Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Last time I was in Baguio was Concert Tour '99. I was 17 and in 11th grade, traveling with fellow show choir members during the school's yearly outreach program. While other groups were planting veggies at the GeoFarm or building homes with Habitat.. us "artists" performed in public schools throughout a group of pre-selected provinces.

Before that, was Baguio with my family in 9th grade.

What do I remember about this popular mountain getaway? Aside from the country club, cool weather and strawberries.. not much. So when the opportunity arose to roadtrip with friends to sing for a wedding of another friend's sister, I said YES!

It was a weekend of flowers...

purple blooms!

i think i must've exclaimed at every. single. plant. and. bloom

succulent ishtrawberries & delightful local yogurt

finally! strawberry taho! 


Brea goes to Baguio 

our lovely and ever-gracious hosts for the weekend

and fun. 

you'd think we'd tire of singing.. 

silly fun @ Minesview Park

We witnessed a beautiful wedding...

t + n + k

beautifully done event! 
.. did some sight seeing.. 

pasalubong shopping @ Little Flower Convent

poor pink horsey :( 

.. and spent a lot of time laughing and enjoying each other's company. 

who needs tsinelas when you've got an awesome pair of stacked heels?!

fun is never without food

oh the laughter that filled our bedroom that weekend!

All in all, an awesome weekend :)

Hopefully, I don't have to wait another 12 years before getting an opportunity to go to Baguio again! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011


rED went to Donsol this year.
mayon volcano greets me as I deboard from my 10-hour bus ride from Manila

Shortest (2.5 hours) and most remote event to date so logistics was a bit of a challenge. What could you do in that short of a time that would make the most impact? How do you transport all of the rED inventory in and out of Donsol? How do I prepare and run this all of this by myself?!
kiddies helping bring in the broken chairs

Then during the event, it rained right before the build so I had a mini-panic attack trying to figure out how to move the event indoors given that all the classrooms were being used for well.. class. I didn't even want to think about how dangerous and cramped it would be to have 80 kids hammering and sawing in a tiny classroom with very dim light! Miraculously, the rain stopped for the few hours the event ran so we proceeded as planned.

kiddies sharing an umbrella before the rain started to pour

Recently we've been doing elementary school builds and those have posed to be a challenge as well. My great tagalog skills + gazillion kids screaming in bicolano  = big headache + lots of wasted inventory.
briefing the kiddies (picture c/o JPD)

None the less, the event went well! The volunteers (many visiting the Philippines for the first time), had an opportunity to see the state of facilities many public schools are in whilst being won over by the  kiddies. The kiddiess on the other hand had fun asking the volunteers question after question, while fixing up the very classrooms they learn from- hopefully leaving them with a sense of ownership over their school. We left having painted 2 murals, fixed-up close to 40 chairs and planted 70 seedlings.
quick energizer! (picture c/o JPD)

Rest of the time in Donsol was glorious as I had an opportunity to relax- and goodness knows opportunities like that don't come so frequently anymore. My free afternoon was spent sitting on my ass reading a book with mango shake in hand. Evenings were spent either schmoozing poolside or drinking endless supplies of wine and champagne in a 100-year old home that was guzzied up for a party.
nothing but freedom ahead!

One also doesn't leave Donsol without swimming with the whale sharks and going on a firefly cruise down a mangrove-lined river. The butanding experience was surreal! The first time I dunked my head into the ocean, I saw this HUGE maw swimming right at me! I froze for a few seconds before finally swimming out of the way and simply watching in awe as it swam by me.. so close to almost touch! I was swimming along side and chasing it as fast and as far as I could by the next two. Glorious they are!
BIO (butanding interaction officer) on the look out for whale sharks

The firefly cruise I felt may have been more amazing if we had traveled further down the river. Our 6-seater bankga had "parked" itself beside our assigned tree and there we watched the awesome synchronized light show (ie: mating dance!) of the fireflies. I can almost image how breathtaking it would be to see ALL the trees down the pitch black river dotted with twinkling firefly light. What I actually found even more staggering was the night sky. Free from the glow of city lights, the dark blue sky seemed to stretch on and on and on. And the stars?! Stunning. So. Many. Stars.
I wish there were still ceilings like this!

If only I had a the appropriate camera to capture the Mother Earth spectacle I witnessed that weekend!
Firefly cruise time!

Leading up to the weekend, I was consumed with how to get work done in time and how I would manage running the rED event. I hadn't thought at all about the days that would follow- that they would be so... relaxing. So though I did sneak in some work (thanks - or no thanks - to the wonders of email connected mobiles), the weekend forced me to rest and enjoy. Which we all do need once in a while yes?
sorsogon sunset