pinay e-motion

a heart across the ocean

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Spring Break 2018

My glorious week is just winding down from a self-imposed staycation to celebrate our Spring Break 2018. Here I sit getting ready to get back to work again. Although it was quick, I couldn’t be more grateful for having a brief interlude both from classes I teach this term and the graduate course I am currently attending. I know that every time I have a break from work (Spring Break, Winter Break, summer vacation, Teachers’ Day and so on), my husband is always green with envy. I understand many people assume teachers have lots of holidays on their calendars. However, the reality is during those holidays many of us are also working (yes, we are!) – only now at home. That is exactly what I ended up doing during this Spring Break. There was just a magnitude of work on my to-do list, and I was resolved to address each one during this brief respite. Thankfully, I did not disappoint myself.

Despite staycationing in the comfort of our home – spending most of my time in my office – working, and then roaming from one part of the house to another – I would not characterize my Spring Break as pitiful and boring. On the contrary, it’s the opposite. I understand that it has been a tradition among many people during Spring Break to travel and party. Obviously, that was not my priority this time (old chick here anyway). While we have some plans to travel this year, we are waiting for the perfect timing and weather (which also include the wild, “crazy”, and young revelers to migrate again north from Florida). So, what could be more exciting to do on my break but hang out with my own Brad Pitt 24/7. Oh yeah! My husband (BP in another lifetime) and I accomplished many things we had on our need-to-do and nice-to-do lists. However, I must say, the real thrill was getting the chance to spend each day together in complete solace and contentment. We are truly grateful!

Here are some images I captured while shilly-shallying and  dillydallying:

blog_springbreakEnjoying nature’s beauty
blog_springbreak2Visiting an art gallery

“Spring breathes new life into the world around us.”

Thank you for reading!


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Glam Challenge # 2: Love

In celebration of this month’s Valentine’s Day, I would like to share with you our glam photo this month. Drum roll…Tada!!! 

Glam challenge_Love

If you notice, our group is getting bigger – we’re now three.  We welcome our friend Mrs. O, whom starting this month is also joining us in this challenge (Yey!). Special thanks to Judy (10 years old)  who lovingly prepared our chocolate chips for this photo. Happy Galentine’s Day!

“Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals.” (attr. to J. Isham)

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Glam Challenge Update

If you have been following my blog, then you have probably read about the glam challenge I accepted from my friend Mrs. D. sometime in May of last year. At first, I thought the challenge would be easy peasy: just dressing up and taking a selfie. You would think it is a piece of cake, right? Well, not even close. Mrs. D. and I have encountered some hiccups along the way. A couple of those I considered the most challenging are the following:

Busy schedule or lack thereof 

The idea of our glam challenge was to celebrate success: we both were starting our dream careers and felt a need to digitize our activities away from books and “no comb” days. While you would think it is simple to take a photo of ourselves before heading to work or going for a husband date – well, hell heck no, sorry! We have no training when it comes to modeling. Remember, I am an instructor and Mrs. D is a lawyer. So you can imagine our struggles just to get a decent photo. Most often than not we had a tendency to take the glam out of glamour.

A One Woman-Show

I didn’t realize the complexity of fashion photography until I got myself involved in this glamour challenge. Initially I would just ask my supportive husband to take my photos. To his credit, he went along with my shilly-shally whims and fancies for months until I became a picky subject. My husband can only take one or two shots and he’s out, so that didn’t last very long. In fairness, however, he didn’t leave me totally in the dark. I told you, my husband is the best. On my birthday he surprised me with a tripod, and I interpreted it as his way of saying to me you are on your own.

I must admit, the tripod was a tremendous help; however, the problem in photography is not only having a good photographer. Chasing good lighting as well as perfect timing are also important factors. I realized that if you’re not a trained model or someone comfortable having your photos taken in public, it could be real challenging.

Mrs. D has shared the same predicaments. Perhaps hers were even greater than mine since not only is she a career woman, but she’s also a full-time mom. Thankfully, despite our struggles, we persisted and successfully accomplished our goal. From May to December last year we were able to put together 20 collages of our glamour efforts, and here are some of my favorites:

Glam challenge update

To celebrate the success of our first venture, we are coming up with our Glam Challenge Year 2. This time we are taking our challenge to a higher level; perhaps coming up with more artistic shots and meaningful concepts. Indeed, something to look forward to. However, let me clarify that our glam challenge is more than just exchanging photos; it is about our friendship.

We often forget that friendships are like a garden. They need tending, too. You need to weed, water, and nurture to get those fabulous petunias with those funnel-shaped corollas. Making good friends may be easy, but keeping them and developing into best friends is the difficult part. This is true for people like Mrs. D and I who live on two different continents. It is so easy to give up friendships when you are apart and juggling career in between household chores and other responsibilities. So, that is the real test of our Glam Challenge project. Mrs. D. and I will attempt to keep our friendship alive by bridging the gap of time and distance that separate us. As a testament to our hard fought battles to attain our new careers we truly believe that there is nothing impossible to those who persist, including our friendship. Wish us luck!

“Friendship is not just about hanging out; it’s finding time in spite of having very little…” Pinay E-motion





Hawaii: Our Trip to Paradise

I never really envisioned my husband and I travelling to Hawaii this year until sometime in mid of July. It began with pictures of the beautiful turquoise waters of the Pacific incessantly rolling in my husband’s mind. Although Hawaii is on our Bucket List of places to visit, it definitely was not one of our top priorities because of money and distance. Yes, Hawaii is quite expensive. However, it seemed like the more and more we absorbed YouTube videos of its glorious islands, the more and more we were lured with the desire to see them. So, one day we just threw in the towel and decided to book our tickets and reserve our hotel accommodations.

Survivors Challenge

If there’s one thing I wanted to skip from this trip, it’s definitely the loooong flight. My husband and I share the same sentiment when it comes to going through the stressful airport and all the other associated commotion. Getting through the long line to check-in and board the plane is one thing, but being trapped in your seat for hours with limited space and food available is, I must say, the ultimate challenge.

tess_Hawaii2017 028

The flight distance from Florida to Hawaii is 4,724 miles. From Orlando we flew to Phoenix for 4.5 hours (plus 1 hour layover), followed by another 7.5 hours flight to Honolulu. A total of 12 hours in flight, which I thought lasted forever. After traversing three time zones and enduring stagecoach type turbulence, I was relieved when we finally landed. Ahhh, freedom! I unbuckled my seatbelt, and right on cue, I heard the flight attendant say, Aloha! For the first time in 12 hours, I was able to smile.

From the airport, our driver gave us a mini-tour of downtown Honolulu. I was excited to listen to his information while passing by some cultural, historical, and venues of significant interests such as the Aloha Tower, Hawaii Maritime Tower, and Chinatown. I was so taken in by his information and dry humor that I even forgot to take pictures. After a twenty minute drive, we reached our hotel, which is located on Waikiki. I looked at my watch; it was almost 3:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. Florida time). I was hungry, but all I could think of was going to bed. It didn’t take long before I dozed off to sleep. When I woke up, it was already 3:00 a.m. I heard my stomach growling like a hungry lion. I tossed and turned uncertain of what to do. I was stricken by jet lag!

The Fun Begins

Waikiki is Oahu’s major hotel and resort area. I couldn’t believe how many visitors, mostly Japanese, stay on Waikiki. Along the main strip of Kalakaua Avenue, there’s a wide array of available activities for guests. They include shopping, dining, watersports, and entertainment. In my honest opinion, Waikiki area is for laid-back tourists like us who just wanted to enjoy and soak in the natural beauty of Hawaii. It’s definitely gorgeous! Here are some images I captured on our first day.

To be continued…

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand better.” – Albert Einstein 

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Niagara Falls: Bucket List – Checked!

Last month, my husband and I finally checked off Niagara Falls on our Bucket List after deciding to go for holiwork (mixing business with pleasure) in Canada. It has been my goal since I’ve decided to pursue a career in Teaching English as a Second Language to attend at least one or two TESL conferences a year. I usually attend local conferences only as they are more accessible and affordable. However, I got a little bit ambitious this year when I saw the announcement from the TESL Canada website that its conference would be held in Niagara Falls. It was on our Bucket List of places to visit (albeit a little bit way down the list), but I thought the timing was perfect. Thus, after convincing my husband, what followed was my early registration to the event and planning for the trip.

From Orlando, we flew to Pearson International Airport in Toronto. While the flight only took 2 hours and 45 minutes, it was the 2 hour-ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls that was quite taxing, considering our very early flight. Thankfully, our ride turned out to be smooth and less complicated compared to our return trip (I’ll keep you in suspense on that leg of our journey). The beautiful weather also gave us the smiley gee-whiz positive feel. We thought the cool breeze and warm sunshine were just perfect combinations for a late spring day.

Toronto, I observed, is a lot like many cities in the United States of America in terms of buildings and infrastructure. On the way to Niagara Falls, I saw a lot of familiar sights such as car companies and shopping malls that looked reminiscence of the US. It’s not hard to immediately feel at home in this country.

bucket list 1

Niagara Falls Attractions

When we reached our hotel, which was just a few blocks away from Clifton Hill, we were welcomed by an array of attractions that are great for our adventure. It was almost like being in Disney. There were so many things to do on Clifton Hill alone, and if you were not use to attractions, it might give you sensory overload. Among my favorites were the iconic Niagara Skyweel, Skylon Tower, Queen Victoria Park, and the now-defunct Planet Hollywood.

Niagara Falls

My husband and I were so tired on our first day that we didn’t get the chance to see Niagara Falls until our second day. It was on our way to the Sheraton on the Falls, the venue of my conference, that we had our first encounter with its cascading sound, followed by its breathtaking view. I couldn’t help stopping myself from walking, despite the steep slope, to take a quick picture. There was no word to describe it. It was indeed captivating! After my conference, we finally got the chance to take in its magnificence, and we did it not only once – but twice (Yes, we did go back again the next day).bucket list 9

Our experience of visiting Niagara Falls was indeed unforgettable. We went home very satisfied knowing that not only I accomplished my mission to attend my first TESL Conference abroad, but also seeing one of the most famous wonders in the world. On a side note, I also have a dear lifelong friend from back home who is now residing in Toronto. She was able to catch up with me and my husband during our sojourn. What a hoot it was! Who knew?

“Niagara Falls is the hanging tongue on the face of the earth, drooling endlessly over its own beauty.” Vinita Kinra

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A New Season


It’s just a few more days and spring will officially be here. Yea! I must admit, spring is my favorite season because it comes after a dull and cold winter. Spring always brings an unusual charm that allures me to get outside to enjoy the fresh air and radiant sunshine. That alone sounds invigorating, doesn’t it?

After reconciling my relationship with my DSLR camera which I neglected for years in favor of graduate school, I am back to my beloved role of shutterbuging. And, in honor of my very first blog for 2017, I would like to share with you some of my favorite images I captured. They are in celebration of the upcoming new season – spring!






“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”. . . “It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine . . .” —Frances Hodgson Burnett



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Year 2016: It’s a Wrap!

Although I must admit the year 2016 was “fast and furious” for me, with intermittent gut wrenching challenges, it has been a meaningful and productive one. Here are some of its highlights: I graduated from my second Master Degree in August, and I’ve been employed as a college instructor immediately after. My husband and I had two short getaway trips: one in spring, and another one in summer to celebrate our anniversary. I attended four workshops on TESOL, one of which I met a well-known theorist in the field of linguistics. For the first time I also participated in a political event with the sitting US President as the guest speaker. And, finally, after a year of delay, I successfully finished reading the book “An Astronaut Guide to Life on Earth” by Col. Chris Hardfield.

In hindsight, I must say, some goals I intended to achieve this year fell a little short. Not because I didn’t work hard enough but because opportunity just didn’t present itself. This has brought me to the realization that indeed everything has a time and a season. No matter how much I try, I don’t think I can force things to happen if they are not meant to be. However, it doesn’t mean that I have to lose faith and give up on my goals. I think it simply means that I just have to wait longer and probably want them more. I am convinced that sometimes there is something going on in life that is greater than what we think before planets align. That being said, before everyone gets revved up to turn the page for another year and another beginning, let me share with you some important lessons that 2016 has taught me.

  1. On my GTA Program: Success is not the result of taking chances, exploiting golden opportunities. It is the determination, hard work, and persistence to make these opportunities work to my advantage.
  2. On my graduation: Big events in life – my graduation for example – is ephemeral. Soon afterwards, the applause and adulation will stop, the spotlight moves on, and so do I.
  3.  On my job as an ELS instructor: Understanding diversity makes me see myself as no different from others. It makes me kinder to humanity.
  4.  On reading and travelling: Reading, as well as travelling, broadens me as a person.
  5. On both challenging and rewarding experiences: More than material things and fleeting victories, the most important thing in life is making most of my time I have in every situation.

There will be many endings and beginnings in our lifetimes. I surely agree with Hardfield, and I quote “Endings don’t have to be emotionally wrenching if you believe you did a good job and you’re prepared to let go.”

I wish one and all a happy New Year – 2017 bring it on!



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A Tour of the World on Foot

Once upon a time there were five lovely ladies who dreamt of traveling the world together. Unfortunately, they were landlocked. They were held by so many responsibilities. They neither had a chance to fly nor sail. Hmmm… poor lovely ladies! Despite their situation though, the notion of having an adventure remained irresistible.

They couldn’t stop thinking about going for an adventure, so they took the risk and asked the Genie to grant their wish. They took Aladdin’s lamp and rubbed it. Lo and behold came a beautiful woman with her welcoming smile holding free tickets to the Disney World- the place where dreams come true.  Oh boy!

So, off the five lovely ladies went for their journey. They toured the world on foot. They walked miles and miles to see the whole world. By the time they reached their final destination, each one of them was bathing in sweat and just ready to take a long nap. But, surely, they were contented and never been happier. – The End




2014 in Pictures: It’s a Wrap

The Year of the Horse 2014, I must say, has been a good one: Far from being perfect, but I would call it an absolutely sanguine year. I had some challenges, don’t we all? Some of them hit me really hard so much so I couldn’t help uttering the famous “ouch.” But I have learned in life to choose your battle and learn to roll with the punches. As the year’s end came near, I was blessed not only with a renewed self-trust but also the wisdom not to take everything so personally. I have learned that when people were mean, it had nothing to do with me necessarily. It was simply a reflection of who they really are, and I cannot change that.

So, as the Year of the Horse comes to an end, I count my 2014 blessings.

1. Officially a Knight

After testing the water of the Graduate Program at another university, I have finally realized what I really wanted.  Subsequent to meditating, praying, and rolling the idea over in my mind, I sent my application to my chosen university, the University of Central Florida, and it didn’t take long before I was accepted. Next summer, if God’s willing, I am completing my graduate program and hopefully moving on to the next phase of my life.

2. I voted

I voted

Who would think that after being denied a Tourist Visa years ago, I would eventually receive my US Naturalization? I still couldn’t believe we (my husband included) made it. It was indeed a long journey through immigration, which was challenging, considering all the documents we needed to produce to prove my case, but we got it all settled – with no glitches nor shortcuts.

Thirteen months after I had my oath taking in a small room at the Bureau of Immigration, I received my ballot in the mail. It felt surreal. Given the rights and privilege to vote for my government representatives made me recognize how far I have gone from my once upon a time chasing the “elusive” American Dream. I decided to cast my first vote in person. Since then I have casted two more votes through the mail (please don’t call me a slacker *wink).

3. Summer Adventure


Visiting the three branches of the government in the nation’s capital last summer was a dream come true. Although I am not as a political enthusiast as my husband, I have always been interested with what is going on in my government. I guess it is a habit established from my former job. Back in the Philippines, I remember my first big assignment in the Embassy was to assist in the APEC as a member of the Secretariat. It was a baptism of fire. During the meeting I met numerous Heads of States (from a distance), including the US President at the time while they were entering the hotel. Call me star-struck because it felt oh so glamourous. Since then I have a continued interest in pomp and circumstance, and that’s how I got my idea to visit the Washington D.C.

4. Another work contract


Sometimes people tend to forget (I included) the blessing of simply having a job. Regardless if it is a dream job or not, the truth remains that employment offers not only economic benefits but also personal fulfillment. After all, it is not always easy to pass the grueling interview, as well as the subsequent performance reviews.  Thus, I am thankful that despite my human imperfections and shortcomings, my employer has continuously believed in me and the work I do. This is my third school year in my job, and I am grateful for each day that I go to work to meet my energetic students who are enthusiastic to learn.

5. Five years of honeymooning

A wonderful husband, happy marriage, satisfying home. Just call us perpetual “mooners.” It was like having heaven on earth…What more can I ask?

My husband gave me a wooden jewelry box and a love letter

My husband gave me a wooden jewelry box and a love letter on our Happy 5th

6. After Christmas Surprise: The Ultimate Crescendo to my 2014 Symphony

When I embarked reading the personal memoir, “My Beloved World” of Supreme Justice Sonia Sotomayor, I didn’t know that it would have a great effect on me. Despite my busy schedule, I would take a break to read a few chapters of the book every night. I was so much taken by her life experiences that after reading the last page, I decided to send her a letter. My intention was simply to express my gratitude to her for sharing such an inspiring life’s journey. I think I understand the enormity of a Supreme Justice’s job and time demands a little. Thus, I had very little expectation of a response. After placing the stamp on the envelope and dropping it in the mailbox, I whispered a short prayer that it would pass the possible screening crew, and then be before her eyes.

Who would think that my beloved SJ eventually got hold of my letter and found time to reply? I was dumbfounded when my husband handed me the envelope. Despite my astonishment, however, what really struck me was the facial expression from my husband who was green with envy. I knew that I had scored a homerun, and the letter will surely be forever one of our priceless possessions. You can count this right up there with hitting the lottery, after all it’s not every day we receive a letter from a SJ, do we?


“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding” by Leonardo Da Vinci

I thank my family, my husband in particular, friends, and many people who have served as my shields and angels during those times when I couldn’t help the horse from galloping. Thanks for lifting me up in countless ways every time I slid from the saddle. I appreciate you.

May we all have a happy, peaceful, and fruitful 2015!