El Yu

There was a time a year or two ago when my Instagram feed was filled with photos of La Union- its beautiful sunset, big crashing waves, and all those cool hipster places that lined the beach. I never have thought that I'd find myself in one of those cool hipster places a year or two after.

Thank you, dear colleagues for planning the entire trip from booking bus tickets, finding accommodations to scheduling which restaurants to have brekkie, lunch and din-din. El Yu has turned us into millennial titas who would rather stay at a cafe than watch younger millennials get wasted in Flotsam & Jetsam.

We all badly needed this trip to get away with things. 




Happy weekend everyone!

Unwinding


Oh how lovely it is to just stare at the lush greens and fluffy clouds, take in the fresh smell of pine trees and feel the cool gentle breeze...

I went on a spontaneous trip to Baguio over the weekend. The goal was to unwind and not think about a single thing. Well the unwind part was successful, but not the latter. Things have been super dooper crazy lately but I'm glad I have my "rainbows" after the rain.

Before heading back to the MidEast, my second brother had to fly to Manila from Cagayan to pick up his things. My brothers and I had three days to spend together, such a rare occassion because the two of us have worked overseas for so long.


In this photo, they picked me up from work and we had dinner near my office. Since I cant remember the last time we sat down and had breakfast together, I also made sure to prepare a home-cooked meal for them. It was a nice sight to see my second brother washing dishes after meals, while our eldest wipes the table clean.


Monica's family invited me for Mother's Day dinner since I was all alone in Manila at the time. It was great to catch up and enjoy a fun conversation after a very cruel first week of May. Another friend also dropped by my workplace last week and we had coffee together. Being able to vent everything out to people who are soooo willing to listen is just the best feeling in the world.



I was looking for an instant pick-me-upper for the past days, and my favorite fries and green milk tea never fail to deliver. I had also some free time to quiet down and gather my thoughts recently at a coffee shop. I used to do this a lot in Taipei as can be seen from my posts before. Cafe relaxes me and helps me keep my calm- which I'm afraid I have been losing a lot these days.

June is just around the corner. I hope it'll be good to everyone!

Missing Things, Missing People


I miss my church community in Taipei. Friends often hear me complain about my tasks every Sunday in the last two years- waking up extra early to be at the sacristy, coordinating big to small things, buying cakes etc etc- but now that I'm not doing any of it, I'm starting to miss 'community' life.

To somehow make up for it, I sent messages to church mates last week and asked how's everyone doing. I know they have their regular Sunday posts on FB but it's different if you send a message directly to check on them. I also attended The Feast a few Sundays ago (photo above) to see if it'll have the same 'community' feeling. Although The Feast is a big group divided into several smaller committees, it was so nice to see young people serving together and building their own communities anchored in faith.

Speaking of serving, I now spend most of my free time (not a lot, sadly) preparing dishes at home to serve my brother. My goal is to feed him healthy meals and to make him stop from ordering fast food.
I like to think that I'm quite successful in my mission. I no longer hear the doorbell ring for any Jollibee, Mcdonald's or KFC food deliveries.


... And can I just share how I'm in love with this half-baked madagascar ice cream from Mad Mark's? It was my reward after finishing a project at work.


Mom and I watched The Lion King at The Theatre (Solaire) few nights ago. I can't believe it was my mom's first time to watch a musical. She was very impressed with the A Circle of Life performance and kept saying "Ang galing, ang galing!" The show was really good but Les Miserables will always be my number 1. I have yet to see Miss Saigon :( I hope someday we'll get to watch it on Broadway.


Happy Easter!


Happy Easter, everyone! May the peace and joy of the Risen Christ be with you and your loved ones! 

It was the first time that I spent Holy Week in Manila. Imagine my shock when I saw the streets practically empty. I went to 3 different churches for the Paschal Triduum. Such a huge difference from last year, when I was running back and forth coordinating with readers, assigned apostles etc. I was happy being just a regular parishioner this time around. 

I had no time to write anything last month, so here are some quick updates and photos. 



I didn't know International Women's Day is a big thing here, well at least for the company I work for. Women were given cupcakes and a pen to celebrate the occasion.


Catch up sesh with Joy and Mary, my fellow Ortigas girls. Joy used to live in Makati, but moved to Ortigas after getting married. We take the same route every day and spend the same amount of time on the road. Mary on the other hand works somewhere in Pioneer. Happy to share that I've quite gotten used to Manila traffic. BUT I have not erased my TPE metro and bus app on my phone because I miss their public transpo sooooo much. Bus 311 was my life.


Date with Auntie F. Last I saw her was in late November so it was definitely time to catch up before she goes on a month-long solitude. I'm truly grateful to have her in Manila because I know people in Taipei are missing her soooooo bad and will do anything just to see and talk to her. She has a special way of making people feel better if they are down, she knows what to say, how and when to say it.



Trip to Dagupan and Manaoag with my mom. My sister-in-law gave birth a couple of weeks ago. We went to visit her and my tiny baby niece. We can't get enough of her! My mom wanted to bring her back to Manila. On our way back, we passed by Manaoag to hear Mass and light some candles for thanksgiving and prayer intentions.

Wishing you all a happy month of April! :)

Taipei Series: Notarizing and Authenticating Your Diploma or Transcript of Records


So you have finished school and is almost set on packing your bags (or boxes) before your scheduled flight? Don't leave Taiwan just yet without having your diploma authenticated! This will save you from headache once you return to your home country and your "new employer" asks for an authenticated diploma (in case they find it quite unbelievable that you studied in Taiwan, or for formality's sake).

The process is easy but is a little time consuming.

1. Go to a district court or a notary public office to have your diploma (or transcript of records TOR) notarized. 
What: Required documents include passport, ARC, original copy of your diploma (or TOR)
Where: If you reside in downtown Taipei, the nearest place to have your diploma notarized is at
The Lin Chih-Yu Notary Public Office, Taiwan Shihlin District Court.
9F-1, No. 48, Section 1, Chéngdé Rd, Datong District Taipei City, 103 (short walk from MRT Zhongshan Station Exit 6)

OR

If you reside close to Xindian area, it might be wise to have your documents notarized at the
Taiwan Taipei District Court Xindian Division.
No.248, Sec. 1, Zhongxing Rd., Xindian Dist., New Taipei City 23146, Taiwan (short walk from MRT Xindian Station Exit 1)

Fees: NT$750 for a document in English (max 5 copies for each doc)
Processing takes 1-2 days.

2. Go to the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) to have your documents authenticated. 
What: Required documents are passport, ARC, notarized documents, and an application form for document authentication (may get from BOCA)
Where: Bureau of Consular Affairs
3-5 Fl, No. 2-2, Section 1, Jinan Rd, Taipei City, Taiwan
台北市濟南路一段 2-2 號 3-5 樓
MRT National Taiwan University Hospital Station Exit 2.

Fees: NT$400 per document
Processing takes 5-7 working days.

Hope you find this helpful!

Something About February


February air is surprisingly cooler. I have not turned on the AC in my room nor the fan for days now, but I find myself reaching out for my blanket in the middle of the night.

There is something about February that makes it feel so comforting. Perhaps because the holiday rush is over, and I'm now able to take things slow. Or maybe because I have gotten the hang of Manila life? I don't really know. My life has just been relatively quiet these days and I'm happy I get to hear my own thoughts or just be in conversation with myself.

Life updates: I'm now a regular employee at work (hooray!!!) and will celebrate my 6th month here at home in a couple of days. I can't believe 6 months flew by just like that. I feel more 'settled in', creating some routines of sorts and opening up my life a little -or maybe a wee bit more- to others. There are things that I sorely miss, but if I do focus on them, or keep on ranting or wishing for the impossible, I know I'd miss out on the many beautiful moments that are right before me.

On other things: I'm loving Toby's Estate Roasters (photo above) and finally gave in to my milk tea and fries cravings... Coco milk tea and Potato Corner!

Happy month of February everyone!

Happy 2018!


Happy New Year!

I hope it's not yet too late to write a NY-look-back-to-the-year-that-was post. I don't have much time to gather my thoughts lately. If I do have the time, I would usually just do it in bed with my eyes closed until I fall asleep. I divide my time between work and fun, but by the time I get to the 'fun' part, I find myself so tired to even do anything.

BUT that was last year... the busiest year I've ever had. It was eventful (especially if you count the number of weddings I attended, we'll get to that later), fulfilling in so many aspects and very much life changing.

I spent January of last year with my family then flew to Japan with my Linguang friends in February. My colleague and I attended a training in Seoul in late March, and bonded with Monnette when she visited Taipei in April. Two of my closest friends had their ting hun or engagement ceremony in May so I flew home, and we finally completed our mini home renovation around June.

I submitted all requirements for my new job in Manila mid-July and told my friends that I will be leaving Taiwan soon. I started packing 8 years of my life in boxes, resigned from my job, said goodbye and landed Manila in August, just in time for my friend Hana's wedding. I started with my new role in mid-August then another good friend of mine, Sharie, got married in September. I celebrated my birthday in Manila again after 8 long years, and busied myself organizing bridal showers of my college and high school best friends Joy and Monica, from November to December.

At first I wasn't too excited for the coming year. I felt terribly uninspired. But after spending time with my family and relatives, celebrating milestones with my closest friends, and praying in that beautiful chapel sitting atop a hill in a small Cagayan town, my emotional and spiritual tanks are now overflowing. Year 2018, bring it on :)

(Photos from Joy and Monica's bridal shower and wedding)