Friday, September 30, 2011

My Solitary Museum Adventure

The second day of our stay in Taiwan was a free day. After going around Zhongxiao Fuxing with the undergraduate teams, I decided to go to the National Palace Museum alone. Well, I don't expect them civil engineering students to appreciate museums (not that I wasn't a civil engineering student myself) so I went alone.

I didn't have a map, I haven't been to Taipei before nor have I ridden a bus in Taipei before but I successfully got to the museum just by asking for directions from people. People in Taiwan are really nice, I swear! From Zhongxiao Fuxing, I rode the MRT to Shilin station and then rode a mini-bus that went straight to the museum!

onigiri (plus strawberry yogurt drink) from 7-Eleven for lunch at the bus!

I got there at around 2:30 pm and was amazed just by the exteriors. It was HUGE!

The girl who took this photo was very nice!

And since it's a museum, I don't have pictures inside. It had three floors and quite a number of exhibit rooms. There was so much porcelain, jade, bronze and paintings! Aside from the colorful porcelain, I especially loved the furniture and the curio boxes. I only paid NTD160 and it was all worth it!

Unfortunately, I had to go back to Chientan Youth Activity Center at 4pm to prepare for the IDEERS Welcome Banquet. I wasn't able to stick around the museum's second and third floor that much. A museum ticket also entitles you to free entrance to Zhishan garden (priced at NTD20) but I wasn't able to go. :(

But anyway, now I can cross out an item on my bucket list: to go around a foreign country alone. (You see this is just my second time to go out of the country.) It was a great adventure: finding and commuting to a museum ALONE. I'd like to do that again next time! I was also able to see a lot of Chinese artifacts. I read somewhere that the National Palace Museum houses the most number of Chinese artifacts in the WORLD. I need not go to mainland China just to see those artifacts!

Anyway, this is what I wore to the Welcome Banquet. I super love this dress. It fits my frame just exactly and falls right on my high waist. Good quality, good embroidery and I got it from Surplus Shop for just Php400!

The Basic House dress from Surplus Shop, Space sale cardigan, Landmark belt, Aerosoles wedges

I had to wear a cardigan because it's cold and windy in Taipei at night. Around 23-24 degrees Celsius and I'm used to 30-32 in the Philippines

Grand Victoria Hotel

Student ambassador Kristine. So cute, ne?

Student ambassador Andrew (look at that height difference, he's only 16!)

Ma'am Imee with NUS students. Their singer took her from her seat because Ma'am Imee sang really well!

Not much banquet photos because I ran out of memory space haha.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Field Trip in Taiwan (IDEERS Day 1)

I just came back from Taiwan yesterday morning. We were all afraid that the storm would cancel our flight. But thankfully, we landed safely even though landing was a bit scary and the crew couldn't open the plane's door for an hour because of the strong winds.

I flew to Taiwan last Wednesday night with my ICE co-faculty and some ICE students to participate in a contest called IDEERS 2011 (Introducing and Demonstrating Earthquake Engineering Research in Schools). It's contest wherein we model structures and then they test the models in a shaking table (a.k.a. earthquake simulator). The goal is that the structure must fail at a certain ground motion intensity.

The view from my room. Can you spot Taipei 101? :D

Sunday, September 25, 2011

National Palace Museum

This has got to be one of the best things I've done in my life.

More about it soon because there's SO MUCH to do and the internet is sloooooowwww.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Things I Miss: Cooking

I didn't go to school last Monday so that I could rest. Bad cough. But I still went to Landmark to buy ingredients for food for Dad's birthday. So much for rest, haha

No, this one's not for Dad's birthday. It's my lunch last Monday. Haven't been able to cook my food since I got so busy. Last semester, I'd even go home early so that I can cook dinner for the family but obviously, I can't do that now! Haha.

Potato-Onion bake and fresh lemonade
I loved it perhaps because I love onions and spices and potatoes!


I also made blueberry cheesecake last Monday for Dad's birthday yesterday. I got the recipe here, I swear, it's a good recipe! It's not too sweet, it really tastes like CHEESEcake. Haha.


I couldn't use the springform pan I bought from Cooks Exchange last summer because it's rusting. I'm actually very disappointed because that cost more than 500 pesos and I've only used it once for a chiffon cake. :( I dry it properly so I don't know what caused the immediate rusting. Goodbye, 500 pesos. :( I'll just buy a non-stick one next time. Anyway, good thing my parents invested in these Corelle ceramic pans.

I also baked zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes yesterday. It wasn't that good for me. I should have just prepared the onion and tomato bake instead. But it's healthy anyway.

Zucchini, Eggplant and Tomato Bake

Monday, September 19, 2011

Things I Miss: Studying

No, really.

trusty calculator since high school!

Nowadays, I'm the one who's giving the exams and checking tons of papers. Nowadays, I'm the one standing with my back facing the whiteboard (except when I'm writing on it).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reserach revives a childhood memory

When I was very young, my family went to Rizal Park a few times and I remember my parents emphasizing how Manila Hotel was the most famous and perhaps the best hotel during that time. 

Today, I went to Manila Hotel to attend the ERDT Conference. When we got to the lobby, I suddenly remembered that Rizal Park childhood memory and how I'd always see that tall building with a green roof between Central Terminal and U.N. Avenue Station every time I took the LRT going to my high school. Nostalgia.

I had initially wanted to skip the conference to rest because my throat has been really bad since Wednesday. My voice wouldn't even come out yesterday but as I mentioned before, I submitted an abstract which didn't qualify for the conference paper but got qualified for the poster presentation so I had to go.

My undergraduate research: Quantification of Seismic Vulnerability of a Typical Low-Rise Reinforced Concrete Moment Frame Building in the Philippines. Yes, my title is very long.

Well, my poster didn't win (instant 10k in cash if it did!) but apparently, I was competing against graduate theses! Haha.

However, it was flattering when an ERDT scholar (I saw it in his name tag) asked a few things about my research and then after the conversation I overheard him telling his friend "Uy, ayos to o" or something like that while pointing to my poster, LOL. Honestly, it's very difficult to get people interested in my undergraduate research, much more appreciate it. I'm glad someone did today.

CE batchmate/orgmate/co-faculty Tantan and Engg batchmate Christian with their posters

Dessert which I didn't get to enjoy much nor finish because we were called to stand beside our posters outside the pavilion. That's coconut ice cream, by the way, not vanilla!

I removed my splint during meal time so I could eat haha. Don't tell my dentist! LOL.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Coffee Beanery Experience

Because I can actually chew soft food, I decided to try The Coffee Beanery's unlimited coffee and cake for Php150 promo last Monday before going home from school. It's convenient because I pass by SM North everyday.

That day, the unlimited cake promo applied to their white chocolate sans rival, carrot cake and choco-caramel cake. I also got a choice among their brewed coffee, cafe americano (espresso+water) and iced coffee. I took the brewed coffee and it was really good! Fine, I don't really have a benchmark for "good coffee" but I have a sweet tooth and I'm not really a fan of black coffee. I prefer my coffee sweet and creamy. Nevertheless I really liked their brewed black coffee. I had to stop myself after two cups because I was afraid of overloading on caffeine, lol.

I took first the white chocolate sans rival. They gave me a big slice. I had a hard time eating it because I'm not allowed to chew nuts and their sans rival has lots. I had to remove them, lol. I'd say The Chocolate Kiss's sans rival is far better than this but for the price, it was pretty much okay. Also, the buttercream wasn't very sweet. I guess it's good for people who aren't into sweet things.

white chocolate sans rival and brewed coffee

Next, the carrot cake. It was a tiny slice but it was pretty dense so it's alright. It has walnuts and I had to remove them again. The cake, as well as the cream cheese frosting, was good.

carrot cake

And finally, the choco-caramel cake. It was also dense so the tiny slice was good enough. No nuts and whatnots so I could eat it freely (although slowly). It was also good.

choco-caramel cake

Well, it was a good experience. Nothing epic (except for the coffee) but at Php150, it was very much worth it. I could have asked for more cake but I felt satisfied already and I was also afraid of the calories! Regarding the small slices, I think one can take it as concern from the shop as too much sugar is bad, haha.

By the way, I was accompanied by this while eating cake and drinking coffee. It's a nice place to study, actually.

reviewing work and energy methods for ES 12

I hope that their promo continues until November. It would be a nice place to review for boards if I ever need a different studying environment. I'll also drag my friends there next time! Good place to chat. Not to mention my friends love cake (or food in general, lol).


I've been getting epic headaches and neck pains for a week already that I can't function properly. I went to my dentist because I thought it was because of my TMJ disorder but the dentist said that my TMJ is okay and that there might be another reason to my headaches and neck pains. I went to the infirmary and the doctor said it could be stress. The doctor said I should rest and get a massage or something. Definitely an excuse to go to the spa!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Things I Miss: Sewing Headbands

I can remember a bit how I came to making headbands.

I was randomly looking at Multiply and I saw a site that sells handmade headbands at crazy prices. I thought, "Hey, that's overpriced, that's almost cheating and I think I can make those lacy headbands too! I think." Yes, I'm kuripot like that.

And then one day, my orgmate, Lira, asked me if I can sew a headband for her costume for our org's themed Christmas party. That time, I've only started making mini-top hats but I said I'd take the headband as a challenge. Of course, I did warn Lira that it's going to be my first time. The headband turned out to be a headband although it wasn't that pretty. But tolerable, I HOPE. Anyway, I just commissioned it at a low price since it's my first ever headband.

After some time, Lira asked me again to make a headband for one of her cosplays. Well, I did a better job with that headband, at least. (I have a photo of Lira wearing the headband but I dunno if she's okay with me posting her photo here lol).

Then Kat, another orgmate (who is also Lira's best friend from high school) asked me to make a headband for her! And whenever she had "headband needs", she'd ask me to make them for her.

She's even asked me to make the headband and wristcuffs for her creative grad pic!

Pink, white, lace, ribbons, faux pearls, can't get any girly-er!

close-up on the wristcuff

One time I made a headband out of boredom and I decided to give it to Kat as a birthday gift. She's a friend and a constant client after all!

I used the crocheted cotton lace which I really loved!

Yuri has also asked me to make [a challenging] one for her!

Yuri's headband: rose and feathers

And then one time, I posted pictures of my crafts on Facebook supposedly for documentation purposes but it served another purpose: advertising. It was my graduating/thesis semester but commissions came in! Not much, but still. Anyway, I was able to pull them off by doing one commission per week.

I don't really put much profit on my headbands. Afterall, I'm not yet THAT good at sewing and it's just a hobby. The undersides of my headbands don't look pleasing. But I guess I just love working with lace, ribbons, beads so I take the commissions despite being busy.

Did I mention that I only learned how to sew by holding a thread and a needle, by occasionally asking my grandma and my dad and most of all by intuition whenever I needed to mend some clothes? Home Economics in my high school was mostly baking (which is awesome) and Home Economics in my elementary school thrived on theory (which is disappointing) so I never had training in school.

But really, I just have to thank Lira for "jumpstarting" this hobby and to my loyal customer-friends for sustaining the said hobby haha. I still have a long way to go with sewing and designing but I'll do my best!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Baking Food and Not Tasting Them

The long weekend was indeed a blessing to me who doesn't actually have weekends. My next weekend will happen around October so I made sure to make the most of Monday and Tuesday.

The dates and walnuts inside the ref...

...were turned into these:

Date and Walnut Bars (which come by the nickname Food for the Gods)

We also have a super huge box of oatmeal and a tub of raisins...

...and I used them to make these:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I wasn't able to taste them even a bit because of my dental splint. But it's very rare nowadays that I get the chance to bake so I just baked anyway. I made these last Tuesday afternoon but I think they're gone now.

Anyway, I've been able to speak with this splint although I'm having a hard time pronouncing "s", "sh", "ch" and "th" sometimes especially when they come together in one word. It's like I have candy inside my mouth whenever I talk. It's also difficult to smile for the camera. I also discovered last Monday (when my friends and I hanged out at Maginhawa Street) that I can actually chew food but only very soft food and slowly too. CAKE INCLUDED!! So I can actually try The Coffee Beanery's unlimited coffee and cake for Php150! It's not so bad after all!

By the way, here are my dragonfruit cacti. I noticed that they grow really fast! These were the cacti ELEVEN DAYS AGO. Look at them now!

Dragonfruit: September 2, 2011

Growing crazy fast!