Thursday, October 6, 2016

I've Moved To A New Platform

ashley uy

It's been a while since I've last posted something meaningful here (and in any of my online accounts to be honest) so now that I've got a chance to sit down and catch up on things, I guess now would be the right time for me to leave this last blogpost on this blog.

I've moved.

Not a new apartment or a new job or anything like that but I'll be moving my blogging activity over to my Wordpress account I won't be deleting this account though, oh no - it's got too many memories to let go; but starting on a new chapter in my blogging habits and a possibly reinvigorated direction in my writing, moving to a new blog seems like the right decision.

I've learned a lot while exploring this experimental space and I would highly recommend starting a personal blog to someone on a road to self-discovery. Opportunities came and went for me while I had this blog and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to write for Ashlinspiration.

This space of the internet will forever be in my heart (and hard drive) but for now, I bid you adieu as I close this chapter of a five-year blogging adventure.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Thanks from me to all 30 of you

WARNING: Profanities and unprofessional references galore in this blogpost. Read... if you dare!

ashley uy

Tagged by zuprome from as a part of Cebu Blogging Community's 30-day challenge! Tagged bloggers were asked to blog about 30 things they're grateful for; be it related to their blog niche or something different entirely.

I'm not going to go as far as to elaborate my gratitude for my family, friends, and my faith because that's a given for any human being no matter how they perceive these titles. Instead I'm going to talk about, like everything else in this blog, the people and organizations that have been monumental in building my ambition for both myself and the communities that I care deeply about.

First off, without any biases whatsoever *cough* *cough* is the Cebu Blogging Community. More specifically Ruben, Bjorn, Chanel, and some of the very first of it's members that blindly welcomed me into their fold. I saw them around in events from time to time back then and they'd always make a point to say hi to me despite being just acquaintances. I'm really happy to say that they were one of the first people from Cebu that I felt really at home with and they somehow made me feel like I belonged to their quirky family despite being 99km away most of the time. 

I was just a air-headed undergrad when they first met me through Dalareich, an inspiring young woman-entrepreneur who was a source of a lot of empowerment for me as someone who sort of thought of themselves as someone different. She is a fierce young woman who had (and is still) gone through so much struggle to get to where she is today. A mentor and a wonderful friend, I owe a lot to Dal for giving this fat Asian kid a chance at working with her. Late-night coffee runs here in Cebu with her are always some unforgettable moments.

Now that we're talking about woman-entrepreneurs though, I bet you guys have heard this name all over my blog: Tina Amper. That's right, the legend herself (lol pls don't slap me miss). If I'm a Jedi youngling, she's probably the Jedi Master of all Jedi Masters. It was thanks to her that I was introduced to the family and the Startup Weekend community: the next two things on my to-thanks list. 

I've met so many inspiring (and not so inspiring yet still interesting to take note of) people that have really helped shape my views on myself, the country, and what the future holds for people like us. Pip and Dulce, two wonderful people that I have also thought of as my mentors are wonderful people that I had the honor of meeting alongside everyone I'm about to mention in this list all thanks to those two core communities. You can't even believe how much a thriving community gives back to you if you just take time tor each out.

The best opportunity I probably got out of committing to these organizations is probably getting the chance to work with Dave and Albert at Symph, the company I currently work for. I learned so much even just during my internship and reuniting with friends I didn't know who also worked at Symph like Francis and Lawrence. Now that I'm working with them, I feel like there's still so much for me to prove; that it's important to set expectations, get over unnecessary hindrances, and just start doing it. I guess maturing and growing even just a little bit everyday with this awesome company and equally just as awesome people, makes my stomach flip at how lucky I am for being here.

Mentioning the CebuXD community on this one too as they were one of the groups that I met thanks to the Techtalks family. Cheers to Edzel and Dan for inviting me and bringing me along despite being a total noob and for trusting me enough to work with them in project I haven't even tried before (shoutout to you, Dan! Thanks! :D) . To Chester, Cecille, and Carl who have warmly welcomed me to the CebuXD Board of Directors despite being absent on occasion during meetups (I'm sorry!) and for aiming to create something better for designers and artists in the local scene.

Relationships that have been built in Bohol though are still irreplaceable to me. Being with the Bohol ICT Council with Ben, Jay, ms Lai, sir Jerome, and all it's members has had a huge impact on my opinions about my hometown. I used to hate how it lacked so much infrastructure, that it didn't have as many fancy events as Cebu or that the community there wasn't strong at all: working with them proved how wrong I was. Bohol has talent, potential, and resources; it's only a matter of harnessing it, creating the right opportunities and drawing out the right kind of people. If I have the BiCTC behind my back I truly believe we have a chance at growing the Boholanos and giving them the opportunities they deserve. It's only a matter of building the right team and resources to start it all (zing to Symph team speeches).

And of course who could forget the organization that started it all for me. The Web Developer's Guild is a small organization founded by sir Brian, my college teacher, and a few of his collegues to promote a support network of sorts for students and professionals from Bohol that wanted to grow in the tech scene. This organizations started it all for me and helped lead me to the path I'm on today and for that I'm very grateful. Vhince, Clint, and my college friends - those that have pushed me to be better than the me I was yesterday, and my AniMatiCs crew, Ralph, Steven, Jeric, Kayeshen, who helped me fight for the things worth fighting for (free use of the school lab for seminars, yo!) and all the sappy cheesy lines I can add on here to make this post a little bit longer to reach the 1000 word cap, a huge-ass THANK YOU and that you people DESERVE SO MUCH MORE and I really hope that your faces are BLESSED AF because you are all beautiful people and I am so unprofessional in this paragraph but I don't care because I love you and you're awesome and I think I passed the word cap and then some so I think it's time to do the mike drop! Ashley out! Peace!


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

HAPPINESS is spelled T.U.X.T.E.A.M

cosplay mania 2015
Shoutout to Jam, one of the Cosplay Mania organizers that took the picture! She's very nice!

I know I still have a TON of blogposts due publishing but this had to come up on my priority list. I've been a fan of Jin and the Tux Team for over six years now and at last weekend's Cosplay Mania 2015, I've finally got the chance to meet them in person.

This moment reminds me of how I felt when the seventeen-year-old me finally got the guts to comment on one of Jin's facebook posts (not such a big deal to everybody else, but at that moment, I remember my heart beting so fast and doing and re-doing my message haha). I even made a blogpost about it feeling just as ecstatic as I write this one (abeit a bit better in the writing department haha).

I'm just going to go all fangirl on this blogpost now, if you'd excuse me. 

cosplay mania 2015

I found Jin as I was reading through one of Otakuzine's 2009 volumes, the same magazine I have up on my shelf back in Bohol. I remember her cosplaying as Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Ai Enma from Hell Girl in that feature. I instantly fell in love with her work. It was an instant appeal to me that her gender was such a mystery. Even now, newer fans still have the fun of guessing it despite her increasing popularity and it's all part of being a behindinfinity fan! It took me two years to finally figure out the answer and once I did, I fell in love with what she did even more. 

cosplay mania 2015
I made new friends! She was in front of me in the line :)

I followed her deviant art blog for years after that. The genuine joy she gets when cosplaying and creating costumes, the whole process being broken down blow-by-blow in each blogpost, you could feel that enthusiasm in her writing and it made me grin so much every time. The fact that she puts up really funny pictures and comments from her group of friends made it even better. 

I remember skipping all the other notifications on deviantart to be able to read her newly updated blog. It was hilarious, as I look back now, at how invested I was with another person's passion but then I realize, as I'm writing this and revisiting those old links that I love so much, that it made me put a lot of things into perspective and just helped me have a generally happy outlook growing up, much like how they were in those blogposts.

cosplay mania 2015

That interest in Jin and the Tux Team's work, I realized, exposed me to a lot of other passions that I've grown to love today. This skin care post Jin wrote a while back really made me think about taking better care of myself, it started with just skin care but then blew up to exercise and just general wellness. I was also quite partial to yaoi back then, but after seeing their photoshoots to make Charmie happy and that fated link to Junjou Romantica, well, let's just say I'm a very happy fujoshi. Being a part of that community really earned me a lot of meaningful memories and friendships (and so much more) despite the stereotype being painted for us. The yaoi is strong within us. And get this: even just as much as helping me help my sister with her painting project was from a deviantart update by Miguel about watercolor paper. A thing I didn't know that existed before then. That update was a life saver, lemme tell ya.

Thinking about all these instances made me realize that the Tux Team has been such a positive influence in my life that I don't even think I'd be me if it weren't for that following. A dramatic statement? Yes probably, as a lot of other logical factors come into play; but nevertheless, my memories about reading, listening, and a lot of good-natured lurking around their pages were nothing but positive and happy and I wouldn't trade those feelings for anything in the world :)

cosplay mania 2015

I knew they were going to be at Cosplay Mania 2015 and, now that I'm employed with my own cash and time and whatnot, I took the opportunity and booked a hotel and tickets two (or three?) months before the actual event. It was my first time in Manila and my first Cosplay Mania!

I was expecting to see them at their booth as announced (2-5pm) that day and I planned to see them then, but as I was on a food run, I passed by their booth and THERE THEY WERE. Jin and Miguel. In all their beatiful HD glory. I hyperventilated, talked a lot to myself, and breathed really loudly, forgoing that hotdog I planned on getting and ran across the hall to get my camera and cash just so I could meet them. And I did :)

I honestly don't remember what I rambled on back there. I felt my face heat up, my pulse racing, I could hear my own heartbeat, taste the air, everything. It was glorious. (and kinda embarrassing now that I think about it. sorry for being weird, guys ;_;)

cosplay mania 2015

Our flight back to Cebu the morning after Cosplay Mania's second day was at, like, 5am, so I couldn't stay at the convention any longer. I decided to stop by their booth one more time before leaving after the Awarding ceremony and lucky me, they were there! Despite being able to see (and talk teehee) with both Miguel and Jin on the first day, my mind blanked out when I found Cat, Chase, and Charmie and at their booth there as well. My mind raced when Chase took my order for more prints, and that Charmie noticed me staring at her and I got to talk to her about yaoi, Cat smiling at me after signing her print, Jin saying "Hi, Ashley!", remembering my name, and UGHHH omg *gross sobbing*. I blanked out and wasn't able to take a picture with any of them despite that five minute lull as they signed my prints, so I'll just settle with these amateur paparazzi photos. It's the memories that count.

And this was a long stalker-ish blogpost haha. Honestly, I can go on and on about this particular obsession in my life but in summary, this group of people just make me really really really happy :D

Thanks, Tux Team. It was awesome being able to finally meet you :) And thank you Cosplay Mania 2015 for this opportunity!!
(I have never used this many smileys on a blogpost. The feels are too stronggg. >u<)

And if anyone's interested, here's the link to a snippet from my Cosplay Mania 2015 vlog. This snippet is when I first saw Jin and Miguel while I was out to get lunch. It's very shaky and very amateur as this was for my sister's eyes only so... watch. If you dare.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Day with Inspiring Young Women

It all started from an invitation to watch Heneral Luna one weekend. Mona was a person I met accidentally, for the lack of a better term. It was way back when I attended the first TEDx University of San Carlos in place of my friend, Dalareich

We were both guests of one of the speakers, Ms. Jenny Elmaco, but we hadn't met each other at all before the event. We didn't even go in together. It just so happened that I saw her name right beside mine on the registration list and she also just happened to sit right next to me at the back of the theater.

Long story short, we got along pretty well and I very much enjoyed her company, what she is doing, and her desire to make change in the human rights front.

Now, a year later, she invited me to watch the historical epic, Heneral Luna, with her and a friend. Things didn't work out that weekend but we had a lovely conversation over lunch after catching up on things. I saw that she still had that spirit, even moreso than myself now, which led me to think "what happened?".

A part of our conversation led her to invite me to come lang with her and her school organization's clean-up drive for the Let's Do It Philippines campaign. Aside from genuinely wanting to spend time and work with these inspiring women (shoutout to Jan, Kim, and Mitsuko!) I also wanted to see their energy in action, the almost blind desire to make the wold they live in a better place. And so, we made our way to Ermita; a walking distance away from the University of San Carlos main campus.

We were told that a 4-hour clean-up drive happened just the day before but the state of the Guadalupe Gulf was still devastating to me.

Whenever I come back to Cebu by boat, I always know I'm close to the port when I see waves of trash just casually floating towards the deep sea. To me, seeing that physically hurts my being. Growing up in Bohol made me appreciate it's beauty so much that if I photoshopped that amount of trash to whichever part of Bohol, my face would crumple a million times over. And to think there are people, fishermen, more specifically, relying on the waters closest to them to make a livelihood through legal fishing methods: that's sad.

I can completely understand that there's only so much they can do in an environment like this. They're close to a public market, the community not being that safe, even for those that permanently live there, and the constant presence of illegal settlers often contributing to the amount of trash disposed is a hard place to live in.

Despite their situation, sir Bernardo Tamundo, the representative we met from the Ermita Fisher Folk Assocuation (EFFA), and his band of local fishermen were determined to grit through it. He told us that a group of Japanese volunteers visited them a few months ago, aware of the trash being deposited at the end of the Gulf that's jeopardizing their source of livelihood. Other than doing a clean-up drive, they gave them an idea. With pig manure and sawdust, they could create soil To plant seeds, and to sell as a raw resource.

Since their grant took a long time to process, sir Bernardo, being the go-getter that he is, bought two pigs on a loan and tried different techniques until he finally got the mixture right. He paid back the loan and bought another pig a few weeks before our visit. 

Because of that product, sir Bernardo and EFFA managed to buy a few seeds and planted them into unused ice coolers. They now have home-grown chili, some more vegetables, and both decorative and herbal plants. They even offer traditional medical care with these herbs they they grow.

I was utterly impressed by how much they tried to make their living conditions better and that they didn't forget about the sea that they've relied on for years before pollution kicked in. They regularly sign petitions and invite groups like ours to do clean-up drives. They haven't given up.

After the events at Ermita, we made our way to the nearest mall to watch a screening of the renowned Heneral luna. A movie we've been wanting to see for weeks but just didn't have time. Read the reviews, reactions, and everything on the net. The movie was beautiful, well produced and directed, and had a wonderful cast. I highly recommend it. It's a sad movie, a tragedy almost, in hindsight. But it speaks volumes of who we, as Filipino people, are today.

To encapsulate my opinion on the movie: Heneral Luna was, unfortunately, a man that was too brilliant, too loyal, and too good, for the people of his, and our, time.

At the end of the day, I really had to thank Mona for inviting me out, and for helping me remember to always keep my spirits high. I doubt my pragmatic mindset will change any time soon, but during all that time I spent with these young ladies, the more I saw them act like the youth I envisioned most to be. I have hope. Most say "wala nay pag-asa ang Pilipinas" (Philippines has no hope of getting better.); I say nay. We do have hope. It's just sh*ts like you that need to get out and reach out. See what we have and what we've lost and do something about it.

Friday, September 4, 2015

I got HOOQed

"Netflix in the Philippines?! No way? Yes way!" was my very eloquent thought process when I first heard about HOOQ from attending the CBC's first anniversary Black Party. They were one of the sponsors at the event and were just as lively and excited as we were, to our delight. They hosted a few games and gave us prizes (even a chance to win a few HOOQ shirts I wasn't able to get :( )

"HOOQ is a gateway to a world of unlimited entertainment. With just one app, you can stream, download and enjoy thousands of movies and TV series. All from your phone, laptop or tablet." *

The first thing I noticed when I logged in (with the free 1 month subscription, thank you very much, HOOQ) was the mixed feature of both Hollywood and Filipino films. As they explained the platform to me, I was expecting a selection of American movies only so it was great to find out that they also had Filipino movies and a selection of Filipino TV series in their movie library.

Luckily, I had a fairly new smartphone to work with so it could easily cover the tech specs needed to smoothly run the app. When I chose Mall Cop and started playing the movie, it was awesome that it was in great quality without any hiccups. The sound was good and the interface was familiar enough to understand.

I'm still waiting for the day they have recent movies and series in their selection as they only have shows from the early 2000s or earlier. A great feature to add too would be to let the user search a specific movie, or category: be they Hollywood or Filipino productions. Right now, you can pick between TV Series or Movies, and everything is mixed between the two, from genre to production, so a better filter would be great as the selections grow.

Considering all that, the pricing is quite fair especially if you're a big fan of Filipino telenovelas and the fact that you could pre-download your favorite movies was another plus for me. Personally, I'm excited to see what more HOOQ can grow into as they've tapped a service not many previously have had access to. Maybe they can venture into featuring live stream videos of sports or international events? Who knows? Excited for all the possibilities!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bohol Maker Fest 2015

bohol maker fest 2015

The event was awesome. Hands down. The Maker Fest started to run from July 23-25, 2015 at Island City Mall coinciding with the Sandugo Trade Expo and the Sandugo Fest. It was a three day rush of technology, enthusiasm, and opportunities for Bohol and it's people. It sucked that I was only able to catch it's last day, though.

The three-day event was full of exhibits, talks, and free workshops. You can check the event schedule on their website, which I think was really cool because despite it being a weebly site, they were able to create this central source of information that would be easily accessible to their target audience. Again, very cool.

bohol maker fest 2015

The festival had one central display area for all the projects they features located at the center of the mall. I was partly expecting it to be in the activity hall but I was pleasantly surprised to see it at the second floor in between the two elevators. That meant everybody and anybody who wanted to go anywhere in the mall had to pass by the exhibit. The location brought us quite a crowd. Thumbs up to you, Alturas!

The projects being displayed at the exhibit were just as diverse as they were ingenious. They ranged from motion sensors that could assist the visually impaired to a motorcycle that surprised many of its passengers; there's something for everyone.

The bottom-left picture form the above's photoset shows PrintBit's Roy Bayonas posing with his water and electricity consumption monitoring system. The device is attached to the establishment's water and electricity meters and, with a dashboard, will enable you to control how much water or electricity you want to consume that month. It shows you the status of your utility consumption and helps you manage them, helping you make the most out of your resources. Cool!

bohol maker fest 2015

A few wacky inventions I found was an Arduino-powered light stick. The device rapidly flashes a series of light sequences, whose speed is monitored by a small switch on its back. When in motion, the series of lights generate the programmed imagery. Guess what this one says!

bohol maker fest 2015

Perks of a community manager. Thanks for the gift, guys!

bohol maker fest 2015

The event had a great lineup of speakers. From digital marketing to community innovation, it got 'em all. It was particularly inspiring to see folk that weren't from Bohol tell their story of how they worked hard to make the country a better place and make money at the same time. The fact that they wanted to extend their services and benefits to the people of Bohol were a great plus. 

bohol maker fest 2015

I fangirled a little as I got to meet Earl Valencia, President of Ideaspace. I've always looked up to their engagement with the community and their effort with connecting through grassroots level. Someday, I'm going to work for you, Ideaspace. Someday.

I especially liked the bit where he said that Bohol has its strong points in agriculture and tourism and that we had to focus our efforts on our existing strengths rather than add friction to sectors that we're initially not as strong at.

bohol maker fest 2015

Being part of the ICT council, I've got some perks here and there. Booyah.

bohol maker fest 2015

After the talks, I went back to the exhibit area to check out mor of the booths. We've got 3D printed sunglass frames, a robot that helps sort medicine in specialized medicinal trays, a solar-powered gardening system made by a friend (go Holynamians!), and accessories made out of used beer caps and preserved dog jaw bone.

I even got my hands dirty as I tried making my own bottle-cap keychain. Thanks for the tutorial, Tommy!

bohol maker fest 2015

At the end of the day, it was all about the people. It was great seeing everyone in the Bohol tech community again and I'm excited to see what's in store for us! (shoutout to Charles for letting me sneak around and be annoying haha) Perhaps the planned Startup Weekend Tourism Edition? Or being the next Geeks On A Beach hosts? Who knows. Just keep swimming guys! I'll join you back home soon!

bohol maker fest 2015

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