Category Archives: Travel
Jeff and I went to Japan last week for a couple of shoots. Our first shoot was in Tokyo, and we had a free day to go around. You better believe I spent most of it in Tokyu Hands and Loft. I LOVE paper. Pens, too. Fountain pens, Japanese gel pens, pigment ink pens. Jeff said I looked crazed inside the shops, and I’m inclined to believe him. I lose touch with reality when I’m around writing and art supplies.
I’ve heard about Pilot’s Frixion pens before, and was psyching myself up to walk right past them, but they’re erasable pens. By friction. It was pointless resisting. I got the markers and highlighters at Tokyu Hands. On the way home, at Kansai International Airport, I picked up blue and purple Slim ballpoint pens as a last hurrah. Should have gotten more. They turned out to be my favorite of the bunch. Hoarder problems.
The ones on the right side of the photo above, the Point 05s are available in Manila. Got those at National Bookstore a couple of days ago. As far as I know, they’re the only Frixion pens available here as of now. (If you know where they stock the others locally, do let me know!) They have black, too, but I didn’t get it because it looks more grey than black.
Which brings me to the giveaway: the highlighters. They’re called Frixion Light and the colors are so lovely, but I just realized after trying them out on my Moleskine above that I really have no need for them. I considered selling them to buy more pens (haha), but I’ve been really happy lately and figured it’d be nice to make someone else happy, too. So, if you like pens and live anywhere in the Philippines, you can join by leaving one comment below. Say hi, tell me something you love about your day for some good vibes. I’ll draw a random number from Random.org and match it with the comment number to draw the winner. Raffle closes on Thursday, October 30, 2014, 8PM GMT+8.
Update: Thanks for joining, everyone! Glad I made it a raffle, because I couldn’t possibly choose. Drew a number at random from 1 to 26, and got 24. Congratulations, Najee! Will email you in a bit.
One of my favorite finds during our Sydney trip was Oliver Jeffers. He’s an Australian author, and that’s probably why I haven’t seen his books in Manila before. I think bookstores here tend to stick with books written in American English. I’ll think it’s cute if our son starts spelling it “colour”, but I don’t think his teachers would like that very much. Nevertheless, these books are amazing and tug at my heart. They’re incredibly well-written, the illustration is insanely adorable, and I really need to hug that little penguin.
Reading is something we value very much in our home, and finding great books is always such a treat. Corwin loves being read and told stories to more than anything, so every time Jeff and I have trips out of the country, we always make a point to hit a couple of bookstores. In Sydney, we were able to drop by five. These are the ones we’ve read to him already so I’ll share them here. You can find all these and his other titles on Amazon. Will share more children’s books these coming weeks. In the meantime, here are some pages from the books.
LOST AND FOUND
UP AND DOWN
(This chubby little penguin tied to a balloon. Could barely handle the cuteness.)
WAY BACK HOME
HOW TO CATCH A STAR
Have fun reading! If you have book suggestions, do let me know.
A former bride of ours and our assistant both told me that the Luckies Scratch Map I picked up in Sydney and blogged about is already available locally through Quirks. I saw on their page that they commissioned Luckies to make a scratch map of the Philippines, and was thrilled. Made arrangements to get one soon as I could.
I was pretty surprised by how large the map is, if I’m being honest. It’s taking me forever to finish it because they’re pretty big areas to cover, but it’s still pretty awesome. I’ll post a photo on Instagram of the map when I’m done.
If you have an older kid, you could make this a family activity and do it together. Corwin is still two years old, so I’m just going to enlist the hubby’s help on this one.
I posted this photo on Instagram recently and I’ve been getting asked about it, so I figured I’d share it here, too. It’s a scratch map, where you scratch off the places you’ve been to with a coin. It’s pretty cool, and I can’t wait to scratch off more countries.
Incidentally, I remember one of our brides got this as a gift from her groom recently, and I think it’s a brilliant gift for someone you want to see the world with.
Picked this up at the Lonely Planet shop at the departure area of Sydney Airport, but it’s also available online. This is the one I got: Luckies Travel Scratch Map. I also came across these other Luckies travel goodies, which I’d love to have: Deluxe Scratch Map, if you’d like it in black, and this Travelogue.
Planning on getting the Travelogue eventually, but first, must travel more.
Edit: I just found out that this is also available in Manila through the shop Quirks! And I saw a scratch map of the Philippines on their Facebook page, too. Oh, boy.
You were playing beside us tonight when you suddenly stopped and said, “I love you, mommy. I love you, daddy. So happy.” And then you hugged us. It was all I could do not to burst into tears. You’ve been telling us you love us for some time now, and you’ve been telling us you’re happy ever since you could sign the word. When you started speaking, you always said “happy” or “Corwin happy”, but tonight you included the word “so”. It’s a two-letter word difference, but it meant so much to me.
You make your own pirate boat out of pillows. You have a house lizard friend named George. You’re so imaginative, and so moved by music. You said the water in the fountain was dancing, so you danced with it. You love the piano, the violin, and all musical instruments. You ask daddy to play Coltrane on his phone a lot.
We went to Baguio as a family for the first time a couple of weeks ago. You watched a jazz band with such wonder in your eyes, and you clapped so enthusiastically. You rode a horse for the first time, too. His name was Avatar, and you liked that. I had to ride with you, and I was so terrified I prayed for your safety, but you loved it. You were so comfortable and, well, at peace. You sat on the horse like it was the most natural thing in the world to you. We rode on a trail for half an hour. I held on for dear life. You counted butterflies and said hello to the pony taking a bath by the trail.
Our trip to the pedia last week was very pleasant, especially after four months of crying with every visit. You talked to the doctor, and you tried on her stethoscope. I put the other end on my heart, and you looked up and smiled at me when you heard my heartbeat. It was a different kind of smile, and I think it was one of recognition. I like to think that maybe that’s what it sounded like to you when you were in my tummy, and that you remembered.
You are in my heart every single second of every single day.
You are turning 21 months old in 2 days. We took you to the beach for the very first time last week, with your Tita Jenny and baby cousin Lucas. I love seeing you two boys together. I can already imagine the trouble you’re going to get yourselves into when he’s a toddler and can physically keep up with you.
You don’t really enjoy car rides and only tolerate your carseat for about an hour, at best, so we kept putting off taking you to the beach. But you’re almost 2 years old now and just a little bit more patient because you understand us better. Never mind that it was July and rainy.
It started drizzling when we arrived at the beach house, but we changed into our swimsuits anyway. You were tentative, stepping on the sand, but pretty soon you were grabbing sand by the handful and showering us all with it. I now know what sand tastes like.
We had the beach all to ourselves in the middle of torrential downpour. I can’t remember the last time I played in the rain. There is a pure joy that comes with it, and even more overwhelmingly so, when you’re doing it with your own child. It’s not as carefree for me now as your parent, as it was when I did it as a child myself and when your father and I did before you came along. I worried that you would get sand into your eyes, among other things. I’ve come to accept this as a reality of life as a mother, that I will always worry about you and how you are. But your smiles and laughter alone more than compensate for that, every single day. And I was truly, profoundly happy to have experienced that with you.
I wish we took you to the beach sooner, but in a way, I’m glad we waited this long. The look of wonder and realization on your face as you took it all in for the first time is something I’ll keep with me forever.
It’s 1am and I’m writing this from Batanes. Your dad and I are here for an engagement shoot and wedding. This has been one of the most wonderful experiences we’ve ever had, but it is our third day away from you and we miss you terribly. We will be home before lunch though, and are both so excited to see you.
You’ve been quiet during our many phone calls, but Ninay and Grandpa are saying you call out for me often during the day, and that hurts a little bit. I’m sorry, love. I never want to be away for too long, so I try to limit our out-of-town jobs that keep us away for two nights or more. I only say yes to the ones that I feel would enrich us in ways that would benefit not only our work but us as people. Still, I always want to be with you.
This is one of the loveliest places your father and I have ever been to. It’s breathtaking and magical. Your father and I went hiking at Marlboro Hills, and we were the only two souls around. It was an incredible experience. It was just the two of us, an unbelievable expanse of the lushest greens, and the most stunning view at the edge of the hill, just before it drops off. The wind was blowing so strong, I could feel it wrapping itself around me. We held hands and stood there for some time, taking it all in. The moment was heartbreakingly beautiful, and I loved your father even more then. I can’t imagine ever feeling this way about anybody else.
We went to Boulder Beach and for a few minutes, he and I had the entire place to ourselves, too. All I could hear was the crashing of the waves, and the pounding of my heart in my ears. This place gets me on a visceral level.
There’s a tiny little ache in me that wants to stay here longer. It’s just so beautiful and peaceful and the land is rich with stories. I could see myself spending my days just sitting on that hill and writing. I could see myself taking pictures here every day. But this is not my home. Home is where you are, and where you’ll be is the best place your father and I can care for you. Whenever I’m away and you miss me, hug my pillow and remember I’m coming home soon. My heart is always rushing back to you.
I’m looking forward to the day when you’re old enough to appreciate this place. I will probably want to tie your torso with a rope so you don’t fall off and roll down the hill. Don’t laugh, I’m half-serious. My world would shatter if anything bad happened to you. Always take care. Do brilliant things and explore the world, but always come home to me better, wiser, and in one piece.
Then tell me stories. I can’t wait to hear them.
Japan, 2012. Fortunes on trees in shrine grounds.