Tag: birthday


This birthday post is around three months delayed and for good reason: Unlike last year, I spent my birthday back in Cebu with my family and shortly after departed to start a new chapter of my life here in Vancouver. As of this writing I am officially no longer a student, but by God’s grace, now part of the Canadian working force (on a post-graduate work permit)!


My whole summer in the Philippines was my very last stretch of an afforded vacation. I knew I wouldn’t be able to spend a whole season once I started working. It was a blessing to be able to spend time with my family and friends. I went out almost everyday! That’s crazy draining for an introvert like me, but well worth it as I look back on all the memories I’ve made (board game nights were the best). Although Fritz and I aren’t together anymore, I am glad we remain friends. Despite the love and care we have for each other, our priorities have caused our paths to diverge into an incompatible future. Last summer we already called it quits, but he treated our last months together in friendship as nothing but self-less. He killed me with kindness. For that and more, he will always have a special place in my heart. I have grown and learned so much in our four years together and I will always be thankful for meeting him. If ever you are in Cebu and get to hear of his catering or cooking, you’d be wise to give it a try. He is a very talented chef and that’s no bias.


Nat and I celebrated our birthdays together at the BIG Hotel, owned by our good friend Kate Ngo. We had our high school classmates and their significant others join us for dinner. A few birthdays ago I had the idea to make a time capsule for us. All of us wrote our goals for our 25th and 30th birthdays and when it was time, we’d open our papers together to reflect on our life progress. Charlie said we should read our goals out loud to each other when we hit 30. I’m not sure everyone would want to but that would be really interesting!


If I could be painfully honest, I now feel more at home here in Canada. If I could have any crazy one-time wish it would be to bring all of my family and friends here. I can truly testify how much God knows my heart because he’s brought me to my own paradise here on earth. Even a routine walk to work brings me so much awe as I pass by pigeons flying towards the North Shore Mountains. I am not sure if my future lies in this country, but for now my heart is.



Pretty teacup roses from my mom.

I know I’ve not been a very diligent blogger for the past 2 years. Getting digitally lazy because real life is so much more fun. Nonetheless, I will always try to make my birthday and new year posts!! I know there are some followers of my work who look forward to my blogging, and I want to apologize to you guys specifically. I know how it feels to like a blog and get disappointed that the blogger suddenly fades away~ I appreciate the facebook messages and comments you leave me. Always know you touch my heart with your generous words!

Yesterday I had dinner with a few of my friends here in Canada. We dined out like pigs at Sushimoto (pretty good Japanese restaurant!) in North Burnaby. I was really excited to treat my good friends to this wonderful dinner but… Christina hid my credit card so I couldn’t pay! T_T Turns out the custom here in Canada is if its your birthday, your friends pay for you! They did it for me last year but I only thought it was because I was FOB– fresh off the boat (or should I say plane) and they were being nice by welcoming me here in Canada. Back in the Philippines, the birthday celebrant treats all his friends not the other way around!


Matcha green tea and red bean cake with raspberries cake. Divine.

Well. Have to admit I was really uncomfortable with the tables turned, I felt uneasy like I totally didn’t deserve the treat and the veryyyy yummy matcha green tea and red bean cake!! Can a cake be anymore my type?! It’s funny coz Fung was “obviously” carrying it from the car to the restaurant but I NEVER even noticed. Actually can’t believe I didn’t suspect a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. I have fooled myself to believe I’m really receptive and sensitive to things but turns out I’m not! Haha. When the cake arrived I was thinking “How does the restaurant know its my birthday?? :o” But wow my friends are great T_T Never even suspected one bit they would do these sweet things for me!! I’m so thankful! Don’t you think I have awesome friends too? Can’t wait until their birthdays come so we can all have a great day like mine!


Happy girl being posed and dictated on how to slice the cake.


More pictures of the cake coz its AWEZUM.

Diane made that sweet gift and letter for me and Christina gave me those instax photos! These two girls are really sweet and thoughtful T_T My heart is really swelling now. Lord please bless all my friends so much. I’m asking you because I don’t think I can really give them as much as You can! On a side note, my hair is getting extra curly like mad, especially when it rains. The frizzzz… If you guys didn’t know, I’m trying to embrace my wavy hair so I’ve stopped rebonding it since last year.

After stuffing ourselves with Vancouver sushi and birthday cake, I told my friends that I want to treat them out somewhere else if I’m not allowed to pay for dinner. So we walked over to a bowling center nearby, but again my card was still confiscated. So OK, you know what… I won’t tell my plans but I will make it up to them for sure. If you guys are reading this right now I just wanna say how thankful I am to have you as friends. T_T I’m afraid this blog post is getting too emo so I will stop with the cheesy overflows now.


I haven’t played bowling in a very long time but its actually more fun to play with people my age. I used to bowl with my Aunts and Uncles and struggle with the bowling ball weight… Well that part hasn’t changed. Kiddie bowling ball is still my choice of weapon!! We all had lots of fun. I’m happy that my friends enjoyed my pre-birthday as much as I did 😀


Check out Christina’s instax frames!! So cute. I think these pictures also make up for my lack of posting on Facebook. Haha.

So that was yesterday night. What did I do today on my actual birthday?


I attended the EMPOWER Kids Ministry training at Willingdon church! This is in preparation for my volunteering every Sunday to help take care of the kids at Willingdon Sunday school. In the past when I would volunteer for DVBS (Daily Vacation Bible Study for kids) I would always know at least a handful of people already and feel familiar with the environment. This time was totally different. Everyone was a mix of races and I was technically alone. This definitely helped me step out of my comfort zone to talk to new people, introduce myself and listen to their stories. After my interview tomorrow I’ll know what Grade level of kids I’ll be taking care of, I’m really excited! My heart swells as I think of the children that are and will learn about Jesus’ love for them. In the past year I’ve seen how important it is to be mindful of my actions and words when kids are around because it REALLY shapes their being. Believe it or not, kids see us adults as their HEROES! Its up to us to choose if we want to create a positive impact on the next generation. :)

Honestly, I feel that the church still needs more help than there is so if anyone reading in Vancouver finds it in their heart to help out, please email Amanda Ponte.

Off I go to eat what’s left of my birthday cake! Birthday cake for dinner oh yeaaa


The sky greeted me with gentle fog from the cold, and soft sun rays peeking through the trees on my birthday. I always go up my window every time I wake up to a new day. Today, I felt that God greeted me warmly just like every year.

Aha. Thought I’d given up blogging, eh? (Eh?! What a Canadian thing to say..)

As much as I fall back on blogging regularly, I’ll always try to exert more effort on writing a birthday post. Looking at my life in retrospect, both birthdays and new years list, helps me appreciate the choices I’ve made, the hard work I’ve done, the blessings I don’t deserve, and the future to look forward to. You can say that doing this routine has made me stronger as a person (self-realization is a big thing for me). It helps me be more optimistic even when life gets hard.

Compared to last year, my spirit is in much better shape now. I finally did what my heart sought to do. This is it. What I pined for and prayed for fervently. Where I saw myself since I was 20 but failed to do when I was 21. Now I’m 24 and it’s real. Sometimes I still can’t believe I wake up to my favorite sight of trees every morning. I’m so happy. God is so good. Life is wonderful when we make it to be.

I went to school thinking nothing special about today. I was content waking up and having good weather, stopping to admire the trees and flowers, and laughing at the squirrel who always thinks I’d steal its acorn. I smiled thinking about my successful attempts at making my breakfast Almond Milk and Fruity Oatmeal and Potato Salad with Honey Vinaigrette to pack for lunch. Fritz leaves me sweet messages to read and greets me in Philippine time and Canadian time. I’m again deeply thankful for him being part of my life once again. Also worth mentioning  is my cute dad who greeted me not one, but three days before my birthday! Haha

When I arrived at school, some of my classmates greeted me and my girl friends gave me a Birthday Girl ribbon, which reminded me of what my mom let her dog wear on its birthday. Haha! Classes proceeded as usual and ended with an in-class exercise which gave me a headache. I’m not sure if it was the huge iMac glare or all the making up stories I had to do in that particular exercise for Personas and Profiles. Ironically, Storytelling class is one of the most challenging for me…

I got a call that I needed to pick up a package at the Housing Office. I was thinking it was most probably Fritz’ birthday gift because he told me to watch out for it and showed me the package a few days ago. When I got to see what was waiting for me, I was totally confused– it was a gift basket! I asked the office if it was from BCIT or something, but no, it was actually from a person who posted it to me. I inspected the basket and was surprised that everything was what I needed. It was actually my type! Haha, things that I’d totally like. So I was thinking… This person really knows me. Hmm.

And then I opened the card. Oh, what a surprise. It’s from my mom! She contacted the best florist in Burnaby to send me a birthday gift. So sweet of her to surprise me like this. T_T

We went to the mall since it was still too early for dinner. I needed measuring cups and spoons because I plan to make home-made granola tomorrow (heehee). My friends then surprised me with a birthday balloon!

Such an AWWW moment… T_T The best part about this is that Christina took a video which ended up being really funny since they showed how sneaky they were. I tied the balloon onto my bag as I walked around the mall. I think I looked a little funny dressed up all red with a birthday balloon with me. But it was worth it because we got free chocolate at Purdy’s when the lady saw my birthday balloon. Unexpected free food is always welcome, especially when it involves birthdays. Makes it twice as special.

We then ate at a Korean restaurant because I was craving for bibimbap. My friends treated me out! After dinner, I treated them to ice cream bars before the mall closed. Christina gave Instax pictures for me to remember today. First time I’ve seen these rainbow polaroids. So pretty! These are going in my box of memories where I keep letters, photos and other memorabilia. :)

My friends gave me a basket of things, all that I think are so essential in my life right now. Like a 500 Quick Meal recipe  book (I’m always scrambling when I cook coz I’m so new at it), bath stuff (just in time! don’t need to run for shower gel tomorrow haha) and popcorn with a red Maple Leaf chocolate loli as a welcome gesture to Canada. They didn’t even know how much I loved popcorn, what a coincidence!

Please excuse my room. It’s not really messy but it just looks that way. That blue shirt is Fritz’ which I use as a pillow every night. Its an iconic shirt he always wore when we first went out as friends. It’s too small for him now so it actually fits me better. You can see where I put the ribbon on! They told me to wear it on my chest but.. No way, BCIT isn’t Disneyland. I’ll look crazy. lol.

I initially planned my outfit differently but ended up wearing all red today. My family would be so pleased. Chinese believe wearing red on your special day brings good fortune and happiness. One time going back to my dorm, a student called me Red Riding Hood and pretended to be the Big Bad Wolf. /so random

Overall, I was so overwhelmed because I didn’t expect anything special to happen today. But it turns out that this birthday is one of the most memorable ones. Thank you to everyone who greeted me and made it special! Especially my new friends here in Vancouver for the warm welcome. :) I’m off to meet one of my favorite people for some belgian waffles at Nero’s. And then I’ll be hitting the books and working on the deluge of projects and assignments… booo.


In search.

So, I officially turned 23 today. Every year seems to be different, mostly in the divergence from the essence of my photography. There are many human regrets but I try not to think of them that way, it helps me cope and move on to cover them as inevitable choices that must have been done to make who I am today. Altho for the young ones who are reading this now, I would like to tell you how I wished I pursued an arts course instead of a practical IT one. I remember how my most favorite subjects during college were maths and arts, but of course, arts over maths. One of the ironies I’ve come to realize in my walk in life is, most young adults don’t really know what they want to do until it’s *almost* too late. Therefore, before you hit university, take a chance to take that course your heart has been shouting about (fashion design, graphic design, music, dance, animation, theatre, film, etc.) no matter how impractical they may seem. Because really, if you’re gonna be so awesomely talented at it, you do have a bright future ahead!

In non-reflective mode, I had a great birth day. Simple and warm; just the condition where my soul thrives in. I love birthdays even when I don’t officially celebrate them because I get to reflect on the years before and the years to come. Also when my family and friends get all happy as if it is their birthday as well (just for that brief moment when they greet you). I haven’t been blogging lately which has been a shame especially since I just refurbished my blog. I am even a day late on my birthday post! But I have been traveling and living life more, which for me has become more important. I can feel the foundation setting and the world allowing me the privilege to be more relaxed and open-minded.

Precious time.

Compared to last year, I haven’t got anything special to give. I’ve been reading more books and researching on a new opportunity to start another chapter in life. I can’t give the details as of yet, but I’m praying for it to come. God is so good and ever faithful, and it comforts me that He is the only stable unchanging subject in my life. The most striking thing I have realized now that I am actually 23 is, time is running and running and I am still not on the road to my goal of giving back to my loved ones. I have chased my dream and made compromises just to commit to this relationship, and I have learned more about myself in the long run. I want to do photography, I love it with all my heart… But I just don’t want to do it solely for money. In short, the conventional way (here in the Philippines) of it supporting me doesn’t make me happy–it kills me! (This is where I realized depression is inversely linked to artistic inspiration).

How many months I was into a normal job, I realized I would probably take 30-50 years to become free enough to pursue fine art. Fine art is tough in the Philippines, I must admit. It’s value is never high enough as the provision of basic needs takes most of the effort out of us. Only the small percentage will not settle for anything less, but most of them will more likely be inclined to the art of buying sports cars and designing mansions.

Somehow after a few client shoots, I found myself uninspired and immobile. I’m thankful for the people I have met and shared conversations with though, the opportunities made me realize what I really wanted to do.

I want to be free to create dreams and stories of my own.


Woke up today feeling like its just another day. Folded my blanket, sat on the bed and stared into space. I had to remind myself that today was different. Starting this day, I have to remember to put two 2s on every personal data form I write on.

So being 22, what’s new? I don’t exactly feel like I changed or even aged, but I do know that I am not a student anymore.

And I still like cookies.

I couldn’t think of anything uniquely special to do on this day (I’ll work on it later), so I thought of giving a gift to my followers instead. The gift of Inspiration.

The following are people who have inspired me with their craft and some, their lives and visions. Artists are one of the most interesting people you will meet on earth. Most are passionate and emotional beings in work, love and life. They can have the weirdest or grandest dreams and visions and they will forever fascinate you with their charm.

; Nirrimi
is a 19 year old gypsy from Australia. Her father is Francis Firebrace, an aboriginal elder and one of the last remaining Master Storytellers of his kind. Nirrimi moved out and became a nomad with her lover at the age of 13, traveled and kept shooting. At 16 she was signed into an agency and at 17 she was shooting for Diesel with national and international awards at her belt. I am not sure but she is probably newly 19 now.

She is also a great writer and her view in life is very enchanting.

; Elena Kalis
hailing from the beautiful beaches in the Bahamas, she takes breathtaking underwater imagery. A lot of her works feature her daughter in innocent and sometimes dark situations. I was so psyched that she followed me on Behance! Such an honor. Her works make me dream of shimmering blue waters and endless zero gravity possibilites.

; Zemotion
No introduction is necessary. Many artists were born from the inspiration she has brought into the world. Her work is always polished to perpetual perfection. She is a legend in her own right.

; Jaime Ibarra
Jaime’s works mostly revolve around photographing women in culture, sensuality and pure emotion. He has Synaesthesia (same with Nirrimi) which can explain their vibrant photography and sense of style. Jaime has shot for countless magazines, and is a musician and graphic designer as well.

; Oprisco
I honestly don’t know much about him/her except for the assumption that he’s probably Russian and the fact that he uses film.

I also love the Old Master painters and Pre-Raphaelite painters. A handful of CG artists especially game character designers and scene painters also inspire me as well, but maybe I’ll post those for another day. I get most of my own inspiration from my insomnia and deep dreams. 
I dream so much at times it gets frustrating how I can’t get peaceful quiet sleep. I am guilty of not having to provide an outlet for the release as often as I should.
Inspiration is everywhere, in books, music, nature, culture, life and love. Art is one of the greatest gifts God gave humans. I am more than thankful for this birthday gift.