I Have a Thing for Leaves

So this nationwide quarantine has taken its toll on me. Don’t get me wrong, I love staying at home, but seeing all the sad and bad news online, it didn’t sit very well with me this time.

Last night, I was looking for more orgs to donate to as I couldn’t contain the guilt I was feeling having read the lockdown stories by Jah Rosales of the Business Mirror, forwarded to me by my friend, Jai on messenger. Apparently, he has been in the middle of the quarantine and gathering stories of those who were greatly affected by it.

One that I couldn’t forget was the story of this man, in his 60’s (if I remember it right), who walked all the way from Laguna to his home in Bulacan bec of the suspension of public transport in Metro Manila. He was burning with fever at 38.8 degrees celsius when Jah found him. Fucking terrible that the less fortunate always have to suffer.

Doing what I can to help those I can and hopeful that everyone who has money to spare, donates especially to the “no work, no pay” workers. Last night, I was literally begging friends, co-workers and my family to donate to the organizations I found online. Will share the link here too!

I am glad to hear though that some heroic souls such as Bela Padilla went out of her way to make sure the money she raised be given to those who really need them. We need more Belas in the world right now! Wish I have the influence to do the same, but every little thing goes a long way, so no effort and money is wasted!

Apart from these personal missions, our company has also been very… hmmm how should I say it, “pabibo” for lack of a more accurate term, these trying times. One of our clients even lost it and cursed the pharma bosses bec the bibo-ness caught them at a bad time. I don’t mean to offend when I say that, but my colleagues and I have been going out of our way, risking our health and safety on a daily basis to support our clients, aka the frontliners and our heroes in the battle against Covid-19. I am glad we are able to help them, but I hope and pray that we don’t catch the virus ourselves, in doing so.

Anyway, I am still glad the company I work for have been considerate and generous to support us as well especially at a time like this. Sadly, just as my friends say, difficult times also bring out the worst in people and we see that everywhere. So stay safe everyone and stay away from negativity as much as you can!

Speaking of avoiding negativity, I have been taking to twitter my dismay and disgust in all the rants, sad news and the Covid statistics that we wake up to every single day. I am tired, mentally, emotionally and psychologically so I have been meaning to take a break and paint again. I found it really effective in quieting my mind as I shut off the world around me. Glad that break finally came tonight!

I’m hoping that the title didn’t give it away too much, but I decided to paint another leaf tonight, something that I have long been thinking of painting…….a bananananana leaaaaaf!

Finally my Monsterra painting made a new friend tonight! πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’› Grateful for the tutorial I found online! πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›

P.S. I painted this while binging on my new Netflix addiction, “The Kindness Diaries“. It’s the show that is apparently helping me move on from “Crash Landing on You“, which I have watched twice after watching it the first time. It needs a separate post btw!

Anyway, wherever you guys are reading this from, I hope that it’s in a safe and warm place! And no matter how hopeless these past days have been, it’ll all pass. I’m counting on the Big Guy up there☝🏻and on humanity!

If you guys are feeling extra generous, take time to check out the whole list on the link below and donate to whatever organization your heart chooses! Let us pay whatever blessing we have forward and let us take care of one another!

https://www.flipscience.ph/news/covid-19-donations-philippines/

Bella Ciao: What I Gave Up for Lent

I don’t remember doing something meaningful for Lent last year. Heck, I don’t remember a lot of things in the past anymore 😝, but I wanna make sure I make this year’s Lenten season count.

If you check out my last blog entry, you’ll see how I have been religiously breaking bad habits and developing new ones, which I’d like to believe I’d benefit from in the long run.

Part of what I want to achieve this year is to develop a closer and deeper relationship with God. Obviously, I wouldn’t be able to do that with all the distractions around me. So, I did little reflection and came up with a plan, and that is to shun my addictions completely (well during the Lenten season, at least 😝).

Now what might you ask is that huuuuge distraction and addiction that keeps me so near yet sooo far away from God? It’s actually no secret entirely that I am guilty AF πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈaddicted…………… and forever will be to this virtual blackhole that is SOCIAL MEDIA, specifically, Instagram.

I cannot tell you how much of my daily phone fiddling comprises of purely Instagram scrolling, saving, liking and commenting. I don’t need any analytics company to tell me that the only time I spend away from my phone is when I am asleep or taking a bath, that is if I am not listening to a podcast or to my “dance in the shower playlist” – lol, I used to have one!

It’s probably safe to say that I spend merely 16 hours on my phone and maybe half of that is spent just for Instagram entirely. So, it wouldn’t take a genius to come up with a diagnosis that I am in fact, truly and beyond, heartbreakingly ADDICTED!

Now, I don’t want to use Lent only as an excuse for me to give this up. When I thought about it, I clearly would be giving up something that has become such a huge part of me, I don’t know if I can ever live without letting people know what song I’m listening to or what article struck me the most. To be fair, I also shared a lot about faith on my stories, but still, that wouldn’t be fair to Him.

Suddenly, I came to the realization that I might even be spending waaaayyy more time on this, rather than on reading the Bible or simply just talking to Him.

You see, I am not doing this merely for myself. I want to do it truly for Him. I guess it kinda defeats the purpose of Lent, if you still put yourself in the center of it all. For sure, you can do the NO-IG-FOR-40-DAYS challenge any time of the year and that is entirely up to you and should be beneficial for you. On he other hand, Lent should be a time of self reflection, prayer and sacrifice, and should benefit God.

Funny how I am just coming up with some of these realizations right now, as I type this. πŸ€” The Holy Spirit must be hovering over me at the moment. βœŒπŸ»πŸ™πŸ»

So anyway, I am almost a week into my Instagram hiatus. I bid my friends adieu a week ago πŸ˜… and deleted the app on my phone (okay, I might have just logged out of my accounts—and forgot my passwords entirely lol JK!), so I wouldn’t need to deactivate them and have people ask me all the time the reason for doing so. Apparently, people are sooooo quick to judge and think that the only time people go on a social media break is when they’re heartbroken. πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„ Geezzzz getting so tired of narrow-minded people who …okay, would probably also work on giving up ranting for Lent! It’s on my “Habit to Break” list after all! 😝

So far, I only unconsciously pressed on the Instagram icon on my phone about 3-4 times the whole week. Muscle memory, I guess; but on the past few days, I felt no urge anymore to share stuff online, which is little progress, but progress nonetheless! 😊😜

Can I get a what what???!

photo from meme generator

For now, I’ll only entertain withdrawals of writing (both long and short form, hello Twitter!), occasional bouts of 2am hopeless thoughts 😝, and of course, prayer time!

Wishing you, me and all of us well especially in these dark and hard times!

P.S. downloaded Medibang and made these marbleeeeeeeed messages for my last IG post prior to the big hiatus!

Things I Learned from my First Ever Solo Trip / Camiguin

Yes, you read it right! I finally did it! I went on a solo trip for the first time andI did it for my 30th birthday!!

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I’ve been thinking of doing this for the longest time as I love TRAVELING, and lately, I love being ON MY OWN. Put those together, and what do you get? Labo! Seriously, you can just do the math! Haha!

I booked this trip probably around April (when we got our bonus) and when PAL had one of their seat sales, which was very timely. I did not book any baggage allowance yet as I wanted to backpack around the island and I wanted to teach myself how to pack light this time. So total cost was around Php 1,100 round freaking trip!!!!!!

Weeks prior to the trip, I wasn’t sure if I was gonna push through as the weather didn’t look so good, plus I was a bit short on moolah as I am not doing well in my sales job, but since I was turning 30 naman na and I saved up pa rin naman, plus, I, really, really wanted to do something new, I!!! My adventurous self was poking me constantly that I got annoyed so sige na, push na this!

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The week prior to the trip, I was still sooooo busy implementing activities. I even traveled to one of my remote territories the day before, so you can just imagine how tired I was from the long drive, but that didn’t stop me! In fact, I was sooooo excited, I packed my bag a few days prior. Usually, I’d pack my luggage the night before a trip, which brings me to ehem, the things I learned on my first ever solo trip!

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  1. PACK YOUR BAG EARLY! – Ok so you guys probably already know this, but did I say that this post was about you? Charot! Nang-away? Anyhooooo, I normally pack my bags the night before, coz that’s the time that I don’t have to worry about my deodorant getting lost in my luggage when I haven’t put on any yet. Same with my slippers, undies etc. This time, I started packing my stuff at least 2 days prior, so I had time to sort through my beach OOTD’s, my swimwear, my scarves (always!). I had time to check my travel toiletries so I could buy whatever’s lacking. I was also able to organize my stuff in separate travel pouches especially my cords, chargers, batteries!
    • RESULT:I was able to eliminate excess stuff as I had time to really think about what I am going to wear based on my itinerary. Unfortunately, I still had to buy prepaid baggage allowance. I guess I really am no expert at PACKING SHYET, I mean, PACKING LIGHT. I guess this was still a FAIL, nevertheless, I still tried (so it’s a WIN too!) and that’s what matters. For my next beach trip though, I would really want to pack less than 7kg! Challenge accepted!

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      my backpack weighed 10kg at 50L! My shoulder bag weighed 6.5kg! LIGHT PACKER BA KAMO? Haha!

  2. DO A LOT OF RESEARCH! NO ONE’S GONNA DO IT FOR YOU THIS TIME! Normally, my brother and sister would do all the research for our family trips, from the itinerary, to hotels and transport to restaurants to try and shopping districts to visit. Same with trips with my friends. I have a friend in Cebu who does all the financial stuff, so we would all just depend on her on how much we would all have to pay individually when the bills come. The only time I did really heavy research was for our first Japan trip coz I had all the time in the world (I was unemployed at the time haha). So It’s not like I am useless when traveling. See, I could do it if I want to, and this time, I HAD TO. Thanks to all the bloggers, vloggers, influencers, Biyahe ni Drew, and my bro for all the tips, the tricks and all the things they learned from their trips to Camiguin.
    • RESULT: I was able to browse through different options and finally book my accommodations the best way possible (Thanks Agoda and Booking.com). I was able to put together my own itinerary (without having to consider the preferences of another–yay for solo trips). Although 70% of my research was literally just spoon fed by my brother who went to Camiguin a few months earlier, I still am proud of myself for being able to juggle these last minute reservations with TONS of WORK!!IMG20191116061513
  3. IF THERE’S AN OPTION TO PAY CHEAPER, GO FOR IT! – This is probably a result of doing number 2 too. No, it’s not the #2 you’re thinking about! I was referring to DOING YOUR RESEARCH.
    • If you happen to find out how much things really cost ahead of time, say for example, renting a scooter to go around the island on, you wouldn’t pay Php 500 for a 24 hour use!!!! And yes, I am speaking from experience. Sadly, I forgot how much my brother paid for his when he rented one. I didn’t have time to scroll through our looooooooooong IG conversation, so I paid Php 500 instead of just Php 250-300! 1333
    • When commuting, try to find out how to go around like the locals do (thanks bro and our hotel receptionists for the tips!)! It would help you save big time! On my 3rd day, I commuted on Camiguin’s public transport, aka their relas/motorelas and paid around Php 11 the most!

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      Camiguin motorela and the Samuel by Vjandep restaurant in the background!

    • Also, when you’re alone in say some sort of public pool with tables for rent, you don’t have to rent a whole table for your stuff and pay Php 75. Sadly, I also did, when I could just have left my bag and slippers beside the pool itself.
    • For food, try walking around your hotel, look for restaurants where the locals eat, or again, do your research and check reviews of previews visitors to get the “bang for your buck!”. You don’t really have to go cheap for food, but it would be soooooo nice to have a sumptuous for an incredibly affordable seafood lunch or dinner!
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      Hayahay Cafe’s famous smoothie bowl!
    • For your accommodation: Since this was my birthday trip, I booked a night at a pricier place, Ysla Beach Camp and Eco Resort 269139for the glamping experience and I must say that it was worth every penny! Then I transferred to a budget hotel, GV hotel which was equally worth my hard earned money coz it was in the middle of everything and I was really comfortable as well! My room was just Php 500 a night! I just added P25/night to transfer to an air-conditioned room. I will be making a separate post for my trip itinerary so I will be writing a more extensive review of the land arrangements! 2348
    • Another tip for budget travelers going to Camiguin, I paid friggin Php 200 for my boat ride to White Island instead of Php 450-500, though the guilt trip afterwards still kills me to this day! LOL! Instead of finding and convincing a group of 3 or perhaps a couple to take you along with them on their boat (boat can only accommodate 4 tourists and 2-3 boatmen) before you go to the cashier, try going directly to the cashier at the port and wait for a group to approach her and pay her, before you tell them that you are on your own and you’re looking for a group to join. This way, they would have paid their 550 each and you’re just gonna have to pay a joiner fee of Php 200. You can talk to the group if they wish to split the payment equally and pay them after. That’s what I did, but the couple didn’t want my money! So I saved 300-350 bucks! Again, I don’t recommend this, but you can most definitely try!
    • RESULT: Need I say more?
  4. MAKE SURE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW YOUR ITINERARY! – I was in constant communication with my brother and my family, just in case I get in any accident or into any serious situation. And you can also get in touch with friends through video call if you can! It will be less lonely! LOL! rtc-capture-id:daa8d1a3-6cf8-4748-a511-4ea0b0d08c40rtc-capture-id:94f5fa60-3575-48ce-8bff-fa7a4ab23fea
  5. RENT A SCOOTER OR MOTORCYCLE! – I need not emphasize this!! This is the best way for you to go around the island, on your own time and terms. Of course, there are risks of you being flagged down by NPA’s (JK! there are NONE!), or crashing with no one to rescue you (there’s no cell service in some parts of the island) or getting robbed (not that I heard any) but it’s part of the adventure! TBH, it was my first time riding one and I was manhandled by it. JK! The first time I was ever on a scooter (which was manual transmission pa) was back in high school/college (about 10-15 years ago) and my tito was just letting us have a feel of it around an almost carless cemetery. So I have no experience of riding one on public roads ever, but like what they always say, long as you know how to ride a bike, you’re good to go! Funny coz when the owner was handing it to me, I asked him 3x how to lock the bike when getting off (to avoid it getting robbed), how to start the ignition etc that he started to worry too. He even offered to drive me around instead, but I was firm to say “hindi kuya, gusto ko ako lang!” Tapang-tapangan eh! Solo travel nga diba? Nagtataray na naman? Char! Kidding aside, I told him firmly but in a nice way that I wanted to go around on my own. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to write about it here as part of my personal milestones! Yun lang pala!
    • LESSONS LEARNED: Always bring your driver’s license with you when you travel. I left mine at home, in Cebu, so I drove to the airport and back without one too! So, on my 3rd day in Camiguin, I commuted on motorelas, which was equally fun as it got me to talk to the locals and foreign tourists alike!IMG_20191116_172447_92014771489
  6. BE SURE TO KNOW YOUR WAY AROUND THE ISLAND! – Download the map so you could still navigate offline! Know where the tourist spots are! Ask around! I relied on Google Maps the whole time and it’s a good thing that you can literally go around the island via their circumferential road!1302
  7. SUPPORT LOCAL! – This one I’m proud to say I do in all my travels! Who doesn’t? Try the local cuisine all you want coz you are gonna miss them for sure! I always make it a point to buy cute artisan products coz I love ANYTHING HANDMADE and HANDCRAFTED and ANKLETS! The one I wore on this trip was from El Nido! Talk to the artists or restaurant owners and ask them about their passion, for inspiration in your own life! LESSON LEARNED: Talking to owners and artists is what I got to learn how to do in future solo travels! I need to be less awkward and less shy! LOL! 1320
  8. BUY A TRIPOD WITH BLUETOOTH REMOTE CONTROLLER! – This was probably the first on my list of things to buy before I went on this trip! My friend, Dee recommended the Xiaomi selfie stick and tripod in one! It doesn’t extend that long, but it is sturdy and reliable as hell! Dayum these Mi products really are worth your money! You can easily slip it inside your beach bag as it isn’t bulky at all! You can also attached the bluetooth controller into the stick so you don’t have to worry about it getting lost! Got it for P799! 295.jpg293291
  9. MAKE FRIENDS! – I traveled solo to have peace of mind and to not worry about wasting other people’s time, but it wouldn’t hurt to talk to a few strangers along the way. I may be an introvert, but that definitely doesn’t mean that I’m antisocial. There’s a thick line between those two coz I love talking to people. Ang defensive? I like getting to know people and hearing their stories, but in an intimate way. I don’t like big groups unless I’m comfortable with everyone. I get energy from having time for myself, but also from talking to people who inspire me, have a laugh with me and all that shizz.
    • In this particular trip, I got to know 2 other guests at Ysla Beach Camp. We only got to talk at breakfast before we all checked out and like everyone I met on this trip, they were surprised that I was on my own! I found out that one of them was from Cebu too, and they gladly shared tips on where to spend the sunset at.
    • The night before, it was one of the senior staff, ate Bing whom I talked to while waiting for my food. She shared stories about the whole Biyahe Ni Drew Crew including the main man himself **coughs so gwapo! **coughs and compared him to Atom Araullo who also visited their resort in the past.1324
    • At the Church ruins, I met this little boy named Christian, who took all of my amazing IG-worthy photos. He directed me and shot my photos in less than 5 minutes! Fastest photoshoot ever and I was surprised by how beautiful everything turned out. Walang tapon! 1403
    • Lastly, on my motorela ride back to the airport (which took less than 10 mins), I met this hilarious couple who pep-talked me about career women marrying late in life. Buti na lang kasabut na ko ug Bisaya (ngek mali pa rin pala!) and was laughing the whole time, I almost missed my stop! LESSON LEARNED: Travel solo and talk to strangers, one thing you won’t be able to do much when you’re traveling with someone! And one more thing, be courteous and grateful and give the locals your best smile always!
  10. BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR TIPS! – I know that it sometimes feel unnecessary to do so, but find it in your heart to give back because people working in tourism even those kids who offered to take such good photos of you deserve it! I know most of you are probably so generous when traveling, so good for you!
  11. BRING A BOOK OR TWO! – This may be the right time for you to finally start the book you’ve been wanting to read for the longest time, so make the most of it! It will be perfect especially if your room has no TV and no WIFI! 1057324.jpg
  12. BE ONE WITH NATURE and ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS! – Go camping! 1150Wake up early and catch the sunrise by the beach! I never miss sunrises on vacation! It’s my most favorite thing to do! Usually while walking along the shore, I’d be accompanied by dogs and I would meet a couple of fishermen prepping their boat and nets! Go out and enjoy the view and the fresh air! Go for a swim! Take lots of photos and videos to reminisce memories with! Then get rid of your phones for a while or maybe just go offline for a bit and turn off your playlists and listen to the sound of nature instead! Reflect and contemplate. Paint!LRM_EXPORT_587280326201176_20191117_122706918Pray! Walk around the city early in the morning before everyone wakes up! Walk around at night too especially if the area looks safe! Enjoy these little, big things! LESSON LEARNED: BEING ONE WITH NATURE IS ONE OF THE BEST FEELINGS IN THE WORLD! 135657645647
  13. BE GRATEFUL! – Life is beautiful so be grateful for opportunities to travel, to try something new, to meet new people, learn about their culture, for the chance to unwind and rest from all the chaos, LRM_EXPORT_588362903951441_20191117_124509495for the time and space to reflect on your life. Good things are always present in our lives and we just fail to recognize them! For this trip, I thank the Lord over and over again. I was anticipating some travel mishaps, but I almost had none! I’m grateful that I did not crash my scooter, nor did I encounter a police checkpoint. I’m grateful for all the people who assisted me.

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    awra awra thanks to my selfie stick/tripod!

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I’m grateful for the people who shared their stories with me! I’m grateful for the beauty that is Camiguin! It is now my favorite trip by far because I did it NOT ON MY OWN, but with GOD and with EVERYONE who helped me out!

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This is 30!

30 years I’ve walked this earth, and I can finally say that I am proud of who I have become. I used to say a lot that I am eternally lost, but this morning as I prayed in Church, I realized that I no longer am.

I was lost because I was distracted by my mundane ideologies, desires and ambition, when all along, the only desire we ought to have is to be ultimately with Him.

I am alive because He allowed for it to happen and not because I am a good person nor because I deserve it. I owe everything to Him so glory shall be given back to Him. This is 30!

xoxo,