Monday, August 31, 2015

My First Philippine Literary Fest Experience! #PLF2015

It's the Philippines Literary Festival 2015! I attended Day 2 of the PLF and it was such an experience.

Unexpected heavy rains + unnecessary working at 3:00 am led to me to wake up later than I expected last Saturday. So yeah, I missed half of the session I scheduled myself to attend, but I still managed to squeeze it in.

I got my festival pass and started fumbling through the schedule. There was a decent number of books on display. I was initially a bit underwhelmed by the displays as I expected a festive mood, it being a festival and all. But anyway, I quickly realized that the festival's true stars were really the different scheduled sessions throughout the day. 

Books by featured authors Meg Wolitzer and Mathew Quick were in the spotlight.

Armed with the trusty ol' Latte, off I go.

Me and my friend got the chance to squeeze into the Namayan room for the last 30 minutes of the Looking for the Filipino Public Intellectual sesh by The Manila Review. It was a very refreshing discussion on identifying public intellectuals, how to be one, and their importance. How it was the public intellectuals' duty to make their opinions public - there's a reason there's the word "public" to "public intellectual". There was a bit in there where they discussed the importance of the reviewing culture to the Philippines Literature industry - that the Philippines don't really have an active book reviewing culture, and that most of the time, Filipino book reviewers choose to review, talk about books of foreign authors, sometimes totally ignoring the local publishing scene.

To be honest, I was kinda guilty of doing just that. I realized the sheer meaning and contribution that book reviewing does to promote and support our country's local writing community. I think I might try venturing to reviewing local books in the near future -- I just need to find the right book. :)

I was examining the schedule days before the actual event dates and I initially chose to include the Translation: A Creative Act session by Anvil Publishing to my lineup. I was lurking around the book shelves, in front of the Cafe Macaron stand when a lady all dressed in black (black hoody + black pants) with black paint all over her face holding a can of Lysol approached me and invited me to join their session. I said yes, maybe mostly because I was a bit freaked out by her appearance. It was hilarious how I initially thought it was a play and expected that all the members of the panel would be in full costume -- but, they were not. It turned out that the lady was Bebang Siy, author of It's A Mens World, cosplaying as Margo Roth Spiegelman from John Green's Papertowns (which she translated to Tagalog together with her husband, Ronald Verzo). She was really hilarious throughout the session.

They talked about the process of translating a book to Tagalog -- which, now that I think about it, is a really hard job considering all the things that you have to take into account. You have to reread the book over and over, owning the story as if it were your own, mapping the thinking patterns of the characters -- before you can make a decent translation of it. It's not the average word-by-word translation that most of us think it was. It is a long, complex process.They also introduced translating as a viable new career option, which, from the looks of it, was pretty interesting.

Coloring wall from the Hue Can Do It! team.

The last session, Venus Retrograde: A Poetry Reading Session by the Romancing Venus, was definitely the highlight of my day. I remember sitting in that chair, freezing from that all too cold temperature from the airconditioner of Raffles Makati's Ballroom 1. I remember being too excited because this is my first time listening to poetry being performed live -- I've always wanted to go since forever. And I remember thinking that I am in for something special and that I know I would enjoy it even before listening to the actual thing. It was really weird.

Saying that the things I saw right there and then were some of the most heartfelt things I've heard and witnessed in my life was, I guess, an understatement. I can't really explain it, but I was really overwhelmed during the whole thing. It was truly magical. And it was amazing how these ladies can completely put themselves out there in the open -- exposing the rawest part of themselves to people who cared and dared to listen. I've recorded almost everything from that session because I know that these are things that I would want to look back to over and over again in the coming days. And I'm still trying to figure out how to upload everything, and by that time, I guess I'll make a separate post about it.

Random selfie, y'guys! :*

I literally mooned over the girl's room waiting for Roence Santos to come out just to take a picture with her. It was definitely weird but I just can't let the chance pass by since I was really touched, inspired and enlightened by everything that she performed and said in that session. I hope I can encounter her again in the future. *hopeful*

Obligatory shot.

The Philippines Literary Festival 2015.

Crappy OOTD shot, complete with a cup of coffee on hand. :)

I definitely enjoyed the event despite just going to one out of the three days in the scheduled programme. Definitely something worth remembering and gushing about. I hope I could still join next year. 

~ R.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cover Reveal + Excerpt: Masquerade (Andalucian Nights, #2) by Hannah Fielding

If you've been following me on Twitter, you've probably heard me gushing about a certain romance book titled Indiscretion. As it turns out, it is part of a trilogy called the Andalucian Nights by award-winning romance novelist, Hannah Fielding.

After the captivating first book of the trilogy, it's Book 2, Masquerade,  has recently been published!
And as a treat from Hannah Fielding herself, here is the cover of her latest novel plus an excerpt of the book! :)

Masquerade (Andalucian Nights, #2)
Book Blurb:
A young writer becomes entangled in an illicit gypsy love affair, pulling her into a world of secrets, deception and dark desire. 
Summer, 1976. Luz de Rueda returns to her beloved Spain and takes a job as the biographer of a famous artist. On her first day back in Cádiz, she encounters a bewitching, passionate young gypsy, Leandro, who immediately captures her heart, even though relationships with his kind are taboo. Haunted by this forbidden love, she meets her new employer, the sophisticated Andrés de Calderón. Reserved yet darkly compelling, he is totally different to Leandro but almost the gypsy’s double. Both men stir unfamiliar and exciting feelings in Luz, although mystery and danger surround them in ways she has still to discover. 
Luz must decide what she truly desires as glistening Cádiz, with its enigmatic moon and whispering turquoise shores, seeps back into her blood. Why is she so drawn to the wild and magical sea gypsies? What is behind the old fortune-teller’s sinister warnings about ‘Gemini’? Through this maze of secrets and lies, will Luz finally find her happiness… or her ruin? 
Masquerade is a story of forbidden love, truth and trust. Are appearances always deceptive?

Excerpt after the jump!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Of Random Thoughts and Plans

It's almost 10 minutes after 3:00 in the morning and I am writing this while waiting for an e-mail attachment to finish uploading. Work as always, but it's just me procrastinating early on that's why.

From the last few days, I've learned to somehow set a boundary between my me-time and my work. The number of times I checked my e-mail, replied to a text, or just answered a call after office hours was surprisingly lesser compared from before. I don't know if it's a good thing -- but what I do know is that it helps me keep my mind at ease if just for a few hours.

I am slowly coming to terms with the reality that these things won't really affect me that much if I don't also think about them that much. And so far, it's been good.

I'm am striving to finally get a life outside of work these past few days... and luckily, the results were satisfying. I even had a bunch of things on my to-do list right now. Pretty special things! :D

  • I am gearing up towards a really big change in my life that I just decided to do one particularly humid afternoon, after talking to my dad and realizing that I don't know what the hell I am doing with my life at the moment. I am finally going back to school, and as much as I want to say more about it... I guess, I'll announce it here once it's all set in stone. Ayt?

  • Status and blog updates of friends or just plain acquaintances getting published seriously bothered me and got me to thinking where my dream of becoming a writer go. I've always wanted to write, and even if I know that I'm not particularly good at it, the dream still lives on. The craziest thing I did this week? I created an account in a writing platform under an alias. I mean, really. >.< I want to literally write my own fiction, the fiction I'd like to read. I don't really have that ultimate goal of being published (but if given the chance, yeah, that's an added bonus)... but this is me trying this thing rather than regretting not doing it for the rest of my life. :)

  • I am actually thinking of finally changing themes! For this blog, yes! I know that my current layout was made by sheer effort right before my college graduation but I do think that this style does not suit me anymore. I'll squeeze things in, and, hopefully I could find time to do it. 

Life is crazy these days. But I know, the next few days are gonna be exciting! :)

My comfort cafe is back!

It's back! It's finally back! 

After weeks of renovation, Press Cafe (Rockwell Branch) has finally reopened. 

Since our previous office was literally just in front of the Power Plant Mall, this cafe has been my go-to place whenever I feel down or just downright struck by the bad combination of stress + pressure in the past. Carbonara has always had a special place in my heart. And this is one cafe where I frequently get my fix of that. It's an added bonus that it's beside Fullybooked. So yeah, you could imagine the book hoarding (and window shopping) involved while waiting for my order to be served at my table.

It was fully renovated, in all fairness. With a more spacious and more minimalist design.

And with all the books and what-nots, I think they're trying to pattern the interiors with their Alabang branch back at ATC.

Wood was everywhere. Even the menu styling was changed. 

We really missed their Chicken Roulade! I liked their previous plating mroe, but the taste was still the same. :)

A plate of Carbonara for me!  

Pasta Arrabiata for my friend.

Although we noticed some slight change in the taste of the pastas that we've grown to love in the past, uhm, smaller serving, and, uh, less interesting platings (attention: people allergic to change), it was still a pretty filling dinner. 

I still can't get the Muji Store back at Rockwell out of my mind whenever I picture their new interiors. But it was really an upgrade from their past design. 

Whatever, I'm just so glad that it is finally back on business again. :)

Chill out nights are back! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Life Lately #001

Well, sadly, August started a bit rough for me.

Life at work has been pretty tough for some reason these past few days.
It's not really the amount of work that bothers me, but how I respond to it.
I'm not normally like this, as I am a self-confessed pressure sucker.
Maybe it's the added responsibility, or just the thought that I have to prove myself every freakin' time.
It's like there's this implicit rule to always keep appearances... and more often than not, I hate that about the corporate world,
Sometimes, it's pretty exhausting to keep up with that kind of environment -- that I find myself retreating once again in this little shell of mine.
And that kind of thing -- that kind of feeling -- won't ever be easy to explain.

I don't know if I'll be in trouble for posting this, but I need to vent out.
Obviously, Facebook is not an option as there are people lurking in there, waiting for something they'll find 'juicy' to talk about (I can just imagine), or, better yet, poke fun at.
And I'm not really in the mood to be judged right now.

There're days when I am trying to figure out if I am going the right way.
There are even days when I just don't want to get out of bed -- devoid of any motivation to just downright exist. (Don't worry, no suicidal thoughts involved.)

Maybe I am undergoing some sort of 'quarter life crisis' right now, if that's what you call it.
I have these long talks with my father that can always be summed up with "I don't know wtf I am doing with my life right now."
And it's pretty frustrating, reaching this age and all.
That just when you thought things are going to get clearer, you find both your feet stuck deeper into that mud you're in.

I badly need change in my life right now.
May it be my environment.
My career.
Or, say, just my mindset.

The next few months are going to be crucial.
And who knows, maybe I'll come out a better person from all of this (or a depressing chump who knows nothing but complain, oh well).

Big things are about to happen.
And big decisions are about to be made.
I can feel it.

But in the meantime, self, hold on. And try to get by.
Your questions will be answered in due time.


I am writing this at roughly 4 minutes after 7:00 AM on a Monday. It's a working day and I haven't slept a wink and I am wondering if this is really how I want to live my life.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Weekend Escapade: Beantage Cafe

A couple of weeks ago, we set out to find this cute little place that we found online. Honestly speaking, it's rare for me to hear about local cafes within our area that're getting rave reviews. Maybe I'm just not that informed, but yeah, you get my point.

Beantage Cafe is a quaint little coffee shop located among several commercial places lined up between Patindig Araw and South Super Market along Aguinaldo High Way at Imus, Cavite. We hail from Dasmarinas City, Cavite so getting there and locating it still took some time -- despite being a neighboring town of Imus.

It was just a small place, but boy they managed to make it feel comforting and all. And though you won't really think of it that much when viewed from the outside, the interior was artsy and cozy.

We each ordered our fill.

My sisters, of course, opted for the visually appealing blended cold beverages. One Ferreo Frappe (160 Php) and one Oreo Overload Frappe (145 Php).

Will you look at that? It even had a whole ferrero chocolate on top of the whipped cream!

I ordered a cup of good ol' Caramel Macchiato (115 Php) and, my go-to food at wherever, a plate of Creamy Bacon & Ham Carbonara (115 Php). To note, their carbonara was surprisingly tasty. :P

Comfort foods at their best. :)

We also ordered some Grilled Cheese Sandwich (70 Php) with some chips on the side + a Sizzling T-bone Steak (125 Php, not pictured).

One revelation was the Crispy Bacon Roll Ups (135 Php), that are like bacon-wrapped mozzarella cheese sticks, which were pretty awesome we ordered another batch for us to take home.

It was a really filling food trip.

The whole place was full of quotes about coffee and having a good time in general. :)

Found this nice clock hanging at the wall. 

They even serve their bills like this! Ain't it cute? :)

Anyways, it was really fun. I hope we can drop by again some time. :)

- R.

It's been a while since I posted an entry with my face on it. This was fun. :)


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