Transiting through Kansai

Every October 31st, on the eve of my birthday, I make it a personal tradition to travel alone somewhere potentially memorable. In 2017, it had been decided that I will celebrate it in the mountains of Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.

The initial plan was to spend a solo night at Koyasan and have a week’s worth of Osaka’s famed dishes. But somehow I ended up booking 18 days with two friends, so our trio decided to include nearby prefectures within the Kansai region to maximize our time in the land of luxury fruits and every-flavored KitKat chocolate bars.

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150 free Blued Icons

Out of boredom, I tasked my team to create a set of icons as a quick design exercise while we were in between projects. We had, of course, creative freedom to work in any style we wanted as long as the set could cater to different categories like travel, food, finance, e-commerce, etc.

The objective was to have our personal icon library instead of relying on free stock to use for our mock-ups.

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30 day photo challenge

Last October, some friends at work and I decided to take part in a 30-day Photography Challenge to further hone our shooting and composition skills. We were not able to complete the whole thing 100% because life, but most of us tried our best to consistently put out something decent. Each day had an assigned theme/subject and it was up to us to interpret them.

Here are my daily outputs for future reference as it may be the first of hopefully several efforts on becoming better photographers.

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An attempt at Urban Sketching

Exactly 2 years ago, I was beginning to rekindle my love for illustration, so I had an idea of going to my beloved Binondo to take a stab at urban sketching.

The day ended with 5 to 6 pages worth of decent doodles and a stomach filled with dim sum. Sadly, it was also the last time I had the courage to sit down and put on paper the world that was right in front of me. People would often ask why I don’t sketch during my trips and I just respond with a smile and say it’s not my thang.

Since I have another big journey up ahead, I’m thinking I should have another go at it. I should, definitely. This time around I know myself more than I did back in 2015. What have I got to lose?

Old Manila swagger

BINONDO is just one of those places I won’t ever get tired of visiting each year. There is no suya factor whatsoever, even if I take my friends to Wai Ying for lunch (hakaw and nai cha for me) every single time I am there.

The chaotic and slightly crowded streets of Ongpin are perfect for sharpening my still amateur street photography skills. Pair that with the revival of former entertainment district, Escolta, and its art deco architecture and you have a day full of history, art, and food appreciation.

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Autumn addiction

The Philippine’s tropical climate is both a gift and a curse to us all. We rejoice once the summer sun calls us out to our beloved islands’ coasts, then suddenly thirst for a downpour once it gets a little too hot and humid for comfort. When the monsoons hit, people are peeved by wet socks and even worse traffic that we start longing for more than a pocketful of sunshine.

But that is the reality of our motherland’s mood swings. For anything beyond the choice of getting wet or staying dry, we take it outside. The biting cold of winter, the blooming colors of spring, and the fiery foliage of autumn. And for a dose of the latter, there’s no better region to explore in our continent than the far east.

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Where am I going?

Ten or more years of owning a blog have passed and it has come to a point where I had to ask myself several times

“Where the heck am I going with all of this?”

My online persona has gone through a handful of changes since my days of being an insecure brat, to now being a self-proclaimed ‘Tito of Manila’. There were days when I wondered about the type of content I really wanted to write about. Should I pick between maintaining a travel journal or go with an illustration blog? Would it be better to have a dash of sass or should I keep a sense of mystery in every post? What is my brand? Who is my target audience? Should the navigation bar’s color be teal or seafoam green? You know, the issues that really matter.

After going through all of these questions and more, I was only sure about one thing. I wanted to keep writing. Regardless of followers and influences. 

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