My first time moderating a panel

Despite doing several odd voluntary and paid jobs over the year’s NerdFest Online was my first time moderating a panel discussion! To those watching: was it obvious?

The “lucky” panel was Communicate! Communicate! The Science Communicators’ Panel at NerdFest Online, the online convention organized by Nerd Rage PH. NerdFest was supposed to be an actual event this May 2020, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not one to give up and hoping to bring a sense of community in these tough times, the Nerd Rage PH team, with the help of It’s Happening Events and more dedicated volunteers, turned the physical event into a virtual one, with live streamed panels over the May 9-10, 2020 weekend.

For Communicate! Communicate!, the “lucky” victims, erm panelists were Jo Brianne Briones (Information Officer of the DATOS [Remote Sensing and Data Science] project of the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute [DOST-ASTI]) and Mikael Angelo Francisco (founder and editor-in-chief of the science news website Flipscience.ph). I love these two guys because 1) yay friends! and 2) I’m a big admirer of what they’re doing in their respective circles. Jo Brianne works in the government, and her science communication is targeted towards other government agencies, researchers, and legislators. Her job is to inform government officials on what DOST-ASTI is doing, why it’s important, and why they should give DOST-ASTI more research funds. In comparison, Mikael works in the public sphere, producing easy-to-understand science news and features on Filipino research and daily FlipFacts on curious, science-y things found in or happening in the Philippines.

You can watch our whole panel here (starts at 3:35):

As you can tell, we love talking about science, and talking about talking about science 😄 The panel was super fun to do and I’m super thankful to Jo and Mikael for agreeing to be in it. Thank you also to everyone who watched live and sent us questions! Please pardon the robotic voice at the beginning. The earphones I was using had a severe delay versus the microphone, so I could only hear myself a full second after I spoke into the microphone. Seriously disorienting, hence the slow speaking and the transfer to a different set of headphones.

On another note, this panel made me miss doing sci comms SO FREAKING MUCH. I love sci comm. I LOVE IT. Personally, I think it’s my great passion in life, maybe more so than doing science itself. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like because of bills to pay. To get around that, I’m committing myself to write at least one sci comms article a month, just to keep myself happy and sane. To researchers out there, especially Filipino researchers, send me stuff to write about! 😀

Got married to the Doctor! Part 3: the church, food, cake, and flowers

Previously, in The Islander Girl…
Adrian and I got married! Our wedding was Doctor Who-themed! Our prenup video had us escaping from Darth Vader, a stormtrooper, and a Cyberman, and traveling through space and time! The groom dressed as the Tenth Doctor! I had a headpiece made of stars! And now, the venues, food, and flowers…
The church:
Wedding venue was Nuestra Senora de Gracia Parish in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati AKA the site of almost every telenovela wedding ever. Despite its stately facade, NSDG is actually smaller on the inside. Seating capacity is around 200-230 people (5 people/pew X 2 pews/row X 20 rows) with a relatively short aisle: save the long train for a different church.

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Our reception was in the garden of the Monasterio de Guadalupe next door. The garden is in the middle of the monastery and with some planning, was able to accommodate 2 long tables, 21 round tables, 2 buffet setups, the couple setup, the band stage, the projector screen, and the TARDIS.
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The monastery let us use their airconditioned library (where I got my makeup touched up and stored the wedding cake) and their non-airconditioned recreation room (became the storage area for our suppliers). The monastery has toilets on the first floor for visitors but since their staff don’t maintain those during events, my ninang (who operates a restaurant maintenance company) hired two staffers to keep the toilets clean and restock toilet paper throughout the reception.
Weekend weddings are scheduled for 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm, while the garden can host one event per day.

Continue reading “Got married to the Doctor! Part 3: the church, food, cake, and flowers”

Got married to the Doctor! Part 2: the wedding garb

Previously, on The Islander Girl…

Adrian and I got married! Our wedding was Doctor Who-themed! Our prenup video had us escaping from Darth Vader, a stormtrooper, and a Cyberman, and traveling through space and time! And now, for the wedding preparations…

Our wedding clothes were inspired by a few key Doctor Who looks.
Adrian’s suit was the easiest part: of course he wanted the Tenth Doctor’s suit 😛 He already had the brown suit made but he wanted the blue pinstripe suit for a more formal look. We couldn’t find the exact navy blue with red pinstripes so we got navy blue with light blue pinstripes instead (thanks Divisoria!). Not exactly accurate but close enough. Shoutout to Mang Mando (Kamuning Market) for making the time to make Adrian’s suit! Apparently, Adrian had recommended Mang Mando to everyone who asked about his brown suit and Mang Mando got so many orders to the point that he almost didn’t have the time to make Adrian’s blue suit.

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My wedding dress was a custom dress by Ann Cuatico-Mansueto. The first design that Ann and I talked about was based on the Constance Reformation dress but with an additional French lace overlay. I’d initially wanted just the Constance dress but my mom insisted that it was “too plain” and needed lace. Oh well. Unfortunately, no matter what Ann did with the cut, I still ended up looking bigger than I actually am. I guess the flowy dress look isn’t for everyone. The added lace also prevented the dress from being swishy so it just became bulky.

The second dress design was the result of a mishap with the lace. The French lace for my gown was a wedding gift from an uncle who works for a lace factory in New York (thank you Tito Junjun!). My uncle gifted me with three yards of gorgeous uncorded white lace in June 2015. However, because of the first dress’ flowy design, the narrow width of the lace, and the scalloping at the ends of the lace cut, three yards wasn’t enough. My uncle then brought an additional four yards when he visited the Philippines for Christmas 2015. However, the lace he got was one yard of uncorded white lace and three yards of corded ivory lace. Ann and I toyed with the idea of alternating the white and ivory lace to make them fit but decided on making an entirely new dress using just the three yards of ivory lace. Because of the limited lace, the second dress was cut closer to my body and had a semi-mermaid skirt instead of a full skirt. The lace mishap turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the second dress turned out so much better than the first one. It was gorgeous and it matched my body type. I’m so happy with it <3 Ann’s team saved one scalloped edge to use as an accent to cover the join at the waist and to use as tiny sleeves. They also added some minor beading to the dress and salvaged additional lace for the train.

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LOOK AT IT!!! IT’S SO PRETTY!!! <3

My headpiece was custom-made by Steph Lopez of Flow Jewelry and Crafts. I asked for a headpiece with stars and touches of blue for a traveling-through-space-and-time feel. Steph used silver, pink, and gold metal stars in two sizes, blue and clear glass beads, and wire to make it. Steph sent me photos first before delivering so that I could comment and make changes if necessary. She didn’t need to change a thing. It was perfect.

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My makeup was by Chichi Sotomil and hair by Rommel Escobido . Truthfully, I know next to nothing about makeup (the only thing I’m sure of is that I need to use VMV Hypoallergenics because I’m allergic to a lot of stuff). This is why I ran all of the makeup artists’ portfolios past Anna 😛 Anna initially recommended Mayone Bakunawa because she liked what Mayone did for her friend’s wedding about two years ago. Mayone wasn’t available but she did give me a list of makeup artists that she would vouch for. Chichi was included in the list. After much discussion with Anna and moving stuff around in the budget, I decided to book Chichi even though her fee was way more than what I had planned to spend for HMU because I wanted to be absolutely sure that I’d look drop-dead gorgeous on our wedding day. Looking at our wedding pictures, I think it was money well spent.

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I requested for the dark red lipstick (“Studded Kiss” by MAC is love) because I wanted to look classic. For the record, I didn’t wear a veil during the ceremony because I wanted my face to be seen clearly in all the photos 😛 Chichi’s airbrush makeup withstood a non-airconditioned church and a garden reception in March. You can’t get any better than that.

I’d planned to have the test makeup done on the day of the prenup shoot but Chichi couldn’t do it because she’d just had her baby (the prenup shoot was in December) and couldn’t travel to Pasig from Las Pinas. In the end, I decided to trust Chichi’s skill and not have a test makeup session anymore. Plus money. Haha.

I bought my wedding shoes from Hush Puppies. Yes, Hush Puppies! I have flat feet so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that Hush Puppies has a formal wear line. Unfortunately, the local stores don’t carry it so I had to order the shoes from Amazon and a friend of my mom’s who lives in California brought them to Manila. The color is called “bone” and the shoes matched my ivory gown.

wedding shoes

More blog posts to follow! Food! Photo and video! Lots of Doctor Who goodness in everything!

Got married to the Doctor! Part 1: the prenup shoot

This blog hasn’t been updated lately for a whole slew of reasons, but I hope to change that in the coming weeks. First major post in the series: we got married!

Adrian and I are big fans of Doctor Who, so when it came time to decide on the wedding theme, it was a relatively easy decision. Well, it could have been a Star Wars wedding but since our friends Rej and Oneal already did it a few years ago, we wanted something different.

The prenup shoot was the middle step (the first step was designing the invitations). Adrian and I came up with the rough outline for it: a series of adventures through space and time. Guess who his favorite Doctor and my favorite Companion are? 😛

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Yes, I know that Martha wears black leather bootlets instead of sneakers but the sneakers were a personal touch. Adrian’s had his brown Tenth Doctor suit since NexCon 1. This was an excuse to wear it again.

We shot it in a day in Summit Studios in Pasig. Almost everything was shot against a green screen for Adrian to replace with backgrounds later.

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Aunard took the photos and videos, with direction from Adrian. Thanks Aunard!

Major thanks to all of our lovely friends who helped out:

Maid of Honor Anna, who did my makeup because I can’t be trusted to do my own makeup for something like this:
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Mika, who is probably the smiliest Cyberman ever, and Beejay, who shot multiple scenes of being a great stormtrooper (AKA not actually hitting anything) so that we’d have three troopers in the hallway:

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And Manny, who donned the uncomfortable Vader suit for several hours. Here he is standing in front of an electric fan to cool down between takes (just follow the glowy buttons):
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Adrian did the cinematography and edited the video.

There was a lot of running around:

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And things added in post-production:
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And of course, kickass opening credits:

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Adrian and I had to re-record our lines the night before the wedding. So yes, Adrian was still editing and rendering the video up to 3am on the day of the wedding. Because of the limited time, the video we showed at the wedding was shorter than what we initially planned. But since Adrian has a George Lucas streak AKA keeps on going back to his previous work to improve it, I’m not posting the video here because he’s still fixing the audio 😛

Up next: the wedding preparations!

The Force Awakened and everything was awesome

I’m a Star Wars geek. That’s probably one of the first things that people find out after they meet me for the first time. I’ve been a fan since I was twelve years old and it’s such a big part of my life that I’ll still be a fan when I’m a hundred and twelve.

What’s life like as a Star Wars fan? I’ve lost count of Star Wars books and comics I have on my shelves (OT: I love the Expanded Universe. Well, most of it. But Timothy Zahn will forever get a pass from me because he created my two favorite characters: Mara Jade and Jaina Solo.). I have costumes! And a lightsaber! And a few toys that I really like (I’m not much for toys but I make exceptions every now and then). I’ve made a lot of great friends over the years because of Star Wars. I also met my future husband because of Star Wars. That’s pretty huge 🙂

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you know that Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released last December 17 in the Philippines (and December 18 in the US). I’m not going to discuss the movie here – you can do that in countless other sites. (Btw, half of my prediction about Kylo Ren and Rey came true.) I’m going to talk about ALL THE FUN I HAD in the days leading up to TFA <3

I got to sit in the cockpit of a life-sized X-Wing. I repeat: I GOT TO SIT IN THE COCKPIT OF AN X-WING. 01a me in xwing4_oneal

Photo by Oneal Rosero

See that happy smile? That’s the smile of someone who’s read all the X-Wing novels and comics and whose dreams finally came true.

01b me in xwing8 - by mikko miciano

Photo by Mikko Miciano

That photo was part of a bigger photo session with the rest of the Rebel Legion: Bagong Pag-asa Outpost and the Philippine Garrison of the 501st Legion. We looked pretty awesome.
03 TFA3 - RL and 501st by Lawrence Aliwalas and Milchy Pe

Photo by Lawrence Aliwalas and Milchy Pe

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Photo by Robbie Ramos

Speaking of awesome, I officially joined the Rebel Legion with my Jaina Solo costume! I have my previous Padme pastel lake dress (made in 2005 for Revenge of the Sith) and the Padme light blue Tatooine dress (made in 2006-07 but never worn because I never developed the abs to pull it off) but they didn’t pass muster for the RL. Jaina Solo is my favorite EU character so going Jedi for her felt great.

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Ignore my character card design. I don’t have an action pose because I don’t have a purple lightsaber (YET) and I couldn’t use my existing Anakin Skywalker Master Replica Force FX Lightsaber because it isn’t canon (or is it?).

This is Rej and me as Rey and Jaina Solo, respectively. Oh look! Jaina’s carrying Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber! Just saying.

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Photo by Adrian Arcega

I was supposed to attend the gala premiere on December 15 but I couldn’t because of an office event (curses!) and Adrian couldn’t attend either, so our first screening was during an advanced screening on December 16. Just a day late. No biggie. And we also had friends with us so that was pretty awesome also.

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These are the faces of Star Wars fans who’ve waited years to see Episode VII.

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How was the movie? After seeing it three times (Dolby Atmos, regular 2D, and IMAX 3D), my overall score is 8.5 out of 10. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac (*eeeeeee <3*) are all capable and charismatic actors and are fine additions to the cast. FYI I’m shipping Poe/Rey right about now. Seeing Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher again as Han and Leia gave me both joy and heartbreak. But as a whole, The Force Awakens is essentially an Original Trilogy Greatest Hits. Whether you find that a good thing or a bad thing is up to you. Part of me liked seeing the same themes because let’s face it, history repeats itself. At its core, Star Wars is about the Skywalker family. But now that J.J. Abrams is done with his nostalgia trip, here’s hoping that Star Wars breaks new ground in Episodes VIII and IX.

NexCon 2 and beyond!

NexCon 2 happened last May 16-17, 2015 at Function Room 2, SMX Aura but I’m only writing about it now because Real Life got in the way. Boo to Real Life! 😛

poster - Nexcon 2015 main poster

First off, I’d like to say THANK YOU to everyone who made NexCon 2 possible: the wonderful attendees (seriously: you guys are the best con attendees ever!), the amazing guests and panelists (we bow to your experience and insights!), the exhibitors (thank you for believing in our event!), and the convention staff (hard workers all around!).

How much fun did we have? A LOT. A WHOLE BUNCH. A WHOLE FREAKING TARDIS-LOAD.

Fitting NexCon 2 inside the TARDIS. Photo by Adam Fuqua.

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Continue reading “NexCon 2 and beyond!”