Looking back at my 2018, I thought not much has happened. But pretty much like everyone else during the holiday break, in anticipation of the new year clocking in, I browsed my phone’s photo gallery for moments that must have stood out. I realized I haven’t been taking that many photos as before, still, I can sum up an awe-mazing year with this slideshow.

Dish gardens, more puppers, food & getting fat, working behind the scenes, new communities, reunions, partying at McDo, rethinking wellness at the office, new ventures
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Million dollar theory of happiness

We know him as the genius behind the theory of relativity, but thanks to a handwritten note he left for a bellboy, that fetched US$1.6 million at an auction in Jerusalem in 2017, Albert Einstein seem to have espoused another theory, though short, this time about happiness.

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

Albert Einstein

It was in 1922, Einstein was staying at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, about the same time he learned about his Nobel Prize win. Having no change to tip the bellboy, he instead wrote down the above quote on a piece of hotel stationary, saying to keep the notes (there were two actually), as they could someday be worth more than a tip. And as the genius predicted, the bellboy’s family must be happy now to have kept that precious piece of writing, now famously referred to as the theory of happiness that’s worth over a million dollars.

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Gigi, the folding bike

Though I couldn’t do it daily, I’ve been trying to run after work before I go home. Running is the only workout I can do given my work schedule and longer commute. I would run circles for about half an hour at that pocket park in Salcedo that’s near my office. It’s a great way to cap a stressful workday and I’ve been getting good sleep every time. But when it started raining by June, I couldn’t commit to my running routine, I’d instead wait out the rain or traffic then go straight home. Reviving my gym membership would have been justifiable, but I was going there just for the treadmill anyway, so instead I decided to get a bike. It’s not like I can ride a bike under the rain, but the failed running routine and typhoon season aren’t exactly the reasons to go biking. But I went ahead with the purchase anyway.

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1/4 of 2018

For a good quarter of the year, I busied myself with mostly offline activities, even took a quick experimental sabbatical of sorts from social media. Thus, it took a while to get back to writing on this seemingly stale, abandoned blog. It’s easy to point to work as the usual suspect but not exactly, though it’s been as challenging (read: stressful) as ever, what with the changing tides in business, I actually have this renewed determination to make things happen, create and recreate the new and old, pursue better if not best outcomes, be the teacher and learner given the opportunity, not only professionally, most importantly for my own person.

It was this decluttering project that got me somewhat always weirdly excited, restless even. While I was slowly giving up some of my treasured possessions, starting with spare and unused gadgets, collectible toys and lately the pricey sneakers (thanks to carousell) I somehow regained this appreciation of only having a few, basic but important stuff, and pay attention to things that matter most. This means more time and energy spent for my well being, ultimately equating to more treasured moments with family and friends. And as if addicted to shopping, though the exact opposite, I no longer buy “want” things as I am now buying more “need” things and was always on the look out for the next extra or unused stuff that I can either sell or donate or pass on to relatives.

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Blank page

It took a while to write this post. Probably because I’ve been staring at a blank page for too long. I’d start keying in words, tying a few sentences, but before I can even construct a single paragraph, I’d delete the entire text and end up with a blank page.

You see, just like my recent decluttering efforts, I wanted a reboot for this blog: while I’m not giving up photography, I thought it’d be more purposeful and somehow therapeutic if this serves as my outlet where I can express more of myself through writing. I’d write about ridiculous thoughts and crazy experiences, explore other forms of art with which my weirdness can be justified, and share my learnings from the day-to-day demands of work and the misadventures we all try to prevent from happening but usually turnout to be life’s beautiful lessons. Thus the new tagline: “Reflections on life’s beautiful misadventures.” continue reading »

Martial law manga

Other than Voltes V, Mazinger Z was my childhood favorite. Along with Daimos, all these super robots were very popular during the martial law years (1972-1981) under the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos. And if you’re a martial law baby like me (I was born a few days after it was declared), I’m pretty sure you won’t forget missing out on some episodes as most of these anime series were either cancelled or banned. All I remember is that they went off air for fear (by the government) that kids watching were being taught or encouraged to rebel.

Yes, I remember joining the “rebellion” with playmates – badgering our parents why episodes were in constant replay and then suddenly disappeared and replaced with Tagalog shows. We’re missing out not only on Mazinger Z, but also his robot-girlfriend of sorts, Aphrodite A, who ends up bosom-less after going on a battle, whose attack “joga” must’ve started that slang term you can still hear today. Well, funny that I got to see the complete/final episodes of some of these shows when I was already working as an adult. Still, I have a lot of manga-catching up to do, so many I’d really like to read/see again, though some I couldn’t remember the titles anymore hahaha. continue reading »


Give me a few more weeks and I can proudly claim that I’ve become a minimalist. I actually didn’t know it’s been called that term, I always thought of minimalism in terms of photography. No I wasn’t unhappy or miserable, the level of clutter I have is not even alarming enough to that of a hoarder, but I guess it’s because I wanted to live within my means and enjoy life without the pressure of wanting more. I came across this documentary film about minimalism by Matt D’Avella and was inspired even more. Here’s what got me started. continue reading »

Into dish gardening

While it took her a while to quit cigarette smoking (I stopped several years ago) I’m just happy that my wife, who remains a huge Aldub fan, have realized she’s gifted the green thumb and kind of got addicted to gardening, and collects a variety of cacti, succulents, and several flowering plants.

It all started with the small, barren areas in our garage and front yard, having had our house fully renovated last year from one story to add another floor to accommodate more rooms. What used to look like a puzzle of plumbing lines and unsightly cement droppings and broken hollow blocks, are now plots for beautiful gardens when she got them fixed, with which she’ll wake up early every day (even if she hardly slept due to work) keeping her mornings preoccupied with watering and tending to her plants. This also got her started with dish gardens and turned it into a business of sorts – Lhen’s Dish Gardens – selling her creations to friends and those who inquired online. continue reading »