Coffee With A Conscience

I love coffee. Am especially a sucker for freshly brewed ones, what, with their distinct flavors depending on which type of bean was roasted, or where it was sourced.

But this isn’t about that.
I was happy to chance upon this as my 1st volunteering activity for Hands On Manila (HOM). A team of volunteers helped a coffee farm in Cavite, operated by people who were once streetchildren. Yes, simple, grassroots and transformative things are happening right around us.

The organization that’s making this happen is called KSEM or Kanlungan sa Ermita, Manila. This group has been executing its transformative precepts for almost 25 years. They had started out by taking in streetchildren along Ermita, Manila, providing them shelter and other necessities, as well as education.

Having eventually been granted an agricultural area by kind souls not too long ago, KSEM turned this into a farm where the kids can also stay and partake in formative activities there. Part of what sustains the funding of this group are the proceeds they get from the produce of the farm. Since they have coffee trees, they produce coffee beans. Now, they have a coffee shop in Ermita serving their own blend – also manned by the boys and girls of KSEM.

Here is us meeting at the coffee shop before heading to the farm:

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Landscapes, flora and fauna:

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The volunteering activity involved building a fence around the farm to protect the area. This would greatly help the boys and girls of Kanlungan to protect their produce and avoid unwelcomed elements. They need all the help they can get!

Here are some photos of the volunteers in action:

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Look ma, the wall is slowly coming together! Yeay!

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Above is a candid photo of me talking to Ms. Joy, the overall coordinator for KSEM. She’s a darling.

This year, KSEM is sending over 10 students to college. Talk about nation building and paying it forward! In our own little way, we can help this endeavour by supporting their venture, while enjoying damn good locally brewed coffee. A perky caffeine kick comes along with it, to boot.

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This is documentation of the coffee I’m having as of this writing.

Want to help out in other ways? Digging the farm scene? You can be part of the next batch of volunteers to visit their farm! HOM will be having two activities with KSEM this month. More details are available when you like the Hands On Manila Facebook page.

Not only will you help in transforming the lives of others by joining this, it is also a process of transforming oneself as we reach out, make our worlds bigger and take in more of the beautiful and meaningful things that exist in this world.

Namaste.

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Hurray for Earth Day!

I honestly thought Earth Day was on 4/20 because of all the 4/20 posts I saw on SNS. Good thing I dodged further incidence of what would otherwise have been idiocracy by mindlessly tweeting “Happy 4/20! Happy Earth Day!”. Thank God for the existence of the instaconvenient educator that is Google. Whew.

Instead of honoring 5-fingered Mister M last Saturday, me and my friends decided to honor Miss M instead. Wait for it, this is going to sound fairly cheesy, but I’m going with this anyway. I think it’s awesome. Yes, I said it – we honored Mother Nature.

Being in Manila, the most urban of all jungles in this country, there are a few spots left that hold on to the supposed natural ecosystem. One of these spots is Freedom Island, a watershed along Coastal Road that is home to more than 80 species of wildlife. Needless to say, this mangrove is worth preserving.

Adjacent to this island is what would have been an amazing beach coast that would be great for viewing fisherboats in the morning, or witnessing the glorious sunset in the afternoon. Instead, our mismanaged garbage has left the coast looking like this:
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Breathtaking, NOT. And so, in our own little ways, we try to help out the way we know how. Last Saturday, we decided to participate in the clean-up activity of the Save Freedom Island movement. Here’s us getting down and dirty:
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And here’s me with the Ms. Earth candidates, as we listen in to the opening remarks of this event. Photobomber! Haha:
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It served to be a meaningful and enjoyable activity. There’s a lot of insight to be realized while trying to tidy the place up from all that plastic, foil, rubber and God-knows-what-else. Also, cigarette butts apparently take long to decompose. Let’s work on disposing of them properly? Better yet, let’s get on to Day 1 of the quitting program, stat!

Making the Earth cleaner while bonding with my girls: two birds in one frigging stone! Not that I condone the actual throwing of stones at birds. It was just a figure of speech, I promise.
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To add to the issue, Freedom Island is being slated for reclamation. Politicians who are pro-reclamation have actually proposed “moving the watershed” to another location. Really smart, guys. You deserve a whipping from Ms. Minchin, I swear.

This is why environmental activists are making a buzz in efforts to save this island. My friend Angel is fairly enthusiastic in this movement too, and has incorporated it into her fashion statement:
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Good girl.

So if we want to avoid saying captions like, “an orgy marriage of nature and garbage”, we better be more conscious and conscientious as consumers.
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Ugh, right?

And so, given this, here are a couple of manageable transitions I think we can do to to help out (and no, a tip as vague and cliché as Reduce-Reuse-Recycle is not part of the list. Concrete action steps, loves!):

• Not preparing your own food? Dine in as much as you can. Taking out entails using disposable materials and packaging that will add on to the aggregate clutter of this world.

• Dispose of your junk properly – wet/dry; biodegradable/non. Be it your cigarette butts and/or condoms, use but do not abuse. Dispose properly.

• Go for those ecobags when you shop. Get a trusty and stylish one if you must. Use it again and again, while expressing your fantabulous fashion sense at the same time. I know, I know, I’m not alone in saying that there are more tacky eco bag designs than there aren’t. Do I smell a business idea? Hashtag “Turn passion into profit”!

More green ideas can be found here. (And by green, I meant Earth-friendly. Ahem.) This inspired me to do this blog post. Thank you, universe!

Let’s make everyday Earth Day! Huzzah!

Retrospection: 2012 Edition

This is the part where I’ll be publishing my longest blog post yet. What can I do? 2012 was drenched in awesomesauce.

“If God is a DJ / Life is a dancefloor / Love is the rhythm / You are the music.” – Pink

The monumental party moments of 2012:

Republiq bisdak party

Bisdak party, Republiq, January 2012

Bisdak Party, Relik, December 2012

Another one bites the dust. Bisdaks strike again, Relik, December 2012

PW Cubies, Skye, December 2012Dependable Skye evenings with my dependable party freak PW cubemates  – December 2012

GNO, Skye, April 2012

Girls Night Out, Skye, April 2012. My 1st time. They thought I was underage, thank you very much.

Annabee, Skye, August 2012

Another epic Skye night with my bombshell of a wingwoman – August 2012

PXC-Party, Skye, September 2012

A forming post-PXC tradition: Drinks at Skye! – September 2012

The Beginning, Skye, October 2012

And PW Friends gather once more to celebrate the existence of awesomeness – October 2012

The Aftermath, Skye, October 2012

…an awesome aftermath?

PW Friends, Skye, December 2012Christmas nightcap with PW friends, December 2012

Partyhike, Taipei, November 2012

Partyhike 2012! – Some mountain in Taipei, November 2012

PW Tugs, Republiq, Jan 2012

Starting the year with a bang! – Republiq, January 2012

Starring, Davao, Nov 2012

Partying: stationary style! – Starr, Davao, November 2012

Bang, Fiamma, Jan 2012

1st nonOBEM-related party with OBEMERS – Fiamma, January 2012

Bass Down Low, Republiq, July 2012

We like our beats fast and our bass down low. – Republiq, July 2012

Blackout, Republiq, March 2012

Black babies: My. Hardest. Partyrock. Ever. – Republiq, March 2012

Brrr, Zero Degree Manila, June 2012

We just wanna have fun. – Zero Degree Manila, June 2012

Celebrators, Relik, October 2012

Happy birthday to us! – Relik, October 2012

OBEM Friends, Relik, October 2012

Partycelebrating with college friends!

Partyhike 2, Taipei, November 2012

The Partyhike continues: Jejestyle – Some mountain in Taiwan, November 2012

The Gondola, Taipei, November 2012

Gondola Party! -Taipei, November 2012

Without music, life would be a mistake.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Concerts and other forces destined by the universe to have made this year so beautifully filled with music:

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Liked the album, abhorred the concert. Had a good time, still! – Dev at Republiq, July 2012

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Destiny fulfilled: Capacities for Kagayanons – Up Dharma Down at Punchbowl, CdO, Dec 2012

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My UDD dates!

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Asked my dad out on a date in Manila! – Sting at Araneta Coliseum, December 2012
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1st Int’l Artist Concert for the year! – Evanescence + Bush at Araneta Coliseum, Feb 2012

Went to The Cranberries concert with this babe, too – but we didn’t get pictures. :))

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My face. Bow. – David Guetta at SM MOA Arena, October 2012

Babes, Malasimbo PG, March 2012

Earlybirds! – Malasimbo 2, Puerto Galera, March 2012

MMF, Alphaland Bay City, May 2012

Pumped! – Manila Music Festival, Alphaland Bay City, May 2012

Phantom, CCP, September 2012

Off to hear the angel of music! – CCP, September 2012

“Don’t be foolish, just follow your feet” –Sir William Thatcher, A Knight’s Tale

Awesome travels with dear friends:

Kite-flying, Clark Air Field, Feb 2012

Kites and Hot Air Balloons with these awesome people – Clark, Pampanga, February 2012

Off we go, Bangera Inn PG, March 2012

Prepped for Malasimbo – Bangera Inn, Puerto Galera, March 2012

Coconuts, Malasimbo PG, March 2012

Coconuts and Indie Music: a good match – Mt. Malasimbo, March 2012

Retreat, Calaruega Batangas, April 2012

A reflective vacation with Faye – Calaruega, Batangas, April 2012

Overnighters, Costabella, April 2012

My 1st OBEM trip! – Costabella, Cebu, April 2012

The Queen, Taipei, November 2012

With the Queen – Taipei, November 2012

Bonfire, Iba, Zambales, November 2012

Hotdogs and Bonfires, Iba, Zambales, November 2012

Going Back, Pearl Farm, Nov 2012With my go-to gang — Pearl Farm, Samal, November 2012

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Foodtripping with workies! – Binondo, October 2012

Hardcaps, Corregidor, August 2012

Ladies and hardhats. – Corregidor, August 2012

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.” -Khalil Gibran

To the people who have kept me sane all through out this stretch called life.

Bumblebeekins, CdO, July 2012

Bumblecousins – CdO, July 2012

Baptism, Zambales, Nov 2012

Solid from answering homework all the way to godparenting – Zambales, November 2012

Abbyday, Stella, June 2012

Catching up! – Ate Abby’s birthday dinner, Stella, June 2012

Battles Over Milk Tea, Moonleaf, June 2012

When you’ve hit rock bottom, the only place left to go is up. Battles over milk tea with my babes. – Moonleaf, June 2012

Best Wishes, Amici de Don Bosco, March 2012

Best Wishes! -Amici de Don Bosco, March 2012

Camwhoring, Starbucks CdO, April 2012

Camwhoring catch-ups. -Starbucks CdO, April 2012

Mayumis, Hossein, October 2012

Angel’s despedida! – Hossein, October 2012

DSC06732My Girls. – Barbara’s Binondo, June 2012

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Just like them good old times. – Candy’s, December 2012

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Thai Me Up!

Fraud Team, Alphaland Southgate, August 2012

Former Teammates, friends until the end – Alphaland Southgate, August 2012

Madame Marly, Cebu, August 2012

Visiting one of my oldest friends after my Eat-Pray-Shop trip! – Cebu, August 2012

PXC 34, Araneta Coliseum, December 2012

Lunchies! – Araneta Coliseum, December 2012

“Shake the dust off your feet.” -Matthew 10:14

2012 was the year I started my love affair with the beach:

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Lone reflections – Pearl Farm, Nov 2012
Boat to Samal, Davao, Nov 2012

Row, row, row your boat!

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Beaching with the Nephews! – Duka Bay Resort, Medina, Aug 2012

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Post-birthday documentation with THE Ea – Palm Beach Resort, Batangas, Oct 2012

Jumpshot, Puerto Galera, March 2012

Bibis gonna jumpshot! – Puerto Galera, March 2012

Lookie, Pearl Farm, Nov 2012

Finally here. – Pearl Farm, Samal, November 2012

Scuba Diving, Maxima Samal, Nov 2012

Scuba duba – Maxima Resort, Samal, November 2012

Shading, Puerto Galera, March 2012

Chillin’ like a villain – Puerto Galera, March 2012

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Defying Gravity. – Zambales, November 2012

 

We work and we play. Whatever curve balls may come along the way, with these people, I know that it’s all going to be okay. -Me

Hahaha. Self-awareness FT-dub!

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Ending an epic work year with my 2012 lunchies – Jills, The Fort, December 2012

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Anton’s Despedida – Create Room, September 2012

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On our way to the coffee joint – Rada Street, July 2012
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Team Competitive! – Manila Polo Club, November 2012

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A fine yuletide dinner – Aubergine, The Fort, December 2012

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Our 1st Note 2 photo! – Salcedo Park, December 2012

“Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.” – Anon

To the people I live for:

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Making faces with Miggy! – Nita’s Medina, August 2012

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The Drama Club with Joaqui! – Duka Bay Resort, August 2012

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So relieved that they liked their Kreo Transformers toy!


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The parentals and the sibs! – CdO, December 2012

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Strolling at the park after mass. – Gaston Park, CdO

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Playground pleasures.

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And I finally managed to get the entire crew in one boat! Destiny fulfilled. – Duka Bay Resort, December 2012

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation” – The Alchemist

“So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.”
― George Mallory

To dare and dream and achieve. My 2012 highlights:

Flying Kite, Clark Air Field, Feb 2012

Flying a kite for the 1st time! – Clark, Pampanga, Feb 2012

Stinky Tofu, Taipei, November 2012

Eating Stinky Tofu. Ick. – Taipei, Nov 2012

Titay!

Fangirling with Titay Arenal – PXC 34, Araneta Coliseum, December 2012

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My 1st time down under! – Samal reefs, November 2012

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My 1st crack at event-hosting! – Jills, The Fort, December 2012
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My 1st time to go out and wear printed leggings! – Philippine Fashion Week, SMX, October 2012

I am super grateful for the ideas, events and people that have shaped my 2012.

Looking forward to an epic 2013!

“I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend.” -Gus, The Fault In Our Stars

Burning Rubber

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So I wake up at 4 in the morning to prep for the 1st marathon of my life. I check my phone for Peep updates, and there’s a Tweet from I forgot where saying that the information retention level of people nowadays is significantly reduced due to the advent of the Intarweb. It goes on to say that said Tweet will be forgotten by a reader in as soon as a minute. Well boohoo, I still remember that Tweet. Hell, I’m even blogging about it. Okay, so I just needed to say that. Moving on to more interesting things–

I’m generally averse to other people watching me exercise, who knows why. So when it came to warm-up time (that Bodyvive routine was fun!), I felt a tad bit awkward. All that changed when I heard the gunshot and people were either running, jogging or walking, all in the pursuit of reaching the finish line.

Around 10 minutes pass and I hear other people’s pronounced breathing, as if to taunt me that I should get tired too. So I’m not a fan of those sounds either. I like to keep the feeling of my body’s burning fats and increasing blood circulation to myself, thank you very much.

So why am I blogging about my 1st time to join a marathon? Because I love it. I just do. Despite the multitude of characters in that Takbo.ph event, they basically don’t give a rat’s arse about me wearing my old running shoes, or the sweat dripping down my face, or my oversized jersey, or even the fact that I only jogged on he first half of the race and walked on the second. The organizers still say “Good morning, runners” anyway. This is probably standard across marathons, but I was just amazed that there is such a thing as a tracker. It’s provided as part of the kit and with it, you can view your record online. This is probably not something that’s awefully amazing, but hey, pardon me. I’m a noob at this.

00:46:24 isn’t so bad, right? Next goal: cut running time by 30%. And next time, I should be running. Haha. 🙂