Yellow Fins

Not as yellow as I would have wanted, but I am in love with them!

Last year, smack dab in the middle of the pandemic, I was introduced to the world of FREEDIVING by a guy I briefly dated. For someone who fears the deep blue waters, it did not excite me at all. I was terrified. It didn’t help to hear stories of people blacking out or coming out of the water with bleeding noses, but the thought of trying something new tickled my adventurous and hydrophilic heart.

In September, I took an Introduction course in Mactan, Cebu with the Pacific Blue Freedivers, under Marion Sumalinog himself, a Molchanov instructor who also recently competed in Bohol and now holds a Constant Weight record of 61m!

I only dream of doing awra shots in the deep, but seeing how much freedom and peace of mind you get from diving into the deep in just one breath hold, I’m not surprised why this water sport and the community has grown quite quickly over the past years.

After completing the course, I went on weekend dives to see if I will eventually grow tired of it or in my case, will give up trying because I couldn’t get my duck dive and equalization right. My frustration grew more as I fail to even reach the sea floor at 5m deep.

My last dive was back in November and seeing as it would be pointless to dive again and again without improvement, I thought, there’s probably no need for me to buy fins anymore. And I would also let go of the sport as easily as I let go of the one who introduced it to me. Chos!

Though I stopped diving for a while, my love for it grew as I continued to scroll through my freediving groups on facebook, stunning photos of freedivers on instagram, Seazoned and Apnea.ph (freediving schools I followed way before I got into the sport itself) and documentaries on Netflix and even of Erwan Heussaf. I also follow Alexey Molchanov on instagram and seeing how passionate he is with what he does, I knew, I couldn’t let it go of it just yet, without at least giving it one last try.

Little did I know, my brother was aching to go back diving as well. Unlike me, he got himself new fins immediately after his intro course and he didn’t want them to go to waste as they weren’t cheap. Lol.

We tried to go back diving in Mactan one weekend. Sadly, the timing was bad as it was just after Marion’s competition and the place was just too crowded even though I had slots reserved for us. Good thing, he booked us a drift dive in Moalboal through Nicco’s Place for his birthday!

I have to admit, it was one of the best things that ever happened during this pandemic and I am so glad I did not give it up just yet.

Unfortunately, the fins I ordered online didn’t arrive in time, so I had to rent from Nicco. The fins I used were longer than the usual ones I rent in Mactan; however, they were a bit loose, so I got blisters for the next 3 weeks. Fortunately, I had a really good time and the battle scars don’t matter to me no more. Haha! Yes, I do have a horrible scar on my heel and my butt cheeks and legs are 5 shades darker (don’t ever forget to put on sunscreen even if you’ll go down deep LOL) now, but they are all worth the fun 2km dive, the resident pawikans and sardine run in the home of the freedivers! My brother even got up close and swam next to a pawikan!

At first, I didn’t expect much from the dive. After all, it was my first dive since November and knowing how much I suck, I was surprised I FINALLY perfected my duck dive! I even did a dolphin kick once on the way down after duck diving. How I did all those and not die, was all by God’s grace and probably from the fear of humiliation from the group we were with that day. Haha.

So, I finally got my YELLOW (of course) pre-ordered fins from Leaderfins Philippines last week (after more than a month of waiting) and a bunch of bright colored swimwear from Shopee. I am just waiting for my PINK customized fins bag from Reez Custom Spearguns (yes I am a fan of fun colors forever and always). We are just waiting for the weather to improve before I finally get back into the deep once again!

Moral of this post, wear sunscreen, equalize before diving, pray lots, and don’t give up just yet!

Before I end this post, I’m sharing some of the documentaries I love watching over and over and a clip from our recent dive! Also saying hi to my blogger friend, Aysa who is one heck of a freediver in one of the best places to dive ever!

35 sec clip of moi! haha!

xoxo,

My Purpose Driven Journey

A few days after Ash Wednesday, my longtime best friends, “the CKhristines”, Juci (Kristine), Chris (tine) and I embarked on a 40-day Purpose Driven Life (PDL) journey.

I’ve always wanted to read the book (papa’s copy has just been sitting around the house after he read it a couple of times — wonder how he found it though bec my friends and I had some significant reactions towards Catholic vs Christian teachings), and I’m glad Juci invited us to read a chapter a day and to meet up via Zoom every night to discuss.

It was a 40-day virtual bible sesh that I have been craving for since I stopped attending my doctor’s group bible study due to the pandemic.

A couple of weeks back, we finally ended the nightly PDL meet ups (we had to push back a couple of times due to our work commitments aka e-numan sesh with clients lol) and I think I am having withdrawals, not only from my friends, but also from the new learnings about FAITH and GOD.

This PDL journey, although not perfect has taught my friends and I valuable (some are hard to swallow) truths about our faith and Christianity. I want to re-read the whole thing to understand it more or perhaps to discover hidden messages that I might have missed out the first time, or see teachings in a new light.

Nonetheless, here are some of my key takeaways from the book that I will be forever taking with me wherever I go:

  1. It all starts with GodThe purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. I’ve read something similar before and I wrote about it HERE. Our beginning and end is God, but somehow, due to our worldly ambitions, we kind of forget that and we try to make our whole life revolve solely around US. We fail to see things in a bigger perspective which is why we are so engrossed to making more money, making projects that aren’t for God or doing things for the glory of us. We can be so focused on finding our purpose, which we think we will discover when we find ourselves; when the one Being we should be looking to get closer to is God. When we do that, we discover our PURPOSE. Mic drop! Char!
  2. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for His purposes, not your using Him for your own purpose. Yes, it can be really trickyyy! *cue Tiktok This or That challenge. char. Answers will not become clear to us, unless we first accept that we were made for God’s purpose. All our mundane accomplishments on earth are mere mini-games in our life of a campaign mission. I brought this up to my friends early on during this nightly meet-ups and I asked them, “How does an fetus who died before he/she was born able to fulfill his or her mission?” Similarly, “How can we tell if a street dweller who dies in an accident was able or not able to fulfill his/her mission in God?” These might not be clear to all of us, but regardless of the length of our lives on earth, we all have a purpose and we will get to know it, once we become closer to God.
  3. You are not an accident – Your parents might not have planned you, but God did. – When I read this, I felt a warm, comforting feeling inside of me. It made me feel special, knowing that we were conceived in God’s mind way before we were conceived by our parents. How does that make you feel? You are that important to none other than God Himself! Every part of your body, your race, gender were all thought of by Him. And He created us not because He was lonely, but because He wanted to express His love! If you’re feeling unloved or sad or even depressed, perhaps you can remind yourself that you are loved by God and that He is a god of love. The very essence of His Being is LOVE.
  4. Benefits of knowing your purpose: 1) It gives meaning to your life, 2) It simplifies your life, 3) It focuses your life, 4) It motivates your life and finally 5) It prepares you for eternity – This chapter also specifically emphasizes that “Many people spend their lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth, yet, what ultimately matters most will not be what others say about your life, but what God says. You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity. When you die and stand before God on the judgment seat, two things you will be asked are: “What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?” and “What did you do with what I gave you?”
  5. When you live in light of eternity, your values change. – We are given a fleeting moment here on earth. Somehow, because of the problems and challenges we face on earth, we feel like a decade is too long or 80 years of living is too long, but when we focus on the life in eternity, we might think otherwise. We will begin to see these problems as trivial and insignificant. I remember watching lots of the outer space movies which have been a fad in Hollywood for a time and seeing the world from outer space feels like your problems don’t matter. Seeing the world from a plane’s window makes you feel insignificant in a world this big. This is how we should look at our lives. Our time on earth is too short to waste on anything less than loving God and loving our neighbors. Easy to say, right? That’s what I told my friends that I want to achieve for myself after our 40-day session ends. It is hard, but I want to be reminded of how we should live our lives here on earth.

There are still so many things that have been pointed out by Rick Warren on this book and I have to admit that some of them we already know, but we tend to ignore.

I remember sharing to my friends some sentiments about my faith. I told them that whenever I watch the film, “The Passion of Christ”, I feel a huge amount of regret and guilt after crying my eyes off during the second half of it. Then, I start thinking to myself that I should really change my ways after seeing this film. And that has been my initial reaction whenever I finish watching the movie and I think I’ve seen it several times. But what I fail to do is to follow through on those realizations. When problems arise, I lose all of what I have learned and realized during the film and go back to my old ways. What a waste!

Now that our PDL sessions have ended a couple of weeks back, here are some of the things that I want to achieve for myself:

  1. I want to be closer to God – in order to achieve this, I need to learn more about Him and the best way to do this is by READING THE BIBLE. My friends and I agreed that Christians are waaaaay over and beyond Catholics when it comes to understanding the Bible and that is one thing I wanna be better at as well.
  2. I want to fulfill my purpose, which is basically, loving God and loving others. Easy enough? Not at all. It is hard to do this when you aren’t completely in love with God. I can be a complete hypocrite and I want to change that. I don’t want to do all of this for show, because after all, when my life comes to an end, it will just be God and I and there is nothing I can hide from Him. He knows everything.
  3. I want to live my life for God, for in God, problems, loss, failure will all be bearable. With God’s grace, we can get past whatever stumbling block we have in front of us. I remember offering God my greatest challenges at work lately and I know some of those seemed impossible to achieve with the time constraints and all, but because He allowed it to, I was able to fulfill this work duty with excellence.

3 simple things yet I find so difficult to fulfill. Of course, I know I wouldn’t be able to do it alone. This is why I want to always be reminded of the things I learned in PDL and to ask for God’s grace to help me to these things before I die.

Funny, how a change in our mindset can also change our priorities and goals in life. Perhaps soon, I can finally let go and say “Thy will be done, Lord!”

Dig Deep πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›

Currently listening to two well-known, Asian MUAs, Veronica Chu and Christine Cho on Instagram Live talk about Asian hate, which has mostly been a recurring topic among my friends and I on social media for the past days.

If you have been spending time with loved ones this Holy Week and chose to get off social media for a bit, you might have missed the latest occurrences that shookdtdtdt the world and the Filipino/Asian community the past days. The news is already bad as it is, but with the sudden rise in attacks on Asians today and the plague that is Coronavirus, one would think that the world might really be coming to an end. Or it’s probably just me.

Just a few days ago, a 65-year old Filipina walking to Church in NYC was brutally attacked by a man in broad daylight. The security camera footage released by the police was harrowing to watch as the man kicked the Filipina several times; and the 2 men who witnessed the assault closed the door on her.

And last week, a Pakistani Uber Eats driver was killed in a carjacking incident by 2 teenage girls. It was filmed by one of the girls and just as the NYC incident, was also very painful to see.

I talked to my Indian friend about this, who was watching the Day 2 trial of Derek Chauvin (who else thinks that he might be living up to his name?) at the time; and unlike most of us who get our news on Twitter or on online platforms, he gets his on traditional, mainstream media. He insists that he wasn’t aware of the fact that Asians are being hugely discriminated against now, more than ever. He did, however confirmed this with his friend who currently resides in NYC. Said friend did say that it has been going on for a while now, but he observed that the attacks were mostly on East Asians, whom these attackers might be blaming for the global pandemic.

I also talk to my friends about this constantly and somehow because of these discriminatory crimes lately, we can’t help but air shared sentiments of completely aborting plans to migrate to another country in the near future. This brings me back to this episode on Racism by one of my favorite podcasts, “Long Distance Radio”.

Around this time last year, they published an episode called “Racism in the Time of Coronavirus”. It was not long since the countries were put on lockdown then when they released the episode, but thinking about it now, this AAPI hate has really been going on for a while now, maybe even prior to when this virus blew up, just not as violent as it is today.

You can listen to the said episode here:

I do get that people are tired of the pandemic, the crisis, wearing of masks, the loneliness, of unemployment and the of the hunger this entails. And when we are hungry and tired, we say and do inexplainable things; but those should not justify the violence that has gone up to a point of normalcy. It has gone mainstream and people, even kids act as if these actions don’t have consequences anymore.

I am truly sorry for everyone in the world right now. We are all victims of this pandemic, but despite being in a difficult situation myself, I cannot just go around blaming random people on the street just because they’re Chinese. Otherwise, all these fight for equality are completely pointless.

I cannot wait to for all of us to be in better circumstances soon. As the Lenten Season comes to an end, I really pray that when we find ourselves brimming with negativity, with hopelessness and even hate, we dig deep within us and look for that one thing that Jesus died on the cross for us ALL! πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ˜‰πŸ’–

I’m Just a Girl, Sitting in Front of Her Laptop, Asking it to Write for Her

Char!

It took me a whole season of Bridgerton to finally put up a new post. It’s been a while and I’m pretty sure I was inspired by Lady Whistledown or by some strange surge of energy at 10 in the evening after a long, busy day at work. By work, I mean, field work. Yes! I am no longer trapped in the constraints of my bedroom and glued to my computer screen all day. I can finally breathe fresh, contaminated air again. Char! (again).

I wanna say I had a blast of a Christmas vacation, but toned down to about a hundred notches lower, but still, family time is all I wanted and I’m very glad I got it. Mama couldn’t bear the thought of having a Zoom party, so despite the risks, we still celebrated Christmas physically together! Glad everyone was healthy and happy even though the closest thing to a family holiday roadtrip we had was when my brother and I picked up our relatives in Novaliches. Oh, but we did get our quick roadtrip pala to Tagaytay a day before we went back here in Cebu and when my barkada celebrated our annual Christmas party at my friends’ place in Antipolo. Also got to meet my constant Christmas date, my good friend from college for lunch, at our fave date spot, Makati. Plus, I got tons of film rolls processed, so I must say, I am soooooo lucky I am still Covid-free to date.

Now, I am back in Cebu, but assigned in a different territory. Got myself a printer, finally, which I bought in less than half an hour due to limited choices (to which I am so thankful for). I’ve been printing, scanning and photocopying so much stuff during the first week. LOL. Also got an internet broadband installed so I’m looking forward to saving lots in the coming months! Got highlights for my hair for the first time back when I was at home and I couldn’t be more in love with my new look. Had a dental appointment last week and explained my situation to the dentist and she agreed to continue my treatment for the next 6-8 months as long as I get my old records from my former orthodontist. I’ve also been working out consistently since last year, so really hoping to trim my tummy a bit, with the help of our 15 RF + Cavi sessions. Got myself one of those laptop stands and a pair of 6-lb dumbells. Arriving in a few days are my Wheatgrass and Barley seeds, new Yoga mat and a resistance band, and my hydroponic seedling trays. I have got to write about my Shopee haul on a separate post and how I managed to control myself. LOL. So much happening these days, I didn’t realize til I wrote them all down now.

That’s my 2021 so far. Met a lot of people too so I am almost always talking to someone on the daily. Assigned to a new team and a new boss as well, which was a breath of fresh air. My new counterpart told me once that he has a good feeling about this year and I agreed, not just to agree, but because I genuinely felt the same way. Things are looking up for me and in writing all of these down now, I realize that I cannot let that one bad thing that happened to me this year at work pull me down. I have so much to be grateful for.

I have this pinned tweet on twitter dated January 3, 2020 and it says:

And it all went downhill from there. Lol. Kidding aside, I have been actually doing more this year rather than just telling myself to do them. And I keep this tweet pinned to this day as a reminder of the things that I still want to improve on.

I know we’ve heard a lot about TOXIC POSITIVITY in the past year. If it wasn’t the official phrase of 2020 then it’s probably Tiktok, Sushi Bake or Free Shipping; but knowing that it exists isn’t going to stop me from hoping for the best. I am still hopeful for a beautiful life, not because it will be picture or IG perfect but because I have learned a lot from the past and I am determined to keep my shit together and pray for grace, gratitude and peace pf mind for whatever is up ahead. I hope you do too!

Film photo by yours truly. Art inspired by Geloy Concepcion.

xoxo,

Life Lately / At My Worst

My boyfriend and I had an argument the other night and it took a turn for the worst or best (depending on how you look at it). I thought it will be the end of our month-old relationship. It was a wake up call for me and I’m grateful that we had that fight; otherwise, I wouldn’t have this huge epiphany.

I’ve been single for 4 years and this whole dating thing has always been just temporary for me the past years. I never met anyone again who took me seriously which I have long accepted, as well as the fact that I might end up in a perpetual state of singleness. I was so afraid to let my guard down and I wouldn’t let anyone come close again as I don’t want to get fucked up even more than I already am.

Then came this person whom I never thought I’d end up with. If you remember, a few entries back, I was talking about a different person whom I was head over heels smitten by, and back then, my boyfriend was just someone I talked to casually, never even flirtatiously. Who would’ve thought he would have all the things I’m looking for in a partner, including being able to help me out with my personal issues.

So two nights ago, he brought up some of those issues, which he observed about me in a span of a month and I was caught off guard. That semi-stressful conversation was WHAT I NEEDED to help me think through some of the things I needed to improve on myself. It was an intervention I never thought would slap me hard in the face, at least not this early into the relationship; but I’m glad it did.

So in order to make things better for us and more importantly for ME, I’m listing the issues I need to work on:

  1. My negative and giving-a-fuck-about-everything attitude/mindset
  2. My insecurities and self pity
  3. My immaturity (turned 31 years old a few days ago, need to keep up with my age lol)
  4. My PDPG attitude (I need to really and only SAY WHAT I MEAN and MEAN WHAT I SAY)

I also listed these things in my private journal when I woke up this morning and I am 101% committed to be better!

And that’s me, basically at my worst and just as Pink Sweat$’ lyrics say, “I need somebody who can love me at my worst and know that I’m not perfect but still see my worth” and I think I found him. Not to jinx this or anything, but really I am blessed to have met this beautiful person!

P.S. Discovered this song through him!