NYE 2012: Away from home

Growing up in a very family-oriented society like the Philippines, I make sure every year that I’ll be joining my family in the new year’s eve and that no member will be missing simply because there’s a belief that it will mirror the whole year and I definitely don’t want to be away from them the whole year! Haha. Aside from that, we have our annual family reunion-bingo and we always look forward to it but this year, I spent the year-end-new-year away from home for the first time. It was not as miserable as I imagined to be, maybe because it was just a trip and when I went back home, I still felt the holiday feeling. 

It was totally a different new year’s eve, a totally different feeling. I spent the remaining days of 2011 with Taku and his friends and welcomed 2012 with good food, beautiful sea and music, fireworks, wine and amazing friendships! 

I thought I was over the happy thoughts already but when I’ve seen the photos in my files again, I couldn’t stop thanking God for the guy who always try to make everything better than the last time. (For the record, it was better cause I didn’t spend the holidays in the hospital which I used to do for the past 3 years!)

Oops! The beautiful restaurant is Breeze at Samaya Villa in Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia. I think it’s nice to stay in their villas next time. Haha. Hmm..

Actually, after the countdown, dancing, and fireworks, we continued the celebration as if we’re in ‘Hangover’ (it’s nice to hangout with guys with all these crazy stuffs) and went to the nearest 711 where we met an Australian (is she?) girl who was so cool, lovely and wasted, she’s down here: 

then we rode the motorcycles which are like a taxi (yes, since it was so traffic and we want to experience those motorbikes which Indonesia has a lot!!!, we opted to ride with them instead of a cab):

…rode going to the villa! Then the party continued in the 2-bedroom beautiful villa with awesome bath tubs in a huge I’d-love-to-have-it toilet, a nice swimming pool, and a cool interior design (It was in Vinly Villas)…

and on the first day of the year, everyone loves hangover!!!

(From the Philippines, I comfortably flew to Singapore via Cebu Pacific Air and flew to Bali via Air Asia)

I blog

‘Thank you for flying with Air Asia‘ was my famous line because of my white top and red-orange skirt that everyone made fun of during the Asean Bloggers Conference 2011 in Bali, Indonesia (but I actually flew via Cebu Pacific: MNL-KL and Air Asia: KL-DPS), which we prefer to call Southeast Asian Bloggers Conference  after a few intense discussions among bloggers in the neighboring countries which I personally and firmly agree on to lessen the political connections and promote more on the friendly and indispensable goal of developing friendship and sharing of ideas and stories among bloggers in Southeast Asia. 

As what I’ve said in a couple of interviews (yohoo! you read it right, I had interviews which made things weirdly interesting), I am not a hardcore blogger, I don’t find much time to update my blog that makes me wonder ‘why the hell am I in this blogger’s conference?’ (Well, that was the same question of Mike from Google when we had a little chitchat before dinner. Haha.) but I am one example of a huge number of personal bloggers in the Philippines who try to find their own simple joys in sharing their everyday stories to the world hoping that even once those stories can make an impact for a change and inspiration to others, or probably, to themselves. I’m following some people who blog about their shoes, pets and even their advocacy and this made me realize that it’s really hard to measure success or even conclude what happiness is because each of us differs from one another and our priorities and interests are totally different that brought me to the question, ‘why are there some people who still envy other people even if they don’t have the same preference or standards of success and happiness?’ 

So back to blogging, I got a couple of comments from random people in the other side of the world who don’t even know where the Philippines is (but they just want to ask really where Philippines is and not about what I wrote) but generally, I write because I’m fond of it (I’m a Journalism graduate) and I write about what interest me and what might interest others too because I know that for us to stay happy and enthusiastic about life, we should learn something or have fun with the things we stumble upon everyday.Well, I think I write just to simply document important events, things, emotions in my life that will answer my questions when I look back and find the emptiness that I may feel one day, someday. 

 I’ve met so many interesting people in the conference that inspired and have influenced how I think nowadays. 

I’m sorry but I’ve grabbed some of my these photos in some twitter accounts of other participants since I’ve seen my name mentioned and I’ve seen some ugly stolen shots. 🙂 The conference was attended by some bloggers from Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei, of course Indonesia (almost a hundred), and I really like the famous Filipino blogger that I met there (in the middle of the photo above in our Filipiniana costume), Tonyo Cruz, which is the star of my self-made game ‘where is tonyo?’ when I was wondering who is Tonyo in the layover to Denpasar.

Looking at the photos, I realized that I was a hardcore rule follower who was too much excited to wear our traditional/national costume (since we just wear it during formal events or weddings unlike ‘batik‘) during the dinner of the conference that lead me to the discovery of random people with photos with me because I was sort of a mascot. haha. But seriously, I liked it! At least I was able to wear Balintawak/Filipiniana.

To sum it up, I think I share the same goal and happiness about blogging with Mena Trott, the founding mother of blogging revolution. Like her, I believe that we can produce a friendlier world through blogging.

Bali, for the first time.

It’s Christmas and after a couple of weeks, a new year will begin. I grew up always making sure that I’m with the whole family on the first day of the year because that will be the reflection of the whole year- if I’m not with them, I’ll not be with them the whole year, that’s what they say. But this coming new year, for the first time, I’ll not be with my family, moreover, I’ll be in Bali.

I went to Bali last month to attend the Southeast Asian Bloggers Conference and had a glimpse of how rich the culture is and how beautiful the people are.

For me, Bali in Indonesia is as beautiful as Boracay in the Philippines. The difference is just, Boracay is more commercial, Bali is more cultural and maybe, the “sand” and the “bikes.

Beer, book and beach always go together.

Below is one of the most photographed places in Bali, I guess. But before you get to see this very beautiful place, you have to make friends with the monkeys all over the temple of Uluwatu which comes from different sizes and age so you have to be mindful about your little things like bags, sunglasses and even necklace! (I kept my necklace since I was scared to lose it again and I don’t like Taku to look for a new one over again.) 

Uluwatu is such a serene and beautiful place, a very good place for reflection but just like any sacred place, please try to be mindful of what you’re wearing. Well, just in case you’re in a “beach” mode and wearing shorts, linens are available in the entrance for you to cover your legs!

I like this part of GWK Cultural Park- Lotus Pond. It’s so vast and green, I can look at it for the whole day!

GWK (Garuda Wisnu Kencana) Cultural Park is a good stop when you visit Bali. There, you’ll see the Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue that will be standing 150 meters tall with wings span 64 meters across.

According to GWK, the statue is picturing Lord Wisnu, as the source of wisdom, riding on the back of the mythical bird Garuda as the manifestation of conscience toward Amerta, the perennial goodness and it is made from more than 4000 tons of copper and brass. The statue and its pedestal will be surrounded by more than 240 hectares cultural park which was once an abandoned and unproductive limestone quarry. GWK Cultural Park is intended to educate, especially the young generations about the importance of preserving and cultivating world’s cultural heritage.

 As of the moment, the statue of Wisnu, the statue of Garuda, and the hands of Wisnu have been placed temporarily in three different plazas within the park. 

You may refer to the photo below to let your imagination fly on how big the statue is going to be once it has been put altogether.

Left to right: Statue of Lord Wisnu, Garuda, miniature of how it’ll look like after completion.

One of my favorites in Bali is the Balinese dancer. 

How they move their hips, hands and even their eyes are fabulous plus their colorful costume! The music is also very wonderful and reminds me of the “Singkil” dance in the Mindanao, southern part of the Philippines which I think both dances influenced each other because of their location. Remember, Indonesia have lots of Durian just like our beloved Mindanao. I would be grateful to learn a few steps of their dances, especially the “eye” movements. Awesome!

Balinese dancer at GWK

Of course, I love eating, no one can change it. But of course, Indonesian dishes are so spicy! You have to be ready to have water beside you. Haha. But I think I can eat Nasi Goreng the whole week!

A few reminders to have a wonderful uninterrupted exploration and vacation, please listen to me cause I didn’t learn the last time I visited Indonesia and forgot about adapter. 

Philippines uses the flat one but Indonesia uses the rounded one.

Watch your step! Most of the people in Bali are Hindus which makes the place more interesting aside from the beautiful places to go and see. 

Always be careful when walking cause you might step on one of their offerings- a basket or container filled with flowers or rice which is called “canang sari.” It is basically a ritual of giving back what the gods has given and in Balinese perspective, giving back or offering is the best way to maintain the relationships between the people and the spirits and it is believed that it will appease the spirit and will bring prosperity and good health to the people.
Offerings in shops
I almost stepped on this offering in Kuta Beach.
Offerings in sidewalks.
One of my memorable experience in Bali is the “blessing” or the prayer. I was astonished with the amount of water thrown to us and the grains of rice that was put in my forehead. Surprisingly, I felt renewed.  
the start of the prayer.
Cheers for good life!
I have attempted to drink Bintang twice during the trip but I guess, it’s reserved for the next visit! Most of them agreed that Laos beer is the best (I’ll try it soon!) but I hope that this one can beat the best Philippine beer: San Miguel (which I doubt! Haha)

Taku sent me a chat message when I was there saying that “Bali sunset is dangerous” only to keep me away from seeing it because we’ll be back soon. Sunset is always one of the best moments in trips and I’ll definitely catch more of the Bali sunsets soon, now with him.

I’ll be back for more, Bali! See you in a few days!

(From the Philippines, I comfortably flew to Kuala Lumpur via Cebu Pacific Air and flew to Bali via Air Asia)