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This photo is from my first night in my new room. Same house, just a bigger room. I’ve settled in quite well and it took a while because I did a huge closet purge. I sized down my closet by more or less 50%. It broke my heart to let go of the archival American Apparel pieces that I valued so much but I don’t miss them because of all the space I have now.

I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I’m serious about fashion. I used to just brush it off thinking it’s just a side thing but all my life I’ve paid so much attention to it. My love for clothes started out as a shopping addiction until I learned about the ethics and the history and how it intersects with so many things. I want to share this love with anyone who would care to listen. This love is what I want my content to manifest one day. I’ve been racking my brain lately thinking about what type of videos I want to create for my YouTube channel. When you’re a fashion youtuber, are lookbooks and favorites videos all there is? Sadly that’s become very boring to me. I want to do fashion/art/culture commentary but I’m not confident that I will be able to relay my thoughts properly. I worry about the validity of my thoughts too much.

Every day, I wake up thinking, “This is it. I’ll make a video/post today. I’ll do it,” but I never do. It’s been 5 months since my last vlog. It’s been 5 months of endless changes in my life. New job. New passion. New ideas. New room. New haircut. If I wait for my life to settle down before I post again, then I might never post again. I’ve accepted the fact that my twenties will be a period of constant changes and that the challenge is to document it as it happens rather than to wait it out.


PS. I was interviewed by Reina Bambao for The Manila Times’ Lookbook section. You can read the article here: part 1, part 2.

PPS. I really want you to watch RIAN PHIN youtube videos!


striped shirt from urban outfitters

I often forget that blogging means documenting and sharing what your life looks like at the moment. I fall victim to my own crippling perfectionism time and time again. It goes like this: I take photos and videos for the purpose of doing a blog post, list down so many content ideas but I never end up executing them or posting them. I sometimes mistake it as laziness, and maybe it is… but the fact is, I’m afraid of creating something I would hate. I’m afraid that my ideas would look mediocre once executed, either because of my lack of skill or because it wasn’t that great of an idea, to begin with. I delay and delay and delay until it’s too late to post. I had so many things on queue: my New York trip, my skincare journey, weight gain and weight loss, countless hauls and favorites, playlists I wanted to share, my journey to self-love and recovery, etc. I can’t count how many times I’ve started over with my blog and my youtube channel. I have four different versions of this comeback blog post that I’ve attempted to write in a span of 2 years. It seems as if I’ve been writing this forever.

That being said, I’ve been trying to put a little more structure to my workflow as of late. Purely winging it just isn’t working out for me anymore. I’m trying to find a balance between being a control freak and posting whatever I feel whenever I feel like it. One solution I came up with to combat this problem is to make smaller blog posts. Little tiny bite-sized posts every week. I don’t know when I started to police myself with the types of posts I could make. I often look to my old blog for inspiration not because my old content was great, (most of the time, I cringe and hold back the urge to delete that blog permanently…) but the consistency of posting and the way that I always found something to post about no matter how random it is, never fail to impress me. I didn’t care if the photos were pixelated, most of my photos had ugly filters on them but nothing ever stopped me from posting. I was often jealous of my past self because everything seemed to be so easy for her but when I actually look back… she was just less cautious than I am right now. I didn’t lose my talent for writing (news flash: my old writing was shit), I just have more inhibitions now. Simple things like not being able to think up a good blog title or Instagram caption would set me off and exhaust me mentally and then I’ll end up giving up on a post just like that.

I’m constantly in awe because no matter how seldom I post now, I still have loyal readers and followers on social media. I feel truly humbled whenever I receive warm messages from followers who have stayed with me through the years. I really feel as though we’ve all grown up together. Who knew that little old me would be able to inspire other people to be more confident in their bodies? Who knew that little old me would inspire people to start vlogging? Who knew that little old me would inspire people to start playing the ukulele? I am forever grateful for all the support I have received and I will never stop trying to do better. Thank you for letting me be myself, for not pressuring me to be a role model, and for sticking with me through the countless of phases I went through. Here’s to going through more phases together!


PS: I’m working on launching a monthly newsletter!


IMG_7112Graduation Goggles – (n.) the relief and nostalgic feeling one has about a time in their life when it is about to end, even if the time was completely miserable.

Paskuhan Tree 2013.IMG_7085
Color Theory Workspace. My desk.IMG_7093
1 ID – 4. My blockmates.IMG_7096My friend, Martha.IMG_7106On the way to star gaze at Antipolo. This was my first time riding the LRT train.
IMG_7104Ann and I at Quiapo. We walked all the way from UST to Quiapo Church.
(I was a catholic then)IMG_7100We went to hidalgo to buy more film for my vintage rangefinder camera from my Lolo.IMG_7097Quiapo church.IMG_7103Side street.IMG_7098Mic Comia and Jam’s Elbow. This was before Mic formed Where’s Ramona and became it’s vocalist. (Check out their band).
IMG_7078A truck we found in Antipolo. We weren’t sure if someone died in it.IMG_7102Reason and Dale.IMG_7092View from “our balcony” as we call it. By our, I mean me and my boyfriend, Jam. This is one of our secret spots in the Beato bldg. I find secret spots for when I wanted to be alone or when anxiety gets too bad and I don’t want to face anyone but I can’t leave school. Took a while before I shared these secret spots (even to Jam). Which is also why it took me so long to decide if I wanted to share these photos to the world since it’s very personal to me. IMG_7108This was my corkboard in my dorm room.IMG_7091Basilio, the bunny. I don’t know whose bunny. I already forgot.IMG_7110This was our first day as a couple. Taken outside Antipolo church. (same as the photo below)IMG_7109IMG_7086Another view from our ‘secret’ balcony (same as the photo below).IMG_7087IMG_7111My love.

What happened to me when I disappeared?

The best and worst days of my life. They say it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what real freedom is. Disappearing was well worth it because I found something so much better than fame and fortune… myself. Although, I’m still on that journey of finding my happiness and knowing what I really want in life, being away from the scene that ruined my head helped me heal and appreciate the better things in life. Being away from the people that hurt me has allowed me to be myself, whoever that is. I’ve learned so much from my time in college. There were good times and bad.

My college experience started out really well. I felt accepted for a while. By the time I was on my third year, I felt so utterly isolated from everyone. I kept asking myself what was wrong with me and why I was always alone and how I both loved and hated it at the same time. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that no one really knows what’s best for you except for yourself (this applies to people who are 18 and above, please don’t disobey your parents. well, unless they’re abusive and all). I’m not telling anyone to drop out of college, move to a big city and just wing it. School is definitely good for something. I could confidently say that I wouldn’t be who I am today without everything I learned in school (the most important life lessons, I didn’t learn from books or adults or teachers but from my friends and from own experiences). It’s okay to feel alone and isolated. It’s not always your fault and it’s not always a bad thing. I certainly didn’t expect to be a college drop out and I never expected to end up where I am today but it’s important to know when to stop. I certainly wish I had finished my course and earned a diploma and I probably still will, just not at a place I don’t believe in and not around people I don’t relate to anymore.

To my love, Jam. You have given me so much and you made me a believer again. I could not thank you enough for being my rock. You never failed to be there through my ups and downs and my highs and lows. Thank you for showing me kindness, something no one has ever shown me before. Thank you for setting a standard in my life on how people should treat me and that has taught me to identify those who abuse and use me. Thank you for giving me courage to take big leaps in my life, including this one, even if it meant we had to be away from each other for a few years until you graduate. Thank you for loving me no matter how much I tried to push you away at first. Thank you for constantly telling me that I am a whole being even before I met you. I know I wrote a post on my old blog on how I wished that we were in another universe. A universe where I was not so damaged by my past that I could let you take care of me and maybe even love me. You have made this universe a universe worth living in by existing. I can’t wait to see you again.

I was experiencing graduation goggles (a term I learned from watching How I Met Your Mother) for a few months after I dopped out, while I was waiting for my papers to get fixed so I can move far away. Truthfully, no matter how miserable I was in my last few months in UST, I still miss it. I miss Moira Lynn and Kantunan and the people that work there. I miss Joyce’s, Joli’s and Jomar’s. I miss Cow Wow. I miss Dormus. I miss Galleria Suites. I miss my overpriced little apartment. I miss my ex roommates even if we’re not all in great terms when we separated ways. I miss Beato and my secret spots. I miss the janitors that open and close the elevators, they have become my friends during the times I felt isolated from my peers. My dear, Ate Susan calls me anak everytime we see each other. I miss my dear professors (except a certain bully professor whose name I will not drop but i will say that s/he was a big part on why i wanted to leave the school). I even sort of miss those rude ass street kids running around Espanya and P. Noval to steal food, skateboards and terrorize students (just kidding, I really don’t miss that).

I almost didn’t want to leave because my graduation goggles were so deceiving but I’m glad I did. No matter how hard it is to start fresh in a new country. It is what I needed.

To my readers: you are important, you are valid, you are stronger than you think.

(All photos were taken with my rangefinder camera, Nikon L35AF, 35mm film. Badly scanned. Most photos are from 2013.)


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[warning: it gets deep towards the end of the post]

I just got really tired of paying people to ruin my hair. I think I picked up this habit from my best friend, Ann. She’s been cutting her hair ever since I met her and it just never occurred to me to actually give into my impulsive tendencies and cut my hair when I want to. The thing is, I don’t think I’ve gotten a single decent haircut since 2013. It’s just never exactly the way I want it to be. Well, they weren’t THAT bad, I think. My past haircuts were livable but I’ve never had that feeling you’re supposed to get after you get a good haircut. You know… that rush of going out of a salon feeling super pretty and strong like you could conquer the world and launch a thousand ships. None of that, at least since I started college. I don’t think it has anything to do with college, to be honest. It was a series of bad haircuts and bad decisions on my part.

This is my second time cutting my own hair. The first one, I posted on instagram (1,2,3) in the form of a three-part video. Saying that I’ve always wanted to cut my hair this short would be an understatement but I never got the courage to do so because whenever I researched online or asked my friends and family if I should, I’d always hear the same thing. “Aria, you have a round face, your face is going to look even bigger if you cut your hair that short.” And, I’ve always believed that.

I’m not sure what was so different this time or why I decided to cut my hair anyway despite everyone discouraging me to do so. Maybe, it’s just my tendency to do exactly the opposite of what people tell me to do. Maybe, I was trying to prove a point. Maybe, it was scrolling through the Mathilda Leon tag on tumblr that made me do it but I’m now too busy loving how this haircut looks on me to even think about why I did it.

Point is, it’s important to listen to the people around you especially when you’re young but ultimately, when you’re a grown man/woman, you will know what is best for you. You and no one else. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Do what you want as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the goals you have set for yourself in the future. It’s just hair. It will grow back.

Schools in the Philippines often have very restrictive haircut and hair color policies. I personally get what they are trying to do or prove but I don’t agree with it. What is up with older people shaming teenagers with colored hair, tattoos and piercings? Why keep a student from getting the education they paid for just because of their hair color choices or the way they dress? I kid you not, I’ve heard cases in which some people get suspended for three weeks for having blue hair or boys getting suspended for having a haircut that’s a bit longer than usual and people being kept from their classes (or marked absent) for wearing black jeans instead of black pants or black sneakers instead of formal leather shoes and it was an ART COLLEGE. Shaming is such a big part of the filipino culture whether we admit it or not. I cannot wait for our generation to be in charge. I have great hope for us. I hope we get to be the generation that will surpass the gender, religion and race barriers. Our baby boomer parents may not understand us and how we see the world, no matter how much they love us, but we must not lose hope for we are going to be in charge one day and we will be full of love and understanding. They can make fun of us for our microagressions (which, i agree, could be bad), social activism, third wave feminism, non-homophobic and non-transphobic ways but they cannot take our future away from us. A (hopefully) cruelty free future where people know the right pronouns.


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This happened last august! It was Princess Venzon’s debutante ball. She’s my friend-slash-old-roommate and I was one of her 18 candles. The theme was “Royal Ball” but i ended up looking like a villain, anyway.


CAPE: designed by me
TOP: victoria’s secret
SKIRT: designed by me
HAIR & MAKEUP: by me
LIPSTICK: Lime Crime Salem


♡ A R I A ♡

PS: The first photo was taken by my friend, Eli Sepe.