Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm Grateful

I'm thankful for everything these days :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

IDEAS - 12 years later...

I miss being a full time student - seriously.

After I completed my undergraduate course, I was immediately hired and started working. I keep on studying part time while working though making the entire experience challenging. Now that I am a mom of two with full time work, I wonder how I will ever manage when I return to school again to complete my PhD. We'll see....

During the follow up program of IDEAS last year, there were 9 of us who participated from 9 countries (Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, Myanmar, Nepal, Cambodia, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka). Each of us was asked to present on our respective country experience on how we were able to cope with economic and social resilience.

In March 2011, Japan was hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake which took place 231 miles northeast of Tokyo. It was considered as the fourth largest earthquake on record since 1900 and the largest to hit Japan. That earthquake even caused a huge tsunami which damaged nuclear reactors in the area not to mention massive infrastructure. Even Japan is the most prepared country on such disasters that I know of, no amount of actual experience on dealing with this kind of catastrophes can one ever deal with.

Our follow up program was the second year anniversary of this event :(

What I presented was how our country was able to cope after the Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. ["After a Storm, We Rise: How the Philippines cope after the devastating Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) in 2009]. Around September 26-27, 2009, Manila was submerged in waters; everyone did not expected this to happen. Our house in Antipolo was filled with water until the entire first floor level; the rise of it was so fast that my parents did everything they could just to save the most important furniture in our house and moved to our second floor. I was not there when this happened :(

We learned a number from the Ondoy experience. Government failed to predict the scale of disaster. Damages reached around $270 million. After this, LGUs became more prepared and civil society became more active in responding immediately to such situation.

It was nice to be back and I feel like I was a full time student again :)
"Kampai" during a welcome ceremony of the program
Met my former language sensei and colleagues since 2001. The vendo deserves a huge photo too hehe.
Even if I miss being a student again, nothing can beat the everyday learning I get from my two children. I would not trade this for anything now :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Let's all be a hero in our own way

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fresh new 'do

My daughter, Syene, is growing up to be really pretty (like her mom hihihi). Last weekend, we went to a toddler salon and had a major cut of her hair. 

Look at that Mona Lisa smile after her haircut! hehe
A reminder to all of us (all age range) to be fresh looking for others all the time :)

Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

On the road these days...

It's a loooong weekend for most of Filipinos these days. It has been a stress free driving here in the metropolis so far. Traffic has been so bad since late June this year and road related accidents have increased tremendously as well. For daily drive I do to and from work everyday, I try my best to keep my mood upbeat and less be affected by the longer travel time. 

Here is a cute collage photo of Scarloe. She's too young to understand the "let's keep my cool moment while struck in traffic". That is why, she would often scream in the car:

Keep your cool always on the road :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday I'm in Love :)

Since I have no long weekends as compared to the rest of the world hehe, Im celebrating this day with this song :) 

TGIF, folks! 

video upload from youtube

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Many many reasons why I keep coming back to JAPAN!

I was a recipient of a scholarship from the Japan External Trade Organization back in 2001 where I earned my second postgraduate degree (Development Studies). 2001 was the start of my fondness and my eternal love for Japan. When I graduated in 2002, I would always go back on a yearly basis and explore each region and still find myself amazed each time. How lucky I am to work for a Japanese government based in Manila for 4 years too. This is how BIG the influence of Japan in my life.

Last year, my school, Institute of Developing Economies Advanced School or IDEAS invited me, being an alumni of the program, to a follow-up seminar. Can you imagine how excited I was of this opportunity to be back again? The last time I was in Japan was in 2010, the year I got married, and was not able to visit the country for 2 years. I was jumping with glee as soon as I got the invitation! The program time was perfect for me as it was season in the last stage of winter but approaching spring time.

I arrived in Tokyo, a day after my family spent holidays in Hong Kong. This means that I barely had the energy to plan the things I need to bring (moreso, the daily ootds there hehe). In addition to this chaotic but exciting schedule, my family was scheduled to make a big move to a brand new house a day after I will arrive from this Japan trip - kagulo no?

After I arrived in Tokyo, I went straight to our assigned accommodation which is located at the end line of Kaihin Makuhari station (Soga). My friend, Jenny, and I will meet for dinner around central Tokyo, which is around 1.5 to 2 hours away from my hotel. I quickly shifted to my rusted super basic local language and surprisingly I was able to managed to get through the crazy lines in Tokyo station :)

We went to a typical Japanese modern fusion restaurant and my first order was what else - UMESHU!!! Umeshu is a plum sake and of which is my most favorite drink in the world! hehe. How much I love umeshu, let me count the ways...

discovered this only in 2005 and the rest is history hehe
Umeshu is made from steeping ume (plum) fruits (best while still unripe and green) in alcohol. Its taste and smell appeal even those who normally dislike alcohol. Its sweet for me and I love it! The cold weather and umeshu was a perfect combination. Of course, umsehu with yakitori is the best!!! I miss this now here in Manila!!!

Happy to drink this again in 2013 :)

Japanese curry is like no other in Tokyo :)
A few good shots I had just outside Tokyo station as my omiyage (souvinir)

Love this forever :)
I will be back with family in Japan so soon :)