Finally: NaNoWriMo win

Note: This was supposed to be for November 2014, but there were a lot of things that needed to be prioritized, hence the delay.

After ten years and countless beginnings, drafts, heartbreak and frustration, I’ve done it.

I finished writing 50,000 words in 30 days and finally have that purple bar on my NaNoWriMo profile proclaiming me a winner.

A photo posted by Kat Sales (@saberkite) on

Continue reading Finally: NaNoWriMo win

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!

Weekend fun with friends, food and Iron Man 3

Unwittingly ate mostly Japanese food and Max’s over the weekend. Had a blast, even though my wallet’s pretty much empty for now.

Just the Girls
Friday night I met up with Shabby and Joiz for an event with Max’s. usually we get invites if they have a new product or promo, but to our surprise it was just a simple get-together (because some folks apparently were clamoring for one. I guess they missed the freebies? /sarcasm). As it is when I’m with these girls we got a few minutes of attention when we arrived an hour late and they had to set a special table for us. Then next they called me and Jo up on front because we had our birthdays a few weeks ago. We got cake!

Surprise cake from Max's!

Saturday I met with Shabby and Drew and may sister joined us. We were heading out to watch Iron Man and to shop. The lines for Iron Man was crazy, but thanks to Shabby we got to use the express lane. Unfortunately, the cinemas were all but filled, and the ones with seats only had them in separate rows. We ended up getting them anyway, and Drew had to back out because he’d already seen it and there were only three seats left for the screening we wanted. Boo.

Galit-galit on IRON MAN THREE #iPhone
Photo by Shabby

Japanese Spaghetti
That aside, we went ahead for a late lunch at Yomenya Goemon. My sister and I shared an order of Half and Half, and everyone split the cost on an order of Devil’s Pizza. Food was filling and flavorful, though it was sad that they no longer had the complimentary house tea like they had the last time we were there.

Retail Therapy
On with our shopping. First stop was Cotton On. Shabby wanted to find white tops for work, while my sister wanted to get a dress she can wear on her oathtaking ceremonies. I wasn’t expecting to get anything, but I found a nice shirt dress that was half the price of the one I wanted in Mango (which I still want).

We weren’t long in the shop. At most we probably spent less than an hour there, which included the fitting and the photobooth session. Drew had to deal with it, and I must say he was rather patient about it. Reward: cotton candy.

Iron Man 3
It was a hilarious way to watch a movie. I sat on the front row, while Shabby and my sis sat in different seats. The funny thing was the people who purchased the seat next to me never showed up, so my companions could’ve moved to those seats at any time. Oh well.

Not to risk spoilers, but I enjoyed Iron Man 3. My sister said it was ok to watch even if you haven’t seen the first two, as it’s pretty much independent (storywise) from the previous ones. There’s the trademark humor of RDJ (it’s not really much of Tony, as it’s also present in his Sherlock Holmes movies), and kick-ass special effects and of course, all those Iron Man suits. I had tears in my eyes during that part.

Must watch? Yes. Rewatch? Definitely!

Sunday was another fun day, but I’ll have to make a separate post for that.

Hello 2013

Final 2012 Project

My favorite new year greetings from one of my favorite people in the world, Neil Gaiman. I did this just today. I hope you like it.

Here’s to 2013. 2012 was a very bumpy ride, and it wasn’t exactly the best. But I believe that it was meant to happen for a reason, and that come what may, I, my loved ones, my family and friends will come out triumphant, happy and stronger.

Peace and happiness to you all.

Thirty One

Thank you for another year.

Thank you for letting me finish my first marathon today, and that I ended it with my body still whole.

Thank you for giving me my great family: Parents who tirelessly support & love me, siblings who keep me grounded, cousins and aunts and uncles who remain the best friends anyone one can hang out with, as well as inspirations in life. Thank you for a beautiful niece who continues to dazzle me as she grows.

Thank you for the friends who make up the family with no blood ties: Friends who have been with me for as long as I can remember, friends I just recently met but are wonderful and just as cherished, friends that I rarely see or talk to, but I know are always there. Friends that I can be silly with, who will gamely join in adventures and travels without a murmur of “I can’t do that.” Friends who do not give the advice that I want to hear, but the ones that I need to hear.

Thank you for keeping a roof above me head, food at my table and money to pay for the bills.

Thank you for the travel opportunities this year, the new places that I’ve seen, the delicious food I’ve eaten, the new experiences and the people I have met along the way.

Thank you for giving me the chance to listen to three artists whose music I so greatly admire.

Thank you for the freelance opportunities that keep coming my way. Thank you for the employment opportunities that are also coming up, and the people who remember me when the need comes up.

Thank you for keeping me healthy. Thank you for keeping my family healthy.

Thank you for the cool wind tonight that will help me sleep better.

Thank you. Thank you. I can’t say it enough.

The Sounds of Manila Transitio

It was a beautiful night as my Couchsurfing friends and I sat on a makeshift mat made of cardboard boxes at the Plaza Moriones at Fort Santiago, Manila. We were waiting for the Manila Transitio to start, and after a full day of walking and eating, it was nice to just be able to relax like this in the middle of busy Manila. We had food and drinks. The night was pleasantly cool and not a sign of rain anywhere in the horizon.

Manila Transitio 1945 is an annual event organized by Walk This Way tours and Carlos Celdran. It is held every February to commemorate the fall of Manila during the second world war where an estimated 120,000 lives of Filipino civilians were lost in a battle. This year, the crowd was treated with performances by the Mabuhay Singers and Deoro.

The program started with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem. It was the second time that day that I sang it, but this time it was in Spanish. It was a pretty rousing rendition and you couldn’t help but be amazed by it. After a few words of welcome from Carlos, the Mabuhay Singers took the stage.

The Mabuhay Singers
The Mabuhay Singers has been around since 1958 and is one of the pioneers of the kundiman genre. Many people of my generation would not be familiar with it, being more inclined to listen to foreign pop acts. It was great to listen to these singers who have been around far longer than I have been alive.

[singlepic id=387 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Continue reading The Sounds of Manila Transitio

Enter the Dragon

I’ve been a member of Couchsurfing since February 2010 but have yet to participate in anything the local group would organize. With all this free time in my hands, I’m eager to join in activities that sound like fun and do not cost much. When an invitation to join the group in Binondo to celebrate the Chinese New Year appeared on my dashboard, well, I couldn’t pass it up. I dragged Anne, my usual partner-in-crime for such adventures and off we go.

Getting lost, sort of
I’ve been to Binondo many times, and I was confident that I knew how to get there. However, I would normally come from the Sta. Cruz church side and walk up to Ongpin. I forgot what jeep I should ride if I wanted to arrive in front of Binondo Church. In the end, I walked a long way just to get where I was supposed to meet Anne.

The Philippines has a long and rich history with the Chinese. Business relations had been on going long before the Spanish set foot in the country. The establishment of the Chinatown here was in the 1500s, making the the oldest recorded Chinatown in the world — outside of China, of course. An interesting read about Binondo can be found here.

Filipino-Chinese Friendship arch

Meeting the Couchsurfers
Anne and I have the shyness gene so it took us quite a bit before either one of us had the gumption to ask the group of mostly red-shirted people in front if they were the CS group. Thankfully, we got it right the first time and a flurry of introductions began.

Street Party
The festivities had already started by the time our group of (my estimate) 40-plus people made our way through Ongpin. The street was clogged with people (tourists and locals alike) watching the dragon and lion dances. Hawkers lined the street selling lucky charms. Some shops were closed but many were open like a regular working day. It was easy to get separated from the rest of the group, which was what happened to me several times during the day.

After the fireworks and dance, the proprietors of a grocery store threw candy and other giveaways to the crowd. It was scary as people clamored to get something. To avoid getting crushed, I immediately left the area.

The colorful crowd scene

Continue reading Enter the Dragon

Moleskine on the Move: My Winning Entry

Some surprising and pleasant news came through my email yesterday afternoon. Bill Yeung of Working Unit Ltd./Moleskine Asia sent me an email informing me that I was one of the winners of the Moleskine on the Move contest. My entry was the top pick among all the entries submitted through the Moleskine Asia Facebook page.

I found out about the contest only a few days before the deadline. I had just gotten some new Moleskine from Avalon.ph and I was looking for information about the Peanuts editions when I stumbled across Moleskine Asia. I thought about passing it up, but I figured I’ve got a few days and nothing to lose. When I confirmed that the contest was open internationally, I decided to go for it.

[singlepic id=349 w=320 h=240 float=center]

The craft knife came in handy.

Continue reading Moleskine on the Move: My Winning Entry

Papa, Tatay, Dad, Lolo, Tito

One of my dad’s favorite stories about me is my first days at school. When I first went to school, I didn’t want him to leave me alone. I’d cry and throw a fit if he’d attempt to go. My classroom was at the second floor of the building, and according to my dad, I told him that he needed to place his hand on the door where I can see it. If he so much as removed it and I won’t see it, I’d cry.

I finally relented when he said it was tiring. I let him place his foot by the door instead of his hand.

This went on for a few months, until the school president had to talk to him and say I should be left alone, even if I’d cry and cry. He probably did. Big probs to my teacher Mrs. Pedrosa for keeping me in line.

During my second year at school, our room was at the very end of the corridor at the opposite end of the gate. It was dark, and scary for a five year old. However, this time I was more mature. I only let Papa stay at the gate of the school, and every so often I’d peek. I see his silhouette and I’d be fine.

My other “Dads”
My dad wasn’t the only one who endured the role of my yaya. My tito Omy would pitch in for days when my dad couldn’t go. Like my dad, he was patient with me and took my demands in stride. Even when I grew up he’d always tease me about it.

Growing up, I didn’t lack for male role models. My dad’s brothers lived with us until I was around 7 or so. Tito Omy was my alternative yaya, who taught me all sorts of things like how to make sweet munggo for a snack. Tito Abet was still studying then, and I’d keep him company in his room while he was reviewing. I’d sit quietly in my corner and do my “business”, hehe.

I also had one of their cousins, Tito Tito (yes, you read it right), who lived next door. He was still young enough to have the toys and the gadgets to amuse a kid like me. Countless afternoons were spent at their house playing or reading comics.

My mom’s brothers were also a constant in my life. Tito Del was older by only six years, so he was more of a playmate than an uncle. He was my inspiration when it comes to art, because he can draw and make comics. I still have some of our early sketches (I was six, he was twelve and we drew topless women. Hahaha!). Tito Ben was a font of information even before, and he always had something for me. I remember him making a sketch of me. So you can guess where a good chunk of my for-the-meantime-dormant artistic skills come from.

Then there’s my dad’s cousins Tito Noel, Tito Edwin and Tito Babot. Tito Noel and Edwin lived with us for a few years. Tito Babot would visit us every so often (he lives in Davao). All of them are generous and fun and wonderful to be with.

I also had my parents’ in-laws. Tito Athan I didn’t at all while growing up, but I knew him through his brother Tito Edgar. I’m happy that I see him every few years, and got to know him. Skype rocks di ba? 😀 Tito Vic was the quiet one, but as I grew older I appreciated his steadiness, his generosity and humor. He is also a geek in the truest sense of the word.

And of course, there’s my grandfathers. Mama’s dad Lolo Oning, and Papa’s dad Lolo Sal. As a kid, I was more partial to my grandmothers. My granddads seemed to be larger than life men, a little more distant than my lolas. Yet in their own way, they showed how much they love me, my siblings and my cousins. Both were well-educated, accomplished men who could be counted on. I never doubted that they love me.

To my Papa, my Lolo Sal, my titos and Ninongs, Happy Father’s Day! Thank you for the guidance, the inspiration, the love.

Last day

Today is the last day I can say that I’m in my late twenties when someone asks for my age.

Tomorrow, I shall join the ranks of the thirty and thirty-somethings.

They say thirty is the new twenty. Like it’s when you start to be more mature and adult. Um… I’ll have to see it to believe it.

In the meantime, no profound entries. Maybe tomorrow. I’m just gonna sit here and read.