How to bathe a stuffed bear

Two years ago, I was given a Pink Bear by a friend. We named the bear Giorgio – cute and stuffed like him (friend). Since then, I became fascinated with stuffed toys. I love having them around spending cuddly moments with each one. I have six so far… and counting.

However, it’s inevitable they get marred sporadically.  So, here’s my little way of bathing them:

1. Prepare your Bear, a pair of scissors, needle & thread, and a plastic bag.

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I am starting with my first ever Bear – Giorgio!

2. Make a small slit exactly where the stuffed bear was originally sewn. Pull out the fiber and place it inside the plastic bag. 

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As for Giorgio, the original stitches were located near his butt. I did a small slit enough for my hand to get through. Now, what’s left is his head so I’m still not through.

3. Wash the outer fabric with soap and water. Hang to dry.

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I applied fabric conditioner to soften. 

4. Stuff it in and hand-stitch to close.

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No need for nimble. Pretty easy stitch to do. 

5. Groom and Hug!

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Lovely family! Giorgio here is good as new, with his Brother Little Xavy. 

Hope this helps. Have fun bathing your Bears!

The Expectation Gap

Curious to see one of the most instagrammable sights in Toledo, Mo and I plummeted on a trip to South to also share our own version of the famous Labyrinth snaps. Pretty much enlivened, we used Waze to ensure not to miss the beauty spot. After a 2-hour odyssey, we finally reached our destination–only to find out that our expectation didn’t match with the reality.

Our funny tête-à-tête:

“Where is the Labyrinth?”

“This is the Labyrinth.”

“No, this isn’t the Labyrinth”.

“Ian, this is the Labyrinth. Look up!” I looked up and saw labyrinth inscribe on wood.

“This is it?”

“This is it!”

While Mo was taking candid shots of me, I cannot help but laugh out loud on the milieu. Both of us were expecting an elaborate, confusing green structure we see in Greek movies (or as we imagined from reading novels). We were even ready to get lost and then find each other under a gigantic tree.  But reality sank in. The Labyrinth is just a small garden of green plants constructed next to a private catholic chapel.  Then, we learnt that it was actually designed for meditation or praying the Holy Rosary– a symbolic form of pilgrimage which one can walk the path ascending towards salvation or enlightenment – NOT A MAZE TO GET LOST. Hence, the expectation gap. beside the Labyrinth. It showcases all religious collections from EU.

Just like LIFE.  We paint our lives with too many colours and write lofty goals only to uncover the epilogues are nothing like what we expect them to be  – either we lament on how unfair life is  or we  rejoice for such pleasant turn out of events. How often did we cry over bad investments in stock market, fiasco relationships, or even birthdays un-celebrated with loved ones? How many times did we jump for joy for every hard work recognised, successful project proposals or even just when Mr. Crush finally says its sweet “hello”.

If only we can predict every outcome, right? Yet, we can’t. We do not have the ability to see in full accuracy what the future holds for us. We can only make decisions based on knowledge, information, sometimes intuition but we can’t control life’s unknowns and detours. Perception is not the reality.

So it was not a maze to get lost, and like me, you may have exclaimed this-is-it-! twice or more (at some point in your life) but it is how you enjoy this kind of life’s fireworks and hiccups. Mo and I had our share of an epic fail expectation-vs-reality moments but it didn’t stop us from from having fun learning that perception and reality don’t always match up. Live the adventure and be resilient in taking on life’s beautiful strides.

 

The door to Labyrinth. Prep your hundred peso to enter. 
Bombshell: Look Up! you have finally reached the Labyrinth.
Passionate paparazzo: To get this shot, Mo has to climb a makeshift steel ladder.
All embracing.
A drop curtain we didn’t expect. This is the private chapel beside the Labyrinth. It showcases all religious collections from EU. A total holy moley. 
Taken aback. Surely adorable antiquated miniature. 
Pardon me. I only wanted a click next to the Pieta. Didn’t have any idea I was sitting on the tomb of the owner. However, he has my sincere obeisance upon knowing the story of why the Labyrinth was open to public. Every hundred-peso entrance fee to see the Labyrinth goes to the schooling of the less fortunate children in the community. In same building, there was a dedicated room where children attend classes.

How will you write a literary piece using Accounting Terms in 20 minutes?

Tired from work I wanted to sleep

Been a long day – meetings and signing checks

Cold and eerie, where’s my duvet?

Up in a closet folded neatly.

***

Thug Thug Thug suddenly drowning in tears

Anybody care to notice?

Looked around, there’s no one.

Except a shadow of a man.

***

Real Estate Business at stake

A corporation I can no longer keep

Disordered with all Liabilities

Loans, Bonds…. Oh No, the company is in bad debts

***

Debauchery enveloped the mind

Expenses of some kind

Salaries, Utilities, Supplies, Insurance

How then can my people survive?

***

Assets all exhausted.

No more cash and equivalents.

Financial statements read red

Can someone offer help?

***

Scared but has to try

Knocking at door’s friend for a bullion or in-kind

Embarrassing, I know

A CEO begging for dough

***

Lamenting in verses, couldn’t take

Weeping hard as I hit the letters

I am sorry investors, creditors, suppliers

Bankruptcy, today I declare.

***

Now, what to do, send this letter-to-all for info?

Or keep in an email draft to buy time or two

High heavens I’m begging you

Either Liquidity or Solvency will do.

***

Dag, dag, dag, I awoke

Called the office and speak to the CFO

“Steph, is the company balance and up?”

“Joe, relax! Everything is up and about.”

***

Editor’s Note: Cebu Landmasters Inc sent us for a 2-day training in Basic Accounting Workshop for Non-Accountants. Earlier, we were given a task to write a literary piece using accounting terms.  We were given only 20 minutes to finish the activity. Above prose was our entry and Choco Bar below was our prize.

A confession of an ex-con: “I met Jesus in Prison”

As I’m writing this entry, a little fete in the house still continues in honor of our Patron Saint. Kin and fellows come by round the clock to share sumptuous meal with everyone. Hankering for fresh air, I decided to stay in the vestibule earlier – not knowing a metamorphic conversation would take place there. Julius Perez, a distant kindred and an ex-con (as how he introduced himself) took my faith to the next level.

03 December 2015, Julius, together with a minor, has killed an allegedly male AKRHO Gang member. According to him it was a crime of self-defense since he was pointed with a gun first. Financially crippled to obtain a private lawyer fighting for his case, he ended up spending 12 years in prison with a tag– MURDERER.

It was difficult. At times I think of his family. At times I think of my future. I was struggling the first few months in jail but I have had high hopes one day I can be free”, he reverberated when asked about the challenges he went through.

Determined to get out from prison with head held high, he behaved accordingly abiding all cell rules. From an ordinary inmate, he was chosen to become a commander (jail lead) from for he portrayed a commendable behaviour. He created fair rules and camaraderie among fellows. He also learned as much as he can, in fact, he was the very first detainee to graduate from ALS (Alternative Learning System).

Notwithstanding , the rumination that startled me most was when he shared HOW HE MET JESUS IN PRISON. Inside bars and in the midst of distress and anxieties, he found Jesus. He felt like a little voice was comforting him with powerful sweet words of fortification. By then, he never let go of the connection and worked so hard to grow his relationship with God. He started the art of silent prayers. He read all chapters in the Bible from Old to New Testament. He attended every Holy Masses celebrated inside the prison, and he led the recital of Holy Rosary – a life completely antithetical before his conviction- when all he knew was to have a good time (barkada, barrio disco and booze).

“God exists and so does blessings. I thought being in prison is the end of everything, yet, it became the beginning of all great things. God showed me his ways and I accepted it with open heart, and now I am trying to continue my very intimate relationship with HIM.”

Julius, is one of those stories that truly touched my inner being. His story is a testament that God reaches to us wherever we are under any circumstance. He never abandons His children specially the lowly ones.

Today, being a freeman, Julius relentlessly sustains his reverence to Jesus and even compound this to others. He is now teaching his girlfriend how to read the bible and to pray the Holy Rosary. He is also never embarrassed being called an ex-con for he’s aware that God has pardoned him.

Editor’s Note: Although, Julius is an ALS graduate (HS Level), he still finds hard to find a decent job due to his history of being an ex-con. However, from our conversation earlier, I can vouch that he is a man with good and pure heart. Definitely, full of gratitude. May all my blog readers be able to help him in his journey towards starting a new life outside the prison cell. Julius, may you be blessed even more and may God’s name be glorified because of your humility!

From Sole to Soul in Seoul, KR; Why I quit FB and IG for sometime

Soon as the plane landed, I immediately posted a video of my ‘juiced-up face’ in one of my social media accounts – Welcome to Korea! Promptly, I received gibberish comments and PMs… 

“Good luck on your plastic surgery. Hope everything goes well.”

“Do well on your K-Pop audition. We are proud of you!”

How much I wanted to lob stern remarks to these “social homophobes” but chose to remain silent and left them on a seen-zone. Yes, those are real messages from real people. 

Why such messages, I pondered. Is there something wrong with my feat or am I really that talented to likely earn a spot in the Korean stage. LOL! I was not informed by my very self that I am going under the knife. I am blest with this Jollibee-face feat. And no offense, I don’t hate K-Pop but I not a fan either. I embrace Philippine folk songs and folk dances as Tininkling and Singkil – both would remain the closest to my heart.

Is South Korea only known for plastic surgery and K-pop? Or there’s this clandestine beauty we still yet to unearth? Perhaps, there is no need for another discovery since these treasure troves have been there for so long, we’re just oblivious and too focused on beauty and fame.  It was not like it until the birth of Friendster, Facebook and IG – the social media craze! The beginning of vanity where people find solace in the number of likes and reactions pinned.

Are you conscious on how people look at you? If your face looks symmetrical or if your skin is fair and flawless? Are you worried whenever you post a selfie and nobody notices? Are you rooting your self- worth on tip-top comments which seems sincere but are actually a mockery? Do the fragmented moments you spend on social media make you feel depressed and lonely – comparing self to friends, envying folks traveling often, enormous jealousy seeing a family happily having a get together and more? Do you also get easily affected when people flaunt their outrageous comments on your posts?

I was then…..that’s why I let go of the debauchery. I was completely consumed by such nonsense and my trip to Seoul saved my poor Soul. I started taking control and took regard on things that verily matters. I went back to my books. I started writing again. I spend more quality time with my kith and kin – simply having great moments which are not curated and not publicly posted but are forever cherished.

Was it easy giving up the drill I was used to for quite some time? Sincerely, it was not and the first 2 weeks were the hardest. I was always tempted to re-download FB and IG app – open it and just start browsing recent activities of friends. However, I kept the discipline. I called some good friends to help me be on track. I prayed well not to be tempted too.

Today I am enjoying my freedom. I worry less. No more distractions. No more scrolling up and down. No more wasted time. I expunged my accounts but I jumpstarted this personal blog few months back. I lost a thousand FB and IG followers but gained real friends. I no longer have that strong connections to the virtual world but I am very much attached to the real world – real people with real stories. 

***

“How long are you going to stay there?” Frankly I don’t know. Perhaps, until my sole is jaded gallivanting Seoul or when I can finally feel the revival my Soul.

palace

Changdeokgung Palace

Myeongdong Cathedral
The national cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul –  Church of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception also known Myeongdong Cathedral

Itaewon St
A night of drink and fun with friends at Itaewon.

the wall

Deoksugung Stone Wall Road where I’ve finally revived my soul.

Ways to become a Bibliophile

Years ago, I was not profoundly engrossed with reading. I detested it a lot especially prints of small fonts. The moment I open a book, I would feel like having mental diarrhea. Long passages and literary works are my prime enemy. They make me puke.  This self-proclaimed diagnosis prompted me to create an excuse of not reading at all. Instead, I go to Youtube, grab graphic magazines, or watch movies to keep me lucid. For long I had convinced myself that I was exclusively a visual learner – deciphering and recollecting things by sight, and that I will never be a pundit in reading.

Momentarily it worked until I discovered my incompetence. I cannot write. I cannot put my thoughts into words. I cannot talk. I cannot convey my message. I was doomed! I got perturbed and so I started making a big leap. Reading is the only way, I extrapolated.

The hows:

  1. Start now. Start with a book that pique your interest. A book that when you close your eyes, you can visualise the trend of the story. The very first novel I read was The Alchemist by Paulo Cuelho. A novel you cannot afford to put down even for commode moments. I finished this in one day.
  2. When ready, read another genre. If you’ve vanquished reading a certain genre, it could be the right time to try another class or style. Try to go deeper. I began reading Religious, Management, Economics, Finance, Literature, Memoirs and Fashion books the moment I felt too comfortable with fictional novels. History, Architecture/Engineering and Cooking books could be later since I do not have the acuity for it yet. You can choose what is your priority.
  3. Patience. It takes a bucketful of patience when you morph from novel to business readings. Business books have to be read ofttimes to get authors’ point.  Normally, I read it 2-3 times in order to get the gist of the piece.
  4. Highlight. You may highlight words and phrases you do not understand. You can also check the meaning of strange words from Meriam Webster Dictionary (MWD). For convenience you may download MWD app from Play Store or App Store.
  5. Take note and apply. Regularly, take note of phrases which move or impact you. Then, apply what you’ve learned but never exaggerate it. Always stay in context.

The ramifications:

  1. Makes you smarter. Reading books help you gain new knowledge and information you wouldn’t have known. It surges your deep understanding on myriad of topics or subject matters.
  2. Fosters good health and improves your brain’s capacity. Reading keeps your brain cells alert preventing it from hibernating. It keeps memory and thinking skills unscathe. Research shows that reading can stave off Schizophrenia and Dementia in old age.
  3. Improves Imagination and takes you to places you’ve never been to. Fiction books take you anywhere and everywhere. It allows you to travel to another world and get a glimpse of people’s culture and beliefs.
  4. Improves oral and written skills. Reading definitely widens your vocabulary and ameliorate your writing skills. You’d be startled how you can effortlessly put your words together, thus, improving your relationship whether at work, home or school.
    A rock-bottom recreation and productive hobby. Books are affordable and are for keeps compared to movie tickets. Reading also makes use of your time well since it keeps you occupied and diverts you from tedium. At times when you read a certain book and watch its movie, you will discover that some parts are omitted or never captured.
  • The list goes on and you will discover it once you start. I wish you well. Happy reading.
  • Looking for an authentic Indian Cuisine in Cebu? Bollywood Tandoor is your go-to

    Yesterday, I scribbled about Incredible India and enunciated how much I miss its dishes. Providentially, Mo invited me for lunch today and decided to go for Indian savory at Bollywood Tandoor.  It is both our first time to try this piquant. Though we always traverse the thoroughfare near this diner, we both didn’t really get the chance to drop by and try… until this very day.

    Bollywood Tandoor is located right at the foot of Banilad flyover. It opened last 2016 sharing to the people of Cebu the flavourful taste of India. It offers a complete set of biz ranging from delectable food, cultural ambiance, scintillating entertainment, ambrosial boozes, all the way to charming customer service. Even the owners intermingle with its patrons. Prices come modestly too. In fact and to our awe, we received a discount on our bill today as they were celebrating their Year 2 anniversary.

    Cebu is opportune having Bollywood Tandoor in the breath. A Cebuana doesn’t need to fly miles just to smack an authentic Indian Cuisine. This is your go-to place for a delectable and exquisite Indie foodie.

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    Filling this belly with these piquant. Oh, makes me feel like I’m back in India.