App Review: Home Design

Is it too late for me to change my career? I mean, people who know me are aware that art is an instinctive core value I am passionate about but recently I think I just fell deeply in love with Interior Design. First I have this friend of a friend that I follow on instagram and posts tons of interior styling inspirations (Shout out to Mark Malolos, who currently works as an Interior Stylist at NYC!) and heck yes, every time he posts anything related to design the inner artist inside me smiles gleefully and gets inspired!

On the last few months of last year, I downloaded this app out of nowhere, I was probably mindlessly browsing appstore and found: Home Design. I played a few times and I loved it but the very forgetful woman that I am eventually forgot that I have this wonderful gem waiting to be explored again. Luckily a few weeks just recently, I got bored and gave this game another try, and yes I am so hooked.

Here’s the rundown + screenshots of the game:

The loading up page shows real (superb 3D visualization if not) interior design photographs that are strikingly wallpaper-worthy. There are little white icons at the bottom of your dashboard where you can select the categories: Top Designs (trophy icon), Home (where you can find the challenges, and enter your designs) Vote (thumbs up icon) where you get to vote other people’s designs and earn keys – the main currency to enter challenges, Shop (cart icon) where you can browse the latest items and buy them, and lastly Profile where your design history and notifications stuff are.

Looking at my profile above you can see all my recent design challenge entries and my scores, for the 1-5 rating system. You will start off with the default 2-star rating and should climb your way up to the top. As you can see I’m currently at level 9 and a 4.25 star rating, the thing is, it’s not that easy to level-up because there’s a ton of waiting time like any other games or else you need to spend actual money to buy diamonds and cash if you are impatient and wants to play profusely. In my case, I have only spent $2 once, and I am restraining myself from doing so again. As you can see, there are some entries above that says “Results in 1 day” or “Results in 10hrs”. This is because your score depends on a versus voting system. Below are screenshots of how votings are done. It is a requirement to vote, and do your part in this community (unless you’re filthy rich and just buys keys instead of casting your votes) it can get pretty boring over time but voting gives you more perspective and design ideas for future challenges. As I’ve mentioned above to enter a design challenge, you need around 25 keys to vote and you have a capacity to gain 75 keys, each voting session takes around 2-minutes per challenge will earn you 3 keys and daily reward scheme gives you around 20 keys every day.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS GAME: 

  • There’s always an amazing story behind every challenge, and it helps you picture out the best-suited design you’ll create according to each challenge
  • Each challenge is always different, you’ll hardly ever get bored playing this.
  • The voting system is a genius idea, your scores are decided upon by the actual players of this game.
  • The new “borrow” feature rocks! Now if you run out of furnitures to use or money to buy them,  you can borrow I think twice, every 24 hours from your friends who are playing as well. This makes you encourage your friends to play too so you have a wide pool of friends to borrow items from.
  • You can browse items by brand/color/material/pattern/style

MILDLY FRUSTRATING THINGS ABOUT THIS GAME:

  • Like in real life, great items are unsurprisingly expensive
  • Each day, there is a 1 or 2 challenge that you can enter without any requirements but after that, the rest of the challenges have requirements that are most of the times to hard to provide like you should only use contemporary items or use 3 gold items, etc.
  • Sadly, you cannot sort by price – this is infuriating because when I have really low funds it takes too long to find an item that will fit my budget.

Overall, you can tell that I absolutely am nuts for this game and I recommend this to anyone who’s into art/design and even if you’re not. It is a very relaxing (mostly if you’re not out of funds) game and a great way to spend your idle hours.

Here are a few of my designs. Have fun playing the game!!!  And don’t forget to give them a rating/review to appreciate the creators’ amazing effort. #NotAnAd

Mt. Ulap Dayhike 2017

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We did our hike last Sunday, April 23rd so this post is a bit overdue. Contrary to popular belief that most Filipino people have been to Baguio either once or twice during their childhood, this was, in fact, my first time to travel around the Cordillera region in my 22 years of existence. This area of our country should be the coldest and because of the unforgiving heat wave I’ve been experiencing in the Metro lately, I was expecting to be welcomed by freezing air! But behold! Climate change is real, and it was yes, chilly in the early morning, but the temperature was not that different, it was indeed very disappointing. But nevertheless the hike was overall fun and the views were breathtaking. Watch the slideshow above! (No enhancements, taken from Google Pixel)

Here are the basic information about Mt. Ulap (credits to: pinoymountaineer.com)

Location: Itogon, Benguet
Entry point: Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon
Exit point:Brgy. Sta. Fe, Itogon
LLA: 16.2904 N, 120.6312 E, 1846 MASL (Mt. Ulap)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3 hours
Specs: Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Grassland and pine ridges, scenic views of the Cordilleras, burial caves

Itinerary
2200H Leave for Benguet (From SM North)
0400H Arrive Benguet (Breakfast + Registration)
0530H Start Hike (Group of 15, 2 guides)
0800H Arrive at Gungal Rock (2nd Summit)
0930H Arrive at Highest Point (Mount Ulap Summit)
1000H Start Descend to St. Fe
1200H Arrive at Exit Point (Shower + Rest)
1300H Leave for Baguio
1400H Free time at Baguio
2200H Leave for Manila (Our short trip was extended)
PicsArt_04-26-11.40.36

We wanted to reach the summit at the break of dawn but we arrived late due to stopovers. The ascend was not difficult but of course there are segments of the climb where you’d find yourself pushing too hard to breath and with knees slightly shaking because of the upward pressure but it was nothing extreme. All throughout the mountain is adorned with lovely pine trees and moss that really gives off a pleasing aesthetic (in short, great pictures). Don’t be surprised to be greeted by herds of cows grazing at random areas, they are humongous but I find them adorable, in fact, they are in healthier shape than most cows I see! Their ribs are not popping out!

PicsArt_04-26-11.23.10
Our guide took our pictures at an undesirable angle at Gungal rock, it wasn’t that bad but this is not how the Gungal Rock looks like in actuality. And the fact that it took as about an hour just to wait for other hikers to finish their photo session at this spot was quite disappointing. So, lesson learned: If you want to have impressive photos at Gungal Rock 1) hike earlier and 2) hike on weekdays where there are probably lesser hikers. But I’m not necessarily a huge fan of taking too much mainstream photo of popular spots so it wasn’t a big deal.The descend – I was not able to take pictures of the hellish “stairs” descending from the mountain. It was my least favorite part and my knee caps and calves were cursing me for putting them up for such suffering. For two hours nonstop (because we were very much hungry thus, we opt not to take any breaks anymore; except when we ate a delectable strawberry icecandy! It was the best!) we descended through steep stair-like downhill route. Upon reaching Brgy. Sta. Fe we were welcomed by docking locations where we can take showers or have small meals. It is very important to highlight, that the Benguet water is the best. It must have come from the mountains, it was light, crisp and most of all ice-cold! I had the best time showering in that tiny cube of a space with a bucketful of the best water I ever showered with.We got to Baguio around 2pm and had a late lunch at Good Taste, I think it’s quite interesting to tell that the name of the restaurant is hard to remember because of how generic it is. I called it, Taste Good, Great Taste, Nice Taste, Great Food and so on just because I cannot get to remember the correct name (I still thought about it for a good three seconds while writing this). About their food: The serving was very generous! For only around a little over 500 pesos we were overwhelmed with a whole chicken serving of butter garlic chicken, shrimp sinigang and fried rice! Ahh…so good! After pumping our stomachs we hailed a taxi cab to go to the Diplomat Hotel, which I thought would be overly creepy but turned out to be more historical to me. There were several tourists that day so that’s probably why I never felt even a tad bit scared. After that, I was very exhausted and sleepy, we went back to the van around 6pm and I literally went into a coma. The rest of them strolled around the Burnham park, public market and night market. Because of my unforgivable slumber, I was not able to buy strawberries!Overall I think per person excluding the pasalubongs, we spent around Php1500 pesos only per person. Not bad right?

Can I self-publish my own book?

It was 4:00 AM last Monday when an idea loomed above my head. It was one of those times where existential crisis was creeping slowly inside me and I was reading too many stuff on the internet and was feeling a bit too jumpy trying to come up with something that I can make myself proud with. I maintain blogs, I write poems, prose, essays and short stories but I don’t have something more concrete to hold. All my works are scattered throughout the internet Universe and my creations are quite murky if I’d be honest. I have friends who now works overseas, got their dream job, created a happy family and so on. And I asked myself, “What am I doing with my life?” What is really my passion in life? That’s still a very difficult thing to answer but I can come up with several versions.

So I started off with these basic questions.

  • What is the thing you really enjoy doing?
  •  What is the thing that you are really good at?
  • What is something you can do about it? Something feasible.

And that’s how I decided to self-publish a book. I have friends who are now successful authors with huge publishing houses supporting them but I felt like that path isn’t for me. I wanted to have an authentic take on this. Something that’s purely: me.

And I’m like, this is it. This is the dream, this could be really be something. I could produce a single piece and probably die happy. I am addicted to the idea of producing something entirely by myself. I have been awfully disappointed at how inconsistent  I am with my writing. I frequently abandon blogs, I don’t have a writer community to belong to and I am pretty much mediocre. But hey, I believe in myself and I know several people do. I think this is something that will encourage me more to pursue this passion and stick with it, or else the book will be left in my/our imagination.

So I will enlist a few things to get me started with this not-so-little project.

  1. Read articles and testimonials about self-publishing
  2. Gather my past works (await for the hellopoetry membership confirmation so I cand stack all of my poems in there first, then create more short stories and write more stuff)
  3. Brainstorm on the concept itself – what do I want it to be? how do I want it to look like?
  4. Canvass for suppliers (on printing and other possible materials needed)
  5. Budget – This is probably the biggest issue self-publishers face and this idea is dreadful but this is something I have to face, if I have to look for sponsors then why not? I’m sure there are several friends out there willing to lend a few bucks *wink*
  6. PUBLISH! 

It’s definitely a lot more complicated that those six steps, but I’m in it for this project. I already told several people but I am doing this for myself. To prove that all my creation could reach and deserve to reach a larger audience. They are not meant to vanish into the thin air after I wrote them and I owe it to myself to memorialize all those things because they meant a lot to me. I want to tell the story of my life without being able to tell exact details or events. I have a really bad memory but at least I got this talent of putting feelings into words; I owe it to myself to make myself proud. 

PS. I solemnly swear picking the title would be the hardest part.

At least give me this.

I have been reading Melisa Broder’s book of personal essays, “So Sad Today”. A 200-pager magnificence that reveals so much about what it is like to live in this world, right now. This book is so hard to put down but so good that I try to savor each chapter and think about it for days or even weeks – while I’m writing this, I’m only halfway through the book – I want it to last as long as I want to but I dread coming to the end. On the first chapter, Melisa concluded with these words:

“There aren’t many ways to find comfort in this world. We must take it where we can get it, even in the darkest, most disgusting places.” 

And it struck me how too often, comfort is being taken for granted. Too often people will condemn you for our quirky little ways to ease in into this tricky, gruesome world. It’s true that we grow when we move out of our comfort zone, and that’s a different thing, what I wanted to point out are the small things that comfort us at the end of the day, during anxieties and just whenever. Melisa mentioned in her book that she used to consume herself. She ate her fingernails, earwax, and snot. Most people would scrunch their forehead reading this and we could all agree that those are disgusting,  unhygienic and so on. But when I read it, I was reminded of all my odd behaviors that also brings comfort to my soul. I do not know when I got the habit of these things and I remember always being told to stop; just cause it’s weird.

  • Taking the sheet off on the corner(s) of a bed – I do this almost everytime I go to bed (except when I immediately pass out); even and especially for cases when it’s not really my own bed. I’m very particular to textile textures and I  always finds myself more comfortable with the texture of the actual bed without the sheet. The way I sleep, I always rub my feet and legs on the surface as a way to enjoy the texture. I dislike fleece or ‘wooly’ texture and I like crisp thin textures similar to rayon (I did a little bit of research and ended up watching too many videos about fabrics).
  • Fidgeting – This is a common habit of several people and is usually associated with anxiety or impatience. My personal way of fidgeting is wiggling my legs up and down. Other times I even fidget while lying down; which some people said is downright unbelievable.
  • Plucking my hair (Trichotillomania) – A type of impulse control disorder – wherein there is an irresistible urge to pull out hair. People with these disorders know that they can do damage by acting on the impulses, but they cannot stop themselves. It is a reflection of a mental health problem. Psychological and behavioural theories suggest a person may pull their hair out as a way of relieving stress or anxiety. As trichotillomania involves compulsive behaviour, some experts think it’s closely related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I didn’t know that was the exact term when was younger. I do it so often but very sparingly to save myself from the perils of having a bald spot on my head which I experienced when I was about 8-10.

These are just a few things on top of my head and some examples may be situational. I want to conclude by saying, “at least give me this.” People are often so quick to judge us on our bizarre actions without even considering that we do certain things because it gives us comfort. Bliss is not forever. These kinds of bliss are so short-lived. Sometimes you have to let us do these things without judgments or prejudice. If you cannot give us solace, sympathy or happiness at least let us create these solace on our own especially if it’s not even affecting you in any hurtful way.  Because…There aren’t many ways to find comfort in this world. We must take it where we can get it, even in the darkest, most disgusting places.

All You Need to Know: Sand & Stars, Dinadiawan – Dipaculao, Aurora

I have two travel styles: relaxed & jam-packed. I opted to do the former for this once, I didn’t wanna tire myself out during my birthday and decided to stick to once place instead of wringing out the most out of Aurora. Although I know it sucks that I haven’t tried surfing in Baler while I was there – I’ll do my best to go back.

So here is the much-awaited travel details for those who are interested to try out this chill place at Dinadiawan – Dipaculao, Aurora.

TRANSPORTATION
Manila to Baler
– Genesis Bus (P450 regular airconditioned) 6 hours with 2 stops
– Joy Bus (P650 (semi-deluxe or P730 deluxe) 4-5 hours nonstop
– walk from the bus stop to the terminal near the market (around 5 minutes)Baler to Dinadiawan, Dipaculao Aurora
– Ordinary bus to Casiguran (P85 – 6:30am trip only)
– Van to Casiguran (P200)
– Hire a tricycle (will take two hours and will cost you about Php 700)

*Drop off at Dinadiawan (Sand and Stars Beach Resort)
*Note: Be mindful to remind the conductor or driver to drop you off at Sand and Stars or else you’ll miss it or towards 1 hour of the trip open your GPS like I did and hail the van/bus to stop at the exact location.

Heading back from Dinadiawan to Manila
Going back to Baler via commute is a bit trickier. The bus/vans only travel early in the morning (before 9am) or late in the afternoon. You can either hire a tricycle to take you all the way to baler for Php700 (contact Kuya Jo restaurant)
BEST OPTION: Ask the resort (Ate Merly) if there are other guests traveling to Baler so you can all pitch in for the van rental which will cost around Php 1,500. Make sure to book roundtrip seats if you’re traveling via Joy bus especially on weekends.

OVERNIGHT RATES
Glamping Tent
• 2-4 pax
• P1,500 (2 pax)
• Breakfast included
Beachfront cottages
• 4-8pax
• P2000 – fan room
• P2500 – ac room
• Breakfast NOT included

BOOKING
– Try going on a weekday, weekends would most likely be booked during the summer months.
– Kindly text your , , , , ,  to both 09178057082 and 09956242280. And wait for the confirmation, which will take a while. Please use CAPSLOCK so it would be easy to find.

FOOD
The resort does not have a restaurant or paluto service so choose from either bringing food of your own or any of the below options:
Market
– Buy ingredients to cook at Baler Public Market before heading to Dinadiawan or
– Purchase at Dinadiawan Market 15- 20 min walk or 5 min tricycle ride (P40)
– Stove and griller use at resort (P200)
– Beer, canned juice, and soft drinks available at the resort (P35)
– The resort may have fresh seafood available for purchase, be sure to ask them before heading to the market
Food Delivery
• Kuya Jo Restaurant located at the market (P50 delivery fee)
• Contact number 09126726921

EXPENSE BREAKDOWN ( 3D2N /per pax / 2pax)
– Transportation P1500
– Food P500
– Accommodation P3000 ÷ 2= P1500
Total Estimate Cost per pax = P 3500

FOR PICTURES & STORIES PLEASE REFER TO MY PREVIOUS POST

Sand and Stars

You never stop daydreaming of the next places to see, within the city, within the country, around the world. A thrilling chase of happiness that always leaves you wanting for more. A nomadic soul constantly thinking of leaving when you haven’t even arrived. Every uncertainty of the road gives you the euphoria that your soul aches for, everyone is a family regardless of color, regardless of language and culture. To those like you, home is not necessarily the place you were born into but all the places where you become yourself. That is why you travel, to reveal who you are and you realize that you are synonymous with the world. The more you explore it, the more you explore yourself.

Travelling during my birthday week has been a three year tradition. Growing up, my birthday approaching has been a total dread. I don’t remember enjoying celebrating it with a bunch of people my mom invited instead of my own actual friends. I can only remember being forced to smile for pictures, and being denied when requesting to go to amusement parks or swimming trips instead. That’s why I decided, every March 25th, I’ll do what I enjoy best – travelling!

  • 2015 – Majayjay, Laguna
  • 2016 – Northern Luzon Roadtrip (Tugegarao, Cagayan, Ilocos, La Union)

2017 – Sand & Stars Beach Resort, Dinadiawan, Aurora

We took the Genesis Bus from Cubao towards Baler Aurora – we left 4:00 AM in the morning and arrived at the Baler Bus Station a few minutes to 10:00 AM. It was roughly a 6-hour drive (with 2-stops). First things first, we went to the market (a merely 2-mins walk from the station) to buy ourselves food to cook at the resort because sadly, they do not have a restaurant so we have to rely on our cooking skills in order to survive our 3-day glamping adventure. From Baler, we rode a non-airconditioned van towards Casiguran to reach our destination: Sand and Stars Beach Resort in Dinadiawan, Aurora.

Our skin felt like melting under the scorching heat of the sun, when we arrived and looked for Ate Merly she was so occupied with the overwhelming guests and tasks but still happily managed showing us to our beach-front tent. Warning: tents are like human ovens during the afternoons, do not attempt to rest inside. It cools down around 4:30 PM and gladly the resort has some hangouts spots with hammocks around where you can chill.

Let’s talk about the resort – some parts are still under construction, there are around 6-8 air conditioned cabanas and 6 glamping tents complete with foams, lounging chairs, and pillow – a rustic comfort. The beach was magnificent, wide stretch of fine cream-colored sand and the water although not crystal clear was immaculately clean.

The favorite part of the trip was the starry night sky – you can even see the milky way but the most memorable part was getting to know the kids that sells souvenirs around. We got to befriend them and although some were a bit too attention-seeking for my taste they were overall very gleeful and a joy to be with, there aren’t a lot of entertainment choices within the place so they basically compromised for it. There was ‘Julia’ who stood out – carefree, bubbly and most strikingly a young queer. She said she has a crush on two of her friends, Ednalyn and Mizsie., she even stole kisses from them! I’m glad the kids are not making fun of her and stayed friends with her despite her differences. She was the highlight of my birthday trip and she totally reminded me of how blissful it was to be a child. I hope the world do not destroy her glowing soul, and if the world would like it always does, I hope she’ll find a way to light it up again.

I’m still here, I’m still trying.

If I can correctly recall, this is my 3rd official blog (I have around 6 blogs in total – which I admit are total junks in the rather infinite internet Universe). Turning 22 in a few days, I expect myself to stay committed into harboring raw, intense experiences in my life and freely publishing them for my audiences- in an attempt to make our lives look and feel better. My first ever blog was called”ur_cottoncandy” and if you’d ask me why I thought of referring myself to that sweet sugar confection, I can’t give you a valid answer except the fact that I thought it sounded cute and I was a confused 14-year old who was drunk on puberty and pinks.Not a lot has changed eight years forward, I’m still finding my way through this personified chaos we call life (aren’t we all?) and from time to time I still stare at nothingness and wonder what my true passions are and how do I seek them along with the crashing wave of practical demands. I still couldn’t get enough of anything but at least I can write better.

I plan to fill this site with mostly travel/food discoveries, poetry and anything that comes along living the days of this millennial era. Ideally, I visualize this blog to imbue values of embracing life as it is, making the most of our time and making spectacular adventures born out of spontaneity. But know that at the end of the day, the things that I do are usually self-gratifyingly driven and along the ride I just half-heartedly expect other people to conspire towards my own pleasure.

I’m still here, and I’m still trying. Life is inherently aimless but what comforts me despite such dreading truth is that we mostly aren’t. I’m still here and I’m still trying, even if it means running around in circles, at least I am.

PS: If you are curious, here is the link to my 5-year blog that I decided to abandon this year: http://kimmerific.tumblr.com/