International Book Giving Day 2019

I know it’s midway through the month, but Happy New Year, everyone!

It’s exactly a month before International Book Giving Day (which I have been celebrating in lieu of Valentines, considering my love for books and the fact that I’ve been single for the longest time) so I guess this means I have to announce what I’m doing!

This is for all The Little Prince lovers or Bicolano book-lovers in Cebu:

I am giving away a copy of “An Sadit Na Principe” which is a Bicolano translation of my most favorite book in the world.


Okay, giveaway mechanics:


  1. Follow me on Instagram and Goodreads!
    • Instagram: @stardustandsunsets
    • Goodreads: /mariamyka
  2. Fill up the entry form.
  3. And that’s it!

I will pick up a name at random via a third-party app at 10AM on February 14th.

See you!



Best Methods for Making Your Eyelashes Grow Longer

Long, luscious, healthy looking lashes can make all the difference to the way your eyes look either with or without cosmetics, but what if you want to have your eyelashes grow longer than they do naturally, is it possible? The simple answer is yes, and here we share the best methods you can use to make yours longer.

Image result for eyelashesMethod 1 – Through your diet
Certain foods promote natural hair growth, so make sure you are eating as healthily as possible, and including lots of food like omega-3 rich salmon, vitamin B5 which is found in Greek yogurt, vitamin C in many fruits to strengthen the new growth, and vitamin A, plus iron (found in lean meat and green vegetables, so eat these if you can), and folate-rich food for thickness.

Method 2 – Regularly massage around your eyelash line and eyelids
Make sure your hands are super clean and if you want to use oil try a little virgin coconut oil, and keep it out of your open eyes. Gently massage around this area to stimulate blood flow and encourage hair growth. You can do this daily if you wish, or 2-3 times a week, spending about 30 seconds on the light massage strokes each time.

Method 3 – Use petroleum jelly
Massage a little into your lashes every night and you may well see them grow longer over time. Plenty of people report this is true for them, though there’s no real scientific evidence either way.

There are lots of ways to give your eyelashes the best possible chance of growing longer and avoiding the common problems of them breaking before they reached their full potential. For more information, check out Xlash.

On Friends, Treks, and Geography Lessons (Trekking to Taal 2018)


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Quick Geography Lesson:

What our teachers taught us in Elementary School to be Taal Volcano is not the real one! What is usually pointed to be Taal is actually part of the large island, and is called “Binintiang Malaki.” The real Taal Volcano Island is the bigger one connected to it.

Also, as it turns out, Taal is not a typical old land form that spews out lava from time to time, it is a complex volcano with 47 overlapping cones, caldera, and craters, many of which are still active! (The Little Prince would really hate this place because he has to clean out so many craters).

Steam can rise from the ground in many areas of the Taal Volcano Island due to its active volcanic status. Sulfur steam facials, yesss.

Inside the Main Crater Lake of Taal Volcano Island is Vulcan Point, which may or may not be the largest third-order island in the world. No, this is not where you may find Captain Spock or other Vulcans, sorry. Vulcan Point is an island within a lake (Main Crater Lake) within another island (Taal Volcano Island) within another lake (Taal Lake), on an island (Luzon), within an archipelago (Philippines) in the Pacific Ocean. Wheew!

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the quick (NOT Star) Trek.

Trekking to Taal:

Manileños probably go to Tagaytay on a regular basis, but for those of us who want to avoid Manila traffic and stress, here is a quick guide to your Taal Trek via the Spanish Trail (because we are not seasoned mountaineers, sorry!)


View of the Spanish Trail from the top of Taal.


Metro Manila Transportation is such a mess. In Cebu, we have the North Bus Terminal and the South Bus Terminal, and we can get to different places depending on where they actually are on the map. Manila is more complicated with buses randomly stopping at highways, terminals that don’t operate past certain times, and vans for hire that attempt to scam us left and right.

So, we opted to use the Ube Bus at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Nuvali, Sta. Rosa (PHP 190 each). Then, we took a tricycle up to Tagaytay (PHP 500 for four).


My friends and I stayed at a condo unit for rent at Tagaytay Prime Residences. Our room is a bit pricey at nearly PHP2,400 a night, but it was well worth it. The place was nice and clean, has a functional kitchen, plus the host was really nice and gracious and gave us a lot of leeway for our late check-in and check-out.

There are a lot of nice accommodations in Tagaytay, and if you use my Booking link, you get 10% off the property price (Yay!)

Use this link here:

(Also works for other properties anywhere else in the world, actually)

Trek and Tour:

We booked our Trek with Precious Boat Station because they offer the most affordable prices. Bryan Malvataan, the owner, is very accommodating, too, so we didn’t need to worry about getting around. He even gave us a contact driver to pick us up via tricycle early the following morning, so it was all very convenient.

He also offers freebies such as free use of the lifejackets in for the boat, face masks for when it gets really dusty during the trek, straw hats to shield yourself from the sun, small bottles of water for each trekker, and buko juice for when you get back from the trail.

The entire tour cost us around PHP 2,900 for a group of four. (Breakdown of costs indicated at the bottom of the page)

You may contact Manong Bryan on his Mobile: 0917 – 203 – 2792

The trek is also very quick. We took the easiest route because we only had a day in Tagaytay. It took us about an hour to go up to the main crater lake viewing deck because I took my sweet time. However, if you’re not as slow as I am, you can make it all the way up in about 30 minutes.

Oh, and for another 10-15 minutes, you get to go to see this lovely, lovely view (pardon my photobomb):


I had to sit because my legs were shaking. I am very scared of heights.

Breakdown of Costs:

This breakdown does not include food and other “sideline” trips, by the way, so you should also allocate money for that if you don’t want to starve, and if you want to see more of Tagaytay and Batangas.

Screenshot from 2018-11-29 13-42-32

I hope you enjoy your Taal Trek as much as I did. As always, when you travel to these beautiful places: Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time.

One final photo before I go:


An Open Letter For An Ex, In Light Of The Upsilon Leaks

(not that you would care, or get to read this, or anything)

I don’t know to whom I am supposed to write this to: the boy I fell in love with, the soul that I saw, the person whom he was supposed to grow into, or to the one he has become.

But as always, I will start this: I love you.

But that isn’t really true anymore (because I found out saying you’re despicable will be an understatement) so instead, I will say, I loved you.

And I remember.

Before we decided to pursue different careers, we told each other that we need to grow into the persons that we needed to be, but there are boundaries as to what the other can handle. These deal breakers were non-negotiable. We can’t stop each other from pursuing whatever these deal breakers were, it will simply mean WE won’t make it.

MY deal-breaker included memberships with fraternities. While I have friends who are members of frats, I cannot bear having to deal with someone I love join one. I always viewed frats as an unnecessary display of unfounded loyalty.


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To the boy I fell in love with:

You, with your sweet, gentle, beautiful soul, I believed, should not join one. Your intense need of approval from people, paired with your insecurity of never being enough, just a little over a year after you had your mental breakdown — you cannot and should not be around people whom you have to prove your loyalty to by going through some physical or mental form of frat-related violence; after all, they haven’t proved their end of the bargain to you.

To the soul I had the chance to know:

You spent most of your life trying to prove your worth to your family, to your teachers, to your peers. I wrapped myself in your sadness as you bared your soul to me. I listened to your pain, and your anguish, and your confusion as you tried to prove your worth. You never heard me when I told you you never had to. Your thirst for approval broke you, but you didn’t know anything else, and your soul cannot accept love and friendship in their truest form. I tried my best to fix what was broken, but you hold the glue to keep yourself together, and there was nothing else I could have done but watch you tear yourself apart for people who were not worth it.

To the person you were supposed to grow into:

You were supposed to be kind, and compassionate, and intelligent. You were supposed to be both science and art, and you were supposed to learn you don’t have to prove yourself to be given the kind of love you deserve. You were supposed to know that admiration and idolism are not the same as love and passion, and you were supposed to grow.  You’re stuck. You still are. People who get stuck eventually have move forward or else they fall down. You’re falling. Spectacularly.

I used to put you on a pedestal. Today, I just wish I buried you six feet under.

To the person you have become:

I tried. I tried not to let the frat thing be a deal breaker. I texted you every single day during your initiation that I loved you. That you didn’t have to go through with it. That you should get out if you want to. I don’t know if you even got the messages, but you went through with it. I tried for it not to be a deal-breaker. I really did. But I stick to what I believe, and in my eyes, you were no longer the same.

Screenshot_20181122-074352_1We stayed together for some time after, but you were no longer the person I knew. You were arrogant, and self-important, and for the first time since I’ve known you, you were… entitled.

Your beliefs took a turn for the worse. Suddenly, we were talking about what constitutes as cheating even though you had more stringent views on relationships than I ever did. We understood what we wanted our future to look like but suddenly were arguing about what my role as a female should be in our theoretical future family. And I have been there for you when your weak ass cried every night for months, but when I was going through something, you were ranting about how your needs are always more important than my own.

This wasn’t the same person who wanted me to grow into the person I needed to be by supporting my decisions. This wasn’t the same person who told me to be selfish for a change, because I was always taking care him before I took the time to take care of myself. This wasn’t the person who admired my strength, but rather, despised it.

I loved you through all that because I would have made every excuse to explain your words and your behavior. I would blame the world, the sun, and the fucking universe to justify how I felt for you, and how I still feel those things no matter how badly you treated me. But there are things that are bigger than me that I couldn’t explain anymore.

You said it is our fault as women if we get raped. I am not over this. I will not be over this. The person I loved respected women. The person I loved was protective of the women in his life without being condescending. The person I loved had love and kindness and compassion in his heart.

This repulsively disgusting, shameful, nauseating, misogynistic asshole of a bigoted bastard son of a bitch showed himself after he was initiated into his frat. No, you were not inducted into Upsilon, but I know where you stand in this issue, and you stand with these “frat boys” who have been left behind in the evolutionary process. I don’t know if you were lying to during the years we were together, or if you decided to follow this nauseating path as influenced by your frat, or if you just deteriorated as a person. But what I know is that you were not supposed to be this person that you are now.

You were supposed to be better.

Basadours brings colorful tales, artful activities to Naga children

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Basadours Inc. rolled out a series of storytelling sessions last October to the children of the City of Naga, who were displaced from their homes due to recent landslide.
The month-long outreach project took off on October 4 at CEPOC Central Elementary School. The children listened in rapt attention as the Basadours animatedly read “Just Add Dirt” and “Bakawan”, stories which teach the important values of cleanliness and environmental consciousness.
In the weeks that follow, Basadours visited other evacuation centers in Naga, including Central Elementary School on October 11, Naga National High School on October 13, and Enan Chiong Activity Center on October 20. Volunteer storytellers shared stories of hope and positive change in each stopover.
The monthlong activity culminated on October 27 at Naga Central School, where Basadours teamed up with three other organizations: Summerville (an annual summer workshop for children ages two to 13 years old), Kalinangan Youth Foundation (KALFI Lead), and Choose Tuseday. They brought the magic of storytelling as well as other engaging activities for children such as a play station, a coloring station, and an origami station.
Jo Belle Marabiles, executive director of Basadours, Inc., expresses her gratitude toward her companions and emphasizes the power of storytelling among children.
“I thank my fellow Basadours for volunteering their time and effort for this endeavor in the true spirit of service and charity — giving their time, energy and pooling their resources for the children of Naga,” she said.
“Storytelling gives them something to think about. We aim to inspire them to hope for the better by reading and delivering children’s stories that will hopefully stay with them. We also hope that they live out the values from these stories or that they will love to read books as well,” added Marabiles.