Apr 9, 2017

Ivonism Day 2016

I always say claim that I'm not big on birthday celebrations but I end up doing something new or special on my birthday anyhow, which makes me seem like a liar. I said it again last year, with Bala being deployed islands away for months, and most of my friends living far and away--either abroad, in Baguio, or Ilocos--plus it was exams season and I had full units in grad school. I was honestly set to have an uneventful birthday, no biggie, but the people close to me--Bala, for the most part--just won't let me.

As I was about to go to my class, I received balloons enough to fill a car, a cake, Starbucks coffee, and a big cookie. I entered my classroom looking like a little kid from the carnival.

Can this cake be any less like me? I almost thought it was the wrong cake when I opened it! LOL. But thanks!! I also received an Instax camera... in powder blue. Not complaining but... powder blue, really? LOLJK. 

After my class, I met up with some of my best buddies from college for dinner and coffee. Ang tataba niyo na, guys. Ako lang hindi tumaba... and tumanda. Yassssss

Prior to my birthday, Bala's been giving me separate packages, with some in big and small heart-shaped boxes. I received a digital portrait he painted himself; a framed collage of our photos; an emergency phone that alerts Bala's phone when I'm in an emergency, and also works as power bank, flashlight, and radio for my backpacking trips to the mountains; a hand-written letter; Speedo goggles and swim cap, for when I finally start learning how to swim; and some other thoughtful, quirky gifts that were nicely wrapped, and with red ribbons on them. He did all of these while on deployment; and then surprised me by showing up in Manila, singing Happy Birthday in his uniform--straight from the airport--while I was having dinner with my friends who he was conniving with. I refuse to share the video because I looked like a shookt, speechless turtle. 

Early morning the next day, Bala came knocking on my door, enthusiastically greeting me with a blueberry cheesecake that he baked himself, and vegetarian sisig he also cooked for our baon to that day's adventure. I had no idea where we were going.

We drove to Batangas, parked near the shore, and then took a private boat to the resort. I was asleep the entire travel, including the boat ride for the most part. LELZ 

Can you dive if you can't swim? Ivonism finds out for you. 


Here's a short video of our dive Bala edited for my Instagram post.

Most of my photos wouldn't have made the cut if not for my ever so talented artist of an Instagram boyfriend, tbh.

Come sunset, Bala insisted we stay the night so he could rest because he's been practically awake all day, slaving in the kitchen, driving, diving... but room accommodations in the resort were pricey so being the cheapskate that I am, I insisted we drive back to Manila instead. For some reason, our dive instructor then offered a discount too hard to pass up. 

After dinner, Bala and I had an argument that was so bad, it would've blown up into a break-up if the resort staff didn't cut us off for a "post-dive briefing." Teary while walking down towards the dark where the supposed "briefing" was, I finally realized what was happening. There was a bonfire, a laptop, a white screen, a projector, a small table with 2 chairs, all arranged in a very intimate set-up facing the sea. It was a surprise screening of Ivonism Day--featuring my family, friends (who were all too far to celebrate with), and cat. Yes, cat. 

Oh the guilt and remorse I felt for arguing with Bala, only to realize later that he's been doing nothing but to make me feel special on my day, down to the last minute. All the other guests in the resort who were able to witness what happened also greeted me a happy birthday. I've never felt so loved and special.

Here's to share with you my kilig, because sharing is caring:

And that is how Ivonism Day started.

PS. Did you notice the note he was holding? It's the same note that he flashed underwater, during our dive.
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Mar 1, 2017

Unloading El Nido 2

It's been more than a year since this trip but Nacpan is still the most beautiful beach I've ever seen and set my restless feet on--and I don't casually throw that line for every white beach I encounter nor have I ever said it prior to our trip to El Nido. So beautiful, I almost didn't want to post these photos and keep its beauty to myself.

I had a blast sorting through and processing these photos with Ed Sheeran's Shape of You playing in the background. You might want to hit play too, for better viewing experience. :D

I have a really awful memory. I forget things and events so easily, so quickly, no matter their significance. So when I was asked what was the happiest moment of my life so far, I had to think long and hard. The most vivid happy memory I can recall is that of Bala and I, hand in hand, diving under every huge turquoise wave that came at us in the middle of Nacpan beach, with no other person in sight. We just kept diving, sometimes with a huge wave breaking us apart and me getting washed ashore but still going at it, all afternoon until sunset.

For someone who seems to frequent the beach, I have an illogical fear of deep water; but with Bala beside me, I find myself willing to jump into unknown depths. It's like every cell in my body knows that nothing can go wrong as long as this guy is near me. And isn't that what happiness is? When your heart and mind are so at peace that nothing scares you anymore... 

I could be wrong but at least to me I'm happy and that's what matters. I suppose.

I guess that is why Nacpan has been the most beautiful beach for me since. 

Click HERE to see the first part of our El Nido series.

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