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December 30, 2013

2013 in Retrospect

2013, I have to admit, has been a long year. It's been a bit of my year too! For the eight short months that I have started blogging at my new home (which is blogspot), I had come to learn more things about blogging and the blogosphere. This year, I took my blogging one step higher and I am more than happy and thrilled that I did! 

2013 was a year full of fun, surprises, new discoveries, learnings and more importantly, new friends! Given that, I have decided to do a recap to look back on some highlights/favorites as well as a summary of each month! I hope you enjoy! :) P.S. A wave of links is coming right up!

Yep! That would be my second name. :)


As much as I want to keep my old posts, transfer them to blogger and just continue on with it, I had decided to start in another clean slate. Thus, a new beginning. I started with the name Maryiad for a blog name and url (mary + myriad = maryiad. genius! :p), which means 'the many sides of Mary'. Later on, I noticed it's a little bit corny haha. So I thought hard of what to name my blog, something I can use in the long run. Finally, I thought of Secret Obsession, which is perfect! You can read the blog name story here.

I was on a writer's block and wondered 'what now?'. So what I did was transfer a few not-so-personal posts to the new blog. There's our October 2012 Asian Adventure divided into three parts (because it was too damn long and I think I wrote too much haha) and our Celebratory Outing to name a few. Also, I posted some bad habits I need to break, of which I think I still haven't. Lol!

TOP 5 PICKS: Life Lessons Worth Sharing | DIY Paintbrush/Pen Holder | The Asian Adventure 2012 | The Visayan Invasion 2011The Garinfarm Adventure


Ah, summer! I think it was during this month, or perhaps late in April that I was introduced by Ms Camie to the Better Blogger Network. I had met a few Filipino friends here! :) This introduction to BBN led me to the Blog Every in May Challenge hosted by Jenni of SOML. Though I wasn't able to finish it, I still had so much fun! Aaaand, I was able to meet new people and learn the rule 'comment to those who comment unto you'.
  1. A Day in my Summer Life
  2. What and Who I'm Missing
  3. Ten Words that describe me (Oops! I mean Eight)
  4. A Moment in My Day + Embarrassing Moment!
  5. Advice: Choosing A Course
  6. Things I'm most afraid of
  7. The Perks of being in the Tourism Industry
  8. Blogueurs que j'adore
  9. A Quote to Inspire
  10. Things that make me Uncomfortable
  11. DIY: Perk Up your White Sneakers!
  12. Allow Me to Educate You
  13. My Little Autobiography
  14. Blog Everyday in May Challenge!
  15. An Essay Lovely as a Tree
  16. Expect the Unexpected
TOP 5 PICKS: Expect the Unexpected | Advice: Choosing a College Course | My Little Autobiography | Essay lovely as a Tree | A Quote to Inspire


June was still vacation for me since I was waiting for my OJT (on the job training - a course requirement) to start. This time, I had started the concept of Takeover Tuesdays wherein every Tuesday (duh), a blogger gets to be exposed in the blog (for free!) through a series of Q&A! I had recently stopped it but I'm planning to have it back, but this time, no Q&A's. :) Also, I had made a List of Seven series in case I run out of blog ideas. haha On a personal note, this is also where I had traveled to Zambales (5 butt-aching hours away from Manila) along with my aunt to attend my cousin's wedding.

TOP 5 PICKS: My First Liebster AwardWhat to do when you're alone and bored | Gotta Love Pants | Cousin's Chicken Breast Recipe | Cousin Camwhore


So our Training has commenced. Blog posts were scarce as I and my co-ojt's had things to accomplish (and memorize!) Most of the blog posts were about Five Among Friends (a Q&A that Taby of Closet Intellectual started) and the Takeover Tuesdays. It's a good thing I have these lovely ladies to take over my blog for me while I was away making lemondes (if you know what I mean!

TOP 5 PICKS: Clothing HaulFive Among Friends 3.0Five Among Friends 4.0 | Five Among Friends 5.0 | The Training + Giveaway


No post this month. Boo! I wonder what I did that I haven't updated the blog for a month! Our training was already finished by then and I guess I had totally enjoyed my vacation that I decided to be on an unannounced hiatus. Or, I had so much fun tinkering with html codes and such that I had no time to blog!



Vacation extension! Our OJT is our only subject for the semester that started from June to October. So I was in Manila from June to the first two weeks of August, had my OJT starting July, and no classes onwards. Fun, eh? It would have been boring since I was the only one left in the house with chores to do (everyone was at school). But thank goodness that the internet existed to keep me company! I had made my very first playlist named This Love. I think it was during this month that I found time to read posts that discussed the pros and cons and how to's of blogging. Given that, my own version of blogging tips was born.

TOP 5 PICKS: Blogging Tips from an AmateurThings that a 20 year old should know | Korean Restaurant Experience | High School Reunion 2012 | Getting the VSCO Effect with Photoshop


I must say, October has been the bestest blogging month for me this year! I had come up with a blogging challenge called the October Daily and hoped that at least a few bloggers would join. I was so thrilled when 54 bloggers signed up! More participants equals more fun! This was the month were I met more great friends from all over the globe (or most parts of it).
  1. I Will Remember You
  2. Even a little help can feel fulfilling
  3. Happiness is...
  4. Beautiful Brights
  5. My 18th Birthday Bash
  6. How to Win My Heart
  7. My Little Hometown
  8. A Letter to Yong Hwa
  9. A Day with Erich
  10. Book Review: True Blue by Luanne Rice
  11. What's in my [School] Bag
  12. The Things I believe in
  13. Smelling memories
  14. The Real Purpose of Blogging
  15. Goals and Dreams before 2014 Ends
  16. A Problem-Free Philosophy
  17. Top Five Favorite Posts
  18. A Quote to Remember
  19. Saturday in Photos
  20. Things to Do on a Sweater Weather
  21. Blog Lovin!
  22. Songs that Elevate My Mood
  23. Tips: Designing your Blogger Blog
  24. A Day Sans Sleep
  25. A Childhood Snippet + Sunday Currently 3.0
  26. Filling in the blanks
  27. Update + My First Few Weeks in Blogging
  28. An unforgettable High School memory
  29. Soundspiration
  30. Why blog?
TOP 5 PICKS: Soundspiration | Tips: Designing your Blogger Blog | Things to Do on a Sweater Weather | Even a little help can feel fulfilling | My First Few Weeks in Blogging


I finally got a domain name! Huzzah! What else? Hehe. I think this was during this month, or late in October that I got to receive Sunshine Awards from seven awesome bloggers! Whoa! And a Liebster from Marla that I still haven't done yet. Boo..But seriously ladies, thank you so so much from the bottom of my hypothalamus! :)


This is where I frequently say 'Can you believe it's only __ days until Christmas?'. And now, it has come and gone too fast. TOO FAST. I can't even. This month, I had come up with another challenge called 12 Days of Christmas. All the while, I thought December was going to be a not-so-busy month for most of us. Only to find out that with the arrival of the holidays, and with more holidays than classes, most of us are indeed busy. I feel like such an awful host. :( Still, I am happy that some of you who joined in were able to finish or post more than I did! :) Kudos to you! This month, I finally got a 2014 planner - a doodle planner! I'm not much of a doodler but let's see how this goes in the end. Haha.

TOP 5 PICKS: Villa Igang Beach | Typography-ish | Things I'm Thankful for this ChristmasDear Santa, here is my wishlist... | What To Do on Christmas Eve

So that was how 2013 went for me. Given those above, 2013 is a blogging year to be treasured. I am sure that 2014 will be a more productive one too! I am currently planning on some posts and a series (hint hint!) that I'm hoping you'll like! :) Since you're already reading this, I would like to thank YOU, yes YOU, for being a reader and a friend. You are one of the main reasons why I keep this blog. :) THANK YOU SO MUCH! Sending my big cyber bearhugs to all of you! I do hope that we'll 'see' each other next year and in the years to come! Goodbye 2013, and in a few days, hello 2014! Happy New Year everyone! Saranghae! ^___^

I challenge you to do a recap of your blogging year too!
So, challenge accepted? *wink
If you did, put a link to it in the comments or tweet it to me at @itsmaryspeaks!
I'd love to read it! :)

December 29, 2013

The Sunshine Award

I feel so giddy happy and honored for what I have received within the last month of October (Yes, October :/ At least I posted it before the year ended?)! A Sunshine Award... Or Awards! I would like to thank these pretty ladies for nominating me:
Thank you so much lovely ladies! I'm so sorry I just got to posting this. I have been a bad blogger and had this post sitting in my drafts for weeks, months even. But here goes... :)

The rules:
1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger/s.
2. Share 11 random facts.
3. Answer 11 questions from the nominating blogger.
4. List 11 bloggers to recommend.
5. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
6. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate, answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you. Enjoy!

11 Facts About Me:

  1. I will be graduating this March! Hello real world!
  2. I have a divided chin. :)
  3. I'm a righty.
  4. But I can write with both left and write hands. My left hand writing looks like that of a five year old, though. Not bad. Haha
  5. I can write backwards with both hands, too.
  6. I once had thick hair. 
  7. I'm not difficult to please.
  8. My pimples always always appear in the nose area.
  9. I can play the bandurria.
  10. My nails are always cut short.
  11. I can paint. :)
My answers to the questions below the cut! :) I do hope you don't fall asleep while reading my answers haha.

December 27, 2013

Christmas Vacation To-Do List

Hello cookies! Wait, did I just call you cookies? Hahah. Nope, I'm not hungry at the moment. :p So, how was your Christmas Day y'all? It's currently the 27th in our side of the world and another year is just around the corner! :) Looks like this challenge is ending so quick and I'm not even halfway done with all of the prompts! Ah, I guess I'll have to break more of the rules don't you think?

I had intended in posting this yesterday, but something personal came up (trust me, you don't want to know). So here goes my ever late goals for Christmas Vacation.

Exactly, Patrick! | pictures.4ever.eu

1. Study for my exams - Guess who's enjoying her Christmas vacation so much that she still hasn't touched her notes. (Yes, me!) Sure I had promised myself that I would put off schoolwork until after Christmas vacation, but that doesn't include exams. Can someone please convince me to study? :)

2. Make a schedule for my major subjects - Read: Gantt Chart

3. Do some DIY or craft - I have some good news!  See these pretty little paper stars below? Yes, yes I have finally learned how to do it! Haha (The truth is that I was only interested with them a couple of days back when I saw a jar full of them at my second cousin's house during our Christmas party. So I asked her to teach me how to do it, and those were the only things I ever did the whole morning today.) I now have filled almost half of the jar with it. If you want to know how to do it, here is an Origami tutorial! I have to warn you, making the little cuties are a bit addicting!

4. Write in my journal - I recalled it was ages ago when I wrote in my journal! I would need a pen like this in order to actually write though. Haha

5. Finish reading P.S. I Love You - This is the last Ahern book I should finish to finally cross off another item from my bucketlist! I am currently on Chapter 16 and I know I can finish all 51 Chapters before this vacation ends! Whoop! This was yesterday and it's all been done madame! ;) Applause to Cecelia Ahern for writing such a good book that almost made me cry. Almost! And applause to me for finishing 35 Chapters in one day!

I know it's too late to ask for some Christmas vacation To - Do List, so instead of that,
What are your New Year's Resolutions?
Ha! :)
December 24, 2013

What to Do on Christmas Eve

Hello beautiful snowflakes! Guess who's waaay behind the Christmas Challenge? Yep, that would be me. :( I didn't actually plan on taking a week-long hiatus, but it happened. Exams, activities, my two major subjects and mostly exams have taken over my first two weeks of December! It was stressful but we all had managed to put sprinkles of fun on top of it. :) I have decided to put off schoolwork till after Christmas, so I'm pretty less occupied since the weekend. Given that, I'm a total laze for not catching up during those days. Whoopsies. 

December 22nd's prompt which is five things I plan to do on Christmas Eve will make a perfect post right now because it's just less than 10 hours until Christmas Eve! Wahoo! I've planned to do the remaining prompts in the next few days too, so for those who haven't done some of the previous prompts, let's do it together! Here goes...(in order. hehe)

1. Get together with my high school friends. You might think that my high school friends are my only friends. Hahah. I do have a lot of friends but nothing can ever compare to the friendship I have with my high school buds. They are all like my bestest friends. Anyway, someone posted on facebook saying we'll meet at the plaza before the Christmas Eve Mass tonight. Hopefully, all or at least a lot of us can come.

Priests making their entrance to the Church. Even the outside of the church is full of people!

2. Go to Church and attend the Midnight Mass. As we all know, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. And what better way to celebrate His arrival than a Mass! As Catholics, it is a tradition that is observed since the ancient times, perhaps. Though the mass doesn't always start at midnight, it frequently ends around that time. I remember when I was still a child, a huge 'flying' star with colorful fabrics to serve as tails would pass from the back of the church towards the front, ending right above the manger.

Remember the star that the three wise men followed? Yup that's it! It was just magical! Nowadays, at our church, the star is already fixed right above the manger. No more flying stars then. During the mass, almost everything is sang. My favorite part is the singing of entrance song which is Gloria in Excelsis Deo. :) If you are to celebrate Christmas in the Philippines, expect every church to be full! If you want to know more about Filipino Christmas, you can read it here.

3. Eat. One of the most awaited parts of the Christmas Eve is the feast! Usually when family members go back home from Luzon, Mindanao or abroad, families hold feasts and sometimes even invite neighbors over! Good neighbors! :) For us, we usually turn the television on or have a movie marathon while feeding our stomachs. The main stars of the Noche Buena are the Ham (never lose the ham) and Queso de Bola (Edam cheese). Sometimes, people serve spaghetti, pancit bihon or palabok, and more Pinoy goodness!

I can watch this all day! hahah. He's so cute when he's hungry!

4. Sleep? Hahah! So after all those events, a nice sleep to wrap up the day!

5. Feel the cold Christmas evening air & watch the stars. Though sometimes I want to spend Christmas Eve in solitude too. Or with my family. We'll all go to this hill, lay out a cloth, feel the warm earth and the cold air, lie on our backs, watch the stars, enjoy the quiet, talk...you get the picture. :)

P.S. I found this photo on facebook and just thought I'd share it to ya! Merry Christmas everyone!

What are planning to do on Christmas Eve?

December 23, 2013


Hello blogosphere! :) It's just a few days before Christmas! Thirty hours in my part of the world, to be exact. Surprise surprise! Can you believe it? Last time, were just counting, anticipating, itching and wishing for it to come, and now it's finally here! So here's me wishing you all a very Mary Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year! 2014 is going to be great! I can smell it!

Though t'is the time of the year, (I know that the weather might be freezing where you are but) the weather here fails to make us feel like Christmas. Sure it's a bit cold at night but it's uber HOT during the noon! It is a tropical country after all. :D

Yesterday, a total blackout happened. I don't know what happened to me, but I bet all (or some) of my creative juices flowed out that night that I was able to come up with these (below)! Eh, not actually these but notebook drafts of these. Hehe. I was feeling extra artsy today that I managed to transfer them to a sketchpad. So for the meantime, I'm just gonna leave you with these 'typographies'. Enjoy!

P.S. My sincerest apologies that I am not yet posting the link-ups for our 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. I know I know I'm a bad host for that. Hopefully I can tomorrow. :) 

P.P.S. If you're scratching your heads and asking yourself what to post on days that seem 'blank', well I've got some good news! I found these PDF file called 100 Ideas by Keri Smith and I'm sure it will be of big help to all of us! All you need to do is cut along the dotted lines, put the squares inside a bowl and pick one each day! Cool right? :) If you gave this a try, please do tell me by tweeting me the link to your post (@maryspeaks) or by tagging it with #ksmith100ideas! I would love love love to read your posts! :)

So, which one is your fave? :)
December 21, 2013

Villa Igang Beach

About two days ago, I posted about our second visit to paradise. So this one is during our first visit - our first look at paradise. Hahah. Okay Mary, lame.

Last December 2, we decided to conduct a site visit for our target area for our feasibility study - a subject requirement. Thus, I had finally set foot on an island I have never been before! Though it's just 15 minutes away from the Iloilo's port, I didn't have any reason or time to go there. So, thanks to this subject, I finally crossed off another item from my bucketlist! Yeehaw!

We went there at about 12 noon, just after class. From school, we proceeded to the Ortiz Wharf where rode a pumpboat to the island. The ticket costs 13 pesos (student rate) by the way. Upon reaching the Jordan Port in Guimaras, we rented a multicab, one of the local means of transportation, for 900 pesos back and forth. It was an enjoyable 45-minute ride to the place. We were noisy (which I'm sure the driver didn't mind) and just in awe of some of the sceneries along the way. Talk about new people at a new place! I think I had done too much editing on the photos hehe. But anyways, I hope you enjoy! :)

The hole that bent tree makes looks like an entrance to some magical world, eh? This is not yet the entrance to the Villa though. To get to the actual entrance, you still have to walk at least a kilometer. But worry not 'cause there's a tricycle available to take you to the beach for 10 pesos!

This is a few meters away from the actual entrance. Yes, that's already white sand in the pathwalk. Sweet! It's a developing site so it's not that fancy. On both sides of the pathwalk are mangroves. By the way, Villa Igang is part of the whole EcoPark owned by the John B. Lacson Foundation (JBLF) System. That explains the mangroves. Villa Igang is not even a resort according to the owner, but a lodging facility for visitors of the EcoPark. But it has a beach and just about almost everything that a resort has, so I guess it's totally okay to call it a Beach Resort. :p

Those are the newly constructed rooms in the Villa. These are the more modernized looking rooms aka hotel-ish. Adjacent to it is the cutesy restaurant overlooking the lagoon!

The beachfront with it's glorious white sand! Remember this post showcasing my errr ...feet? That's how the sand in the beach looks like. Hehe

The resort was very quiet that day - no guests, just us. So it was a perfect timing for a site visit!

A view from the porch.

Though the weather was calm that day, we didn't dare break any rules. We are law and rule abiding citizens, ya know!

I couldn't stop staring at this view! It just looks so SO perfect, I have no words.

Us onboard the pumpboat bound for Iloilo. I guess I'll be coming back more frequently to the island. :)

Au revoir!
December 20, 2013

The Filed 2014 Doodle Planner

Because 2014 is just around the corner, I got myself a planner! Yippee! But wait, I didn't just get myself a simple planner, I got me a DOODLE PLANNER - a really cute one I tell you! *dance dance!

I figured it's time I finally get myself one because I want to be more organized and accomplished next year. I can picture 2014 being very busy and I can't afford to miss something important. I'm very optimistic about the coming year and I'm ready to conquer it (and the years that come after)! Dear 2014, I'm gonna rock ya! :)

So the planner comes in black or white and with a personalizable cover! I chose the white one so I can color it all I want. Haha. And it comes with a pen bandolier and a really cute plushy keychain too (that blue cutie in the first photo)! 

During the day I got the planner, I spent a whole free afternoon coloring it. Haha.

It's got a color chart so you can see at a glance your mood for the whole week and the whole year! Awesome, right?

My birthday month! :))

Marked it in case I forget. Haha

An expense tracker at the end of each month! What a fun way to get motivated to save! :)


I seriously just can't get enough of it! Haha. I can't wait to fill it with happiness and really good and great things! Banzaaiii!