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. :)