Category Archives: Life Events

Thoughts on Turning Thirty

About ten years ago, I included traveling solo on or before I turn thirty in my list of to-do’s. Early this year, it dawned on me that I have only until this year to fulfill this goal and so as planned, I packed my bags a day before I get the big three-O and headed to Camiguin for a much-needed respite.

Away from the hustle and bustle of city life and the demands of my job, I spent my first two days volcano trekking and falls-and-cold-and-hot-springs-and-island hopping, while the last three days were for “me-myself-and-I” moments as I did nothing but nap on hammocks while my favorite sound of the crashing waves lulled me to sleep. It was a truly unique experience, especially since during this trip, I went on “digital detox” (read that as going “offline” from the world), and lived on a treehouse and by the beach without television, or even electricity at some point (more about these in my future posts).

celebrating the gift of my life in captivating Camiguin

celebrating the gift of my life in captivating Camiguin

As I had a lot of time on my hands, I was also able to reflect on what the past three decades of my life had taught me.

Faith is everything. In myself. In the people I love. In others. In God. Because I wouldn’t have gone this far if I didn’t believe in myself. And I wouldn’t have stuck to my loved ones if I didn’t trust them. My faith in people makes me believe in their capacity to be and do good, while my faith in God keeps me grounded and going.

Family is love. Yes, we did not choose them, but because we did not have a choice, we learn how to accept and love them as they are. Stitch said, “This is my family… Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.” My family has had its share of struggles, but it’s the same family that has and will always be my home.

Friends are the family we choose. So Edna Buchanan said. And it’s true. I have been told many times that I am choosy with people, but this same trait is the reason why I am surrounded with TRUE friends who share their lives with me in whatever moment of happiness, sadness, craziness, etc. we find ourselves in.

Life, like happiness, is a matter of choice. While we do not have control of life’s circumstances, we always have a choice on our attitude to everything. It’s not about the cards dealt to us, but what we do with them. I’ve had my share of “bad cards,” but I did not let them cause my defeat. I even emerged a better life player because of them.

Be yourself. I know this is a cliché, but this is one challenge everyone goes through. We all want acceptance of or at the least, understanding for who we are. I have done things – even bent myself out of shape at times – to please people, but this is not really necessary. As Dr. Seuss said, “Those who matter don’t care, and those who care don’t matter.”

Any relationship entails risks, and pain. Just because s/he loves you doesn’t mean s/he won’t hurt you because wittingly or unwittingly, s/he will. More often than not, our loved ones are even the ones who cause us our greatest heartaches, and we have to forgive them for this, and move on. After all, the world does not stop for our grief.

Truly loving a person sometimes entails excusing the inexcusable in him/her. It is not turning a blind eye to his/her frailties but seeing beyond the imperfections and beholding something totally beautiful.

It’s not enough to be kind to others, we must be kind to ourselves too. We all make mistakes. And despite our best efforts and most fervent of hopes, we fail. I used to be overly critical of myself. I was my worst enemy, but over time, I learned to do away with self-blame and self-pity. They’re self-destructive.

Expect nothing. For someone who grew up aware of people’s expectations of me and who has had her share of disappointments, I know that expectations place unfair restrictions on people and ruin spontaneity. Live without expectations and you will find that life and people are full of pleasant surprises if we only let them be.

Keep peace with the person that you were, are, and will be. In 2010, I wrote, “Closure isn’t just about putting an end to the vexations of the mind, heart, and soul. It is also coming to terms with the difficulties of the past and from hereon, beginning a life of acceptance, gratitude and learning, and in so doing, achieving the serenity we so long for.”

Age is just a number. I am thirty, and I may live to the ripe old age of ninety, but there will always be a child in me who will view the world with childlike wonder and still believe in happy endings. I will act my age, but I will not let my age hinder me from doing what others think I cannot do.

It’s been a good three decades for me, and now I look forward to more years of living life to the fullest.

Cheers!

Revisiting the University of the Philippines Diliman

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I got the chance to revisit my college alma mater when I was in Manila last December.  It’s been almost a decade since I graduated and being there brought me a lot of fond memories.

As the jeepney traversed the University Avenue, a vivid memory of me and my mom passing by the same route came into my mind.  I was just a wide-eyed lass of sixteen then and it was my first time in the big city.  Mommy was worried about me so she accompanied me from our province to Manila to enroll.

I alighted at Quezon Hall and took in a closer sight of the Oblation, which is an  iconic symbol of the university.  The statue depicts a man facing upward with arms outstretched, symbolizing selfless offering of oneself to his country.  I was there only over a week before Christmas thus the Oblation had this star lantern decoration behind it.

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As I stared at it, I remember being that provincial lass who left her province and went to the big city to pursue a degree and make her dreams come true.  And at that moment, I thought I’m now halfway through it and I have my education to partly be thankful for.

I then headed to the Arts and Sciences (A.S.) or Palma Hall and on the way there, I remember my thrice-a-week jog at the Academic Oval.  It was always a joy to jog or walk around the university because of these shady acacia trees.IMG_6926

The Sunken Garden which was one of my favorite spots in the whole 400+ hectares of the university, was my next stop. We used to have group discussions here and this is also where I spent most of my free time writing my papers or studying for an exam or quiz.

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But my most poignant memories of this place would be the ones I wove with my best friend. Many times, these trees became the silent witness to our sharing of our joys, dreams, and fears.

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The Main Library was visible from the Sunken Garden and looking at it made me remember the countless hours I spent poring over its books just so I can finish my papers and research. But there were times I slept there too. Ha ha!

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Now hungry, I went to the Shopping Center and specifically looked for Rodic’s, which is famous for its silog meals. I was never a tapsilog person so I ordered my favorite hotdog silog (hotdog, fried rice and sunny side-up egg) meal.

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It was as delicious as ever but it’s now more expensive as what used to be a student-friendly meal worth Php50 is now priced at Php75.

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As I relished my meal, I remembered my Rodic’s moments with either my friends, dormmates or blockmates. There were just too many.

Afterwards, I revisited my favorite dessert shop and thankfully, it was still there. Fruits in Ice Cream (FIC) has this really delicious range of ice creams and my favorite had always been the nangkasuy (jackfruit-cashew) flavor.  Yummy.  As all commodities, its price has also increased from Php15 a scoop to Php23.

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Now done for the day, I hailed a taxi so I could head home. And as I glanced back at the Oblation on our way out of the university, I had these parting thoughts:

UP Naming Mahal (Our Beloved UP), so much had changed since I graduated in 2004 but you still kindle in me that same feelings of awe and pride I since felt when at the young age of perhaps 10, I made you my university of choice for college.

I will always have fond memories of you and walking around your grounds today brought back those memories.  I couldn’t help but smile as I remembered my friends and professors and realized the life lessons that only you could have taught me – Independence. Freedom. Responsibility. Love of country.

What I am now is partly (and perhaps mostly) because of you. And I cannot thank you enough for that.

2012: My Year In Review

January
Bid goodbye to Shimmer, my nearly four-year old laptop. Welcomed Shadow, a Sony Vaio S series laptop named as such because of its sleek black color.

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On this month, I also went home in Aklan and celebrated Kalibo’s renowned Ati-Atihan Festival.

February
This month, I got reunited with a friend and together, we embarked on my most unpredictable trip yet to Siquijor: the trip was canceled because of an earthquake, pushed through with it the following day but on our way back almost got stranded in the island because of rough seas. Still, seeing the beauty of the said mystical island was worth all the (mis)adventures we had.

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On the 26th, I was a nervous wreck when we went to the US Embassy to get visas and was particularly ecstatic when I did get it. My Facebook status update summarized it all.

After feeling zombiefied from lack of sleep due to a very early flight & an early interview, having to contend with my heart roaring from what seemed like galloping horses & the knots of tension that formed at the pit of my stomach (these put the phrase, “butterflies in my stomach” to shame) as I waited in agony for my turn, I am over the moon for this recent blessing.

Thank you, dear God & thank you, daddy. I know you are watching over me. 🙂

March
Was so toxic with work I did not get to travel.  As my therapy, I spent most of my days working on a scrapbook project as a July birthday gift for a dear friend.  I ended up not finishing it so I thought of just giving it as a Christmas present.  As of this writing, it’s not yet done.  Ha ha.

April
Went island hopping to the islands of Nalusuan and Olango.

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Another toxic work month because of the Holy Week.

May
Time to reward myself after two grueling work months.  Summer fun with friends whom I haven’t seen in years. Trekked Sumilon Island, swam with the whale sharks, discovered Tumalog Falls, and climbed Osmeña Peak, Cebu’s highest point.

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June
My most awaited and exciting trip yet. Visited Incheon, South Korea and Narita, Japan before finally arriving at Los Angeles.

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Also toured Las Vegas.

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And rode the cable car and enjoyed the sights of San Francisco.

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July
Took a short course at Cornell University.  Enjoyed going back to school even for a while.

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Made the most of our last stop of our US trip: New York.

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Also became a 5-year veteran at work and this photo caption on my Facebook page best showed how proud I am to be working for one of the country’s premier resorts.

Happy anniversary, Plantation Bay. You’re sweet 16 today & as our GM touchingly shared, are coming of age. You’ve proven your resilience over the years & done us proud with the many awards you reaped. But more than the pride for these awards is the honor of me being part of your distinct brand of service that creates a unique experience for & leaves imprints into the lives of not just our guests but on ours, your PB family as well.

It’s been 5 years since I joined you & all these years, I have been very happy to be working for you.

Today, as you acknowledge my contribution, I am feeling proud & humbled at the same time. Thank you.

Cheers to many more years of weaving magical moments with & for our guests! 🙂

This month, I was also offered a different position in the same company, shaking my very well-laid career plans to the core.

August
Accepted the challenge of my new position and wrote about my hopes and fears in this post. Part of it read:

I am really thankful to my company for believing in me and for giving me the chance to contribute to it through my passion for writing. And though I still feel a little wary of things to come, I resolve to myself to give my best to this endeavor and make the most of it.

Bring it on.

September
A mostly toxic month as I started learning the ins and outs of my new job. Funny how my Facebook page used to be so updated prior to this but come September, it only showed birthday greetings from friends.

As mentioned, this is my natal month. And days before I turned 29, I wrote this piece about how some people are bothered by my being single at this age. I just said it’s my choice and really not a problem for me since I’m happy being one. Because really, since when did marriage have a deadline? More importantly, since when did one’s (marital) status define a person or his / her happiness?

October

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First year death anniversary of Daddy. While time helped us accept his loss, I will never get over missing him. Funny. The longer he’s not a (physical) part of my life, the more I am reminded of him. I still cry over the songs played at his funeral and always talk to him every day. I once even bought his favorite chocolate and ice cream only to realize when I got home that he’s no longer around to share it with the family.

Really had a blast at home. Enjoyed my much-needed break from work and spent my days doing nothing. We even went to the beach like we used to when I was a kid.

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Also welcomed Andie, my Samsung Galaxy S3. Yeah, I know. I name all my gadgets. It’s one of my idiosyncracies.

November
Our traditional Christmas Tree Lighting got more fun with my four best gal pals in the office. For weeks, we agonized over what to wear to this Filipiniana-inspired event. Thank heavens we managed to pull it off.

This blog, Thoughts, Tales, and Whatnot, was also born.

December
Perhaps my most memorable company Christmas party to date. Village People-inspired with our department having construction workers as our sub-theme. Proud that this was the first time in my adult life that I went onstage to dance.

Mid-December, I visited Manila to attend a good friend’s wedding. Revisited my beloved alma mater, the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

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Also got reunited with people I haven’t seen in years and visited Tagaytay and Batangas.

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Got myself a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as a Christmas present (the S3’s my company phone) and loving it to bits.

So there goes my 2012.  And as I bid adieu, I thank my loved ones for the memories and life lessons they brought into my life this year.

And to my Lord and my God, thank you for always blessing me with much much more than what I think I deserve.