5 Things Traveling Has Taught Me

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I am never the planner. I don’t plan my day, moreover my life. I love spontaneity and surprises. But when we talk about traveling, I become the exact opposite.

My first out of the country trip was with my family. We would avail tour packages and have an itinerary determined by the travel agency. It was fun but it felt limiting. Few years after, I started to travel with a friend and decided to book everything on our own. It was more fun to have control over your trip: where to go, what to eat, where to shop. Also, we don’t have to visit jewelry stores if we don’t want to. :p

Recently, when I traveled with my family and friends to Japan, I took care of the itinerary and the budgeting. It was really challenging — having to plan for a big group is one thing, and it is another thing to research the must-see places, book our accommodation and activities. I became the planner I never thought I can be. I was keen into details, made sure I settled the correct amount, booked the correct dates and paid with the correct card. Traveling is fun, but I can say planning a trip is something I look forward to now. Maybe the next thing I should plan is — my life. Lol!

Check out my Japan Pre-Planning post.

 

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You see it: in the malls, in the highway, in the TV ads — Nike has always encouraged us to do it. But nothing can better push us to “just do it” than traveling.

Traveling has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Every time I am in a new place and I seem to be in a crossroad — whether to do an activity or not, or whether to try an exotic food or not — I always think of this tagline: JUST DO IT! Because when will I be able to go back to that place again — probably not anytime soon. And I wouldn’t want to go back home thinking of “I should have done that” or “I should have eaten that.” Same as what happened to us in Shenzhen. My mother managed all our money and expenses then. When we were offered to visit the Windows of the World, my mother declined because she thought it was a bit costly and it wasn’t worth it. We left Shenzhen with ‘what if’s’ and it wasn’t a good feeling. I gotta learn it the hard way and made sure that on my next trips, I should just do it.

I can say, traveling to a new place made me braver and bolder.

 

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You can be late to work or to a meeting with friends, but never, ever be late when traveling. Every second and minute of your time while traveling is important. You don’t want to miss anything spectacular, like the sunrise in Angkor Wat, when that’s the exact reason you flew to Cambodia.

That is exactly the story of my life. On our last day in Cambodia, we decided to do the Angkor Wat tour. Since we’re already in Cambodia, we don’t want to miss seeing it in its most picturesque form: sunrise. But guess what, we overslept! Instead, we started our tour at 8am and was greeted by sea of people. Nevertheless, we enjoyed visiting the temples. On the brighter side, without these misfortunes, we will not actually learn. So, I take it as a lesson. Next time I traveled, I make sure to set my alarm 5 times and SLEEP EARLY!

There was another instance, we were 5 minutes late for our Kalibo to Manila flight, we had to take a boat for 16 hours instead of a 45 minute plane ride. Talk about hassle 😦

 

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Thanks to geography, we know our continents and their location. We know that we have vast bodies of water and different land forms, but these are all textbook information. We learn this in grade school. The true knowledge is obtain when you get out there and experience it yourself.

When I fly via plane, it always amazes me to look down and see pea-sized houses, the illuminating lights and vast oceans. It makes me realize how small I am and how big the world really is. And for a moment my problems seem so small compared to all the problems accumulated in the whole world. As I continue traveling, it perplexes me to think how I came to exist not knowing all these people and not seeing these places. That’s why when I come home after a trip, I really feel enriched and contented because I feel like I learned a lot and see a lot of things that I never knew exist.

Ever since, I always look forward to traveling more, to see more faces and places and bring it with me back home.

 

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Oh, yes I can solve an Algebra equation and I can recite the Periodic Table of Elements —  thanks to my high school. But I have learned that there are far more things to learn when you step out of the classroom. Theories are taught in school but the real knowledge comes from our experiences. And I can say traveling is one of the best teachers I have encountered in this lifetime.

After college, I was thrown out into the real world: I got a job that pays me enough but I don’t really enjoy, I started to get bills, eventually I felt burnt out and questioned if this is everything there is after college. And then I got into traveling, I spent my weekends out of town and plot my vacation leaves to visit other countries. Suddenly, life seems to be happier. I get to meet different people from different walks of life. I talk to people with languages different from mine. I get to see other people’s livelihood: making delicacies, wood carving and clothing. Most importantly, I experienced things and not just read about them. I felt fully present. Have I not traveled, have I not stepped out from my comfort zone, have I not explored, I wouldn’t learned this much about people and places and especially I wouldn’t know more about myself — what I am capable of, what my limits are, what my hidden strengths are.

Traveling made me richer in experience. Traveling made me more knowledgeable than those who do not travel. Traveling totally changed my life. I cannot imagine not traveling at all.

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Father’s Day Letter

Dear Pa,

I look up as I type this and saw you watching the usual daily news. If I look closely, I will see wrinkles on your face and your hands. Visible signs of hard work from years of working and providing for our family. There are so many things I’d like to tell you but cannot say in person because for sure I will struggle to get the words out before I even reach the middle of this note. Despite being someone who likes to speak up, I cannot bring myself to tell all these things to you. So today, as the world celebrates fathers’ day, I would like to share this letter I’ve written to tell you and the world how much I love and appreciate you.

Continue reading “Father’s Day Letter”

5 Suggested OOTD Spots in Taipei

Alright, I am one of the guilty users of #OOTD. Hahaha! I love seeing photos of my outfits and I enjoy posing for my OOTDs  (I even have my own trademark OOTD pose lol). So far, the place where I have the most number of OOTDs is in Taipei. And I would share below the best places to take your OOTDs when in Taipei. (Jeez, I just used the word OOTD five times.)

DISCLAIMER: You will see my face in almost all the photos. So unless you can take it, you can press the back button NOW. :p

Continue reading “5 Suggested OOTD Spots in Taipei”

Journal: One Saturday in QC

It was a long weekend due to the All Saints Day holiday. My office mates and I took advantage of it and went to Ateneo and UP Town Center to shoot our Big Night video presentation.

Just want to share some shots I took that day.

(Clockwise from top first column)

  • Found Biblio at the 2nd floor of UPTC extension. My heart jumped with joy when I saw shelves full of books! They have a log book where you can write your requested book and they will check if they can find it for you.
  • Long Live Bacon. I found this at Lazy Bastard’s store near the cinema of UPTC. Haven’t tried their food but I heard lots of good feedback.
  • Those cakes belong to The Chocolate Kiss located at UPTC extension. I love how this new wing of UPTC feels like an extension of UP and Maginhawa. I first tried Chocolate Kiss at Bahay ng Alumni inside UP Campus.
  •  The facade of Starr’s. They are famous for their milkshakes, haven’t tried it though. But I love how it looks from outside, it is so enticing that you want to come in and give their milkshake a try.
  • This photo was taken at one of the walkways in Ateneo.
  • We had lunch at Friuli Trattoria! It has been my go-to place for pizza and pasta since I first tried them at their Maginhawa branch. Friuli Trattoria will give you a mouthwatering experience without hurting your wallet.
  • After lunch came the dessert. I tried Carmen’s Best Hazelnut (P100, small). I was contemplating whether to buy a vegan ice cream or Carmen’s Best, the latter won, obv. Hazelnut was good, but my favorite still goes to He’s Not Worth It.
  • Oh, just me posing with some book quotations in the background. It was a test shot for the shoot.
  • Biblio‘s wall! I want something like this in my room!
  • Another thought to ponder on Lazy Bastard’s wall. Bacon is not Pork, it’s Bacon.

#StopTheStigma

I am supporting the initiative of Philippine Psychiatric Association to raise awareness, promote mental health and protect the rights of people with mental disorders by signing the petition to make the country’s first Mental Health Act happen.

If you’re one with us, you can sign the petition here.

Do you know how hard it is to have a psychological disorder here in the Philippines?

  1. HMOs or health cards do not cover consultation to psychiatrists and psychologists.
  2. One consultation with a psychiatrist is worth P 1,500 – P 2,000.
  3. Medicines are costly.
  4. People can’t talk about it openly because not everyone understands.

You know how I know? I’ll let you in on a little secret…

Continue reading “#StopTheStigma”

Quarter Life is just a Hype.

I don’t know what is the big fuss about turning a quarter year old and why people are making it as if it is some kind of mark or checkpoint in life. While it is true that being 25 means that you are halfway in your 20s –you’re not getting any younger and you should be responsible for your actions– 25 is just a number. Life doesn’t tell you that “hey, you are already 25,  you should accomplish these things in order for you to be accepted to the next level”. This isn’t some sort of a Super Mario game. Life goes on after 25, whether I have met the expectations of the society or not.

I was once so obsessed about my own mental checklist. I have all these must-have’s and should-have’s by age 25, and guess what I haven’t ticked off even half of it, and I am perfectly fine. I realized we all have our own pace and timeline; what works for other people, might not work for me. So what if I get married at 40 or if I don’t get married at all. What if I never obtained my Masters degree just like what I hoped for myself by age 25. Does that mean I am not successful in life? Of course not.

I think the reason why we have a “quarter-life crisis” is because we put too much pressure in ourselves (aggravated by society’s expectation and social media) that we must accomplish something at a certain age or else, we will not be considered successful. Which is, if you ask me, such an awful way to measure success.

So take your time and don’t be pressured about timelines and age. You will get there in your own pace, in the right time. Here, let me just share the 25 things I have learned and the mantras that help me get by at 25.
Continue reading “Quarter Life is just a Hype.”

2016 Plans and What-nots

I was going through my drafts and found this. I continued writing it even though it is 4 months late. What do they say, better late than never?

January is actually one of my favorite months. Because it is the beginning of the year, and every beginning comes with hope. Hope that the upcoming year is going to be awesome.

To be honest, I wasn’t as thrilled when New Year came as I was on the previous years. That is because of my health condition (please see previous post).

I’ve been feeling very low for the past few days, but I think today’s going to be different. First, I am blogging again, so I am definitely trying desperately to be back to normal again. Second, I will be enumerating what I am aiming for this upcoming year. (To be honest, the past few days, I can’t even bring myself to think about the next 5 days, and here I am trying to list down my goals for this year)

Continue reading “2016 Plans and What-nots”

I Don’t Want To Be Another Love, Rosie

Missed opportunities. Yeah, who likes that?

I was frustrated most of the time I was reading Love, Rosie.  I was screaming in my mind the entire time, because I wanna tell them that they are meant to be together, so just fucking tell each other how you feel. If they just listened to me, their happy every after, should have come sooner.

But in real life, there are people who just miss each other every time. Like, I don’t know, they are scared of putting their guard down and admitting that ‘hey, I think I’m in love with you’. Instead, they just go on their everyday lives, carrying that feeling in their heart, so strong it could change lives!

I don’t want to be like Rosie. And I don’t want someone like Alex. If you like me, you just f*ckin’ tell me. I am not a mind reader and I don’t play some mind games, because honestly I don’t have that much time to think about your actions. I hate confusing actions! I mean, one day, you’ll be so sweet and all, then the next day, you just don’t f*cking care. Like how can you do that?

Life is so short to pass up opportunities of being with the person you love. One day you’re sixteen, you got life ahead of you.You have a lot of time to make mistakes, to make wrong decisions, then one day you’ll wake up and you’re 40. And you just can’t go back and change things. You just have to move forward with your life.

Would you like to move forward with what-if’s in your head or would you rather move forward knowing that you’ve taken that chance on someone,who may or may not be for you, but who cares at least you had courage to try.

Choose wisely.

Love,

Andrea

Things That I Will Tell These College Students

After a while, I went back to USTe to request for my Transcript of Records. I am an alumna of the University for almost 5 years now. And I will tell you, everytime I go back to USTe, the feels are just so strong. It’s a mixture of nostalgia and envy. Everytime I will walk at the pathwalk, I feel like I am a freshman student again, walking fast, for I may be late to class, and at the same time breathing all of the unfamiliarity of the University, like seeing it and discovering it for the first time. Every time, I see a college student walking or sitting, I have this urge of coming up to her and tell her to enjoy her college life and make the most out of it. Because in one blink of an eye, it is all over. And you can never go back.

So there, while I was feeling nostalgic on the ride home, I thought of blogging my thoughts. What could I probably tell my young, innocent, 16 year old self about college. Now that I am an adult (or feeling adult, haha) I might have some good advice, noh?

Continue reading “Things That I Will Tell These College Students”

Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep.

The last few days of December until the present were hard for me. I thought I had a problem with my heart, when I experienced discomfort in my chest. I consulted a Cardiologist immediately, and tests were conducted (ECG, 2D Echo, Stress Test and Blood Test). Initially, it was found that I have Sinus Arrythmia or in layman’s term: irregular heartbeat. It sounded simple but I did get scared upon knowing it. I had lost my appetite and was very sad (I don’t like to say depressed). But started to miss work and just stay at home. Then one day, I realized that I was just anxious, and I shouldn’t be because irregular heartbeat is a common thing and is totally harmless. So, I regained myself back. And while I was happy and active again, I got the result of the 2D Echo showing that has the diagnosis: Mitral Valve Prolapse, Cardiac Dysrythmia. Man, I was devastated. I lost my appetite again and was scared for my life. It was until I show my test results to my Cardio that she cleared up that all the tests were normal and no, I don’t have Mitral Valve Prolapse nor Cardiac Dysrythmia. Thank God!

I was very very happy with that news. But even after that news, I still don’t want to eat. I lost my appetite and despite being cleared of any heart diseases, I still experience palpitations. Later, I learned that I was anxious. I was having anxiety attacks, where in a certain thought will cross my mind, and then I will start getting nervous that can lead into a chest pain.

It was a scary incident for me. I reached the point where I can’t even sleep, because I don’t know how to. I try to close my eyes, but my mind drifts away and the next thing I know, it’s time for me to get up again. It affected my daily activity and work. I usually call in sick for work and I feel unproductive most days.

I am still trying to figure out how I can battle this. The good thing is I don’t have a heart condition, but I guess my mind hasn’t accepted it yet. I hope everything will turn out well. And I hope I can overcome these fears and anxieties soon! I miss my old self, my jolly, old self. Plus, I don’t want to make my parents worry. Sometimes, I feel great but there are times, when the feeling of panic overpowers me.

I know I am stronger than this and I know God is always there for me and He will guide me all through out this challenge.

So, that is what has been happening to me for the last few days. I wanted to blog again, but I don’t have the energy to do such. But now that I do, I remember how good and relaxing it feels. Though, my mind is absolutely unorganized right now. I am happy, I was able to write this.

Love,

Andrea

Why I Joined PETA Workshop, And Why You Must Chase Your Passion Too.

Few months ago, when I was still contemplating on whether to join the workshop or not, I checked Facebook, Instagram and some blogs for some signs telling me to push through with it. I want to read the experience of a former participant, I want to know what happens in the workshop, I want to know if it is worth it. But I  didn’t get anything, I just had to go with my instincts, and listen to this voice inside my head telling me to “just do it”.

This blog post is for those people who wanted to try acting workshop (or any workshop out there that they’re interested in) but just needed a little push, a little validation that it is worth it.

To you, yes it is worth it.

Continue reading “Why I Joined PETA Workshop, And Why You Must Chase Your Passion Too.”

My first Thought Catalog article!

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One of things in my bucket list, crossed out.

I discovered my love for writing back when I was in high school. It was when I got a taste of my first heartbreak (which was just a puppy love) that I found comfort in writing. I wrote poems and essays about love and life that I know at age 15.

Eventually, my love for writing has grown. I initially wanted to write for a magazine, but it wasn’t achievable because I don’t have the credentials to get in. Luckily, in this generation, you don’t need a degree in writing to start a blog or to share your talent. So, I started a blog to serve as my platform in writing. Though I’m not really sure if there are readers here, I mainly write here because I want to have a place where I can let go of my inhibitions and share what I love to do.

And as a writer, of course you’d want to get better at it and eventually broaden your audience. So as an avid reader of Thought Catalog, I tried my luck and submitted an article to them early this August and in less than a week, I got a response from them saying that they have published my article online already! It was such a happy moment for me. It is like a milestone that I’ve conquered. Though, the topic I have chosen was a little shallow, it was the safest article for me to submit. I mean, I don’t want to submit anything too personal. I want something general that most people can relate to. So I rummaged my old notebooks, posts, doodles and I found this article.

I wrote this article last year (2014). I remember being told that I have a big ego because I never tell or show people that I love them. When I like someone, I don’t treat them nicely, which is weird. But I think that was my defense mechanism because I don’t want to appear easy and vulnerable to them. So to my defense, I wrote this article so that people can understand me better, and for lack of better terms,  I used ‘A Girl With A Big Ego’ to describe myself, so some people can relate to it as well. I would like to think I am not the only one who is like this. Hahaha!

I am aiming to submit more articles, probably, once a month. Now, I am thinking what could be my next topic for September. Hmm. Suggestions?

By the way, you can read the full article here.

♥ Andrea

Words to Live By of a 24-Year Old Kid

National Monument, Kuala Lumpur
National Monument, Kuala Lumpur

24 is all about conquering your fears, following your heart and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Those are the exact words that popped into my thought bubble as I was contemplating about life while taking a shower. I just turned 24. And I really want to make the most out of this year. See, this is the time when you are supposed to live young, wild and free. It dawned on me the endless possibilities in life, as endless as those drops of water touching my skin. It continues to flow until such time I decided to turn it off. Same goes with life, I realized that there are vast range of opportunities around, and the only time that these opportunities will cease, is that time when you stop yourself from getting it.

Really, best life realizations and decisions are made in the shower!

So, this year, the year before I turn into  the infamous age of the so-called quarter-life, I promise to enjoy live life. Travel more, try the things I haven’t done before, especially those in my bucket list (na inugat na sa tagal). I will take risks often, I will talk to strangers (PS not the kaduda-duda strangers, I mean), I will let my guard down and let people in, I will let go of the things that don’t work for me anymore, let go of the anger and forgive, I will let myself fall in love with the person I am not supposed to, just because it feels right. I will step out of the usual, and do things a little different this time.

I am already starting to list the things I would like to try this year. I will take that theatre class that I’ve been wanting to join since 2012, I would dye my hair red or violet or whatever color they said wouldn’t fit me. I would get a tattoo, even if my parents are totally against it. Because it is when you realize that you are in control of your life  that you start living it. So to those like me out there who has been afraid of changes and of leaving the ‘comfortable and usual’ setup, I hope you find within yourself the courage to try and risk and live the life you’ve always wanted, regardless of what people will say.

Because as what the pabebe girls said, “Di nyo kami mapipigilan!

♥,

Andrea

Comfort Zone

For someone who is afraid of changes and of taking risks,  leaving my comfort zone is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. You know when you are already accustomed to the people and the environment and all of a sudden it will all change. That’s what I was scared of. To have to start all over again.

But as what they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You have to get out of it and explore your opportunities. This does not only apply to work, but in life in general.

If you are young and able, I dare you to go out of your usual routine, be it on a simple matter or not. If you are used to ordering a Frappuccino in Starbucks, why don’t you try a Hot White Chocolate Mocha instead. You may like your decision or not, but at the end of it one thing is guaranteed: You will learn from it.

After I submitted my resignation last month and left the building on my last day of work (from a company I’ve been with for 4 years), I felt nervous and scared but above all, I feel energized. I feel courageous for leaving what doesn’t work for me anymore. I feel bold for leaving the old and starting anew. Somehow, I’ve learned to let go. I never thought I would leave my previous work, the first company I’ve worked for after college. But sometimes, you have to leave things, places and/or people to grow and to learn and to be better.

Whether I stay here in my new company for far longer than I worked with my previous company or if I decided to move to another job or move to a different country, one thing is certain, I have overcame the fear of leaving things behind. And it applies to everything in my life. I left the people who did me wrong. I left a relationship that I know was dysfunctional all along. I left the bitterness in the past and moved on.

In the end, it’ll always be worth it. You may not know exactly where the roads will take you, but a single step is always better than not taking one.

♥ Andrea

 

And I am back (for realzzz)

Hello blog!

I am back after being away for so long. Things got busy at work and there had been some changes that I’m excited to share. So far, 2015 has been a good year for me. I would just make an outline of what I will post for the next coming days.

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Travel

1. I would have to copy first my entries from my other blog: Hongkong and Shenzhen.

2. Nagsasa Cove (last year)

3. Cebu and Sinulog

4. La Union

5. El Nido

6. Sagada

7. Vietnam and Cambodia

8. Bacolod

 

Experiences:

1. Pinto Art Museum

2. Fit Food Manila

3. SubSpace

4. Caffera

 

Grabe, super back log! Hahaha. That’s all I can think for now. Excited to write ’em down. But I am still at work. So I’ll do it some other time! 🙂

 

♥ Andrea