Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Leche Flan

I cook for the pictures.

So, there. My first contribution to Hyperbole, a leche flan recipe.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

New Smartphone

Huawei smartphone
Bought a new smartphone, finally. 'Had to. Will probably loose it, again. Yes, Murphy's Law. But I need a smartphone for internet-on-the-go and stuff. 'Cost me ETB 2,800. 

My mint's thriving.

Smells like 'mint' spirit.
I can actually already smell the mint in the air around my little mint pot. Thanks for the mint, Andy. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Happy International Volunteer Day 2014!

International Volunteer Day (IVD) takes place every year on 5 December as a celebration of volunteers and volunteering in all its forms -- that's me and what I'm doing!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sketch: Alibaba is Chinese

Today's random sketch. (Illustration for a Hyperbole article.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I've become an art teacher.

Art school confidential.
I fancy myself an artist, (among other things...), and anyway, we're all supposed to be artists, architects.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Paint Weekend

You talkin' to me? Luscious lips for the girls, Kalkidan and Amen at it.
Inspired by Ronch's lecture on street art and urban planning last Thursday, and the serendipitous (yah, yah...) visit of their artist/architect friend, colleagues were swept into a random (street art - inspired) paint weekend in their compound.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Proposed Auxiliary Student Toilets + Showers

My proposed design for the student showers.

The Scientific Director has again given me a design assignment.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

One Sabado Night

So, for the first time in 10 months, I finally hosted a small soirée .

I've been talking about doing it for months. With Gavin, at first. He's been planning to host a party as well for his office mates, and when I got here, he asked me to co-host it with him, invite some of my friends over as well. But then that never happened. Then I took on that idea, thinking of a reason or an occasion to hold the party. Andy was also keen on the idea. He could host one in his house, too. Or something. We kept thinking and talking about it. With other friends. Intermittently. In between sips of beer. And getting by.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Remembering the October 15 Bohol Earthquake

Exactly one year ago, the island of Bohol snapped from beneath, rocking the very foundations of our faith and fate as a people.
In less than a minute, I saw our stone churches reduced into rubble, homes crumbled and toppled, lives lost, families shattered, dreams interrupted.
While today, I shiver still, as I remember the people we lost – the kids crushed by  a falling wall (the only concrete wall of their house), the farmer pinned down by a falling debris from a chocolate hill, the churchgoers buried under centuries-old rubble , fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, strangers – and I shudder still, as I remember the earthquake, the 7.2 magnitude swaying of the ground, the eerie crackle of breaking earth, the raging groan of the tumbling hillside, the fierce seething of the sea waters, and the uneasy trembling of our hearts – I quiver more in rapture of the spirited humanity that engulfed the whole of Bohol during those most trying of times.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gasa from Cebu!

Oh yeah, chicharon and danggit! 
 Sweet, another gasa aka pasalubong aka travel gift from the Philippines.

This time, they're from Sir Stephen, who hails from Cebu, about two hours (via fast ferry) away from my island province of Bohol.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Crêpe Crap

Sugar-sprinkled crepe.
So, I finally got to buy flour last night. Just at my neighborhood souq, too. See, I've been wanting to, and meaning to, for months now, ever since I craved for chocolate chip cookies (pan-cooked, having no oven), pancakes and crepes. I just haven't gotten myself to actually "buy" it. (Like the much more needed filter water gallon.) My excuse? A lot. "Where'd I buy them?" "I don't see them in shops." "I don't really need flour." And the classic. "Tomorrow. Tomorrow." (And me, bursting in Annie's song!)

Anyway, here you go. My crêpes. Sugar-sprinkled as I totally forgot to buy Nutella or its Ethiopian/Arabic equivalent.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Carbonara Craving

My gooey carbonara.
I've been craving for carbonara since I got back to Dire.

Ever since I had it one dinner at Awraris last week, I was like, "Oh, here's another pasta dinner I could make. And eat." The Awraris carbonara was not bad. Not as savory, and I'd say, bland even. But to me, this is good, as it means I could finish the whole serving because I don't have to drink (to drown the flavor) liquids in between swallows. You get the drift.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Sharing a light for the Meskel celebration.

Before coming to Ethiopia, I've never heard of the story of the "true" cross being "found" before. That's how bad a Catholic I've. (Still am, I guess, but non-practicing and non-believing for nearly 10 years now.) 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Happy Ethiopian New Year!

Melkam addis amet! Ethiopian kids don their best clothes for Enkutatash where they sing carols to friends and family in exchange for gifts.
To the rest of the world, today is 9/11 aka the day Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the U.S. But here in Ethiopia, September the 11th, is Meskerem 1 aka Enkutatash, New Year's Day in the Ethiopian Calender (Julian Calendar).

Melkam addis amet! (Happy new year!)

Today marks the beginning of year 2007 in the Ethiopian Calender (E.C.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Skyflakes and Pancit Canton, yeah!

Goodies from the Philippines! Daghang salamat, Doc Rommel!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Walk This Wadi

It's alive! This mostly dry river (seasonal river aka wadi) has sprung to life with sandy yellow water rushing through.
So Andy and I finally decided to go for a trek towards one of those hills surrounding downtown Dire Dawa.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Trekking Kulubi-Gabriel

Kulubi-high. (Or not.) Chewing on sugar cane, after the climb.
So, colleagues at the university have been talking about Kulubi all week. It's supposed to be a huge Ethiopian Orthodox Church pilgrimage site. And this week is apparently one of the two feast days of the site dedicated to St. Gabriel. 

Kulubi is less than an hour away from Dire Dawa, see, so why not?  But actually, a couple of the other Filipinos (Ma'am Luzzette and Ma'am Ana) and I had talked about going to Harar yesterday but the weather went nasty in the afternoon (rains and thunderstorm) that we decided to cancel and perhaps just join the other friends who've talked about goin' to Kulubi today.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What kind of fan are you?

Watching this reminded me of my World Cup watching buddies back home.

We were so like these shrieking ladies. But a more subdued version. Haha.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


His birth > death. #rizal Artwork by drel21

Today is the birthday Dr. Jose P. Rizal. THE Filipino Hero.

The only conferred National Hero, in fact, of the many declared Filipino heroes who helped shape (read: mainly fought and died for) our country.

Deservingly so. He was the kind of man who excelled in many things, a Renaissance man of sorts, doctor, inventor, writer, linguist, artist, etc. But his great contribution to the Filipino struggle for independence from Spain were his novels Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibuster). Ideas see shape revolutions. Even if his "cause" was really not for Philippine independence per se (disclaimer: my own redux.) but for it to "officially" become  a "province" (of sort) of Spain, have proper "representation" to the mother government and all the perks that come with it: better services, education, and whatnot for the people. And he didn't approve of THE "armed struggle" though in his second book, the El Fili, he expressed, through his protragonist, a "change of heart" and he did, too, via later writings (and letters to friends, etc.), too. But such was the power of his writings, he became a symbol of the revolution.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Look up. More.

First locust cloud, I've seen. Some kinda scary amazing, up close.
The things one would, could, miss if, when, one does not look up. More.

Like clouds of locusts swarming through a midday sky that's suddenly turned to dusk.

Which I could've missed if a student didn't tell me to open the window, and look up.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Broken, not inoperable
So, in class today, I dropped my phone.

Not my first time, so I was like, yeah, breathed a curse, picked it up and put it aside on table. As I was in the middle of a lecture. Why was I holding it in a middle of a lecture, it's my notepad, you know. I was peering at it, while lecturing.

Only after class did I notice the crack. Damn. But to my relief, it was still operable, the touch screen and all. Left a scar, is all. Which is annoying but I can live with.

Ah well.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Becoming francophone (well...)

After finally connecting with Alliance Francaise and meeting some really cool people, learning French language, why not?

So, this evening was our first class for French Language Level 1 at Alliance Ethio-Francaise (aka Alliance Francaise aka Alliance) Dire Dawa. I was able to half-convince two of my Filipino colleagues, Lizel and Luzzette, to register as well, but I came alone this first day to scout the scenes...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Celebrating Fasika (Ethiopian Easter) with Student Interns

Happy Ethiopian Easter!
Yesterday marked the Ethiopian Easter, which means the breaking of the intense 56-day fasting over Lent, when no meat or any animal products, including milk and butter are eaten by all practicing Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.

I was on that student trip when this long-fasting season began, and had experienced about a week of fasting from meat with the habesha's (local Ethiopians) and with their very limited cuisine as it is, it could be tedious. There's always meat, of course. Ethiopia has a good number of Muslim population, and other Christian denominations, Roman Catholic, Protestants, and an ever-growing number of expatriates and tourists, so there can't be no meat. In Dire Dawa, particularly, the Muslim population (Somalis, mostly) is quite huge -- so you can be sure to still find macchiato (it has milk, no!) and shukla tibs even during fasting season. Most Christian meat shops (marked with red cross signs), though, are closed for the full 56-day period.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Timkat (Ethiopian Epiphany) in Dire Dawa (18 January 2014)

Timkat ala Dire Dawa

So, of course, I want to immerse myself in the local culture. So when the cultural calendar alert sounded -- let's go!

It's Timkat. People were talking about it. I asked my colleagues about it. Students, too. And my pal, Wikipedia, of course.

Timkat (Amharic: ጥምቀት which means "baptism") is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany. It is celebrated on January 19 (or 20 on Leap Year), corresponding to the 10th day of Terr following the Ethiopian calendar. Timket celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. This festival is best known for its ritual reenactment of baptism (similar to such reenactments performed by numerous Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land when they visit the Jordan); early European visitors confused the activities with the actual sacrament of baptism, and erroneously used this as one example of alleged religious error, since traditional Christians believe in "one baptism for the remission of sins" (Nicene Creed). (Wikipedia)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I'm a draftswoman, great!

3D rendering via Sketchup. Design is by Architect Luzzette.

I love my job. I mean being an architect. Really.

I've been lucky, getting this volunteering placement. Being an architect, there's only so little humanitarian work or professional volunteering opportunities (none that you don't self-fund, IMHO) or with known volunteering agencies or iNGOs.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Media Noche in Ethiopia

Not quite lavish, but was most filling, nonetheless!

While we didn't celebrate Christmas with the tradition noche buena, Filipino colleagues at the university, Ma'am Luzzette, Ma'am Liezl, (with their housemate Ma'am Ana from TVET) and Doc Rommel, and I, bid goodbye to 2013 with a very meager media noche at the 3 ladies' flat.