Something to remember you by

Nope. I'm not even gonna try to apologize for being missing-in-action for what feels like forever. First thing's first: I'm very much alive and well. Let's just say I've been busy–while enjoying–"living offline" and leave it at that. Lame but partly true. Only partly correct because while I was quite busy, I was also unforgivably lazy. In the meantime, allow me to make up for my absence and play a memory game with you. I'll try to resume this huge gap in the storyline with life updates that will give Timehop a run for their money, beginning with two Augusts and Septembers ago.

I "sat in" at youth service for the first time in a long time since I graduated college two years and a half ago then, to accompany the youngest sister and the kids' energy was just infectious! No regrets tagging along and trying my best to blend in! It will always be home to me, the warmth of this city. And in true university life fashion, we had dinner at a new tucked-in cafe nearby where mostly kolehiyalas chitchat nonstop about the cute guy in class during study break. Typical.

Two consecutive weekends with the baby sis and I don't even know how she handled my crazy?! Following our first meeting/getaway with our faraway relatives, we spent the next Saturday just lounging about Casa Aguirre's family room, movie marathoning and laughing about the little things in between. We attended worship service and had our two-member Sunday family lunch before going back to our realities. The next week, however, Karina had just come home from her ten-day longtime dream vacation in Australia so it called for a complete Sister Sunday bonding! It's always good and heartwarming to be with my fellow intense ladies. I just love my sisters to bits!!

Our mega-talented friend helps run an art cafe and had her works on display that rainy weekend so our barkada gladly trooped on over to support her. They had a shelf full of books and board games I probably drooled while staring at, serve such yummy meals and drinks for affordable prices, and even had an original play staged during our visit! The cafe's concept is promising, I would go there more often had it only been closer to my side of the city. I guess it's secluded location is part of its charm. Congrats and best of luck always, Pepe! Thanks for having us and giving a reason for the girls to get together!

If I Stay was a remarkable and one-of-a-kind experience for me. My dear friend Jill sent me the link of the trailer two months before the movie was released and no joke I already wanted to cry my heart out for it! Later that day, she sent me soft copy of the book and I have never felt the urge to read a book right away...and so I did and finished it in just under four hours, with so many tears I didn't even expect! I loved how music played a key role in the story and I thought I heard everything—dialogue and soundtrack—even by just turning each page. It was magical. Hands down to Gayle Forman. Hence, it was only fitting to head to the cinema and watch the film for Jilly's birthday. To this day, If I Stay Feels is here to stay.

Our closest Manila-based relatives had blessing ceremonies for their new condo and we couldn't be any happier to have them nearer to us (and for the convenience their new location brings in terms of their commute to work, of course)! We also had the brilliant idea of turning their new home into a makeshift photo studio because the natural light was just spot-on. And you must know, this hundred-square-meter unit felt a lot like home too ever since, and we are ever grateful to the Aguirres for always allowing us over.

The twin and I took one of the rarest leisurely afternoon stroll around the neighborhood to burn all the calories we got from our usually heavy happy-lunch, probably in search for a cozy, "hipster" cafe, I now forget. After wandering about, even reaching the heart of the city, we ended up settling for one of the most commercial cafes in the metro on our way back, only a couple of blocks away from my weekend home (her place). We did stop for ice cream though, so I guess that counts for something.

Our awesome twosome turned three for the rest of that weekend as the babysis spent her free time with us. We spent the rainy Sunday warming ourselves up with God's Word then some Japanese food (Kendi's all-time favorite, and my least favorite...peace!) and hours later, catching the Cheerdance Competition on television. Comfort and chill.

Great turnout during our annual high school get-together, organized by Kara's batch; about forty of us kids across seven different batches filled the burger joint with laughter and loud chatter. Each of us upperclassmen sat across the table from a freshie and just connect with them. It was a treat! Awe-inspiring even, how the fifteen of them braved that flight away from the comforts of home to try out college life in Manila. Best of luck with everything, Batch 2014! (And then us "older" cool kids moved the party to a place that lets us play nonstop beer pong...)

Weekends are for pretty places and good food. Always. Case in point: a quick stop to say hello to our friends we miss ever so dearly at the lovely Crisp at the 28th (should really try it there and all of the other Erwan Heusaff-owned/managed restaurants in the metro) and a quick devouring of heavenly steak at our go-to resto just a very short walk away from Karina's (we probably eat here at least once or twice a month).

For the first time in a very long time, we got to enter the studios of ABS-CBN. Every step and every glance were quite reminiscent of my distant past, spending my occasional summers in Manila at that very place. (Sure, there is no shame in my or anyone else's fangirling, I just decided I had to grow up some time.) That afternoon brought back a lot of memories. I almost forgot how loud I could scream for a celebrity! But I'm so glad we got to have one of Kendi's little dreams come true, i.e. meeting one of her idols at that time (she just has so many!),...and see my longtime schoolgirl crush again. Being mistaken by marshals as "talents" and almost getting away with it would still be the highlight of the day! We had a good laugh at that one. In another life, maybe. We're too late in the game now. But thanks, really.

I'm really getting bad at this blogging thing. Like promising to write more and better but updating half a month later. That kind of bad. I apologize. Again and again. I just need to kick myself out of this. Time to keep pushing! Hope to get back to you with even more amazing things pretty soon. And super thanks for sticking with an easily-distracted poorly-focused writer like me. Change is coming. Change should come. And it will. :)

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