Spending Summer 2015 in Boracay

Boracay, Aklan
Boracay, Aklan


I had a couple of beach trips last summer. One in Palawan, and another one in Boracay.

Last year, I, together with my friends Kat and Reena, went to Boracay (I didn’t blog about it, but I posted our parasailing video). And after a year, Reena and I went back. It wasn’t a vacation really, because we didn’t take leaves from work. It was a 7-day trip of working from the island (can’t complain). We didn’t do any activities, except the Pub Crawl (which I’m gonna blog about separately).

Here are some of the pictures I took during the trip. There aren’t many as I didn’t bring a camera. All pictures were taken using my iPhone.

Boracay Airport
Boracay Airport


Food! I loved the gizzard and this Crispy Bulalo at Smoke.


1. A stray cat. 2. Wanted to buy calamansi muffins, but they ran out!


Boracay Sunset


Restaurant interior


Trying out the panorama trick shot on Reena


Selfie and a sunset picture


And another sunset picture



This post is mainly just a photo dump to document my trip. Will update with more meaningful posts soon.

Photography, Lettering, and Calligraphy Tools

One of the most common questions I get is what kind of tools I use on my work. I will try my best to answer that in this post.

Fujifilm XF-1 (Red)
Hi, I’m Scarlett!

I have a Nikon D80, a Fujifilm XF-1, and my iPhone 6+. I’ve been using my phone for daily pictures (most of my Instagram uploads are from my phone). I use the Nikon D80 for client shoots, the Fujifilm for when I’m too lazy to bring my DSLR to travels.

Apps and Software
Adobe Photoshop CC
Adobe Photoshop CC

For editing on the computer, I have Adobe Photoshop CC and Adobe Lightroom CC. The Adobe Photography subscription also has the mobile version of Lightroom available so, I have that on my iPhone as well.

Aside from Lightroom, my favorite app to post-process photos is VSCOcam. I have a bunch of other apps on my phone, but I don’t really use them much (Mextures, Snapseed, etc).

The Zig Cocoiro Letter Pen and the Pentel Brush Pen
The Zig Cocoiro Letter Pen and the Pentel Brush Pen

I am a pen hoarder so, I kind of have a bunch of pens. My favorite one is the Zig Cocoiro Letter Pen. It’s very convenient to bring for when I’m travelling. I also have a bunch of nibs and calligraphy ink, but I rarely use them as I travel a lot and they are very hard to pack and I can’t just whip them out when I’m at a coffee shop and wanted to write down something.

I am a fan of brush pens. I like the Pentel brush pen. That and the Cocoiro Letter Pen are my most used pens. As I am a fan of brush calligraphy, I also use watercolor for some of my work. My favorite is Prang and I use a medium and a large Kuretake water brush.

Watercolor Tools
Watercolor Tools

I use Moleskine, Muji, Calligrapads, and other unlined notebooks that I find in bookstores (I also hoard notebooks, lol). My favorite though is the Muji plain and dotted notebooks. I like them better than the Moleskine. I have not tried the watercolor Moleskine though. Been trying to look for one as I’m curious.

For watercolor, I hoarded a few Berkeley watercolor pads, but I find it to be too soft and the color of the paper is not white. I like the Canson watercolor paper better, it scans beautifully too.

Apps and Software

For digitizing on the computer, I use Adobe Illustrator. On the phone, I use the app SuperImpose to put my calligraphy on top of a picture I’d taken. It’s pretty neat. I’ve also tried using Photoshop Mix to do the same thing, but it was kind of hard and you have very little control in the masking process (or maybe I just need a little practice?).

There. These are the tools that I normally use for my photography and calligraphy. I will add and update should I discover new ones.



My Birthday Trip Part 2 – Bali, Indonesia

Indonesia is known for their batik designs.

I had wanted to go to Bali for a very long time. A lot of it had to do with the movie Eat, Pray. Love, which is still one of my favorite movies to date. So when a deal opened up in CashCashPinoy, I immediately poked my best friend and travel buddy Ellen and we both booked ourselves the trip. That was months before the trip. We initially wanted to go in time for her birthday (May), but we couldn’t find a schedule so we decided to book it in December, as a late birthday trip for me.

I imagined my Bali trip to be days of lazing around by the beach, but it didn’t quite go that way. It was both our first time to go to Bali, so we decided to visit popular tourist spots.

This is the only beach picture I have.
This is the only beach picture I have and the sky is overexposed. :(

We went white-water rafting. The rapids were not as strong and our boatman was really helpful and kind and called me “cantik” (beautiful) several times. *blush*

We also went to the Bali Safari and Marine Park where we rode an elephant. I really didn’t want to do it at first, but I forgot my hesitations as soon as I hopped on the back of the gentle giant.

White Water Rafting and Elephant Ride

After our tiring white-water rafting activity, we were served with yummy lunch!




After that heavy lunch, we had to climb back up to the main road. I almost fainted, was so totally out of shape. In the afternoon, we went to Tanah Lot Temple which was quite disappointing. It was a cloudy day so there was no amazing sunset and it was high tide, so we couldn’t get close. I was the one who wanted this to be part of the tour because of all the amazing pictures I saw on Google.

Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot Temple

One of the tour stops was at the Bali Batik Factory.

The designs were so amazing, and all were hand-painted



We also visited a couple of temples. Unfortunately, I forgot what the names are.




I didn’t take a lot of pictures during this trip because it rained a lot and I didn’t wanna get my camera wet. I took some photos of our trip to the Coffee farm using my iPhone. We tried the Luwak coffee, because one does not go to Bali and not try the Luwak!

1. Coffee and tea tasting. 2. The cat that poops coffee beans. 3. Coffee beans.

Some accusatory refreshment: (the word bintang, in Filipino, means to accuse)

Local beer

Bali is also full of retail outlets! I bought a Billabong overnight bag and this super cute Airwalk floral kicks:

And the food! We found this place called MM Juice which was near our hotel. They have an amazing Nasi Goreng! I also ordered this fried beef ribs with chilli which was yummy and spicy!

Fried beef ribs with chili for dinner. #SweetBaliHigh #travel #wanderlust

A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

I will certainly go back to Bali, and maybe next time, I will get to visit more beaches and have a more laidback trip.

– RA

My Birthday Trip Part 1 – Singapore


This post is several months late, I know. I wasn’t decided whether to push through with it as I’d been to Singapore many times, but I figured, I love this place so much, it needs to be posted. So here it is.

Singapore is one of my favorite places. It represents a lot of things in my life: family, independence, photography, design, fangirling, and a lot more. It was there that I really bloomed as a person, where my creative self shone through. It was there that I made some life-changing decisions which is why the place holds so much memories.

It’s impossible to go to Singapore without being all nostalgic and this trip was no exception. And sometimes, I feel like I go there just to bring back the memories. In December of 2013, when I was there for my sister’s wedding, I told myself I would revisit all the places that used to have meaning in my life: previous workplaces, malls I used to shop in, restaurants I used to eat, and houses I’d lived in. I didn’t get to do all that so I said I was gonna do it in my next visit.

Fast-forward to November of last year. I had chosen Singapore for my birthday trip (and Bali too, which I will be writing about in another post). I didn’t get to visit everything I wanted to visit, but I still had a good walk down memory lane. (WARNING: This post is image-heavy)

Reconnecting with old friends

Because I worked and lived in Singapore years ago, I have managed to accumulate a few friends there and I still see some of them whenever I’m in town.

My dinner dates, Farina and Saeedah.

A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

I worked with Farina and Saeedah before in ABN-AMRO. And I also met up with old high school and college classmates who had gone to Singapore to work there too.

With Karen, a friend from college
Singaporean Food

One of things I love about Singapore is their food! (Here’s a post of me gushing over Wang’s Kopi-C) Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of food pictures during this trip, but here are a couple:

My yummy dinner. Badoque Ribs. The serving was so huge! 😱

A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

Coffee break turned early dinner. Laksa set at Heavenly Wang. #cantresist A photo posted by Raia Ajihil (@raiaajihil) on

I enjoyed the food at Badoque and it’s just a short bus ride away from my brother’s place. I will certainly go back there in my next visit.

Walking and Running

Two months prior to booking a ticket, I had registered myself to the Great Eastern Women’s Run. It was my first run outside of the Philippines, and I blogged about it here. It was a fun experience, even though I walked like half the time!
One of the many things I like about SG is that it’s safe to walk outside no matter what the time. I think I developed my love for walking there. I would walk to and from coffee shops (5 km away), malls, everywhere! (Also, I hate taking the MRT at rush hour. TT_TT)


I did a mini photo-walk right before I left. It was my last minute attempt to revisit my past. I went to the first place I took pictures of when I first got my DSLR camera 7 years ago. Here are some of the pictures I took:














All pictures taken with my Fujifilm XF-1. It was a very tiring, nostalgic night, but I went home happy.


I don’t shop much whenever I’m travelling, but given that this was my birthday trip, I think I maybe have splurged a little. I bought a moisturizer and a facial peeling gel at Adore, bought two matte lipsticks at MAC, several tops and a jacket in H&M, and several penssssssss, notebooks, and sketchbooks in Art Friend and Popular. I just couldn’t help myself! Art Friend is pen hoarder heaven!


I’m sorry if this post does not makes sense much. But I think I’ll wrap it up. I will be blogging about my Bali trip next!

– RA

Halfway Through! (100-Day Project Update)

Today marks the 50th day of the 100-Day Project. I’ve stuck to it for 50 friggin’ days! That’s more than what I expected. Here’s a quick look at all those 50 posts! (I haven’t been religiously updating the blog for recaps every week, sorry!)

50th Day

I’ve improved a bit on my style and there are less and less inconsistencies on my slants. It is also not as wiggly and shaky as it used to! There are off days, though. Ugh, I hate it when it happens.

I have to admit, I am not as dedicated as I should be. Sometimes, I am so tired to even pick up a pen. On those days, I tend to be more lenient on quality control (which is quite often! T_T). But I’m proud of myself for sticking to it. 50 more days to go! Let’s do this!

I am hoping to post more watercolor calligraphy. I’ve been travelling the whole month of May and I didn’t bring most of my tools. This is why I’ve been using a lot of my Zig Cocoiro Letter Pens.