Sunday, March 8, 2015

LTS: Manic March

I started this monthly LTS list with the aim of rediscovering my self and finding that self-sustaining love that will get me through whatever struggles I encounter through life. If others have their new year's resolution list, I have this monthly task for myself. And so far, not everything in my list was achieved! :D Not because I don't want to do it, but mainly because there are things that come your way that was better than what you planned to do... which makes life super exciting.

But given that, why would I term this month as manic? Well, this is the end of the semester so it is expected that more tasks will be at hand. And also, I was looking forward to this month late last year but it didn't turn out how I want it to be... so this idea might be my downer for the month.

Good thing I have this list to look forward to... so let's check this month's list.

  • Eat your favorite comfort food! Something that reminds you of fond memories - I'm not so sure about this... only because I love eating and eating generally comforts me. :) Anyways, I think I'm going to choose something that I have to cook myself (which is something that I don't normally do)... so basically, I'm excluding ice cream here :D
  • A good massage to relieve your muscles and restore your balance - No explanation. I just look forward to this! ;)
  • Write the Bible verse and carry it with you everyday - Someone took from my mirror the little note that I made of one of my favorite verse... but the thought of my little note with someone else and inspiring that person makes me super glad that he took it. Now, I have a reason to do another note.
  • Schedule a date with an old friend and reconnect. - This is very timely because an old friend of mine is in town... and we're going to have a date this coming week. I'm excited for this!
That's it for this month... I hope it wouldn't be as manic as I thought it would be. We'll see... :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Spanish Invasion

Wallpaper pose from the pink sand of Sta. Cruz island
It has always been my wish to go out of the country and see the rest of the world. And I was able to get a first really good glimpse of it on my first travel. Although we can now get information about the world in just a click away, the actual experience of seeing it for yourself and meeting different people is priceless. I want that same experience with my family. But growing up in a HUGE family, it is almost impossible to bring everyone on board my travel. So, if you cannot bring them to the world, bring the world to them. I'm glad that we were able to welcome different people from all walks of life and nationality into our home. Last week was one of the best experience that we ever had welcoming strangers.

Jeepney Groupie!
A Spanish, in the name of Antonio, posted a request for a host. And as welcoming as I can be, I offer to host. However, he has already approved an offer from a fellow ZamboangueƱa. Instead, we end up exchanging information about our city. You see, it's not everyday that someone would want to visit our city given the image that we have to the rest of the world. But when one is interested, I can't help myself but offer a glimpse of our life here. We had an interesting conversation and end up him, and later his friend, Guille, actually staying with us for a couple of days.

Our version of dinner :)
We first met up on a Valentines day(!). It's funny because my innocent mind thought it was just like any other saturday (i.e. work.) but my mind realized it after. It was actually the first time that I "went out" with a guy on a Valentines day. Anyways, whether it's a Vday or not, it's generally a nice day having a great conversation with the view of the sea... and we eventually end up in an actual Valentines party with my sisters and colleagues. Since then, I know that it will be an interesting couple of days with these Spanish guys at home.

One thing that is evident when you put together a Spanish and a ZambonagueƱo is the commonality in language. After all, Chavacano (the language in Zamboanga) came from the Spanish language. It's both funny and fascinating to see people converse in different languages and end up (more or less) still understanding each other. And my family loves it that they can freely converse in Chavacano and at the same time learn Spanish. I feel like this language is part of our culture, so with this I promise to learn this language in the future. :)

A day after, we met Guille. It was his first time in the Philippines. I have to say, I don't know what to expect. Unlike Antonio, who has been in the country before, I was thinking he might get culture shock. But soon we discovered that he is open, curious, and friendly which makes everything else easy and fun. And someone with a deep soul who explores life with his heart and soul.

Our cooks for the night... bring all the tomatoes in!
But more than the language, it is the carefree and fun attitude of Antonio and Guille that lets us enjoy their company. We were able to share our love for music and for food, in the usual Filipino way. And at the same time, we were able to get a taste... a mouthful of tastes of some Spanish dishes (i.e. salmorejo, balbacua, picadillo, and paella valenciana) which they so generously prepare for 30-40 people! As I have said, we have a huge family :) It's not easy but they did it anyways... and they did it with a happy heart that you can't help but appreciate and be in awe. They also freely share their experience of travelling to the rest of the family and not just bring the Spain but also the rest of the world into the table. And this is exactly why I choose to welcome them (and some other travelers) at home... for my family, the exchanges of experiences makes us discover our commonalities and helps us understand each other's differences without leaving our home.

Crazy funny shocked with the rascals!
The world knows that Filipinos are naturally hospitable but it's far more natural to be hospitable when you see the guests as not really guests but as part of the family. Now, they are no longer strangers to us. Maybe we look different (in color or race), but for my family, they are brothers at heart. Their visit makes me appreciate more the simple life here in this city, the rich and diverse culture, and most especially my family. In some instances, if not most, I took my family for granted because I wanted to see "better" things beyond. I sometimes forget that I already have most of the best things in life... that is, a family that is always there for me and cheers me up whether through music or just plain funny conversations. Antonio and Guille helped me appreciate this gift more. They helped me see clearly the things that I set aside because of my wish to see the world beyond. Yes, I still want to see the world beyond... but this time carrying with me the world that I know of in my heart.

To Antonio and Guille, I will tell you again how grateful we are of the warmheartedness that you have shown us. 

Muchisimas gracias otravez por el alegria ya deha ustedes na di amon maga corazon. Y ojala puede ustedes tambien encuntra el mas grande alegria na de ustedes biaje. Ojala man mirahan ta otravez, aqui, na Espana, o na otro man lugar. Nunca kame ulvida el maga istorya y risas ya deha. Mucho besos y fuerte abrazos! :)

P.S. Congratulations in advance, Antonio and Yoko! I hope I can be there to witness your union! Read Antonio's site to appreciate the world more through his eyes. ;)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

LTS: February Bliss (Update)

UPDATE (08-Mar-15 20:34)

It's time to update my February list... a bit late but well, better late than never... :)

Now, let's have a look what was planned... I have to be honest that this list barely came to my mind given the jam packed schedule that I have for this month... but here goes...

  • Warm Shower with aromatic candles - This is not so uncommon but I do it with a twist... first, my shower does not have a heater... but I usually do it the pinoy hot shower way... boiled water inside a balde with tabo... :) second, I only have used (normal) candles during blackouts :D I can't do much with the first one, but I can easily buy that scented candles.

    *** Sorry, but this was a no go for this month... no time to buy scented candles.... I still have the ordinary ones, and I only get to use it during blackout... I'll have to consider this again for next month.
  • Create something beautiful - Start a creative project... hhmm... it's been a while since I have done something creative... well, except the dream board... but I just have one in my mind.

    *** Instead of my planned creative project, I had to do my actual project for my thesis... so no go, for this one this month... :(
  • Travel! - Oh-uh... february is not really a time for travelling especially with work at hand... maybe a local scene will do... :) although, I might have something in mind for April.

    *** I almost have this one... but as predicted this is a no go for this one... but still working on this for April... and looking forward to it. :)
  • Cup of hot cocoa with a good book - This I'll definitely do! My mom have special cocoa reserves. ;)... and a book reserved!

    *** Ah, yeah... this one is done... Good thing we have a stock of cocoa! :) The book is still to be finished though. :)
So, over-all it's 1 out of 4... it doesn't look good but given the happenings for this month, I would have to say that I did more than the list! It was an unexpected February mainly because I have found new friends who reminded me how good life is and how worthy and loved I am. That's more than enough to last me the entire year! :)

ANAWIM Concert 2014

Have you ever seen priests singing in a concert? Here in Zamboanga, you can! :)

Got the tix! :)

Once in a year (or two), the archdiocese of Zamboanga prepares one of this events where you see priests, seminarians, and nuns sing (and dance) their heart out with ballad and pop songs.

This year's theme is "Do Justice and Love Kindness" and proceeds goes to hospitalization of our clegrymen.

For those who witness the concert, it was pure fun and party parteeeyy! :)

 Here are some of the highlights!
We're a bit early... prepping for the show!

Our clergies give it a go!

End of show party parteeyy! :)
With family :)

Not to be missed... our guardians :)


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bundles of Joy

"For we are God's masterpiece" - Ephesians 2:10


Get ready, mga nengs, when these tiny feet start to run!
It's surprising that whenever you see a newborn child, you can't help yourself but smile and appreciate the beautiful mystery of life. The child doesn't even know your name and hasn't done anything yet but sleep, cry, poop, suck, and sleep more. But deep within there's a fire of happiness and of excitement... and it's not even have to be your own child. I believe that when God created humans, He must have the same feelings of joy and more.

Today, I will send my joyous congratulations to two of my best friends who have once again delivery bundles of joys into our lives (in just a month! record breaker! :D)... these bundles of joy will later be little firecrackers who will mess up the room once again... and play around with our 10 shots and whatnots (nice job, Pao!). The TG might need a bigger room on the next gathering! Whew! 

Congrats Marsh for the new baby girl... and Monira for the new baby boy! Let's try a big TG family picture next time... and dami ng juniors! :)

Monday, January 26, 2015

LTS: January Startup (Update)

(UPDATE: 7:28PM 01.02.2015 )

Time to rediscover myself again... changes have to be made... from within and from outside. 

The plan: Achieve the weekly ways to love yourself as suggested by Marjorie... and that would be 52 ways for the 52 weeks in a year.

I have not done this kind of thing, that is, follow a how-to ways. Not even a new year's resolution. Well, I did but I haven't thought about it the month after. But I'm giving this a try. This is my way of waking up the inner fun within me which I would usually display for the world... and which I think has been dormant for some time. I might have to make some difficult decisions along the way but let's not get ahead of our heads.

Ok... I'm a little late for the start of the year, so I just have to get into the entire list for the month of January. Note: I have not read ahead of the ways because I want to surprise myself along the way.... and I'm not copying the entire text here, just a gist. 

  • My playroom ;)
    Time to exercise - I have to check this one as done. After  looong while, I just got back to dancing sessions again this year. In fact, I started on the first week :) and I don't have plans to stop anytime soon. How does it help? Aside from the benefits we already know of exercise from the experts, I think it also helps clear the battles within your mind, which you need to be able to think and decide clearly.

    *** So far, so goood... I have finally gotten my groove back... only missed 2 sessions... and in addition, I tried the new TRX (see picture)... and well, ahm, maybe I'll get used to it some day. :D
  • My Dream Board :)
    Dream Board - List your dreams and create a dream board. Accordingly, it will remind you of the things that matter most to you and pray for them daily to make it come true. Uhm... I think this will be a challenge, especially if your dream is becoming just an illusion. But well, we can dream on!

    *** It's on board! It's been a while since I have made some sort of an art project, and this I really enjoyed doing. My actual written dreams is not included in this image but I guess you get the picture. ;) I have also included some of my favorite quotes from books for more inspiration.
  • Full sleep - Sleep for eight hours and have a good rest. I want this... I just have to learn to ease up my mind before bedtime. So far, I have been sleeping for 4-6 hours (and worst, waking up crying within that time).  Let's see.. the target bedtime: 9pm-5am / 10pm-6am.. uhm... I hope I can manage that.

    *** Well, partially achieved this one. Most of the time, I achieved the 10pm target but in some nights you can't just easily drop the book that you are reading. So, on average it's 7-8hours... more 7 than 8 :) But the point is to have enough sleep, and over-all I have... way better than before.

  • Updated playlist - Listen to your favorite song preferably worship song. Oh-uh.. would it make you more depress if your favorite songs are mostly about separation and heartbreaks? I can always switch to praise songs. But in general, I think this will be fun. Time to activate that iPod again!

    *** This one is both sweet and melancholy. I just love some good soft music... and despite everything, I couldn't stop myself from including (in my opinion) some of my favorite love songs. All in all, this is just a feel good list with the main theme: Hope & Love. :)

    My list are longer but to be brief here's my top 10:

    1. All of Me (John Legend)

    2. Love Moves in Mysterious Ways (MYMP version)

    3. All of the Stars (Ed Sheeran)

    4. All This Time (Tiffany)

    5. All Cried Out (Allure)

    6. I Still Believe in Love (Jenny Hyun)

    7. The Art of Letting Go (Mikaila)

    8. Rainbow (South Border)

    9. Man in the Mirror (Michael Jackson)

    10. Love Alone (Caedmon's Call)

    * All videos courtesy of YouTube.

    Moving on... :)
  • Identify your Core Gifts - Write it down and thank God for them. "This will remind you how you are wonderfully made by God!" This is heavy when you feel unworthy of your self. But the list is the list. And it is part of the goal.

    *** This is a bit heavy for me. I think mainly because I have a lot of insecurities and uncertainties within myself. But I also believe that each and everyone of us is gifted and special in our own way. It's easier said than done... but truly it is easy if we only give ourselves some slack and focus always in the positive side... and the greatness of God. By doing this, we can better see the best of ourselves. As for me, I have my list save on my phone... ;) to keep myself reminded of who I am and to do something with this gifts every day.
Uhm... kinda heavy list to start... a month in a week. But so far, it's a good eye opener... well, not just an eye but both eyes :D I realized that this LTS is more of the little things that you do everyday that stores up love & happiness which will eventually the L&H that you share with the people around you.

Now, it's time to gradually rise up from the ashes! :) 11 months more to go! :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

LTS: Forgiving One's Self

I miss the old days... when all you cry about is that your parents wouldn't allow you to play outside... or when all you worry about is passing an exam... when all you do in most of your free time is sing your favorite tune... but life moves on... you become mature (you think)... mindful of what you say and do... getting your work done on time... doing the best that you can do in your work and your relationships. In all these, I somehow feel caged within the bounds of the realm which was created both by the people around us and by ourselves. I feel that I need to set myself free... and in order to do this, I need to know what keeps me in bondage.

Sometimes, all we can do is to submit a prayer to the Lord.
I started comparing myself now from before when I felt like nothing can break me. What was that I had before that I don't have now? And I realized that it was the other way around... I don't have work then and I never loved someone then. I generally felt stronger because I never experienced anything yet that made me vulnerable. No one knows me deep enough to know my weakness.

I'm not as strong as I thought I was. I made mistakes... and I admit those mistakes. You failed the expectations of the person you love most... and in turn, your expectations too. I can hear someone say let it go and move on. But what should one do when you are not forgiven? With that, how can one forgive one's self? In your heart, you feel unloved... and unworthy of someone's love.

In starting to love myself again, I have to accept that there are things that I cannot change. There are expectations and plans that you set yourself that cannot be, maybe, or will never be fulfilled. I just have to accept God's plan for me and to trust in His forgiveness. Easier said than done and I know this will still be a long way to go... a way to forgiveness... and a way to loving one's self again.

I whisper to God this prayer (by Reinhold Niebuhr):
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Loving Thy Self (LTS)

Disclamer! I tell you now... Nope, this content will not tell you what to do or what not to do. I intend to write it for myself as my first ever (public) journey to self-realization. If somehow, someway, it helped you too, I would love to read about it.


During the holidays, I did a major cleaning session of my room and, as you usually encounter when scouring old stuffs, I found an old notebook of mine that contains a handwritten essay of my thoughts (then)... and it reminded me of how I would lead myself to writing when I feel like expressing my scrambled mind. And I have been itching to write again in the past weeks. Not just writing about some person or place but trying to get into me. I am currently having a scrambled mind... and heart. And I'm itching to understand it and write about it.

Finding thy self is like finding the light from within.
I decided to read a self-help book about loving yourself*. Note, I have never read any self-help books before, just some articles about "10 ways to not get yourself into trouble" and the likes, which most FB users probably read on their feeds at least once a week. And by the way, since I decided to focus on me, I have already deactivated my FB account. I believe that FB lets you focus more about your "friends" lives... their lives not yours.

Back to the book. I have just finished reading the first chapter of the book and I can't help crying (like a wolf). And I think there will be lots of crying reading this book.

I am reminded of how much my parents loved and cared for me... but most importantly, how much God, as our Almighty Father, loves us. I have been doing PopeWatch this week too like the rest of the Filipinos and this has been Pope Francis' core message. I think this message never really sinks in until you need it the most. And at this moment, when I feel most uncertain of my life, of a person close to my heart, and of my self, it struck me... I need the certainty of God's love.

"My plan for your future has always been filled with hope." - Jeremiah 29:11
"Because I love you with an everlasting love." - Jeremiah 31:3

This is an excerpt of the Father's love letter which you can read in full here. And I strongly suggest that you read it. I will probably be reading this more and more and more until it gets into the deepest core of my heart and carries with me in every step I make.

I will end this chapter with this:
"This is our true identity. Knowing who we truly are --- children of God --- we become our true selves. We begin to love ourselves...When we start loving ourselves as our Father loves us, we can start giving true love that is not needy, not clingy, not expecting anything in return --- the kind of love that heals not only ourselves, but also our families." - Marjorie Duterte


* The book that I'm currently reading is "Loving Yourself (As God Loves You)" by Marjorie Duterte. I bought this book a couple of weeks ago... I guess, my subconscious was trying to tell me that my heart and soul needs healing.