Back in 2017, I visited Japan for the first time. Japan was definitely at the top of the list of countries I want to go to for so long. So when I learned that there would be a month-long training by JICA in Japan, I tried my luck and got in! That trip made me appreciate Nihongo on another level. I loved hearing the train announcements, the greetings from convenience store workers, even the elevator announcing what floor are we in. But most importantly, I admired Nihongo more because we were guided every day by our Nihongo-English interpreters—Junko-san and Kaori-san. I was always in awe listening to them translate. During our breaks, I would even ask them to translate phrases for me, and they would also teach us Japanese slangs. My favorite was めっちゃ (metcha) which means “very / a lot”.
I tried self-studying Japanese after that trip. I downloaded the free version of the Duolingo app and would do some exercises. I felt that my learning at this time was very shallow. I didn’t feel like I’m absorbing these words I’m hearing. However, during a trip back to Japan in 2018 with my parents, I was able to somehow spew some Nihongo when we stumbled upon a restaurant with no English menu. I wish I could say it made me motivated to study harder, but it didn’t. I still wasn’t committing to learning Nihongo at that time.
Sometime in 2019, I realized that I should enroll in a class. I felt like I’m just not cut out for self-studying Nihongo at this point. So I went to UP Diliman and registered in the Linguistics department. Come enrollment, I didn’t push through. I realized I might not be able to commit to attending classes regularly since I had to commute to UP. But then the pandemic happened, and the department started offering their classes online. There’s no excuse for me anymore.
I’m glad I got to get out of the house for the first quarter of the year more than I used to do. But this blog is about what I did for the rest of the year during the lockdown.
Everyone’s first instinct when thinking of what to do in a lockdown was probably to binge some shows. I started with K-Dramas—Crashing Landing on You, Itaewon Class, and What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim. My favorite though is Reply 1988. Its ending is as justified as How I Met Your Mother’s.
And, I can now finally understand The Office References after finishing the whole series in a month. I also started Parks and Rec but haven’t continued it yet after getting distracted by Reply 1988.
Kix has been recommending Stardew Valley to me for some time, and I found the great opportunity to start in March. I got reminded about it because it got mentioned by my colleagues at work. Unsurprisingly, I easily got obsessed with the game. I played it a lot until I got tired of it.
Yep, the year in the title is right. Before I got employed last year, I’ve been playing Apple Arcade games. I’d like to talk about three specific games that stuck with me until this day. I thought of finally writing about it because I discovered that there are new exciting releases that I’d like to start playing soon!
The common denominators about these games are interesting narrative, great graphics & sound design, and can be finished in one sitting.
For the past two months, I’ve been taking online Nihongo classes by the UP Department of Linguistics. Thanks to Alvarez-sensei and my classmates, I passed Japanese 1. I had a lot of fun and I’m excited about Japanese 2 next year. 🎉
It still feels surreal that I was able to travel to Egypt early this year, considering what’s happening now. One time, it dawned on me that we could have been stuck there for months, but luckily we were able to go home before travel bans happened. I was supposed to blog this experience right after the trip, but it just didn’t feel right, might be insensitive and all. But considering we won’t know when we will be traveling again, I might as well write my experiences here, at least those I can still remember.
We scored piso seats to Dubai back on March 3, 2019. Travel bloggers attested that it’s the cheapest way to go to Europe/Africa. I agree, but I wouldn’t mind paying extra for comfort next time. It was my first time riding a long-haul flight with a low-cost airline, and hopefully, I’ll have enough money next time for it to be the last. We also didn’t buy in-flight meals and instead bought from Kenny Rogers right before boarding.
Ever since I found out that I was born in Egypt, it has been my lifelong dream to go back and get to know the country. Forward to 25 years after, I am finally closer to that dream!
I looked everywhere to research for this trip, and sadly, there is only a handful of Egypt experiences by Filipinos online. (I usually refer to Julio’s blog in planning this trip.) Because of this, I am documenting my own experience so that travelers after me can have more resources to rely on.
In this post, I’ll walk you through how I applied for our tourist visas (Yes, I am not exempted, unfortunately. 😂).
I have been asked how I got into data science, considering my previous field of expertise in the water industry. I was a regulatory and compliance officer. Based on the job description, I should have dealt with mostly words—from laws, regulations, filing of permits and petitions, hearing transcripts, and other documentation. But as an engineer, a job title couldn’t stop me from working with numbers.
Last September 26, 2019, I spoke in the first-ever Kwentubig, a storytelling event about water and the environment. The event was organized by the Philippine Young Water Professionals (PYWP) and the 2030 Youth Force in the Philippines.
That night, I told the story of how the water industry led me to data science.