Friday, 6 March 2015


The countdown got louder and louder by the second. 

Three... Two... One! HOLI HAI! 

It is holi, and over two thousand excited voices screamed, as a colourful cloud of rice powder or gulal filled the late afternoon air. The scene was quite a sight to behold in a country where the world-famous Indian festival of colours is just gaining popularity. 

~ ~ ~

Last Sunday, I got the chance to take part in the Philippines' third official holi festival, organised by Asia Society, as a documentation volunteer.

All geared up

It has always been my dream to take photos of the holi festival, and since I don't think I'll be flying to India anytime soon (no matter how much I want to), I thought why not take pictures of the celebration in Manila? 

I originally planned to attend the event as a participant, but when I got in touch with the head organiser and she asked me if I'd be interested in volunteering for the festival, I didn't think twice and said yes.

My main task was to record videos during the event, but I took the liberty of snapping some photos whenever I got the chance to...

An adorable girl smiles as she assumes a yoga pose

Children filling rangoli patterns with colored sand.
(In India, they use rice powder - and not sand - to make rangoli.)

The gorgeous Manila Bay sunset

Needless to say, it was an incredibly fun afternoon. Everyone was in the mood to celebrate. Bollywood music blared from the speakers, and everybody was on their feet dancing, hands thrown up in the air.

It made me wonder, if people celebrate holi this grand and this colourful in Manila, what more in India? That thought made me want to book a ticket to my long-time dream destination even more. 

Knowing that we, uber-stressed university students, deserve a break every now and then from school, I invited some classmates and friends, who'd be interested to get "painted". Three members from our college paper came to cover the event and have fun, as well as two classmates of mine, with whom I fangirl over about Bollywood.

We danced (on the stage - no less!) to "London Thumakda" (a song from the soundtrack of the critically-acclaimed 2014 Bollywood film "Queen"), posed for pictures at the photo booth, lined up to get henna tattoos done (okay, except for me, because I knew I'd just smudge the design while shooting videos), painted each other, laughed at how silly we looked, gorged on some yummy Indian food, and danced some more until early evening. 

I couldn't remember the last time I had so much fun with college friends. Thesis and a ton of papers to write kept us from enjoying ourselves for so long that we already needed to be reminded about what "happiness" meant. And as it turned out, Holi Manila was all that we needed. 

Inked! (Well, kinda.)

Manila thumakda :)


Holi Manila 2015 sure is a memory for keeps!

Check out the post-event blog entry of Asia Society Philippines right here:

***Holi is a festival from India also known as the "festival of colours". It is celebrated on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (which often falls on March) to welcome the season of spring. During holi, people throw colored rice powder or "gulal" at each other and up in the air to depict the colours of spring. Holi is also a time to celebrate unity.

Wishing you all a happy and colourful Holi :)


Monday, 23 February 2015

Cheese-Filled French Toast

Let sweet and salty flavours brighten up your morning with this super simple breakfast recipe. Actually, this is my mum's version of the classic favourite French toast, and I just kinda tried replicating it today out of hunger, and also because I wanted something nice to eat while watching the 2015 Oscars. Haha! 

Cheese-filled French Toast


1 Egg
1/8 Cup condensed milk
Sliced bread

* * *

1. In a bowl, combine the egg and condensed milk. Lightly beat the mixture.

2. Top a slice of bread with your choice of cheese (I used Kraft's Cheddar cheese, which is available in Philippine supermarkets).

3. Place another slice of bread on top of the cheese-filled slice, and press down until the slices flatten.

4. This step is optional, but for easy serving, you can cut the bread into quarters.

5. Coat the slices with the egg-and-milk mixture.

6. Fry until golden brown.

7. Serve and enjoy!
***You can dust your French toast with powder sugar or top it with syrup.


Friday, 16 January 2015

7 Times Sidharth Malhotra Proved His Hotness

Sidharth Malhotra is undeniably one of the hottest rising stars in the glitzy world of Bollywood. And as he celebrates his 30th birthday today, allow me to take my fangirl feels to the next level by listing down the seven times he got us all swooning over him.

Sid as hot nerd Abhimanyu Singh in Student of the Year

1. When his debut movie scene was a musical sequence about how handsome he is, because - well - he just is!

2. When he made you thirsty - like, parched-dehydrated thirsty - in all his shirtless glory.

***His well-built physique made him the first man to be featured twice on the cover of Men's Health India.

Left: 22-year-old Sid on the February 2007 cover of Men's Health India
Right: Seven years later (April 2014), Sid graced the magazine's cover once again looking more
buff with the flair of a true B-Town star.

3. When he tried playing the role of a bad guy but ended up looking  evilishly adorable instead.

With "Ek Villain" co-star Shraddha Kapoor

4. When he seemed effortlessly suave in his GQ India photo shoot.

Check out these behind the scenes clips!

***Before hitting it big in Bollywood, Sidharth Malhotra has done modelling jobs.

5. When he revealed that he loves doodling and drawing cartoons during his free time. 

6. When he showed off his sometimes-cool-sometimes-awkward dance moves in Hasee Toh Phasee.

***Yeah, shake it like Shammi!

7. When he urged his fans to practise animal birth control as part of PeTA's campaign to end animal homelessness. 

***He has a boxer named Oscar to keep him company in his Mumbai home. (OK, I'm honestly not a dog lover - I'm actually super scared of them - but how would I even bother freaking out over a dog when Sid's around? Haha!)


Happy birthday, Sidharth MalHOTra! 
Never stop being awesome!


***NOTE: I do not own any of the photos used in this post.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Cheers to another year filled with stories to tell, experiences, and new adventures!


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Illustrations

About a week before Christmas day - which is tomorrow (oh, how time flies!) - I devoted a few hours a night to paint a card (or two) that says "Happy Christmas" in a different language - most of them are the native languages of close friends and almost-family (I intend to upload the photos on Facebook and tag people, knowing how the post operates during the holidays). 

It was quite a challenge that I subjected myself to, since I was pretty much bored most of the time, and also because I wanted to practise painting with watercolour, experiment with other media, and to test my skill in lettering, which, I can honestly tell you, is really poor.

Making the cards was not easy. In fact, it was mostly frustrating. It's a lot like me writing, when I'd curse myself for doing badly in my pursuit. 

Anyhow, I am happy about how the illustrations turned out, cos they're not that bad or too embarrassing to show you.

Happy Christmas, everyone! :)

I chose to paint a wreath made of colourful Christmas lights for this one.
I used a metallic pen to add the silver twinkly effect. :)

I went a bit overboard with this card, but I really like how the nail decals
complemented with my watercolour "painting".

I've always wondered why the girl and the boy in the
popular Dutch ceramic souvenir are kissing, so I gave them a
reason to kiss: I placed them under a mistletoe. Haha! :)

Inspired by the wreath we have at home, I combined sprigs and hollies to
make this card.

Thinking it's probably like Frozen in Finland right now,
I made use of cool blue colours to paint baubles that
come in different shapes.

I love poinsettias and I love the Spanish language, so I thought, why not
combine the two? ¡Jaja! :)

I wanted the English greeting to look playful, so I mixed cheery colours
with metallic ones.

I had a difficult time deciding on what I should paint for the Filipino
greeting, probably because I wanted it to mean a lot, since I'm a Filipino
myself. Then it came to me: the PAROL! It's the most significant
emblem of our Christmas, so that's what I painted!