Yup, that’s algae alright.


I was intently peering inside my favorite Aqua Lock & Lock water bottle (it says ‘We make your table more elegance with our design water bottle’ on the sticker-on product label, so guess where it was manufactured from?) because I had been feeling unsettled by the yellowish discoloration at the inside bottom of the bottle which I had been drinking from for several days already — when Laj walked into the office pantry.

Me: Laj, tingnan mo nga ‘to. Why is the color yellow-ish at the bottom? I think it’s moss.

Laj: Na-a-arawan ba siya on your table? I think that’s algae.

Me: Well, yah, ‘coz I leave it on top of my table lang naman and when the sun is high and mighty, it gets exposed to heat.

Laj: Yup, that’s algae alright.

Can you believe that? It turned out I had been drinking algae with my water for several days already and I didn’t even bother to investigate at the first sighting of the yellowish thingy inside my water bottle! I’m surprised all this while that I had been inadvertently snacking on algae I did not grow gills or whatever these fish that feed off on algae have. Took a quick glance on my skin just now and I didn’t see scales – yey, I’m safe!

These things always happen to me. There were times before when I would take a swig off a Yakult bottle or have a sip of milk only to realize after several gulps and the initial sour taste lingered, that those were actually expired stuff in my fridge! Seriously, who does that?!? The problem with me is that I go crazy when doing grocery shopping. I buy so much stuff, mostly perishables, leave them in the fridge for several days without bothering to eat them because I often feel full already from the meals I had taken during work hours. By the time I remember I still have them stored somewhere, they’re expired. Moments like this, I can almost hear Kassy say ‘Gumu-gujab ka na naman!

Patayin sa algae si Becky!

***

This week is war week at work for all of us. Our Boss is in town and we have so much ground to cover in terms of projects pending, and those that will be launched in the near offing. Good news: the first VOYAGER mock-up is ready to be presented to the Boss later. I am really proud of my VOYAGER Team! Call it great talent or serious pursuit of perfection finally paying-off but we are really coming up with great issues one after the other. The last issue which was distributed to our convention participants in Malaysia last May was already pretty nifty and it got great reviews from the readers – and then I saw the first mock-up of the latest issue and it definitely stood head and shoulders above any of the past issues!

Not only that, we have gone online as well. Wanna see it? It’s right here. You can browse through Issue no. 7, no. 6, and no. 5 and see what fun and informative stuff we have put together all these months and years.

***

FTW Magazine is now on its final stages of editing and proofreading and will be hitting the printing press in no time! This one is exceptionally special for the FTW Team (Kassy, Marga and Chad) and our growing roster of supporters and sponsors because this is something we put together with only our ideas and daring in our limited arsenal. After weeks of putting together this piece of wonder and talking to so many sponsors and partners, we are inching closer  and closer to actually touching and smelling the printed pages of the magazine. Yey for us! Not to be yabang or anything but I am pretty sure you would all agree when you see this mini magazine that we have just outdone awesome.

***

Thank you Ena Terol for this photo!

By the way, please don’t forget to drop by TRINOMA Activity Center on the 15th of September, from 5:30 to 8:30pm, for the REEBOK EasyTone Launch and FanCon. We have tons of surprises in store for all of you Reebok fans and converts and you would loathe to miss all of it! For details, check Team Reebok Running page on Facebook regularly.

SEE YOU THERE!

***

On the running front, I must say I am mighty proud of myself for logging decent mileage during the past weeks. Just before I left for Singapore nearly two weeks ago for a workshop, I accumulated a whopping 100.5k mileage in seven days! Unfortunately, Chris and I were only able to run twice while I was in Singapore and did not immediately jump into running when I got back. But after a few days, I was back on the road and have been running an average of 15k every morning – with the longest distance of 25.38k in 2:32:30 last Saturday. I had wanted to do a full marathon distance, LSD pace, with KB Runner that time but he had prior running commitment with some runners down south. I had to settle for nearly 26k, all by myself. I would have gone on to cover a bit more distance than that but I had FTW meeting + family dinner + hangout with the becky’s on the same day.

The past three days, however, I had to take a break from running as I had been waking up lightheaded – which I now attribute to the damned algae on my water bottle! hahaha. But last night, I started to feel the excess weight and the sluggishness that come with it so I committed to start running again when I wake up in the morning. I’m telling you, I am no longer used to not doing cardio everyday. I get cranky, impatient, and I feel bloated even when I’m not. Since I got all maniacal and obsessive about this whole fitness thing, I even feel guilt-stricken having to eat food when I know I haven’t worked out previously.

So anyway, this morning, I did 15.35k in 1:35:30. I was slower than usual, I know, but I think it was because of the fact that my legs went on vacation for three days. Ang tatamad ng mga hitang ‘to! hahaha.

Oh, and I have also been using Claudia for most of my training and she’s awesome! She’s the perfect combination of superb performance and ultra comfort.

I have two major races coming up: One is the PAU 50k from Tagaytay to Nasugbu and Manila Marathon (i’m doing full mary here) back-to-back in September.

This will be my second PAU ultra race, the first one being the memorable Mt. Pinatubo 50k trail race last year which I kind of aced. Last Saturday, the trail runners took to the crater and back again with the 2nd Mt. Pinatubo race but I didn’t join because I am not feeling so confident. I don’t want another DNF on my record, no siree!

Aaaaand that’s all folks! Tune in again in a few days when I post a fresh update. Meanwhile, go and get yourself some good vibes and give back loads as well. Cheers Loves!

Total Fitness: Slip-ups That Lead To Break-ups


***Published in TOTAL FITNESS Magazine August issue.

Relationships, even those with the brightest and most passionate of beginnings,  spiral downwards usually because of common and seemingly innocuous mistakes. Failed relationships are attributable to a lot of factors. It could be due to mistakes committed by you or your partner; it may even be due to external factors neither one of you have full control over.

For better understanding, these relationship hiccups exist in order for us to gain a better perspective on things and eventually grow as individuals in a committed relationship. Some of them are designed to be uncomfortable and time-consuming but that is not to say that we give up at the slightest hint of trouble.  There is nothing to be learned or gained in taking the safe, quiet route.

How the relationship survives  is directly proportional to the gravity of these hiccups. Has the relationship gone past the point of no return? How willing are you to stick it out during the toughest of times and work through the difficult conflicts to get to the other side? With the right desire and a good amount of willingness, even “the point of no return” can be but just a temporary perception.

But let’s look at the common mistakes first and then make a decision of whether or not we want out or still make an effort to win our Ex back. ***If you ask me, however, blue binning (recycling of an Ex) is a mistake one must avoid committing – at all cost. But then again, that’s just me.***

#1 – Do you put too much premium on your online relationship status? With the advent and off-the-charts popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, most couples have gone all-out in letting the whole universe know about every little thing that goes on in the relationship. Stuff like what you and your boyfriend had for dinner and how many times you had sex after that no longer shock people when they read it on various online forums (or fora).  But with this unrestricted openness comes a deluge of danger. By being so visible, you also render yourself and your relationship open to scrutiny and malicious attacks. Suddenly, the whole world has an opinion about your relationship and when the foundation is not that strong to begin with, the relationship falls apart so fast the next thing you know your relationship status has been altered to ‘Single’ from ‘In A Relationship’ and you have friends and strangers feigning sympathy for your sorry state.

#2 – Do you attach too much value on the superficial and lose sight of what your man really needs? Let’s face it, in today’s world where everyone seems to wake up every morning thinking of ways to look better than they did yesterday, it is so easy to lose oneself in the pursuit of things that look pretty and desirable on the surface. For most women, trying to decode men and their way of thinking has become an obsession that they end up doing things not according to what empowers them as a woman but according to how they will be perceived, accepted and loved by men. Most women commit the mistake of putting out or having sex on the first date and having multiple sexual partners because they think it’s a surefire way to get men to like them. So untrue! Men may be first and foremost visual (and sexual) creatures, but if you want to keep them, you have to have something more substantial on the menu. Brain and character, I believe, are what they’re called.

#3 – Do you expect your relationships to make you happy? We go into a relationship with the hope that it will bring us happiness, as they should. (Otherwise, what’s the point, right?) But sometimes, in our strong desire to be insanely happy, we fail to see that our idea of a happy relationship is NOT always shared by our partner. Some of us want to be together 24/7 but our partner wants to maintain some semblance of personal space.  And between the two, keeping and respecting each other’s personal space takes the cake anytime. This is how you grow as a person. This is how you get to know yourself better. A lot of people fall prey into the misguided idea that couples ought to share everything, even to the extent of having synchronised inhalation/exhalation. This is just the thing that will get you a one-way ticket to Splitsville. Before you can expect your partner or your relationship to make you happy, you have you make YOURSELF happy first.

Total Fitness: Self-Love Tips For A Better YOU


Total Fitness August 2011

American Psychologist and Educator Virginia Satir could not have  expounded on self love and appreciation better than this line she made famous — “I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.”

Perhaps it is the way we look and express ourselves – soft, loving, nurturing – that makes us, women, the go-to soundingboard of our broken-hearted friends, troubled sisters or kids, and even our stressed-out and embattled boyfriends or husbands. Being a woman is almost synonymous to giving – until it hurts, sometimes. And because we are so focused on making the significant people in our lives happy and cared for, we tend to overlook our own happiness. As a result, we become obsessed with our search for the perfect boyfriend or husband – our bandaid solution to our inner emptiness. And often, this relationship we end up building with the ‘perfect’ boyfriend or husband fail because we have insufficient self love and have not exactly addressed the root cause of our internal conflict.

Learning to love yourself starts with a conscious decision which you yourself have to make. You have to decide to become happy and lead a fulfilled life. By not loving yourself enough and appreciating your own talents, skills, and physical attributes, you are selling yourself short and thereby making it impossible for you to grow into your full potential.

So if you have already made that decision, here are some steps that you can take in order to reach that level of self-appreciation before you can finally move on to building and developing meaningful relationships with others:

  1. Be Less Critical of Yourself. Sometimes, especially when we compare ourselves with our people, we tend to be too harsh in self-judgment. Committing mistakes and making bad calls or judgments are but natural and we need not berate ourselves every single time.
  2. Trust Yourself and Acknowldge the Efforts You Put Into Any Project or Undertaking. Life is not all about winning all the time. Sometimes, you should learb to appreciate the effort and time you gave to a project even when it did not exactly produce the great results to had in mind. You have the ability to improve and do better – think of that when you set out to re-do the project or embark on a new one.
  3. Cultivate Your Creative Side. When things get a little bit too much for you to handle, take a step back, breathe, and find time to explore things that feed your creativity. Check out art, dance, writing or photography classes. Sometimes the limitations we face are the ones we created ourselves. Break out of the mould and do something creative with your time. You’ll be surprised by the results you will get when you try.
  4. Cultivate A Grateful Spirit. Learn how to say ‘thank you’ sincerely. Sometimes in our haste and preoccupation, we just let well-meaning compliments sail on by. In other cases, we try to sidestep compliments or downplay it because we don’t want to call too much attention to ourselves and what we believe to be just menial accomplishments. Be grateful and say thank you.
  5. Look After Your Body. And believe in your heart that today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll be ever again. Stop harming your body by smoking, drinking, and emotional eating. Treat your body with respect, love, and care – that’s the only way you can get others to treat you the same.

Epson X-Fusion Media Adventure: Diving Into Fun


Thank you Epson and Total Fitness!

NOTE: Published in TOTAL FITNESS Magazine July 2011 issue.

***

Question:  SCUBA is an acronym which stands for…?

Answer: Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

This question was asked in the trivia game which our team, the Black Team, failed to get cookie points for as I remember the two other team representatives were a lot faster jumping into the pool and swimming to the other side to touch the letter of the correct answer. We played a few more group games after that, in some of which our team would consistently lose, but there was just so much fun and frivolity at X-FUSION, the Epson Media Adventure, that none of these losses even mattered.

X-FUSION, the second of Epson Philippines’ annual event aimed at showcasing the company’s sales and marketing efforts in first half of the fiscal year as well as providing a glimpse of Epson’s activities in the pipeline,  was held last 12 to 13May at Acacia Diving Resort in Mabini, Batangas with over 20 media representatives coming from business, IT, and trade publications joining EPSON Philippines’ General Manager Donna Ferro, Business Systems Group Head Jay Lavarias, and MarComm and PR Department Head Roe Dillera.

Mr. Jay Lavarias summed up Epson Philippines’ 14 percent overall sales growth at the end of fiscal year 2010 versus 2009 in a short slide presentation. He attributed the growth for Inkjets and Laser printers to a bullish market for 2011. More importantly, corporate markets can expect lower total cost of ownership this year with the launch of 13 more new product offerings.

Meanwhile, Roe Dillera provided a sneak preview of the global corporate vision of the company dubbed “SE15 Vision” or Seiko Epson 2015 Vision after sharing some corporate and CSR highlights in 2010.

Black Team.

But for compulsive adventure seekers like me, the biggest highlight of the event was the Intro to Scuba Diving which Epson got all of us to try out. It my first time to do diving and the days building up to ‘Fusion’, I was teetering on the brink of combined excitement and anxiety. You see, I do not know how to swim and even though nearly all my friends assured me that swimming is not really a requirement – especially since we will have dive masters assigned to us – there were still some niggling doubts in my head until I went 25ft below sea level and found myself enthralled by the glorious sight of colorful fish and corals! We even saw a school of mangrove jacks (or talakitok says my angler friend); some clown fish occasionally peeping out of the corals; and for a while there I wished we had more time to explore. Or that I have the time and resources to actually get PADI certified soon. Now that’s a thought.

Media Adventure-seekers.

Before taking the plunge, I was pretty sure I would have panic attack just like I did the last time I went on a travel assignment in Pagbilao, Quezon. But surprisingly, I was very calm even from our descent and all the way through the 15 to 20 minutes diving time – which Vlad, the dive master assigned to me, made sure I made the most out of by swimming happily along and befriending sea creatures, even for a brief moment.  Even breathing through the regulator came fairly easy to me I could have sworn I’m a natural!

Yes Siree, we're 25ft under water!

A few times I heard the ticking sound in my ears and, at one point I had some challenges in neutralizing the pressure I had to signal for Vlad to take me back up to the surface so I can get my bearings right again. When we got down to the spot where we were supposed to take underwater group photos, I got a bit embarrassed when I realized that I was the last one to arrive!

With DM Vlad

While I am not exactly a stranger when it comes to media offsite as I have had my fair share when I used to do PR stuff for another IT company many years ago – this was my first time to come as part of the media group and I must say it is something else altogether. I could get used to this!

X-Fusion Participants

From my slipshod snorkeling experiment in Pagbilao last year, I went ten notches up (or down?) with scuba diving and taking into account the fact that I still dream about the sights and wonders I came across with while underwater, I think it is now just a matter of time before I sign up for a course. My boyfriend (now fiance) says we should get PADI certified soon as I get settled-in with him in Singapore and you know what? I just might take him up on his offer very soon.

Oh it’s a beautiful day, I’m looking for something dumb to do…


…and since there’s no one around at 6AM whom I can ask to marry me, I did 15k race pace and capped it with INSANITY Maximum Interval Plyo! Don’t tell anyone but while I was running, I actually toyed with the idea of dissing work and going on a solo full marathon of sorts. Or I don’t know how far my feet will take me but I was feeling so good about nearly everything this morning that I thought I could go on running for five hours.

But of course I did no such thing. I am such a freak that I feel extremely guilty when I would so much as clock in five minutes late for work. Worse, even when I’m sick and practically burning up with fever, I still feel guilty about not being there in my office, working like a maniac behind the desk. No, really.

So 15k race pace done and I still have a universe of energy to spare so I decided to take on Insanity. God knows what Day I am on now because it’s already Round 2 and my body- sucker for physical torture that it is – already feels somewhat desensitized from circuit-workout type of pain. In fact, yesterday, when I shared this with my resurrected friend, he said I need to try something new. I need to shock my body, he added. But what else is out there to shock me? Insanity ASYLUM is one, but I won’t get my hands on the workout dvd until gorgeous Abby burns me a copy – and hopefully soon. But really, what else is there to try? S&M? Absolutely NOT. *ROTFLMNSSAO*

Quite interesting that morning run. Like I said, my body refused to quit. Obviously, I have some serious issues and running has become, for me, the penultimate catharsis. Or escape. I think it goes so much deeper than just running from stuff but then again, what do I know? My college diploma says AB Journalism and not some fancy degree in advanced Psychology or Psychiatry. Now before we go psychoanalyzing  my convoluted mind (it’s a dark and dangerous place, i’m telling you) there’s one other interesting thing that happened during my morning run.  While running along Garnet Road, I saw this old couple suffering from osteoporosis so bad that they’re both bent over from the waist. I took one look at the old man assisting his old wife and trying very hard to put umbrella over both their heads and just like that, I cried. There’s something about old people that turns me into a puddle of tears and this coming from a girl who prides herself to be an emotional eunuch. Most of the time. I don’t do sentimental love. My boyfriend whom I love dearly would attest to my emotional frigidity. Not all the time, no. But I have always been like that. Too pragmatic and too much of a realist. To break me is very difficult. But show me old people and I am stripped away of the glacier covering that organ called the heart. In an instant. I had already passed the couple a few yards when I decided to turn back, still Weepy Weeperson, opened my belt bag and saw my breakfast money and some loose change. It was a choice between my 5-peso coin and my Egg McMuffin+brewed coffee+hashbrown+pancake money (hey, I was very hungry!). It was an easy choice. That was probably the best fully-loaded breakfast money I had ever spent and not for my own gastronomic satisfaction. I know I’ve said this before but I’m going to say it again, one day when I am disgustingly rich, I will blow all my cosmetic surgery money on helping old, poor, and abandoned elderly. Maybe all the attention and discipline I plow into health and fitness will actually allow me to live long and still look youthful and vibrant even when old and wrinkly and I won’t ever feel the need to waxify my gorgeous face with Botox and what-not. Kamusta naman daw at may gorgeous pang nalalaman si bruha. Now how do I translate that into English?

Running back to the house I kept thinking: that right there could be the elusive true love. You should see how the old man looked after his wife, letting her weak frame lean on his body, while clumsily trying to open the tattered umbrella to put over their heads. She was wearing a tattered shirt with ‘Ramones’ printed at the back which made me smile through the tears. But what really pained me was the damage osteoporosis wrought on their wrinkled frame. Every step they make seemed very painful to me. Perhaps if they had access to better nutrition in their youth, things would have been vastly different. But hey, they were holding each other up, taking each step together, no matter the pain. I think next time my boyfriend tells me he adores and loves me, I should ask him if he’d look after me like that when I’m old and traces of my youthful beauty are long gone. Equally, I should want to do the same for him (as well).

Okay, that’s it. Mushfest over. I told you I can’t do sentimental the way it’s supposed to be done. But trust me on this one: I have a good heart.

And a rockin’ body with INSANE abs. You knew that was coming, didn’t you? Oh you know me all too well! Seriously, I do. And the only reason why I’m such a braggadocio when it comes to my finer attributes is because I worked freakin’ hard to get this body. Ask Shaun T. He knows. And now, you would know, too, with these photos.

Let's give that flab the one-two punch.

Side Suicide Drills for that nasty obliques!

Stay strong, keep the abs tight!

Push-up Balance.

Poetically, the sky weeps.


Look outside your window
Is it raining?
Again?
I thought I heard raindrops.
Though it sounded quite differently
last night
when my head made a dent on my pillow
and my body
found solace
and warmth in the thick sheets
still bearing that all-too familar scent.
His.
Please, look outside the window
And whisper to me what you see.
What is it about the color
of gloom
or mud
or fallen leaves
that is sometimes so attractive?

Movies: 16th French Film Festival


Because I said I didn’t want to be the typical chameleon of a girlfriend who couldn’t wait to suddenly speak French, (I’m a non-conformist, indulge me!) I have decided to put-off learning the language for wee bit longer. But now I’m thinking it’s juvenile and rather stupid of me because French is a beautiful language and I could really use it when I go to Ivory Coast! ROTFLMSAO!

I still know only a few words and phrases, all of which are not meant to be uttered to anyone else but mon amour, but one day soon I will be speaking like an adopted Frenchie.

But for now, this just about how French-y I can get: The much-awaited 16th French Film Festival returns to the Philippines this month and delightfully bringing to Filipino audiences a mix of some of the best and latest action, adventure, comedy, drama and documentary films from France today.

Opening Night: June 8, 6:30 p.m. at Shangri-La Plaza Mall
Manila: June 8-19 at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall

16th French Film Festival

Except for that one time I watched Amélie a looong time ago, I don’t recall ever going to another French Film Festival after that so this one’s going to be special. I hope some of my very dear friends can come and watch with me, as they are usually more ‘cultured’ than I am. hahaha. Paging Noel, Gil, Mark, Cris, Eric, Abi, Kassy and Abby – tara lets! Wait, how do you say that in French?


In Which I Cry A Little…and Smile More…


… Because I won’t make it home in time for the REEBOK ZigTech Run after all. It’s happening this coming Sunday and I will only be back sometime next week. Dejected is what I am but all (hope) is not lost as I still have several races lined up – at least two of them fall into the long distance category. I can imagine my REEBOK teammates not feeling so good about this piece of news, especially since we were supposed to have another team photo shoot at BGC tonight.  And so on Sunday, I will be at the race but only in spirit. I am pretty confident the Team is going to do extremely well. I can’t wait to see the photos!

In related news, Bruno was ubiquitous at V-Malaysia and if I may say so, quite a number of people were smitten by him. If he weren’t mine, I would have been so jealous of the attention he was getting! Seriously, I just love how Reebok sexifies me!

Running around is FUN because of Reebok!

Now I'm a BELIEVER!

Working Girl.

… This time in sheer delight because for the first time in my life, I actually bought a point-and-shoot digital camera which I have aptly christened LUMI the Lumix. Yes, I am creative like that. Lumi comes in Rose Pink and is fully HD video-capable and you wanna know the best part? *cover your ears, Lumi!* She’s so cheap you won’t believe how much I got her for! I have already taken some photos with her but I have yet to transfer them to my laptop. Andy and Claire also picked up the same brand and model and they both swear by the amazing photo quality. Uhrrrrm, truth is, they were the ones who planned on buying a camera. Envy got the better of me, ergo… So anyway, this morning, while I was doing my Insanity workout, I happened to look out of my hotel room window – which gave me the best view of the pool. And there, at 8 in the morning, were six guys with some of the nicest abs I have ever seen, clocking-in some swim time – perhaps, as part of their workout. I was so tempted to take Lumi out for some paparazzi mission but I was petrified they’d catch me sneaking some shots by the window. The photos I would have taken were not for my viewing purpose, but for Noel’s. Because, you know, these days, I only have eyes for the boyfriend. Ahem. And well, he did commit to embrace cardio the way I have. After all, we gotta look fierce on beaches we have yet to explore together.

And why shouldn’t I have eyes for him alone, really, when he’s all sweet and adorable like this?

'Nighttime' by Noel Abelardo.

'Touch' by Noel Abelardo.

'Exhausted' by Noel Abelardo.

BREAKING NEWS:

Kassy Pajarillo and Vicky Ras have just been named local ambassadors of Curves® . Curves works every major muscle group with a complete 30-minute workout that combines strength training and sustained cardiovascular activity through safe and effective hydraulic resistance. Curves also works to help women lose weight, gain muscle strength and aerobic capacity, and raise metabolism with its groundbreaking, scientifically proven method that ends the need for perpetual dieting. Founders Gary and Diane Heavin are considered the innovators of the express fitness phenomenon that has made exercise available to millions of women globally, many of whom are in the gym for the first time.

Recently, Zumba® Fitness classes have been added to Curves® Circuit in Bonifacio Global City – much to the delight of women, young and old alike. During the 30-minute class, participants work out on each Curves strength machine for one minute, alternating upper, lower and core muscles. After one minute, the music cues the participant to change stations on the circuit, and she moves to an area between machines to do Zumba® moves, which tone and sculpt the body while burning fat. Licensed Zumba® instructors from the Zumba® Instructor Network (ZIN), Dina Grieve and Rowena Jose, teach simple, modified Zumba® moves from the center of the circuit.

In just a few days, Kas and I will have a photoshoot for Curves with the great Jar Consengco of Campfire Media. Now that is something to look forward to after 17 days of toiling away in sunshiny Kuala Lumpur!

But wait, where are my Zumba shoes?!? *hint, hint*

 

On SOLACE and Noel Abelardo


Remember THIS PROJECT by my dear friend Noel Abelardo who is now steadily making waves in lifestyle photography? The two-weekend open photo shoot turned out to be a major success, so much so that he is now hard-at-work conceptualizing the next one.  SOLACE was in fact a benefit project for our friend Abie who’s currently undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Thank God for HIS provision, Abie is getting stronger each day and seems to be well on her way to recovery.

Now I have been a fan of Noel’s photography since Day One. Way back when he used to just tote around a digital camera and would make me bend over backwards and crawl like a lizard doing weird poses with my cheeks, arms, and stomach sooo fat like that. I used to be 115lbs with a 27-inch waistline. But that was a thing of a past long forgotten. Thanks to Shaun T and his incessant urging of me to dig deeper! I dug so deep I developed cuts I never knew I had —  in just 60 days! If you want a copy of the video, dial 1-800-VICKYSOHOT. Thank you very much and yes, I know.

After 4 days of 'Sobriety' (Read: Defaulting from Insanity)

I keep digressing, sorry! So going back to Noel. I really can’t help but get awed by his photos – be it of a personality, a rock, raindrops, a puddle, or even something as  inconsequential as a caterpillar. Inconsequential only in the sense that we sometimes don’t pay attention to these things – caught up as we often are with temptations that abound in the urban jungle. We all know how important caterpillars and leaves are in keeping the balance of nature. I honestly don’t know what I’m driving at here and I am now just as confused as you are.  Fried much, my brain.

So again, Noel. He’s also one of the many reasons why my life has somewhat of a ‘charmed’ feel to it. He’s been a dear friend to me all these years. And just like my darling boyfriend Chris, he has seen me in various states of monstrosity – shuttling between irrationality and tormenting recklessness – but stays with me nonetheless, believing that underneath the she-devil that I am capable of becoming (sometimes) is a woman who is just as capable of great love and forgiveness. Okay, maybe ‘forgiveness’ is pushing the envelope a bit too far. I am not quite there yet. Call me again in the next few months, I may have an answer for you.  hahaha.

Here are some of our photos over the years. Yes. Those. Are. Definitely. Bat wings. Masquerading. As. (My). Arms.

Malaysia in 2008.

Uhrrrrm, that's iced tea. Honest.

Sometime in 2008.

And now, for the second highlight of this post. The SOLACE photos. What did I tell you? I have improved significantly since the ugly duckling days and to give credit where credit is due, thank you buddyboy.

Solace Outtakes: Noel and Vicky

Vicky and Abie's angel, Bianca

And now, the real SOLACE photos by Noel Abelardo…

Naked and in bloom.

Vicky for Solace.

Thank you Noel for these photos! (I want them framed ha!)