Two months hence

I am not going to apologize nor make excuses.  Writing has been both natural and a struggle for me of late.  I often find myself thinking of new posts — of words forming sentences that could possibly be a coherent entry here — and then I fall short of actually opening a draft post and nothing is accomplished.

I have been rather busy, though.  I just came from a two week trip home — twofold in that sense, since I went to Manila and visited Bicol, home of the majestic Mount Mayon, and I also spent a few days with bestie Donna down under.

So many stories waiting to be written and told.  I actually am at a loss as to where to begin.  Rather than organize everything in an orderly fashion, I think I have a better chance of getting something done by writing as I always do — spontaneously.
Mayon volcanoWe had arrived with high hopes of capturing this beauty, but there were low lying clouds that obstructed the view.  Believe it or not, the above was taken on a moving plane as we took off for the return flight to Manila.  Yet another story waiting to be written.

It’s now two weeks since I got back, and the jetlag has eased up a bit, but I am still in “Manila” mode.  You know that moment after you return from vacation when you find yourself  drifting off to where you just came back from — and then you are jolted awake from the daydreaming by the realization you are back where you usually are.  Not really a bad place to be for me, but there’s that tiny part in my heart that wishes I could have a day or two or three more.  There’s always that longing to stay, even when you know you really have to get back home.  The real home where work and life awaits.  And so you leave and say your goodbyes.

I just let out an audible sigh.  My own words are getting to me.  Ha!

This trip was different for many reasons, and the new things I learned about myself and my family continue to resonate with me as I find myself moving in my normal again.  I’m typing away, biding my time as I wait for the bus to come, seeing a silhouette of the Empire State Building outside my perch on the 56th floor.  But my heart is 10,000 miles away, thinking how Manila is waking up to a brand new Saturday morn.

It was a good trip.  Although I have a long list of things I had hoped to do and didn’t get to do, my two weeks should stave off the longing for another long break for a couple of months more at least.
CagsawaI’m already planning my next vacation, but at the same time, trying to put this journey and its memories and souvenirs in order.  I haven’t even gone through all the goodies that I am savoring post-Manila and Sydney!

It was good to be in my happy place.   And yes, I long to come back sometime soon — but for now, I have enough memories and happy thoughts to last me until I return.  So I bask in the joy and the bliss of knowing I have my happy place tucked here in my heart.  I have the pictures that will take me there again.  I have the memory of the laughter and the warm hugs and yes, even the not so pleasant memories bring me back to happy eventually.

My heart is full.
The Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters

Unofficial but officially proud

I think it was through Facebook that I first bumped into this, as related to a controversy involving the Department of Tourism in Manila and McCann-Erickson. But that has been written about to death and I don’t see any added value to weighing in, so instead I’m focusing on the good thing that came out of this brouhaha.  That controversy sparked this video which is touted as the unofficial tourism video of the Philippines.

I have watched it many times over and will keep watching it because it moves me in so many ways as a Filipino.  I will always call the Philippines my home.  Like I wrote on my FB wall:

I’ve watched this over and over again and I am always moved with pride. This is us.. this is what and who we are. When you feel disillusioned by things around you, this will remind you what we are about as a people.

If you’re a Filipino, you will understand what I mean.  If you are just someone who strayed into this space or heard about this video, let me introduce you to the land of my birth.  Hardly any words, hardly any people except for tiny specks in the bigger scenery, but all Filipino in torrents.

I cannot ever hope to capture all the emotion and thoughts it stirs up in me in writing.  But I can sum it up in one word: Wow.

So true.  More often than not, it’s harder not to fall in love with its land and its people.

It’s More Fun in the Philippines from Creatives of Manila on Vimeo.

And the BER Months are here again..

The Philippines purportedly has the longest Christmas season which officially begins during the first “ber” month: September.  Christmas carols start playing on the radio, and Christmas decor start popping up in storefronts, and soon, in the streets and building facades all over.  That’s something I truly miss about home.  This goes on way past New Year’s with the Feast of the Three Kings on the first Sunday of the year following January 1st.

While there are festivities and decorations here in New York, they are very neutral and muted compared to the “Christmas everywhere” feel back home.  First, not everyone celebrates Christmas here in New York — and with everyone trying to be politically correct about holidays and other sensitivities, the attempt at being festive falls short unlike back in Manila.

I am looking forward to a different kind of Christmas this year, although I am almost wary of making definite plans that far.  I am waiting on a life event that is still hanging in the balance to date, and until that comes to pass, everything remains a hope.  I had promised my little guy we will really go all out with the decor this year, but I had made that declaration thinking everything would have settled down by now.  It hasn’t.  So there..

I have always been big on Christmas.  Even when there wasn’t much to celebrate with, I celebrated it.  For one reason or another, my Christmas celebrations here in New York have not been as consistent.  It’s time to change that.  One time we were having our mother-and-son talks a couple of months ago, he asked if we could really decorate for the holidays.. as in REALLY.   I will never forget how my boy’s eyes lit up when I said yes.  That’s a promise I have to make good at.

It was chilly this morning as I walked to the bus stop.  I made a mental note to gather my sweaters and jackets now that the temperatures are dropping as we go into fall.  The coats?  Not quite there yet.   I just love the way the seasons goad us on to move forward, reminding us that nothing stops the world from spinning round and round.  That no matter how life may deal us a blow here and there, or how we find ourselves stumbling through each passing day, the world will keep turning and won’t stop spinning to give us time to regain our footing.  It’s up to us to pick ourselves up and keep going.

 

 

Touchdown Manila

I’ve actually been here a couple of days, just taking things slow and trying to enjoy the down time.  While I was just here in April to attend a wedding, this time it was a spur of the moment decision we had made for Angelo to finally get his long-requested summer stay in Manila.  We had always timed our trips to coincide with the holidays, and that meant arriving for his vacation with a homework packet.  It was understandably a dampener to what would have been a period of fun and relaxation. 

The flight home.  For the first time, I flew our national carrier, Philippine Airlines — and while I had wanted to fly my usual airlines (KoreanAir, Cathay Pacific), I had to adjust to the travel arrangements Angelo already had because he had flown 5weeks before I did.  (Long story short, I didn’t get to choose this flight.)  I had flown PAL many times before domestically, and even as recent as last April when we all hied off to Cebu for that beautiful wedding where I stood as godmother.  I liked that trip, but this last one left much to be desired.

It helped that I had set my expectations low, so I wasn’t surprised that the plane seemed to be old and worn.  I have complete faith in the crews that fly PAL, so I told myself, as long as they get me to Manila, I’m fine.  And get me here, they did.  So I am grateful to the professionalism of the two crews who flew us first to Vancouver, and then the second crew who actually brought us home.

The food was typical PAL, and better than most served on American flights.  My two favorite airlines, though, are favorites, partly because of their inflight dining menu.  Give me the KoreanAir Bibimbap anytime!  (And they do give it at every meal.. which means a two-time serving on a long haul each way.)  I arrived okay — not starving — but we don’t fly for the gastronimic experience.

Yet, all was not lost, and this is the reason I decided to devote a good portion of this post to the flight.  Kudos to the crews that flew on PR127 from New York to Manila via Vancouver on July 31, 2015.  You are the saving grace of this airline.  I got efficient and courteous service (expected), and very generous help when requested.  So forget that the control panel on my armrest kept falling out (no, I did not get electrocuted and it WAS working even if hanging by the wires, literally.), and that there was this tiny screen hanging from certain vantage points on the plane.  Blame it on being spoiled by every other airline I’ve flown in recent years who had individual screens in front of me — whether I was flying state to state or overseas.  (Even Aer Lingus had this!)

Whether I went to the galley to request for a drink, or ask permission to open the porthole by the rear door to snap a picture, I got my answer with a smile.  Even my water was poured with such grace I couldn’t help but wonder if they had practiced that motion during training.  No matter that the menu offering had to be repeated to every person on every row, the question as to your meal of choice was asked with a smile, and without the smirk that made you feel like you were being stupid for asking him something about the meal.  (Meal service, apparently, is not a favorite chore among most flight attendants..)  I wanted to tell them all that they did a good job, but I was busy lugging my luggage down the very narrow passageways and trying to wish the pain in my behind away — grateful I was finally home.

NAIA Terminal 2 – hmmmmmm… All these years, I’ve flown in and out of the same international airport in Manila — and it was an experience I almost dread, but not because of the fact that the airport was really dated.   This particular airport is not a happy place for me except when I arrive — so I have mixed feelings about plopping down into unchartered territory, landing in Terminal 2.

First, there was the immigration line which was always a coin toss between having “long lines” and “VERY long lines”.  I guess I was lucky my flight didn’t arrive with everyone else, so while there was a wait, it wasn’t unbearably long.  A couple of years ago, I got caught during the automation switch of the Bureau of Immigration, and I had to agonize through a two-hour wait with Angelo in tow before we were cleared for the gate.  He was probably 2 or 4 then, so I was actually in line with a young boy on a stroller.  We inched slowly to the front and when I was finally there in front of the Immigration officer, I painfully watched him try to navigate the system.

So you can imagine my surprise when I landed with an older immigration officer who not only processed me with speedy efficiency –but he also rendered courteous and friendly service.  That I am actually raving about it here should prove how impressed I was.  I even sent a direct message to the current Commissioner to make sure that I got the praise recorded officially.. Thank you, Immigration officer Tabao.. Job well done!  We always hear about the “bad eggs” — it’s good to hear about the good ones from time to time..

I walked through the new arrival lanes to the baggage claim area which looked new and promising, until I found myself waiting for my luggage which didn’t come out until after an hour.  Thank God, Immigration sped me through — I had happy memories to keep me preoccupied while I twiddled my thumbs as I lay in wait for the carousel to start showing us bags.  I got to meet an OFW from Vancouver who was hoping his luggage would come out before his wife’s flight from Hong Kong arrived.  (I think he beat her arrival by a few minutes.)  I met a nun who was home for the first time in 15 years, but sadly, to attend her brother’s funeral.  We spoke to each other quite a bit and had a few laughs, and then I saw one of my bags appear and I excused myself.  (Second and third bags appeared almost a half hour later.)  I would’ve met more but my brother started pinging me he was near.. where will he get me?  I suddenly missed the lettered zone in the old airport.

I found the “Bays” and let him know where I was.  (very short spans, though.)  I got into his car and his first concern was whether or not I was hungry — and thanks to the Chicken Tocino from PAL, I was good.. I didn’t realize that the trek home to San Juan would take 3 — YES, THREE – hours.. so you can imagine, I was famished by the time I got home and gave everyone else a hug.  I knew I was back in Manila — traffic and all.

No matter what the hassles and how my behind kept reminding me throughout the trip how long a journey it was, I am always happy to be home with friends and family.  And as they say now, it’s always more fun in the Philippines!

Milestones and moving on

Milestones and moving on

I started writing this Saturday morning but never got to finish it until the whole day ended and moved on to Sunday.  It was a jampacked half of the weekend which didn’t turn out as bad as I was afraid it will be. My little guy just graduated from fifth grade (yay!) and had a graduation party at a bounce place.  It was quite the no-frills celebration which only required a reservation and invitations a couple of weeks ago. Unlike his first two parties at this bounce venue, I didn’t have to worry about giveaways or hitting the minimum this time around.  We hit it well before today but way after the deadline.  (Note to parents out there: Please put yourselves in the shoes of the parent waiting for you to confirm your child’s attendance.  It CAN be nerve-wracking thinking the party might turn out to be a dud so please meet the RSVP deadline promptly.)

I also had to get him ready for a long vacation in Manila.  Father and son go first and I pick him up on the tail end.  I’ve been to Manila this year so the trip isn’t really for me.  I just think it’s time we gave him what he’s always been asking for — a homework-free, longer stay with his cousins.  Forget that it isn’t summer in the Philippine right now, so they’re all going to school.  As long as he doesn’t get a homework packet like he normally does when we leave at Christmas time (because we take him out a week or so before school officially ends for the holidays), he can look forward to just bumming around and enjoying his parents’ land of birth.

He’s grown so much that I am good with having him away THAT long.  I think with all that’s been happening on this end, we can both use a little break and time to grow and shift gears.  And when he returns for middle school, we will both be ready to move on.

We’ve gone on so many trips and with only one guy tagging along, I think I’ve got packing down to a science.  The only difference is I won’t be there, but I’m not worried because after his Dad returns to New York after the first two weeks, he will be with my brother and his family, my sister and other brother and mom.  Being an only son, they are the family he looks to for his ‘brother’ and ‘sisters’.  There he is a younger sibling with an “Ate Julia” and “Kuya Angel” to two others.  (“Ate” and “Kuya” are terms of respect for older relations, the former being feminine, and the latter, masculine.)  I am hoping he can pick up some Tagalog, and I’m tasking my sister who used to be a teacher to teach him cursive.  (Don’t get me started on that one!)

Medication (mostly first aid) ready.  Ear thermometer which is as old as he is, packed with the extra plastic covers.  Ointments?  Butt cream?  (Ewe…. hey, we need to be ready for ANY eventuality..)  Wipes?  they can get them there.. Dramamine?  (His dad’s taking care of that.)  He’s refusing to bring his seasick bands which is him growing up, I guess.  (I will pack them anyway.)  Snacks?  I think I have that covered.

It doesn’t help that my little guy is the pickiest of eaters, but I’m hoping that his newfound curiosity about food will make him more adventurous.  He is asking more and more what it is that I am eating, although he isn’t quite as brave to try it as often as I wish he would.  But at least the curiosity is there.. baby steps, I tell myself.

Saying goodbye was not quite as run-of-the-mill like most of our partings.  I knew he was holding back the tears, but the big boy that he now is, he just kept the hugs short enough to make it meaningful without giving the tears a chance to make the appearance.  My boy is growing up indeed… sometimes it’s hard for a mother to keep up, but we eventually catch up.

Thank you, 2014.. Hello, 2015!

Thank you, 2014, for the lessons learned, the challenges and the joys, and the reminders that I am so blessed.  That no matter how much hurt came my way, I had much more to be grateful and thankful for when calm finally found me again.  And while the storI have been trying to sit here and finish a post to welcome the new year, but I have been lazy throughout the holidays and have been writing in stops and starts.  Now the rendering of word art, however, has been a bit easier, and I have three to four works in progress I hope to finish today.

I needed a new ‘THANK YOU’ graphic and I suddenly remembered I had this gorgeous handmade paper from the Philippines which I had bought some years back which I still have half a sheet of.  Sometimes you just have one of those things you keep saving, and before you know it, they are no longer the same or are not of any use as you had originally meant to keep them.

I am trying to get into 2015, but things keep pulling me back to 2014.. so like most things, let’s do baby steps and say thanks to the year just passed, and say hello to the new one that has just begun.

I’d like to save my “Thank you, 2014” post for the “other” blog where all my thank you’s are meant to be posted.  (It has been languishing in limbo the last half of 2014, but I promise to jump start it before January is over!)

So, hello, 2015!  

For starters, here’s a list (not of resolutions that we end up breaking anyway!) of things I hope to do in 2015.  For brevity and to make my life a little simpler and the goals more achievable, I’m keeping it short.  No write ups, just a list.. and let’s see how I get on with this as the year goes.  (I just found my 14 for 2014 list, but that’s another blog post altogether.)

#ThingsToDoIn2015

1.  Read six books (one every two months should be doable)

2. Take a trip to visit old girlfriends from SPCP/SPCQC — on my own — so that’s either Boston or California.

3. Do another craft fair and learn new techniques.  (Visit one, not sell in one.)

4. Take my little guy to ComicCon 2015.  (A request that was made just today and which Mommy committed to make happen.. note to self: buy tickets early!)

5. Take at least one actual class beyond online.  (Yes, Elaine.)

6.  Watch at least 1 concert — hopefully Billy Joel’s at Madison Square Garden.. MAYBE day after my birthday.

7.  Watch at least 1 play or musicale on Broadway.  (Yes, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from where I work and I didn’t watch any last year.)

8.  Go to the gym at least once a week — and maybe even earn a locker!  (Go 10x the previous month and you get YOUR OWN LOCKER the following month.)

9. Lose another 10 lbs at least before April.  (Lost over 20 in 2014!)

10. Tweet/Instagram at least one positive thought every week.  (I thought “everyday” would be too big a commitment to make.)

11.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again.

12. Spend a Saturday a month, on my own,just roaming NYC or some other place nearby.  (Do something “only in New York”..)

13. Leave one preloved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month.

15. Write one letter long-hand every month.

So let’s see where this list goes.  I just went over last year’s list and I don’t think I did too bad against that one.  But as I said, I’ll get to that in another post.

Happy new year, everyone.. Let’s try to make this a “happy” one, indeed, whatever “happy” may be for each of you out there.

 

Looking out my window

This was the way the skyline looked as the rain started to fall at around 6pm last Friday. Menacing clouds threatened Manhattan with some serious rain.. Just the type that would make you think twice about heading out. Not that I was in any particular hurry to go home. I had work to do.

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Last night, I saw this glorious sunset in Manhattan.

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There is so much to see just looking out your window.

I’m staying at a hotel downtown because of a work event, and at least I get the perk of getting a room instead of having to commute at the start of the day and late at night when it ends. Still, it’s all work to me. I worked over the weekend pulling together materials for the event. It was better putting in the extra hours rather than stressing out over everything come Monday. So while there remained quite a lot to be done, I didn’t feel totally overwhelmed come the start of the week.

In the midst of everything we do during our day, we should always take the time to see what’s out there and appreciate it for what it is.

I see storm clouds and I marvel at the power of nature to cast such a pall of gloom (and doom) onto this great city I live in.  You would think that the concrete jungle that Manhattan is would not look any smaller but it does when Mother Nature towers over it with such a foreboding of a real downpour.

Sunsets always make me stop and look, be it from the view from 40 storeys above Midtown or beyond the rooftops of the houses I walk past as I get off the bus and make my way home.  Maybe it’s because I come from a place where we are proud of our glorious sunsets that make our skies glow back home in the Philippines so I grew up looking towards the setting sun.

 Have you looked out your window lately?

And Yolanda has passed..

First, thanks to all who reached out asking if the family back home is okay.  I am thankful to God that they are.  The storm has passed.. Yolanda is off to some other parts.  My brother was in Cebu and my mother was in Sorsogon (in Bicol) at the time the storm hit.  Everyone else was in Manila.  My brother and mother got hit tangentially but did not suffer the indescribable damage that the province of Tacloban had to deal with.  We are blessed.

Secondly, I’m back.

Thanks to JJ for his comment asking me how I have been.  I have been “around”, but the urge to write wasn’t there.  Suffice it to say that I went back to longhand writing in a journal when I could find reason or the inspiration to write.  When I needed to write, I wrote elsewhere.  We all have our secret place — I have mine.  There, I write not as the Pinay New Yorker.. I write as someone who doesn’t have a ‘real’ identity you can walk up to on the street.  There I can be angry or sad without fear of unburdening my heart.  Yes, that’s my secret place.

Third, I can’t believe that autumn is here in it’s full glory.  It’s the season that I find both hopeful and sad.  Hopeful because the leaves change colors into beautiful shades of fire, as if taking a final bow at the end of a fashion show to the applause of a totally captivated audience.  Sad because it’s nature making way for the cold and dark of winter.
Autumn 2013: Central Park

I sought solace in “silence”.  I didn’t think I’d be able to bear writing and editing myself so heavily so I said, why write at all.  Hence, the one month haitus from this space.

But life goes on.  I’m trying to go on.  I have gone through the last month in stops and starts.  I am trying to define my direction, and while I have been accused of wearing my heart on my sleeve and writing about everything and anything happening in my life in this blog, I will not be denied my voice in this space where I reign as Queen.

Yes, that’s me — the Queen.  (That thought made me smile…)  And the Queen has her private space where I need not fear censure.  So here, I can write about what the Pinay New Yorker is all about.  Here, I can try to aim for a sense of normalcy in my now highly abnormal life.  It makes me hopeful that there will be a “normal” again.  It makes me think this, like everything, will pass.

Blogging has always been a means of coping for me.  No matter how I try to edit myself and how I try not be too honest here, I know it comes out.  And I like being able to go back to those times when life was teaching me a lesson so I can reteach myself that lesson.. that is one major function of blogging to me — the account of how my life has gone from day to day eight years ago or yesterday helps me to go forward from today.  When I am in need of courage, I go back to those times when courage was aplenty.  When I need to be cheered up, I go back to the fun times and the good memories I wrote about.  Even this post will one day be a source of  “learning” and reflection for me.

And Yolanda is gone… that makes me hopeful.  I am heartbroken by the devastation she had wrought upon my home country.  I had visited Tacloban once — 20 years ago.  It wasn’t quite as urbanized as it is now, but I remember its people and its sights and sounds.  The people of Tacloban are a kind and happy people — life is a celebration to them.  They are always dancing — they love to party.. they are always full of hope.  It is my hope that even if there is not much cause to celebrate in the midst of their hardship and grief, they will find reason to dance again sometime soon through our help.

The world is watching… and the world is reaching out.  It brings us all back to the innate goodness of man.

Taken from The Huffington Post, here’s how you can help:

World Food Program.  WFP has allocated an immediate $2 million for Haiyan relief, with a greater appeal pending as needs become apparent. The UN organization is sending 40 metric tons of fortified biscuits in the immediate aftermath, as well as working with the government to restore emergency telecommunications in the area. Americans can text the word AID to 27722 to donate $10 or give online.

The Red Cross.   Emergency responders and volunteers throughout the Philippines are providing meals and relief items. Already, thousands of hot meals have been provided to survivors. Red Cross volunteers and staff also helped deliver preliminary emergency warnings and safety tips. Give by donating online or mailing a check to your local American Red Cross chapter.

The Philippine Red Cross has mobilized its 100 local outposts to help with relief efforts.

AmeriCares.  The relief organization is sending medical aid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and pain relievers. AmeriCares is also giving funds to local organizations to purchase supplies.

World Vision.  The organization is providing food, water and hygiene kits at the evacuation centers. World Vision was also still actively responding to last month’s earthquake in Bohol, which luckily was not struck by the eye of the storm.

Salvation Army.  100 percent of all disaster donations will be used for relief efforts and “to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors.” Text TYPHOON to 80888 to Donate $10 or give online.

Advertising the Philippines in the streets of Manhattan

I was on my way back to the office from an afternoon at some consulate on the upper east side (which, for obvious reasons, I cannot name) when I looked out the window and I saw this bus with a huge photobillboard on it of the Philippines.
More Fun in the Philippines in a NYC Tour Bus 5

I was sooo proud and had to immediately fish out the bigger BB to take these pics.. I momentarily forgot that I  was rushing back to the office and trying to catch the boss who was presenting at a nearby hotel, around three blocks away.

More Fun in the Philippines in a NYC Tour Bus 3

Then the traffic started moving and my cab started to pull away… but I tried to cach as much of the bus as I can.
More Fun in the Philippines in a NYC Tour Bus 2A huge”Philippines” was actually emblazoned on the rear of the bus that’s why it caught my eye.  It was a literal eye-popping ad in a perpetually colorful New York City.More Fun in the Philippines in a NYC Tour Bus 1 .

 

Proud to be Filipino indeed!

Mail Art Postcard Series: Philippine Map 1 (Zentangled Background)

I’m trying to be more focused about what personal art I indulge in.  One of the things that I have decided to keep doing is make my own postcards for trading.  It’s just that I had decided to confine the effort to drawing Philippine Map postcards, the first of which is pictured below.

Mail Art Postcard: Philippine Map 1

I have 10 templates ready for drawing and one uncolored print out for reference. You can read about the process I followed to create this and the materials I used at Gotham Chick.  It’s something anyone can come up with given enough imagination and the patience to draw in the zentangle patterns which I went to Tangle Patterns to for reference.

I have a short list of people to send the first 5 to 6 postcards but if you’re interested to be put on the distribution list, please e-mail me at postcardmailbox at gmail.com.  I’m sending out the actual artwork and keeping a digital copy for my own files.  This is a long-term project and it takes me anywhere from one hour to one day or more to complete one piece, but I’m going to try to send out at least two a week.  This plus the JOURNAL ON A JOURNEY should keep me creatively busy. 

I want to start sending the out by the middle of the month and keep going from there.  The means by which the Philippine map is shown might change in time, but being a map postcard collector, this is of special significance to me.  I had meant to be actively trading postcards again, but that has slowed down because of other swaps.  That is why I’ve made a decision to confine my swaps to minimal effort undertakings so that I veer away from the pressure.

I’ve greatly enjoyed exchanging postcards with the fellow-Pinoy postcard collectors over at the Facebook Postcrossing Philippines group.  I don’t really care much what is sent to me, but I enjoy sending back postcards to help their individual collections grow.

Postcard collecting has changed through the years — be it my own collecting method and interests to what is the norm these days.  Postcrossing has become rather popular in recent years, although this would work for those collectors who are trying to grow their collection in terms of size of postcards received or countries received from.  My collection was initially geared that way, but I had long since confined my collection to anything Philippines (meaning vintage, new, unused and stamped), anything New York, Maps, lighthouses and anything Paris.  (That’s the francophile in me.)

This is but another “variation” of my collecting method — sending out my own map postcards of the country where I was born and raised it.