Monday, December 31, 2012


"Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place."- Story of my 2012

I started this year with a reminder from a genius to make mistakes. His exact words that captured my heart were:

Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. -Neil Gaiman

Those words somehow lit up a fire inside my heart. I welcomed 2012 armed with goals and now, as I end it, my heart overflows with joy knowing I have accomplished every single one.

This year, I learned... trust my struggles. embrace the questions. love in spite and despite of. be stronger. laugh at the confusion. work without worrying about the result.

This year I learned that I can do whatever I set my heart, mind and soul into.
And when everyone else seems to question my direction, I'll find peace knowing that I have prayed for God's love and guidance with every single step.

Goodbye, 2012! You've been amazing. :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Travel Soulmates

I am one of the 362,544 (and counting) viewers of ‘Date a Girl who Travels' on this page. Hell, I might have viewed it a hundred times already for the simple reason that it is undeniably spot on. Although, sometimes, while reading it, I couldn’t help but ask why DATE the girl, when you can be FRIENDS with her and many others who share the same passion.

I may not have dated (a girl? of course!) a traveler, but I got the undeniable luck of having them as friends.

We may not have all the resources to pack a bag and travel far away, but have all the guts to do so. We are always ready to give a resounding YES in 2 seconds after mock-booking a flight on sale.

Our overflowing guts are not limited to booking flights we do not have money for yet, mind you.

We jump cliffs.
We're not suicidal but this probably is the closest thing to committing suicide we'll ever do.

Highest jump point at Ariel's: 45 ft above sea water. SCARIEST/ borderline DUMBEST THING WE DID.

We ride currents.
'There ain't no current in this river we can't ride' drama while braving CDO's White Water Rafting: ADVANCED course!

Braving he currents with the best boat guide, Kuya Banjo! High fiiiiive!

We climb rocks.
The real deal rock climbing up the gorgeous Pongas Falls in Sagada without proper gears and training.

We ride jeepneys.
Oops, I forgot to insert the operative words: 'ON TOP OF'.

Toploading in Sagada

We STILL enjoy death-defying amusement park rides.
Enchanted Kingdom never gets old.

EKstreme ride!

We explore infamous places.
Siquijor is beautiful, by the way. I don't think I'll ever get tired of saying that.

We swim with sharks.
Yes, sharks.
Sorry, we had no decent underwater group shot. The current was really strong that day and it is not exactly easy to stay perfectly calm when a giant shark approaches you every 2 minutes. 
And we fire M16s, too.

Cu Chi Tunnel, Vietnam

Aside from finding new ways to hurt ourselves, err I meant 'adventures', we genuinely enjoy each other's company, regardless of where we are. 13-hour bus rides, 5-hour stay in a closed airport- you can put us anywhere with almost anything or  nothing and we will feed off each other's positive energy. 

Our ride to Siem Reap, Cambodia from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

If we endured a 13-hour bus ride FOUR TIMES without killing each other, it is safe to say we can go through almost everything together. Like, 5 hours inside a cave, perhaps? Oh, we've done that, too!

Sagada's (in)famous Cave Connection

We can stay in the cheapest hotel rooms as long as it has a clean private bathroom. We've stayed in places not even worthy enough to be called 'hotels'. We budget our money wisely and allocate resources to 'experiences' because, really, we only use the room for bathing and nightly 3-hour sleep. 

George Guest House- ANNEX (Guest house na nga, napunta pa sa annex!)

Accommodations aren't something we usually splurged on but in rare instances, like when we are in an island where the most beautiful sunset exists, WE CAN LIVE IT UP, TOO!

4 days, 3 nights stay at White House Resort, Boracay

Together, we are sort of a stranger magnet. This is a good thing because we get to meet inspiring people throughout our trips. We listen to their stories, absorb their wisdom and we get to promote our own country, too. During local trips, it also pays to talk to tricycle drivers, tour guides and sari-sari store owners. I always get surprised and humbled by how much people's ways of living differ from each other despite living in the same country.

With our latest favorite tour buddy, Kuya Jhoam of Siquijor!

At this point, I've been staring blankly at the monitor, trying to weave words that would send a specific, probably the most important, idea across. I have it in my heart but I can't pick the right words. So I'll borrow Elizabeth Gilbert's instead:

"I am infinitely curious and almost infinitely patient with mishaps, discomforts, and minor disasters. So I can go anywhere on the planet- that's not a problem."

Change I to WE and AM to ARE- That is precisely what I found with these people, and it's not exactly easy to find souls who always see the brighter side of things. Not once did we ever had a bad moment because of a bitchfit or things not going as planned. If there is ever a major disaster, we STILL laugh it off! Charge to friendship na lang. :)

My favorite free spirits. Missing Maelyn and Lance in our recent adventure. 

So, getting back to my original point, DON'T DATE the traveler. Make friends with her, with them. Make friends with people who travel for travel’s sake. Not for pictures, not for escape, not for bragging rights. But for the ultimate reasons of learning, expanding one’s horizon and always coming home a better person.

I've been in a lot of adventures with these people and my future children would probably go deaf with the millions of times they will hear me say, 'I went there with Tita Eloi and Tita Tin, you know.' or 'Your Tito Ronnie almost died (Parents exaggerate a lot, right?) inside the Sumaging cave!', etc., etc. because I've made the best memories with these people.

I, for one, can't wait to make a whole heap more. :))

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What I want to tell my 15-year-old self

*inspired by entries from*

Dear Fifteen-year-old self,

Hello! This is you in 2012. I know, I know, you’re too busy making paper hearts and daydreaming because right now all you care about is being in love with someone. He means the world to you and you believe, with all of your naive heart, that you are meant to be together. Just to cut to the chase, you WILL stay in love for many, many years. You are right in entrusting your heart to that boy because he turned out to be the man who allowed you to turn into the kind of woman you want to be- into ME.

Now wipe that smirk off your face and give me your full attention!

Being almost 10 years older than you are, I want to tell you a few things that might make it easier for you to get here.

Read. Never stop reading. Life gets busier but every few good minutes you have is enough to fill that space within your ears. You will lose all your Baby Sitters Club copies- the books that made you love reading- and it will be heart-breaking to hear that mom gave them away. But that is when you learn that holding on to the right things usually doesn’t involve things.

Spend as much time as you can with your parents. It may not be the coolest thing to do, but just so you know, your 24-year-old self fights back the tears whenever the thought of “getting married” comes up just because I know how much I will miss our tight-knit family.

Not one girl ever survived highschool without going through the "me against the mean girls" phase. I don't have any advice at hand other than: 'it will pass'. Eventually, they will get bored and move on to the next target. You, on the other hand, will not forget that experience and thank them one day for teaching you early on in life how NOT to care about pleasing everybody.

Continue to love many things. You have a heart big enough for all of it.

Embrace your vulnerability. It may seem like what is causing all the hurt and disappointments at this point in your life, but it is also the very reason why so much joy will soon land in your lap.  You will learn that pain fades, hearts heal, and the joy of living with an unguarded heart is priceless.

Be kind. Being a push-over and being kind are two different things. They may seem identical from the outside, but it is what goes on in the inside that matters.

Love the only body you will ever have. Now, this doesn’t mean be complacent and blindly accept what stares back at you when you look at the mirror. Work on it but never starve it. More importantly, do it for you. Set your own standards and live above it.

Know yourself. It is amazing to be surrounded by family and friends but spend time alone once in a while. Learn from silence. Take pleasure in peace. There will be so many questions and the only proper starting point in solving those mysteries is the spot where you finally figured out who you are.

Good news! You have found a way to be true to your jeans and t-shirt self without having to own just jeans and shirts. At least, I can assure you you have that figured out at 24. As for the other things, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Nothing much has changed. You are still scared out of your wits about things you do not know. And you still care too much. You cry over chic flicks and you get sad for people you barely know.

I tell you, you will see many places. Hard to believe right? What with how strict mom and dad, especially dad, are. But there will be a time when they will let go of you. All those days you’ve been obedient, and all the coming years of still being so, will pay off.  Your parents eventually granted you freedom. You used it to visit places you never thought you’ll set foot on, not because it is too far, but because you never thought there are things you can learn in a town without malls and movie houses. You had the longest laughter in the middle of nowhere, during a blackout, with your most loved travel mates. Plus, you will spend 2 nights in an island even dad was too scared to visit in his youth. See? I didn’t fail you. You may not have cool/rebellious stories in highschool but one day, you’ll jump off a 45-ft. cliff, you knucklehead!

I know how uncertain and scared and doubtful you are right now because that is what you do: you worry. I want to tell you to let it go, to trust and be rest assured everything will turn out fine. I want to tell you, ‘I’ve been there, and I’m here now so I KNOW.’ But that wouldn’t help. You need to go through struggles, and you will. You’ll doubt yourself, hate your body, fail your loved ones- many times over. But that is precisely the Universe’ way of growing you a backbone.

At this point in your life, dad is your hero, mom is your bestfriend and you are very much in love with your soulmate. But you will not find your life’s meaning and purpose from these people. They are your inspiration but you are your own person. You are going to be your own person. It may seem too far-off for you, and it is, but hang in there, young one. You have all the time to figure it out.

Don't look back now.

-You in 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Yoga Love: Humility

When today's yoga teacher instructed the class to transition to Warrior III, I told myself, 'I got this'. I was confident I'd be able to nail the pose; I actually did.

Surprisingly, she had a different challenge in mind. From Warrior III, her next instructions led us straight to TREE pose and then to EAGLE pose- WITHOUT landing the suspended foot! My entire body was shaking by the time we were allowed to release our balance and fold forward!

Yoga is humbling. It's not because there are things you cannot do, but because there are always things you cannot do JUST YET. You have to push further, give more- ALWAYS- because you know you are still far from what your body is truly capable of.

In the same way that we can never figure everything out in this life, right?

Works on the mat, works in life.
Namaste. :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Story of This Picture

Caveat: This is NOT a review on Pipino. 

If you are ever with a guy who laughs with you despite the awful dinner you just had, who makes jokes about having to drink 3 full glasses of water just to swallow what he ordered, a guy who finds your enthusiasm in trying new restaurants adorable, despite countless dinner disasters...

If you are ever with someone who can make you, no only endure but somehow, ENJOY a piece of watermelon steak in all its bloody-looking glory, KEEP HIM.

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