Friday, December 30, 2016


After a day of hopping in and hopping off in buses and going to different places, a well-deserved and hearty meal is a must for a tired traveler like me. For my second and last night in Busan, I had dinner with my roommate, a fellow solo traveler who is from France.
doing some saranghae pose the shop owner taught us

She is a vegetarian and I, well, I was craving for bulgogi (meat). She had soup and veggies while I had some chit chat with the shop owner bargaining for this and that. In Korea, if you go to bulgogi restaurants/canteens, there is a minimum amount of meat you can order. But since I was the only one eating bulgogi, that minimum order was too much for me. I think that minimum order can serve up to three people. After some discussion using my rusty Korean speaking skills, we came to an arrangement. In the end, I paid 20,000 won for my order. If I convert that to Philippine peso, it's about 1,000 pesos...Yes, 1000 pesos for just one meal! It's way expensive for me but then again, I was in Korea, so I'll just let it pass.
Having too many meat and being a slow eater, it took about two hours for me to finish (and I still got a few leftovers). But it's also nice because I got to talk to my newfound friend. We talked about so many stuff, from our personal lives to our perception of Korea and Koreans to politics. Since she only had a very light meal, we went to a nearby restaurant. We, then, continued our conversation over a glass of mekju (beer). And hey, I seriously missed the beer in Korea! It's light and refreshing.

It's almost midnight when we decided to go back to the guesthouse. It was a beautiful day indeed - being able to see Busan and meeting a newfound friend!

P.S. We exchange some phrases in our local language and I learned something new, French is so difficult! I don't know where they get a particular sound and how they execute it. Is it from the throat??? I know I sound silly but French is just a different level of speaking for me. Anyway, Bonjour!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사)

It was my third time going to Busan but it's my first time visiting the the breathtaking Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. It is located on the coast of the north eastern part of Busan. Since most temples in Korea are located in the mountains, rarely do you see a temple along the shore, so this is one of the very few finds. Even if you're not a Buddhist, it's perfect for people who just want to reflect. However, please take note that there are a lot of tourists coming here so you just have to find a spot if you want some peace and quiet.

Along the way, I found some people stacking beach stones.

So here's the view from afar. According to the site Imagine your Korea, the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple was first built in 1376 by the great Buddhist teacher Naong during the Goryeo Dynasty.

wishing well
They say one of your wishes will come true. Got two, so I'm really hoping one of them (or both) will be granted in the near future.

Haesu Gwaneum Daebul
Haesu Gwaneum Daebul (Seawater Great Goddess Buddha), Daeungjeon Main Sanctuary, Yongwangdang Shrine, Gulbeop Buddhist Sanctum (enclosed in a cave), and a three-story pagoda with four lions can all be seen looking out over the ocean. The four lions symbolize joy, anger, sadness, and happiness. The main sanctuary of the temple was reconstructed in 1970.

Here are some more lovely pictures:
view from the top

Since I'm alone and shy of asking other people to take photos of me, I just placed my cam somewhere and put on the self-timer. Haha!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Skin Care (Updated)

Hi guys! I still have entries from my trip to Korea but let me just put this up first, my updated skin care routine and other products that I'm planning to try out.

When it comes to skin care, I'm definitely one who will embrace it with arms wide open. I have problematic skin since I was in high school. I probably hit the jackpot when it comes to how problematic one's skin is. So, here's why. I have the following skin type:
  • Combination (oily) - normal to dry on the cheeks, oily on the T-zone which means having big pores in this area
  • Sensitive - easily gets irritated/redenned when exposed to sun and different products
  • Acne-prone - breakouts occur during my period, when I'm stressed, when I didn't get enough sleep, or when I try a product that doesn't suit my skin

Right after graduation in 2008, when I got my first job, I started consulting a dermatologist. She gave me some products for the treatment of acne (pictured below) consisting of Acne Facial Wash, Antibac Toner, Antibac Cream, Acne Cream, and Acne Spot Remover Cream. For several years, I've been using those products plus doing some facial and peel. My breakouts were not gone completely but they were controlled. From having several big pimples at a time, it was lessened to one or two (usually happens before or during my period). I used to have an Acne Facial Wash but it was changed to Acne Soap since my dermatologist got a different supplier. Fast forward to 2016 and I'm still using those products. It's not continuous though. In 2011 and 2012, when I was studying in Korea, I stopped using those products in favor of other products found in the world of Korean beauties.

At present, I feel that those products prescribed by my dermatologist are not completely effective on my skin anymore. I was thinking maybe the bacteria causing my acne developed some resistance. So, I decided to try other products. I heard this from a friend, the Maxi-peel exfoliating solution. Whenever I get a pimple, I used the Maxi-peel and apply it directly on the pimple. It helps dry out the pimple. Sometimes, I also apply it on my whole face to exfoliate dead skin cells. A word of caution though, if you have sensitive skin, do a skin test first to see how your skin will react and dab only a little whenever you use it.

For sun protection, I got this product Hamilton Superblock SPF 80 from my dermatologist. I'm not a fan of sun screens because they make my face red and oily due to the chemicals in the ingredients. I also hate the icky feeling during hot and humid days. However, I need to use it to protect my skin from the harmful rays of the sun.

Last weekend, I bought Clinique's Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum (P3,000) and Repairwear Laser Focus Eye Cream (P2,950).  

I've been dying to use the Pore Refining Serum because of my large, visible pores. I used it for quite a number of days but I haven't seen the results yet. Hopefully, I'd get to use it regularly, and after some time, maybe a few months, I'll write a review on that. As of now, it feels more of a primer though. After application, it leaves my skin feeling smooth and prepped for other products.

Clinique's Eye Cream is my favorite among all the Clinique products that I used. I bought one last year and I used it all up already. Thus, I got another one again. Being in my late twenties, now that I look in the mirror, I notice I have a few lines and crow's feet whenever I smile. I can see that it's also in the genes, both my parents have fine lines around their eyes, so as an armor for the aging process, I am using an eye cream now. It feels light whenever I apply it in the morning and at night. I am not seeing some dramatic effects but somehow, I feel that it's working. My crow's feet are not gone but my skin around the eye area looks healthy and no new lines are showing.
And now, we've come to these two products, Origani Erda Manuka Honey Peel and Day Cream. I also bought them last week in a weird circumstance. I was in Glorietta mall shopping for some Christmas presents when suddenly, a sales lady started talking to me and tried their product, the Manuka Honey Peel, on my hand. I was reminding myself to say "No." and just go away but I'm a sucker for skin care products. After application, she rubbed it and there were some clumps on my hand. She said that those were dead skin cells. But later, after reading some reviews and applying it to my face, I find that those clumps were just the product itself and not dead skin cells like they were claiming it to be. Oh well, so much for their marketing strategy! Anyway, after removing the product on my hand, they compared my hand with the other hand. It's skin was brighter compared to the hand where the product wasn't applied. Then, she put on some moisturizer to both hands and the hand where the manuka honey peel was applied absorbed the product easily compared to the other one. 
A foreign lady then started talking to me. She said she studied about skin care (I forgot the term, she's not a dermatologist but something like that, more of a skin care guru) and that my face is very sensitive and that I have to use organic products free from chemicals, etc. Ultimately, she convinced me to buy the Manuka Honey Peel, which by the way is very expensive (P6,700). I wouldn't buy it, really, but I don't know. Maybe because of all the talking and the application on my hand and her giving the Day Cream as a free gift (yes, she got me into that) plus a free facial (which I have yet to redeem).

I've read the reviews and all of us have the same experience on how the sales persons do their job into convincing people to buy their product. They are really pushy and really talks you into so much crap. Oh, they also tried on their eye cream on me. They said that it's working on me (but when I looked at it, there's really not much change) and the foreign lady offered me this: if I buy the two creams (worth a freakin' P20,000), she'll give me the Manuka Honey Peel plus Day Cream plus Night Cream plus Mudpack Soap as gifts. It's very overwhelming, all the free items but sorry not sorry, I don't have that big amount of money to spend on skin care products. Even if I said I can't buy that because it's very expensive, she offered me half the price for the two creams but all the free items will not be included. Seriously, it's still big, P10,000 for two creams!!! After saying that I have to go several times because I still have to meet my friend (which by the way is true), only then did I got the chance to get out of their stall. Geez what an experience! Not a good one though.

Okay, so for the products itself. Well, the packaging looks luxurious. The bottles reminded me of Lancome. I tried on the Manuka Honey Peel and after the application, my skin feels smooth. It's to be used once a week only. But I think I used it twice already. Then, I applied the moisturizer. What I like about it is that in the morning, well my T-zone is oily as usual, but looking at my whole face, it looks pretty okay. It's not as oily as compared to when I used Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. I still have to use these products for a longer time and by then, I hope to write a comprehensive review.

By the way, on the first instance of using, I got a pimple the next day. However I'm not sure if it's because of the Origani products or Clinique's Pore Correcting Serum because I used them at the same time. Note to self and to others: Using new products at the same time is not advisable. Think of it as an experiment, you have to use only one variable at a time to see its effects.

Whole gang's out! The Clinique repertoir! Hahaha! I got a gift set of travel packs (P1,200) which I'll be giving to my mom as a gift. By the way, I love the travel-sized chubby stick and the mascara.

Here's a parade of all my skin care plus some make-up products. Also included are Philosophy's Hope In A Jar Oil-free Gel, Clinique's Pore Refining Solutions Foundation, Clinique's Even Better Foundation samplers, Nivea Lip Balm, Maybelline's Baby Skin Pore Minimizer, Missha's Lip Tint, and Sudocrem Moisturizing/Healing Cream.

So after several years, here I am still searching for the elusive holy grail product/s. Hope you continue to join me in my skin care adventures and misadventures. Any tips for my skin type would be greatly appreciated. =)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Good Morning Busan

Can I just let the pictures speak for themselves?
View from my window

Breakfast of champions

So, before hopping on a tourist bust, I decided to take a stroll at the Gwangalli beach first. Walking on the sand, there's something about it that made me feel at ease.

 And the sea breeze...

Oh, suddenly, I wanted to live near the beach.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Annyeonghaseyo Korea

I have been to this beautiful country several times already. It even became my home for two years. But my recent visit was something of a "first" for me. (One of my goals before turning thirty was to travel alone.) On the night of the 4th of August, I embarked on my first solo trip. I have booked this trip several months ago, so you can just imagine the excitement when the day finally arrived. This also happens to be the trip where I got the cheapest promo for my plane ticket (P3,600 or $72 back and forth already). Few days before leaving though, I was too nervous for the very same reason that I was excited... This is my first time traveling alone and I want to make sure that everything will be fine, that I will be safe, that I'll be able to meet new people, and, pretty much, just enjoy every moment of it.

While I was on the plane, majority of the passengers were Koreans and only a handful were Filipinos. I don't know the exact reason but I felt like I was really all alone at that moment. Add to the fact that I was even seated next to a young, Korean couple. So the best thing to do was just sleep. Haha! Then, there was a game in the plane. The stewardess ask some fun questions about the expressions or things millenials say and I got to answer one of them. They asked about the meaning of LOL, TBH, among other things. How fun was that? A Korean lady, seating opposite to me, asked me about those things. She's genuinely interested and it was nice talking and explaining all those stuff to her. When we arrived in Busan, we talked some more while in the bus going to the airport. She just had a vacation in the Philippines. She's very friendly and I couldn't believe I've met and talked to a new person on my first night in Korea.

Shortly before midnight, I arrived in my guesthouse, located in Gwangali Beach. I hadn't had dinner yet but the first thing that I did after putting all my things in my room was to go to the beach, which is just opposite of the guesthouse. I couldn't believe I made it. Standing, with the sand on my feet, err, shoes, seeing the beautiful surroundings, inhaling the fresh summer was a perfect welcoming moment.

Annyeonghaseyo Korea!

Past midnight, I had my dinner at a coffee shop (dinner = sandwich).

Did a bit of walking in the surrounding area before going back to my room located on the 9th floor. The walls of the elevator were transparent so while going up, I could see the beach and the people and the the Gwangan bridge full of lights. Everything seemed so serene from up above and there I was, ready to take a deep slumber in preparation for tomorrow's adventure.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tadashi Shoji Pre-Fall 2016

Fashion will always be my happy pill. A new favorite designer I've recently discovered is Tadashi Shoji (see his website here). I am, in particular, eyeing the Pre-Fall 2016 collection. Being a type of person who's not a fan of over-the-top designs, I really appreciate that this collection is simple yet full of intricate details, feminine yet doesn't show too much skin, full of blacks but rich hues are also added.

(all images are from Tadashi Shoji's site)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Blues and All That Jazz of Grad School Pursuits (More of Blues Though)

It's a cold and gloomy and rainy Saturday morning and I am sitting here in a coffee shop listening to some Christmas songs being played in the cafe's speakers. Gosh, Christmas is just a few weeks away. In other words, the year is almost over but I am still here. It's as if I am still in the same place when the year started. There's no major breakthrough whatsoever. A lot of the people I know are already living their dreams but here I am. At this point in my life, I have only dreamt of one thing - that is to get into graduate school, do my PhD, and be a full-pledged scientist. It's very frustrating when I feel like I have already done so much but all my efforts seemed futile.

I remember, at the start of 2016 (literally on New Year's Eve), I began emailing professors inquiring if they have an available PhD position. A word of caution, it's not a good idea to do what I did. Do NOT email professors on a holiday! For the next couple of months I've been looking at different graduate programs in different continents. I wanted to do a PhD study on the molecular aspect of Alzheimer's Disease so I've been looking at a lot of neuroscience programs, emailing neuroscience professors, and applying to several Neuroscience Masters or PhD studies but to no avail. Two things: either the professors do not have a vacant position or I get rejected into my application. It's depressing to receive news like that. More so if it happens not just once, not just twice, but several times. It's like a never-ending cycle - inquiring, emailing, applying, then being rejected. I have to admit, it's so depressing, I get too emotional, I cry. I cry alone and I prefer it that way than cry on someone else's shoulder. Of course, keeping it all to myself is also not a good idea, so sometimes, I talk to some of my friends about it. I'm very selective, so I just tell it to people whom I know understands what I'm going through, or those who have been on the road that I'm into right now. Doing those two things really helped.

While experiencing those emotional ups and downs, I was also reviewing for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE is one of the requirements when applying to graduate schools in the United States. So even if I was emotionally drained, I had to pick myself up Halfway through the year, I realized there's a 0.00000001 probability of me being accepted to a neuroscience program so I changed my direction. I looked at molecular medicine programs, molecular biology programs, even back to plant molecular biology. Researching the programs while emailing profs while applying to scholarships while reviewing for the GRE is not an easy task. Add to that, that I also have a job. After a day's work, instead of relaxing at night, I still need to do some graduate school hunting and studying for the GRE (and in some nights, unleashing the dramatic side of me a.k.a. cry). The weekends are also spent like that. You know the drill. Haha!

So, basically, that's what my whole 2016 is all about. There were some fun things that happened on the side though, travelling with my family in May and my solo trip to South Korea in August (which I still haven't blogged about yet). As of now, I'm still looking at graduate programs, still reviewing. I just wish that one day, I will receive some good news - that I get accepted somewhere, where I will grow as a scientist and also as a person.

Wish me luck guys! And, please pray for me.

Whatever you're going through right now, I wish you well on your pursuit of being. We can do this! We will rise above the challenge! We will never give up!

Monday, November 7, 2016


Another one added to my (future) wedding playlist! 

But, seriously, my life is currently full of stress right now, this song/cover is one of the few reasons that keeps me a little bit less anxious.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Where did the time go?

It's already the last week of October!!! *me into a panicked frenzy*

Guys, I'm just droppin' by to say Hello! I hope to get back to writing/blogging (e.g. travel posts, life reflections, and random thoughts) once I'm done with the busyness of life.


image source here

New haircut, Aztec Healing Clay, and Empties

Hi everyone! Just a little update. I've never gotten a haircut since I left the Philippines last July. It's been 7 months alrea...