tinker Bell, too. It’s really cute. 🙂 I kind of wish our office looked like this everyday, so it wouldn’t be so boring. Especially on Monday. And at 6 in the morning.

But I’m here anyway, because the time difference of our country from Australia requires me to be here, at 6AM. Well, I’m not really complaining all that much. I rather like working during holidays (if you can believe that). Because there’s less people in the office, and less traffic on the roads. And I get to go home earlier than usual.

So I’m posting this because look– it’s the 2nd day of November now! In no time, it’ll be Christmas, and then New Year, and then 2010. WHERE did all that time go? I still haven’t accepted that June has ended, and now it’s November?!?! The Theory of Relativity must be sitting with a pretty girl right now because really, time is just moving so fast. And if you don’t get that statement, well, it’s not really all that intersting anyway.

Happy November Everyone. Finish your Christmas shopping while there aren’t too many people yet. I believe the department stores have already displayed their Christmas stocks. 🙂