Trip Down Memory Lane | Weekend Warriors Part I

I’ve been having a hard time getting myself to write about things I’ve been meaning to for the longest time now. You see, I created this blog mainly to immortalize events and milestones in my life that I can easily go back to whenever, especially since I don’t really have the sharpest memory; however, procrastination always gets the better of me.

So much has happened since the start of the year and if I don’t get everything cast in stone now, I’m afraid I’ll lose all those memories in my head forever, good or bad. I can’t say I won’t regret not having something to look back to, because I will. Plus, reminiscing is always more fun for me when I read my own blog entries, no matter how pathetic it may seem to you. LOL!

So to start of my trip down memory lane, I’m going back to the time when I climbed my second mountain and this time around, not as a part of the school curriculum.

Normally, I’d be writing about our trips as soon as we get settled in, maybe a few hours up until a few days after we get back, so I’m not sure why I put writing off lately. I’d either need a strong urge and willpower to do so or in this case, an inspiration.

I just saw the film, “Everest” for the second time this afternoon and thankfully, with a much clearer copy. Obviously, I appreciated it more this time, thus the post. Now, I can cross off Mt. Manalmon on my “to-write” list.

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Surprisingly, here we were looking happy and not tired at all, despite having just trekked, hiked and climbed the very challenging, Mt. Manalmon. Okay, it was just a very minor climb, and the summit was about 196 MASL (LOL), with a difficulty level of 2/9, according to the site, Pinoy Mountaineer. It took us about 2 hours to reach the summit with 5-6 breaks that took 10-15 minutes each including the mandatory photo ops.

So that’s about it. 5 paragraphs of introduction before the most awaited “after photo” and it’s not event the summit photo. What the heck?

Cue video-scratching rewind sound effect….

This was the easiest trip we’ve planned together as a family (oldies not included, of course). 2-3 weeks prior, we weren’t even sure this climb was going to push through. For all I knew, it was just one of those trips we planned ahead and never talk about again. Fortunately, we all agreed on a date, May 14, and the rest, they say, is history.

Funny ’cause we just bought our trekking sandals the night before the climb. And we also pigged out on street food, Maginhawa street food, that is. You can just imagine how hard it was for us to wake up a few hours after this.

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Anyway, we started strong despite the lack of sleep, not to mention sleeping on full stomachs.

So the next day, we just had to eat again, to make up for the energy we lost by sleeping and taking a bath, and sleeping again in the car.

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During the trip, I must say that we never ran short on food as we had containers of snacks and drinks and a whole pot of Adobo c/o our tita E, mother of our 2 cousins here, waiting for us in the car after a whole day of climbing and spelunking. Surely, we were a bunch of skinny people with bottomless guts, so my clever, little sister made up a hashtag on instagram just for our group, #TeamLamonManalmon. FYI: Lamon is a local, colloquial term for “pig out”.

You can even see my cousin below bringing a whole can of chocolate wafer sticks on the way up to the mountain.

 

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We couldn’t be more excited!! It was like a school field trip all over again, except that I was with the people I really, really love. I couldn’t remember a time we weren’t laughing. God, I love them all.

Of course, being the careful and thorough planners that we were, we didn’t have a permit to show when we reached the jump off point. We had a copy of their itinerary for climbers c/o our aunt who is an experienced climber, but we weren’t aware we had to let the authorities know beforehand of our scheduled climb. Fortunately, they were very kind enough to let us through after a quick orientation. This is not something we’re proud of btw, but it would have been disappointing had they not allowed us to so we’re very grateful to all of them for taking care of us still.

So for those who would want to experience the beauty of Mt. Manalmon and all the other fun activities within Sitio Madlum, be sure to submit a permit via email so the organizers would be able to anticipate the number of people climbing each day as well as the number of guides needed.

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Around 8:30am: After our descent from what I believe to be the historic Madlum cave, our eyes feasted on these beautiful, huge stone formations along an almost water-less Madlum river. This was also our first stop, a.k.a first photo op. This photo was taken by our very nice and funny guide, Sir Joseph, whom I highly recommend not only for his great photography skills (check out our summit photos later on), but also for his happy disposition and easy-going attitude.

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Not sure what this spot is called, but it had a spectacular, surreal feel that I couldn’t help but pause for a moment and convince myself that the moment is real. I want to say that I think I captured the moment quite well, but it looks more beautiful in reality. I guess I just watch a lot of action-adventure movies with lots of wide angle shots in beautiful landscapes. Sort of like those LOTR moments where Frodo and his troop traverse vast fields with mountains in the backdrop and with the camera panning across. Or perhaps a couple of scenes from the movie I mentioned earlier, Everest where the mountaineers seem like dots moving in one line, cutting through a blanket of snow, while the camera sweeps across the beautiful landscape. That’s how I saw this moment then.

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Here we were beginning our first ascent on the way to the foot of Mt. Manalmon, led by kuya Joseph. My cousin had a bit of a hard time so we had to stop for a few times, but it wouldn’t be too difficult if you work out regularly. It’s just like climbing the stairs to a 5-storey building.

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Had to ask them to pose for me from time to time.

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The group feetfie. but of course!

Unfortunately, I would have to end the first part here, but would be posting the second half soon! This would be my last post for July and tomorrow, I start the August Break Challenge! Woooot! Woooot!

****photos taken by everyone on this trip!

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August Break 2016

I just read Susannah‘s July love letter (you can also read it on her site), which was so full of positivity, despite heaps of bad news we’ve been hearing from all over the world lately. It feels good to have people like her to keep you sane and in touch with your inner optimist. It really helps a lot especially in the most difficult times.

So right by the end of her newsletter was the poster of the August Break for this year! You can click on the poster below to see how it works.

I first learned about this through another blogger/photographer I follow. I used to do the #FMSPhotoADay challenge (which is really good and really fun, btw), but I just couldn’t get myself to complete even a single month of that year-round challenge and it was disappointing for me. Of course, the blame is on me for not taking it too seriously or rather for taking it way too seriously.

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So this isn’t my first time to do something like this, and it definitely isn’t my first time to take part in this particular challenge, but since I always never complete any of them, I was hesitant to join in on this year’s August Break. But I’m cutting myself some slack. I need this break and I will do it again! Plus, I could use the practice in photography. 31 photos in a month? That should do it!

I’m also thinking, maybe an annual, 1-month photo challenge wouldn’t be as hard to keep up with as #FMSPhotoADay, which is a whole year challenge.

So It has been a long time since I took part in a daily photo challenge, and I can’t say I didn’t miss it. With the more flexible rules, it has less pressure on me to keep up and less chances of me getting disappointed in the end. Although, I’d really want to commit to posting a photo a day despite the more lenient rules.

So here it is! I’m ready for you, #AugustBreak2016! I’m in it not only for the challenge, but more so for the connection I’ll be making with the rest of the August Break community!

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Inspiration & Creativity

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Where do you usually get your inspiration from?

If someone cornered you and suddenly put you on the spot today and asked you this, what would your answer be?

Would you say, from God? from the greatest people that ever lived? from your family? from those geniuses that brought forth innovation and changes to the world?

or perhaps from a song that touched your deepest core (it’s redundant, isn’t it?)? or maybe from a great work of art, a movie that leaves you on the edge of your seat, a moving speech, a blog article?

While all of those are true and would probably be my answers too to that jerk who would be responsible for my sudden death due to a ruptured aneurysm triggered by him popping out of nowhere and cornering me just to ask this question (ang wild ng imagination!), I would like to say that well, God is first and foremost where I get my inspiration from, because after all, everything I mentioned right after Him came from Him. But that’s a given.

Also a given is my family, friends, loved ones or those people who go out of their way to help other people by all means, including their jobs, their creative work, their passion etc.

But had you asked me today, well, right before I wrote this entry, to be specific, I would probably say from the writers on MEDIUM. If you don’t have an account on this site yet, I suggest you make one. It will change your life forever.

Well, I might have exaggerated that last statement more than I should have. Though, I still have to say, signing up on Medium has got to be one of those precious “end-of-life-as-I-know-it” moments of my existence (not an exaggeration).

It’s not much different from Buzzfeed or Thought Catalog, except that I learn loads from Medium in terms of real life lessons supported by studies and research and experience, more thought provoking insights which don’t just circle around break ups and moving on, and perhaps more inspiration to get you moving or to put into action whatever you just read because you know that apart from your emotions, your thoughts have also been fired up! In fact, they even have articles that share the top sites where you can sign up for free online courses, articles that give tips on how to write more effectively and even articles that suggest great apps for productivity!

One more thing I like about Medium is it made me want to read more and not just more, but more substantial articles, which in turn made me want to write more, hence this uber long blog post.

I’m not saying that the other similar sites don’t offer such articles and don’t have such creative geniuses, because a lot would probably disagree, but I really want to stress on the fact that I get way more of these from Medium. Anyway, before this turns into a promotional entry, which it isn’t, I’d like to share 2 articles I read today that really inspired me to:

  1. Go after what I really want, and
  2. Become more introspective and self-aware to delve into what sparks creativity right within ourselves/myself

I won’t go far in explaining what the articles are about (although by the looks of it, I think I already have). You can read them yourselves. The first one being, “Give Yourself Something to Pursue” by Thomas Oppong. Judging by the title itself, you can already assume that it is a motivational/inspirational article, and a good one at that. Oppong authored lots of similarly moving articles which is why I’ve subscribed to his Postanly newsletter and followed him on Medium. He’s one of the best writers I’ve discovered, and I’m glad I did because his works are hands downs, my absolute pick-me-ups especially in troublesome, inspiration-less days.

And did I say that there’s an option for you to highlight words, statements or even paragraphs that you feel like saving, to read for later or to go back to in the future? Because there is. I did highlight quite a lot on this article alone because dayuummm, like what I said on the comment section, I really think that everything is “highlightable”. It’s either that good, or I’m just too emotional.

The other article I was talking about earlier (which is one of the recommended articles at the end of Oppong’s) is Jory MacKay‘s “Is solitude the secret to unlocking our creativity?. It is quite a lot to take in, a lot of Pyschological stuff, which made it more interesting, if you’re into that.

It mainly discussed how the creative process works inside our brains and how creativity is produced/stimulated through certain periods of……ten-nen-ten-nen-nen…, you guessed it right and it wasn’t even given away in the title earlier,”SOLITUDE“!! It also pointed out a lot of supporting discoveries by creativity researchers (which I think is a really great job btw), one of which I really liked, Graham Wallas‘ take on the creativity process that involved 4 steps: Preparation, INCUBATION (period of solitude), Illumination (the Eureka moment, which wouldn’t be possible if there wasn’t an Incubation period), and Verification.

I also liked the fact that creative thinkers were concluded to be BOTH “more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier yet adamantly saner, than the average person”. Ang gulo diba? Those are a lot of extremes!

Creative thinkers/geniuses were also concluded to have “an openness to one’s inner life; a preference for ambiguity and complexity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray”. We have Frank X. Barron to thank for coming up with these conclusions.

I find it quite comforting to know that there is an explanation for my tolerance for disorder. You see, I’ve always believed that artists are messy, so I’ve often pictured their desks to be chaotic, but nonetheless still very conducive to creativity. This is one reason why I appreciated this article very much. I mean, just look at my workplace below:

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There there! I told you it’s a lot to take in, but isn’t it worth the read? Anyway, if you noticed, I emphasized INCUBATION above. If I got it right, it is the most crucial step in the creative process, hence the title of MacKay’s article.

Wallas said that this is when the you let the unconscious take over the creative process. You let go and let the brain be. Isn’t God the greatest for creating our brain in such a powerful way that it can work without you having to give it commands? So basically, this period of rest, solitude, letting go or whatever you may want to call it, is significant because as MacKay pointed out, “letting go of your consciousness lets the deeper parts of your mind come in and make connections.”

Therefore, it is important for us to practice controlling our unconscious mind because this is how our brains develop or formulate the world’s greatest ideas. This is how the brain builds up to that certain point where the imaginary bulb lights up in our brains, and makes you cry out, EUREEEEEKA!!!!

There you go! That was my reaction paper for one of the most thought-provoking and another for one of the most moving articles I’ve read. Rume-reaction paper talaga! Gutom lang to!

So Imma go have my lunch now and maybe practice meditating so I can set out into the world to pursue my dream! Boy, these articles sure make a big and deep impact on my crazy brain!

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IQ

I don’t really know my IQ. Do you know yours? I’ve always taken tests for this, but I never really got a concrete numerical value to measure my own brain functions and abilities and compare it among others’.

The last time I took one was for my previous company/employer. Despite not getting a value between 75-140+in the end, our trainer was very kind enough, not to mention, very analytical to tell us exactly what types of personalities we have based on the  lengthy and extremely enduring tests we took. Unfortunately, that’s not what I am aiming for now.

I’m more curious of my intellectual capacity, but I never took the time to take an IQ test on my own because all along, I thought that it would take hours before I figure that one out.

Good thing, I found out that you can get your IQ test results in minutes. So I finally gathered up the courage to take one today through this free Highly Accurate Online IQ Test.

Thanks to this site, I learned that an

IQ test does not attempt to measure the amount of information you have learned but rather your capacity to learn.

I also found out just now that…

our IQ remains relatively fixed throughout our lives. One aspect IQ tests measure is what’s known as fluid intelligence. It describes your ability to solve abstract problems which do not depend upon skills and knowledge you’ve learned in the past. This part of your intelligence was always believed to be fixed. No matter the amount of learning or training you undertook your fluid intelligence remained constant for the duration of your life.

Like I said, it was unbelievably quick. So quick, that in some parts, I never even got the chance to blink before moving on to the next one. I’m not sure how accurate the results this test yielded exactly with the questionable time limit and all, but I did get the answers I was looking for and boy, was I surprised!

The whole test took about 5 minutes and I got a whopping IQ of 101. Apparently, 2/3 of the population’s IQ fall in between 85-115. 5% gets a score above 125 and another 5% scores below 75. Thanks Wikipedia!

Among those who scored 140 above were Sharon Stone, Quentin Tarantino, Hillary Clinton and thanks to my friend who introduced me to Stephen W. Hawking last night, I get to include him here as well.

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Anyway, I always thought I would score below 100 because you know, low self esteem, but seeing that I got a 101, I kind of hoped I could have scored a little over 110! LOL, but what surprised me more was the fact that my left brain (BOOOHOOO!) scored higher than my right brain!!!

I must admit, I’d like to think of myself as more creative than logical so it came as a shock to me to find out it was the other way around. Of course, I have to blame it on the time limit or lack of sleep, just like everyone else did, justifying their terrible scores on the comments section. To be fair though, the logic tests really took a while compared to the 10 second-mathematical problems. haha!

 

Although the test results came as a surprise to me, I’m happy that now, I can finally walk around with a concrete figure to slap in people’s faces. JK!

Kidding aside, it was very helpful to find out my strengths and weaknesses and what steps I can take to improve on the latter. I had a swell time doing the “odd one out” test (who doesn’t?), the “creative” test wherein you have to think of a word to attach before or after the 3 given words to form whole new words and the “perception” test wherein you have to check as fast as you can which number’s missing from 0-9 and which letters were duplicated in the given sets of numbers and letters. Good brain and eye exercises, I must say!

It also feels good to know (and a good self esteem booster at that) where you’re really good at and where you probably should focus more on.

P.S. I gave the test another go and scored 104. Unfortunately that’s as high as I’m ever going to get (for now hehe) and too bad, my left brain score also got even higher than the first time. What a waste. CHOSSS!

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The Sunday Currently, Volume 14

Because I dozed off in the middle of writing this last night, I’m posting it just now. It’s still Sunday somewhere across the globe anyway!
C u r r e n t l y . . .

 

R E A D I N G  Gideon Lasco‘s “Day Hikes and Nature Walks from Manila“. I couldn’t stop thinking about this book ever since I saw it on Sir (or should I say, Doc) Gideon’s instagram account (actually, I might have seen it on someone else’s ig account). Anyway, he’s the man behind Pinoy Mountaineer, which I find the most helpful and most organized site, where one can see uber detailed guides to climbing most if not all of PH mountains. They even indicate which ones are limatik, lipa and rattan free and which ones are not! My brother and sister, being the more experienced climbers among us, insisted that we go to ROX today where my sister bought the book!

 

 

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W R I T I N G  a more personal entry on my Journey app. If you haven’t heard of it yet, try it! It’s a free Chrome and Android app with a very simple and neat interface where you can pour your hearts out without having to worry about privacy. I’ve been writing on my journal too, but typing really saves so much more time! haha

 

L I S T E N I N G  to the sound of our electric fans and to the light buzzing sound of my sister’s air-con unit.

 

T H I N K I N G  of convincing my father to put up a small design business once he retires (just like what their brand managers suggested). Of course, I’d be very much happy to help out. It would be a dream come true for me–being your own boss (I mean, having your dad as your boss eerrrr), doing what we both love doing! I mean, c’mon I would love to study over and over again if it’s going to be all about art & design!

 

S M E L L I N G  nothing last night, but banana fritters this morning!

 

W I S H I N G  for more free/sponsored workshops on photography, graphic design, or anything artsy fartsy and more DAYHIKES and probably a PULAG climb this year!

 

W E A R I N G  my lime green GH shorts and my “spread the love” shirt

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L O V I N G  this android game, “Good Pizza” and this  old school game turned android game, “Bomberman 2016“. Also loving the apps, “Vocabulary Builder“, “Our Daily Bread“, “Bitmoji” (from where I got the bitmoji above! Love dressing up mine btw!), the new calligraphy and handwriting fonts I downloaded and these collages I made for my friend’s birthday yesterday. I’ve delayed making this for about a week, but the good thing is, I did manage to make 2 in time for her birthday!
W A N T I N G  to finish our trip itinerary and to have our visas processed this week! Please pray for us!

 

N E E D I N G  some peace of mind still, and a whole lot of inspiration!

 

F E E L I N G  blessed that we got to spend time together as a whole family again! My brother went home for the weekend before he goes to a conference tomorrow and leaves for Boracay on Tuesday. While it’s obvious how fleeting time was for us, I’m happy we went to Church as a complete family again, held hands, hugged, had lunch, got stuck in traffic before finally having dinner at one of our favorite restos, Cafe Lidia. It makes me want to say that truly, the best things in life are free and the gift of family is one of God’s greatest.

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