Twenty

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“Long live the walls we crashed through, all the kingdom lights shine just for me and you.”

First of all, forgive me if I get lost in translation on this post. I’ve initially planned not to write a birthday message this year but I realized that I don’t want to break the tradition I started since I was sixteen. Hence, I penned this letter just a day before my birthday.

Four years ago, I’ve daunted about the thought of growing up. I’ve always thought that being in your late teens and young adult stage translates into more stress, more work, more serious matters. I was wrong. I’m still studying — I’ve just started my second year in college; I’m still living with my parents; I don’t earn money yet—my earnings go directly to our business; and I’m still not fully independent yet. My all-expenses-paid-existence days are slowly coming to an end. There was this preconceived notion in me that growing up is simply terrifying. Stressful. Hectic. Hustling. In the course of my maturity, I’ve come to realize that life may really be taxing. It is, and will always be. But it’s simply a matter of perspective. There are a few words I’d like to tell you.

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In the past 365 days, I’ve been delighted with the peace and quiet of the digital atmosphere. I’ve learned how it’s not always a good idea to parade yourself on social media. There’s this quote I’ve read and it goes along with the lines of: “I don’t know why people are so keen to put the details of their private life in public; they forget that invisibility is a superpower.”  The moment this blog took a back seat and the moment I’ve lessened my Twitter and Instagram use, everything just went back to normal. There’s no more pressure to look good on social media, no more urges to write a post and tell a story, no more blog statistics to continuously monitor. The numbers mattered less to me. I was at my best. I was excelling in school. It was calm. It was peaceful. Silence made my life sail smoothly.

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The newfound serenity I’ve internalized has made me choose my battles. This feeling of liberosis made me care less about the things which don’t matter much to me, and won’t affect my life in the long run. Some things aren’t really worth stressing over. What do you do? Let it go. Life’s too short to spend on seemingly important matters.

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This period of growth has reminded me to bloom through the bad. There were times that I forget that God is in control. The backward mindset which is “Why is this happening to me?” has slowly become “What is this situation trying to teach me? What can I learn from this?” This change in thoughts greatly helped me in organizing my thoughts and feelings towards different circumstances in my life. It made me more attentive to the good things I can get from bad experiences.

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A few days back, there was this reoccurring feeling of enouement and reminisce bump. Last June, all I did during my free time was to play music I used to listen to in 2013; read my blog posts from 2015; and just go down memory lane as I glance through my photos from 2017. The nostalgia was stronger than ever. I couldn’t believe that I’m two decades old. I am in disbelief that in just a few years, I’ll be working already. I’m in denial that time has flown so fast without me realizing it. I wish I could rewind to the years when my life was simply happy and carefree. I could relate to the All Too Well lyrics “Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it. I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it.” on a spiritual level.

Whenever nostalgia hits me, I remind myself of this excerpt from Why She Disappeared by Taylor Swift: Without your past, you could never have arrived—so wondrously and brutally, by design or some violent, exquisite happenstance…here.” 

To end this post, I’ll keep it short, I’ve got no words left to say. Just thank you, next. 😉

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To the big guy in the sky, thank You. Thank You. Thank You for never failing me. For the never ending graces me and my family receive. Thank You.

To my family, thank you for making my twentieth birthday one of the best. The retail therapies and food crawls were absolutely one for the books. Thank you!

To my friends, readers, followers and everyone who remembered me today, thank you. This won’t be possible without all of your love and support! 

Come and fly away with me to my roaring twenties.

Love,

Andrei.


Shoot location: 52 Stone Restaurant, Friendship Highway, Angeles City

Life Lately : Summer Story Vol. 4

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If I were to describe the past three months in three words it would be productive, silent, and calm. Being away from school is so helpful for my well-being, most specially my mental health. Ironic for a Psych major, I know. I finally had the peace of mind I lost for a year. Everything has taken a back seat when I was in school; I stopped blogging, my baking business went on a hiatus, my mental health was declining, and the exhaustion has taken its toll on my overall health. Summer has always been good to me and this year’s break was absolutely worthwhile. I’ve learned a lot of things and I’m slowly stepping into the “adulting phase” and I can feel how tiring it is. Regardless of that, it was fun while it lasted. Here’s what I’ve been to lately.


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Closing party with PSYCH 1A. 
  • Surviving my Freshman Year – Looking back at my past writings, I’ve seen how long I’ve agonized about the getting into college. Albeit the past two years were all about preparations, the moment it began, I knew I wasn’t fully ready for it yet. My first year was a tough ride, you were all aware of that. But I’m thankful that I made it and I’m looking forward to the next. By the grace of God, I’m still a College Scholar (AUF’s term for Dean’s Lister) last semester and I hope I can maintain this until I graduate. Konting push lang, University Scholar na! #lawofattraction. Three more years to go and off we go.
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My baking business has made a comeback! Aside from the usual brownies, I added these two cakes in my array of products. The Classic Devil’s food chocolate cake and my rendition of Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar Birthday Cake. 
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This six layer (including the ganache layer) cake takes a whole day to finish because of the intricate piping. 
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My very first attempt in doing the Birthday Cake. It took me only 4 hours to bake everything on its five-page recipe. Partida brownout pa nung ginawa ko ‘yan! It was Taylor Swift’s favorite cake as she mentioned on Vogue 73 Questions. It’s a vanilla cake with hints of cream cheese and salt, the cake crumbs also add a different texture.
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They were in demand during Mothers’ Day to the point that I made all these in one day. Just imagine how exhausting that was. 
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Test kitchen: Blueberry Pound Cake. This was supposed to look like a naked cake but I messed up the proportions of the frosting that’s why it got covered on the sides. 
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Another batch of assorted flavored chocolate chip cookies. I accepted orders for these but never accepted again because one, they’re very difficult to handle. Two, I have no boxes that fit these perfectly. And three, they are very labor intensive. Kakainin ko na lang sila, bahala na kayong mag-crave. Haha! 
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With great piping comes great stiff neck, arm strain, and back pain. To tell you the truth, hanggang 9 ng gabi ako nagpa-pipe ng cake. Bale mula 7 am to 9 pm talaga shift ko nung mga araw na ‘yon, imagine-in niyo na lang gaano ako kapagod. Graveyard shift na po ang Old Town. Hahaha! 
  • Baking Business – It feels so good to be productive during this time of the year, as compared to how my past summers have been. At present, I am a full time baker and I make cakes and brownies for a living. I also try and test several recipes. Sa totoo lang, sawang-sawa na nga ako sa mga bine-bake ko eh. Mini-meryenda na lang ng mga kasama namin sa bahay yung mga baked goods ko at nagsawa na rin sila. Minsan nga pinamimigay na lang namin kasi nasa-stock na lang sa ref. I’m not even kidding! Ok friends, you know what to do. You’re all welcome to Old Town anytime. Haha! Aside from that, I’m also a part time assistant, courier, shopper, caregiver, lahat na. Haha! This is the reason why nakakulong lang ako sa bahay. Sad truth but at least I’m earning. Am I really getting paid? IDK. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . However, there’s also this guilt of privilege, knowing that I won’t be able to do this if it weren’t for our business, if it weren’t for our means, and if it weren’t for the experiences and knowledge I have. I can’t just tell someone else to “just work hard” or “do it now” or “just start a business now!” knowing that I have my parents as my backbone. I know the least thing I could do is to recognize it, and use it for the common good. (‘kala niyo ha!)

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Disclaimer: Hindi po ka-DDS ang kapatid ko, sadyang pinagti-tripan niya lang po yung fist bump ni Duterte at Bong Go. Hahaha!
  • Elections – The past senatorial and local elections in the country made me realize how fucked up the Philippines is and how change is already close to impossible. I’m disgusted by the results most especially with regards to the national scale. Why do the masses choose to vote murderers, thieves, plunderers and entertainers over the qualified, dedicated, and unsung ones? I know this may sound very elitist and classist but it would be better for the country if taxpayers are the only ones who are allowed to vote. But on the other hand, I can’t blame the poor for not knowing better because they are denied of access to proper education. It’s also our part to  educate the masses about their voting rights. Ugh, ang hirap. ‘Yung mga mahihirap kumakapit sa patalim (aka vote buying) dahil nangangailangan sila; at ‘yung mga trapo naman, they feed off of their indolence. Kasalanan ng sistemang ito kung bakit patuloy na humihirap ang mahihirap, at kung bakit lalong yumayaman ang mga mayayaman. The loss of integrity in the recent elections saddens and disappoints me. Harap harapang pandaraya at panloloko ang ating nasaksihan at tila wala man lang pakialam ang ating gobyerno. It will take a period of time for the Philippines to actually change. A change that is not brought by a  certain Duterte or Marcos.

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  • New Skin Care discoveries – I recently discovered that my skin loves it when I don’t use a facial cleanser in the morning. I simply splash water all over my face and that’s it, then I proceed with applying Pond’s White Beauty toner all over my face and a little bit of moisturizer later on. I also noticed that I stopped breaking out the moment I limited my use of Aztec Clay to just twice a month. It just feels so great that I don’t break out anymore! Good bye puberty na ba talaga? Haha! 
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Pre-hairdye days. 
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I initially got disappointed when the color turned out to be more caramel brown than ash brown. I wanted to dye it black immediately but I reminded myself that it will also fade in a few months, and it really did! I’m glad it looks natural on me!
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Kudos to the lighting, this is the shade I want, balayage – a mix of light grey and light brown, and not that very copper look.
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My hair color varies on the lighting and I’m glad it’s like that! Parang magic! Haha. 
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Looks like black.
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Last day of my long hair. It took me seven months to grow it out and I feel bad for the impulsive haircut. I’ll bring this back soon! 
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Very low maintenance and light. The old Andrei rose up from the dead. 
  • Metamorphosis – My summer was also a period of transformation and experimentation. I grew my hair out and dyed it; tried several long hair styles but mostly sticked to the old and classic ones; hoarded pairs of sunnies and accessories; gained weight because of food crawls but lost them after my extraction; I broke out a few times too but not as severe as before. All these changes in my body goes to show that I’m growing, I’m changing, and there’s only one thing I’ll say, I’m loving myself more than ever.
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My summer anthem. This song reinforced my BTS addiction. Oh my my my!
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Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah! Rum pa pam pa pam pa pam pa paaaam! Blackpink is the revolution.
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One of my favorite BTS songs alongside Euphoria. I just can’t get enough of these two songs. It makes me feel good about life. Basta, I can’t explain. Yun. Yun na yon. 
  • BTS and BLACKPINK Addiction – 2019 is a good year for music. And what makes it better is the fact that both of my favorite (and only favorite) KPOP groups BLACKPINK and BTS released new music last April! I’m currently obsessed with everything about BTS and their music. Their dance steps. Their hair. Their skin. Their fashion. EVERYTHING. I’d do anything just to look like Seokjin or  Taehyung or Jungkook. Ugh. With Blackpink on the other hand, I can’t get enough of Jennie! Let’s kill this love, shall we?

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  • Taylor Swift – I am a big Taylor Swift Lover and it’s just exciting to see that another era is yet to begin. I’m also loving the new theories and easter egg hunts! And Katy Perry’s cameo in YNTCD didn’t come as a surprise. I can smell a collab coming!  However, I feel bad for what just happened between her and Big Machine. Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta are trash. Taylor Swift didn’t spend half of her life translating her life experiences into pop sensations only for Scooter to own 30% of their sales. Taylor Swift is successful because of Taylor Swift. Not Scott Borchetta, not even Scooter Braun, nor Kanye West. Imagine Taylor asking for permission to Scooter to perform all her songs from her debut to reputation? Awful. I hope Taylor remasters all her previous albums, this one is a great opportunity for her to release a Greatest Hits album. I would love that! On a lighter note, the anticipation kills me and I can’t wait for August 23!
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Selfie muna bago mag-suffer. 

 

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I survived! I was awake during the procedure and I didn’t feel any pain, only the ngalay because of the position. Mas masakit pa yung pwersahan nilang binubuksan bibig mo kaysa dun sa mismong extraction. Haha! At this moment, feel ko kalabi ko si Kylie Jenner kasi ang manhid ng mukha ko. PS: If you’re about to get your wisdom tooth removed, do it in the morning. I couldn’t sleep properly when I had mine done and I was bleeding on and off ’til the wee hours of the night.
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Days 1-4 of my chipmunk days. I got my sutures out on the 4th day and went back to normal on the 5th.  The bruises went away after 10 days. My extraction site is slowly closing and I’m slowly using my extraction part when I eat. If you’re afraid, believe me when I say that the recovery time is more painful than the surgery. It’s not actually “painful”, it’s more of discomfort.
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10 days post surgery. I’m doing better and I’m back to normal.
  • Recovering from my wisdom tooth extraction and struggling with TMJ disorder. – I’ve been feeling this pain for over a year now. It all started during my senior’s ball day; I just woke up and couldn’t open my mouth properly, there was this pain on my left jaw. After constantly taking paracetamol, the pain went away after three days. It was all normal until it went back last December, last January, and it was on and off until it returned last May. My jaw pops every time I chew and it was PAINFUL. It lasted for almost a week so I immediately went to my doctor and had a dental x-ray done and voila, my wisdom teeth are both horizontally impacted. I felt relief the moment it was extracted, thinking it was just an erupting tooth. Little did I know that it was really TMJ. The jaw pain went back two weeks later and I am not sure if it was part of the healing process or it was really the TMJ disorder. I’m pretty sure it was the latter, the popping sensation was still present. This is giving me so much discomfort because I can’t eat properly, but I’m glad that I can manage it through exercises and maneuvers. Haaaay, dapat yung mga chismosa yung nagkaka-ganito eh!
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Went all the way to Bataan only to be disappointed by the food. Guess where we ate. 😛
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This was Popons’ first day wearing his glasses and he says, “HD na lahat ng nakikita ko.” 

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Popons is my everyday mood.
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Twice akong nag-buffet bago ako mabunutan ng wisdom tooth. Sinamantala ko na lahat kasi alam kong maku-crucify ako. Char. Lahat ng timbang na na-gain ko nawala rin after a few days. Turns out wisdom teeth extractions are the best weight loss solutions.

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Naka-ilang pictures ako bago makakuha ng maayos na angle. My parents are bad photographers. huhu
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“Ma pa-picture.”                      “uhhhh bat ganito…?”

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Aside from my usual shrimp scampi, pesto, carbonara, and red pasta dishes, I tried a new recipe. It’s a Pasta Fredda or a Pasta Salad. It’s just plain spaghetti (or you can use which ever pasta you like) and it’s mixed with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, parsley, shrimp, and parmesan cheese.
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52 Stone’s Daeji Galbi is a must try. Words aren’t enough to describe how good it is. 
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Fusilli cacio e pepe. This pasta recipe is made of garlic slivers, edam cheese, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. 

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Caesar.
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Another complimentary – Blueberry Yogurt Salad.
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The only sisig with egg that was too good not to eat. Not actually an authentic sisig dish, it’s more of a chopped roast pork. But it’s really really good! Must try!

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  • Family time and food crawls – Summer gave me so much of what school has taken away from me, and that is time with my family, myself, and my kitchen. lol. This break made me learn how to cook so many dishes that I didn’t know how to cook before. After learning pasta, pizza, western dishes and desserts; I tried how to cook home-cooked meals. Syempre Kapampangan ku anya eku pabureng eku mabiyasa! Abalu ku nung makananu maglutung sigang babi, sigang kamatis, kilayin, batsui, labung, tinola, lengua, ampo liga. Aku na kekayu e, pwedi naku talagang maki-sawa! Hahaha! (Translation: Of course I’m a Kapampangan so I grabbed the opportunity to learn. I knew how to cook sinigang, sinigang sa kamatis, kinilaw, batchoy, labong, tinola, lengua, and nilaga. Sabi ko na sa inyo pwede na ‘kong mag-asawa e! Hahaha!) At dahil sawang sawa na ako sa mga pagkain sa bahay, syempre lumalabas kami every week. We tried several restaurants in the course of three months and it’s been a great time not just because of the new food but because it’s family time.

That’s basically how the past three months have been. Now off we go to start another chapter in my college life, and fortuitously, end another decade of my life. See you all tomorrow and may the odds be ever in our favor!

La Vie d’un Connoisseur

Hey guys! I’m back. How’s 2019 so far? I missed you all!  

In partial fulfillment of my subject Understanding the Self, we were tasked to tell things and stories about ourselves—our fondest memories, our pains and struggles, our relationships with our loved ones. I am delighted to share with you all an anthology of how the past few years have been. In this post, I compiled all my photos from my childhood until present and you’re about to discover things about me that you’ve never heard before. If the question “Can you tell me something about yourself?” would be answered in a blog post, it would be this one.

PSA: This blog post is also my midterm exam! Here’s what I’ve been working on in the past few weeks. Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. 

Love, Andrei


Part 1. Brief Introduction of Myself

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Who is Andrei?

Andrei Paras is a nineteen year old blogger who started way back 2011. Years later, he decided to document his love for menswear and arts through his blog named Aeon. The name Aeon means timeless – just like his aesthetic.

He wears one too many hats. Andrei is a student writer, student leader, blogger, host, fashion expert, skin care guru, foodie, baker, entrepreneur and traveler all at once.

Andrei believes in classic fashion sense and he invests his time in dressing up well as he believes that it is a form of good manners.

He continues to share his sartorial adventures and personal life in this blog. Andrei also gives his readers a glimpse of his life through this website.

He graduated Senior High School in Holy Family Academy and is currently taking up Bachelor of Science in Psychology in Angeles University Foundation. Andrei wishes to pursue Medicine or Graduate school afterwards and follow his Culinary and Fashion dreams later on.


Part 2. Understanding Myself 

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My Self from Various Perspectives

  • Psychological – Last 2015, I took an MBTI Personality test and got ISFJ. I did the same in 2016 and got an INFJ. Fast forward to 2019, I’m now an ISTJ. I guess we can never arrive at solid definition of our personalities because experiences and things can eventually modify ourselves. One thing’s for sure, I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert! 
  • PhysicalI am not ‘physically fit’. I hate exercising. I dislike PE! I hate sports! I don’t even go to the gym. My physical activities would be baking, cooking, and going to school. Haha! Apart from not having the time to work out, I don’t have the confidence to actually enroll in a gym. I don’t know if I can but hopefully I can try it soon because I want to lose weight to fit into society’s standards lol. Maybe the only exception for my body would be my height, I stand at 6’2″ at 19 years old. I’m glad I didn’t grow taller in the past few years because I’m already contented with my stature.  Note that with this height of mine, I am NOT A BASKETBALL PLAYER.
  • Economic – For this part, I think we belong to the upper middle class scale. We have more than what we need and have a very comfortable standard of living. Albeit we have this privilege, we still work hard to sustain this kind of lifestyle and to prepare for what lies ahead of us. Maybe the least thing I could do is to recognize my privilege. 
  • Political – I am pro-people.  I stand with democracy. I believe that equality and equity are both essential in this country. On a political standpoint, I support anything that protects the lives and upholds the rights of men, women, and children as well as the different sectors and groups in the society. Moreover, I also support anything that will help protect the environment. International understanding and cultural appreciation are crucial elements in respecting and loving each other regardless of differences in status, gender, religion, and cultures. Concerning Philippine politics, I know that the Philippine government is a big big scam. Basta ayoko sa mga artistang humahabol, pati ‘yung mga epal na nakulong na dati tapos malakas pa yung loob na humabol ulit, ‘tsaka ‘yung mga walang maayos na credentials (like educational attainment) pero humahabol dahil lang sikat at mayaman sila. At mas ayaw ko rin ‘yung mga bobotante. Jusko, Pilipinas, you are your own poison.  Woke Twitter, spare me. 
  • Digital – I’m a certified social media junkie. You can see me across all platforms of social media and I try my best to keep them all updated because I am an open book. This blog is a perfect example. It’s my online diary where I post my thoughts, pictures, life events and everything in between. I also love to scroll through my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feed. However, with the amount of toxicity it entails, there are times when I don’t check social media at all. I do a social media detox from time to time because it really affects my mental health and distorts my perspective about life. I guess we just have to use it wisely. 🙂 
  • Social – There’s this term called ‘ambivertedness‘ which means a balance of introvert and extrovert tendencies and I believe I have it. I am an ambivert because I am reserved and quiet at first but once I get close to people, I get louder and more comfortable around them. It may take a while before I could socialize though. I’m very picky with people, if I don’t click with someone else, I’d back out and distance myself. I have zero tolerance for fake, toxic, and problematic people. I value personal space and privacy even if I socialize. 

 

My Relationships 

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  • As a son – My parents are blessed to have me as their son, and it’s also the other way around. Hahaha! Kidding aside, I am the eldest son so it’s a big responsibility. I’m also a little ‘boss’ at home. As the eldest, I always see to it that I don’t disappoint them and I always obey them, most specially my mom. My tiger mom. Haha! Iniisip ko na dapat  ‘di ako sakit ng ulo sa kanila, na dapat gumawa ako ng bagay na ikaka-proud nila, na iisipin nilang worth it lahat ng gastos nila sa’kin. My parents and I have a give and take relationship. I try to reciprocate all their efforts by obeying them, by doing my part in our business, and by doing well in school. They were strict when I was younger to the point na kapag may party dapat 8pm pauwi na ako, dapat ‘di ako ginagabi, dapat one month before a libot nagpapaalam na ako. Ganung level. But looking at it now, I’m thankful kasi ‘di ako napariwara, ‘di ako naligaw ng landas. You know what I’m saying? It just shows how much they care for me. Sana kayo rin! I make them proud always in all ways.

 

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  • As a brother – I never thought I’d have a brother for I was an only child for 10 years. Then Popons was born. Having him around made me realize a few things and learn a few lessons. I try my best to be a good example to him. As his kuya, I strive to be a caring, helpful, and protective brother. Kahit na naghahampasan at nag-aasaran kami everyday, I still help him in his school works and in his everyday activities. Nahahawa ko na nga siya sa mga capricho ko sa buhay eh, sana lang hawaan niya na ako ng confidence niya. Haha! 

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  • As a friend – I think I’m unable to fully describe myself as a friend because my friends know how I am as a friend  more than I do. In spite of this, I try my best to be a kind, trustworthy, caring, and loving friend. I see to it I have time for all of them even if we don’t get to see each other every single day. I am available if they need someone to talk to or just to catch up to. I love my friends so much I can’t imagine my life without them. 

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  • As a student or a classmate – As a student, I’d describe myself as very studious and organized. I love learning and just discovering new things. When I am given school works, I don’t do them half baked. I give my all in what I do because I love what I am doing. Amidst all the academic requirements, I manage my time really well so I can give time for myself. As a classmate, I am willing to share my knowledge and expertise to them. I aspire to be someone they can count on when they need me.

 

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  • As a Filipino citizen – I defy odds. I don’t want to be a conventional Filipino who is always late, just goes with the flow, manifests crab mentality, or exhibits a mañana habit, to name a few. As much as possible, I try to be a good citizen by following rules and regulations no matter how small they are. Our little efforts, once done by everybody, can bring a significant improvement in our nation. 

 

Milestones, Moments, and Memories 

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Andrei at 4.
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My favorite place as a child was the Kid’s Inn playground in the now defunct Holiday Inn Clark. I have fond memories playing here. 
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My Grade 1 recognition in Holy Family Academy. April 2007.
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First Communion in December 2007.
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When I was 9, I had my first pet dog named Ginger, a pure breed yellow labrador.  I named him Ginger because of his color which looks  similar to the rhizome.
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I also had my first newspaper feature because of Ginger! We were included in a lifestyle article about pets by Alya Honasan, sister of Sen. Gringo Honasan, in a November 2008 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
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In May 2010, I met former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in an event in Angeles University Foundation.
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Behind PGMA was AUF Chancellor Dr. Emmanuel Y. Angeles. He was my mom’s former boss in the university. Fun fact: Both of us share the same birthday!
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Dad and I strolling around Senado Square in Macau. August 2010. 
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My first trip abroad was in Macau and China. This was me inside our room in The Venetian. 
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Zhuhai, China. 2010.
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My first time in the happiest place on earth, Hongkong Disneyland, was in December 2010. I am a big fan of Disney and my childhood would be incomplete without it.
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Victoria Harbour, Hongkong. 2010. 
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(L-R,T-B) Gretchen Ho, Bamboo, Gary Valenciano, Alodia Gosiengfiao
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(L-R; T-B): Kiefer Ravena, Chef Rolando Laudico, Chris Tiu. There was one point in my life where it was my hobby meeting celebrities. Haha! 
  • Memorable experiences – I’m forever grateful for the beautiful memories I had when I was young for these are the memories I will forever bring in my heart as I grow older. I’m blessed to have a good childhood and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Elementary graduation day. March 2012. 
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Junior High School Moving Up Ceremony. April 2016. 
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Grade 12.
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Senior High School Graduation. April 2018.
  • Benedictine Education in Holy Family Academy – For twelve years, I considered HFA as my home. It was where I grew up, where I discovered my talents and capabilities, where I honed my skills, where I met the best people in my life, and it’s also where I became the person I am right now. Nothing can replace the holistic formation and quality education I got the Benedictine way. Once a Familian, always a Familian. ❤ 

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2012 – 2013 artworks. My very first pointillism portraits.
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I was only 14 years old when I had my first art exhibit. This was during HFA Funtime 2014 and my artworks were part of the collector’s item exhibit.
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As an advanced recognition day gift, I was given the opportunity to meet my favorite blogger Laureen Uy at an event in SM City Clark. I had the chance to give her one of my artworks and she even included me in her blog post! April 2014. 
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My first and biggest oil painting on canvas which I painted in the summer of 2014. It measures 24 x 32 inches and took a week to finish. This painting took three months before completely drying up. PSA: Spot my hand!
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Abstract landscape painting. 2014.
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Perhaps my most famous painting of all time. In line with Pope Francis’ Papal Visit in 2015, I made him a sketch and went all out on social media in hopes of sending this portrait to him. Unfortunately, it didn’t reach His Holiness.  It’s now displayed in my room and it’s one of my most valuable artworks.
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Some of my Pointillism artworks from 2015.
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My first two coffee paintings. June 2015.
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I emerged victorious from a broadcasting competition last 2017. One of the things I’m grateful for experiencing SHS was me discovering my talent for writing and public speaking. After all, I was a student journalist for four years.
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My awkward stage. This is how I looked like when I started Junior High School. Those days were memorable because it’s when I started my interest in fashion. Grabe ang transformation ko ‘no? Haha! Year 2012-2013.
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Slowly finding my own style by mixing and matching my clothes. Year 2013-2014.
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Experimenting different styles. The 7th outfit got featured on the Instagram page of Uniqlo Philippines last 2017!
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Style evolution. Fashion has become an essential part of my life and if it weren’t for this, my blogging career would’ve not happened.
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From a fashion sketch into real life. It was the first time I wore my own design. March 2018.
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My creations from 2018 in chronological order. It was in June 2018 that I ultimately decided to share them on social media and lo and behold, people loved them. The rest is history. 
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(L-R) First two photos are my signature devil’s food chocolate cake and a classic chocolate. The rest are profiteroles and eclairs from the choux pastry I made from scratch.
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(L-R) Some of my creations from late 2018 include cinnamon rolls, tin can chocolate cakes, and the very finicky French macarons. The cakes below were for Christmas parties which include another devil’s food and carrot cakes. For the record, I bake and design them all from scratch. I never use premixed ingredients for my products. The recipes are also my own and aren’t for sale. 😛 
  • Loving my craft – Being born with creative juices flowing in my blood, it’s been a worthwhile journey of finding my passion. I went from visual arts, to writing, to fashion, to skin care, to food. It’s amazing how my talent in arts make me see simple things as blank canvases where I could paint, design, write, or even pipe out my thoughts and feelings. I owe it to my parents for giving me this kind of talent. 

 

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The Classic Old Town Ensaimada.
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Yes, I’m a Psychology major but I also major in baking. Haha! So glad to be able to earn by doing what I love right at the comfort of my home. 
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This was during the blessing of our extension of Old Town in June 2018 with Rev. Fr. Mario Sol Gabriel. 
  • Old Town Ensaimada – I consider this the biggest blessing we’ve received in the last three years. Our humble beginnings in 2016 paved the way for something we are today. Because of Old Town, I’ve learned how businesses work and how they can provide jobs and opportunities to those who need it. It’s also because of this business that I found my passion which eventually became my own part time work. Old Town made me realize how difficult it is to earn money and how great things come from small beginnings. It taught me the value of hard work, persistence, and faith. Old Town also taught me that you should never stop pursuing your passion. At present, our ensaimadas are baked fresh and sold out everyday. Our products are continuously being patronized by both locals and foreigners and have satisfied even the most discriminating palates. They also get shipped to different countries worldwide. It’s still a work in progress and we can’t wait how it’s going to be in the years to come. 

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  • My website, WWW.ANDREIPARAS.COM – I started blogging in 2011 through WordPress and Tumblr, but I formally opened my digital diary to the public in year 2015. This website was home to my thoughts, musings, and journal entries. It was my outlet for my concealed feelings for it is in this website that I pour out all my emotions. In the course of my four years in blogging, I’ve already reached a global audience. I have readers from all parts of the globe and I reach thousands of readers annually. In 2018, I bought the domain andreiparas.com in hopes of reaching a wider audience, however, due to unforeseen circumstances, blogging took a back seat. I promise to write more and share more of my adventures this year if the odds will be in my favor.

 

My Influencers 

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  • My parents – They are the reason why I am who I am right now. If it weren’t for their discipline and smart parenting, I’ll probably end up somewhere else. I’m eternally grateful for both of them and I’m willing to do everything just for my parents. 

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  • My friends – They are my stress relievers and my constant serotonin boosters. Although I don’t see most of them everyday, I just want them to know I’m thankful for every single one of them. They’ve seen me at my best and at my worst.

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  • My mentors –  My sources of wisdom, inspiration, and support. It’s not just about the classroom lectures they teach but also the values they continue to apply in their lessons. They’ve helped me grow into a better and wiser person I am today.
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(L-R; Top to Bottom) Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Chris Martin (Coldplay), Adele, Paul Jason Klein (LANY)
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(L-R; Top to Bottom) Lee Min Ho, Lee Dong Wook, Lee Jong Suk, Sean O’Pry, Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray, Kelsey Merritt, Anne Curtis
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BTS, BLACKPINK
  • Favorite celebrities – These are just some of my role models, favorite singers, style icons, and life pegs. They have influenced my music taste, fashion sense, and overall outlook in life. I choose my role models wisely because I know that who you’re looking up to can actually influence your perspective towards life. Tell me who your role models are and I’ll tell you who you are. 

 

The Struggle is Real

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  1. Struggling to find real friends – Frankly speaking, I struggled finding my real friends. I was never part of any squad until I was in Senior High. I had no permanent “bestfriend” until I turned high school. It was always me trying to fit in into groups of people but I felt no sense of belongingness. Turns out, I’d meet them later on and everyone I met earlier still became my acquaintances.
  2. Whenever I see my family sick – It’s traumatizing to me. Seeing them in pain inflicts pain in me too. Whenever I see my parents or grandparents sick or visiting the hospital, it triggers my anxiety and brings back horrible experiences in the past.
  3. Losing people I love – Literally and figuratively. I’ve lost friends and family members in the past few years and it brought so much pain. But it made me stronger and made me appreciate my loved ones even more.
  4. Disappointing myself…academically – I had this “89 curse” when I was in high school. Every time I’d end the school year, I get a final average of 89 which indicates I’m not qualified for final honors albeit my other grades are marked excellent. It’s usually the subjects I’m not good at (like Math or Physics) that drags my average down. I get disappointed every time because I constantly feel the pressure around me (being in the first section for my whole life) and it sucks when I don’t get to fit in that academic standard. I feel like a failure every time this happens. Thankfully, I managed to break the curse when I graduated and now that I’m in college, it’s not a big deal anymore.
  5. Adjusting to college  – My first year, first semester in college was an enormous mess. When I started, I had high hopes because AUF has also been my home for years. But then again, you can never tell what happens next. It occurred to me that I am in a new environment but I’m still attached to HFA. It was a new chapter, a new journey that I’m about to embark on, but I am still uncertain about what college is really all about. I can’t move on from high school. In spite of feeling this confusion, I continued. Until another thing happened— my grandfather met an accident and slowly deteriorated. He was later diagnosed with a metastatic disease. In my daily visits to him in the hospital, I unknowingly acquired the varicella virus, hence I got chickenpox. I missed my Prelims, and got another set of exams. I was so anxious and confused about Psychology because I got relatively low grades in my major during my Prelim period. I struggled academically, I was so anxious about Psychology that I even thought of dropping out or shifting to HRM. These events continued until late 2018. It was so difficult dismissing these unfortunate events in my mind. They still continue to haunt me until present. But with my newfound motivation and hope for 2019, I see them as learning experiences and as God’s way of testing how much I’m willing to continue.  

 

Do you remember me?

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CAS Night 2019.

I’d like to be remembered as someone who is blessed to be a blessing. As someone who untiringly shares his time and effort to those in need. As someone who sees the positive side of every situation. As someone who is fueled with passion and love. As someone who overflows with gratitude for what he has in life. And as someone who is dedicated to embark on life’s adventures.

 

Be the Better You

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Remember that you need to find ways to get back up once you trip. And in times of adversities, remember to start strong, to stay strong, and to end strong. You have to keep up with the pressure, both from within and from the external forces around you. You just need to keep on getting better than you were before. Focus on your own race and stop looking at your competitors because YOU ARE YOUR BIGGEST COMPETITOR. I always preach that you need to compete with yourself, and that’s what I did. Let me say it louder for those in the back, instead of pouring your energy on other people’s lives, focus on yourself and your own progress. Focus on what matters. You have to remember why you are doing this and who you are doing it for. Is it for yourself? For your family? For God? Think about it.

– an excerpt from Veni, Vidi, Vici by yours truly (April 2018)


Part 3: My Self-Care Plan

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Turning 19.

  1. Physical Self-Care – As cliché as it sounds, taking care of your body makes a huge difference. Don’t forget to eat healthy, drink lots of water, take your vitamins, get a good night’s sleep, and always do your skin care. Do something today that your future self will thank you for. 
  2. Emotional Self-Care – Always be kind to yourself. When you feel like you’ve done something wrong, learn to apologize and then forgive yourself and move on. Learn from your mistakes. Learn how to love yourself and indulge in small pleasures sometimes. If you feel fulfilled, reward yourself with something that makes you happy. And please, stop comparing your life to others. Be grateful for what you have and focus on your life. 
  3. Cognitive Self-Care – Don’t forget to read, read, and read. You have all the resources, exhaust them all to get a fat brain. After all, having a fat brain is sexier than having six pack abs. When it comes to mental health, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Kung gusto mo ring maging healthy yung utak mo, ‘wag kang magbasa ng comments section sa Facebook, nakakasira ng araw ‘yung mga tao ‘don! Haha!
  4. Social Self-Care – Choose people who choose you. Stay away from toxic people. Edmund Lee once said, “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.” 
  5. Financial Self-Care – This is what we all need. In Bianca Gonzalez’ Paano Ba ‘To?!, I learned a clever way of saving money. She mentioned this formula: Allowance – Savings = Expenses.  It’s not Allowance – Expenses = Savings.  Deduct your savings from your daily budget. That way you can already spend the remaining money you have without worrying about saving up. ‘Wag ka ring magche-check kung may bago ba sa Watsons, Lazada, o Shopee ha? 
  6. Spiritual Self-Care – Pray. Meditate.  Pray. Meditate. Take time to relax. Spend some time alone para magmuni-muni or mag-isip isip tungkol sa life, effective kaya ‘yun! Whatever happens in your life, don’t forget to thank the Big Guy in the Sky! He got you!

 

The end.

 

 

2018 Photodump + FAREWELL MESSAGE

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It’s the sign of the times. 2018 is about to come to a close and let’s take a look back at the photos that didn’t make it. The memories of 2018 are absolutely one for the books, but let’s save that for another post. Let me show you the pictures that didn’t make it to the internet—they didn’t make it to all my social media accounts. Some poses look off, there’s bad lighting, the overall vibe doesn’t fit, there are ugly details and others hence, they didn’t pass. Behold, the unpublished photos of 2018. Oh, I’ll be telling some back stories too! Read each caption. 
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Was planning to do a “hop” shot but these pics turned out bad. I was out of focus. My right arm looks like it popped out of nowhere. This was the only decent one aside from the scared-of-the-sun pose.
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Enjoying the golden hour but it’s evident in the photo that I look tired. This is good as a header, though.
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Instead of going to school, we headed to Subic on the second day of a school event. We just had so much fun sneaking out! Shoutout to Rob who planned this trip overnight. LOL!
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Subic crew! Insert Dacid + Rob. I had so much fun that day because it’s my first time to sneak out and go somewhere far with my friends. And guess what? Di ako napagalitan. Hihi. Miss you guys!
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Upon arriving from Subic, I had a casual shoot with my friends and this photo could’ve  passed if it weren’t for the big ass trash bin at the back. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
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Wrong choice of sunglasses. Totally off. This was before we watched IVOS and Ben&Ben live!
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This was during a stage rehearsal of a stint I had earlier this year. I’m clueless about who took this photo but I think I was talking to my friends who were the audience at the time. Haha!
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This is one of the biggest days in my senior life, but little did you know that I was suffering from a lockjaw/TMJ pain that day. I almost fainted before attending the event ’cause I couldn’t eat. Just minutes before this photo was taken, I was on the verge of fainting.
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Another photo that didn’t make it. I look so sick here and yes, I really am. I couldn’t speak and eat properly because of my lower left jaw. The very tight collar & tie also made it harder for me to breathe. Thank God for Mcdo fries, they were the only ones I could fit inside my mouth. LOL.
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Very awkward left arm pose and the tux looked lousy so I didn’t choose this.
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Off to buy corned beef.
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Aaaand a wild trash bin appears again. This was during the last few academic days, as far as I can remember.
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Missing all these lunch memories. I’d do anything to return to hs with these people. Haaay, high school life is forever.
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An outtake from my creative shoot. Didn’t know that this theme would depict my college life. It’s very poor and very sad but there’s the silver lining. Charot lang. Hahaha!
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We literally let everyone leave the venue before we took our photos. Solo namin yung covered court together with our parents. Super proud of my squad! 6/6 forevs!
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This was right before the food arrived hence the sad and weary face. Puyat na puyat ako dito kaya ganyan itsura ko. Lolz.
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This was a day after my graduation. I was running on 4 hours of sleep and dragged myself all the way to Uptown Mall just to get the vacay I deserve. I look so groggy in this photo plus the angle was unflattering.
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This was the longest hair I’ve ever had. Awkward hand movements but I’m glad it showed ~motion~.
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Sorry we’re closed. If my memory serves me right, this was taken a few days after I bought WWW.ANDREIPARAS.COM. #achievementunlocked 
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This photo parallels my Instagram icon but the lighting was quite bad. 
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This was a day before my birthday. I went to Uptown again to do some shopping and dining.
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Another photo that didn’t make it. Mukha akong nangangaroling or nagsosolicit ng panghanda sa birthday ko. Mukha akong napilitang mag-smile. The final photos I published looked a lot better. Hahaha!
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One of the few moments I had free time after school. Went out for coffee with Lourdes and shooting is a must. At this point in my life, I started to see dreams about death, fire, water, and traveling alone. These symbolize change and cleansing daw, and looking at it now, it’s real. Extensions of waking life talaga ang pinaniniwalaan kong theory.

 

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I look like a tito from a family reunion in this photo. That polo plus that angle is very very Filipino tatay starter pack. 
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Ang laki ko. 

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Good pose and angle but the background sucks.
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I love how the sunlight made my skin look clearer than ever. It’s just that I have facial hair and a poorly styled hair in this photo. 

You guys may have noticed how I had fewer blog posts and lackluster content on the second half of 2018 and you may be thinking if I will still pursue this online diary. The reason behind the hiatus was because college happened, something happened in the family, and I found another passion which ultimately became a part time business. I admit it’s actually refreshing to stay away from the digital public life but there’s that longing in my heart. I can say that I just took a short break which is necessary for me as well. I still feel that urge to share stories with all of my readers and create quality content. However, in the months to come, expect fewer blog posts because my time and energy won’t suffice for me to balance academics, business, and blogging. One might take a backseat and that’s the latter. There’s a lot on my plate at this moment. And as the saying goes, “if you chase two rabbits, you might lose them both.

This is not a goodbye but frankly speaking, my priorities have changed. I’m not quitting at all, heck, what’s the point of buying a domain right? I’ve come to realize that I should be investing my time and efforts on things that would compensate me in no time. Blogging will always be a part of me and it’s something I pledge to do for the rest of my life. I can never fully let it go. Maybe I just lost my balance and I’m still in the process of picking myself back up. I have always been a blogger, and always will be one. See you in my next post? 🙂