On Being Grateful

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birthday cake

Two weeks after my 33rd birthday and a proper thank you is in order.

I haven’t been good in showing my appreciation to people. I always assumed that somehow they will know that I am thankful for everything they did for me. But I know it is not the case. If there is one thing I learned, appreciation always makes a person’s day.

Hence here I am, thanking and being grateful.

I am not here to write individual prose for each and everyone who touched my life nor am I going to list all the significant persons who are relevant to me. It will just be a plain and simple thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone for being here for me and with me in the last 33 years and 2 weeks of my life. Cliché as it may sound but I will not be who I am without the individual contributions of you people, be it large or small, in my personal development.

I have always believed that we meet people in our lives never as an accident or just for naught. Call it the butterfly effect. Each and every person influences and affects our reality in more ways than we can imagine. I treasure all those interactions. I value them. And I am grateful for them.

It has been 33 years of wonderful existence and looking at the slice of life that has been offered to me, I can’t wait to have my second serving.

Cheers to another candle to blow in my cake.

I am thankful.

First Hike Trip of 2015 : Aduan Falls

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Your days are your life in miniature. So as you live your day, you live your life. – Robin Sharma

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One of the intentions I set for myself this year is to spend more time with nature. I was surrounded by it in my previous job. I wake up to the howls of the monkeys. I am greeted by the chirping of the birds. I am gently caressed by the mild, cold wind blowing through my window. I am enveloped by the stillness and beauty of the hills.

When I decided to move back to the Philippines and take on a new direction (aka adventure), the setting changed. I am now surrounded by concrete, paved roads and endless honking of cars and all. I miss my life in the hills. But I was so busy last year settling in and making sense of my new surroundings that I forego seeking what I have been yearning.

This year, I told myself to have no excuse. So last Friday, I broached the idea of hiking with some colleagues at work and I got positive responses.

After asking people where the best place to go for this preliminary excursion is, plans were laid and we were ready to go.

February 7, 2015. Saturday.

I almost backed out. The pull of gravity of my bed was so strong that if my colleagues did not sleep over in my place, I would have declared a pass.

7 AM and we were off. Aduan Falls, that is the destination.

It was not that difficult to find the place. After asking several security guards and locals, we found the location. And off we hiked.

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We have only taken a few steps when we all began reeling that what we are doing is such a great idea. It was a beautiful day. The sky is almost cloudless and the horizon is very clear. It was the perfect day to go to the falls.

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The hike took about 1 and a half hours. The guides said it could be less. But since we were not in a hurry, we took our time to enjoy the landscape, appreciate the flowers and of course adjust to the sudden change of activity of our legs. I am used to wearing heels for the last 15 months of my life and putting on a rubber shoes and walking again on sand, rocks and water needs some getting used to.

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The gentle heat from the sun, the soothing coldness from the water and the finale of seeing Aduan falls made the trip all worth it.

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Will I do this again? Definitely.

We’re now coming up with a list of all the hike trails we have in Clark and excited to cross them off one by one before the year ends.

This year is turning out great. I love it.

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Image Source : All photos are taken by the author except for the last 3 which were courtesy of JM Lorenzo.

I Lie in Facebook

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It has been 4 years since we’ve seen each other in person but we never had a doubt that we will be friends for life.

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So last week we were trying to catch up on the recent happenings, sharing what’s new and how things are going. Ranting how things have been changing and wondering how we are transforming to people we do not want to become 4 years ago.

And I said hey, but you seem to be having the time of your life. I’ve seen photos. They all look fun!

Then she said, “I lie in Facebook.”

Offfffffff…. Ahahahahahahaha.

Aren’t we all? Trying to have the best self-presentation of ourselves for the world to see.

So now on your birthday (Yes tatlim, you are 31. Can you believe it? I cried when the first number of my age changed to 3. It was traumatic. Ok. I am overacting. Ahahahahahaha.), I wish to see more of your lies in Facebook.

I wish to see you visiting new places. I wish to see you spending time with your families and friends. I wish to see you dipping in your pool with a hat and sunnies on and a glass of bira in your hand. I wish to see more of your PDAs (you should know the meaning of this by now!!!) with Tiago. I wish to see you saving more dogs from doom. I wish to see you stopping and smelling the flowers. And I wish you would have all the resources so you can continue all these lies you post in Facebook which entertains me and makes me feel that we are still one bus away and still part of each other’s lives.

Happy happy birthday tatlim. Mutlu yillar canim benim.

Turkey will never leave us because it is there where we learned like a pro how to lie in Facebook big time.

Seni seviyorum kizim. Haydi gorusuruz. Haydi opuyurum.

Now, go ahead and stop taking photos.

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Eat your manti

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and afiyet olsun!

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When Was the Last Time You Felt So Alive?

With the daily bustle of everyday life, one can easily get lost in the daily rhythmical flow of it. I am not an exception.

Recently, I have been in a conundrum. Asking myself what is something very remarkable in my life right NOW that makes it special.

Silence. I have no answer. And I am beating myself wondering if this is what I haggled for.

What did I haggle for? It is a life that I can create and curate. A life owned and made only by myself. Am I on target? I have to say yes.

Though sometimes, things just seem dreary and blurry. I can easily have an oversight on things. Something which I have to be more conscious of not doing to the self.

But today, I just felt so alive. Funny because it is in the simplicity of things that I am awakened again on the beauty of my life.

Sometimes, we get to this hallucination that there has to be something grand and big to make us feel that things are happening. Whatever that thing may be. But then, it is in the everyday miracles that we realize that really, things are happening.

I had tons of laugh and tears of joy over dinner today with people I barely know for a year but who I feel comfortable with and who I know came to me for a reason. It was in normal conversation when it was revealed to me that this is what is happening in my life NOW.

Time seems to stand still and the conversation seems unending of life, dreams, future and beyond.

It is in the light and profound discussion that resonates to the soul and makes every uttered word meaningful.

It is when words become encouragement to see life differently giving you new sails to direct where you want to be.

It is in these simple moments when you think life is just passing you by but in actuality is that you are already creating life.

I felt so alive today.

And I am thankful.

Gi-Chi’s Lugawan

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It is a Saturday.

The torrential rain which came with lightning just stopped and my stomach is churning.

What to eat?

Time check 4 PM.

I sent a quick message to my eating buddies. They have just finished having Korean Samgyupsal. What’s for dinner? I asked.

They have no idea.

I said why not have some lugaw? In that unlimited lugawan they have always been telling me about.

Weather is just perfect for that warm bowl of congee. I asked if they also serve tokwa’t baboy. They have, they said.

Great.

See you at 6:30 PM then.

And I continued reading blogs until I need to get up and prepare for the night.

Gi-Chi’s Lugawan is located in the street near Diamond. If you are from Angeles, you know where Diamond is. It is a subdivision where lots of restos, cafes and videoke houses have sprouted. That is the destination.

We arrived and was welcomed by a garage turned carinderia.

Lugawan

Plastic chairs and tables covered in linoleum. A counter which houses the steaming goto and some side dishes for accompaniments.

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I ordered EggCaldo. 30 pesos. Not bad. I paired it with tokwa’t baboy worth 25 pesos and a bottle of Pepsi for 10.

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A big bowl of steaming white delight arrived with those golden brown tokwa’t baboy. Stomach problem solved.

For only 65 pesos, Saturday dinner, check.

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Rating:

Parking 4 out 5

Park at the sidewalk at your own risk. There were plenty of spaces though when we arrived.

Taste of food 3.5 out of 5

Limited condiments. Friend garlic is rationed. You can have all the kalamansi, patis and pepper you like though.

Hygiene 2.5 out of 5

My measure for this will always be “Will my Mom eat here?”. Definitely not. Exposed washbasin with your typical curtain covering the bottom part. Possibility of crawling critters but I did not see one.

Price Soundness 5 out 5

For 30 pesos a bowl. You cannot complain.

Will I eat here again? It will not be a favourite place but for those times when budget is low and craving is on full mode, why not?

Also, there are several videoke and bar restos in front all blaring their own music. Conversation is not possible. Stress from noise pollution? Guaranteed.