Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Person

You are my person. No need to indicate your name as my emergency contact in any valid ID. You’ll be rushing to wherever I am, whenever I need you to. I’m sure of that.

You deal with my tantrums- reasonable or not. You know when I am genuinely fussing over “something” or I am just projecting frustrations caused by a different issue. I don’t know which red flags you see to detect the difference, but you know exactly how to deal with me.

You let me win in most cases. And when I say most, I mean the everyday things that we could have argued about had you not given way. You have a very short list of things you cannot compromise. Other than those, you are happy to let me get away with what I want.

You make me laugh- a lot. We share the same humor and it is not exactly easy to find an equally dorky person who laughs at lame jokes. I am grateful for the simple fact that we can laugh to the point of crying over the silliest things at public places. Sometimes, I forget we are in a quiet coffee shop that I give out a high-pitched laugh and you end up covering my mouth in the most charming way. 

You receive total honesty from me. I am usually a guarded person. But never when it comes to you. You deserve nothing less than genuineness. I can swiftly smile through the worst day, until I get to be with you. That’s the only time I breakdown.

You make the thought of getting old not dreadful, at all. In fact, it makes me feel giddy. Whenever we see old couples holding hands in malls, you only need to squeeze my hand a little tighter to let me know we are thinking of the same thing: growing old together. It feels safer knowing I'm with someone who's equally excited about all things we have yet to unfold.

You are my person. You see me beyond the coating. You are my tag team partner through everything. We never compete, except in that game we play when we try to out-love each other. Like how F. Wizner put it, "Love is if I am happy, and you are happy, we can share. But if you are not happyyou can share nothing". That is our kind of love.

And even though you probably won’t get the TV series reference of having ‘a person’, I still want to tell you that you are mine, as completely and as absolutely, as I am yours.

I love you. 
Btw, we first held hands 9 years ago today. 
Our hands intertwined is still one of my favorite things in the world.


Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

I give the floor to Kirsten Chen...

When I try to cope, I write. Emotions are easier to let go once I'm able to gather up the words to label them and see them printed in what used to be a blank screen. But sometimes, emotions overpower me that I dig deep only to find nothing. On those days, I borrow the words of other people.

Like today.

When It’s Time To Go

JUN. 25, 2012 

(an excerpt)
We go and we let go and, sometimes, we are let go of.

Occasionally, we remain relatively rational about it all — the going, the leaving. Our bottom voice might have been making noise about it for a little while, and so our top voice finally speaks up. More often than not though, we are left feeling desolate, struck by the leftover remnants of transiency. We beg our parents, or someone, to stay a bit longer. We shout that we are not yet tired, that there is still something worth staying for. We become aware that a memory can be a very painful thing.

But we will invest in faith or forgetfulness in order to move forward. We will learn to live without the keepsakes that we never thought we could. We will accept that, yes, a memory can be a painful thing, but a dazzling thing — a wonderfully intricate thing, too. It is the most invaluable keepsake we have. So, we unfreeze. We gather our antiqued snap shots and place them one on top of the other, back into the drawers of our mind until the next tap on the shoulder, the next blow to the heart. Before we can help it, the lucidity fades. Everything begins to swirl together, again — chromatic aberration of the memory. And once again, it is time to go.

I feel a pain in my gut as I write this. It's not a throbbing pain in the chest, like what I've expected. It hurts like how my muscles felt the first time I tried yoga. It's the feeling you get when you do an intense workout for the very first time. You feel it spread all over your body, but not too deeply, not until your core.

And like any other muscle pain, I just need a good night's sleep to wash this all way.
See you in the morning.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Love Competition

If you're in a relationship for the money, the sex, for the companionship, for any of those reasons, it's not gonna last.  You have to be in it for what he calls 'to come to God together'. Now I don't believe it means to take the other person to church. I think it means to evolve together. For me, to come to God means to help the other person evolve into the person he is supposed to be. (Marilyn)

We were so madly in love there were bells and whistles immediately when we first met. And I can still feel that feeling. (Kent)

Witness the story of Marilyn, Kent and a handful of people who were chosen to take part in the Love Competition, and find out who wins. Yes, there is a winner.

Don't think about it. Just click the link below. I have only one caveat, though. If you are in a public place and a self-confessed cry baby, save this for later. You don't want to have to fight back the tears.

The Love Competition

The only rule

This video got he thinking: How much good would it do to this world if we all just try to out-love each other?

I can't believe I picked a guy that, for 50 years, allowed me to be who I am. (Marilyn, 72; married to Kent, 75; for 50 years) *tearssssss*

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer is a state of... heart :)

Just like any analysis-obsessed business person, I had a mental list of PROs and CONs regarding this Pico de Loro day trip:

1. Typhoon season already started 
2. Travel funds are still recovering (Sagada, Vietnam, Cambodia, remember?)
3. Batchmates wouldn't be complete (Moisky, helloooo!)
4. Another no-show day at work (Oops)

1. PAGMAMAHAL (Wala na, wiped out na ang CONS list! Boo!)

Now it is pretty obvious how we got to deciding to push through with this trip. PAGMAMAHAL WON. And by pagmamahal, I don't mean just the overused 'I love you, friend!' kind or the underrated 'I love you, love' type, either. It is actually a combination of both. Mushy love, tough love, BFF love, mean love, true love, love for life and happiness (chos!) and even physically abusive love (Umm, Tin and Ronnie?) all rolled into one sweeeeeeeet summer day! 

I have been in numerous trips with my batchmates-turned-friends. We shared a lot of travel boo-boos that we flawlessly laughed our way through. We know each other well and we don't need to check whether someone is having a good time. That's a given already when we're together. But the tricky part of this trip is that it's the first time for The Boy(friend)s to join in on the fun! 

Witness how we pulled it off through these pictures!

Hello, Pico! Thanking the heavens for the perfect bordeline sunny-rainy weather!

Kids, no running please! (Tin and Tep)

Gigil bite?

Girlfriends! :)

It is safe to say we breezed through the day without causing any awkward moment and headache to the boys. Well, probably except in instances we had to use the shower room.

Boy waits for girl to get out of the shower room no.1

Boy waits for girl to get out of the shower room no. 2

Boy waits for girl to get out of the shower room no. 3


We're heeeerrreeee!

Time to hit the beach!!!

Couple??? NOT! YIKES! (Ronnie and Lance)



Eeerr, BRO-LOVE?!?!?

Kulit couple making singit!!! haha!

Never a dull moment with these people. :)

Boyfriend on paparazzi mode

All's fair in love and (bowling) war! 

Some adventures need not involve a plane ride to be memorable, or a stamp in one's passport, or crazy drunken stories, or life-threatening stunts, or exotic food, or encounters with strangers.

Some adventures are made special by the very people you take them with.

Thank you for this day, loves! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Side Stories part 3: Words of Wisdom

Minh, our tour guide during the Cu Chi Tour

When a man who survived a war that killed nearly 3 million people tells you that you must enjoy your youth, that you don't need too much in life to be happy, and that through everything, you should smile, YOU BELIEVE HIM. (Cu Chi Tunnel | war tour | 05.20.12)

I uploaded this photo with the same caption in my Facebook account the very day I got back from Vietnam. His words still resound in my head as I look at his picture. I tried writing more but I don't think I'll ever find the right words to share exactly what he taught us that day. Perhaps I will never even understand every bit of the wisdom he imparted, since I have a life that is not in any way similar to his during wartime. I have no more words. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Side Stories part 2: A world without strangers

Or one less stranger, at least.

I am not sure what it is with our group that we're some sort of stranger magnet. We've been in numerous trips together, and aside from taking home wonderful memories, we are sure to make new friends- WHEREVER.

For instance, last year in Boracay, we met Mark and Jerome while we were all fighting our fear of jumping off the highest cliff at Ariel's Point. The bond we made that afternoon overflowed throughout the evening and the morning after. Our only regret was not getting their numbers. Aside from them, we also met Jesus and Peter. And I'm not talking about some religious enlightenment here. We met a guy who freakishly looked like Jesus, so we called him that. While, well, this other guy was always with 'Jesus', so we named him 'Peter'. I'm pretty sure we asked for their names but their accents got in the way. We never figured out their real names.

I told you. We met Jesus.

I can keep on recalling instances of getting to know strangers. Van drivers in Camiguin, water rafting guides in CDO, Uncle-owner of Lemon Pie House, Ben in Cambodia... the list can go on and on. Of course, Vietnam was no exception.

Meet Rachel Turner.

We were set to have our war tour that morning when we found her in the hotel lobby. Actually, she found us in the hotel lobby and noticed that one of us was using an iPhone. She asked if she can borrow the sim card to activate hers. What seemed like the beginning of a 5-minute encounter turned into an all-day affair.

If you think Eat, Pray, Love is something that happens only in movies, perhaps you are right. Because Rachel also left home to travel all over the world for 6 months non-stop (for the 3rd year now), but she didn’t go through all the divorce/I want to find myself drama. She just wanted to get to know the world. She didn’t need a life-altering event to start her journey.

Neither do we.

Girls having fun on top of a military tank.

An entire day isn’t enough to hear all her exciting stories. While we were having dinner, though, I was distracted by one question. I wanted to ask her how she felt about being in Cu Chi (a town affected by the Vietnam war), hearing horrible stories and knowing that she belongs in the country that was on the other side of it. Not wanting to be impolite, I kept on dodging the question. In the end, I told myself, this girl had been everywhere. She’s probably the most open-minded person I’ve come across in my life! So I gave in to my curiosity and asked her.

We invited her to our favorite Pho place for dinner. She seemed to be enjoying herself. :)

Her answer proved me right.

She told us that it was a painful part of history and both sides sure have reasons. She never hesitated taking that tour, and similar others around the world, because she was sure no one would take it against her. Everywhere, she said, people had been so kind to her.

I admire how she didn’t sugarcoat her experiences. We were a bunch of wide-eyed (feeling) teenagers, listening to her in awe. We would believe everything she says! But she was quick to inject reality into her narratives. She mentioned that it can get lonely, sometimes, and adjusting to a new environment is never easy. And, of course, it would have been more wonderful if she had already met the love of her life and do all the traveling together.

Last stop before we head back to the hotel to pick up our luggage. Then, it's goodbye Saigon. :(

She plans to visit the Philippines next year, and it would be amazing to share with her what our country can offer. By the way, if we find ourselves in Papua New Guinea, we'll surely send pictures to Rachel. She said it's one of the best places on Earth!

One of the first rules our parents ever set is no talking to strangers. Um, mom, dad, I sort of broke that a hundred times. Please don’t ground me. ;)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bits and pieces of Sagada

More than a month ago, together with friends and the boyfriend, I traveled all the way up north to visit Sagada. People say the place is such a heaven. I say, it is definitely THAT and MORE.

Serving you spoonfuls of the adventure that was. These pictures save you 26 hours of butt-aching travel, but I tell you, you HAVE TO set foot in this paradise.

Half-way through the journey and you will be rewarded with the view of Banaue Rice Terraces.
The picturesque view was enough to clear your mind and put you into trance but we were all bothered with one question: "Talaga bang 8th wonder of the world 'to? Inuuto lang tayo ng gradeschool teachers natin dati!"

Elders gamely pose for the camera!

All the assistance you need in Sagada, you'll find here. 

Making a mess in the boys' room because our isn't ready, yet! 

I just like this one. Heee. :))

Don't ever dare miss the Cave Connection! Ignore the blogs that will tell you it's difficult and you need prior spelunking experience to do it. Although they may have a point, ( it wasn't easy!) you wouldn't regret it, I assure you.

Surprisingly fitting in all those cracks and small holes. Whew!

5 hours after... WE GOT OUT OF IT ALIVE!

Trekking to Pongas Falls. Not easy as it looks. Or does it even look easy???

Drink in the beauty of PONGAS FALLS. God is amazing!

At echo valley, before we went face-to face with... (see below)

The Hanging Coffins. 

Someone's pretending to be a natural at this. Tsk. ;)

Good morning, Sagada!!! :))))) 

One of my favorite mornings in my entire life!

The day we were set to leave the place was their town fiesta. Hence, the Coachella-vibe. ha!

Looking all touristy.

Sagada possesses a certain charm that makes you fall in love with it instantly. They don't have malls and fast food chains and five star hotels, but the way the locals talk about this quaint little town, you will definitely feel that you missed a lot having grown up in the city. You will never hear them say it is better here than Manila or any other place, but they will tell you, with pride in their eyes, what this place can offer. 

I don't have any word worthy enough to describe how happy this place made my heart. But this picture might give you an idea:

Such a happy little girl, basking in the coldness of running water.
This is life. :)

Sometimes, you need a few days when you are totally happy to be exactly where you are. Not because there's something you want to escape from, but only to remind yourself that: to get to where you want to be, you just need to take the ride- no matter how long it may be. :)

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