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Bought MY First Ukulele!

By On March 25, 2019
SQOE SQ-UK-402 Concert Ukulele
Image Source: https://www.themusicsourceph.com/
 In my previous post, I've mentioned that we bought a cheap ukulele for my son. Of course, I consider it mine, too (after all, I paid for it 😀). But then, it's for my son, so I'm just really borrowing it. I've been having GAS (Gear Acquistion Syndrome) since I figured out how easy it is to play. FINALLY, I gave in. Hahaha. 

I usually don't cave in to may desires (because, gastos). But, this one, I must have. It is very rare for me to really want something for myself. Mostly, I buy stuff either for my kid and husband. It usually takes me about a year (or a few months short), before I click the "Checkout" button. I don't know about you, but when I browse for some stuff online, I usually add them to my cart, let it stay there until I revert, and remove it (the gastos part always wins). And tonight, something really astounding happened. 

While I was working, I decided to feed my curiosity (I'm usually like this when I'm "Gassing"). Of course, the first thing I always check out would be Lazada, but there's a lot of stuff in there that don't really tip the scales for me. I see some good brands in there, like Enya, but then, the really good ones were priced really high (dreaming of a Koa wood uke). I didn't really want to buy anything which doesn't have a lot of good reviews or brand isn't really well-known so I went to my friend Google.

Then there it was! It's not Koa wood, but it's made of walnut wood and I love it already. I've shown it to my husband and he gave me the thumbs up (of course, I told him a little bit of background on the type of wood, how it's made, etc). He liked the grain of wood, and I agree. It's the 24-inch SQOE Ukulele SQ-UK-402. Just look at that beauty 😍.

Initially, I planned on buying the spalted maple version (SQ-UK-452), but the online store apparently doesn't have it on stock anymore. I'll spill the beans: I placed an order for the UK-452 series in The Music Source PH. But it looks like someone who's in charge of their inventory failed to update the stocks on site. When I checked how long it will take for the uke to be shipped out, they went back to me saying it was already out of stock (bummer). They tried offering the UK-440 and UK-430, but I said I specifically placed an order for the UK-452. Although they tried looking further if they have any stock left, they still ended up with nothing. I just wished they update their inventory regularly so people won't have to be forced to buy something else, just because the original item they want isn't available. I didn't accept any of the other two, and just requested that my order be cancelled and my money be refunded. Then I received the refund in a few minutes. All of a sudden, all their ukes on site (except for the Stagg ones) became out of stock. Sucks, right? By the way, the reason I didn't like the uk-440 and uk-430 is that they both sport Spruce top--something a regular acoustic guitar (I'm maarte like that) would have.

Anyway, I didn't really stop there. Since I want to inspect the goods before buying and I also like to see if there's something else that I can check out, we went to a music store instead, and that's where I saw the one pictured above. The SQOE UK-402 is also a concert ukulele which has a crisp/clear tone--just amazing! It was low-action, too, so it was easier to handle--way better than the one I was originally using. It's not even comparable.  Not to mention, it has an active pickup so I didn't really mind the slight bump on its price tag. It was a happy day, indeed. :)

Learning How To Play the Uke!

By On March 20, 2019
Hey, y'all! How's everything going with you? I'm not quite active for a very long while now (been buried in seemingly endless outpour of tasks, a lot of them involves not being able to go out, and walwal haha. Although that's something that I haven't done since I've started a family of my own.) Anyhoo, From that long period where I felt like I haven't done something for myself, I actually was able to teach myself how to play the uke. 

Yup! Last year (2018), we bought a concert-size ukulele (a cheap one) for my son (he's also into music). But, being the boy who can't keep still for 5 minutes, he's mostly doing something else. He managed to learn a few songs and play them, though. Since he doesn't use it all the time, I tried learning on my own, too, so I can teach him (I and my husband both play the guitar, and we taught Matt), and play another instrument, aside from the guitar.

At first, I had a hard time, of course. Having been used to the guitar's bigger fretboard, my fingers mostly were "over-reaching", when I try out some chords. It's really different from the chords on the guitar, but some parts, I'd say the principle is the same.  I won't get into the nitty gritty (I'm no expert, and I don't like being too technical--at least when playing musical instruments). To make the story short, I managed to learn from the very basic, to quite complicated pieces in a few months. It was far more easy, compared with learning how to play the guitar.

If you were wondering how I did it, it was through the good ol' fashioned way. I'm a 90's kid, and what best way it would be than to learn the chord chart, just like when I'm studying the guitar. There was no YouTube back then so I just use my ears. Most of the time, when I like a song or I like to know how to play a particular song, I listen first, then figure out the chords myself. That's what I did with the ukulele. 

I watched a few YouTube tutorials, like those from Cynthia Lin, UkuLenny, and of course The Ukulele Teacher. I've got some useful takeaways, but, I really was mostly just using my natural "reflexes" when it comes to strumming. I noticed that on any ukulele tutorial I've watched, the strumming pattern is being taught, which is something that I'm not really following. I just let my hand do its thing, based on how I'd like the song's beat to come out. Well, that's just me, I think. Overall, it was an interesting experience. 

I must say that, playing the uke is really growing on me, and I'm starting to like it more :D. The portability (though I'm not sure when I'd experience it outside the house) and the ease of use are the main things that I really like about it. Although an acoustic guitar can be brought anywhere as well, the uke is much better on the portability department. Here's one of my videos:

[This song (Fly Me To  The Moon), I learned from Cynthia Lin's tutorial.]

Thanks for reading/watching! Haha! I hope I didn't make you turn your eyes/ears away 😂

Traveled to China! - Chengdu

By On September 23, 2018
I haven't been active here for quite sometime. After my very first visit in China in January 2018, as much as I'd like to document every single place we went to, and every food we ate in China, I didn't have much time. We went back there in July and September (yeah, I didn't expect I'd come back so soon), and I've accumulated a whole new bunch of pictures (some videos, too).

We didn't really stay in Shanghai when we came back. Instead, we've spent our time in Chengdu, where we have another office. Chengdu, the fifth largest city in China, is located in Sichuan province (southwestern part of China). Sichuan is well known for its spicy food (especially Sichuan pepper) so we got to try out their specialty--hotpot, and chuan chuan! We went to different places such as the Chunxi Road (where shops for most luxury brands such as Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, etc. are all lined up). Then, for our company's R&R, we travelled to  Lixian, a county in Sichuan--we hiked-then-trekked (for 3-4 hours) going to a camp site, where we had lamb and chicken barbecue and stayed overnight. Of course, on another day, we had fun walking around downtown Chengdu, where we got to try out some of their streetfood (octopus tentacles on skewers, sprinkled with chili powder). And, of course, the people are nice and friendly--always ready with a smile 😊

Alright, as promised in my previous post about my recent China travel, I'll be uploading photos. There's a lot, like seriously a lot more than my first visit, I've picked a few snaps and made it into a collage instead.

I might just add another collage (I'm tamad--lazy--like that), maybe tomorrow or the other day. Also, I took a video of our view from our hotel room. Some may not be aware that Chengdu is quite "lit" at night. Most skyscrapers, if not all, have their own fancy lights spanning the entire exterior. Check this out:

By the way, that's only a very small part of Chengdu, and there's a lot more buildings that are even fancier. I wish it's that easy to go around the city while taking a video haha. But, I think it gives you, at least, a glimpse of how the city looks like at night. It was such a nice experience knowing (and living in) China on a deeper level.

Okay, my thoughts are starting to overflow, and I can't stop writing lol. I have to stop right here for now--got some errands to do. A new post will be up in a few weeks or maybe in a month (I'm not really sure yet) as again, I'll be coming back there by the end of the year. Bye for now! 👋

Blogging or Vlogging or Both?

By On April 22, 2018
Been blogging for quite sometime now, and I thought, "what if I try vlogging?". You know, I'm a type of person who isn't fond of talking a lot. Most of my family and friends could attest to that--and I'm mostly chatty only when I'm close to the person I'm with, so vlogging looks like a daunting task for me.

But you know, vlogging could be good or bad. Why? Like I said, I don't talk too much, and I'm aftraid that if I do vlogs, I might just end up with videos with a lot of dead air. Not that I can't edit it or something but let's just say I like posting with minimal edits, hence the blog. Also, I just thought about it and realized that once a video has been posted, there's no going back and editing. Unlike on blog posts, I can come back any time, in case there were some edits/updates needed. The good thing about vlogging is it's a way of giving a "face" to the voices behind blogs.

Blogging vs Vlogging
You see, YouTube or vlogging in general is one of the trendiest things on the interwebs now. A lot of people out there have made it as their career. Vlogging make blogging look like a thing of the past. Though I like watching videos about basically anything, I like the fact that I'm part of the audience. I have nothing against people who are jumping into the bandwagon. In fact, I laud them for having the guts to talk to a camera and spit their thoughts out for the world to see and hear. I'm also awed by their determination, making themselves (and their backgrounds) look great on camera. It takes a lot of effort, time, and resources, and that is something I can't afford right now.

I guess that's just me.

I used to work in call centers and talking is my primary source of income. I think it's almost the same with vlogging, with a plus. People get to see who are behind these persona, and it's pretty cool. It's just that it isn't for me. Well, I'm old-fashioned like that. I may not write really well, but hey, that's what blogging is for, right? No rules or whatever. I write on my own terms, and I write whatever I want. Not closing any doors, or any windows either. I might try vlogging. Or not. But I have to look or think about compelling stories to tell via videos if I do. I definitely can't do both, or at least dedicate time to make videos of interesting of helpful things such as tutorials. If I do it, just like what I do on blogging, it will be on my own terms and my own pace. For now, this is what I do. :)

Globe At Home Go Unli Broadband Plan 1899 Review

By On April 17, 2018
It's been a long while since I've last reviewed our upgraded Globe DSL plan which was the plan 1299 with up to 10mbps download speed. Since I work from home and I do a lot of screensharing (via GotoMeeting) and VOIP calls (via Skype), it takes up the 100GB too easily. And it.is.not.good when this happens.  Since the internet connection here at home is shared by several other devices ie mobile phones, tablets, it almost always doesn't end well for me #sadlife.

Anyhoo, that's when we've decided to upgrade to the 15mbps plan 1599 which gives us an additional 50GB (150GB in total) for . It was good, during the first few months, but somehow, I felt like the data consumption went a few more notches higher as it could no longer last until the end of each month (still wondering about this). Fortunately, (and expectedly) a Loyalty department agent from Globe called again (the timing is so on point) for a "free" upgrade to the 15mbps plan for 1899, without data capping. Yes, that's correct. For the same speed, we pay an extra PhP300 just so we could use the internet without worrying about running out and not being able to use it for the rest of the month.

My thoughts about Globe's Go Unli Broadband Plan 1899 (15mbps)

So far, we haven't really experienced data capping (we're not supposed to, anyway). Everything goes smooth everyday. Of course, there's some latency being experienced when there are several devices connected and streaming videos (probably this is my son's doing--he's the only one who likes watching random YouTube videos). Apart from that, there's really nothing negative to report at this time. See that Speedtest result up there? That's made during peak hours and with me playing a 40-minute "Scandal" episode at the background.

Broadband Plan 1899 Go Unli
I have to be honest again, that at this point, I think Globe is finally listening to feedback from thousands of their subscibers and actually doing something about it.

I do hope that this will be our last upgrade (for now), so we can all be  #happycamper and get on with our daily lives. It's going to be very disappointing if somehow our usage is cranked up again just so we're forced to upgrade to a higher/more expensive plan.

Anyway, if you are interested and if you're not aware of this yet, you can check out these plans through this link.

Note: This is not a paid review.

Got Mail! PLDT-Smart MVP Rewards Card

By On April 09, 2018
Smart-PLDT MVP Rewards Card Powered by PayMaya
Today was definitely suprising! I've got this in the mail though I wasn't expecting any delivery. Turns out, Smart actually sent this card--for FREE!

Yes, it's for free for Smart and  PLDT subscribers who opted in for MVP rewards. Unlike the regular PayMaya account, one has to buy a card for PhP 150, then link it.

I've got to be honest, I'm impressed! Though it might take me a while to gather that much points to use it. I might just try loading it up and use it instead on any online store. I just hope, though, that it can be loaded up using PayPal  (that's where my funds actually come from) and it would be much more convenient that way. Like I said, I work from home and most transactions that I had to do, I do it online if it's possible. I pay  my bills ie mobile phone and internet plan, SSS contributions, PAG-IBIG contributions, (dang, I'd pay for PhilHealth online if I can, too). But, yeah, it's the Philippines and developments in tech is a bit far behind. Not complaining though. Just hoping it would go a bit faster

A Century And Beyond

By On March 30, 2018

From left to right: Myself, Tatang (as we so fondly call him-our grandfather), and one of my sisters. Taken during his 100th birthday, on November, 2016

I know you wouldn't be able to read this. I doubt if you ever will, had you stayed longer--you mostly marvel on simpler things, one of the things about you that still leaves me in awe. I still have a lot to tell you though--that I want to thank you for passing on your wisdom and raising my mom--so she, together with my dad, could raise us all the same as you and Nanay raised your daughters. 

Thank you for reminding us, that whatever we wear, may it be a burlap sack or pieces of rags, it won't really matter. Thank you for making us understand that no matter what a person wears/looks like, s/he deserves respect just as much as any other person does. 

You were a great tailor, who used his bare hands to make beautiful clothes, yet you  have never taught us to want grander things for ourselves.

You know, I can never thank you enough. Not even with a whole month's worth of posts. I wanted to sing to you. It broke my heart to see you like that on your bed as I held your hand, but you kept on fighting. You lived to be 101, until you can't fight no more.

I'm sorry that I can't be there when you left. We may not have told you a lot-- and I hope the universe finds a way to tell you, that we love you and in our hearts we'll hold you, until it's time for us to meet again.

So long, Tatang! Make them nice suits up there, will you? See you again sometime!