Maternity style: Tropical edition

By the time I flew home for the holidays, I was tired of piling on ten million layers before going out. So I was looking forward to wearing my “real” clothes (which is how I think of my summer clothes) and feeling like myself again for three weeks.

What I loved about dressing for pregnancy in the tropics:

  • Getting to wear sandals. Pretty toes, yay.
  • Packing only two pairs of shoes, because staying with my mom and sister means a bottomless shoe and accessory closet—and a trip to Landmark means shopping for cheap flats!
  • Putting away my thick, woolly maternity tights and seeing my legs again

What I didn’t love:

  • THE HEAT. OMG. Being pregnant, your body temperature is already higher because of increased blood circulation and being plunged into tropical heat does not help. At all. On my last few nights, I couldn’t sleep unless I had both the aircon (set to 21 degrees) and the electric fan on. December showed no mercy to this pregnant mama.
  • Bloating and expanding because of said heat. I didn’t go up a shoe size, thank goodness, but I gained FIVE POUNDS of water—which I lost the day I returned to wintry Amsterdam.
  • Humidity-triggered frizzies. Good thing there’s The Twist!
  • Sweating your way to that dewy (read: oily), no-makeup look. I found myself quite startled to see how much makeup women pile on in Manila (some women really need to lay off the foundation!) until I remembered that it melts off in minutes.
  • Being forcibly reminded of how everyone dresses in the same preppy/simple girl uniform. I lost count of the number of neat ponytails, Longchamp Le Pliage bags and round pearl earrings I saw in my two weeks back home!

All that aside, what I loved most about dressing for the heat was getting to dig out some of my favorite outfits from storage—like the printed vintage shirtdress I hadn’t seen since August…


and being able to wear my normal, non-maternity clothes… even in my third trimester.

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My maternity photo shoot

I knew from the start of my pregnancy that I wanted to do a maternity photo session. I thought I’d wait until I was ready to pop to capture my body in its full pregnant glory, but I changed my mind during a Skype date with a friend who was then in her eighth month of pregnancy.

When I asked if she was going to have maternity photos taken, the ferocity of her response surprised me. “Oh my God! No! Ayoko! Feeling ko ang laki-laki ko! Wala ako sa mood mag-posing posing!” Basically, she felt ugly and huge, and the last thing she wanted was to get her glam on in front of a camera. I thought she had some kind of hormonal goggles on, because to me she looked great.

But her response also made me think. If my gorgeous, tiny, delicate friend felt like a grossly ugly blimp in her last month, then there was no hope for me! So, my maternity photos had to be taken when my baby bump was a respectable size, but while I could still feel… cute.

I got in touch with our wedding godmother Dada, whose doctor/photographer husband Raul took some great portraits for the Ateneo Chamber Singers’ most recent album. Raul was game, and booked some studio time for our first weekend back home, two weeks into my final trimester. And this is what came out of those two hours in the studio.

Ever wondered what couples mean when they say “we’re pregnant?” Wonder no more. Sympathetic pregnancy is not a myth!

Can you tell Marlon and I had a blast with this photo shoot?

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2012 in Instagram

I don’t know if I’ll still be using Instagram in 2013, but I sure used the heck out of it in 2012! Here’s a look back at the year that was via the 10 most liked photos on my Instagram feed.

I don’t blog as much about daily life in Amsterdam as I should. I think that means I’ve finally started to settle in and take the ordinary things as, well, ordinary (as opposed to when I first moved here and everything was new). But I do post glimpses of everyday life in the ‘Dam on Instagram.

This year, 4 out of my 10 most liked photos were of Amsterdam–one for each of the four seasons, actually!

Spring: Blue skies over canal houses

Summer: Villas beside Vondelpark

Fall: Our soon-to-be street

Winter: Early sunset on the canals

Instagram was also where I chronicled my wanderlust. These on-the-fly snapshots of some of the places I’ve been this year got quite a few likes.

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Maternity style: Welcome to the third trimester

What better way to start one’s third trimester with a 12-hour transcontinental flight? That’s what I always say.

Thankfully, the flight from Amsterdam to Singapore was surprisingly comfortable, for someone in her 28th week of pregnancy. Booking Singapore Airlines and having a prenatal shiatsu massage the night before (my neighbors are yoga and shiatsu therapists) definitely made a difference. I also walked around, did a lot of hip circles in the toilet, and packed a Ziploc bag with chocolate chip cookies and bananas, and checked my ankles every five minutes to see if they were still there (I’ve heard one too many cankles horror stories from pregnant flyers).

I’m happy to report that I made it to Singapore in one piece, with minimum discomfort and intact ankles. Hurray!

Asymmetrical dress by from Uniqlo’s Designers Invitation Project: Costello Tagliapetra, H&M copper headband, Ona leather camera satchel, Vincci patent leather wedges, and five-spike necklace from WeAreLabels.  

Heavy, clinging humidity swallowed me up the moment I stepped out of Changi Airport (a forceful reminder of why mentholated facial wash was created), but right now I’m happy to be dressing like myself again, minus all the winter layers. I’m glad to still be wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes, too. And sandals, oh sandals… what a glorious feeling.

I give myself two days before I start complaining about curly bangs and oily skin, and generally cursing this climate. But for now, the tropical heat and I are cool—no pun intended.

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Friday night fog

Spending Friday night in a fog was something you did a lot in your 20s. (Not that I was ever super wild. I was in the choir, remember?) But in my 30s and in Amsterdam, that Friday night fog gets pretty literal.


This was the scene last Friday, when the streets of Amsterdam were covered in a heavy, misty fog. It reminded me of weekend drives to the beach when I was a kid, and stopping by the Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay for lunch. Tagaytay was the only place remotely near Manila where you could see heavy fog, and it was the biggest thrill.

We’d be driving, the car would suddenly be enveloped in fog, Mom would turn on the headlights and wipers, and we were instantly transported somewhere gray, foreign and cold! (Note: it couldn’t have been more than 26℃ or 27℃, a hot summer day in Amsterdam. Haha.)

Marlon and I practically leapt out of the tram into the fog, instantly kids again. I swear I don’t know how we’re going to be parents in three months. While Daddy played Assassin’s Creed


Mommy played dress-up with her new wool cape (a.k.a. the anti-maternity winter coat) and self-made knitted cowl (based on this pattern).

Cape and cowl

If you’re ever going to go swirling about in a fog, I highly recommend a cape and cowl. (Note that my recommendation is purely based on the fun factor.) Something like a superhero costume or Sherlock Holmes-type outfit seems fitting when you find yourself living on Jack the Ripper’s street.


Mist and mystery aside, one thing I love at this time of year is walking with the glow from people’s windows lighting my way home. Even if I’m freezing, this sight makes me smile—although depending on the temperature, the smile could look like a grimace.


How are you spending your Friday night? Whether it’s in a fog (literal or otherwise) or totally in the clear, hope you have a good one. Happy weekend, folks!

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