Another one of my overdue posts, this time about a little side trip I went on last month.

I visited Andrew, a friend from college, before I left the States for Manila. We drove (he drove is what really happened) to Atlanta for a little weekend trip. Walked around a lot and talked a lot and looked for Korean food in the cold.

I haven’t actually seen Drew in almost 5 years, and we’ve only started talking again when my internship started. Funny turn of events! It was very nice to have a friend to talk to about home (and being homesick!) during the whole time I was in the States. In Tagalog, for good measure. Paying him a little visit before I left was really the least I could do to say thank you for the virtual company.

nbnh-atl-2_zpszairazglIt was storming when I left Jersey. Me and my lovely relationship with airports.

nbnh-atl-3_zpshnikf7eunbnh-atl-5_zps5wchtcrkBut it was so sunny in South Carolina. Unbelievable. I was in winter clothes.

The drive was 3 and something hours from SC to Atlanta.

Good morning, Atlanta. I had no idea whatsoever of what this city was like. We mostly winged it haha. Which was refreshing because it’s also a nice way to go about a vacation, just walking around and taking in whatever you stumble upon along the way without thinking about it too much.

I expected more people downtown but it seemed like nobody really likes to walk around there?

Hello hello hello.



Lots of street art in Atlanta. There were a ton more we weren’t able to visit.

nbnh-atl-19_zps2ny5cmqsI think this is a mockingbird?

nbnh-atl-20_zpsdeypc4wcPolar bear paw bedroom slippers in the Coke museum store!

nbnh-atl-22_zpsdaqu5iz7Went to the Georgia Aquarium. It’s supposedly the biggest aquarium in America.

nbnh-atl-23_zpszats9uolAlbino alligator! What a beaut. On the drive home from Atlanta, Andrew and I were talking about an idea of having a wildlife reserve housing only albino animals.

nbnh-atl-24_zpsnrkdald7sea stars

nbnh-atl-28_zpsooa5z5yzsea stars in piles

nbnh-atl-26_zpsdfzgtqd1nbnh-atl-27_zpsz1axytjrthe spectacular sea dragon

nbnh-atl-30_zps3jocuthfa coupla nerds

The biggest tank held 4 whale sharks. Before we went, I researched on how ethical this was, and why these creatures were in the aquarium in the first place. I’ve read that the whale sharks were on their way to being sold on the black market, to be slaughtered and sold as food. The whole operation was intercepted and the whale sharks were rescued and rehabilitated.

nbnh-atl-32_zpspliveagtmore nerds with squid hats we very much coveted



little friend bids us goodbye

nbnh-atl-39_zpspsvj8ncuStreetcar envy. I wish our public transportation system was this efficient, woe.

nbnh-atl-41_zpsss2kbmjrsome guys carrying a little boombox, playing some music while walking around

Ended the first night with Korean food and a ton of cookies because that is what you eat on vacations, obviously.

nbnh-atl-42_zpssema7hixDropped by 209 Mitchell Street before leaving Atlanta to see this mural by Belgian street artist ROA. He paints animals that are endemic to the area.

nbnh-atl-44_zps7fowt3moobligatory and inevitable

nbnh-atl-46_zpsyqcv54teBye Atlanta, see ya later.

As I said, we mostly winged it. I opened the Atlanta map on the Google app, put as much stars to mark every place that seemed interesting, and then we tried to drop by them when we were in the area. Or at least something close to that happened. Also had help from On the Grid, which has curated a lot of other interesting non-touristy spots in different cities around the world.

Ah yes, fun times.

P.S. Hello Andrew, see ya later too.

ITH, part 2

ITH, part 1 here

I was in line to be interviewed at the US embassy last year for my visa, and this guy behind me and I chatted a bit. He was from New Zealand, currently a student from Columbia. When he saw I was headed to Cornell, he told me that Cornell had the highest rate of suicide incidents across the Ivy League schools. I remember being told about this when I got to Ithaca also, along with warnings of how the winters got very, very cold.

Coming from a busier place like Manila, I found Ithaca relatively much smaller and also kind of secluded especially if you don’t have a car. Also, I could only imagine how much pressure there is on the students to stay and excel in such a prestigious institution. People traveling from all over the world, a lot of them with only one shot at it. Like me, I guess, on some level. I admit that this is something that added to my constant nervousness during the first part of my stay there. It was a great experience to share my art for conservation and to learn, and I was so happy to be there, but I also knew I only had one shot at it. I couldn’t disappoint. I had to nail it. It’s like seeing how beautiful the gorges and riverside trails on campus were, then you notice that the bridges all have nets around them.

I arrived in the summer, and the Ithaca I met was this sunny city with stunning trails and parks and lakes and gorges. The flowers and vegetables were thriving full on; I felt so ignorant and slightly shamed because I’ve been staying in the metropolis all of my life. Birds in all colors: the blue jay, red northern cardinal, bright yellow goldfinches. Also, since it was a college town, Ithaca is progressive in its own way. Highly intellectual, but also weird and dorky.

I had been very homesick and tried to hide away during the first days, just because it was tiring to be a stranger and be on my toes constantly. Then I saw that the city quietly had its arms opened wide to me all along. The sun and birds. All the people I met who turned into friends. The kindness of strangers who taught me how to be myself, do my thing, relax, ask for help, and above all, have a lot of damn fun. Despite my nervousness and the pressure of doing good work, despite the nets under the bridges, despite the impending winter. Everything was special and important, but nothing was too precious, and that was perfectly fine.

And so. Last couple of things before the photos:
a) I did learn a ton of things, and I keep thinking of how Ithaca taught me this and that, but then I think it was more about encouragement than education. It  wasn’t “This is how things are. Do it this way and it’ll work out.” but more like “Gurl, we believe in you! Do your thaaang, we got your back.”

b) It only snowed for a total of 3 days while I was there. Heh.


Continue reading “ITH, part 2”

ITH, part 1

I know I haven’t posted in such a long time, not once since life tossed me into the past few months’ adventure that was my internship at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The internship ran from the end of July until just right before Christmas, and it was A BLAST, to say the least.

I always find it overwhelming every time I try to write about my experience, mostly because I can’t figure out where to start. I am still kind of getting used to not being in Ithaca, going about my routine and all. AKA still getting used to being on vacation, at least for the most part, because I still do have some deadlines and things. It really does feel strange, especially because my project ended so abruptly, and then the holidays were suddenly upon us. After all the months of drawing everyday, it’s only now that I’m starting to slowly settle down.

Well. I’m not sure I want to wait for the high of it all to wear off before I start sharing, so even without all the words, I thought I’d maybe share last year’s biggest adventure through the photos I collected since July. Looking through everything I saw that although my stay in Ithaca was mainly because of my internship, the picture book, the conservation efforts for the Philippine Eagle, most of what actually happened were about so much more than work.

For me, the work part was what I was actually prepared for. I had a portfolio for drawing, I applied for the internship knowingly. But what did I know about suddenly being in this completely new place at the other side of the world, with people I didn’t know, whose culture I had to figure out? Nooooot much.

These were the in-between moments that have made this chapter of my life bear much more weight than just being something about work. These are those people and those places and those days that pulled me out of my head and taught me that sometimes, things fall into their places if you let them land where they ought to.

ith-1_zpswzfqjokbJuly 25

Continue reading “ITH, part 1”

Bartels Scientific Illustration Internship and The Philippine Eagle Center

Before anything, a little back story! : )

Earlier this year, I heard about the Bartels Scientific Illustration Internship at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology from Liza (thank you!), who learned of it from the Ayala Museum (thanks Ms. Jo Ann and Sir Ken!). Every year they open up three positions for illustration interns from all over the world who will work on different projects pertaining to birds and to the programs of the Lab. This year, one of the focus birds of the Lab and the internship is no other than our very own Philippine Eagle. It’s an excellent opportunity to contribute to the efforts towards helping conserve and educate others about the Philippine Eagle.

As part of my research for the materials I would be working on at the internship, the Lab had arranged for me to have an immersion visit to the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao! Here is an account of the trip.

Continue reading “Bartels Scientific Illustration Internship and The Philippine Eagle Center”

Maynila, part 1

I made a photo post on my old blog about the Royal Postal Heritage Tour (free walking tours around Manila hosted by the Apo Philatelic Club and Filipinas Stamp Collectors’ Club) that I joined with my friends Pergy and Rex last year. When I switched back to WordPress, though, the post was erased and I didn’t get to import it back here. So! Here are the photos again!

Maynila, part 1

Continue reading “Maynila, part 1”

summer shower

HELLO ALL. First of all, welcome to the awkward in-between state of this blog. I’m taking my time with figuring out the new design. Obviously! But anyway.

I am quite surprised and very thankful for how good 2013 is treating me so far. Let us count the ways.

I made this month’s YStyle logo

I thought they only published the interview online! Nahiya ako bigla haha.
But do check out my touristy face and the whole interview on the YStyle page.

Here is the original artwork in gouache and pencils.

I got carried away with the small details knowing they won’t register properly on newsprint.

I made another one mainly because I wanted to try out my new art supply treat: Derwent Ink Blocks! Here is a more colorful and season-appropriate logo, heh.

I therefore conclude that I love the ink blocks so very much! I like how vivid the colors dry out no matter how watered down they are. I also love the color accidents produced when layering colors.

I also have the spot for this week’s Ang INK Corner in Manila Bulletin. It’s a groggy froggy!

In other non-newspaper related news, I am also working on my first children’s book ever. It has me on my toes every time but I’m learning a lot along the way (mostly with time management and nap time control). It’s cliche and probably an understatement to say that it’s fun but I’m going to say it anyway. It’s fun! I would also like say that it’s fulfilling but that would be counting the chickens before the eggs hatch.

Other places I have been to besides the office and locked up in my room include Calatagan, Batangas. Studio Dialogo and Rubbertree had a little field trip to the Enrique Zobel Museum for its inauguration.

Roxas-De Ayala-Zobel family tree by Studio Dialogo

And the wooden cut-out map of Calatagan by Rubbertree

What a prolific man!

Merienda afterwards was at the beautiful Hacienda Bigaa. I love how the driveway was lined with neatly trimmed bougainvilla shrubs.

Obligatory bathroom shot because it was pretty. Also I wanted to show you that I am the kind of girl who refuses to listen to her body telling her she’s sick, and wears a turtleneck in summer just so she could go on the trip haha.

Also obligatory, picture of pretty food. Breakfast for dinner at Breakfast at Antonio’s on the way home. Smoked New Zealand King Chinook on whole wheat bread~

So there! That is where I have been. As for more adventures, I am leaving for Somewhere Very Far, Very Soon. A vacation, hooray! I’m not ready for it just yet so I don’t want to talk about it extensively haha. Right now I’m still anxious about organizing the work I may have to bring along but I am looking forward to the hour that the anxiety turns into excitement and utter joy.

Do you have any book and/or music recommendations for long trips and lots of waiting at airports? :)