The Scent of Happiness

“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

20150219_092728Happiness is reflected through our expressions and actions.

It is not just a facade that covers our emotions. It is felt by the people around us.

True happiness starts within us and could spread wonders to those we interact with.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today Was a Good Day.


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Today Was a Good Day.”It didn’t start out as a good day. We encountered unexpected events such as delivering goods to customers who already moved. My mom wasn’t informed when she confirmed about the delivery that they had moved to another place. Then the car wouldn’t start which meant there was no battery anymore. It rained a bit too but then the sun came. We define if those incidents would ruin our day. We can choose to pull our heads together and find a solution. If we chose to be affected by the situation, we’d definitely feel bad and thus our day can be ruined.

We found a coffee place to have snacks at the mall. The particular coffee shop we were eyeing was full but a sign beside that cafe caught my attention, “unlimited coffee for Php150: Americano or Cappuccino”. I was willing to try this place all for the coffee. Instead of looking for another cafe which will most likely be full on a Sunday, I was willing to settle at this pizza place. It turned out to be great coffee as they’re serving Lamill coffee. They designed coffee art on each cup which was really nice.


I ended up having two cups. I can gulp up to three cups then but I limited myself to just two cups. If I ordered another one, I think they would come up with another design. Sometimes, a cup of warm coffee could really add color to someone’s day. We took a walk after that and it was nice. Today was indeed a good day.


Reality TV

We studied reality TV before and somehow the concept of reality blurs with the creative production of the media. Reality TV shows have become more popular in recent years and artists participate in them because somehow they shed off their mask in the show. A show might be controlled by its producers but the challenges and how they respond to the environment they are put into are real.

These are some of the entertainment shows we watch to help us unwind:

  1. 花儿与少年 (Hua er yu shao nian) or Divas Hit the Road

The Season 2 of Hua er yu shao nian has already concluded but we enjoyed watching it. The participants were Mao Ah Min (big sister and translator), Xu Qing (second sister), Ning Jing (third sister), Chen Yi Han (fourth sister and cook), Zheng Shuang (little sister, tour guide and accountant for the first part), Jing Bo Ran, Yang Yang. There are five sisters and two brothers that will travel together to England, Turkey and UAE. Zheng Shuang, the youngest in the family, was the one appointed to be the tour guide at the beginning. She was tasked to go ahead and fetch everyone from the airport. She should know their flight details and bring them to the place where they are staying.

I like the way the challenges and tasks have been set up in Season 2. It had more meaning and purpose and was easier to follow. They had participated in a really adventurous tour that sometimes tourists don’t get to experience or try. Some required physical abilities but they were able to accomplish all the challenges.

Having different personalities, it was difficult to have an all for one, one for all-team spirit; but gradually, through time, they were able to establish a better rapport. The ‘Da Jie’ being the older one stepped up and took care of everyone. The younger ones go out their way to help carry the heavy luggage, find directions and do the difficult task. They try to understand the different behaviours of the people and that there are moments that pull you down. It’s a struggle though, because in a trip, you just want everyone to have fun and even if only one in the group is not easy to get along with, it could affect the whole trip.

Overall, they learned a lot through the experience. They joined the pillow fight, trained for rowing, built tents, went up the mountains, drove trailer cars, navigated an unfamiliar land, and work out problems together. You rely on each other when travelling in a foreign place, in the process, they gained friends and learned stories about each other.

Concluded. Shown in Hunan Television

  1. 爸爸去哪儿Ba ba qu na er Season 3

Watch this for the really cute kids who seem to talk like adults. It shows how they interact with their dad and other kids on the show. It’s nice to see kids learning to respond to the environment they are put into, how they take care of other kids younger than them or their comrades. See their adventures and innocent expressions as they explore different towns and places. They even stayed in one of the Unesco World Heritage site – Tulou.

On-going. Shown in Hunan Television.

  1. 汉语桥(Han Yu Qiao) or Chinese Bridge. This show features student representatives from the seven continents who applied to participate in this program.

张丹峰 (Zhang Dan Feng) is very effective host and She Zhang. He takes care of everyone in the group and is conscious of their needs. He notices who isn’t feeling good; he buys souvenirs for the members and happily prepares them. One particular episode was quite good when the participants were divided into teams and were asked to perform on stage. At first, the other team seems to have the upper hand while the other team seem to be falling apart. But in the performance the latter team had the smoother performance and emerged victorious.

That episode also featured Zhang’s wife and kids arriving at the place they are staying. His wife prepared some food and was asked to hide and give a surprise. She couldn’t stand it when her husband didn’t notice her cooking even when Zhang already refilled his soup many times. She went out and Zhang was stunned. He kept glancing inside if his kids were also there. After awhile, they also came out and he was really happy to see them. Due to his field of work, he’s away from home too often that he doesn’t have more time with them.

You’d see the diligence of the participants and the gravity they put to this program in every assignments and exams they are given. Every episode, they feature some guests like the Kao Kuan or the chief examiner who will carry out the exam questions. It’s amazing how people from different parts of the world learn Chinese. Next week will be the final rounds.

On-going. Shown in Hunan Television

  1. I Can See Your Voice (Korean show)

This show features 10 guests who auditioned to participate in the rounds. There are regular panelists and guest singers who will guess who is tone-deaf among the participants. Lee Teuk (from Super Junior) and Kim Bum Soo are the hosts of the show. There would be clues that would help either to identify or confuse the guest singers like showing a 1-second cut of the videos where the participants were singing, the . The remaining participant would get the chance to perform with the guest singers. It really is challenging to identify which ones can really sing and thus some guests are dumbfounded by their choices. There are lots of surprises along the way and even the panelists are up on their feet. It’s not new to pick out someone who is good singer and leave a tone deaf at the end that gets the prize money.

Tone deaf or not, every participant is very serious in delivering their performance. Singers are also commendable for they come from different field of work. Some have the dream to become a singer but just didn’t have the opportunity; some were happy to be able to perform on stage.

  1. The Return of the Superman

I have just watched snippets of this show but enjoyed it very much. People in our household though love to watch this show. The kids are too cute and at a young age are already able to do a lot of things like eating on their own. This show features the comedian Lee Hwi-jae and his twin sons, the MMA fighter Choo Sung-hoon with his daughter, actor Song Il-guk and his triplets, the professional football player Lee Dong-gook with two pairs of twins and one son, and Uhm Tae-woong with one daughter. It’s a good chance for the kids to interact with other kids and for the parents to share tips on bringing up their kids especially having two or three at the same time.

It’s a fun show to watch where the kids are tasked to do activities or run errands at the age of 3. They get to bond with their dads and the fathers can take of their children without the help of their wife.

On-going. Shown on KBS World TV

*videos are taken from youtube and the official channel of the stations. 


To observe, you must learn to separate situation from interpretation, yourself from what you’re seeing. Train yourself:… “It is impossible as I state it and therefore I must in some respect have stated it wrong.” Out loud instead of silently. In writing instead of in your head. It will save you from many errors in Perception. – Maria Konnikova, How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes


Our lifestyle nowadays are quite sedentary, living in the city somehow tied us to our laptops, mobile phones, tablets and other gadgets. Sometimes, our ability to observe is reduced to those finite (or massive) spaces of the World Wide Web or that particular gadget we’re holding. It is true that in that space, we are taken to different places and we see people we normally don’t get to see. We are engrossed in the world of entertainment and social media to get our mind off things. We are tuned in to shows or so focused on getting to the next level of the game. Instead of scheduling time for exercise or other activities, we are preoccupied with lots of screen time which actually reduces our attention to other things.

Without practice, it’s not easy to play basketball or to shoot some hoops. So after a long time, our muscles couldn’t keep up quite easily if we ever plan to go back to sports. Of course, through discipline and practice, we could gradually change our lifestyle. This is the same thing with how we perceive things. Our perception changes depending on how we look at a scene or what angle we choose to capture. We could choose a spot to focus all our energies or we could see the bigger picture. We commit many errors because we easily dismiss things as how we thought we saw them. Both our mind and body needs training to prevent errors in our movement.

It feels nice to be back on the court to shoot some hoops with my nephews. Though it was just a one time activity, it felt good to be able to regain momentum at that time.

Night challenge


Thanks to Sylvain for the challenge SL-Week 7: Night.

Night scenery is lovely. Somehow the city gives us a light show every night. It’s challenging though taking photographs at night especially without a tripod. I remember waiting with our cousin at Victoria’s Peak for the lights to light up and admire the city lights of Hong Kong. There were many people there who are waiting for that too. Cameras all raised, taking in the view; some were tourists while others just seem to want to capture the view after a long day’s work.


I like the idea of spontaneity in photographs but I also revel in waiting to snap a scene. Singapore is a photogenic city and really beautiful at night with its great architectures and radiant lights. It’s a city that inspires one to just stare into the vast night sky. The air is fresh and inviting for walks.

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I used a digital camera for this one, something handy to carry as we participated a party for the 400 years celebration of the University of Santo Tomas (UST). This University was built during the Spanish colonial period. Lights and decors surround the building and school grounds. It is nice to take a walk during nighttime which we don’t normally do.

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