The Hassle of Cancelled Flights and Messy Airlines

Being a chance passenger on a bus is not as nerve-wracking as being a chance passenger on a plane.

Because of Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit), our flight back to Manila on December 8 was cancelled. The storm had slowed down by then, but Air Asia took the precaution of canceling all flights from December 7 to 9. We had no choice but to extend our stay for two more days.

The stay itself wasn’t so bad, as the hotel was able to accommodate us for two extra nights. The problem was that my friend and I had only taken vacation leaves for two days (one day for our departure and the other for our return). We were able to inform our respective workplaces, but we were worried about the repercussions of the other days.

Another problem was that we were already beyond our budget. I had asked my family to send me money, but I hoped I didn’t have to use it.

The main concern was how were we going to go back. We tried contacting Air Asia through it’s various portals (call, social media, satellite office, etc) but we kept getting mixed responses.

My main contact was through the Twitter of Air Asia Philippines. I saw that they were accommodating rebookings for other passengers (though probably for different flights), so I took the chance. After providing the flight number and the booking number, I was told I have to go to their website to file for a rebooking. This was Sunday night.

I tried again the next day, this time through a direct message. I was then told that the only flight available was for December 15. I replied that it was not acceptable, and asked if they can facilitate a multi-city transfer, like Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur to Manila. I was informed that they cannot accommodate the multi-city option, and that since my flight was cancelled I had the option to rebook the flight and gave me specific dates.

I responded in Tagalog, telling them that neither options are acceptable as we needed to go home ASAP. We were on vacation only, and we had jobs and responsibilities to go home to. Plus the fact that we were running low on funds.

I asked of there was any compensation for the inconvenience, such as a refund or repayment of expenses. I was told to fill up an online form, and that was it.

On Tuesday, we went to the airport to ask what were our options. We were told nearly the same thing as to the availability of the flight. The attendant placed our name on a list, and said that those were the names of the people who were also trying to get a seat. I saw that we were number 6 on the list, and we were advised to be at the airport two hours or so before the flight.

We went back to the city, and listed our other option, which was to look for flights to KL or Singapore then get a connecting flight to Manila. Our goal was to get home on December 10, with the least cost possible.

We were at the airport by 8 AM. Again we were told that we were on the list, but I was surprised to see that we were number 9! That got me worried. But since we couldn’t do anything we went off to have a second round of breakfast.

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Back at the airport, we joined a few people who were all waiting for a chance to get on the flight. We talked to the staff again, and to opt for the multi-city we had to get a full refund for this trip and rebook a flight. They said can’t switch flights since it wasn’t the same track (or something like that). That seemed like such a hassle so we thought we’d play it by ear.
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November 2014 Summary

I’ve got a horrific backlog of posts for this November. Work and school kept me busy, and they have their own backlog too. Quick summary of what’s happened so far, starting with the latest.

NaNoWriMo Winner!
50,312 words in 30 days. Validated my words on November 3o, 2014 10:30 PM (GMT +8). About 20k of those words were written in 14 hours of Nov. 30. I do not recommend it. Story’s not done, but I’m putting it aside until after my finals on the 13th.

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Canva Creatives Conference
I feel lucky that I was able to attend and I got to meet the people behind this online tool. I love the site, and it has been an invaluable tool for me at work. A proper post with photos to follow.


#CanvaConference kit. Had an awesome time.

A photo posted by Kat Sales (@saberkite) on

Filipino Reader Con
My second year to volunteer! Got great books, met awesome people and had a really amazing time. Post and photos to follow as well.


#FilReaderCon volunteers. Had a wonderful time. Next year ulit! Photo from @fantaghiro23

A photo posted by Kat Sales (@saberkite) on

There’s still a lot in between, but that’s it for now.

Oh my, it’s December already!

[Filipino Friday 2014] #3: Fanfiction

I’m loving the questions to this year’s Filipino Friday. All of them are so right up my alley haha.

Fanfiction is pretty popular, no doubt about it, but it has been received with mixed feelings by many authors and writers. Some don’t mind it, and even welcome readers who give their own spin on their work. Some writers don’t like it at all, to the point that they contact fanfiction authors to take their work down. Others use it as a jump-off point for their own writing.

How about you? What is your take on fanfiction? Do you read fanfiction, and if you do, what kind of fanfiction do you read? Do you write fanfiction, and why? Or are you against fanfiction? Enlighten us.

My first brush with fanfiction was sometime between highschool and college. The Internet was just starting out here in the Philippines, and I was getting into these different anime shows but not much information about them were available locally. Even then I was already pretty good at doing Internet searches, so along with getting tidbits about my favorite anime shows, I was also able to snag fanart and fanfiction.

My fanfiction favorites were stories involving the Ranma 1/2 anime. Why fanfiction? Part of it has something do to with my ships. I was cheering for Ranma and Akane, and while both the manga and anime had a lot of sweet yet near-miss moments between these two, it wasn’t enough. Fanfiction became a way for me to get my shipping fix, and there were a lot of them.

I also tried my hand in writing fanfiction, again based on the fandoms that I liked and wanted to have more of. I wrote mostly in longhand, at the back of my notebooks, because I didn’t have a computer of my own then. I do remember writing a fanfic on a borrowed laptop, but I think I lost that file. Fanart too.

The last fanfiction I wrote was for Harry Potter. One was short piece, talking about Ron’s discovery of his likeness on a Chocolate Card, and other my original characters set in the Potterverse.

While I certainly understand why many authors don’t like people writing fanfiction about their works, I think it’s a great writing exercise. However, it does end up become tricky at times, particularly when certain works become so famous. Bottomline, I think it’s pretty good fun, and a fanfiction writer must always be aware that while they’re writing original stuff, they are making use of elements that belong to someone else.

[Booking Through Thursday] For a Friend

It’s been a while since I participated in Booking Through Thursday. This week’s (or rather, last) question is:

If someone you know has just published a book—do you feel obliged to buy a copy? Even if it’s not the kind of book you’d normally read?

This has happened to me before. A friend of mine decided to write for romance stories for a local publisher. I wouldn’t think twice about buying her work, but it was written in Filipno, the Philippines’ official language. Even though I speak it, reading is another matter. I’m more comfortable reading and writing in English, so it was a challenge for me to read my friend’s work. Thankfully, I was able to read and understand it. Since then, she’s published more books and even translated a few English books into Filipino (the ironic thing is, my friend is even worse with writing and reading Filipino, but she improved over the years). However, I haven’t been able to keep up with her newer works, but she doesn’t really mind.

The number of people I know who have published works have increased. Thankfully, there has been (so far!) no pressure for me to buy their books. I do anyway, because I really do like to support them and the local publishing industry, and I really enjoy their works.

Don’t forget to check out Booking Through Thursday and join in the fun.

Filipino Fridays 2014 #2: Author Aspirations

On to week two! The countdown to the Filipino Reader Con 2014: Readers Turned Writers continues. This week, they ask this question:

As a reader, have you ever thought about writing a book? What kind of books/stories do you want to write? Or are you now a published author, and what compelled you to go fulfil this dream? How was your journey from reader to writer? How did you go about getting your book out there?

I have always wanted to write stories. My earliest memory of story creation was playing with my brother and neighbors, where we’d create scenarios that we’d act out. Eventually, my childhood best friend Lee and I would draw and write stories. All throughout my life, I had created snippets of fictional and fantastical worlds. In high school, I thought about creating manga. I had drafts of scripts and sketches of comic panels. In college, I got pushed more to write stories thanks to friends who were into the same thing. I started writing fanfiction, until eventually I went back to doing original stories. Long story short, yes. I’ve always thought about writing a book. Books, actually.

And what kind? Stories of adventure or mystery (think Nancy Drew or Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series), fantasy (Enid Blyton again, and Nick Joaquin’s Pop Stories for Groovy Kids), school stories/coming of age (Sweet Valley, The Babysitters Club), and romance (Sweet Dreams, Love Stories, Mills & Boon).

Today, the dream still hasn’t died. It hasn’t gone easier, either. I still find it challenging to put down words to paper (or the digital paper, as often the case may be), but I’m trying. It helps that there are friends who have successfully hurdled the challenge of getting their first work out there (I am so proud of them!), and while I’m not the competitive (much) sort, I want to have that achievement too. I’m working on it, really!

Let’s talk more about this, shall we? I’d love to hear your comments, or better yet, I hope to see you at the Filipino Reader Con on November 14. Face-to-face discussions are always the best. In the meantime, don’t forget to post your own answers to the question.

[Filipino Fridays] Intro + New Discoveries: Surprise, Reader!

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And we’re back! Can’t believe it’s been almost a year since the last ReaderCon. It was my first time to attend, and boy did I ever participate. I’m excited for this year, because the theme is something pretty close to my heart. Filipino ReaderCon 2014: Readers Turned Writers.

We count down to the event itself through the weekly Filipino Fridays. Click on the link to learn more about it. This week’s question is:

Surprise, Reader! Hello, it’s the first week of Filipino Fridays 2014! Whether it’s your first time to participate or not, tell us a bit about yourself. More specifically, tell us about your favorite book discoveries for this year. Any author you started reading this year that you can’t get enough of? A book you didn’t think you’d like, but you ended up liking/loving? Any book series that you just have to get your hands on? Have you discovered anything new from Filipino authors this year?

It’s my second time to join FF, and the past year has been an amazing ride of new reads. I had plenty of new reads this year, but I thought I’d share what my favorite books are from Filipino authors. In the last year, a few friends released their self-published works, which immediately became part of my must read pile. Then there’s the writing workshops I participated in a few months ago. I never got to finish my story, but the others were able to successfully finish theirs, so my reading list grew.

Kids These Days (Stories from Luna East Arts Academy Vol. 1) – Various authors
A few of the writers are my friends, so it was a given that I read their work right? Reading this threw me back to my high school years, where every encounter with my crush/es was something worth writing down in your journal. Or, Sweet Valley (twins, not High, ironically). I enjoyed the various points of view of the stories, and each one has little surprises that keep you wanting more.

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All the Doctors at Cosmania 2014

Well, we finally did it. All the Doctors and the FemmeDoctors in one event.

All Thirteen - Homme & Femme Doctors
Photos by Cali Ynoviel & Bex P., background edited by BJ David. Yes, we are aware we made a mistake with the ordering.

I tried to recall how this all came about. My research brought me to a post in the Whovian PH group where a few ladies talked about making a group for the femme Doctors. It grew from there until we had a complete line-up. The girls were able to debut an incomplete roster last May during NexCon.

In the months that followed, everyone (and by that I mean the guys and the girls) worked together to complete all twenty six. We found people who were willing to play the Doctors, and helped them get their props and costume together. There were many sleepless nights where people stayed up to finish things, fueled by coffee and a lively Facebook chat group.

Somehow, we pulled it off.

And it wasn’t just the cosplayers. It was also friends who worked with us in shopping for materials, making accessories and the like. We had a trip to Divisoria to buy cloth and other stuff. Some braved torrential downpours just to help sew coats. Others actually learned how to sew, and even got their families onboard to finish things. And then there were the photographers.

Our companions were awesome too. We had Amy Ponds, Clara Oswalds and a Rose Tyler. We also had a Dorium Maldovar (hi Moses!). We were in the minority during the event as the crowd was mostly into anime, but we got recognized by a few people, and that was enough for us.

More photos from Day 1 can be found here. I’ll discuss the costumes and how everyone made theirs maybe in the comments. :)

Lessons from Library Work

When I was a child, I thought that working in a library would be the best thing in the world. I’d be surrounded by books that I can read whenever I wanted to, and best of all, there wouldn’t be that much contact with people because hey, I’m dealing with books. Friends who are book lovers or know my love for books and reading would agree and express their delight that I am actually now working in a library.

It couldn’t be more further from the truth.

Fact 1: Not all the books in the library are materials you want to read
I work in an academic library, one that caters specifically to engineering students and faculty. Almost all of the books we have in the collection are technical books. I haven’t seen a single fiction or leisure reading book, unless you consider handbooks and technical materials leisure reading.

However, the library also has some special interest books, like website design, game design, management and the like, that I wouldn’t mind reading during my spare time. But that makes up just perhaps 10% of the whole collection. There are also some books that are useful for my masters, but again, not really leisure reading.

The magazines are another matter though. While we have a lot of specialized magazines, journals and periodicals dealing with engineering subjects, there are also general interest titles like Time, Reader’s Digest and National Geographic. Those are the ones I definitely want to read.

Fact 2: You will handle books and people
My first designation when I started the job was with the circulation section, where we handle the borrowing and returning of books, among other things. I handled books, but I am always in contact with the people using the library. Sure, I could probably just not talk to them as I go about my tasks, but since the library is a service oriented institution, you have to talk to them.
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Enter if you dare: UPCAT

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Tomorrow is one of UP’s biggest events: the UPCAT. Thousands of students from all across the country will go to the different campuses and testing centers, take the exam to try and get into the University of the Philippines.

I honestly cannot remember much about the exam itself, but the events around it are pretty clear. My exam was on the morning of the first day, Saturday. My dad came all the way from Zambales to accompany me, and I was relieved even though my tita was ready to take me.

Pa woke me up at 3:30 AM. I said it was too early, considering that we lived fifteen minutes away. But he insisted, and thirty minutes later we were on our way to a lugawan in Sikatuna for breakfast. He said I had to eat, even though I wasn’t hungry. Good goto though.

By 5:30, our car was parked in the parking lot in front of the College of Economics. Later, Pa told me that the other parents were asked to vacate the parking lot, but since he was early and he wasn’t sitting in the car, he wasn’t asked to move.

A little aside, my dad had years of practice waiting for me to finish stuff. My classes, my taekwondo lessons, JS Prom, hair treatments. He’d just patiently sit there and wait til I’m done. Thanks Pa. <3

Anyway, I was in line to get to the room, but we weren’t assigned one. Our permits were plain white papers (not the color printed ones the kids taking UPCAT tomorrow have), and there were no room numbers. Instead, we were asked to line up by permit number and counted off til a room was full.

I ended up in a room with a classmate of mine. By then, I was already feeling cold. The room had aircon, but I was the only one shivering. What the heck, I have a slight fever while taking the UPCAT. Can’t remember much after that.

Monday my classmates and I were exchanging stories about our UPCAT experience. Then everything was forgotten until the results came out.

A few years later, I went with my parents to accompany my brother and his classmates for their turn with the UPCAT. Last year, my cousin took it and tomorrow, a friend’s daughter will take the plunge.

Best of luck to all the people taking the UPCAT this weekend! Good luck with the traffic too. That’s the stage one of your test. ;)

[Book Excerpt] The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao

A talented group of writers broke into the chick lit scene a little over a year ago and gave us fabulous reads since. It’s been a busy time for all of them, but let’s take a break and look into one of my favorite books from this bunch, Kesh Tanglao’s “The Real Score”.

The Real Score - Cover

I met Kesh during one of the Philippine Volcanoes’ rugby games here a few years ago. While we bonded over the game and its players, I never realised that she was such an amazing writer too. When “The Real Score” came out in 2013, there wasn’t any doubt that I would read it.

So what’s the book all about?

Caitlin’s friendship with Marcus, the de facto frontman of the world’s biggest boy band Gezellig, has long been an object of scrutiny by almost everyone–their friends and families, the media, and his fans–ever since they “went public” a couple of years back. Who wouldn’t be interested? She was a nobody, catapulted into the limelight of his fame when he struck an unusual friendship with her.

To both Caitlin and Marcus, what they have is a “perfect little thing.” But then something comes along and threatens it.

In a no-holds-barred interview, will they finally be forced to settle the score?

I won’t be reviewing the book, but instead I’ll let you take a peek into its pages. Here’s an excerpt from “The Real Score”.

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