AIM Feature: Rachel Arandilla


“After a quarter life crisis, I decided to take MBA (because that’s why you take MBA, right?). After some eight weeks of GMAT self-study and receiving the AIM letter of admissions shortly after, I moved to Makati. It was a whirlwind for me, everything happened too fast.

At first, I felt like a bit of an oddball. The whole corporate culture was something entirely different to me. A travel writer by profession & fine arts by training, I grew up in an island with no Pt of time. My social circle made up of artists, surfers and bohemians. Imagine the amount of adjustment I endured when moving to Makati and going to business school.

My first math encounter since high school algebra was when I did my GMAT preps. So everything was completely new to me. There was a lot of times when I completely felt stumped. I would enviously look at my classmates and wonder how they breeze through LOB and Finance while every time I go through the readings, I cry on the inside. Rather than feeling bad for myself, I just tried harder. Remember, everyone starts off as a beginner. Every pro-surfer would look like an idiot when they first got on the board.

Starting off a little behind everyone else can be discouraging.Understandable-most of us grew up where success, or being the best, is celebrated. We get brownie points from our parents when we excel. Schools reward the top students in academic achievement. The problem with this mentality is it creates an illogical and immense fear in failure.

The biggest victims are the overachievers – they tend to be crippled with failure. Hence they tend to stick to their expertise and do not broaden their skill because of their anxiety on failure. “I can not dance” or “I’m bad at languages” or “I have no sense of balance”; But more of the fear of failing at it. It’s easier for them to say ‘That’s impossible,’ rather than ‘That’s hard’.

Willful advice for parents and future parents: rather than praising achievements, we should raise a kid who will not give up.

My arts background is not a crutch-everyone has to start a little bit. My learning curve may be much longer than my classmates’, but I think my learning experience was much more satisfying. When you finally ‘get’ what your classmates were talking about two sessions ago, nothing felt more rewarding.

Learn to accept that failure is part of life. Learn to laugh at yourself-the worth of wisdom from that failure is much more valuable.”

‘The Green Man’ Matthias Gelber Comes to Cebu

Climate change is already happening. Global warming is no longer a myth. We have already felt the effects, such as recent climate idiosyncrasies that weren’t supposed to happen, but are already transpiring. A cynic would always say, ‘but… can we really make a difference?’ Well, can we?

I was excited to hear that fellow Climate Reality leader Matthias Gelber is coming to the Philippines’ two biggest cities (Manila and Cebu) in order to give talks on tackling environment issues and climate change. He will also be here as one of the presiding judges of Miss Earth 2016, happening tonight, June 11, 2016.

Matthias Gelber, better known as the ‘GreenMan’, is a professional speaker, green activist, eco-warrior and key advocate to pro-environment living. He is voted the ‘Greenest Person on the Planet’ on 2008 by 3rdWhale, Canada.

Gelber was born and raised in a small German village close to nature, and hence developed a strong connection with the Earth from a young age. Matthias is now based in Malaysia, where he lives without a car and a $10 USD/month electric bill. In Malaysia, he started Eco Warriors, a community movement on taking a proactive stance to fighting climate change.

Malaysia and Philippines are very similar when it comes to climate, geography and demographic, but our buildings are designed for purely aesthetic but totally inappropriate for our hot and humid climate. Gelber shares that the traditional houses, the Philippine bahay kubo and Malaysian kampung houses are more efficient in ventilation and designed for our tropical weather. Industrial progress does not necessitate cemented roads and concrete buildings. A progressive city can live communally with nature and thrive in it, rather than destroy the greenery.

We can all be agents of change through small, lifestyle changes that we can make in your own offices and homes. The first step to green living is assessing our electric consumption. 1kwh generates 600+ g of CO2 emissions. Hence, reducing our electricity bill not only saves money but also reduces our carbon footprint. Of course, making the conscious change of behavior is the biggest challenge we face as we try to live greener.

For more interesting eco-stories, practical tips and ideas, catch the GreenMan on  “A GREEN TALK at the Queen City of the South”, this Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 1PM to 5PM at the Greenery, Mabolo, Cebu City. The event will also feature fellow Cebu green advocates: Joseph Castillo of the JoeGreen Project; Rachel Arandilla of DAKILA & Climate Reality Project; and Archt. Joy Onozawa, Certified Green Design Professional.

To register and know more about the event, you can check their Facebook event page on this link.

greenman in cebu

Nighthawks and the Death of a Hipster

nighthawks by edward hopper

This is ‘Nighthawks‘ by Edward Hopper, a 1942 American realist painting, oil in canvas. ‘Nighthawks’ is constantly referenced in pop culture, from The Simpsons to Blade Runner. It is also one of my favorite paintings of all time.

The painting shows four figures in a downtown diner at the dead of the night. Neither of the figures seem to be talking to another. The scene looks straight out of a classic film noir scene.

What drew me into the painting is the unsettling stillness. The nonchalance of the figures, together with the eery atmosphere–it portrays exactly the overtones following a wild night of partying, a few moments before the break of dawn. Most of Hopper’s paintings convey a sense of urban isolation and detachment.

Isn’t it ironic, how urban cities feel so crowded and lonely at the same time? We all sit cramped elbow-to-elbow in jeepneys, but no one is talking to anyone. Contrary to the province, everyone knows who’s sleeping with whom.

Poor, unfortunate souls lingering after dark. They spend the night in pubs or clubs; to forget, to numb the heart a little, to drown in EDM. As the night progresses, people get friendlier; and ‘one drink’ became five. A classic film noir hero: flawed and tragic.

At 4 in the morning, the lost ones are ready to retire their day; while others are just waking up to start theirs. You conclude the night starving and smelling of smoke.

For this particular night, the recovery food of choice was pochero.

The pocherohan’s background music undid me. It was the XX’s Coexist album. Orgy for your ears.

I had tried to forget, but before all this I used to be an artist and hipster.

But damn this pocherohan and their awesome playlist. Now I remember the things I used to love: watercolors, oxford shoes, film, florals, polaroids, vinyl, vintage tattoos and indie music. I fiddled in the dark room with chemicals (and no, it’s not to make meth). Holga and Diana were not just names of girls. Hiromi Uehara and Portishead were the coolest, ever.

I ate whatever I wanted; bless my prepartum metabolism. I am reminded of the time when I didn’t own a hairbrush or I couldn’t care less about makeup. What a time to be alive!

film cameras

My current wardrobe is mostly blacks and whites–like I’ve been mourning for the death of my right brain— she just couldn’t fit in the real world.

My friends had finished their beef stew, and are now bantering at each other loudly. I look at my friend across me. She’s a lovely transgender, more beautiful than me or of my female friends combined.

I wonder if she’s willing to pose nude for a portrait. Maybe it’s time to pick up my brushes again.


Caleb and Rachel for Petit Bateau

Source: Where’s Caleb? Caleb and Rachel for Petit Bateau

Last year in 2015, Caleb and I got the opportunity to model for Ayala’s Style Origin Fashion Show held annually. Mother-and-son pair represented Petit Bateau, a French brand on premium kids wear.

Caleb was only 1.6 years old at the time, and was unaware of what was happening most of the time. He didn’t understand why the girls in the backstage cried when Daniel Padilla passed by. When we went out of the runway, he stared at the crowd like: ‘what the hell is going on?’ Midway through the walk, he just gave up and had me carry him. Haha.

It was a funny and good experience for us, and we learn that there are a lot of things beyond our control–especially when it comes to children. Other children in the backstage were already getting cranky and low energy while waiting for the show to start (it started 2 hours later than expected). Caleb and I didn’t have the luxury to come back home after the morning rehearsals and stayed at the back stage until 7pm, but I am amazed at how unfazed Caleb was all throughout.

See the events unfold in the video edited by dad Ejay Williams:

Caleb and Rachel for Zee Lifestyle Directory

I got a call from Zee Lifestyle editor Patty Taboada to model for the Dec-Jan 2016 issue for Zee Lifestyle Directory, to feature The Outlets Pueblo Verde in the cover and their tenants–outlet stores of Adidas, Levi’s, Nike, Reef, Converse, Giordano, etc.

So for a day, I had a fake little family: a dad, Ted Paraiso, who is also a SAFAD Painting student of mine, my 23-month-old boy Caleb Williams, and another sweet five-year-old Euan Pateña.

I never realized how fun and hard it is to shoot with children! One child gets cranky and when he calms down, it’s the other kid’s turn. hahahaha. I can imagine having a small family in real life… Caleb alone already feels like an army.It’s also a little hard to direct a toddler what to do, and Caleb didn’t really know yet what was happening most of the time. The shoot took longer than expected, but it was so fun and challenging.

The photos looked amazing in the end! I didn’t know how Robo Formacion did it like magic.

The Zee Lifestyle city guide is not for sale, but distributed around hotels, restaurants and other business establishments in Cebu City.

Enjoy the photos!

The Outlets at Pueblo Verde for Zee Lifestyle Directory
December-January 2016


Sittings Editor: Patty Taboada
Photography: Robo Formacion
Makeup: Arnauld
Hair: Kherwin Zapanta
Production Assistant: Niki Remarca
Models: Rachel Arandilla, Ted Paraiso, Caleb Williams, Euan Pateña


calda pizza the outlets mactanthe outlets mactan family lapulapufamily shopping cebu mactanzee lifestyle caleb williams rachel arandillathe outlets robo formacion zee lifestyle directory

Happy Birthday to Me and My New Neurotic Disorder

There are different ways to solve a problem.

All throughout high school and college, I was always the first one to finish exams. I think fast and write fast, mostly for the fear of forgetting if I don’t jot everything down quick. Also, so I could be dismissed early.

Math exams were different however. Our maths teacher was intent on finishing the 45-minute time slot and dismissing us altogether. That did not sit well with me, pun intended. I couldn’t stand sitting in one place doing nothing. FML, I’m wasting my life sitting here.

As a result I would provide at least three different solutions all leading to the same answer. One item would still only be worth one point, though. It would drive the teacher crazy that I would use all the white space available in the paper, but I can only blame her too. If she had dismissed me earlier this would never had happened.


I wonder what my neurosis is, I mused. The family line seems to have some sort of neurosis, one way or another, so I feel left out not having one. My mother is a neat and organized freak, while my sister is obsessed with sanitizing her hands with alcohol every five minutes (she likes alcohol in general) and my father is neurotic about his lecture slides. My younger brother is the most normal person I know, but I’m sure I’m neurotic about something. Society finds a need to name everything into a disorder, after all. There’s bound to be one for me.

Then it hit me.

While the people I know have one right way of doing things, I have none. I refuse to have one. It’s that fear of routine, fear of doing the same thing, the same way all over again.

I’m no ‘creature of habit’ who gravitates towards the same shops or restaurants. I like wandering myself into secret finds at obscure spots. I’m the one who says: ‘yeah the sushi place was nice, but maybe we can try the ramen place beside it this time?’

It’s the kind of neurosis where even if you know the best route to a destination, you choose a different route ‘just because’.

It’s even if you excelled at maths in high school and was recommended into Chemical Engineering or Accountancy, you decided to take up Fine Arts instead.

It’s having five different ways to getting home. Ten different ways to wear a scarf. Four different ways to fold your clothes. Six different ways to calculate a basic derivative of a function.

It’s having curly hair, straight hair, wavy hair, short hair, long hair, mid-length hair, brown hair, black hair, blonde hair, hair with streaks and messed-up hair. If the school allowed it, I would’ve had blue hair by now. It’s not caring about your hair because they grow out anyway.

It’s that even if you know you hate fish and chips, you’ll still have it because you might like it this time around. (you still won’t, but maybe next time?)

It’s relishing the fact that you’re celebrating your 25th alone in Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport because it probably won’t happen again.

It’s preferring to remain unstable but take control of your time and freedom rather than having a routine 9-to-5 job.

For this kind of neurosis, it’s never say never.

It’s knowing there are many different means to an end. We know the number of Pi, but there are four different ways of calculating it.

It’s hating to be ‘left out’ or ‘missing out’. If you didn’t try it another way, or seeing it from another angle, you might be missing half your life. Who would’ve known there are a dozen different ways to cook an egg, if they didn’t try, right?

I blame maths for a lot of things, such as my bad handwriting. And my new neurotic disorder.

This self-diagnosis is not to be taken seriously. If, however, there is still no name for this neurosis I would like to name said disorder in behalf of myself because it’s my birthday today. 🙂

10 Things That Changed Since I’ve Become a New Mom

Three weeks ago, I received a message from the awesome Fiona of Sunstar Weekend, asking if they could feature me and Caleb for their Mother’s Day Issue. It never really dawned on me until that point: Oh right. I am a mom! I can’t believe I forgot.

Mom. That still sounds weird to me, to call myself a ‘mom’. When you become a ‘mom’ you become totally responsible for another human being. Sounds so noble, almost saintly.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 11.58.00 AM

My friends often joke that I’m the last person they imagined to be a ‘mom’. I’m not the kind to swoon at babies and puppies and butterflies. I’m selfish, over-involved, flippant, and did I say selfish?

For the first three months of his, errm, ‘inception’, I thought it was a serious case of jet lag. Bouncing on and off six different countries over that short time period, and apart from fatigue, nothing was out of place. I continued to live the daily lifestyle of a selfish 20-something-year-old youth, blissfully clueless.

But after a dreadful time on roller coaster rides at Ocean Park, I thought to myself: ‘This is weird. I don’t do ‘queasy’ on daredevil rides. Where’s my mojo?!’ Apparently, Caleb was already two months in. He took my mojo.

When my son came on Christmas Day, I can’t exactly say I changed that moment on. Tbh, I think learned more from him than him from me. My son has disproved many things I used to believe in. Or, to put it better, he proved many things I didn’t believe in before.  I’m surprised a lot of things have changed so much–and at the same time, not really.

If you want to read about my views on juggling between motherhood, Sprockets Cafe, teaching university, and a new blog, get Sunstar Weekend’s Mother’s Day Issue today.

So since today’s Mother’s Day, I dedicate this post to all the moms who’ve worked so hard for their little ones. Here’s 10 things that actually change when you become a mom, coming from a new ‘mom’ to a bouncing retroactive toddler.

Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, but equally celebrated and loved. Because life doesn’t come eith a manual. It comes with a mother. Happy Mother’s Day!

1. Everything you knew about motherhood gets thrown out of the window.Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 8.52.30 AM

I’m going to be honest, I was prejudiced. When someone said ‘mom’, I saw flashes of women with messy hair doing household chores, screaming baby in the background, sunken eyes with deep eye bags, screaming ‘help me….’. (shudders)

TV is mostly to blame for such an unflattering image. Media portrays motherhood as a funeral of a woman’s professional career and a life term sentence to household chores inside white picket fences.

I used to think motherhood is a death sentence (I hope Caleb won’t be able to read this when he’s older). But I’ll tell you a secret: being a mom is actually quite fun. For real. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. HAHA #really #notreally #butreally

2. Motherhood: Multitasking Lvl. 2000

So because of motherhood I’ve discovered there are so many tasks you can perform with just one hand. You think of ways to get the job done that is most cost-efficient and time-saving. Mothers need to be good strategists as well!

Women have always been good multitaskers, but mothers take it to the next level. Supermoms are excellent management consultants who always think of ways to save time and money, spend time with their kids, and still achieve it all with perfect hair and manicured nails.

3. Your fashion sense changes.

No, you don’t suddenly develop a taste for lola’s dusters. But you start prioritizing practical over fashionable. You want to wear clothes that are comfortable, and not get potentially disrobed every time your kin pulls and/or yanks at you. And you tend to tone down on the accessories especially when you start thinking of them as choking hazards.

4. Your profile’s news feed changes, as well.

I’m one of those annoying Facebook Friends who would constantly post random stuff about their children. I hope I’m not hurting anyone with all the cuteness. At least I don’t use annoying hashtags like OOTD or FamBam or SepAnx.

5. You see things in his eyes.

You want to share everything and anything for Caleb. You see things in your own child’s eyes. You constantly think: ‘Oh, he would’ve loved it here!’, ‘He would have enjoyed this!’, ‘I wonder what he would think of this?’ You want to share your goals, ideals, hobbies and interests with him. And if you experienced something awesome and fun without him, you get pangs of guilt. It’s the OMG-I’m-having-too-much-fun-without-my-son kind of guilt that won’t go away so easily.

My dream is to have him homeschooled so he can travel around the world with me and learn about history and culture firsthand, but his father is too traditional for the Thornberrys way-of-life, preferring Caleb’s education in a traditional UK boarding school. I hope he gets into Hogwarts. Or Cambridge, at the least.

6. You’ll never take for granted me-time ever again.

Sure it’s great being with your kid… but you’ll also learn to value alone time like never before. I don’t get it a lot nowadays, free time is rare. I’m a workaholic who wants to kill herself when I think I’m not being productive with my time. Shove all your work away and treat yourself sometimes–read a good book over tea or get a Swedish massage. It takes a lot of self-will not to use time for productive work or school or family, but sometimes I have to convince myself that I deserve this.


7. You get really toned arms.

It’s no surprise you get improved upper strength and toned arms from all that workout lugging around a 14-kilo youngster. Next time, I’ll challenge his dad to a round of push-ups.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 8.52.21 AM8. The hardest part? Getting him to sit down on a meal.

I’m lucky Caleb is easygoing and so agreeable. He is easy to take with everywhere–17-hour flight to UK? No problem. My biggest challenge is getting him to sit in a meal. Even for just five minutes.

I’ve had numerous fights with Caleb about strapping him in the baby seat but he always has other plans, e.g., walking around the restaurant, annoying dinners in every table, and running around the place. It’s hell to take him in a restaurant. I could never properly eat until he’s dozed off.

I don’t know if it’s the same for other mothers with one-year-olds, but I never imagine sitting him down on a meal can be so. damn. difficult.

9. You start being the most boring person in the party.

I try to stop myself. But I can’t help try to insert how Caleb’s just learned to sort his colors in parties. Or you start whipping out your phone to show them that funny burping video of your baby from three weeks ago. Your kin is suddenly your favorite topic. And oh, the poop stories. Mothers can never have too many poop stories.

10. You will mess up. And that’s okay.

5Sadly there is no foolproof manual on how to figure out momhood, nor numerous Google searches on ‘how to become a good mom’ can make you become one. A trial-and-error method ensued, what works and what doesn’t work for my little one. Because of the love and support poured by everyone, he is happy, bright, confident with a wicked sense of humor.

The biggest lesson from motherhood? You’ll probably never experience a bond and love as strong as with your kiddo. Your little one will bring out the better version of you.

Photography by JSD Photography. Thank you for the wonderful photos, Sprite. Hair, Makeup and Magic by Jerwin and Karlo and Feature written by the awesome Fiona Escandor for Sunstar Weekend. 

I’ve Moved to a New Domain!

I am now a proud owner of a domain,

Postcard Pretty because I like featuring postcard-pretty photos taken by me or (usually) my photographer/partner Ejay. It’s a slight veer away from the vanity of my previous blog name (Rachel and the world) hehe.

You can now access my site here, but please be patient on a few rebranding, SEO and layout changes over the next few days.