Ready for the longest bus ride of my life!

 

I haven’t posted anything in days even if I wanted to. I was so preoccupied with fixing photos and prepping the items I’d be selling on Ebay. I decided to finally start selling internationally and hoping against all odds not to have an unpleasant experience in doing so. But of course, Ebay has been teeming with lots of scammers (yes, some buyers are scammers too!), I’ve been extra cautious.

Anyway, we will be finally going to Ilocos Norte today and I was just waiting for Mon to arrive at our house before we leave. It took me several hours to make up my mind what to bring in what would possibly be the longest bus ride of my life! If I’m not mistaken, the trip will take almost 10 hours! When we went to Zambales last September, the trip one way was about 8 hours and I had a constant case of “Are we there yet?” for each latter half of the trip.

Hot mess known as packing

 

I’m so excited to go to Pagudpud and also to swim in a river! I Just realized that I only have a pair of board shorts since I don’t really go to the beach a lot, so my gray and white pair will have a repeat performance again. =D I had to prevent myself from constantly packing unnecessary  things I won’t be using (i.e. clothes) but I think I had it easier now than our last trip (to Seoul, where I brought lots of junk).

 

Ready for the longest bus ride of my life --- Givenchy duffle luggage, black Prada nylon messenger, Prada saffiano trick and a camera tripod

 

It was hard to leave the tripod behind, even if it could no longer fit into the luggage bag. I wanted to take good pictures of our trip, and I don’t have the most stable camera hands to yield non-out-of-focus shots. I would just have to carry it freely because I also wanted to try photographing the night sky, free from light pollution!

We will arrive tomorrow at around 6:00 AM in Laoag and we will be staying there until Tuesday night. Most of Mon’s family are already there, and I can’t wait to see the place where he grew up. Manila, see you on Wednesday! =D

One word: FLOP

First of all, I’ll call a spade a spade; the examination earlier this day was a disaster.

I woke up very early at 5:00 AM because I was to meet my classmate in Marcos Hiway by 6:00 AM. Everything went smoothly, even with a light drizzle on our way. We then had to wait from 7:00 AM until 8:00 AM, when the exam would officially start. There were only 12 of us in the room and we were also to leave our things in front of the room next to the proctors. When I said things, I mean ALL of the things we had and that includes water bottles.

We were made to answer 10 personal questions and the rest was the exam proper. So technically, even if there were 180 items, only 170 will be corrected and we should answer each of the questions within a minute and few seconds. I never underestimated the exam but I honestly think that I might have overlooked the review of some of the sections. I can’t remember how many items I had to shotgun but as far as I can recall, almost two hours out of three had already passed before I reached item number 90. The Math portion of the exam was easier than I expected but I wish I could have answered it first before I got glazed eyes from the English part. At this point, I will not be surprised if I fail the exam because I have no qualms admitting that it was hard. The greatest surprise will be passing it and I have already told a few people I would treat them to a box of pizza if that miracle were to happen. The only similarity the exam has with college entrance exams was the multiple choice part, meaning everything else was different. LOL I have moved on but I will take every  lesson from that experience with me until next year, if I were to take the exam again. i’ll just consider it an expensive, getting-one’s-feet-ready review. =D

I then went to Pisa in Italy to unwind…Just kidding!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa --- NOT --- Worlds of Fun

After the exam, I met up with Mon to have lunch in Gateway Mall and we then went next to Sta. Lucia Mall because my family was there. They already had their own lunch and we just followed them to Worlds of Fun, where my niece and my nephew were both busy playing. I can’t remember when was the last time I was there, especially my last experience riding the mini-“rollercoaster” (I hazard a guess that it was more than a decade ago, since high school). Even if I knew that the horror train ride was not exactly scary, I still refused to try it because I might end up scratching the person next to me. =D

Rode a mini-rollercoaster with my sister and nephew

With JB - Gray T-shirt with poncho print, Bench jeans, Yves Saint Laurent white patent sneakers and green Prada Tessuto Robot 2 tote

After 4:00 PM, we went home and rested a little because I was looking forward to seeing an elusive visitor before sunset — Comet PANSTARRS. The comet was slated to reach its perihelion today and I was waiting the whole week for an unobstructed view from our rooftop. And then the inevitable happened, there barely was a cloudless portion of the sky and I only had 20 minutes before sunset. I was with Mon, JB, my telescope and my brother’s camera and it was really depressing that we did not get even a momentary glimpse of the comet. So, what I did next was just take pictures of the two of them while we still had a little daylight.

JB playing with the telescope

In deep contemplation

And another kid playing with the scope

Naks!

I did not manage to get pictures of the comet but the pretty diffused light did wonders to my brother’s bridge camera. Well, that was some silver lining! Today was a very stressful day and it was almost twelve midnight again, five hours more and I would have been awake for 24 hours already. The flop of the exam and the comet did dampen my spirit, but looking back, the whole day wasn’t that bad at all. I can always review, try next year and be more ready. Meanwhile, since the following months will no longer be crucial in terms of strict scheduling, we can now plan for our next trip out of the country!

Winter in Seoul – Day 2: Bright, snowy day

*extremely picture-heavy post

Continuing our adventure from the day before, we’ve learned our lesson on how to best deal with the extreme cold, and that would be putting more garments.

Granted that I had a hard time feeling myself and my surroundings with the clothes I had the day before, I thought that it would be easier to remove a garment and stash it in my bag if it gets too warm.

Timberland yellow puffer jacket, knitted Radic Color sweater, brick colored pants, black PathFinder boots

Bright, bright, bright

Knitted Radic Color sweater, V-neck blue stripes sweater, Vivienne Westwood wool scarf, brick colored pants, black PathFinder boots

I’m not ready

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That awkward moment when Uranus is over the Moon

No pun intended, but when I was checking Stellarium to check what was supposedly up in the heavens if it were not cloudy surprised me. I knew that the Moon was almost in West but I had an unexpected planet. Not to sound like Professor Trelawney on Lavander (“It is Uranus, my dear.”) but I really did not expect the planet because: 1) I was very sure that given my limited equipment, I will be having a hard time searching for it, and 2) IT WAS CLOUDY, so no use wasting my time.

Uranus over the Moon - October 27, 2012 as seen on Stellarium

It stopped raining but there was zero visibility of whatever celestial object of interest. I have been hoping to try my luck with my brother’s bridge camera (a GE X500) because I saw other amateur astrophotographers having great luck with the ones they have. But given the current weather condition, I contented myself with playing with the dials/buttons that I don’t normally touch.

Clouds obstructing the Moon - Marikina City, Philippines

That dangly-thing on a windchime and the hazy Moon - Marikina City, Philippines

My jaw dropped because I did not expect the photos to look like that. It was honestly very dark in the room and very dark outside as well, and I can barely see any details of the clouds in the sky. LOL That was amazing. Now, I can’t wait for the skies to clear so I can try my luck photographing the Jupiter, Taurus and Orion grouping almost directly above around this time.

I’ve been ranting all afternoon about how much I want to buy another telescope — a more powerful one. I really want to do astrophotography but I’m on a budget. I originally wanted to buy a webcam with a CCD sensor, but since my brother has apparently ceased using his bridge camera, I can settle for it now. Back to the telescope question, I really want to research hard on which scope will best fit my needs. If only budget were not an issue. Anyway, I’ll just push what I currently have to the limit and hope for clear skies ahead!