All Is Swell

 

Scarf, Saizen | 'All Is Swell' Shirt, Coast Thru Life | Lace skirt, Jatujak | Leggings, Watsons | Sneakers, Converse
Glasses, SM Department Store | Scarf, Saizen | ‘All Is Swell’ Shirt, Coast Thru Life | Lace skirt, Jatujak | Leggings, Watsons | Sneakers, Converse

We rise up when we fall and when we do, we become better versions of ourselves. I believe that at some point in our lives, we hit rock bottom and when that happens, the temptation to just stay there and dwell in the negativity of the situation is hard to resist. To hate the world and blame everyone for living lives better than ours is always our go to option as humans compared to acknowledging the situation and eventually accepting it as a part of our life’s story. I used to take the easy route and just allow my emotions to get the best of  me. The younger version of me enjoyed having people care for me and look after me. It felt good for some time until I realized how weak and dependent I’ve become. I failed to live up to the meaning of my second name, ‘Aliya’.

 

IMG_6839
Ballers, Billabong San Juan Surf School (White) and Roxy (Pink) | Bracelets, Amihan sa Dahican | Bag, Thailand | Anklets, Amihan sa Dahican (red, green, yellow) and Jenny Tañedo

To acknowledge that you’ve hit rock bottom is one thing, and to make the decision to make your way out of the hell hole you’re in and rise up is another. I can’t remember how many times I hit a slump in my life, but I do remember receiving the biggest blow and making the decision to deal with the situation head on. People usually think that facing challenges is a piece of cake but I tell you, it’s hard work. The monster that whispers words that feed negative thoughts which eventually spiral into some twisted form of reality when you wake up at say, 3 in the morning does not help either. Most of the time, you find yourself playing a tennis match in your head where one side says all systems go, and the other makes you doubt every step you take towards picking yourself up and moving forward. It’s a feat, it’s exhausting, but trust me when I say that though the battle may be long, you’ll definitely come out strong.

IMG_6829

Every challenge comes with lessons that need to be learned. Yes they’re difficult, and we all have our fair share of trials that we wouldn’t wish on anyone but in retrospect, I believe these trials are life’s way of molding us into the people that we’re destined to be. You can’t go to chapter three without reading chapter one. Sure you can skip, but then the story won’t be complete. I’m not trying to sound like some hyper optimistic know-it-all. What I’m trying to say is maybe, just maybe, with a slight change of perspective it’ll be easier for us to prepare and deal with the roadblocks ahead.

***

Photography by: Wu Vila

Location: Botanic Garden, Melbourne, Australia

“All Is Swell” shirts

were designed by Carla Sebastian

as part of Coast Thru Life’s efforts to raise funds for

the survivors Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). 

Secrets

We all have secrets. Some secrets, we choose to bury deep within us because although it’s fun to share every snippet of our lives with others, there are still things that we want to be selfish about and these we keep to ourselves. Some secrets we share to a small group of people who we consider as family. Some secrets are only secrets at present, revealed one, two, three or more years later.

There are secrets behind the dresses I’m wearing in this post and since I’m feeling a little generous today, I’m sharing them with you.

1383260_742199695797596_849260570_n
Dress, Crossings | Shawl – turned – skirt, Joey Rodriguez | Makeup and photography by Adele Katerina Raya

If the skirt looks familiar, it’s because I used it for this post.  I bought the dress for a formal event last year from the department store. I’m not really into designer dresses and I had no plans of spending thousands on a dress that I’ll only be able to wear twice or thrice a year so I chose a simple dress that can be worn on any occasion with a few tweaks here and there. This dress originally had a black lace skirt that dropped five inches above my knee. Since I was going to a formal event, I decided to make the dress look more elegant by attaching the shawl that I used for my third year prom and making it look like it’s originally part of the dress. Inside the dress are more or less fifty safety pins securing the shawl to the dress. This is secret number one.

1382937_740574675960098_1714809390_n
Violet top, Adele’s | Skirt, Joey Rodriguez, Makeup and photography by Adele Katerina Raya

The skirt is part of the gown I wore for my third year prom. This is secret number two. I guess when you own something that you invested on not only financially but also emotionally, you’d want to keep on using it to make the most out of it. It’s like holding on to a jar that releases happy memories whenever opened. This gown has so much meaning and I’ve become attached to it that I use it whenever I have the chance. This was the gown that I wore during my 18th birthday celebration, and many other formal occasions that I attended in the past.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering what the gown looks like so here goes:

223545_570025223017368_509268993_n

Some secrets are meant to be hidden, and some are meant to be shared. We share these secrets not to elicit controversy or make the world revolve around us. Instead, we share these secrets to let other people know how we make the most out of things and situations in our lives. Well, in this entry’s case, the gown.

Special shoutout to Adele for asking me to pose for her and for being very patient with me. She did a wonderful job. I had a great time. 🙂

I Speak Peace

I believe in positive youthful energies, in being the catalyst for change and expressing my stand in various issues through creative means. I’ve never been one to write articles filled with thousands of complicated words to state an opinion, simply because it’s boring and people won’t be reading it anyway. Well, okay, maybe some will, but I’d rather let people hear what I have to say through a song, see it through a painting or a photograph, or understand it further through a short film. I’m known for wearing my heart on my sleeve since I feel like if I opt not to express my feelings I’ll explode. I guess this is the reason why I decided to wear my I Speak Peace shirt after not wearing it for a very long time.

Earrings, Hong Kong | I Speak Peace Shirt, Eco Choices, Shawl-turned-skirt, Joey Rodriguez | Anklets, Amihan Boys + Jatujak | Shoes, Rusty Lopez
Earrings, Hong Kong | I Speak Peace Shirt, Eco Choices, Shawl-turned-skirt, Joey Rodriguez | Anklets, Amihan Boys + Jatujak | Shoes, Rusty Lopez

With all that’s been happening in our country, in the world, even, it’s hard not to feel disheartened. Months ago, there was was in Zamboanga, typhoon in Northern Luzon ( I experienced this firsthand and it’s crazy) and just recently, earthquake in Bohol. I’ve decided to avoid watching the news at night because 95% of it is bad news and I want to sleep with a happy heart and a smile on my face, thank you very much. Most of the time it’s tempting to ignore all the bad things that are happening but how can you, especially when you know that these situations are putting lives in danger.

2

With all that’s happening, I decided to wear the I Speak Peace shirt since it sums up what I want to say. This shirt was designed during our I Speak Peace Camp back in 2007. The camp was designed to empower the youth and to encourage them to speak up and let those who were in charge of the peace talks hear what they have to say. Most of the time, young people feel that they don’t have the right to express themselves because they’re young and they’re not in the position of power. The camp became a venue for them to understand the importance of speaking up especially in situations that involve them and their future.

3

Wearing this shirt reminded me of the discussion I had with one of our camp participants. He said that peace is not the absence of war and seeing what has been happening in our country these past months, I understand what he was telling me. I wear this shirt again today because I need to be reminded to still speak peace despite difficult situations and to speak up and let my voice be heard.

It takes a lot to wear this shirt. You have to make sure that your actions do not contradict what the shirt says. You can’t get mad no matter how annoying the situation is and you have to be nice even if it kills you. It’s not that wearing the shirt is a burden, no. It simply means that you should be mindful of your words and actions because you’re wearing a shirt that says “I speak peace”.

I believe that peace is still possible. I believe in change. I believe in making a stand through creative expressions.  I believe in statement shirts. I believe in the I speak peace shirt.

Boys Meet U

I’ve been living in my condo for six years now. I see the same set of white walls everyday but I never thought of using it as a background for my pictures. I’ve thought of painting a mural on it and maybe hang some framed shots and sketches from my portfolio, but use it as a makeshift studio? Nope. The idea of using it as a mini studio dawned on me when I saw my tripod standing against the wall. I immediately looked for angles that allowed enough light since I don’t have strobes. I prepared everything so that once I have an outfit ready, I can just stand against the wall and take a picture.

Bandana, SM Department Store | Top and Skirt, Jatujak | Baller, Roxy | Watch, Fossil | Anklets, Amihan + Jatujak | Socks, KpopSoul | Shoes, Payless | Handbag, Vietnam
Bandana, SM Department Store | Top and Skirt, Jatujak | Baller, Roxy | Watch, Fossil | Anklets, Amihan Boys + Jatujak | Socks, KpopSoul | Shoes, Payless | Handbag, Vietnam

I was channeling Taemin from SHINee’s Boys Meet U music video when I put this outfit together.  My original plan was to copy the whole ensemble but then I realized that’s just too corny. Instead, I decided to wear a more feminine version of the outfit. It’s similar to the his & hers themed outfits that couples do, except that he’s an idol and I’m a fan. IMG_31235The top has been one of my favorites since I bought it in Thailand because it’s comfy and it goes with anything. There’s always the risk of wearing stripes especially when you’re not skinny because one wrong angle costs you an additional 10 pounds but if you’re careful in planning your outfit out then there’s nothing to worry about. I’ve always been loyal to the rule that says “If you’re wearing a loose top, pair it with a skinny bottom and vice versa” and it has saved me in countless occasions. This is the reason why I paired my “Taemin top” with the black lace skirt that I also bought from Thailand. It’s feminine, it contrasts my white top, and it makes my legs look long.

Bandana, SM Department Store | Top and Skirt, Jatujak | Baller, Roxy | Watch, Fossil | Anklets, Amihan + Jatujak | Socks, KpopSoul | Shoes, Payless

I’m not really into the idea of using socks when wearing flats or heels but I had to reconsider. Setting aside the fact that it’s Taemin socks I’m wearing, my legs look bare without them. I used to find it weird when girls use socks when they wear heels but after trying it myself, it makes sense.

I guess by now you’re wondering what Taemin was wearing in the video so I’m putting it here. You’ll spot him, trust me. Have fun watching. 🙂

I’m a Charmee Girl!

picture-12

So this is what happens when you randomly Google yourself. You find links announcing that you passed the 2009 Board Exams, links about the Kids for Peace Foundation and… a link showing that you’ve been featured as a Charmee Girl. Thank you Seph Cham and Shai Lagarde of Love Chic for the opportunity. :)

 

 

 

Grateful

“And I’m grateful…

You showed me the way back to my beautiful”

-Grateful, Julianne

Photography: Hestia Himongala

HMU: Phillip Lorenze

2010