“But Ma, you don’t need to send cats to school!”

In my entire existence as a Catholic Filipino, I consider Pope Francis’ appointment as ‘the most progressive aka most rockstar thing’ that has happened to Catholic Church. But today I was taken aback by his statement.

Sometime after my college years, the Philippine legislative department went under heavy fire from all sides because the Catholic Church accused it of supporting an anti-life legislation, the Reproductive Health Bill. This is not the point of this post, but I just wanna say, whatever happened to the ‘separation of Church and State’ crap?

Anyhoo, point is, I was having a conversation with my family over a video call when I was on a trip, and I told them that I’m not gonna stop traveling. My Mom smiled and whispered, “Patay, hindi na talaga mag-aasawa” (“Oh dear, she’s definitely not planning on getting married”), which I heard. I responded by saying, “Yes, Ma, I’ll just buy a cat.”


Mom tried to argue with me that having a cat is the same with having a baby, because you have to feed it, bathe it, and take care of it. Then I said,

But Ma, you don’t need to send cats to school!

Me, 2021

Mom burst into laughter, but refused to say she agreed. But I know she did.

Now, back to the controversial statement by Pope Francis.

Perhaps he does not have an idea how much the minimum wage is in different countries, especially in the developing world. Perhaps he does not have an idea how much it costs to raise a kid. Perhaps he does not have an idea that education is becoming more and more expensive. Sometimes, couples who opt not to raise kids are not necessarily selfish, they could be in fact selfless because they chose to save a potential life to experience all the crap happening in this world.

Just saying. Kids are expensive. And I love cats.

Recalling My Blue’s Clues Childhood Memories, Missing Zedd and EDM Music, and Admiring Lily Collins’ Outfits in Emily in Paris (Scrambled Thoughts #08)

Hey it’s me again! Here are my scrambled thoughts on Steve’s come back and Blue’s Clues, Zedd and EDM, and Lily Collin’s outfits in Emily in Paris.


8th of September, rainy morning. I was in the car with my sister after her second dose of vaccine. We were ordering takeaway breakfast at McDonald’s in Manila, and I saw this video while browsing through social media:

Apparently, it has become viral, and people my age have been expressing either nostalgia or support to Steve as he was explaining why he abruptly left Blue’s Clues.

To be honest, even if I’ve been locally watching Blue’s Clues with my siblings when I was a kid, I hardly remember noticing that the show was gone, and Steve was gone.

Hence, the whole ‘Steve resurfaces and explaining himself’ does not mean anything to me. But don’t get me wrong, please. I love Blue and Magenta. It’s just that, Nickelodeon was amazing in creating a noise in the online world.

But nonetheless, it’s nice to know that Steve went to college, and everything’s alright with him. Looks like I actually missed my childhood, Blue’s Clues, and Steve, after all. Welcome back, Steve!


Zedd, Zedd, Zedd. Your songs gave life to many of my Friday nights when I was a graduate student slash early career government professional. I can still vividly recall singing ‘Stay the Night’ at the top of my lungs when the DJ played it in a club I was in with my girlfriends. Aside from Avicii, your music is the reason why I pursued DJ mixing as a hobby.

But EDM hasn’t occupied the usual public places it reigns in for a long time already because of the pandemic (well, at least here in the Philippines). Sure, I’m getting older, but I feel like I will still crave for the happiness I feel looking forward to ending a week of hard work with a fun-filled Friday night with blasting music, a little alcohol, and surely followed by some Mexican food after. I miss outside. I miss Friday nights. I miss EDM music. I miss singing and dancing to them in public with strangers and friends.

In the meantime, let’s just blast some Zedd music at home. Spotify‘s got us.


Emily in Paris is a show that you can’t really avoid, especially when it first aired on Netflix, since it became the most watched show during that time.

I was only convinced to watch it because of my brother’s girlfriend. We were once talking about my wish to experience moving abroad to work long-term at least once in my life, and she mentioned that I should watch. Emily in Paris because it’s also about moving abroad for work.

That’s it. I watched Emily in Paris.

I liked it more than the “moving abroad to work” plot. Emily’s outfits are on point, Lucas Bravo is so handsome, and the show is just simply feel-good. I believe Lily Collins was very fit to play the role of Emily.

Eventually, I started seeing a lot of backlash against Emily in Paris over the internet, saying that the show heavily romanticized Paris and the whole thing was so unrealistic. But is any TV show meant to be THAT realistic? I mean, it’s a show about a young woman working in the fashion industry. Are you going to show pickpockets and the dirty surroundings of Paris? I don’t think so.

Anyhoo, moving on to my point. Since the show was created by Darren Star (the same creator of Sex and the City) and the outfits were also handpicked by Patricia Field, everyone has high expectations about the show. Needless to say, I think all outfits worn by Lily Collins are amazing! Here are some of my favorite outfits of hers:

Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: I love the printed button down! I’ll try to button my tops like this in the future. Image from Ent Scoop
Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: I always love sundress but this long, and the black-yellow combo looks so elegant.Image from Ent Scoop
Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: I think this is a classic Parisian look, especially the red beret.Image from Ent Scoop
Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: Hmmm, maybe not the bucket hat, but the green coat is so chic.Image from Ent Scoop
Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: OMG the dress! Need I say more?Image from Ent Scoop
Lily Collins
LILY COLLINS OUTFIT IN EMILY IN PARIS: Love her jeans in this scene, as well as the mini-blazer.Image from Ent Scoop

Btw, congrats on your wedding, Lily Collins! (Now that’s another elegant outfit!)

Just rambling as always,


On Receiving my COVID Vaccine, Nostalgia with Christina Aguilera, and Living with Typhoon in the Philippines (Scrambled Thoughts #07)

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the impact of getting my COVID vaccine, feeling nostalgic with Christina Aguilera songs, and trying to look back how typhoon season in the Philippines changed over the years.


I’ve been vaccinated with Moderna vaccine for quite a while. It has made me less fearful of the COVID-19 virus and also more complacent in going outside. But don’t get me wrong, I haven’t actually been outside a lot. I’m only bound to go back to Manila tomorrow, and all the while I’m at the safety of my hometown in Batangas.

I still have a lot of things to take care of before my remote work plans could be executed. I’m planning to spend every other month traveling to surfing areas in the Philippines to practice surfing, and getting vaccinated is a jumpstart to that plan. However, I need to take care of my moving out of Manila after my contract with my condo and plan my travels and to more research on how to make it as affordable as possible.

I’ve heard of many instances where vaccinated people still contract COVID-19 despite getting vaccinated, and I am no exemption to this, obviously. So I think I still need to exercise extra care. I seriously don’t want to have COVID-19.


Lately I’ve been putting the song “Come on Over Baby” by Christina Aguilera on loop because it reminds me of my grade school days where my classmates and I would sing Christina Aguilera’s songs in karaoke. I attended grade school in the province and I feel nostalgic whenever I try to recall those memories, since it reminds me how plain and simple life is in the province.

“Come on Over Baby” has a certain beat that uplifts my mood that no other Christina Aguilera song does, hence whenever I need some mood booster, this song is always, always included in my playlist.


Having born and raised in a disaster-prone country like the Philippines, I have always considered the regular typhoons as something normal. Everytime there’s a typhoon, we just stay indoors until it passes, and that’s it. For other areas in the Philippines, it’s not really like this.


There are a lot of areas in the country that would flood a lot, and there were times where the weather bureau (PAGASA) would fail to forecast the actual strength of typhoon, thereby not making enough preparations to prevent casualties in specific areas. As I was growing up, I’ve observed that typhoons are getting more and more stronger, and this is something that no one should ignore.

The whole world sees the Philippines and the Filipinos as one of the most resilient in terms of dealing with different natural disasters, but how about we try to prevent or minimize casualties and destructions next time? It’s possible. I mean, look at Japan. Sure, the Philippines doesn’t have enough resources to deal with disasters like how Japan deals with them, but at the very least, something has to change.

So much scrambled thoughts lately.

Just rambling as usual,


On Zoom vs. Meet, GCQ, and Mental Health Check (Scrambled Thoughts #06)

I’m back with my usual rambling on my boring daily life this pandemic! This time, I will try to compare Zoom and Google Meet, vent more about GCQ and the more becoming nonsensical quarantine classifications in the Philippines, and a little bit about my mental health.


Hmmm, where to begin the comparison?

For sure, we know the popularity of the Chinese conference app when this whole ‘work from home’ and ‘online school’ started during the pandemic. I have tried the app as early as 2019, but I only thought of it as Skype-ish one-on-one video calling application.

The very first Department Meeting I attended during the pandemic was held in Google Meet, and that was my first time to use such application. I found it simpler and since it’s a Google app, it’s easy to integrate everything because our university email is running through Google Suite.

On the other hand, there’s this brand stigma against the first conference app, being a Chinese brand. Just like Tiktok, there are conspiracies about it stealing data and personal information, but of course it can’t be proven.

On one hand, here are some pros I observed with these two apps:


  1. You can open it directly on Google Chrome browser and there’s no need for an installed app for it.
  2. The interface is simpler, therefore it’s easy to learn it by yourself.
  3. Less bandwidth is required.


  1. A lot of features are present here that are not available in Google Meet, such as co-hosting and emoji reactions.
  2. Zoom has more flexibility in changing the virtual background.
  3. Zoom can possibly accommodate more participants than Google Meet.

On the other hand, here are some of my observed cons with both Google Meet and Zoom:


  1. If you want to present or share a Google tab, you will need to switch tabs to navigate back to the meeting room.
  2. There are no emoji reactions apart from raise hand.
  3. There is no option to automatically record the session when the host starts the meeting.


  1. If you are presenting the screen as a host, all other features will be reduced to pop-out windows which could block your view the shared presentation.
  2. It’s more complex to schedule a meeting since you need to provide a lot of details.
  3. More bandwidth is needed compared to Google Meet.

Both meeting apps are good, anyway, but your preference will depend on what feature you consider crucial for your online meeting/class.


Metro Manila is back to the second most relaxed lockdown/quarantine measure (MECQ), and if you have read my prior blog reflecting on the proposed ‘granular lockdown’ by the Philippine government, I said there that these quarantine classifications no longer make sense to me.

Whether there’s a strict lockdown or not, it will make no difference if vaccinations will not be expedited and mass testings will not be enforced. Either way, people are still discouraged to stay home. Even if restaurants will allow dine-ins once again, I would still rather order takeaways. Seriously, what’s the point? Anyway, I’ll just try to stay home (and stay sane lol) as much as I can.


I would always practice patience, kindness, and leniency to my students in this difficult time because I don’t want to be one of the additional causes of their mental health struggles this pandemic. I am quite happy that they are also trying to do the same for me.

How’s my mental health? I don’t know how to describe it, really. I have become less anxious lately because I am slowly learning to take it one day at a time and live in the present and not worry about things that will happen beyond one year. However, I am starting to be bored and lose interest on things that became part of my routine. You see, I am a very social and outgoing person at times, and this pandemic has limited all my activities to things I could do indoors, including exercise.

I’ve been experiencing this feeling for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been affecting my productivity. Good thing, I was able to re-read James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. Even if I already know most of the cliche advices of the book, especially the compound benefits of being consistent on small habits, one thing that stuck with me the most is embracing boredom. I always find myself complaining and stopping to do something when it gets boring, from jobs to hobbies to projects, and a lot of things. But then I realized, all things I could implement that will give me inner peace are quite boring — nature, minimalism, developing habits long-term, etc.

That’s it. I just need to accept that boredom is part o the growth process, and it’s up to me on how to fight it and still try to reach my goals.

Let’s see. And I hope your mental health are okay, too!

Just rambling as usual,


Crushing on Alvaro Morte, Laughing at ‘Granular Lockdown’, and ‘No, THIS IS Abba’ (Scrambled Thoughts #05)

I hope whoever reads this will not get sick and tired of me talking about Money Heist yet! As of writing, I am at Part 3, and sadly, I’m not sure if I still like it since the heist at the Royal Mint of Spain is over (and Oslo, Moscow, and Berlin are gone huhu!). Let’s see, this time I’ll tell you about my type of guy (and why I’m crushing on Alvaro Morte aka the Professor), my thoughts on the implementation of Granular Lockdown in the Philippines, and my love for Sweden and Abba.


If you’re watching Money Heist, you are definitely familiar with how Alvaro Morte (The Professor) was able to plan ALL the possibilities in robbing the Royal Mint of Spain. Moreover, in certain flashbacks during the planning at the estate, it can be observed that the Professor is an introvert, and he never gave in to the advances of both Tokyo and Nairobi. Lastly, when his love story with Raquel developed, we could see his gentleness, his awkwardness, and how he has been there for Raquel 100% of the time, even if he’s leading the heist of the century.

All I’m saying is, I will always be attracted to intelligence. I don’t mean just book smart, but the ability to solve problems and think creatively, something like that. I also like it when someone is passionate about something specific, even if I won’t understand it (as long as it’s not crime, conspiracies, or something imaginary lol).

I would also appreciate it if a guy will not misinterpret my clinginess as neediness (are they the same or different? I’m not sure). I’m strong and independent af, and being clingy is not being dependent. I don’t know, it’s just my love language, and whenever I’m stressed, I just want someone to be physically there with me, just like how the Professor was ALWAYS there for Raquel. Too much confidence can be too douch-ey or asshole-y, so I would rather be with shy type guys, but not to the point that I’m the one carrying and taking care of everything.

I’m rambling, obviously. And I’m not comfortable writing about what I just wrote lol. But there you go. I’m crushing on Alvaro Morte, and when I browsed his Instagram, he seems like a nice person off-cam as well. *heart eyes emoji*


ECQ, MECQ, MECQ with heightened restrictions, MGCQ, GCQ, granular lockdown, hard lockdown. I think these were some of the terms or categorizations of community quarantines that the Philippine government has implemented so far since the pandemic hit the country in 2020. But I seriously don’t understand the point anymore.

Shifting from one category to another depending on the (inaccurate) COVID cases statistics was proven not to contribute to diminishing the cases, at all. The government already has one year worth of data to conclude that, but they seem to remain clueless over what to do, not to mention dealing with the slooooow vaccination roll-out.

I was in Manila most of the time during this pandemic, and I have observed nothing different in these series of lockdown implementations. Sure, restaurants close early and/or do not allow dine-ins, but people still go to work, take the public transportation, and expose themselves to the virus. Plus, those violators in the Barangay level looks unmonitored. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong.

So what’s the point of granular lockdown? Yeah, we get it, and we get the difference. We get that the economy must go on and all, but how about you expedite the vaccination and encourage mass testing? I don’t know anymore, really.


I saw a meme on Instagram last time about some netizen creating his own ABBA playlist on Spotify, and challenging Spotify’s ‘This is ABBA’ playlist, which to me was witty and funny! He even named his playlist ‘No, THIS is ABBA’.

Anyhoo, I heard that ABBA just got reunited and started recording new songs again after almost 4 decades. Wow! I thought Westlife reuniting is already something phenomenal.

Of course, we all know about Dancing Queen and Mama Mia (as well as the musical), and one of the first thing that comes to my mind when coming across ABBA is Sweden. I always have this great fascination with Northern Europe for some reason, and as I slowly expose myself with their culture, I am falling in love more and more.

Side story: I almost went to Sweden for my PhD this year. Long story, let’s save that for later. I’m still mending my broken heart over it lol.

But yeah, ABBA. I remember a Korean colleague who presented her paper with me in Bangkok talking about Sweden’s international relations, and she played the music video of Dancing Queen DURING HER PAPER PRESENTATION. It’s something I saw for the first time, but I think it’s kinda cool.

Well, I hope I will get to visit Sweden someday.

Just rambling as usual,


About Today: Editing my Tokyo Photos, Catching Up Until Money Heist Season 5, and Learning About ‘Bella Ciao’ (Scrambled Thoughts #04)

As I have been sharing in my past few blogs, I have been working on NOT working on a weekend, therefore I would try to pursue some hobbies, creative projects, self-care, and other extra-curricular activities. This Saturday, I worked on two things: (1) editing my past street photos, specifically my Tokyo photos, and (2) desperately wanting to catch up on Money Heist Season 5, where I will get to listen to the song ‘Bella Ciao’ more.


There are two things that motivated me to do this today: (1) I keep getting reminded of my Tokyo trip by Tokyo’s character on Money Heist (just the name, since the city has nothing to do with her character anyway), and (2) after watching He’s All That recently, I was inspired by Cameron’s character as a (street) photographer.

Here are some photos which are specifically taken perhaps in the first two hours since I arrived at Shibuya Station in Tokyo:


I’m working on editing and posting more of my street photos from my past trips abroad, and starting to take the camera outside again very soon. Like what Padgett said in the movie, photographers like Diane Arbus and Ansel Adams did not get popular by just hiding inside their dark rooms.

I think it’s about time to take photography again more seriously. I’ll hit the streets soon, I promise!


I remember my cousin Nia getting hooked at this particular series in 2019 but I never got enough encouragement from many people to start watching it. I’m such a late bloomer on the Money Heist craze! I love how this show twists my mind so far, and I just couldn’t stop watching!

I’m starting to get attached to characters, as usual, and at some point, it gives me a feeling of inspiration (not to plan my own heist, hey) in a way that it shows that even the finest plan that took very long to work could fail, hence persistence and consistency is always the key.

Also, it shows us that love can make us irrational and destroy our dreams in life. I’ll stop there before I talk more about it lol.

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Bella meow
Bella ciao
Money Heist Characters


Before, I absolutely had no idea on a single reference to the song ‘Bella Ciao’ (I’ve been seeing it on social media — on captions, posts, everywhere) and all I know is that it’s a song from Money Heist.

I got so hooked when I heard it for the first time at the scene where Moscow was able to find the dirt in the ground after digging for their escape plan. When they sang it together, it gave me so much goosebumps and I felt like I want to celebrate with them.

“The show is Spanish, why did they have an Italian song?”

My usual curious mind looked for answers, and in parallel to Professor telling the context of it in the last episode of Season 1, I was stunned to know that it has a historical context.

According to Professor, this song revolves around the context of Resistance. Specifically, it was sung by his grandfather’s troops when they were fighting against fascism in Italy.

The history nerd in me is happy to know that it has references from World War II. I’m willing to dig more into it.

I found an English version of the song from Genius, and I was thinking it will be good to also share it here as well:

Goodbye, my Beautiful (BELLA CIAO ENGLISH VERSION)

One morning I awakened
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
One morning I awakened
And I found the invader

Oh partisan carry me away
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
Oh partisan carry me away
Because I feel death approaching

And if I die as a partisan
(And if I die on the mountain)
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
And if I die as a partisan
(And if I die on the mountain)
Then you must bury me

Bury me up in the mountain
(And you have to bury me)
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
Bury me up in the mountain
(And you have to bury me)
Under the shade of a beautiful flower

And the people who shall pass
(And all those who shall pass)
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
And the people who shall pass
(And all those who shall pass)
Will tell me: “what a beautiful flower”
(And they will say: “what a beautiful flower”)
This is the flower of the partisan

(And this is the flower of the partisan)
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
This is the flower of the partisan

(And this is the flower of the partisan)
Who died for freedom

Can’t wait to reach Money Heist Season 5! I’m also digging Tokyo’s hair, but I’m not lucky enough to have a straight hair to try that lol.

Just rambling as usual,


The Great Friday Marathon: Afterlife of the Party, He’s All That, Red Notice (Scrambled Thoughts #03)

It’s Friday! A meeting got cancelled, but I still had one in the afternoon and it went really great. I surely miss talking to people in general (aside from my family, which I was with for quite some time already), and it was quite a refreshing discussion. I can’t believe I’m not dreading on a meeting this time.

Anyhoo, as a Friday tradition, I would always watch a couple of movies to end the week and to prepare for a relaxing weekend. I’m working on NOT working on a weekend, so I hope I could be consistent on that.

I watched two movies (Afterlife of the Party, He’s All That, and waiting on Red Notice), and I think I will be watching more this weekend. Yay!


Well, what can I say? I thought I’ve outgrown these types of movies, but I’m so glad I gave it a try. I always loved movies with beautiful, girly aesthetic. I love all the apartments and houses featured, I love Cassie’s outfits, I love Lisa’s nerdiness, and Max was so attractive! I’m also glad I discovered Spencer Sutherland because of this film!

There’s so much to reflect on here, and this is not a movie review, okay? First, if we all used to party before the pandemic, we’re going to miss it nowadays at some point, right? The dressing up part, the electronic dance music, and just being happy and carefree around people you like hanging out with. It was quite striking to realize something from the scene where Cassie and Lisa fought before Cassie died.

Why would one even choose to hang out and party with people who are terrible and who will not even care if something happens to you? I still think Cassie and Lisa should party, but Lisa has a totally valid point. Life is short to waste moments hanging out with people who will not give a damn about you later.

Another thing I pondered on was cherishing relationships while it lasts, which is in total connection with how I’m working on living in the present. Holding grudges, distancing yourself from people you love, and wasting time not being with them is something that takes precious time away from cherishing those relationships. I’m starting to sound cheesy and ideal right now (which totally do not fit my realist and cynical self), but that also made sense.

The scene I love the most was when Lisa finally had the courage to sign-up for the research assistant position interview she’s been dreaming of. I felt a sense of motivation from that scene because I’m in the process of looking for PhD opportunities. I have always been scared and intimidated of the idea of competing with the best and the brightest in my field all over the world, but I just need to overcome that fear to get started. Hey, I just ALMOST made it to Sweden and made it to the final interview of another prestigious scholarship program, so I think that’s a start!

I love the good feeling this movie has left me. It’s nothing but a typical American movie out there, but I think it’s worth watching. 5 stars!


Another movie I’m glad I gave a chance!

I’ve been seeing articles about this movie lately, emphasizing how Tiktok influencer Addison Rae has reached a point of having her own movie (I don’t know her until reading those articles, btw. You know I was never on Tiktok). True enough, this is just another California high school-centered movie. Nothing against it, really! I love The OC and 90210.

I have a lot of things to say about this movie. Aside from the fact that Addison Rae is such a pretty woman, she and Tanner Buchanan really look good together! I might be cynical about fairy tale romances like this one (both in movies and in real life), but it gave me a nice feeling at the end. I don’t actually need to have or be with someone to feel that way, right?

Also, I LOVE HOW CAMERON’S ROLE IS AN INTROVERT PHOTOGRAPHER! You know me, photography will always be my first and last love. I have been struggling with my creativity lately because of the pandemic and because of the inability to go out more and shoot, but seeing Cameron’s character and relating to his love for photography brought back my love for photography. Movies like this with photographers as characters really inspire me, and I hope there will be more movies like this in the future. I also want to have my own dark room and buy a new camera!

In my next point, I have a confession: I never knew a lot about F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Roaring 20s era before reading the book Babylon Revisited. Sure, I know about The Great Gatsby, but having known that Babylon Revisited is based on F. Scott’s real life is really something to me. I could imagine how colorful it is to live in the Roaring 20s, and it’s nice to see it getting revived in movies, and in parties, just like in Alden’s birthday. I need to read more of F. Scott works, stat!

I don’t recall having kept any photos from my high school prom, but the prom scene has made me reminisce my high school days. I don’t exactly have a date that time, but I could still vividly remember how my girlfriends and I conquered the dancefloor. It was the bomb. And playing the song Kiss Me in the movie, very nostalgic! Cyn’s version is so amazing!


Lastly, Red Notice!

No, I haven’t watched it yet, chill. Another Ryan Reynolds movie (with Gal Gadot and The Rock omg!) sounds very amazing! I’m so excited about it.

The last Ryan Reynolds movie I really loved was The Proposal and it was a long time ago. I have a love and hate feeling for Ryan Reynolds because I still can’t settle myself if he’s good for Blake Lively or not, but at the very least, he’s a long-time crush of mine. Seeing Gal Gadot again in a movie is nice! And lastly, the theme of the movie, a heist! Yay! I’m currently obsessing on Money Heist (can’t stop watching it huhu!) and I definitely cannot wait for Red Notice as well.

Just rambling as usual,


On Depression, Zendaya’s ‘Rewrite the Stars’, and Starting to Watch ‘Money Heist’ (Scrambled Thoughts #02)

I had three classes today, and I cleaned my room here in Batangas. I was also able to catch up on a few self-care habits such as skin care and proper diet. Yay! Some days I really feel like shit, but some days I have energy to catch up with life.


I have always been too scared to use this term to describe certain feelings I experience from time to time because I know it’s a clinical term that has a particular definition that separates itself from a typical seasonal or circumstantial sadness. When I said that there were “some days I feel like shit”, I do feel like shit. On days like these, I feel like (or so I think) I have migraine, I’m lazy af, and I don’t want to do anything productive. I just want to curl in the bed and procrastinate.

“Everyone needs to have a self-care slash mental health break”, they say, but whenever I try to give myself a break by not forcing myself to be productive whenever feeling this way, I always end up scrolling through social media and ending up feeling even lonelier, for so many reasons.

Perhaps I need to stop using social media, no? I’ve had millions of attempts in the past on this. I have completely eliminated Facebook since 2018, but I am still working on minimizing my Instagram usage. I have already gotten rid of my ‘influencer’ account, I even have a hard rule to only upload black and white photos to limit myself, and only follow a few people with content I’m actually enjoying, but none of them is working. I am using reddit and Twitter as well.

This September, I made a vow not to use social media on weekdays, and I’m hoping to stick to it and see how my life in general would improve, and how my mental health will benefit from it. “Therapy is expensive”, they say, so I need to find ways to have alternatives. I decided to try to devote my time adding content to this blog instead of social media, and I think it’s a good idea.

I’m also working on exercising (hiking to be exact) and getting enough sleep. That’s big for me, you know!

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More espresso, less depresso
I’m feeling so much butter
Less upsetti, more spaghetti


I have been constantly listening to different types of music since I started trying daily vlogs last month. I got introduced to a bunch of indie songs that became popular on Tiktok, as well as a new set of music genres. I am starting to enjoy music again, and I’ve been wanting to go back learning to DJ mix songs better!

Anyhoo, I came across Zendaya’s songs, and I’m kinda frustrated that I only got to realize now that the song ‘Rewrite the Stars’ is her song with Zac Efron! I have not seen the movie ‘The Greatest Showman’ yet (my sister have been recommending me to watch it since she enjoyed it so much), but I think this is the sign to consider watching it.

I love the lyrics of this song. I know it’s about someone’s determination to be with the love of his life and ‘rewrite the stars’ so that it could align in favor of them, but it touched me in a way that in this life, we can always ‘rewrite the stars’ and persist on achieving your dreams even if the stars and the universe seem to be saying no to you.

Obviously it’s totally against the ‘laws of the universe’, but hey, I did it so many times in life, and I’m going to be doing more of it. I’m rewriting the stars more when I turn 30, and that’s just the start.

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Zendaya Album Cover
Zendaya Euphoria
What if we rewrite the stars?


From time to time, I would ask my students for movie, TV shows, podcasts, and book recommendations so that I will have something new to discover for myself. I don’t mind if their choices have references to the Gen Z age group and I’m a millennial, I could still relate to them in so many ways.

From my random polls, I would always, always encounter an answer ‘Money Heist‘ or ‘La Casa de Papel’, but I never had the chance to watch it. I always wanted to, but I think I forget it all the time.

Last 2019, I’ve observed that the heist uniform of the cast became a popular Halloween costume, and that’s when I realized it’s that popular! Also, whenever I try to Google ‘Professor’ (because that’s my profession), I would somehow always get redirected to Money Heist content, since one of the main characters has ‘Professor’ as his alias. Lastly, what I found out is that the aliases of the characters are names of cities. People I know would know how much I love cities! I’m definitely watching this and will try to catch up to see if it’s that good.

Update: I just watched the pilot episode, and omg I’m already hooked! Now I have my new favorite TV show! Plus, since I’m starting to re-learn Spanish, I would want to try to watch it in Spanish next time.

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Bella meow
Bella ciao
Money Heist Characters

Just rambling as usual,

Sherr 😀

On -Ber Month, Zoom University, and “What is art?” (Scrambled Thoughts #01)

It’s the first day of another month! Cue ‘September’ by Earth Wind and Fire! (cliche alert!)

I love this September mashup with Post Malone’s Congratulations.


You know the first thing I did today upon waking up? I played the song ‘Christmas in our Hearts’ by Jose Mari Chan in full volume, followed by Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’.

Christmas has begun in the Philippines, believe it or not.

Some of my foreigner friends have once asked me what does ‘-ber month’ mean. I laughingly explained that when the first month that ends in -ber (that is, September) falls, it’s already Christmas in the Philippines. That means, malls are gonna be blasting Christmas songs, some will start decorating their homes and establishments with Christmas decorations, and the countdown for Christmas Day starts today.

Last 2020, Christmas celebration in the Philippines was totally different because of the pandemic, and it’s going to be the same this year. No children going house-to-house, no office/barkada Christmas parties, and no family gatherings. My birthday falls on the same month as Christmas, so it’s a double whammy of sadness in my case.

But hey, that means you get to save more money, right? No birthday getaways, no buying gifts, and no spending money for clothes and parties. (Before I start rambling about my birthday, I’ll stop here and I might write a separate blog about it.)

Anyhoo, Merry Christmas, everyone!

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ber month
Ba-dee-ya, say do you remember?
ber month
September, October, November, December.
ber month
Happy Ber Months!


The school year is about to end in the university I’m teaching, and there are definitely no signs of things going back to normal in the next school year. While there is no official announcement from the university yet, I am planning to pull out my life in Manila and relocate back to Batangas while it’s still online learning.

On the upside, I could choose to work or be based anywhere I want, I can save money from rent, and I am safer from COVID-19. Aside from relocating back to Batangas to be with my family, I am planning to be based in some surfing areas in the Philippines from time to time so that I can continue learning to surf.

Zoom University is exhausting. It’s draining. It’s demotivating. It’s something I did not sign up for.

Gone are the days when I can facilitate quiz olympics, play some lively song to energize a drowsy 7am class, or actually see and hear my students laugh whenever I’m cracking jokes instead of seeing laughing emojis popping out of the Zoom call. All I have now is my laptop, a bunch of faceless students at the other end of the line, and constant monologuing aka lecturing with a very minimal interaction from the students.

Needless to mention that Zoom University has also affected my PhD application journey a lot. I’m tired. I’m starting to feel hopeless. But ooops, I shall tell more about this on another blog.

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ber month
Can you see my screen?
ber month
Zooma Cum Laude
ber month
Zoom University


On this very same term of the school year, I was asked to design and teach an elective that will be taught by the Department for the first time. After a series of self-reflection and as an attempt to incorporate all the things I’m passionate about on one course, I came up with a course offering entitled ‘Political Art in Modern Southeast Asia’.

I delivered lectures on the current state of Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia, how underground music is used as a political tool in the region, the state of independent film industry in the region, as well as how fashion can be used as a tool for activism. After which, I asked my students to pick one particular ‘artwork’ of their preference and present an analysis using the different International Relations theories, and its role in Southeast Asian Politics.

I struggled a bit in terms of the topics I had to lecture, as well as in defining what constitutes ‘art’ and how I was expecting the students to present them. I am not an art major, but rather a classic frustrated artist trapped in my current academic career, but I tried my best to deliver this course with the best that I can. So far, students have picked an excellent set of cases and provided insightful analysis of them.

I think I was able to give the question “what is art” in the context of Southeast Asia a justice, at the very least. I would be happy to teach this course again bringing the lessons for improvement I learned from teaching it this term.

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ber month
Create Dangerously
ber month
Creative Outlet
ber month
Art for art’s sake.

Just rambling as usual,

Sherr 😀

How to Visit an Art Museum

Don’t capture the artwork itself, but your experience of it.
Johan Idema, How to Visit an Art Museum

Even before I majored in Politics and got obsessed with history, culture, anthropology, and the arts, among others, I have been visiting museums since time immemorial because I feel intelligent about it. We all have our experiences going to museums for educational trips in school, but my most memorable one was when our high school quiz bee coach brought the team to the Tanauan City Museum and Library.


Since then, I vowed to visit as many museums as I can. I don’t care what kind of museum they are, as long as I’ll be a different person when I come out of it.


Art museums are comforting and brain-twisting places. It induces our imagination and lets us reflect about ourselves based on how we interpret every piece of art. As a creator and consumer of the arts, I’m aware of the wide range of experiences that art museums can provide to the people.

Taking pictures is a way of connecting to and participating in the art.
Johan Idema, How to Visit an Art Museum

I have an overwhelming amount of photos from different museums I visited all over Asia, and honestly I don’t know what to do with them. Nonetheless, I believe one day I’ll be glad I took lots of photos of them so that I have something to go back to.

I’ll be reflecting again on the museums and artworks I visited if I have time and I want people to have a second hand experience of my own, so watch out.


What if Southeast Asia has its own version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire”? (and my simple joys as a Professor)

Cover photo was from a random Valentine’s Day class photo in another university I used to teach in because doing screenshots for class photos over Zoom for my recent classes has always been a depressing idea to me.

As a preliminary assignment before discussing the different forms of Political Art that exists in Southeast Asia for my elective class, I came up with this *more or less brilliant* idea to ask my students to compose a song. After all, what made them interested to enrol in this elective is because they’re very much inclined into the arts (just like *ahem* their Professor).


Simple. I asked my students to come up with a Southeast Asian edition of the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel.

Usually, I would see verbal and non-verbal reactions from students whenever I discuss assignments to them. Some students will show excitement in their eyes, some would frown, some would already assume they can’t do it and saw “awww”, and of course there will always be some who don’t pay attention and will ask about everything later over email or something.

Damn, I miss face to face teaching. All I get these days are party poppers and like emoji reactions.

The slide in my deck where I presented their first assignment yay!

But anyhoo, before asking them to do this assignment, I had to check the internet if there is an existing kind of content, because I want my students to be as original as possible.

Upon checking, there’s actually none! But there are a couple of covers of the song with different verses, but still focused on the United States current events and the world affairs.

However, I actually found a book on Cambodian Politics entitled “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, which was quite new to me (if I’m not mistaken), because I wrote a paper about Hun Sen and the Cambodian Democracy in grad school but I can’t remember reading this. Nonetheless, this is an addition to my long list of academic books to read on Southeast Asian politics yay!

We Didn’t Start the Fire (Southeast Asian Edition)

I just couldn’t help but feel very ecstatic as to how excellent the quality of the outputs of my students were and it goes to show that they really enjoyed the process of doing it. Like I always tell my students, “As long as I see you’re enjoying the process of learning all the lessons here in our program, my job here is done.”

While I can’t share everything they have made, allow me to share some of the album art they came up with, as well as selected lyrics from two groups. There was actually one student who also loved the song so much that he even submitted a cover of the song, but requested to keep it between the two of us. How impressive was that, right. To be honest, I never felt this fulfilled in my 10 years of teaching.

Full credits to my students. None of these are mine.

Oh, how I love teaching about Southeast Asia. I think I’m gonna grow old and/or die in this career.

Photography Practice x My Skincare Routine

This term, I have a regular teaching load (12 units) plus one special class. This was actually fewer than my heaviest term ever where I had 15 units of regular teaching load and 2 special classes. I’m starting to develop a horrible sleep hygiene because it’s taking me a lot of time to prepare for my classes. It sucks so bad, if I’m being honest. But don’t get me wrong, I’m teaching the most amazing set of courses this term (including my dream elective), and I couldn’t be more passionate to teach!


This time management and prioritization problem came with my difficulties saying no and asserting myself, my needs, and my wants, which I’m working on very aggressively because having the weight of mental health concerns this pandemic is just too much.

But, the good thing is, I can still pull myself out of my laziness to do my morning and evening skincare routine, and at least make time for my creative hobbies (even if there were days when I seriously don’t feel creative at all).

Cinematic Photography Practice Featuring My Skincare Routine!

I decided to practice my photography skills using my RGB pocket light and my Fujifilm XA3 camera with a Meike 35mm lens. I was stunned by the results!

My Skincare Routine

  • For my first cleanser, I use The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm if I only wore sunscreen and not makeup, and either Pond’s Cold Cream or Pond’s Cleansing Balm if I wore makeup.
  • For my second cleanser/facial wash, I’ve been religiously using Cetaphil Gentle Facial Wash since college (I used to use the Cetaphil Cleanser for Oily Skin but it’s not always available and it’s more expensive).
  • For my exfoliator, I used to use Pixi Peel and Polish, but I’m just finishing my tube and I’m planning to sully switch to chemical exfoliants. I’ve been trying Paula’s Choice and I’ll try to compare it with The Ordinary.
  • For my serum, I love love Iunik Tea Tree Relief Serum. It’s just like water and I feel like my skin absorbs all of it.
  • For ym moisturizers, I’m using Rovectin Clean Lotus Water Cream because it’s so light on the skin, but for night I’m using CeraVe SA Cream because it’s a little heavy on the skin.
  • For my sunscreen, I’m using Belo Sun Essentials Tinted Sunscreen if I’m wearing makeup and CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen every night.
  • I use the Watsons Mask thrice a week and I sometimes use Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay every weekend or whenever I feel like using it.
  • For my eye cream, I use Human Nature Sunflower Eye Cream.

I’m trying my best to religiously be consistent with my skin care routine, just as how I am religiously practicing my photography skills. Having a sensitive skin is a pain and a little high maintenance, so I need to devote more consistency and patience for it.

I’ve always been a realist.

I’ve been studying political realism over and over again since I first read Sun Tzu’s Art of War for my International Relations class in college, until I went to grad school, and eventually when I joined the academia, there will always be at least one undergraduate class I’m handling where I have to reiterate the mainstream international relations theories, including realism.

In a nutshell, political realism tells us that the international system operates under an anarchic system, therefore states have no choice but to be self-reliant to protect itself from external threats, and the only way to ensure security is to accumulate as much power as possible.

Realism in a nutshell: from my International Theories lecture deck.

Security Studies, Wars, and Conflicts has always been my area of interest (Foreign Policy comes in a close second) because I was always interested as to why states behave a certain way, and this also stems from my interest on anything behavioral sciences, like psychology, sociology, and anthropology. On a personal level, I have this obsession in analyzing people and their behavior in an effort to develop more empathy and to also help myself develop an increased self-awareness to better my relationships with people.

But before that, let’s do a little weather check. You know I always, always love the rainy days, right?

So here’s the thing: I’m working on bettering my relationships with people. I have this “strong, independent woman” vibe (which is literally accurate, I swear to God), but whenever I find myself in a relationship, I start to lose it, become complacent, and just surrender my life, decisions, and a lot of things to the people I’m with. I think I’m still a people pleaser after all, no matter how much I deny it.

I’m working on saying “no” more to people and assert my wants and needs. I’m working on avoiding to be manipulated. I’ve worked hard to be the “strong, independent woman” that I am today and I’m not in any way throwing it away for some people who don’t even deserve any part of me.

Anyway, my point is, this time I’m unleashing the Stephen Walt and John J. Mearsheimer inside of me lol. I’m going to apply the rules of realism and laws of warfare in my own daily lives. True enough this human race is living in an anarchic world, let alone “strong, independent women” like me who can only rely on no one but ourselves.

But Can We Actually Avoid Some Things From Happening?

The more I feel like I’m trying to save myself from getting hurt, the more I actually feel hurt.

First of all, weather check! It’s that time of the year, and I’m opening my window because I loooove the rainy days and the sound of the rain.

take the risk

Which reminds me, Phyllis and I share a lot of cliche rainy day guilty pleasures lol.

take the risk

Anyway, yesterday’s going out with my cousin and talking about a recent date I went into has reopened some wounds I’ve been putting a band-aid on. Long story short, I went on an amazing date but it’s too good to be true and I’m scared of believing on something again then getting disappointed later. So I always do the thing I do best, all the moterfcking time: push people away.

Pushing people away saves me from future misery, I believe. Ending it “sooner than later” can cost me less than pushing it forward then finding out it’s not gonna work out anyway. However, today I’ve been asking myself, “To what am I actually saving myself from? From another heartbreak? From another failed relationship? I mean, will you ever know if someone is right or wrong for you in the beginning? Will choosing not to roll your dice again protect you from anything and give you peace of mind?” I don’t think so.

I mean, I’ve been through these things in the past, and I turned out okay now. In life, we win some, we lose some. But we always learn from everything we experience. We can always choose “not to learn” aka not apply the lessons from the past to a current situation because both situations are different. I tend to bring the past pains and lessons from past at the expense of my succeeding relationships with other people, and I have jeopardized a number of them. Boy, it sucks.


That’s it. I’m gonna try to win the amazing recent date back.

take the risk

Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Episode 10: Breathe (and words of wisdom from Mark and Lexie)

take the risk
Mark Sloan: “When you love someone, you tell them.”

Lexie was not my favorite character and Season 17 was definitely not my favorite season, but this episode has exactly captured my existential worries especially this pandemic.

To be fair to Meredith, I also have the same mindset this pandemic. I can’t even celebrate something without guilt, I can’t comfortably do things other people have no privilege to do this pandemic, and I can’t even manage to go out without guilt with the fear of contributing to the spread of COVID-19. It’s just hard to be happy and positive when the world and the human race is hurting.

I want to travel, I want to go out. I want to meet new people. But man, I can’t risk it.

Risk? What risk? Take a look at what Lexie explained to Meredith here:

Every small thing is worth enjoying. The fact that the things we are lucky enough to have during this pandemic is already worth celebrating, and celebrating it may possibly hurt other people, but I don’t think we intend to do so. I can’t explain it.

All I’m saying is, here I am, worrying a lot and freaking out a lot about what could possibly happen if I give my recent date a chance, and he told me in return, “I consider it a gift. The fact that we have met, we connected, we shared a lot of things in common, what are the odds that it could happen?” He’s right. I’m such an overthinker and worrier. I need to practice taking things as they are, celebrate the moment, and not worry so much about tomorrow.

I don’t know, for some reason, this song resonates the feeling I want to feel for this man, so here you go.

And also, I’ve read a very beautiful novel by author Isabelle Broom entitled One Thousand Stars and You, and here was one of my favorite quotes:

take the risk

I wish you the courage to take the risk. It’s gonna be worth it, it’s gonna hurt, I can’t tell. And nobody can. But you’ll be fine.


I’ve Reached My “I’m Okay with Being Alone” Threshold. I Want People Now.

Because man, it’s been more than a year. It’s starting to get lonely, even for introverts.

I’m not yet vaccinated, and it sucks for so many reasons. However, I’m not saying that getting vaccinated gives me a ticket out of jail to go out as usual either, especially since the Philippines has been administering the vaccines soooo slowwww. But I vowed to at least try to have a ‘real social life’ at least once a week. Virtual meetups no longer work for me and I can’t bear the fact that it’s no longer making sense to stay safe from COVID while my mental health and social life is starting to be jeopardized.

I asked my cousin Nia if we could meet, and I was glad our schedules matched. She lives in the other side of Metro Manila (Quezon City, in the northernmost part, to be specific), and there’s no way in this megacity that I will not choose to take the train going there because it’s going to take me forever if I hit the road. Plus, it’s raining. I took the LRT for the forthe first time since January 2020.

My ride was a little smooth, the people around did not freak me out that much. Everyone was following social distancing, and there were plastic divisions in between seats. Damn, I’ve been taking the train almost everyday in college, and it feels normal and weird at the same time taking the train again yesterday.

Late Lunch at Dampa Seafood Grill (yay!)

Nia and I visited Dampa Seafood Grill at Scout Limbaga in Tomas Morato Area in Quezon City. We were both craving for some seafood so we just had to go here. I have lotsssss of memories in Tomas Morato area since this is where I used to hang out with friends during grad school (since UP is close to this area). I missed Morato a lot, I could say!

Anyway, we got these food which are highly recommended!

Cajun Crab at Dampa Seafood Grill (Php388)
Baked Mussel at Dampa Seafood Grill (Php246)
Salty Eggsperience Shrimp at Dampa Seafood Grill (Php356)

Everything we ate was really good! And I missed talking a lot to a fellow human being. I mean, I literally talk a lot in Zoom lectures, but having another person face-to-face is a different experience. Chatting over Whastapp or text is something I no longer enjoy. It starts to drain me. If I want to talk to someone, I would want to meet them and talk face-to-face. I guess I could start practicing this more in the future. This will limit my social circle away from long distance ones, but what choice do we have?

Anyway, behind where I was sitting at the restaurant is this work of art that just captured my vibe, and I just needed a photo with it.


That’s it. I want people. I long for people. This pandemic has been long enough and I can no longer bear being isolated like this. I can’t take it anymore. My vaccination is getting closer and closer and I’ll also start to go out. Oh wait, I need to finalize my post-pandemic creative projects!