Thursday, December 31, 2015

that year in progress...


That was the year that I could perhaps consider the most personal journey for me because that was when I've become a work in progress

When something personal is happening it's always difficult to write about it. I didn't think I'd want to write about it honestly and I never had any intention to do so. But seeing what I'd written in my previous year end posts, I've realized how writing this would be a nice way of connecting the transition of what had been and what would be. 

2015. It's honestly difficult for me to describe this year. I could go on and detail what I've achieved ,what I've done, where I've been and pass it on to my list of merits. It's a cliche and to be blunt, superficial.  Though I'm not discrediting those experiences for they have been nothing but awesome and added to what and who I am today - a work in progress.

Yes, a work in progress, is the best description of my year. Without going into specifics, I've slowly braved and gone out of my comfort zone. I've always said how travelling forces you to be outside your comfort zone, it still is true, but I think they are just the triggering factor that points you to the change you want to be. 

However, more than that, there are also certain factors in life e.g. people, experiences, places and etc that becomes your catalyst for change. It's only a matter of heeding those encounters and it only takes a pause. a breath, a moment, to let everything sink in before clarity sets in. 

So yup, that's what I did. I took a pause, a breath, a moment to work on myself. I took some initiative on how I could ease the inner restlessness in my mind and the insecurity of the uncertain (extended quarter life crisis, it seems). In the midst of all these I've decided to go beyond my circle, on my own, and sought people and activities that could help me calm the unease. It was the best decision ever. 

I can't say I've got all my questions figured out or I'm better a person or whatever. I don't even know if I'll ever be in this lifetime. Instead, I attained a minuscule but progressive understanding that life is but a moment at a time. That uncertainties are meant to be embraced, because attached to it are endless possibilities.

I started my year off with heaviness and unease created by my worst enemy, myself. Then I've progressed to seeking and unloading the burden and attachments with the help of my best friend, myself. 

I've been a work in progress in 2015 and I will continue to be this year and the years to come. I'm finally getting comfortable of where I'm heading in this life. I certainly don't know where it'll be or what it is or with whom, but I'll brave it and make it. I have every faith that if things are meant to be, it will "effortlessly" fall into its right place, with right karmic actions in mind. 

2015. I've been a work progress and will continue to be. I am taking the pause, the breath, the moment to embrace the uncertainty and possibilities that lies ahead. 

I am excited and am very much looking forward to you, 2016.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bali begins...

So it's a rainy 13 degrees outside and I'm here in bed wrapped in my robe and bundled in a double layer of comforter. Welcome to Melbourne, where the weather is crazy and my fingers are freezing. They say the best way to beat the cold is to exercise and keep the body warm. So fingers we are in for a long exercise.. type away... ;)

Where do I begin?. Oh yes. I've been meaning to blog about my Southeast Asian backpacking experience for the longest time now, but for some reason I just kept on keeping it at bay. I don't exactly know why but I think I have a pretty good idea why. Wait.. I know why... because somebody failed to send me the "promised memory card" from the other cam. So somebody if you're reading this, you are that somebody I'm talking about (may your conscience be with you). But whatever, moving on (no pun intended ;p), today I've decided to revolutionize by opening my 16GB memory card. 16GB worth of pictures that I just didn't bother with. Sorry to be a party pooper pics but you're not gonna get a dusty anniversary celebration inside the cam. ha! Aside from incomplete, my pictures aren't really that great and so is my memory of the experience, but I'll try to relive as  much as I can, starting with Bali, Indonesia.

I really don't know why I wanted to go Bali, maybe it was because I planned the trip with my friend Bally that it just seemed appropriate to have her first out of the country trip to where else but Bali. Ha! Corny. So Kyle, Bally and I took the red eye flight to Bali and went our separate ways so we could enjoy the cultural side of Bali and he with his surfing.

Ubud. That was our first destination. The cultural side of Bali. The place where you can do your Eat Pray Love moments that Bally and I utterly failed to capture. So what it's in this side of the island? Culture. Art. History. Tourists.

The great thing about this place, that I kept on raving on, is how they were able to preserve their history and cultural practices despite the influx of tourism. I think it's just amazing how the houses (a lot of which became bed and breakfasts)  were preserved the way they were. It's fascinating to see how they  were able to master the art of cultural conservation knowing that somehow this is the kind of thing that tourists go for. They even stepped it up a notch by organizing a weekly Kecak Fire Dance that involved the participation of the whole community. That my friends is what you call a real collaborative art and of course the tourists were digging included..

What else have we done in Ubud? Biked around and gotten into a minor accident, katangahan lang, check! Flirted with the some lonely monkey at the monkey temple, he wasn't charmed (I wasn't his type of monkey I guess), but check! Gate crashed into a house we thought was temple, seriously! an-honest-to-goodness-mistake-and-you-cant-blame-us-really, check!Struck a deal with a driver in a very very broken English and  made his delivery truck van into our personal tour van.CHECK

Let me just expound on it a bit coz for some reason my friends and I recklessly thrive on random moments and this was another one for the books. So, as the ever fit Bally and I were biking uphill and downhill for hours we stopped by the a tiny roadside food shack to energize ourselves. We got into a conversation with one of the locals exchanged the general question of where are you from yada yada.. cut the story short they offered to bring us to the temples for a very discounted rate. With just a shared look Bally and I said yes right away (that's how we make life making decisions by the way haha), and lo and behold the delivery truck van was waiting for us like a shiny carriage on our beck and call. It was perhaps the quietest ride we've ever had, with lots of smiles thrown in to fill the silence of the language barrier between the driver and us. It was hopeless, it was reckless, it was worth the destination :)

After Ubud we went up to Uluwatu to meet up with Kyle where he was surfing to his heart's content til he suffered that ghastly reef accident. I really don't know how you call it exactly but there were wounds A LOT of wounds that just added to his barely healed wounds from Siargao. I tell you that guy collects scars and wounds as souvenirs. Anyway, that pretty much bummed his surfing trip. Much more when he found this amazingly secluded surf spot in Uluwatu, like a surfer's haven on a cliff side stilts that was very dirt cheap. Well that was our instruction anyway, to find a spot within our budget because we are cheap like that. The downside however is the going up and down of those hundreds of steep stairs with our huge backpacks and injuries. I was nursing my swollen toe from my biking fall of disgrace and Bally was getting UTI. To top it off, we learned how filthy the water really is in Bali with horror stories of how a deadly infection  could spread in a tiny wound just by being in the water. Of course the sanitation of the dirt cheap place didn't help settle the paranoia nor did the medical expertise of my two companions regarding infections, diseases and shit. Sometimes ignorance is a bliss, but transferring to a cleaner hotel is more blissful.

That begun our journey to hotel hopping in Bali. I honestly could care less where I sleep and all coz I know that it's only temporary and I'm gonna return to the comforts of my own home anyway (ehem! bullshit! I'm really on a budget! haha). However, I also totally understood where Kyle was coming from about getting the best comforts his money could afford considering how hard he works, the exchange rate blah blah, but on the other hand I don't spend money that I don't have. So we compromised and I somewhat became a semi-freeloader. It really didn't sit well with me so I just gave him free reign of TripAdvisor-ing our trip. TripAdvisor could seriously hire us to stay at hotels for free in exchange for feedbacks. He do the feed-backing, I give the stars. Dream job!

Overall, Uluwatu was nice but the people were nicer.. to look at. There's just something about surfer guys until you see their equally hot girlfriends trail behind them. Oh well back to being tourists. Uluwatu was just really touristy for me. It was such a relief to escape the bus tours of Chinese madness and drove off to Balian.

Aaaaah Balian. I cannot express how much I love thee. You see Balian is a quiet little surfing town somewhere in the central part of Bali. I think. My direction really sucks, but heck it's somewhere in Bali. So anyway, I fell in love with that little town. That was my Eat Pray Love moment right there. Eat the best street noodle, Pray to stay forever and Loooove every bit of it. But just imagine your bungalow sitting on top of a terraces with the ocean as your view and the waves as your music. Just the ultimate Bali experience for me. The combination of greens and blues were the perfect shade of tranquility. I've never seen colors more vivid at that certain day, but that's a different story ;) I would have loved to spend the remaining duration of our stay there but I know how excruciating it was for Kyle to just see the perfect waves not able to surf it. I feel for that dude, but on the other hand I got go to my dream school.

Green School. I came across the Green School in Bali from one of John Hardy's TED talk on youtube. Since then I've always been impressed by it, partly because it was similar to the paper I made on Curriculum Development when we were tasked to make a write up of our dream school. I've written how I wanted an eco-inspired school somewhere in the mountain or ocean with solar panel churvaloo. Then a few years after, I bumped into Green School on youtube and then visited it. How amazing is that?! It was like seeing a dream into reality, only much better, waaaay better. Someday I'm gonna set up one in PH. Oh dreams, just you wait til I get my millions...haha...

What else? Oh so yeah we spent sometime in Kuta, the party capital of Bali. I didn't get to party the night away. I would've have wanted to try it, but I don't quite have the stamina for it. Weirdly enough, the music and lights makes me sleepy... unless I'm with my girlfriends and some cheap shots then we're good to go. But that hardly happens, just a maximum clubbing of once a year. Yes we are a bunch of old boring hags who takes more enjoyment dancing outside the perimeters of the club. Damn, we really are cheap wackos haha.

And that ends my finger exercise for this leg of my Southeast Asian Adventure. Thailand coming ... who knows when.. ;)  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bandwagon Learnings...

I thought I was gonna bid this blog farewell, but then I opened it and realized how much I've missed indulging on writing little remembrance of my "past-scapades." Reading my previous posts had reminded me of how lucky I've been to be in a position where I get the opportunity to go to places. Not as extensively, by any hardcore traveler's standard, but enough for me to be grateful and to yearn for more. I think the reason why I'm am in love with traveling is because I am a sucker for experiences. I mean sure I get some crazy experience from just being at home, but there's just something romantic about doing things and seeing things outside of your comfort zone. This is probably why there's so many blogs out there dedicated to top things about traveling blah blah blah. I think they make a lot of sense, so I decided to jump into the bandwagon with my very own,


especially on this trip.

Bagan, Myanmar. 8.8.14

I learned that I am a stubborn bull when it comes to chasing dreams.

I've always been fascinated by people I've met who've traveled the world with nothing but a backpack of essentials. To me they looked like they had a luggage full of experiences and stories that is very enviable. So a few years back I told myself that someday I would backpack around Southeast Asia too. The idea was so appealing to my friend and I that we booked a one way seat sale ticket to Bali a year in advance, even though we didn't have any money for it yet. But the moment I had the ticket in my inbox, that was it for me. No more turning back as I started to diligently save a year's worth of my salary. For a minimum wage earner in this country, it wasn't much but still enough for me to stretch it out to more than a month's worth of travel. 

This was perhaps very ambitious, considering the risk I took of resigning from the job that I loved just to fulfill a short term dream. My parent's thought I was crazy, but I just had to see what Bali was like, what Thailand is now, what Myanmar was all about and the fuzz around Vietnam. I just had to satisfy my curiosity in these rugged lands and do it the rugged way because I know that time will come when I will no longer have the stamina for such way of traveling. I believed it was essential for me to have that experience and for whatever reason I just felt the need for it, so for that I had to put all my eggs in that one basket. 

Looking back, I honestly didn't think I'd be able to really go to Burma. I remember just raving about the sunset pictures of Bagan and going to the Green School in Bali and wished for someday2x. Then someday happened, the same way as my someday to go Cambodia and etc. It just made me realize now that I actually do make my someday happen, despite the circumstances. I honestly don't earn much, but I guess I'm just good at making do of what I have and a strong faith that everything will work out. But now that I'm done with it, it's time to level up the dreams for a new destination... someday2x ;)

I learned that gratefulness equates to positivity.

I've always been a firm believer in the practice of gratitude. I have very high regards for people who can be very grateful of the smallest gestures in life. I learned that if one is just genuinely grateful of what is in front of them they'd tend to have a simpler and more meaningful demands out of life. Not that they become less ambitious,but rather they develop that great appreciation of what is presented to them regardless of the buts.

This trip just made me realize of how I actually perceive things. I've always been a grateful person, I always say my thank you's like it's a built in automated response, but I've never seen myself as a positive person. I guess part of it is coming from a third world country that when you travel abroad you just get fascinated by everything around you. You just tend to soak things up because what you are used to is nothing in comparison. Having that knowledge alone humbles you because you are well aware that the opportunity you are enjoying is not enjoyed by everyone. That's why it's really difficult to be a travel snob when you are just grateful of being there in that moment. Gratefulness just makes things a little bit brighter. Then again it's really just all a matter of perspective and upbringing. 

So despite the disadvantages associated with coming from a third world country, I am still grateful because I feel like I see the world through the innocence of a kid who is just in awe of everything new in her eyes. Naive and pathetic, sure, but we were all just a bunch of kids once for sure you remember how it felt, it was happiness and it was beautiful. 

I learned to compromise and give it my best shot.

When my friend whom I planned to have to this trip with bailed on me, I took a chance and said yes to somebody who requested to join me instead. I only met him for a weekend, barely had a meaningful encounter during that time but somehow shared a connection with. I met him last year on a very interesting setting, a great beginning to a story in fact.... but I'd rather keep that to myself. ha! (Sorry I'm not going to give my sister who snoops here the satisfaction. :p). Anyway for some reason, reckless or otherwise I said yes without giving it much thought and so began the biggest risk and lesson I learned on this trip.

Before anything else, let me admit that I am a closet romantic. I've always been in love with the idea of having a partner who shares the same passion, causes and values in life as I do. It's true that I don't have a lot experience on proper relationships whatever, but I've always been quite idealistic in my approach that you should be with someone who makes you grow and vice versa, otherwise it's just a waste of time. So practically my standard was simplified, if I could see myself traveling with someone, that's already a possibility. Funny, but thinking back, I actually did meet him while I was traveling. ha! never thought of that. 

Anyways, to cut the story short I experienced a grand romantic gesture from a great guy who traveled half way across the world to travel more parts of the world with me. To someone who loves going places, that's an awesome lot! Long hair! that gesture alone definitely made my dark skin blush, haha! Then reality took place, personalities were shown, differences settled in and so did my great act of compromise. Something, that's unusual for a strong willed prideful kid as I am. 

A lot of people had told me that traveling together is a great way to really get to know someone. I'd say hell yeah! because when the going gets tough there is definitely no escaping it. I had to learn how to confront situations I would have otherwise ran away from. I had to take into consideration another person's well being instead of just my own. I had to this, I had to that. In short, I did a lot of things I would have otherwise not known I'd be willing to do. It was a lot of work, but that was my best shot. Had I turned him down and pursued on traveling alone, I would not have been able to learn things about myself as part of someone's life. Damn! had known I should have had some practice beforehand! kidding.

That's actually what I love most about traveling, it's a beautiful journey of self-realization. It puts you in situation you'd unlikely experience in your comfort zone. It gives you the kind of introspection that humbles you and makes you seek to become better than you are now. Roads were bumpy and smooth but that's what journey is all about anyway, and that's the thing I learned the most. So travel and learn. Learn and travel. Then love every bit of the experience.


P.S. to my sister who is reading this. Things didn't work out as you'd probably hope it would. Just understand that people are meant to chase their dreams like a stubborn bull and sometimes you just don't fit in those dreams. That's especially when you give them your bestest shot and support them in their goals, even if it means letting you go, because that is still comprise. I didn't come empty handed with that compromise anyway because I learned more than I could possibly imagine and for that I am beyond grateful. Just be positive that someday I will eventually have that someone who'd still share the same ideals as me and at the right time. You will like him too. He will be handsome with great body, funny, smart, generous, hardworking and just plain amazing that it would make you say 'you go gurl!' hahaha.. But hey! you never know with my might happen with this too..haha.. wink! wink!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 ... the year that was...

2013. The year that is about to end in a few hours. 2 to be exact. But before the curtain closes down on the year that will be a has been, I'd like to give my toast for it has been nothing but a good chain of events.

As of this moment I am still holding on to my job as a preschool teacher. Second year, the longest job since I held onto since the number of diplomas that I've held (short courses, I'm not that cerebral). 

I fell in love.... with Chico. A dog. It's pathetic I know, but for someone who just likes animals minus the responsibility of it, it's a great commitment. It's either because his care was thrust-ed into me by my sister who got him weeks before she left for Australia, or he is just so handsome and adorable. I swear your dog is nothing like my Chico. And I'm not just saying that because I consider him my kid. He's not just any face that only a mother could love. Like any mother will of  course say. ;p

My sister left for Australia. My parents vacationed for months. I got left alone for a couple of months. Well... not bad. It's just that I-SWEAR-I-WILL-GET-MY-MUCH-NEEDED-TRAVEL-SOON-TOO.

I pulled off something that I never thought would be possible in my life. Somehow I was able to put my pessimism, idealism and optimism to use. I think nature does it you, particularly disasters. 

Because of my pessimism towards the local media, I have shunned the news. But when the first disaster struck, I heeded the call of my friend to do something about it, thus inspired my idealism that something could be done. And when it was done, I realized that there is actually more to be done and much more we could do as a group of individuals. You may read this as gibberish ramblings but when the mood and timing feels perfect I will blog more about the perhaps the most life changing experience of mine. 

In all that happened to me this year, I believe that they are just small dots connecting to a greater something that I do not know what, yet.  I've stuck with a job that I love and in return I got my boss and her husband as the biggest supporter for our relief operations. I got Chico who gave me the equal amount of warmth in the absence of my family. Then I met new friends whom I have a strong feeling will be there for many years ahead. And of course my friends, who are just beyond words amazing. This year wouldn't be the year is now without them.

Like every teleserye, my year isn't all about  rainbows and butterflies actually. I've had my biggest share of disappointments in people and events. But I believe that they are all still part of the dots that will connect to that big something. They were the learning curves that were beyond my control but is thankful for. Besides, looking back, I think I've had far greater blessings to dwell on rather than on those little bumps. 

Again, my gut tells me that there is a greater something. I do not what the hell it is, but it feels good and I will claim it. 

I claim that 2014 will my year. 
To heck with cosmics!

Thank you 2013 and a coming thank you to 2014.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Back to blog....

Hello there blog! been a long long time since I've last logged into you. A lot of things has happened in the past year. I'd like to say that I've been just super duper busy as an excuse, but truth is I was just being a grown up. Doing what grown ups do. Going into the business of trading your time for money. It's called work. The kind of business I've been evading for a while, or as other saw it... a really long time. But you'd be proud, I haven't resigned... yet. YEY!

I guess it just takes a while to figure out the kind of work that doesn't really feel like work. Except when I wake up at 6 in the morning, which is daily. Other than that it's pretty easy breezy. The pay is not much, just a regular minimum wage earner in this country, but the perk lies elsewhere. The kids. Good thing I'm dealing with cute kids! Or maybe I just like kids so darn much that in my eyes they are cute. Ha!

So there you go, I like my job. I'm still at the stage where I'm enjoying it and I hope to God will continue to do so for a long long long time. But I gotta admit, I miss traveling so much. The days of panic booking for cheap fares and researching for the itinerary. The packing,checking in, long painful bus rides, budgeting and getting wowed at that splendor of your destination. The whole process of traveling. The spontaneity of it all. I miss it so so so bad!

Nostalgia. That's the honest reason why I'm avoiding you blog. The things you make me feel when I read through you. The pictures that reminds me of the more possible places I could have gone to. That's why you my dear blog are nostalgic. But I guess I'll have no choice but to embrace the feelings that comes along with you, for I learned that nostalgia comes hand in hand with being a grown up. Like an old couple holding hands in their rocking chair staring off into the distant past of good times.

Good news is, I'm still too young for that rocking chair! So I'll just rock this blog instead. Traveling post maybe dwindling, but I still got a few stories up in my sleeves that I was just too lazy busy to tell. Which reminds me that I have yet to finish that 10 days trip. Sagada will be coming up. I don't know when but real soon. I hope.

Hello to you again blog!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

it cannot wait.... Ted + Melay

Well you done done me and you bet I felt it

 I tried to be chill but you're so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks, now I'm trying to get back


But I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm yours

 Well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and then you're free

 Look into your heart and you'll find love love love love

Listen to the music of the moment people, dance and sing
We're just one big family

 And it's our God-forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved loved

There's no need to complicate, our time is short

 This is our fate, 
I'm yours

 And bending over backwards just to try to see it clearer

 But my breath fogged up the glass
And so I drew a new face and I laughed

It cannot wait,
 I'm yours.....

Make up by Yadz
Choreo by Bally
Photographed by Me
Lyrics by Jason Mraz ;p


9.9.12 amateur pre nup shooting at Alta Vista 
because my cousin trusted me that much, and because I have no money for wedding gifts ;)

Friday, June 1, 2012

day 7: batad, banaue rice terraces

 Because to see amazing places takes a lot of time and EFFORT...

10 hour bus ride ... survived!
hours of uphill downhill treks and climb around Batad... SURVIVED!
I have to admit this was going around the world famous rice terraces was probably the most challenging part of the entire 10 day trip. For a very fit and healthy person like me... going uphill and downhill on my barely breathing lungs was no joke! Seriously those sticks were a life saver. 
Unfortunately, Batad just had their harvest so it wasn't as green as those in the postcards. But it's still drool worthy nonetheless. I mean sure you get to see rice terraces around the town center of Banaue, even waking up to it, however what you see in Batad is just different. The terraces were perfectly designed from all angles. It's amazing! And you gotta credit the ingenuity of our indigenous architects of the past.

Climb a flight of narrow stairs. Cling on to the side walls and rocks. Trek down, walk a bit, climb up, rest for a while, then go back again. That's how you about the terraces.
P.S. the ways are too narrow for a two way street. So squeeze in sideways to avoid the inevitable fall. Ironically, it's not the reason for my downfall. I fell into the mud because I simply am just being the clumsy good me. No challenge at all.  

Part of the reason why I was excited to go to this side of the world was to see firsthand the traditional costumes that the oldies are most often pictured wearing. But times have changed, they don't use those for everyday wear nowadays, only for special occasions. That's why to the cool Manong in the cool headgear, sorry to disturb your cool peace, we are just a bunch of wannabe cool ignorant city kids. 

Cool Ifugao facts:

* They are highly cultured. They believe in a lot of mystical stuffs and out of this world ideas. Example, they associate picture talking with death so always ask permission if you can't steal a shot, especially the kids. But a candy and some small bills would always come in handy for a bit of a bribe ;)

* They are the best English speakers I've ever encountered. So chances are they'd talk to you comfortably in English, with a twang no less. And don't underestimate the grannies coz they to could talk to you under the sun with that language. Why? because as I've found out from my sister who hasn't been there but on wikipedia, they were educated by the western missionaries in the past. Aaaahhhh...

* Age doesn't matter, because they don't count their age. They don't know their exact birth dates because NSO hasn't reached their place then.  

* And each family has their own terrace or more.
Imagine going up and down these terrains everyday. Cultivate the soil then carry sacks of harvest every now and then. I know it's not good to compare because this is the life that they are used to, but really it's embarrassing to complain when I've just been going around for a couple of hours. But if I was only probably super fit, I'd be singing a different tune. Really, forgive my unhealthy and unfit body, I'll work out someday... not promising though. ;)
 There is no escape to the wrath of mother nature, not even in this amazing wonder of the world. They also experienced some landslide that had visibly damaged parts of the terraces. What's great to see however is the strong sense of community that this humble place has. The ability of people to pitch in help to others is always a great thing to see. 
 My dad was wondering how rice plantation worked here, well as you can see they have a pretty good flow of water from I don't know where. Forgot to ask that... tsk tsk...

Batad was also the place where we encountered the most amazing people. For starters there's happy Rico from Japan who's energy is waaaaay up there. An interesting 21 year old girl traveling by herself, and yeah she's been to India on her own too when she was just 18.  Then there's those Aussies who are extreme travelers, who's gonna put your wanna be ass to shame. Why? because one of them just about did 500+ of the 1001 places to go before you die. And apparently Batad was in that book, so I guess that means 1,000 more places to go for me. Yehaaaaaaay...

Then of course there's German Chris who totally sucked at the game of 1-2-3 pass. It was a fun messy lipsticky night.. but seriously, in your face Chris! hahaha... Till' then ;)

people's lodge inn (P250/ night, 2 nights) = P500
breakfast at People's = P125
  Jeep to Batad saddle point + guide = P500
lunch at ramon's lodge inn and restaurant (Batad) = P150
  Dinner at Las vegas lodge = P150
Rough Investment: 1,425