OPPO F1s: Travel Essentials

Photo by Kace Rodriguez

I always travel light. I try to fit all my things needed for a trip into a backpack. Apart from shirts, pants, undergarments and toiletries, there are travel essentials that I find myself bringing in every trip.

The funny thing is that I also have some of these things in my handbag whenever I go out. It is a survival kit of sorts when I am not in the comforts of home.

1. Shawl

A shawl serves as a blanket for those trips where I need a little warmth without having to bring a bulky blanket.  It can also double as a cover-up in the beach, picnic mat or extra piece of clothing in case there are wardrobe malfunctions.  In my case, I use it to cover my arms whenever I get self-conscious wearing sleeveless.

2. Travel documents

Of course, I won’t be able to leave the country without a passport. If it is a domestic travel, I bring any ID.

3. Headgear

This is a piece of stretchable cylindrical fabric that can be wrapped around your head. Unlike a hat, the head gear is easy to pack. Sometimes I just wrap it around my wrist so that I can wear it when needed. I use it to protect my head from the sun, wind and draft.  On bad hair days, this made me look a little decent. ha!

4. Sunglasses

I have a polarized prescription sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun’s glare. I have astigmatism so regular off-the-rack sunglasses would not suffice. I use the required lenses for my vision.

5. Medicine

I bring my own stash of anti-dizziness pills, paracetamol, loperamide, antacid and pain relievers. I also bring alcohol and betadine. This comes in handy when I do not feel well and there is no pharmacy nearby.

6. Socks

I sometimes travel red eye or on a night bus. My feet need some warmth.

7. Water bottle

I need to hydrate. All the walking and sightseeing often leave me thirsty. If you are like me who converts foreign prices into Philippine peso when traveling, you need to bring water bottle and fill it up with the water from the hotel. I remember having to shell out SGD 3.00 (Php 100) for water when I can easily drink water from tap if only I brought water bottle.

8. Tablet

I used to bring ballpen and paper for notes. Now that I own a tablet I do my note taking on the device. I have my ebooks stored there also so I have something to read during those times I am waiting in line or when I am staying in places where there is no television.

9. Cash

 Cash is king. As a backup, you can always buy things in case you forget to bring something to your trip.

Not in the pictures above is the one thing I always bring: camera.

Lately,  I am feeling the inconvenience of lugging a big camera around my neck.

A mobile device that can capture quality photos is something I should add to my travel essentials. I have heard good things about OPPO F1s.

Screen capture from the OPPO website

Its 16 MP front camera and f/2.0 aperture will hopefully help me become a selfie expert. (There is still hope in me since I am not good at this skill! Ha!)

What I am most interested to try is its 13MP rear camera that guarantees to capture wonderful photos even in low light conditions.

Screen capture from the OPPO website

If it can capture awesome night shots, I can only imagine what it can capture during the day.  This device would make traveling easier and way more lighter than before.  I can enjoy the sights and activities without having that camera weight around my neck. And  as a bonus, I get the quality photos I want which I can easily share in real-time. Oh, please be mine soon!

More information on the device can be found on their website: OPPO Philippines. Do not forget to like or follow them on their social media accounts:

Twitter: twitter.com/OPPOPhilippines
Instagram: www.instagram.com/oppophilippines
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/OPPOPH

How about you? What are your travel essentials?

*This is a contest entry for Nuffnang Philippines.

The Sunday Currently Vol. 1

Stock photo by Freddy Castro

My friend, Grace, started this type of blog post that updates her readers about the things that are currently happening in her life. She gets her blog prompts from here. I am following her lead. This would help me keep up with one of  my plans for the year: write frequently.

Here’s my version:

Currently considering

My friend will be taking up an online entrepreneurship course and I was thinking of taking the course with her.  I am hesitant because the deadline for enrollment is next week  and I have not really thought this through yet. I might not be able to keep up with the schedule. I am also thinking of taking a free online course through edX.

Currently trying

I have gained inches and kilos the past year. I am trying to follow a workout schedule which I have been skipping since the start of the year. I have already plotted the schedule on my journal. I am done with day 1.  I have 38 days more to go before I change the schedule.

Currently collecting

Last week, I learned about this awesome site, Unsplash. It is a website where you can download beautiful stock photos for free. I got my title image for this post from there. I have downloaded 42 favorite images and I plan to update my files often.

Currently reading

I have 16 books to read for the year and I am still on my first book. I am reading Mia Alvar’s In the Country Stories. It is a book with different Filipino stories of struggles and realizations. It is a book which I wish I wrote.  I often find myself thinking, ” Why can’t I write like this?”

Currently happy

Roger Federer won his 18th Grand Slam title by winning the Australian Open finals against Rafael Nadal just a few minutes ago.  I am a Federer fan although I stopped watching tennis after my father died. No one will explain the game for me anymore.  Around this time of the year, I used to talk about tennis based on these reminders from Facebook.

I’ll just end the post here.

Share what is currently happening in your life. Leave a comment or link to your blog post.

10 Reasons Why We All Need Younger Friends

I am a Gen-Xer. They are millennials. Somehow, friendship blurred the generation gap.

Six months ago, I was new to a job and I found myself in a group of 20-somethings who are wise beyond their years. (Because they took me in as their friend! Ha! Kidding.) There were challenges to the job but it is easy to forget the struggles because I had these friends who always had my back. These friends are more than a decade younger than I am yet their maturity is something I want to turn into a pill so that I can just take a dose of anytime in order to breeze through adulthood effortlessly.  I think it is safe to say that I am keeping these friends and  I think you also need to find your own awesome squad like mine.

Here are the reasons why:

1. They wear their hearts on their sleeves. You know their triumphs and struggles because they know how to express them. They live in authenticity and never apologize for who they are.

2. They will make you feel younger. They radiate youthful exuberance and, like air, you inhale it and  fuel yourself with the energy that comes with it.

3. They see the world in a fresh perspective. I often wonder what I was doing when I was their age. I was just trying to eke through life then. They, on the other hand, have plans for their future while dancing to their own beat.

4. They are your backbones when you lose your own.  You will feel you can do anything when they are always there cheering you on. My voice cracked and my tears were in the brink of rolling down my cheeks out of stage fright when I was asked to give a speech. When the ordeal was over, they were there still cheering me on.

I remember that we traveled 128 kilometers to attend a wake of a colleague’s brother.

5. They love to eat.  And they say that people who love to eat are the best people. Most of our group photos involved eating! They are young so they do not struggle with weight woes.  I feel like I do not have to by association. (Ha! excuses, excuses)  My peers are now in the chapter of their lives where maladies, cholesterol, etc are slowly sprinkled into the conversation.

6. They are driven. They put in the hours when they need to and smiled their way through it.

7. They are multi-talented. Ask them to host an activity, sing, dance or write a last-minute report, they will do it.

8.  They make you feel like you belong to their group. Well, at least until I got carried away and exposed my age. I remember commenting about the time when the airport terminal fee was only Php20 (now it is Php150) during my first plane ride which we immediately realized that they were not even born then.  And there was a time when they had to ask me the name of Brad Pitt’s first wife. They are in the generation along with Selena Gomez, Lee Min Ho, hmm okay Darren Espanto while I belong to… hmm never mind. I should stop. Ha!

9. They are brave. One friend got married in her early 20’s which I think is not very common these days. ( Or is it just me who think so? )

10. They are camera-ready. You won’t forget memories because they are well-documented.  I swiped many of these photos from their social media accounts.  Thanks, Jumegs!

Today marks the 6th month since we became friends.  Happy monthsary!!! Stay strong! Lablab!

What are your plans for 2017?

I have the whole year (and a lifetime) ahead me and I have plans conjured up in mind so it is time to write them down. So far, this is what I am going to do  and I hope I will be about to write updates of my progress.

1. Read more. I have backlogs on reading but since this is not a race, I always take my time. These are 16 books in my list and I hope I will be able to read all of them before the year ends. 

2. Write frequently. I just have to keep on typing for the words to come out. I hope I can be mindful of the surroundings around me and be able to describe them vividly in words. Or, I can just write what is in my head.  I always think regular writing and reading can help me in avoiding Alzheimer’s, dementia and other diseases one day.  I also tried to do visual journaling. My friend, Grace, gave me this travel planner and stickers and I finally got to use them.

3. Do more artThis is what I missed most for the past five months. I painted once or twice and that was it.  Few days ago, my aunt asked me to repair the faded paint on a jar. I squeezed some acrylic paint more that what was needed so I decided to used the excess on a canvas that was meant for a wedding gift for my niece. She has not seen the painting. I do not know if she will like this. But I am happy with the result. This is the first time I painted something abstract. 

4. Do more cooking experiments. Every now and then, I cook the meals in the house like this grilled milkfish I am trying to prepare. There are dishes I wanted to try and I already list them down. I just have to pace them because what I wanted to cook are dishes that are loaded with calories. Yes, crispy pata is on the list.

5.  Make memories.

How about you? What are your plans for this year?

The Last Five Months

How does one get one’s writing mojo back? I have been pondering what to write since I have gained some time to do it but I never really got into that zone where those brain cells of mine just start working and send signals to those muscles in my fingers to type those words away. I guess that the only thing left for me to do is just type away what is in my head and wish for some coherence in my thoughts.

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” – Neil Gaiman

So what have I been up to for the last five months?

I TAUGHT MATHEMATICS! And to be precise about it, I taught Probability and Statistics to Grade 9 students.

I think I have mentioned before that I have a Mathematics degree. (here, here and here) So, I have quietly applied for a teaching position (and surprisingly got the job!) when an opportunity came up.  Thus, the past five months was spent doing my best to share knowledge to bright young minds.  Last December, my teaching contract expired and I decided not to renew it. There were other interests I wanted to explore that I was unable to because teaching took so much of my energy and time. So, hats off to all teachers who continue to do what they do. I think the past five months gave me enough memories that I can look back with fondness and enough anecdotes that I can delightfully keep on inserting to conversations.

There are no regrets in trying my hand on teaching mathematics. I gained friends along the way. I learned a little something about myself and others. It found fulfillment in seeing the transformation in students when they are challenged and when they finally get what you taught them.

I will share more about my insights and experiences in the succeeding posts. For now let me say this: I am back from my blogging hiatus!