Dubai: Images of a City


Hey folks! I have too many moments in life wherein I feel poetic and excited about compositions forming in my mind (how they’re supposed to be narrated, which words to use, etc). I get down to writing them, and end up with two amazing paragraphs. Then, I get lazy about the rest.

I’m mostly sorry to myself for being either too busy or just not disciplined enough to actually sit down and write things. I guess that’s why I have a million drafts, and not one published composition.

Still, I enjoy discussion! A lot of times, writing chill posts like this is less stressful and more fulfilling than those long, dramatic essays anyway. (I WILL PUBLISH ONE SOMEDAY!). They’re also much clearer in terms of intent, so here goes:

I’ve been living in Dubai for the past couple of weeks. It’s a truly glamorous and unique city, not just in terms of local customs but also with regards to the collective attitude of the people. I’ve collected some personal insights about its architecture and culture, but that can wait. Tonight’s post will revolve around a couple of images I’ve taken during my travels.

These depict various scenes in the city at street level– how the people interact with the architecture, and what it feels like to be in this place. Didn’t really edit anything because I’m too lazy. Regardless, it’s almost impossible to take bad photos in Dubai, as all of its buildings are simply stunning.

5PM. People begin to gather around a set of fountains in the Dubai Mall. Everyone is expectant.
The view from a boat ride going to the Creek Harbor. The surrounding buildings mesh so well with the body of water.
7PM. The crowd has grown exponentially and is enjoying the dancing fountains. Dubai looks pretty at night.
Pale building on a pale sky.
One of my favorite photos. This was taken in a gold souq, where narrow corridors led to this central space. Doesn’t seem as ‘fake’ or constructed as the rest of Dubai’s architecture, and the sun hits those mashrabiya screens perfectly.
Those columns just look great with people, don’t they? I’m not really sure why.
Sunset, the prettiest time of the day. You won’t see it here, but the sun is quite an intense red. The buildings are also twice as pretty. Dubai may be unbearably hot, but sometimes I feel like the sunset makes everything worth it.

In a couple of hours, I will be going to the Etihad museum and meeting a few locals! I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did!


Painting sesh: ‘nerve’


Today was not so good, either. I don’t know why I feel so anxious, but I had to channel all of that nervous energy somewhere. Bad paper is good for watercolor in the sense that you don’t have to make something ‘worthy’ of its price/quality. In this regard, you can truly let loose with the strokes.

I could have scanned this artwork, but it is still wet, and I’m impatient. Maybe tomorrow will be calmer.


Painting sesh: the mean reds

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I usually keep myself sane on sad days by indulging in some old school art and writing. Art, especially, helps me express my abstract thoughts and concentrate on something only indirectly related to whatever it is I’m facing.

For this session, I did about five quick paintings. I can’t upload the first three — which are what I poured the bulk of my emotions into– yet, since I’m still coming up with the accompanying composition, and that takes quite a while. (I’m going to make it as romanticized and dramatic as I can :P).

Moving on, this painting was done after the other four, when I was already a bit calmer. I concentrated on getting the color mixes right, and making sure the skin tone wasn’t just one big blotch of peach. Proportions and accuracy of features were kind of secondary to the painting technique, since I knew I could draw a better face if I tried harder.

I have a long way to go when it comes to contrast and color value, but hey, at least it looks like a recognizable face! I’ll get better someday. 🙂


PS: ‘The mean reds’ describes the feeling of being scared and unsure of what it is one is scared of. See Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

Our slab

My third year in architecture school is done. Horraaah! The worst is over! Looking back, I don’t really know how I survived that final month of academic hell, which consisted of deadlines upon deadlines upon deadlines, and final exams sandwiched right in between plate submissions. I do think my entire third year journey deserves a post of its own — a long and dramatic one, at that–so I will leave those ugly details for later.

This post focuses on our cute little concrete slab for construction class. My group (a team of four people) conceptualized, designed, and executed the building of a 1.5m x 1.5m slab. This was for what I believe is going to be a cat sanctuary in my college, as planned by our construction professors. (Side note: my university is wack and my college, even weirder). Each group was afforded the creative liberty to do whatever they pleased. We were restricted only by the space to build on and the fact that the slab had to be functional.

Here it is from start to completion!

Continue reading “Our slab”

Hortikultura 2017



This was a slightly rushed paper for one of my general education classes. I wasn’t keen on sharing this piece of writing, but I wanted to post all of the photos I took, so why not just add in the introduction? Enjoy this little snippet from my day-to-day life.

The quiet and evocative ambiance of the Quezon Memorial Circle sets the stage for Hortikultura 2017. Our very own Central Park, as I’d like to call it, was teeming with plant lovers last February 7, 2017. Cars flooded the tiny streets of the public plaza, and though the day was drawing to an end, the visitors kept coming. The sky was tinted in the delicate shades of sunset—yes, it was a beautiful day, and one that I can recall fondly. Though I frequently observed Quezon Memorial Circle the previous year, I can’t say I had ever seen it that busy.

As I entered the blossoming gates of the event (literally!), I was met with an expanse of greenery. Flower arrangements filled up the area, and numerous signs credited the artists for their creations. It was easy to get lost in and through the exhibits; to pass by each mini-garden and come full circle in the same place you started. If I didn’t have my structural class an hour later, I would have stayed and looked at the plants for a longer period of time. Picturesque, flourishing, and exquisite– these were my final impressions of Hortikultura.


All of these photos are raw and uncropped. They have also not been post-processed, because I’m a lazy creature. In closing, I’d like to say that flowers and gardens are incredibly beautiful. Likewise, nature is something else, isn’t it? I wish my country would invest more in parks and open spaces, as they are beneficial for the city and its users. I kind of miss running around and seeing a lot of trees in the province, too. Sigh.

Anyway, I’m thinking of writing about travel experiences for my next couple of posts. I kind of have a penchant for romanticizing places, and I enjoy sharing my photos! I’d start working on it right now, but it’s 2:30 in the morning, and my bed is calling.


On social media and meditation


As with all other body parts, the best thing you can do for a tired brain is to rest it. I took an hour off of my life to do a bit of yoga and meditation (which I got as a PE in university for a semester some time ago). I guess I just wanted to flush out all of the little distractions in my head and pass the evening productively. Thankfully, I still remembered how to do the signature darth vader breaths my yoga instructor taught me. Closing my eyes, I rested on the mat and faced the ceiling with palms resting upwards. Inhale, exhale. Chest rising, chest falling.

Within the first minute of this exercise, several thoughts—the ones that float in your mind throughout the day—flooded my system. It was like seeing a hundred balloons pop all at once in glaring neon colors. I began to realize how cluttered my brain had been.  Breathe in, breathe out. I shifted into sitting position, preparing my body for the first pose: a half-split. Admittedly, my muscles did feel a little stiff.

After a while, the music in my ears began to swell. I was doing a sun salutation—a combination of A and B, as I got the motions mixed up. My chaturanga was awkward and rusty—rather, I was never strong enough to do one correctly. My own thoughts faded into the back of my head. After the salutations, I did a few more poses to pass the night. With dim lighting and warm candle light flickering in the background, it seemed like a restful evening.

Suddenly, my phone acted up. Continue reading “On social media and meditation”