Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rome, Italy / May 2017


It was the second time that I operated FCO flight, yet first chance I witnessed the beauty of Rome. I was immensely grateful as I realized I saw only a portion of the city last time. It was in the middle of winter -  with the sun started to set at 5 in the afternoon, with freezing hands and starving stomach, I was lucky to see the Colosseo back then and had that Italian feels with our legit Italian pizza and pasta. I was with one of the best-est crew, so despite that I haven't gotten the chance to walk around Rome, still it was one of the best flights.


Allah indeed, loves me so much as He gave me yet another visit to Rome <3 I don't think my words could accurately describe how mesmerized I was with its beauty. Our flight felt like a time machine that brought me back to old times. Every corner is a sight of ancient remains.




Spring, certainly, is the best season to visit. The sun set at around 8 in the evening; surely Rome is beautiful at night, but unless you own the complete photographer kit, photos are always better when taken under bright, natural light. Also, the weather was just right, not too cold, nor too warm - perfect for #ootds.


A try of legit Italian gelato is a must to include in your to-do-list. Gelato shops are just around the corner so you can easily just have as much as you want.



I believe Rome sells the cheapest souvenirs in Europe. Magnets are available for only 2 euros each, but if you're patient enough, about 10-15 minutes away from their most visited spots, you can find shops that sells it for one euro. My personal collection are snow globes and I got a medium-sized one for not more than 10 euros.


A visit in the Colosseo costs just 12 euros. I recommend to book it ahead of time to avoid the hassle plus to save time in case you only have few days in Rome; you wouldn't want to spend half of your day standing in queue for your ticket, yes?

Below is a compilation of the vidoes I recorded, aka my first ever, travel vlog. Please play in HD. Enjoy!


If you have anything to ask, feel free to drop a comment :)

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Why I chose Sony a5100 in 2017




I cannot fully recall if I had mentioned before how much of a wise buyer I am. On every single peso I'll spend, I want to use it only on worthy things, otherwise on something I overly want. Money doesn't come easy. I learned it probably not the hardest way but hard enough to remind myself not to waste my earnings on unnecessary and impulsive wants. So when I was fully decided to get myself a decent camera, believe me when I say that I lost count on the number of days I spent watching reviews and reading comparisons of this and that. It was when i got sick of my indecisiveness that I finally entered an electronic shop and went home with my SONY A5100.

Numerous mirrorless cameras are available in the market today. So why, in 2017, I got myself a Sony a5100? Three factors affected my decision; first is the value for money (need I say more?), second is image quality and finally -  flip screen - because let's admit it guys, selfies are everything.


There's the sony a6000 with the highest ratings, most number of excellent reviews and consistently recommended by photographers -  it has good value for money and of course with impressive image quality, nevertheless, going back to my criterion - it lacks one major thing I need -  the flip screen. On another note, Canon's newest release -  the Canon M10 was also something I considered as Canon provides free download of their raw editor and we all know that shooting raw photos results to the greatest image quality. But no matter what I read or watch, reviewers say basically just the same thing -  Canon M10 is just a good upgrade from a smartphone. Canon M3 is a good alternative but apparently it is not available in this kingdom so I had no choice but to scratch it off my list. Then there's also the latest and famous for its retro design -  the Fujifilm XA3 (release date:2016). As compared with my Sony A5100 (release date 2014), the remarkable difference between the two, in my opinion, is the hot shoe, which, in case you don't know, is something a camera should have for attachment of external flash and other accessories. The price difference was something I needed to consider plus I don't see myself buying an external flash in the future. There will always be something better, it's just a question of whether you need it or not. In addition, upon my research, I learned that Sony, as well, has a free downloadable raw editor available on their website. So at the end of the day, I came up with the decision to get the Sony a5100.



So far I'm happy and loving everything even when I haven't tried putting it into test. Sure I've tried shooting lifeless subjects in our home and recording 10-15 seconds of random videos, but I haven't spend a day with it -  taking photos of this and that until the battery is drained, you know what I mean.. but InshaAllah soon I will and I promise to share outputs here -  ya'y! *excited*
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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Staycation in London

My recent visit in London was in the morning of  Easter Sunday. We were told everything was closed in the central except for the little shops that perhaps may open for just a few hours of the day. The metro, which, just so you know, the only mode of transport I've tried in their city, operated for hours less than the normal.  Clearly, I had no other choice but to stay in the hotel.

I believe the odds were in my favor as I finally had the staycation I was looking forward to, that for some reason, obviously didn't happen not until my London layover. I did nothing interesting or something worthy of blogging, to be honest. It was impressive how long I can laze around, tossing and turning, scrolling and stalking. More than the tiredness of my body, my brain needed a break from my career and everyday to-dos. I included two books in my luggage but their wifi connection was insanely fast as compared with my data plan (smh) so I spent most of my hours abusing the connection. lol I catched up on my forever favorite TV series - The Vampire Diaries until I finished the last episode of season 7. The thrill plus the fact that Nina Dobrev is finally back makes me want to download all episodes in an instant, yet, I was also reminded that I'm on their last season, ever, so I just have to savour each one. I hope with all of my being they'll end the show with a great klaroline scene and yes a hardcore shipper here and I don't understand how someone cannot? Aren't they just the cutest team ever?

Anyhow, I don't intend to bore you with my TVD-related rants, so to end my short post, here's a photo dump of my lovely room <3




PS. Shamelessly plugging my newly updated about me page, click! :)

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Short Review: Holding Up The Universe



Holding up the universe is a break from my common - heavy drama, nerve-racking, heart stopping, thrilling kind of read. Still, there was the emotion of loss, depression and helplessness, and maybe, just maybe, if you were ever once in their shoes you can say that this book can relive a scar that has always been there.


It's about two teens who  have always been different from the most of the universe. Libby Strout, who was once the fattest teenage girl of America, with panic disorder due to the sudden death of her mother, whose everyday life is filled with judgments, hate mails and insults, found her strength to show everyone that in spite of everything, she loves every bit of her being and she too, like everyone else, can go after her dreams. On the other hand, Jack Masselin, with prospagnosia, or better known as face blindness, is one scaredy-cat who pretends to be normal and kept his condition to himself not until he met Libby Strout. It was like meeting someone familiar in a room of strangers. Finally putting out his skeleton in his closet, he found comfort, understanding and finally being himself when he's with her.


My honest opinion: I happen to have three days off so I got the time to finish this book. I'm a sucker for pageturners, cannot-put-down kind of book so this one bored me, a lot.  Twenty pages left and I cannot wait to finally flip the last one. It was, perhaps, I got so used to thrillers and dramas that my mind was searching for something engrossing. There was no twist, nothing unpredictable.

On a positive note, there was this unexpected happy feeling after I flipped the last page. Not because I'm finally done with it, but for some reason, the book gave this positivism that you can never find in my usual reads. I'm almost always left with a heavy heart and a disturbed brain, but not this time around. I love how this book inspires its readers to never give up on dreams, and how self love and acceptance is the most essential thing of all. The "kilig" feels was also something I enjoyed - as though I was having a kdrama marathon! Haha! Turned out it was a good break for me after all. Planning to add up books in the same genre on my to read list, as a matter of fact.




This book was just given to me by the way by the boyfriend, if ever you are wondering why I read something out of my usual pick. I think it's the best thing about this book -  it's the most recent piece I got from my home - if you get what I mean :)
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Friday, April 7, 2017

A Break From The Sandpit

    Apart from the obvious fact that we all want to go home for our family, one thing we also look forward to is the change in the scenery. For someone who lived her past 24 years in a tropical climate, it is not only a challenge but saddening as well having to work in an arid region. On a Monday on your way to work, you would wish to see things other than desert, buildings and humans. As much as the love/hate relationship I have with the extremely hot and sweaty weather in Phils, I miss the Saturday mornings when I don't have to wake up to an alarm but I'll be awake eventually due to the sound of the rain - it is, apparently, one of the things I miss the most.

    It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture when the boyfriend took me on a long drive. To give you an idea, our house is about 16 kms away from downtown proper, specifically on the east side. Our target destination is approximately 40 kms away from the city, on the west coast. More than the distance, it was the sun that was directly on top of us that made our trip ain't an easy one. It was hot and sweaty and sticky but I had to wear all the protective clothing possible to protect my skin from dark pigmentation.



    We passed by everything that cannot be seen where I am right now - the beauty of a tropical country. I had, once again, sight of ocean wider than my eyes can reach and inhaled the relaxing, healthy sea breeze that is nothing compared with the winter's breathe of air.



Boyfriend: sige lasa picture kita pang blog mo. (Yup. He supports me in everything. haha)


      I'm almost always at 36000 feet, still I found the view spectacular and serene.
 Indeed, there are moments, places, and people...


that will always be worth the stress... and dark spots <3
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Glimpse of London in the Middle of March



Flying for eight months and I've been to London for almost the same number of times.   There is no complaint here as if someone would ask what my favorite city would be, apart from my hometown of course, London, certainly,  is on top of my list. Despite the number of times I have visited the city, still, there is so much I have yet to see.

So I operated London flight this month, about a week ago, and what made it unlike any other flight was that I flew with two of my batch mates. <3 Surely nothing stressful will last throughout the flight as you always have someone you can vent your rants with haha! #perks lol

For some reason, despite the happy company, I did not feel like going out the afternoon we arrived so I just went out with them the next day.
Well, what do you know... We started posing, smiling and taking selfies even before we left the hotel and stopped only when we no longer looked camera fresh ~lol


We went to Hounslow Central, with just about 10-15 minutes travel time via metro from the hotel. The weather was good. There wasn't any sign of spring yet. We still had our winter clothes on for the cold breath of air, but it's the kind of cold you would want to touch your face.
 Winter is on its end, am i the only one stoked  for spring?





Three more days until we welcome the forth month of the year. I've seen photos of beautiful florals and all the lively signs of spring on other places over facebook and instagram, yet I'm not quite sure if everything is similar in London now. Nevertheless, I'm going back next month but made no plans yet; certainly I'm hoping for a brighter and warmer one :)




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Friday, March 17, 2017

On Some Days That Suck



I haven't been home for three months. The moment the lines were out, my free time that was supposed to be for kdrama slash tvd marathon, was spent scrolling and searching for legal crews to trade my flights with just so I can spend time in my hometown for at least more than a week. Believe me, it may seem just searching and asking and informal agreement, but trading your flights has got to be more than that. Not to mention, the stress of waiting for the result only to be rejected for overtime cost (If anyone of you feels me, well I know... we all feel each other the same).

After successfully having consecutive 12 days off, (which meant, I'll be spending 10 days in my hometown, ) came the stress of everyday flights with just minimum rest in between. It has and always be the consequence of longer days off and I was more than willing for it as It meant more than a week off with my family.

Two weeks had passed and i was finally on my last flight as operating before I'll be flying as passenger. Suitcase and trolley were all packed. Reported for work with my ordinary clothes underneath my uniform. Easy two legs, I thought. It will be done before I knew it. Boarding was finished and I was securing my galley, eagerly waiting for the purser's announcement to close and arm all doors for departure. Ten, fifteen, forty, an hour had passed and the boarding door was still open with maintenance coming in and out of the aircraft. Turned out there was a malfunction that the maintenance need to fix first before we can go on with our flight. We were delayed for three hours. THREE. FREAKING. HOURS.  I was positive i wouldnt catch my flight. After we're done with service on the first leg, I got this unexpected call from the business class crew that the flight deck was requesting my presence. Went inside the cockpit with full curiosity then came back to my galley with full positivism. They made me believe I can make it. My colleagues as well, were just as hopeful as I was.

We landed back in Riyadh exactly an hour before my departure time. I was running for my life. The bus drivers too, were driving above the normal speed as though my adrenaline had been passed onto them.
I arrived in the airport in the middle of the boarding time. I could easily just go straight ahead as I already checked in myself more than ten hours before my flight; but the problem was my luggage. Checked in luggage had already been loaded in the aircraft and the load was already submitted to the captain.

It took a couple of minutes for everything to sink in - the fact that I had to book and pay for a new ticket from Riyadh to Manila and another one with 40kgs baggage allowance from Manila to Zamboanga. More than the wasted money, what crushed me the most was the one day that I lost - the same one day that I put my effort on to have it.

With all my luggage, faded make-up, and all by myself, I sat there, burst into tears with my boyfriend on the other line of the phone wondering what the hell happened with me. With his calm and soothing voice, he convinced me to pull myself together and do something productive instead of just sitting there and death staring at every ground personnel I see. It was a childish thing to do, really. But forgive me, for in that moment, frustration won over my senses.


Still with my heels on, pulling my 40kgs luggage and a big disappointment in my face, I went into the ticketing office and asked them if they could kindly rebook my ticket for the soonest Manila flight. I felt the need to release the bad energy so I related to them why I was not able to catch my flight in the first place. One man said that I had no other choice but to pay for a new ticket, while the other one - made calls, talked with someone, sent an email to the concerned department - as he believed I wouldn't have missed my flight if it wasn't for my duty with the same company.We waited for more than an hour and alhamdulillah they reopened my ticket which only meant I paid not a single saudi riyal.

For the first time within the day, I felt like all the negative vibes were slowly released in my system. Hoping to relax and get some hours of rest, I went back home along with my things. Needless to say, As I showed my company ID to the gate operator as a standard procedure, he then opened the main gate, the one used for four-wheel vehicles just so I wouldn't have a hard time lifting and pulling off my luggage. Contrary to my death stare with the airport ground personnel, I responded to him with gratitude plus the widest smile that I can manage.

As of the moment, I'm here in domestic terminal in Manila waiting for my boarding time for Zamboanga in just about 55 minutes from now :-)

You see, some days have got to suck. And as cliche as it may sound, there is always something good in every day.
The captains and my colleagues, the ground staff cleaner, bus drivers, ticketing office personnel, gate operator, never ending consolation of my boyfriend and family - them and the little effort they went through for me were indeed the best part of my day. So with everything that happened, Alhamdulillah still :)


PS. Say hi to my new domain (http://www.pastelsandplaces.com) <3 In case you are wondering why, well, first -  my previous domain was so much like Charmaine's (lovecharmaine.com) and there was really no intention in me and I just realized two days ago. Second -  because I constantly get this error that my domain was no longer parked by Godaddy. Annoying level x 100.  Really, guys, if ever you plan on having one, buy at namecheap instead.