Thoughts, and then some.

As far as I know, this is the only music CD in my immediate possession. Having shifted to Spotify, then just recently to YT Music for all my audio listening needs, I no longer own any physical copies of music, but this one's pretty special – aside from the fact that the album itself isn't on both services. I would never part with it for anything in the world! It's the official soundtrack for one of my favorite movies of all time – MNL 143.

Here's the trailer for the movie (with English subtitles!), but in a nutshell, MNL 143 follows Ramil, an FX/minivan driver, on his last drive around the city. The movie itself is made up of little tidbits of stories of the passengers who get on and off his vehicle, but overall it ties neatly into the theme of despair and hope in trying to find a lost love from years ago.

When the movie initially came out, it was through small private viewings across the city. I don't think they ever went big and showed it in cinemas as it was an indie film, so you can totally tell I was giddy with excitement when the film organization in my university held a screening – a limited seating one at that. I had heard of the movie months before but never had the opportunity to watch it live! They also invited the movie's director for a short Q&A after, so I shelled out all the money I had from that week's allowance to buy myself a ticket.

Now I'm no expert critic, but I fell in love with this movie from start to finish. The story was amazing, the small character stories well fleshed out even if they only lasted 5-10 minutes in the whole movie, and the music! A huge reason why, out of all the merchandise that they were selling after the show, I picked the CD was that I couldn't stop thinking about the songs – they had so much passion and emotion into it, they really carried the scene. Literally, they were stuck in my head for weeks.

I watched the movie again around two years back, when, for a brief time, the studio decided to put it up on Vimeo for paid viewing. Besides all the other reasons why I initially fell in love with it, looking at the locations was a wave of nostalgia. I had ridden through the same route, on a similar minivan. I had walked those streets and heard the same sounds. Maybe I was homesick, but at that point in time, I thought This really feels like a love letter.

MNL 143. Manila, I love you.

Yes, I do.


I'm currently doing a challenge called “100 Days to Offload” – you can join in the fun too by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

If you'd like, drop me a message here – I would be absolutely thrilled to hear from you!

#100DaysToOffload #Journal

I had started to write an entry for today regarding how life was slowly going to change into the “new normal” for me and the family, but my head had blanked out. There really is some fatigue that's involved in attempting any challenge – and maybe I've never mentioned it but in the past, I have never really completed a 100, let alone a 30-day one before. The culprits used to be time and energy, but now that I have more than enough of those to spare, it seems as though creativity (and words) is slipping through my fingers! It's absolutely odd.

But I'll try to persist for a little while longer – like everyone who's started (and ended) this challenge, they've earned little nuggets of wisdom from it. I do see that there's value in trying to attempt to write consistently, I might just be trying a little too hard? That might be the case. But believe me, the habit is starting to stick – I was still slightly itching to write something, anything, last night even if I had already done so in the morning.

So, to experiment and to do things differently, this week I'll be attempting to pick seven random objects in my room and describe how they've come to my possession and why they're important to me. I know, very different.

So for today, here's a bottle of the perfume I use – Vince Camuto's Fiori

When I was younger, I was never the girl who was obsessed with how I smelled. Of course, I'd put on my deodorant before heading out the door, but besides that, I never really put any lotions, creams or perfumes on my person. It even came to the point where I would joke about how I wasn't female and human because I didn't smell like a flower garden, like everyone else who I passed by did. I was part envious, but I was so low maintenance, I couldn't exactly care while walking under what probably felt like 100F weather.

On the other hand, my first boyfriend was more high maintenance than I ever was. His family would frequently see the dermatologist and get facials and creams to help maintain even skin texture. If I didn't have the annoying habit of ruffling up his hair, he would've used hair gel on his head every single day. Now I'm not saying I was a total slob, but it took years for me to realize that besides basic hygiene, some effort was needed. And so, one day he gave me a small bottle of perfume (right) that he got as a free sample from a purchase of his own cologne.

I didn't really use it right away, nor did I really like the scent of it. The whole concept was so foreign to me, I only probably used it once or twice in the months after I received it. As a memento, I brought it with me when I moved countries, and somehow, the memory of it evolved to a scent of something familiar. Little by little, I started putting it on my wrists and on the sides of my neck (as is recommended). I put it on as a lucky charm on my first ever job interview. On days that I felt bad about life in general, I'd open the bottle a tiny bit to get a whiff, and sometimes, it worked to calm me down.

As a feminine take, I was also starting to become obsessed with the idea of having a signature scent. You know, the kind where you'll know it's your friend or your mom right away when they walk inside a room. Maybe it wasn't about smelling like a flower field, drenched with the same scent from head to toe, but I was gradually changing from basic to more-than basic, and that upgrade included finding my favorite pair of earrings (pearls) and one go-to wristwatch (a classic Rose Quartz Swatch). As a side note, did you know that if you take your watch to the Swatch shop for some yearly basic maintenance, they can take a look at it, tune, and polish it for free forever? I really dig that aspect of it.

The tiny bottle lasted for three years before I had to purchase the bigger bottle late last year. I've since moved on from the feelings of that relationship, now happy with someone new, but it's become such a huge part of who I am now that I don't think a morning's routine would be complete without dabbing a few spritzes on my wrist. Sometimes it's still a lucky charm, but more often than not, it's more of a reminder that I've changed, hopefully for the better.


I'm currently doing a challenge called “100 Days to Offload” – you can join in the fun too by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

If you'd like, drop me a message here – I would be absolutely thrilled to hear from you!

#100DaysToOffload #Journal

It is now 9 AM, Sunday morning and I've been awake for roughly around one and a half hours now. I'm usually the first person awake at home, regardless of which day of the week it is, so I know that's a “healthy habit” I've finally accomplished this quarantine. Other less desirable quarantine habits I've unlocked are drinking home-made lattes every day and sleeping at 3 AM on more than a few occasions. I know, I should be getting more than 8 hours, and I'm still working on it.

I've never written a journal entry this early in the morning, but I suddenly had the urge to fire up the computer. Usually, I'd flip through my phone for hours while laying in bed for quite some time before deciding to start the morning (at mid-morning time), which I also know is a bad habit. A lot of people advocate for getting up early, meditating, stretching, journaling, but my idea of peace in the morning is catching up with my friends on the other side of the world – when I'm waking up, they're about to go to sleep. When I'm about to go to sleep, they're about to start their day. Those little spaces of time where we're all both physically awake give me a sort of calm and structure – I wake up with my friends on my mind, and I go to bed with their words echoing in my dreams.

But going back, I guess what I wanted to write about really were some thoughts I had last night with this whole experience being in W.a and the fediverse. I'm writing this as a very light, and casual user, so apologies if at some point I sound very ignorant and uninformed, and feel free to share your opinions with me as I'm still learning. We all have to start somewhere!

As we all know, I started out searching for a platform, and W.a presented itself as the perfect place. I briefly had a Medium account with none of my writing in it, just to see how I felt about navigating through their features, and I had issues with their paywall. Not to mention the quality of the articles that were thrown in my newsletter inbox – I for sure didn't sign up for a ThoughtCatalog or Buzzfeed, so why was I getting so much of those kinds of articles? I also tried making an account with Proseful, at the same time I made this blog, but the community aspect of W.a won in the end. It also immensely helped that I started writing at the onsent of 100 Days to Offload, which I was quick to email Kev Quirk about, enthusiastically telling him in an email (despite not knowing who he was personally) that oh man, I really am down for this thing.

It's been a little over three weeks and since being here, resurrecting Feedly and reading everyone else's daily thoughts, I've learned a little about the fediverse and decentralization. I'm no techie and I use the internet based on familiarity – meaning, what my friends use, I'd use because they're there and of course, there's FOMO involved. It's also half because that's what was recommended to me or it was what I found during my research on things (not too deep research then), so again, familiarity. But I'm glad to be experimenting and although I'm just watching everything from the sidelines, I'm curious about how this all works. Security? Yes. ActivityPub? Amazing. The idea of not being locked into just one space? Brilliant! No one posting to chase clout and being entirely just themselves? Absolutely.

So I try to bring all this knowledge back to the friend group where, if we were all physically together, I'd be met with blank stares. It's as if I said something that was way too woo-woo and totally above their heads, and I'd get a polite nod for my efforts. For a hot second I thought maybe this was a niche thing I was excitedly getting in to, or maybe I just wasn't explaining my recent discovery properly, but there's also the realization that people aren't as enthusiastic as trying out new things, especially if there is no hype for it, or if it doesn't serve them any immediate purpose or reward them in a significant way.

In that area, I feel utterly defeated, and I slip back to my own corner. At least in my case, no one wants to leave what they've become familiar with. Am I the exception for going against the tide? But then again, I have to explain time and time again to everyone who asks, even to relatives, why they're not able to follow (stalk) my life so easily. Sometimes I feel like it's a sin against society not to be “online” present, but that's not the community I want to be in either! I like the current set-up I have right now: write, share things, interact, be happy, and get on with my day.


I'm currently doing a challenge called “100 Days to Offload” – you can join in the fun too by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

If you'd like, drop me a message here – I would be absolutely thrilled to hear from you!

#100DaysToOffload #Journal

When I was younger, I found an old book that used to belong to my grandmother – a hardbound, one-inch, burgundy-colored book with yellowing pages. It was filled to the brim with her handwriting, detailing how to cook one dish after the other, newspaper clippings of recipes, and little scribbles of flowers in every one or two pages. I wasn't too interested in what it really contained, but I was absolutely fascinated by the idea of having a notebook to keep all of your worldly knowledge in.

Fast forward to high school, I stuck with the same creative writing class all four years. Our teachers changed year after year, but there was one who started her class by asking us to bring in an empty notebook at our next meeting. Without thinking about it too much, I brought in one of my extra wire-bound ones and called it a day. It turned out that it was supposed to act as our “ugly notebook” for the rest of the year – a sort of commonplace book and diary rolled into one, where I would write anything and everything in it. Very apt, since the notebook I had wasn't pretty, to begin with.

At first, it was hard to get started – I would constantly forget my notebook at home. I used to have a diary, as did any other 5th grader, but it was years since I had written down one coherent thought. Stories (fanfiction) seemed to take on a different route and poured easily out of my head, but inner thoughts? There were days where there was nothing to write, no new knowledge or interesting thing to put in it. Sometimes I felt that it was useless to have it even. But as the months went by, with a bit of practice, I found myself reaching for it more and more. I realized that it's absolutely not true that there's nothing “new” to write – what it really is is a matter of constantly censoring myself, again and again, refusing to acknowledge that my thoughts existed or thinking that they were “dumb” and unworthy to be written down.

I now realize that my teenage years were absolutely riddled with insecurity and self-doubt. Before anyone put me down, I had already crossed that line mentally, thinking that I wasn't good enough. I wish my younger self, the one who's hopes and dreams were only starting to find a voice on the pages of an ugly notebook, felt more confident, more empowered.

The year ended and my teacher left, but the ugly notebook remained.


I'm currently doing a challenge called “100 Days to Offload” – you can join in the fun too by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

If you'd like, drop me a message here – I would be absolutely thrilled to hear from you!

#100DaysToOffload #Journal

The weekend is finally, FINALLY, upon us and I've retired the work laptop to its rightful weekend throne. These past few days have been immensely stressful and I'm looking forward to scratching off a few personal to-do's I've had stashed away, and resting. It was so busy, I skipped a day of Animal Crossing, so now my nook terminal check-in miles have gone back down to 50 – it's a petty issue, but it really made me sad since I've had that streak going since I started playing over a month ago.

With regards to today's post, yes, I am on Mastodon! For a few days now, I've been playing with the idea of making an account (prompting me to write about it), and after a few days of thinking I thought I'd just go for it – there was no use in internally debating about this for so long. I intend to start baby-step small, so if any of you are interested to see random ugly-delicious food photos on your timeline, I'm @elisha@kith.kitchen.

I actually don't know what to expect from it! It might not be apparent with the way I write, but it takes time for me to feel comfortable in any setting. Maybe I'm just really self-conscious and shy? Heck, I've replied to messages stiffly, and, really, I apologize for being awkward.

Other things —

  • If this week has taught me anything, it's that USB's are still pretty useful in this time and age. I have an 8GB in my pencil case that I have not touched for a year, but since I started doing the video project for work, I've used it countless times to shuttle files to and from three different laptops. Lesson learned, do not take the little, old stuff for granted. And also, keep old tech – they come in handy.

  • I was inspired by someone on the 100 days feed to buy a Go set and it's finally arrived! I totally forgot who it was that first posted about it here (I'm sorry! Please let me know who you are!), but thank you for the idea. I will give this one a Go (punny haha) since my partner has currently beat me at every chess game we've played – maybe this time I can win.

Long weekend, so I'll be able to write something more substantial! But for now, some much-needed rest.


I'm currently doing a challenge called “100 Days to Offload” – you can join in the fun too by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

If you'd like, drop me a message here – I would be absolutely thrilled to hear from you!

#100DaysToOffload #Journal #PrattlePost

I've been totally overwhelmed and frustrated with work this past couple of days for a project that my team unanimously signed me up to do, and so I've been spending most of my time internally screaming at Adobe Premiere Pro on my laptop. Before this, I've never really touched the software itself but I have a Thursday (tomorrow) morning draft deadline to meet and my inexperienced self is still crawling.

So before I disappear into oblivion and emerge from this, scarred but triumphant on Friday afternoon, I thought I'd write to let some steam off and to enforce the habit of writing. After all, I committed to this as well! Just a few random thoughts and updates on my end -

  • Yet again, I have failed my self-imposed low-buy rule by buying a few things that weren't even on my wishlist. This month's 'damage' was a bunch of loose-leaf tea samples and a bundle box from a no-plastic packaging beauty brand. Of course, I'll probably excitedly talk about them when they all arrive, but I still have some deep regrets. Online shopping is a monster.

    • On that note, I feel absolutely sad that YTers have to apologize if they deviate a tiny bit – like Christina of styleapotheca in her latest video. I follow her for low-buy advice, but unlike little me who can just laugh off buying loose-leaf tea and can try again next month, she's probably got immense pressure breathing down her back every time she even thinks of buying anything. Glad that she's gotten it out of her chest tho and moving forward to better, personal content!
  • Day 6 of consistently taking vitamins and supplements, which I've never done before. I'm scared that taking five all at the same time will be bad for my kidneys, but I'm thinking of hanging on for a little while longer to see some effects. And then maybe go see my PCP after this pandemic is over to talk about it.

This blog has now gone pro! My mind has been racing about all the pictures I can now upload on S.a and here, but for starters, please have this feeling-artsy breakfast picture I took last year during my trip in La Union, Philippines:

Catch you all again on Friday!


PS: Thank you for all those who sent me a message (or mention) in response to the previous post! I really do appreciate it :)

I'm currently doing a challenge called “100 Days to Offload” – you can join in the fun too by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

If you'd like, drop me a message here – I would be absolutely thrilled to hear from you!

#100DaysToOffload #Journal #PrattlePost

As of today, it has been around more than a year since I swore off all social media, except the bird app (which I made a new account with last July). I'm saying this because, for the past few days, my mind has been dangerously walking the thin line between whether or not I should be making a few new ones, even including the ones that the fediverse has to offer.

But let's backtrack – why in the world did I end up quitting in the first place? I would be lying if I had any philosophical answer to this, so in all honesty, I'm just going to say it: heartbreak. The initial impetus to my whole self-ban was heartbreak, which I'm not too embarrassed to say because it did me a whole world of good in the end. My longest relationship ended not just because of circumstances, but also because we had so many immature, petty fights about being “online” on Facebook Messenger but not being able to reply to me in a timely manner to be pacified quickly enough. The same thing happened in the next rebound relationship I had, but this time it was on Instagram. Believe me, I've learned my lesson and I'm now more calm about it, but there was always this line I would cross and then I'd snap.

After more than a year in therapy, I haven't figured out a lot, but there was one common thing between the two circumstances – it was that green, “online” dot and read status on messages that got the best of me. In my immature mind, I probably thought that if they were online, I could monopolize their time. Being left on read equated to being ignored. During the break-up and recovery period, I had no other choice but to delete my whole account to feel better and at peace.

For the first few weeks of deleting those apps, it was agony. Anyone who has gone through a social media detox will tell you that the withdrawal symptoms can be real – your hand will automatically shoot up to your phone to find an app that isn't there, or you'll fidget and look at your screen, again and again, expecting a notification that will never arrive. You'll find ways to justify trying to get back, but your friends will tell you to stay put.

It was during those weeks that I realized that even if I wasn't active in the social media sphere, things will most probably go on. Besides the friends I told this predicament about, no one reached out to ask where I was, or how I was doing (miserable). When I eventually logged in again, my notifications were mostly things that I had presumably “missed” (which in fact, I couldn't care for at all). The truth came out – if you cared too much about your image, social media became a numbers game. The 500+ people you call “friends” were only present when you posted a random, positive milestone. I hated how relatives who I hardly talked to during reunions would comment on our family photos. I was able to identify the feelings of rage and jealousy within me. Insane, I thought, and it really was. In the years that I had built up my social media account, I had painted an image of me that, after my detox, I could not relate to any longer. Who was that? That was definitely not me.

So I purged them.

I made a new FB account, added my closest friends and my immediate family members, and promptly deactivated it while just keeping the messaging aspect of it, just to stay in touch. I saved all my IG pictures before permanently removing myself off the platform. My Twitter account met the same fate, and it took a lot of months before I was ready to make a new one and start from scratch.

A year in and I feel more at peace now. Being in the “silent” corner of the internet has calmed down my anxieties by strides, and the focus of everything I've done so far has been inward. Who I am here is just really who I am now, and all the ugly-delicious photos and nerdy selfies I have on Twitter are real markers of what I consider as happiness at this current time. There is no desire to “compete” – who am I competing with anyway? The only competition here is with my past self!

Do I recommend people to go on this whole social media detox? Absolutely! It's like trying to find who you really are when no one is looking, and for someone who tied their existence to an ideal image, it was painstakingly hard. Reminding myself of this, but when the journey is over, come back to social media for the right reasons. Things are going to be different, I promise.


I'm currently doing a challenge called “100 Days to Offload” – you can join in the fun too by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

If you'd like, drop me a message here – I would be absolutely thrilled to hear from you!

#100DaysToOffload #Journal

Currently writing this piece out on my email to test out W.a's post via email function, so apologies if this will be short, sweet, and non-sensical. And also maybe wonky looking? If it is, I'll know tomorrow when I check it and come back to make edits – the inner critic and perfectionist in me will not rest till I do.

The only reason I'm probably doing this is to test all of the platform's features, but if I were to be really honest, I'd rather sit by my laptop and type this all out instead of the small touch screen keyboard on my phone. Don't get me wrong, I can text fast enough to keep up with my thoughts, but there's something comforting about having my fingers physically touching the smooth, worn-out keyboard click-clacking away. I can't explain it properly, but it feels more manageable and personal. 

Or maybe I just associate phones with the concept of convenience. A quick tweet. A simple jot on the shopping list in Google Keep. A simple reply to a text message, a DM or an email. But if I needed to think a reply through, I would hunker down with my laptop. I would probably do this again only in dire moments, or when I'm travelling and on the move, in which case I'm thankful to have the option to do so. 

But definitely, tomorrow's post will not be coming from my phone. 


#100DaysToOffload #Journal #PrattlePost

Happy Friday everyone! I started to write this out yesterday but was promptly cut short to make way for some much-needed family movie time. No regrets, since we watched an interesting movie called Sunday Beauty Queen – it was slightly hard to watch, and I might write about it in length at another time, but it is what it is. The Filipino “resiliency” is such a romanticized trait, but I honestly think it's a silent cry for help and for change.

So on to today's order of business! I thought I'd do something different and share some of the short stories that I've always found intriguing and fun. I admit some of these came from Literature and English classes back in high school and college, but they've made such a huge impact on me that I still remember their titles off the top of my head, even years later! I've tried to find links for them as well, for the interested.

Sweet Summer by Cyan Abad Jugo

The story that marked my childhood! I definitely resonated so much with the main character because I had always been insecure about how I looked when I was younger (I still am on most days), and had always compared myself to all the other girls my age who were pretty. I've always wished the story didn't end the way it did since Sarah and Frederick looked like they had a genuine connection with each other but in a stereotypical world, boys are “taught” by society to go after the pretty ones.

The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

I remember reading this in high school and vowing never to pretend to be someone who I wasn't. I couldn't really feel too bad for the main character in the ending because it was definitely a lesson she had to learn (the hard way, in fact), but I would never wish this on anyone either.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

I did a bit of research on this one and just learned that it has had two official movie adaptations (one in 1969 and another in 1996), so I'm guessing this one was pretty popular back when it was first published. Nothing, and I mean nothing, prepared me for that ending. Probably my first taste of dystopian literature? It's very chilling just to think about it.

In a Grove by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

At first, I initially hated this because we spent so much time in English class reading it. Maybe my teenage brain couldn't comprehend the nuances between each of the testimonies, but there really isn't a main “conclusion” to this story. In fact, even after watching the movie, writing a paper, and thoroughly discussing it, it really is up to the reader to believe what they want to – a very meta comparison to how news is spread in relation to the truth.

Long Walk To Forever by Kurt Vonnegut

A love story that slightly reminds me of The Notebook, but with less angst and crying. I just love the fact that maybe 60% of it was just dialogue between Newt and Catherine, but it was able to paint and evoke so many emotions from me.

Some notable stories that I need to mention as well:

Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez Servant Girl by Estrella Alfon Merienda – I read this in a book called Bagets, and I'm currently trying to borrow it from the local library!

Have a good weekend!


I'm currently doing a challenge called “100 Days to Offload” – you can join in the fun too by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

If you'd like, drop me a message here – I would be absolutely thrilled to hear from you!

#100DaysToOffload #Journal #Lists

I bake more than I cook.

This whole obsession in perfecting muffins and cupcakes (that is my whole repertoire if any of you were curious – sadly. no cakes, yet) only started as of late, when I moved a thousand miles from my beloved tropical little country to chilly San Francisco. Philippine cuisine does not require the use of ovens (just stovetops and an outside grill), and the local bakery could supply every home with freshly made pandesal for just cents, so there was really no need for my family to have one. My mom might have dabbled into buying one when I was in college, but it was mostly left untouched and for decor for the “clean” kitchen.

My dad, despite being a pastry cook working on cruise ships, would never have thought of baking anything on the months that he was home on vacation. Much like the idea of taxi drivers not wanting to drive around during their days off, my dad would rather cook Chicken Adobo or Pinakbet or any other of his favorite dishes since he never got to eat those on the boat regularly. I would sometimes bring up the idea of making a cake, but instead of making one, I would come home to my favorite store-bought dessert and that was the end of it.

Fast forward to the present, I now know different baking terms and can execute my own little science project in the kitchen with ease. I'm proud of my blueberry muffins and, with a little help with my dad, I've learned how to wing a few. But I have to admit, big ovens intimidate me – you know the ones below your kitchen stove? They scare the crap out of me. It's way too huge and it's difficult to see in, making me feel like I'm not entirely in control of what I'm doing. All I can do is set the temperature on top and pray for the best.

That's why I prefer using the small oven toaster on the other side of the kitchen. It's tiny, can only fit one pan at a time, and I have to turn my muffin rack halfway to be able to get a good color on all muffins, but it feels manageable. The clear glass gives me some sort of comfort, knowing that I can see clearly how things are progressing inside. The one we have right now has seen all my successes and failures, and if there was a household appliance that I could call my best friend, this oven toaster would be it. I even joked to my mom once that if I moved out, she would have to let me bring the oven toaster with me (she said no).

In the near future, I'd like to expand and eventually try making cookies and bread. I've been super fascinated with the idea of making dough for a week and then baking it every day, but I feel like I would be cheating on rice if I had to consume the whole loaf. And besides, flour is currently scarce, and I'm riding on my last bag to tide me through this quarantine. For now, banana bread it is.


P.S. Absolutely on the cusp of getting a pro subscription here – I really want to post pictures after all, sans the social media aspect.

I'm currently doing a challenge called “100 Days to Offload” – you can join in the fun too by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

If you'd like, drop me a message here – I would be absolutely thrilled to hear from you!

#100DaysToOffload #Journal

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