5 PM

Photo 33

“It’s five in the afternoon

Your eyes are the size of the moon

You could ‘coz you can so you do

We’re feeling so good

Just the way that we do

When it’s five in the afternoon”

–Panic at the Disco

(Disclaimer: I know the lyrics says “nine in the afternoon”)

That song’s been playing in my head since five in the afternoon, ergo the title for this post. I’m not sure if this counts as a Project 366 photo but I’m uploading it anyway because well, at the end of the day it’s still a picture that I captured… today. Can you believe it’s already this dark at 5 PM?

I’m still juggling an awfully long list of things to do (and things not to do). I’m slowly easing back into the groove of things, which is great.

How’s your week so far?



Top, Jockey | Skirt/pants, Thailand | (c) Aliya Agbon

Last year, I took on a very important role. To those who don’t know, my family runs  Eco Choices – a social enterprise based in Cotabato City. Eco Choices aims to promote healthy living (we sell organic products like brown rice and herbal tea) and create opportunities for the communities living beside the river by making handmade products made from water hyacinth. It all sounds easy, but it’s not. Especially when you’re a librarian/freelance photographer who ditched jobs that had anything to do with business. When I assumed the managerial position, I literally didn’t know what to do. My goals were clear. I just didn’t know what steps to take, who to talk to, etc.

Now the question is, do you stop just because you’re clueless? Or, do you turn things around by accepting the fact that you don’t know anything and then do something about the situation? It was very humbling for me to go back to reading books and looking up articles on the internet that showed tips on how to run a social enterprise. I didn’t even know what “social enterprise” meant. I attended seminars, asked questions, and consulted mentors because I really wanted things to work. Fast forward to seven months later, I can honestly say that  I am seeing improvements. It was quite a ride and we still have a long way to go. We’ve only just begun after all.

My days are spent making products, coming up with new design concepts for Eco Choices, running Eco Choices, social media marketing, and handling finance. Some days I cross over to being the founder of Kids for Peace Foundation and attend meetings that are related to our projects. Some days, I’m just by myself, playing the guitar and singing like there’s no tomorrow. I do admit that there are days when I feel like I’m going insane and I think that’s a good thing. That right there is signal that I need to rest.

I’ve been asked about my theme for this year and all I can say is “balance”. I’m trying to create a balance between my personal life and my professional life. There’s a hairline that separates the two and that’s perfectly normal but I still want to give equal attention to both.

You’re probably asking, “okay what about surfing?” and I’ll ask you the same thing. The last time my skin tasted salt water was in October and if you compare that to 2012-2013’s surf statistics, that’s pretty sad. I was surfing almost every weekend last year. I was at my darkest, too. Is it difficult not being able to surf when I want to? Yes. See, Mindanao is a lot different from Luzon in the sense that I can’t just board a bus at 12 MN and expect to arrive safely the next day. Surf spots take at least 8 hours from where I live too, so I can’t just go on a weekend trip because when the waves are pumping, there’s no way that I’ll be okay with just surfing for two days. When I miss the feeling, I skate. I’ve kissed the concrete pavement for a couple of times now, I’m just lucky I haven’t landed on dog poop yet. When I feel like I’m going crazy because I can no longer deal with being away from the ocean, I make arrangements with my mom. I try to make things work as much as possible.

So… there. Here’s to creating a balance between work, family, and self.

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.


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.


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. 🙂


IMG_6192Where there are no waves, you can always ride the indo board and get lost in wherever your imagination takes you. One can always pretend that the wood is the ocean, and every movement of the board a wave.