Field trip: Dangwa Flower district

I often fancied at the flower arrangement in our church. As I sat on the pew, I would normally draw while listening to the sermon.

After a while, I asked our administrator if I can pick some flowers after the service ends. She gladly asked Auntie Vangie.

Later on, Dara and I asked her if we can help in arranging the flowers. She gladly agreed!

After a couple of lessons, we went to Dangwa to buy flowers for our first arrangement. Sir Mark accompanied us since it will be our first time to buy.

I hope this can guide you in the fast approaching heart’s day!

We parked in front of this. There are lots of arranged flowers here but they are more expensive.

But you can also buy a couple of flowers and buy the wrapper separately.

We asked the salesman to arrange the flowers for us. His technique is to arrange the flowers like this:

(Photo taken from the internet)

Flowers in X then cut the excess stems and wrap with tape.

Here are some other pictures that I took during our visit.

Roses in different colors. According to Sir Mark they are mostly from China. These can be found on the other side of the street. We walked across via a small pedestrian crossing to reach this side.

All sorts of leaves in different sizes! They are all looking fresh!

Auntie Vangie’s suki.

More ornamental leaves for arrangements.

More succulents!

My shoes match the overall theme of this photo! Everything’s in autumn!

Women buying flowers. I love her hat!

This looks like a fresh lumpia on the street.

Sir Mark drew a draft of the arrangement that we did before we start looking for flowers and leaves. I learned that we should:

– have a general idea of what the arrangement should look like

– have a certain budget for the arrangement

We set P500 for this particular one but we ended up spending only P240!

– have good haggling skills

As always, I bring my notebook and pen with me!

(Photo by Achi Kim)

Until my next adventure,



Takeaways: Reflections on the movie Bad Genius

There is always a huge discrepancy between the ideal and the real world. Often times we are taught of the proper behaviors in a society and ethics in school but to my distress they are seldom applied in the workplace. The gray areas are often times the pitfalls of our character, reputation and faith. Sometimes we are even trapped by our selfishness which originally came out of our desire to help.

Temptations show us the realities of our hearts. In the movie Bad Genius, the problem aroused when Lynn accepted her friends’ money as payment for the right answers. I believe that she had good intentions to help but the opportunities given to her led to shame and deceit. Gratefully, in the end, she was able to choose what is better.

While watching the movie, I realized that our desire to help can cause us to stumble if we don’t watch and pray. When we take the matters into our own hands, we will fall. When our desire to do good is overpowered by our own selfishness, we will give in to temptations. These temptations in turn will lead us to a series of lies. Until we listen to God’s spirit convicting us of our shortcomings, we will be trapped. There won’t be peace in our hearts and our thoughts will always be preoccupied with the things that we did wrong.

Teach by example. When Lynn was tempted to accept payment in exchange for her brilliance, I believe it wasn’t because they were financially lacking. It was because she learned from the example of the teachers in her new school that accepting payment is valid. She learned from her father that the principal was collecting “tea money” for the teachers’ consumption. She then reasoned that accepting payment in exchange for helping her classmates pass the subject is then acceptable. I am reminded that teaching is a noble profession. Teachers must devote their lives to teach their students not just the concepts but by setting as examples to emulate. Outstanding character is much needed in order for students to be morally upright. In the same way, parents must teach their children the values to live by. I commend Lynn’s dad for having integrity and accepting the cancellation of Lynn’s scholarship after the principal discovered the cheating that had happened. He stood for what he believed is right despite the consequences. He was brave enough to face his daughter’s faults. I believe that it is also because of the values of Lynn’s dad that she ultimately chose to do what is right. Despite his high hopes for her, he doesn’t want her to do it the wrong way.

Love despite of imperfections. The contrast of the love and acceptance of Lynn’s dad and the pressure given by the parents of Lynn’s friends is evident in the movie. Despite the wealth of her friends, they were having trouble in school. They want to please their parents so badly that they resulted to cheating. Their need for validation is partly due to the gifts that their parents promised if they pass the subjects. I realized that pushing kids to excel should be coupled with support and encouragement. Parents should not leave them on their own lest they think they need to be what they are not. Had there been openness between parents and children about their struggles in school, they might not have resulted to violate academic integrity. I believe that parents are called to love despite their children’s imperfections. It is a hard call but God will be the one to enable the love and acceptance. As children, we are also called to love back. For Lynn, it meant listening to her dad’s advice and wisdom. She might have avoided all the trouble if she obeyed him during his first warning when the principal found out that she allowed her classmates to cheat. Authorities are given by God for our own good so we ought to follow them.

Flee from temptations. As mentioned earlier, Lynn was faced with a series of temptations throughout her high school days. Seeing her friends live their lives luxuriously may have caused her to pity her social status. According to Jesus, money is the root of all kinds of evil. This fact is evident in the movie as well. When Lynn was offered a hefty sum of money in exchange for her “services”, her desire to feel accepted and be at par with her friends have strengthened her decision to accept. Fleeing from temptation might have meant that Lynn should look for new friends during her free time or school breaks or transfer to a different section. In real life I believe that this is hard to do. In order to avoid these unnecessary troubles, it is important to ask God to lead us to the right set of friends. I believe that he will honor it because it is His will for us to be in a group of God loving people.

Use our gifts wisely. Lynn was gifted academically. She was able to ace the tests without sweat! God gave her the ability to do so! When she willingly taught her friend, she exercised this gift well. I realized that when we look outward—that is when we prioritize others’ needs, we are more likely to use our gifts wisely. But when we seek our own satisfaction first, our ability to bless others will often decrease. As followers of Christ, we ought to use our abilities for God’s glory. In this light, we need to use it in the right context and in the right manner.

Value clear conscience. Honesty has a high price. This truth is evident in the movie. Lynn and her friends carried a heavy burden for several years. The small whispers to tell the truth and act in the right manner was silenced by their heart’s desire to want more things. For Lynn it meant more money, for her friends it meant higher grades and material stuff as rewards from their parents. We cannot value clear conscience if we do not put God at the center of our lives. When we ask the Holy Spirit to direct our paths, God will enable us to hear His small but definite whispers amidst the loud distractions in this world.

Change for the better. In the last part of the movie, Lynn was suddenly convinced that what she did was wrong. When she came back from Australia after the exam, she confessed the truth to her dad. After a while, Bank, another gifted classmate who went with her to Australia, asked her to visit his newly renovated laundry shop. He used the money he got to improve his parents’ business and made an offer to Lynn to take SAT and do the same thing. Lynn graciously declined Bank’s offer and decided to confess what they did to the authorities. In the earlier part of the movie, Bank was the honest guy. He was the one who reported the cheating that had happened during the class. It was because of him that Lynn’s business got discovered but in the end, he was not able to stand true to his beliefs. Revenge and love for money had taken over him. Merely wanting to do what is right will not sustain us. When we put our faith and trust in God that He will enable us to be changed, that’s when real growth takes place and character changed.

In the end, what good is it to gain the world but forfeit your soul? (Matthew 16:26) I realized that despite the success of the business to which brought Lynn and her friends “freedom”, there was guilt, a heavy burden that they ought to bear for the rest of their lives. If not for Lynn’s courage to tell the truth, their future will be without peace. And the very thing that they thought would give them joy will make them regret for the rest of their lives. This movie gave me much hope that integrity will still win in the end.

Takeaways: Getting Grit + year end reflection 2017

As we close this year, I was reminded of the things that I did and experience.

One of my goals during the last quarter of the year was to read a book every 2 weeks. As a business/inspirational/self help genre kind of a person, it is not so difficult for me. The hard part is applying the lessons that I learned or asking the question, “so what now?”.

Every book or experience that I encounter, I try to ask the following:

  1. What is God telling me?
  2. How should I react?
  3. What should I do now that I know this truth/fact?

Through Caroline Miller’s Getting Grit, I realized that:

1. I am not that strong.

It was my first time to be hospitalized this year. It was unexpected and a part of it was because of my own folly. Everything seems to crumble. I couldn’t think clearly as well. I panicked and gave up easily. I doubted if my decisions were right.

2. Our culture isn’t motivating us to get grittier.

We are used to living a comfortable life. We want other people to make us special. Everything seems easier. We are paying attention to endurance less and less.

This is evident in our food choices (mostly quick & easy food which leads to fast food or restaurant delivery), transportation choices (hello uber/grab) and leisure time (internet 24/7). Sadly these choices lead us also to higher turnover rates in offices and several career shifts in a span of 3 years! A little pain and we want to get out right away!

3. We need to cultivate the right kind of pain.

What I experienced is a stubborn type of pain. The one that I should have avoided have I taken caution.

What we should experience is the right kind of pain. Growth pain is obtained as we strive to push harder. This type of pain will enable us to achieve many things. This type of pain is the kind of pain that athletes obtain when they train for a marathon. It will be the one that will enable us to stretch our limits.

4. We can only cultivate growth pains if we are passionate in what we do.

It all goes back to our purpose/ mission in life. What do we truly care about? Answering the question “What am I here for?” Or “What is my purpose in life?” Will definitely make us ponder.

Without passion, it is too hard to connect with others about the importance of your mission and convince them to help you get on board. – Caroline Miller

When we don’t know which way to go, we are less likely to persevere. We tend to waste more time on leisure and unimportant stuff. We are also less likely to influence other people.

As I’ve shared previously, it is important to seek God and learn His will for our lives. That is always the starting point!

5. We need to make a conscious effort to develop grit.

Now that we know our mission, we need to work hard to guard it! Have a “mastermind group” where you can share your learnings. In turn, they will also share their experiences. Surround yourself with “gritty people”. You want to head in the same direction–and that is you want to grow and become better in your craft and spheres of influence.

Be consistent. This life is not a sprint. We are in a marathon! Develop good and healthy habits!

Success doesn’t come overnight. More so, the world’s kind of success is different to what God says.

I realized that it is difficult to measure progress and yet as I moved along, things seem to get clearer.

Last August, I was challenged to write, share my photographs and thoughts. I started posting articles on this blog despite the imperfection.

I also climbed Mount Pulag for the first time!

I learned that we should be comfortable with being uncomfortable!

I hope as we end this year, we will think of ways on how we can become grittier. We don’t have to do a lot of things to make a difference. We just need to do the right things that are in line with the way God created us.

As we start another year, let us strive to pursue worthwhile goals and make the most of our lives.

Happy New Year’s eve!


Thoughts on giving

When I was a kid, I look forward to birthdays and Christmas because of the gifts. As I grew older, my mom would assign us to buy gifts to families and friends.

I realized that thinking of the things or experiences to give to other people is not as easy as it looks like.

I learned that we have five love languages and giving according to the other people’s language can be better appreciated. It will also make them feel loved.

To start off, it is best to observe them. You can also ask them and validate it as you go along.

Some people like to give and receive personalized greeting cards. Words mean to them. Others like to show affection through hugs and kisses. Still others would better appreciate it if you are with them to enjoy a cup of tea and have some talk. Some like to give and receive favors from others like helping them out in the organization of the home. Lastly, others would like to give and receive gifts.

Through the years I learned that giving shows that we are concerned for other people. When we spend our time, energy and resources for others, we invest in their lives.

I also learned that it is best to keep it simple. It maybe just a simple note or a pat on the back but it goes along way!

Most importantly, we give because we are stewards of God’s resources. We give not just if we have an extra savings. We give because we have faith that God will supply our needs in the days to come.

Start with what you have and make others feel loved!


Musings: dark & rainy days (Part 2) + theater visit

Hi everyone! I’m sorry to greet your December 1st with silhouette & gray photos but I hope these will inspire your winter season. I also hope you’re having a blast as the Christmas season starts. How are you going to celebrate Christ’s day?

Sun set in Ayala Center while waiting for my friend

Antique clock that my aunt bought for my parent’s engagement

Construction site on the look out.

In contrast with the silhouette photos, I want to share the set in the recent show I watched with my cousin. It was actually her requirement in school and I just tagged along.

I am amazed of the lights and how the props were creatively used.

Lights can totally add to the drama!

These people were doing a wave dance before the audience!

Liza Macuja-Elizalde shared some imagery that ballerinas use to convey meaning. I wasn’t able to get the context fully but the introduction helped.

Stay inspired,


Takeaways: Broken things

As cliche as it may sound, some things are meant to be broken.

I was doing a favor for my dad when I accidentally dropped my phone a couple of weeks ago–the glass facing down. I was in utter shock when I saw my phone on the floor.

I did not panic because I normally drop my phone around the house or somewhere when I place it on top of a table and it slides. When I picked it up, I saw the shattered glass. It was terrible! I never imagine that my carelessness will result to something like this.

My relatives dropped me off at kn’s place and I went inside the elevator still thinking. I felt stupid for a moment but I didn’t get angry the way I used to before. I was surprised with my reaction! I stayed calm this time. I felt at peace because I knew that God is teaching me a lesson.

Over the past few weeks, I was attached to my phone. This incident reminded that I should not take pleasure on this device more than I take pleasure in my time with God.

I called my dad and confessed what happened. He accepted the fact and did not get angry either! He also asked his friends for contacts. My mom and sister also instructed me to tape the shattered glass so that I won’t get bruised. I received grace and felt it in full!

I realized that when things like this happen, our reactions matter. We either make the situation good or worse. Praise God for helping me deal with this!

I also realized that we need other people’s help. Keeping this to myself wouldn’t solve the problem. My dad knows someone who is from Greenhills and his friend gave me directions where to go.

I also told my best friend about the incident and asked if she would like to go with me. Apparently, she was able to visit the place before!

The security guards at the MRT stations and malls were also very friendly. We asked around for directions and they gladly helped!

This incident reminded me of us. We are broken. We cannot make things right. But when we go to God and ask Him to give us grace and accept that we will remain broken on our own, we receive it in full!


Takeaways: flat lays

Recently I have been reading crafty and creative blogs like A Beautiful Mess and Nubby Twiglet. Both blogs exemplified beautiful flat lays.

I also love doing flat lays and documenting things that are on my desk. Their blogs challenged me to make them better. Here are some flat lay photos that I took during the previous weeks.

Fresh tangerine and kindle

In this photo, I used an iPhone filter called Chrome. It doesn’t do much in the photo aside from brightening it up a bit.

I learned that brightening up images can make the quality better. Try it!

Antacid medicine from my aunt

Another tip: go near the window and only use one lighting source.

In this photo you can see the shadows on the left. I used a lighting source from the right.

Caring for my eyes. Recent purchases from the drug store. What is your eye regimen? It is actually my first time to try Olay eyes. Have you tried it before?

In this photo I used my sister’s blanket as background. You can use solid colors depending on the color of the objects you are going to place. Usually I use white or brown since both colors are more neutral and flexible. Sometimes, I use placemats, blankets or shirts. Be creative! It doesn’t need to be conventional!

My desk while having some snacks.

In this photo, I angled my phone in such a way that the objects are not a hundred percent covered.

Tip: You can play with the angles until you get the perfect shot!

I will be sharing separately for the flat lays I did for food in the following posts.

Stay inspired,