Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Live While We’re Young

I’ve always wanted to own a bicycle. As a kid I would watch my friends stroll about and listen to their stories of over the weekend escapades at school. I wanted to drive one of those blood red bikes with rims as white as toothpaste, but my mama told me it was not proper for a girl to be seen in one of those in public.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

At our house with my brother’s red bike. 1988 Butuan City, Philippines.

And it was not just about the ride. It was about my getup too, and I was darn sure mama would kill me if she saw me in shorts roaming around the village. My legs were so skinny, besides; like Fido-Dido, the female version of you-know-who.

“But maaa?” I’d say in hopeless protest and walk back lugubriously to my room. Bicycles remain a symbol of adventure for me. Sometimes, peering from our window, I tend to wish this and wish that.

I do not want to be rueful about it, however, so I end up saying to myself that I shall live my life to the fullest from now on and, yes, I’m still young enough to do and learn a many new things. I’m not the sporty type, can’t drive a bike, I can’t swim, but I still want to be that free spirit I imagined myself to be as a child, always alone in my room.

We went trekking up the hills before the year ended, chartered a boat to visit some close by islets, and I was nearly sucked in by huge waves in Puka beach. I was so scared and could have sworn to never go near the shoreline again. But at the end of the day, I realize that’s the most risky thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve never felt so happy to be alive.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Puka beach, Boracay Philippines.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Puka beach shoreline.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Sunny day in Puka beach.

Known for their upbeat songs, such as “Live While We’re Young,” I would like to share this handmade One Direction – inspired canvas tote bag for my close friend. Grace and I go back in high school together, and she requested this for her daughter Erika. I hope she likes this. Go live while you’re young, Erika!

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

My handmade One Direction – inspired canvas tote bag.


Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Music and Harmony

Following the narrow track from our home I heard the birds chirrup, camouflaged on treetops, where sunshine appears to blink behind the leaves as I walk by. It seemed to time itself with the short, high-pitched sounds of the birds that made me think of our old home in Butuan City when I was just a kid.

Music takes me to places as far as the mind can see, I said to myself, even in places back in time.

Mactan Island is known for its world-class guitar makers. Passing along a street where a line of stores sells ukuleles I couldn’t help but recreate the tweets in my mind I’ve carried along from our home, and somehow connected my thoughts to all types of instruments I could imagine- a harp, trombone, ukulele, and a set of drums.

I kept bobbing my head walking, according to an inaudible tune,  as if emanating from an invisible Pied Pier of Hamelin on a cool, jazzy Sunday.

Mark and I decided to visit Alegre Guitar Factory in Marigondon, Mactan. It’s not too far from Giovanni’s Italian Pizza, where we’ve become habitues.

I’ve always wanted to learn to play the ukulele. I love music, and long to learn to play one.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

With Mark at Alegre Guitars, Marigondon Lapu-lapu City Cebu Philippines

Photo Credits: Mark F. Villanueva/ clairelyhappy

Me playing a Ukulele Concert at Alegre Guitars, Marigondon Lapu-lapu City Cebu Philippines

Examining smooth curves, the minutiae of its craftsmanship, the summer colors of the ukulele got Mark started, singing slightly above a whisper:

“Wakin’ up too early Maybe we could sleep in Make you banana pancakes Pretend like it’s the weekend now…”

I watched him from behind, in a way connected to his song. I heard only his words that transmuted into a full orchestra in my head, and the store, silent as it was, became illuminated in our minds.

Now in Giovanni’s, Mark drank his beer smiling, and told me, “It’s a beautiful day. We’ve been to places together.”

Photo Credits: Mark F. Villanueva/ clairelyhappy

Alegre Guitar Factory – Wall of Fame, Lapu-lapu City Cebu Philippines

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Hand-painted Ukuleles. I love their colors!

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Souvenir Items