Back in HK after 8 years

Friday, April 27, 2018 No comments

Remember last year when I said I wanted to spend my 25th birthday in Disneyland but due to unforeseen circumstances (peer pressure is what I really mean), we ended up in Taiwan? Well, albeit nine months late, I did get to go back to Disneyland!

Disneyland Resort Station

I find it imperative to share how successful this family trip was. From the itinerary down to the nice weather. Although I must admit, DIY travelling with unfit parents, whiny siblings and a baby who wants to be carried all the time is no easy feat.

First off, hotels are relatively expensive in Hong Kong. A decent hotel room in neighbor countries would cost as much as a budget hotel in Hong Kong - which I find hard to grasp since HK is not exactly as neat and pretty as Singapore. So as a family of six travelling on a budget, we opted for AirBNB. HK is known for its residential complexes, so there are vertical homes practically everywhere. Also, everything seems to be a lot more narrow- roads, streets, even buildings. We stayed in Mong Kok, at one of those old tenement-like buildings with shops on the ground floor and living spaces on the upper floors. I didn’t get to take a picture of the exterior but you have probably seen the typical street facade of Mong Kok on every blogger’s Instagram. The inside of the apartment was clean and cozy. But the best part was that it was a 2-minute walk to Mong Kok MTR station which made commuting so much easier. The catch? 4th floor (technically 5th since they didn’t count the shops on the ground), steep and narrow staircase and two big words: NO LIFT. I thought I was physically fit being a regular gym-goer and yet going up and down (especially while I was carrying my luggage bag) killed me each time. Imagine how it was for my dad who has a heart condition. Que horror.

The buildings look very much alike so I am quite sure, mid-rise buildings with no lifts are common in Mong Kok. So if you’re planning to stay there and booking thru AirBNB, make sure you consider this part. Locals don’t seem to mind though. Our host just stormed up the staircase carrying my dad’s luggage. Still, I have no regrets choosing the place. Hello, we were situated in the middle of HK’s shopping capital and the Ladies Market was only a hundred meters away? I am not much of a shopaholic but that was a major perk!

Made sure I was casual, comfy yet stylish enough for pictures because walking in an amusement park is not your typical “walk in the park”

Cinderella’s castle was closed for renovation so that was kind of a bummer

Again, this was a DIY trip so we took three trains to Disneyland. I would say hassle, but I firmly believe that if you can commute in Manila during peak hours, you could commute anywhere in the world.

My outfits were not well-thought of since I’m a crammer when it comes to packing (okay, with pretty much everything), but I’m glad they all turned out pretty well.

It was my first time at Ocean Park Hong Kong and I kind of liked it here.  

Cable car to the summit

Ocean Park is divided into two areas: The Waterfront and The Summit. They are literally mountains away from each other so you have two options: train or cable car. If heights don’t bother you, I would suggest taking the cable car at least once (you could ride the train going back). You should not miss the view from up there. Although admittedly, this made me realize I have a slight fear of heights. My knees trembled so much and in those fifteen minutes I couldn’t help but visualize the unlikely event of those cables snapping.

Old Hong Kong, Ocean Park

Actually, this amusement park trip was primarily for this spoiled baby right here. She’s too little to remember all this though. So basically, it’s her parents, my youngest sibling, and I who enjoyed the most. We wanted more roller coaster rides!

Nan Lian Garden

My last HK OOTD

Nan Lian Garden is also gaining fame, thanks to Instagram. It was only a 15-minute train ride from our apartment so we also made sure to drop by.

Ladies’ Market, Mong Kok

Trip to HK would not be complete without shopping. Honestly, it’s much more fun to shop in Bangkok since it’s cheaper, but Mong Kok’s night market also has a lot of interesting items. Just make sure you pack your Divisoria haggling skills, because you can put it to really good use.

Honestly, HK was never a favorite for many reasons, but it was good to be back.

Easter Tidings

Sunday, April 1, 2018 No comments


It has been a busy, busy past few months.

Too busy that I have not written on this blog for a while. I haven't really had the chance to write lately. Possibly because I try to squeeze in 30 hours of daily activities into the maximum time the natural laws of this world would ever allow - 24 hours at most. My will to write is mostly drawn from boredom, but now that work consumes my time like a ravenous beast, I barely notice the days pass by. Right now, I do. Because here I am in my room wallowing in the anxiety and loneliness of coming from a long holiday break and dreading the fact that I will be back in the bloody battlefield that is work tomorrow. Mondays, I thought I have grown to like them. Who was I kidding?

Today, I came back from the humble town of Morong, Bataan after three months of longing to touch the sand and submerge myself in salt water. To escape the claustrophobic concrete walls of Manila and once again feel like a tiny dot, standing on land surrounded by vast oceans. I have done everything I could to ward off my anxiety problems. As my family, Ram, and my close friends would know so well, I was diagnosed with an incurable anxiety disorder back in 2014. It gets bad sometimes, but I have refused to take medication and chosen the holistic path to wellness. Only two things have proven to ease this problem - regular exercise and traveling to the beach or out of the country (sans the car and PLANE rides because as I mentioned, anxiety disorder). I have enrolled myself in gym (two actually - an all-around fitness gym, and a boxing gym) and gone to beaches and mountains all within the first quarter of the year. But my mind and body can't seem to get enough of it. I always have to be on-the-go so my mind would not start wandering about, causing so much grief. It is hard to live in a dark place, but so far with the busy work schedule, time spent with Ram and my best friends, as well as the occasional travels, I'd like to believe I am getting by. The toxicity of having a service-related job in the healthcare management industry is not really helping my situation so I dare say I am not yet where I want to be. Someday soon, I'll get there.

Nevertheless, I am thankful for this life. I am thankful to The One above. No matter the situation, I know He's got me.

A blessed Easter, my dears.

Featured on Inquirer

Sunday, November 26, 2017 No comments

I had to delete my original post about this since my amateur writing craft just had its second major breakthrough. Today, an article I wrote got featured on Inquirer.

I have always wanted to be a columnist. But inferiority was always there tugging at my sleeve, as if to say out of many prolific and brilliant writers out there, I didn't stand a chance.

I have walked hand in hand with this blog through all stages of my life following my hormonal teenage years. My few readers would know how much I have grown, both writing style and perspective alike. I have always been an opinionated woman who expresses everything in writing. So when I found out about Inquirer's opinion section, I thought maybe I could try putting one of my write-ups out there for the public to read.

Long story short, the article got in. The inexplicable joy I feel right now is so much bigger than when a love poem I wrote got published on Candy Mag. 

This small victory shall be celebrated with more write-ups, because this is one thing I really love doing.

Read the full article here

Patience, young one

Thursday, August 24, 2017 No comments

I was on the phone with my boyfriend at eleven in the evening, speaking softly as I wept. In an unfortunate but somehow expected turn of events, I lost my part-time job. Well, it's sales. Everyone who has been in sales knows how the system works. It's almost like living on the edge of a cliff. I still have the license to continue but the past months have been overwhelming to say the least. And all the money I worked hard for is just there, waiting until I get reinstated. I am still employed full-time so I am not sure what I was crying about. Is it the loss of extra money? Is it losing the drive I once had to pursue this? Is it because I feel left behind and not making as much as I intended to? Or am I just generally tired of being an adult? 

Truth be told, I have come to realize that not everyone works hard to become a corporate executive or a sought-after lawyer. I see acquaintances grow up to be teachers or peace advocates. Some jobs are more emotionally-rewarding than they are monetarily, and that's alright. The world is much more broken than our bank accounts, we are in dire need of healers. As for me, I like my job. I really do. But I am a seeker. I feel there is too much life in me to be stuck behind a desk my whole life, competing with colleagues for every prized promotion. If there is one reason why I'm staying and putting my heart in this job, it's because my employer veers away from common practices of huge corporations run by greedy capitalists. They are loved by their people. But if I had the money I would much rather have small businesses that contribute to communities and travel the world. I refuse to live life my like a tree - solitary, giving off my life, unable to move, stuck in one place for all eternity. Contrary to what many believe, I find happiness at the bottom of my suitcase. I figured that must be the reason why I was crying - I realized the size of the dent losing my part-time job left on my income. I had to cut down on everything. Just when I thought I was closer to my dreams, I'm now two steps back. But I guess that's just how life is isn't it? Maybe it's time to listen to everyone - Be patient, you are young, in time you will see the world.

Turning 25: Celebrating Quarter-life in Taiwan

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 No comments

I had this grand plan of celebrating my 25th birthday at Hong Kong Disneyland. It has been seven years since I was last in HK and it seemed like a fun idea to celebrate quarter life at a theme park. To hold my chocolate-coated Mickey-shaped ice cream while strolling around like a kid on her first time out of the country. But for some reason, I ended up in Taiwan. Mostly that reason is my college best friend who has been in and out of Taiwan the last couple of years and has been promoting it like a sponsored social media influencer. We hastily booked a roundtrip flight with the announcement that Taiwan will be lifting its visa requirement to Philippine passport holders, but it was postponed and we were already reeled in so we had to pay extra for the visa.

I am marking this trip as a major milestone in life. It was not only the first time I went out of the country without my parents, but also my first out of country trip not sponsored by my parents. I made it a point that I would be traveling out of my own pocket without compromising my savings by the time I'm 25. Here I am, a buzzer beater. This seemingly little milestone makes me happy after all the times I doubted my progress as an adult. Jumping from one career to another and giving up my tenure has caused a slump on my income so it was a challenge earning  a decent salary in the past year. This may not have been a Eurotrip, but hey I worked hard for it.

We arrived at Taoyuan Airport a little past 1AM. Since it would be such a waste to book a hotel for half a day, we decided to sleep at the airport like a true backpacker. But I'm not, of course. I had 15kg baggage allowance for 3 days of stay. Fortunately there were small couches, outlets and free wifi at the arrival hall. Downside of sleeping at Taoyuan Airport? There are only a few people at night and they blast the airconditioners as if the place was an ice skating rink. Piece of advice, bring a thick jacket, or winter jacket if you're not built for low temperatures like me.

I was stuck with the boys because Liz had law school (I'm so glad she's finally taking the bar this year and will finally be able to join our trips) and Marj is now a flight attendant based in Jeddah and couldn't take a leave. Hopefully our barkada will be complete on our trip next year.

It is the total opposite outside  though. July in Taipei is like April in the Manila. The sun can and will burn your skin. I'm not tolerant of extreme weathers be it hot or cold, so this trip was a real pain given the weather. Not to mention, the storm that wreaked havoc in the Philippines followed us all the way to Taiwan to ruin the trip. More about that later.

We stayed near Taipei Main Station since I thought it would be nice to be at the center of the city. I sort of wish we chose Ximending instead because Taipei Main is a lab rat's nightmare. But you'll be amazed with the places and things you'll find in the basement of Taipei Main Station. There are more or less five levels below the ground, malls and train stations intertwined as if there is an entire city down there. You'll be surprised which part of the city you end up in when you go back up some random flight of stairs coming from the basement. I heard even locals get lost down there.

It's Ram and I's first trip out of the country together. This made me realize how happy I am to have him as my best friend and travel buddy. I just fell in love with him tenfold after this trip.

It was the middle of the day and it was scorching hot. I was getting dizzy walking around when it was 35 degrees outside and we barely had any sleep from our red-eye flight and the freezing airport. But we still somehow managed to follow our self-made itinerary on our first day. If you're wondering about transportation, we purchased a reloadable Easycard at 7-eleven that you can use for trains and buses within the city. If you're used to commuting in Manila, commuting in Taipei will be a breeze.

Taipei 101 has 101 floors, hence the name. It's a skyscraper that's always in sight from any vantage point within the city.

Taipei 101 Mall only has luxury brands inside. Grandiose architecture and ambiance, everything was impressive... except for their food court. The food was unsatisfying to say the least.

 Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

 The statue of Chiang Kai Shek up in the middle building. I didn't do enough research, all I know is that he was a Chinese political and military leader, but I guess he must have done something great to deserve a memorial hall this beautiful.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

I don't really take thousands of pictures when I travel. I feel like I only need to take a couple of IG-worthy photos and just let my eyes enjoy the rest. I only start to regret it when I'm already blogging about it. But at least I got to take good photos of CKS Memorial Hall. One of the reasons why I don't take many photos as well is that I only use my iPhone camera (if you could tell from the quality). I'm saving up for a new camera this year so I can take better travel photos.

Shilin Night Market

Okay, this is one thing I regret not taking a load of photos of. THE. STREET. FOOD. If I'd have to rate the things I loved about Taipei, street food would be number one. Skip the fancy restaurant dinner and head on over to a night market on each night of your stay. You will not regret it.

Spicy Chicken for 100 NTD - heaven for the spicy chicken lover. Why don't we find stuff like this on our streets?

Mango and Strawberries and Cream Bubblewrap Waffle for 80-90 NTD each

I didn't try these so I don't know what they are, but they looked good so I snapped a photo LOL

So before this trip, I said I would not leave Taiwan without trying their (in)famous stinky tofu. I got the impression that if you don't try it your trip would be incomplete, but then when I got a whiff of it from a 10-meter radius, my stomach churned and I decided I couldn't do it. Maybe in another lifetime.

On our second day (the day of my birthday), the storm was forecasted to come. It didn't change its mind as much as I prayed it to but at least God gave us half a day of sunshine so we were still able to go to Jiufen in the morning. It's about an hour and 30 minutes away (train and bus ride) from Taipei and that's quite far since traffic's really light in Taiwan. Although it's only on the outskirts, the bus ride made me quite anxious as we steered away from the city and traversed mountains.

Jiufen was one of the places I really longed to visit in Taiwan. Whenever I go to another country, I make sure to visit a place with scenery that speaks a lot about the country's culture. Jiufen, being culturally rich as it looks, made sure I wouldn't leave Taiwan without meeting that requirement.

Jiufen Old Street

First thing you'll notice about Jiufen Old Street: Stairs. Lots and lots of stairs.

You'll think Jiufen Old Street is just one narrow alley from the facade but when you get inside it's actually a maze of alleyways composed of teahouses, food stalls, restaurants and souvenir shops.

An art shop somewhere in Jiufen Old Street

Scenic view of Jiufen from the old streets

Jiufen was a gold mining town until mining discontinued in the 1950's. It holds a lot of stories which makes it all the more interesting. Right now, it is a prospering mountain city-tourist spot kept alive by its establishments. The famous anime Spirited Away's setting is based on this place so you'll find a lot of Spirited Away items in souvenir shops. Quite odd as I thought it was based on some old town in Japan.

The rain started to pour carrying strong winds, even my umbrella's trusty windbreaker couldn't handle it. People started running around in raincoats and that was a signal for us to go back to the hotel. The weather was so unforgiving that we had to cancel our trip to Shifen Waterfalls and Yehliu Geopark. Just seeing the waves crashing towards Yehliu was enough warning. Sadly, the entire afternoon of my birthday turned into a staycation.

Outside Ximen Station

Sporting raincoats in Ximending

Evidently, we still braved the storm that night because we didn't want the entire day to go to waste. We got to shop a little until the winds became harsh and trees started falling, that was our signal again to go (run) back to the hotel. They say if it rains on your birthday, you are blessed. I'll take that for a fact to console myself from our ruined itinerary.

The following day was just as harsh. We went around the city but almost all attractions we planned to go to were closed because of the storm the day before. They were either cleaning up or doing maintenance. The saddest part was Maokong Gondola was also closed. I was really, really looking forward to that glass cable car ride and our last day was rash in giving disappointments. *sigh* I was just comforted by the fact that at least the skies were finally clear and I got to take decent pictures outside.

Huashan 1914 Creative Park. This used to be a 20th century wine factory, restored into a hip multi-purpose park

Inside Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Beitou Hot Spring Museum

A view from the trail in Beitou Park

I would say the day was a waste but we got to go around the city, got to ride 4 lines of MTR and taste McDonald's (yes the taste of fastfood varies in every country so it's valid). I  couldn't remember a day in my life when I was as tired as I was on the 30th of July 2017. My legs practically gave up on me that day. So despite the circumstances, it was still sulit.

Would I go back to Taiwan? Yes, definitely. Apart from the fact that I wasn't able to tick all the places on our itinerary, it's impossible not to love Taiwan's cheap food, easy transportation and kind people. Despite the language barrier, the Taiwanese are really pleasant and accommodating. It's hard not to get attached to this lovely nation. 

Progress check: How far in life has your IQ taken you?

Sunday, May 28, 2017 2 comments

In my pursuit of success and happiness, I have early on found that intelligent people are not necessarily the wealthiest, neither the happiest. Intelligence often comes with pride, and too much of it becomes poison. Having a respectable position in the corporate world demands time and effort, blood and sweat, but intelligent people were given a natural advantage so you won't see them clamber as much. I know of a woman who claimed her VP title at 40, earning enough to provide for 3 children. She was an eloquent speaker, a good decision-maker, a natural critical thinker  known to carefully assess every risk that comes her way. I guess this is a norm for intelligent people, their brains are wired to find microscopic loopholes. To be honest, she was a little crude. It was difficult to tell if she was happy. Maybe being built to question everything gets in the way of happiness. It's hard to find joy when you always have to think about the flip side of the coin, when you are curtailed by having to make thoroughly weighed decisions because it's what an intelligent person would do. An intelligent person shouldn't fail. Or if life really wills it, fail but be able to count it with your fingers.

The person she makes decisions for on the other hand, has a long list of risks taken, trips and falls. He has eaten failure for countless lunches and dinners, coming out of it scathed but brushes himself off to try again. Great scientists and the world's top business tycoons were not necessarily textbook-smart and on top of their class. Being academically-inclined does not guarantee a financially stable and happy life. My manager once told me a story in the middle of our one on one meeting, how he took pride in his fancy behind-the-desk job and focused on carefully plotting his timeline on the road to becoming CEO. At the same time he became a VP with more than enough to provide for his family, the salesman he and his colleagues used to poke fun at already owned a multiple-storey building and a few luxury cars. In this narrative, I don't mean to imply that all intelligent people are not capable of taking risks on the road to success. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is not your intelligence that will take you all the way to the top, but your values.

At the age of 24, I never took things easy. I took two jobs and drove myself crazy trying to think of other ways to monetize my other skills, but often I am hindered by the negative thoughts that come out of critically analyzing things. It was the downside of being taught to make intelligent decisions, you automatically think of how a plan could possibly fail so you can weigh the outcome. More often than not, the thoughts discourage you before you can even come up with a contingency plan. And oftentimes, I end up taking the safer path. It's because I felt it was the smart way, or because I was too proud or entitled. I didn't want to get my hands dirty. I asked my dad who used to be a working student and has been running his own business for over 2 decades. He, like his friends, almost graduated from college but had to choose work. Everything our family has, including my degree from the top business school in the country started from his efforts of knocking door to door, sneaking past guards, and flirting with secretaries to sell office equipment at the age of 18. He was bold in taking risks, and told me that he had to do it because he did not have anything else. "Who would hire and promote an undergraduate?" He said. "I had to build everything myself." He was never at the top of his class, but my father had guts of steel. And if I were given a choice whether I want a high IQ or have my father's dauntlessness, I would probably choose the latter. However, there is no rule that says you can't have both. Some things that were not naturally given can be taught, like dancing or playing the piano. Having the right mindset not excluded.

Generally, it is not the purely intelligent, but the wise who reaches success first. I merely used money and possessions as exhibits of people's success but it is not the same for everyone. Success is subjective and ill-defined. Is it the glamorous job title? The fat paycheck? The hefty bank account?  However we define it and whatever drives us to it whether intelligence or ambition, I hope we never compromise our happiness. There is too much pressure in this life yelling at us to pick up pace that we get absorbed by the non-existent competition. We become too consumed by our own pride and intelligence that we ignite pointless intellectual debates, look down on people and propagate hate. One of my favorite movies hit a nail in the head with the line "Do want to be right or do you want to be happy?" It's true. The most unfortunate thing that could happen while you chase your dreams is dropping your happiness along the way. 

You can be smart and have a lot of money, be defined as successful by those who look up to you, but only in getting where you want to be with your values and happiness intact is where you are truly successful. Let's do ourselves a favor and guard them most.

Unpleasant Realities in Fiction

Thursday, January 19, 2017 No comments

Like a person who is in love with the ocean but terrified of what swims beneath the surface, I'm a romantic person who's afraid of being madly in love. It happens in real life, you're on cloud nine and it feels as if your love transcends anything but one day some tragic plot twist just comes raining on your romantic parade. Worse when you were certain that both of you were in it for the long haul.

Warning: This post contains spoilers

La La Land has made a strong impact on many. I looked around as we moved out of the movie theatre and saw that tears were shed-- and not only mine. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking at once. A struggling actress and a jazz pianist crossing paths in different seasons, both trying to make it in the cutthroat world they live in. As a viewer, I easily found myself rooting for them. Both characters had personalities that fit like pieces cut out from the same puzzle, both too sensitive, too different to be with anyone else. They supported each other's dreams so much that it ruined them. It reopened my eyes to the reality that even two star-crossed soulmates may not end up together. It reminded me of when old lovers say that love alone is never enough. In fact, if you look closely, it was love that ended them. Mia didn't ask for Sebastian to abandon his stable career and leave LA, Sebastian encouraged her to go through with that audition that sent her off to Paris and started her fame. In the end, they both got the dreams they mapped together. Just that, they reached it apart.

The first tear that I fought eventually fell during the last scene at the jazz club when I saw deep sadness in both of their eyes. Five years later, they finally reached the peak. Their ambitions were no longer drawings in sketchbooks, but a vivid reality. But they left the audience wondering whether or not they were completely happy with how things turned out in their lives.

They always tell us to choose love, but how certain are we that it's the right choice? Not all relationships are faced with such a difficult decision but I hope all the Mias and Sebastians in this world find genuine happiness in the choices they made.

Bye, Felicia! (a.k.a. 2016)

Sunday, January 1, 2017 No comments

Instagram Best Nine 2016

2016 was a hurricane. It went by so quickly but it was rough and destructive. I went through a lot with my career and my relationship with the people I love was tested. On the upside, I no longer miss being a student and I now (by some miracle) like working, got more financially stable, reunited with old friends, and most importantly, I got to travel~ one international and three local trips this year. The more places I see, the more I indulge in the beauty of life. There are so many evils in this world that it takes a toll on me but in 2016 I realized that oftentimes, all it takes to lose that tightness in my chest is to see God's creations and a breath of fresh air to make me want to live rather than just exist. 

The most challenging part of 2016 was getting lost in pursuit of a good career. At the beginning of the year, I left my job as an HR Assistant for an insurance company. I knew I was in the right industry. While fashion and retail piqued the interest of most women (no denying how glamorous it is to be in that industry), I found meaning in being an advocate of financial literacy, in preparing for the most inevitable things on this planet. Retirement. Illness. Death. All my life I've been searching for something to do that will make a significant impact to the lives of others, no matter how little or inconsequential. You know, the dream of leaving the world a bit better than when you entered it? So I took a risky leap of becoming a part-time Financial Advisor in another insurance company. Since it would be a conflict of interest if I kept my HR job, I had to weigh things and it was the toughest decision I had to make. Being in HR was my comfort zone and also, my boyfriend was my teammate. I was living a teenager's dream of spending at least 9 hours a day with her crush. 16-year old, convent school-bred Maye would have jumped for joy and stuck to status quo, but 23-year old Maye knew better. As much as I love spending time with my boyfriend, I knew I had life decisions to make. As time ensued, the business-minded woman in me made me realize that I hated my job. I did not like how I had to face applicants everyday who made it so obvious that I was only talking to facades, to people aiming to please their interviewer that they portray a version of themselves thinking it would score them a passing mark. I found myself yearning for real conversations with real people. More importantly, I was only seeing remote, not direct results of all my hard work. I worked hard to make sure the management had optimal headcount and the employees were happy and well-engaged, but there was no quantifying how much I contributed to the company. Right side of my brain aside, I was looking for my value in numbers. How much did I add to the company's gross annual income? It's noble to be in HR, but it was not for me. It was never for me. So I resigned with plans to put up a small business and take up the licensure exam for insurance agents. The insurance part, I got right. The dream business was a flop. Actually, I never started it. My excitement after getting toppled over the borders of my comfort zone went a little too far. My dad offered to loan me capital but as foolish as this may sound, I forgot that I had no business plan, not even products or services in mind and no people to work with. I had nothing to start with.

I parked my business dream but paving way for sales was a no ragrets move. But it was a part-time job and no sooner did I crawl back into my hole of misery. With a lot of time in my hands, my depression crept back in and I felt lost. My mind was not built to be immobile. I did not go back to my doctor. I made a decision to refuse to live on anti-depressants because of a genetic disorder. Instead I exercised, ate healthy, prayed and sought ways to occupy my mind. 

With the help of His amazing grace, I got a full-time job as a Corporate Account Officer in the HMO industry mid-2016. It was wack. Culture shock was an understatement. I sat there on my first week not knowing I was the butt of gossips. I used to work in offices where a beige dress paired with a white coat and nude stilettos ensemble was the norm. Apparently, I was dressed too nicely for this new office and allegedly had an air of confidence and condescending demeanor that was not easily accepted. I was stalked online, my posts were sent around in screenshots and scrutinized. These were not the kind of people I'm accustomed to. But I chose the high road and nobody heard a word from me. I gained real friends there eventually, and for six months I found an adequate support system in them to realize that I like my job. I felt genuine happiness that I never felt when I was in HR. I finally have a job that requires me to go out of the office to visit clients that I need not to be confined behind my desk. I conduct benefit orientations so it gave me an opportunity to practice public speaking. I was put in a position where my decisions could be worth six digits. And I need to retain 95% of my corporate clients lest the company's income would be severely damaged - at last I could quantify my output. I could finally see how vital my job was. I know that because I no longer feel like I'm dragging myself to work every Monday morning. And now I'm thankful that I focused on the work itself rather than the people who tried to bring me down.

It's in 2016 that I can truly say the tables have turned and I have finally grown up. Thank you, Lord for letting me finish strong. I'm ready to start over again. 

Finding true love in desolate places

Monday, December 19, 2016 No comments

@ Marcia Adams Tuscany

There are times I still can't believe how we ended up together. I was a cynic, all the while believing I was not capable of deep feelings until your love came tugging at my sleeve telling me "Hey, I'm here. You've found it." And there came rushing the thrill of letting in an uninvited guest. That mutual rush of unwarranted spark waiting to be ignited.

All of which started one morning in September over two years ago, the first time we met. You, that stiff recruiter guy, and I your applicant with "condescending" demeanor, repulsed by the most of awkward of ways to start a conversation and all the wrong first impressions, yet somehow drawn together by a force so strong that it made me believe that we, along with time's deceitful ways are proof that there is a magnetic pull between souls whose stories are written in the cosmos.

All that's really left for us to do is to keep the fire alive.

Happy first anniversary to my then-platonic friend and work partner, who now happens to be my one great love. ❤️

36 hours in Boracay

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 No comments

Two best things about living in this tropical country: (1) The world's best islands are only an hour or two away from the capital by plane. (2) There is never a bad time for the beach because it's always summer.

Slowly turning my boyfriend into a beach person

Our college inner circle wanted to have a quick vacation-reunion to take a break from adulting but since adulting is inescapable, we were only in Bora for 36 hours. It's not really impossible since you can take a flight straight to Caticlan for 45 minutes plus a 15-minute boat ride. Can't deny how bitin it was but given our work schedule, I'll take what I can get.

The Sunny Side Cafe @ Station 3

My college besties (MIA: Liz) posing like bouncers for some reason

It's been 2 years since I last went here but apparently Bora is still always super crowded regardless of the season. Perhaps being publicly labeled the best island in the world this year has made it even more mainstream than it already is. I felt like an alien in my own country since about 80% of the people I saw there were foreigners. It's a good thing I'm an early riser, so I was still able to enjoy a peaceful morning by the beach while the rest of the tourists lay in bed probably hungover from partying the night before. But honestly, they may say it's overrated but I think I'll always be in love with Bora.

A hashtag blessed October

Saturday, October 22, 2016 No comments

This, for one, is a genuine #blessed post. October is our family's most celebrated month next to Christmas since it's a birthday-filled month but God decided to make it extra special for our family. On October 1st, my youngest brother celebrated his 14th birthday and on the 16th, my mom celebrated her golden birthday. I thought 50 years deserved a highlight and since my dad's not really the romantic type, I took the initiative of planning a mini surprise which all didn't make it to execution as our brother counter-surprised us with a call that his little angel is about to come out. Dad didn't get to help me with the expenses and preparation for mom's birthday surprise with my brother's baby coming out and all so we decided on a simple dinner. Mom didn't even mind not having a grand 50th birthday celebration because according to her (and I wouldn't disagree), she already received her greatest gift this year.

On October 15, 2016, Celestine Rafaelle, a.k.a. Raffie was born

The moment I laid eyes on this first photo of her I fell in love. She's so beautiful. I had to grasp the fact that I'm now a full-blown tita but I was really grateful for the safe delivery of our newest family member. Her mom gave birth to her in Lucena. Only my brother was there so the rest of the family still has to wait until Bea and Baby Raffie are well enough and ready to travel back to Manila to live with us. I seriously cannot wait to hold her. I already love her so much that I might cry once I do. 

All these emotions having a niece, just imagine how I would feel once I have my own baby.