A New Story Begins



It finally happened. After four years and four months, I've found the guts to do it. I quit my job.

Unforgettable

Nueca has been amazing. The people have been great and very supportive, the products have been exciting to work on, and my bosses have been wonderfully patient, understanding, and instilled so much wisdom into me. 

Aya's birthday (2016)

Yes, there were times when I got frustrated because I didn't feel heard or relevant (though I wanted to help so badly), or times when I just wanted to leave everything because things were becoming too stressful and all over the place. But above all that, I was driven by one thing - to see the company flourish. Since starting work there late 2015, I've considered its values and goals akin to my own, and that's to give people great products and make their lives easier. It's always been about service for me, and I love that Nueca has also grown further as a company that cares more about its users and employees than its profit.

Color Run (2016)
Bigg's Lunch Out (2017)

Four years at Nueca allowed me to develop other skills, capabilities, and passions that I wouldn't have improved more on had I been employed by another company - and that's 100% true. Some friends from college shared their frustrations about being stuck doing one thing or utilizing one skill for years, and are now having difficulty figuring out where to go or what to do next career-wise. I can't even imagine being in their position right now, and I'm truly blessed in that aspect.

One of the best things about Nueca is its people. Our trust and personal care for one another has truly made an impact on me, and it will always be something I'll remember even as I strive to create a company of my own (in the future, of course). I learned - from the best boss I could have had for my first job - that being a great one isn't establishing authority through fear, but rather through mutual respect, understanding, and patience. While there are boundaries to consider, being in harmony with your subordinates ties things together. I'll always have that in mind.

Hi-Way 411 Resort (2016)

Our boss would always let us have "Monday-Motivation-slash-Meditation" sessions every morning at the start of the week, and although he might not have realized its effectiveness on us, I can say that it truly has helped me in one way or another. 

His constant reminder to be compassionate and kind to others (as well as refrain from being reactive to things) has become ingrained in my mind. I'm much calmer and neutral now about things than I have ever been in my life and while I still react involuntarily to triggering situations, I can step back and look at it from a different, more unbiased perspective. This is helped me multiple times already, and is still of huge help in my new job as a relationship coach.

Company outing in Sorsogon, Bicol (2018)

Through the company, I was able to meet people who had great business intellect, marketing capabilities, management prowess, and had enough expertise in their field that would warrant seminars. I truly enjoyed the time I spent with them.

But, like any great friendship, it's never the end. :)



If you're curious about my four-year journey and what I'd learned during each, you may read my yearly update here:



The Future

Looking forward, I'm super excited for my new job. I'm a Relationship Coach now! 

For the record, I actually saw this coming years back. I just wasn't sure when and how it would happen, but I would often think about providing advice on life and relationships to people who need it. Pretty far from the degree I decided to take (BS Digital Illustration & Animation), but it all worked out in the end, right? My initial fear of not having a specialization or single expertise has since dissipated, and I would rather be skilled in multiple disciplines and tasks than be stuck with just one.

To get the job, I had to apply online, be interviewed through a Skype video call, and undergo training. I trained for two weeks - 12am-8am DAILY (aside from Sundays and Mondays) - and had to work half-day instead in the job I moved on from. I'm so grateful (and embarrassed) to have made my previous employers go through that weird schedule. (If any of my past coworkers are reading this, please do tell them their understanding of the situation at the time meant EVERYTHING.)

So far, the job has been AWESOME. The hours are flexible (as long as 40 hours are met each week), the pay is on the 'I-can-travel-every-two-months' level, and my co-coaches are fast becoming great friends. The company is led by people from all over the world and having to work with different timezones is hilarious. (We're all currently following LA work hours, so... that's roughly -15 hours for us in the Philippines?) We even have weekly company meetings through Zoom where we all go on a video call and just talk about what's been going on and where the company is headed. So awesome.

What I love most is that I get to help people who really want it. It's always been evident from some of my hobbies (podcasting about self-improvement and relationships, blogging) that I wanted to impact people in a more direct way for longer. While my blog is constantly gaining traffic mostly from Europe and the U.S., and I get to talk to them via email, interaction with an actual person seemed like the best, most fulfilling option. (I'm still blogging and currently prepping for a new season of my podcast.)

Simply put, my requirement right now for a great career is to be of help to more people not limited to my country. Salary comes after, but more than the money, it's the sense of fulfillment I get from directly helping people that makes this new path extra perfect.



All that being said, I'd really just like to mark this as the end of a novel and the start of a new book altogether. I'll never forget what I've learned from Nueca. It being my first job immediately makes it special, and I'm happy that I got to work with the brilliant, creative minds working there. I have no doubt the company will grow, and I'm excited for when that time comes.

As for me? I'll be here. Pursuing a career that I've always wanted to explore and learning new things along the way. I plan to do more with my life with God's guidance, and I feel like I am now ready to start this new journey.

First Time at Coachella!




Coachella. Who'd have thought I'd be posting about my own experience at this awesome music festival? For someone who's planned to go for years (hello, bucketlist), this was a dream come true. It seemed like an ordinary chat with my girlfriends (the typical, "I want to go. Should I go? I'm going. Should I?"), but after nudging L and asking if he'd like to "join" (read: co-fund), the plan took off. That was in February.

(Sorry if it took too long to post about this! I only got around to getting motivated, haha! Kidding.)

It seemed like forever until April, and the closer it got, the more restless I became. I'd do my work but as soon as I had time to relax for a bit, I'd check the itinerary (we chose Weekend 1) and hotel we planned to stay at. I was obsessed with the thought of partying all weekend in Palm Springs.

Then, as soon as the show times were uploaded, I started planning the entire weekend. Here's a visual that I marked-up with food choices, loos, and artists and what stage and day they'll be performing.

April 12 was Day One. I had to plan my stages 'cause walking to and from them would be quite stressful.

The Flight

So I chose to ride via Cathay Pacific. I originally wanted to go on PAL or Singapore Air, but the flight schedules weren't going to work for our itinerary.

Screenshot from the app I use to organize all my flights (check out Blay).

As you can probably tell, my first flight arrived late in Hong Kong. Good thing my flight to LAX was late too. (That asterisk literally saved my life.) L and I met up at HK. After landing at LAX, I took a few photos before leaving for the hotel.

I super love Pinkberry, and it was also the first time I've ever tried an Umami burger. Freaking fun,

After a long ride to the hotel, we arrived at around 11:00-11:30pm. I was too tired and as much as I tried to get more work done remotely, I was just knackered.

The Festival

So we wake up a little late the next day (slept at around 1am because I had too much excitement) and arrived at Coachella a little before lunch. The line was pretty long, but thank God we had VIP passes and therefore had the luxury of skipping the line via a separate entrance. I've created a little video from the snaps I did during the festival. It's all over the place but it's bearable.


*Sorry for the shaky videos! I was super out of it and I couldn't hold my phone well. (Also, I didn't bother shooting or vlogging, so I just directly recorded them on Snapchat and IG.)

The Experience

Before the weekend, I did a little research on what to expect before, during, and after the festival. I read about bringing kegs of beer and storing them in the trunk of your car (because apparently booze is pretty pricey inside the event place), bringing coolers, bringing a bandana (pretty dusty at times), and not being allowed to bring a water bottle inside (so prep a tumbler of some sort).

I think that out of all the warnings I'd read, bringing a bandana or towel to cover your face with was the best tip. I didn't expect it to be so dusty, but it became a terrible dust storm (almost) around the afternoon.

I also expected the food to be amazing, and they were. Since we got the VIP bands, we had a huge selection of food to eat, from the high-end options to the regular choices at the Beer Barn (which also housed some great-tasting food).


Some personal picks:

1. The Rose Venice - perfect balance of food, and it doesn't leave you feeling bloated or that you ate too much.



2. Backyard Bowls - Healthy options and the chance to mix and match whatever you want! I love how these function both as brunch or as full meals. So good.



3. Gwen - I have no words. Meat selections were spot on, great sandwich combos - there really isn't much to complain about.

Image on the left: VIP tent at Coachella 2019.

A Few Realizations

Coachella is by far the priciest music festival I've ever gone to, and if there's something much more expensive, they'd need to be offering unlimited champagne and wine to get me to come. I understand that the ticket price offers not just the experience, but also a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see your favorite artists in one event. That is worth it for me.

Always get a private car to and from the festival. It's not cute to wait in the Grab or shuttle line after a whole day of rocking to your faves. This was another great tip I'd read online, and I'm glad we decided to rent a vehicle.

Coachella has always looked glamorous online, with all the selfies and barkada shots scattered all over Instagram. What you don't see are the long walks to and from the stages, the dust, the heat during the day time, the people lying under trees (if any) and the swollen feet you need to ice once you're in the hotel to tuck in for the night.

If you're from the other side of the globe, you'll need to arrive at least a day before the festival. In my case, we arrived a few hours before Friday, and we were struck by jet-lag for most of the first day. It was fun, but I could imagine my guts and brain telling me to chill and take it slow because they were spinning. It didn't help that I was too excited to properly get some shut-eye.

I didn't get to see all the artists I had planned to go to, and it's because I didn't anticipate how far certain stages were from one another. There were also some delays on the show start times, and some would begin a little earlier (while we were struggling to quickly get a nice spot in front). I didn't get to see Christine & The Queens, Tame Impala, Bad Bunny, and missed almost half of H.E.R.'s performance.

Ariana Grande was such a sweet little munchkin. I thought I couldn't love her more than I already did prior to seeing her perform live, but I was wrong. Ariana, baby.

Water was a lifesaver throughout the weekend. There were a lot of booze and refreshing drinks, but water was the real superhero. Hands down. I can't emphasize this enough.


That's it for this post on my Coachella experience! Any questions? Comments? Leave them below! Ciao, bellas!

The Time I Gave a Talk on Marketing & Communications

As a student, I had always wanted to attend little talks and seminars on topics that interested me. Living in Naga City though, those opportunities were either rare or none at all. That made me invest in Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera, and other online course platforms to make sure I took no chances in developing my skills.

Fast-forward to today, I now have the chance to give back to my community and be the inspiration I wanted when I was a student. I do that by giving talks and workshops. When I was asked to give a short talk on marketing and communications to upcoming senior high school students, I became excited.


Aside from myself, two colleagues of mine and a few professionals from other fields also shared knowledge on their own fields, from UI/UX Design, IOS Development, Accounting, and others.
Those kids asked quite a few questions, but I’m glad they showed interest in our work. I encouraged them to take summer classes for their skills, attend workshops, or even audit a course on Coursera if they couldn’t afford to get a certificate.


Here are a few more slides I included in my presentation:


I may not meet any of them again, but I hope I was able to enlighten and inspire in the short time I was given. Nothing would make me happier than to have planted that little seed of motivation in their minds and make them think differently.

The Time I Decided to Upload a Vlog (ft. Bem Zenit)

I'm not really a camera-hog. I'd rather be operating behind the camera or behind the scenes in general. Having my face out there just terrifies me, because (1) I'm not attractive, and (2) I'm not attractive.

That being said, I braved the waters and decided to upload a vlog to share what my good friend Bem Zenit has been doing with her art - and they are wonderful.

Warning: The first few minutes where I talk might put you off so just skip to the 2:20 mark, haha.



She's an amazing artist who's found her style early on, and I'm just so happy she gets to do what she loves despite her busy schedule at work (day jobs suck).

Visit her Facebook or Instagram and commission her for whatever you may need! :)

Anime of the Month #2: Non Non Biyori


I can't believe it's been super long since I wrote my first animé recommendation. I'm only on the "2nd month" but I've watched quite a number of animated series. Dang. I feel like I've sinned against the Animé gods because of this. 

ANYWAY. Aside from listening to music, blogging, and watching Netflix, a sure way for me to recover from stress is to watch nice animé. This month's recommendation is a chill, slice-of-life story. Let me introduce Non Non Biyori.


The Plot

"The story takes place in the countryside small town village of Asahigaoka, a place lacking many of the conveniences that people from the city are accustomed to. The nearest stores are a few miles away and one of the local schools consists of only five students, each of whom is in a different grade of elementary or middle school. Hotaru Ichijo, a fifth grader from Tokyo, transfers into Asahigaoka Branch School and has to adjust to countryside life with her new friends." (source)


Aside from the very chill plot, the characters all have their own lovable personalities. Renge's (lavender hair) character is especially memorable, with her usually poker, stoic face and curiosity.

She tells off the adults (her older sister-slash-homeroom teacher) for being unmotivated and bland, urging them to be models to kids like her. She also has her own way of doing things (marking her way to school with a stick on the ground so she can retrace her steps back home) and perfectly balances the other characters' personalities.



I don't remember how I found this show, but it was around the same time I discovered Himouto Umaru-chan (another glorious little animé that I recommended for the first one). I'm so glad I came across it! Lovable characters, nice animation, great voice actors - the whole thing.

Slice-of-life shows are great for those moments when you want to watch something but don't want to get invested into a 100-episode series all at once. Non Non Biyori is a great bet.



I'm giving this show a 4.8/5. The only complaint I have is that it didn't have enough episodes for me to gush over Renge. :)

A Trip to Paris

Paris a toujours été la destination de mes rêves. Depuis que je suis enfant, j'ai toujours rêvé d'y aller et de vivre comme une vraie française, avec le glamour et le luxe. Je n'ai jamais su que des années plus tard, cela se réaliserait vraiment. Les 17 et 20 août 2018, mon petit ami et moi sommes allés à l'endroit de mes rêves et avons passé le meilleur temps. Voici un petit journal de ce qui s'est passé pendant notre séjour.


Si je pouvais revenir en arrière et revivre ce moment, je le ferais certainement. La vie à Paris ressemblait plus à un conte de fées qu’à la réalité, et je reviendrais sans hésiter. Cela m'a donné un aperçu de ce que la vie pouvait être. Cela m'a aussi permis de pratiquer mon français!

Et vous? Est-ce qu'il y a un endroit où tu as toujours voulu visiter quand tu étais enfant et où tu pouvais aller quand tu as grandi? Partagez-les dans les commentaires ci-dessous!

10,000 Feet Above: What Not To Do On An Airplane


I love being on a plane. There’s something about being suspended in the air with other people, all of you with places to be, and having one goal throughout the whole trip – be tolerable. However, there are still some who know nothing of decency and flight etiquette. 
We’re cultured people, but in case you’ve never flown before and need a little help in this area, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve compiled an unordered list of things you shouldn’t do on a flight, whether it’s to please your fellow passengers or give yourself the best experience. Vous ne voudriez pas que les gens sont agacés par vous sur 10,000 pieds au-dessus du sol!

1. Drink Coffee or Tea

I understand you need your caffeine fix – especially for extra long flights – but here’s a little secret: airplane tap water is often used to prepare hot drinks, and they are notoriously prone to bacteria. Yeah. Your best bet would be to choose bottled or canned beverages instead.

2. Wear Contact Lenses

Contacts already dry your eyes when you’re on land, and they can irritate them even more because of the airplane’s dry air. If you want to look fresh when getting out of the plane however, save putting on contacts minutes before landing or take a quick bathroom stop and pop them on there.

3. Take Your Socks Off

Yes, you want to get comfortable. Yes, you want to rest your feet for the whole flight. NO, you can’t expose your feet to every poor soul on the plane, athlete’s foot or not. Also, can you imagine your bare feet touching the floor where other people have come and gone?

4. Stay In Your Seat The Entire Flight

Even if you’re on a First Class flight, and even if the seats are comfortable and can be laid down as a bed, it’s still best to move around the plane when it is allowed. Stretch those limbs and twist your body a little to give your joints a little massage. Give those butt cheeks a rest – ils vous remercieront plus tard.

5. Recline During Meal Times

This, I don’t understand. The fact that it’s meal time indicates that people will be needing the table attached to the back of your seat. I don’t know what sort of people do this, but it happens, and it is not funny. It’s also etiquette to let the person behind you know you’ll be reclining your seat when you need to, or just quickly check

6. Berate the Flight Attendants

I’ve seen this happen a few times during my own travels, and it gives off a sour vibe across the whole cabin. It not only makes the flight uncomfortable for you and the stewardess, but it extends to other passengers as well. 
What’s terrible about all this is that people often complain about things the cabin crew don’t have control over. Complaints like how little legroom you have or that booze is expensive on the flight are our of the crew’s hands. Some have even gotten angry over the fact that the chips being handed out are just “air” when they open it and the chips themselves are almost non-existent. Ces personnes travaillent fort et ne peuvent pas contrôler ce qu’elles servent. Mieux encore, obtenez un billet d’avion en première classe la prochaine fois.

7. Eat Stinky Food

You know your favorite burger full of onions, pickles, and whatever else you like? Yeah, you can’t eat that on the plane. It’s not actually a case of not being able to because you can, but if you’re aware of flight etiquette, you wouldn’t even think of it. Imagine sitting next to someone eating a meal of curry, onions, and other pungent food. That smell will just circulate around the plane and stay there until you land. Je ne veux pas être cette personne.

8. Put Your Carry-on in the Overhead Bin Not Directly Above You

Two rules: (1) If you have a roller suitcase or a duffel bag, put that in the bin, and (2) if you don’t have a need for the overhead bins, don’t take it and waste the space. Don’t be a dick and place your laptop bag or medium-sized backpack up there when it can perfectly fit in front of you or by your feet.

9. Forget to Put On Deodorant

You’ll be packed in a cabin with a number of people for hours. Do you really want to be that person who starts to reek and costs everybody a comfortable flight? Pas de miel. Practice proper grooming, regardless of your flight type and duration.

10. Wear Tight Clothing

Plane rides can get a little tight and stressful. Don’t make your situation worse by wearing tight clothes and unnecessary glamorous fabric. I know you want to look great even on the flight, but if you’re flying for 19 hours, would you really be comfortable wearing sequins or a tight leather jacket? My personal preferences? Cotton, silk, or cashmere. There are lots of loose yet fashionable choices out there.

11. Try New Medication

Please, please be responsible enough to know that new medication can have unexpected side-effects. This shouldn’t even be on the list because it’s so logical to not realize. 

12. Get Mad at the Person In Front of You For Reclining 

I’ve been guilty of this a few times, but I never shout or become violent towards the person in front of me. Airplane seats were made to recline, so it shouldn’t anger you if people actually do it. There are others who recline it so far back that it really disturbs you, and most of the time, a gentle “excuse me, but can you adjust your seat a little” can work like magic. If that person refuses and you are incredibly, terriblyuncomfortable, call the attention of a stewardess.