Tag Archives: India

19 things for 2012

12 Jan

I must admit I am one of those New Year junkies, failing to actually fulfill what I have set to attain for the New Year (sigh).

But I am not giving up yet. Since New Year’s Eve, I have already mentally noted what my resolutions will be. There has been a grand list, like 50 of them! But just as I start typing them off in my blog, I can’t seem to figure out how not to become another New Year junkie. So after reading some helpful blogs about making New Year resolutions more possible and realistic, I have trimmed down my resolutions to 19 and have given more specifics on each.

  1. Keep organized. Make a separate notebook for my organizations and my tasks in the office. Regularly fill-up my planner, too.
  2. Set priorities. First things first. Never get overwhelmed with whirlwinds both in my organizations and office works. F-O-C-U-S. Refer to my notes always.
  3. Wake-up early. My morning routine usually takes an hour and a half. I often get late since I need to head off to the office every day at 8 am because I usually wake up at 6:45, or worst, 7:15. So now, I should drag myself out of bed just as the hour strike at 6 am. Unless of course if I had a long night, specially working overtime, I still deserve at least 5-6 hours of sleep. Just in case.
  4. Sleep more. During weekends, that is. Since I usually exhaust all my energy and time every single day, from Monday to Friday, I will consider taking more time to let my body regenerate and prepare it for another bloody week at work.
  5. Be more patient. I have always been very impatient especially in waiting for people who have agreed to meet you on a set time; or people responding too slowly. I want things to keep going and beat every deadline as much as possible. And because I have been too wary of time, of deadlines, and of meeting-set-projects, I end up very, very frustrated and all the more perplexed. So this time, I will always take time to review the do’s and don’ts and will always take time to breathe.
  6. Buy myself a television. I N-E-E-D a TV! Period!
  7. A more balanced diet. Eat more vegetables (one vegetable viand thrice a week) and fruits (everyday).
  8. Value breakfast. I am a no-breakfast-fanatic. I only take coffee and head to works straightaway. This time, I won’t skip breakfast anymore. Not regularly, at least two to three times a week.
  9. Cook. I feel like losing my skills in cooking and baking so this year, I should at least cook something special and/or bake some goodies for myself. I could share it with friends, too. Cook at least twice a month (I barely have the time, I swear! My work is so taxing—travelling now and then); and bake sometime in February (Valentine’s Day!) and July (in time for my birthday).
  10. Exercise regularly. Go to gym at least once to twice a week.
  11. Read more books (one book per month). I just finished my first book for 2012—The Devil Wear’s Prada. Am currently reading Paulo Coelho’s “Zahir” and hopeful to finish it before February ends.
  12. Write more. Publish at least one blog per month despite loads of write-ups in the office.
  13. Relax. Find time to hang-out with friends to detoxify from stress and pressures from work. Go shopping or have dinner with friends once in a while, at least twice a month.
  14. Save more. Deposit 15% of my total salary to my ATM account every month.
  15. Learn another language. I should learn Spanish language! If I can’t enroll by June, I should ask someone who can teach me and by December, I should at least be able to speak in conversational Spanish. I should learn at least 20 words per month.
  16. Keep in touch with friends here and abroad. I will make a complete list of my friends whom I should be writing to and send them handwritten letters using snail mail. I was able to send at least 20 mails last year. This should be easy.
  17. Change hairstyle. I just got my hair treated for the first time for this year—long and straight. After seven months, I will get my hairs curled.
  18. Keep travelling. After going to various beautiful places around the Philippines, usually in the south, and being able to roam around New Delhi and Bangkok, I will travel to the north this time—the Cordilleras! Thanks to my work!
  19.  Love again. Majority of my posts in this blog is about what I have gone through in my relationships and how I am working on my self-love journey. I know I have come out a better, more matured person now than I ever was when it comes to falling in love. I might still have some perks and entertain some more stupidities, but I will still fall in love. After all, my heart is built to love and endure pain. Just a little more matured in dealing with this one this time.

I hope my resolutions are more specific this time. So… lemme hear yours, too!

12 best places I visited in 2011

5 Jan

Capping my 2011’s wonderful and worth-reliving moments won’t be complete without giving them justice through photos.

Being an innate adventure-quencher that I am, I have been to several places around the Philippines as well as outside the country. While most of the places I have been in 2011 were more of a duty,( as part of my job so I can gather stories), I always took time to capture the beauty being offered in every place I set my feet to and immortalized them in photos.

1. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

The incredible Taj Mahal! I failed to visit Taj the first time I went to India and how sad I was. So the second time around, I was very lucky to finally get so close with this majestic, one-of-its kind world's wonder. To my amazement, I even touched every wall I passed through!

2. Bangkok, Thailand

What first caught my attention during my trip in Bangkok was the emanating bright colors of taxis and 'tuktuk' all over its street. These, for me, are simple treats for the eye. They are... lovely!

One, of course, should never miss the food delights on the streets. They are so delectable! Plus they cook the food to you right away and the whiff of it makes the food all the more enticing. This, too, is best to sate the rumbling stomach after a feet gone tired. 🙂

3. Enchanted Kingom, Sta. Rosa, Laguna

The Space Shuttle Ride. It has been a childhood dream to experience the 'magic' enchanted kingdom unselfishly offers. To complete my EK adventure, I summoned all the energy and guts to ride in this space shuttle and for the first time (ever) in my life, I felt how my soul literally departed from my body! It was uber fun, nonetheless!

4. Island Cove Resort and Leisure Park , Kawit, Cavite

Island Cove, Kawit, Cavite. This is a perfect place for a get-away for at least a couple of days after hustles and bustles from work. It offers various exciting activities such as outdoor paintball field, giant chess set, biking, horseback riding and a lot more. And the pool? It is sooooo inviting you'd love to keep your body dipped for hours!

5. People’s Park in the Sky, Tagaytay City

People's Park in the Sky, Tagaytay, Cavite. This is only one of the right places to have a wide appreciation of how beautiful the southern part of the Philippines is. At this view deck, you can see the ever-famous Taal Lake plus the Canyon Woods subdivision on the opposite side. It's a sure eye-treat!

6. Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort (Border of Tiaong, Quezon and San Pablo City, Laguna)

Villa Escudero. This place brings you back to the setting of a rustic Philippines where Filipino traditions come to life and constant appreciation. Riding in a carabao-driven cart serenaded by excellent folk artists are just some of the bonuses!

7. Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon

Pahiyas Festival, Lucban, Quezon. Being one of the most-awaited summer festivals in the Philippines, Pahiyas never fail, not even once, its spectators as select houses are grandiosely decorated with multitude of colors using 'kiping', a famous Lucbanin decoration made of rice dough. This century-old festival showcases the unequaled creativity of its townspeople as it brings out a lively and colorful festive mood during this prestigious gaiety.

8. Katigbawan festival in Catigbian, Bohol

Katigbawan Festival, Catigbian, Bohol. In this celebration, the kabaws are dressed up to the nines like “kings and queens” using every material available, indigenous as well as artificial. They blaze in all their glory with their painted nails, grandiose ‘gowns’, extravagant head dresses, colored eyelashes, and complete make-up at that. Very interesting! 🙂

9. Blood Compact Site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol

The Blood Compact site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Now this one is a true spectacle! This particular site was made in honor of a very important event in the Philippine history done between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol. At my back is the Panglao Island which also offers an array of pristine spots one can enjoy to its maximum.

Blood Compact Site

10. Streets of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur

Marawi City. Just some of the snap shots I took while roaming around the streets of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. All over, one can see buildings like this, the mosque for Muslims.

Marawi City street. And oh, this cute little boy. He is so angelic, isn't he? 🙂

11. Davao City

Durian fruit in Davao City. This city offers unlimited list of things to do and places to visit. But, for me, one's Davao adventure won't be complete without trying this exotic durian fruit. a very extraordinary and really a-need-courage-all challenge for first-timers is because of its foul odor that would make you puke the moment it is stuffed into your mouth. But for the second time around, you'll praise this fruit for it's exotic but mouth-watering goodness. Try it! 🙂

12. Chocolate Hills, Bohol

Chocolate Hill, Bohol. And lastly, my top favorite place--Chocolate hills. This has been one of the world's eight wonders. As to why it has named as "Chocolate hills" is because its lush green mountains magically turns into chocolate brown during the dry season.

And there you go—the best 12 places ever that has completed my 2011 and made it even better. Plus, this is my 70th post. Hooray!

Indian foods are nothing but spicy and spicy

27 Oct

I have always been constantly curious with things, foods, or anything that is new to my vocabulary and list of experiences. And to quench such curiosity, I dive into it and plunge straight in. I dwell on the excitement and fulfillment it provides me so as not to live with regret that I let the very chance slip my hands.

When I first went to India, I told myself I should try every single delicacy available on the table (as there is no other option anyway). Most of my friends, however, don’t really like Indian foods because aside from its super spicy flavors, its smell is also very likely to lose your appetite.

Until I tried it myself. And guess what? It’s not really that bad at all. In fact, I loved Indian foods! And when I went there the second time around, I loved it more, especially the masala dosa (perfect for a snack) and gulab jamun (best dessert ever!).

Below are some of the photos I took during my unforgiving food quenching in New Delhi. I put every single kind of menu on my plate and finished it up to the last bite! I still have to research on the names, though. But to give you an idea how these foods look (and taste), here are some of it:

For lunch: Vegetable pasta. Chicken biryani, Makki Paneer Panora, vegetable kebab, papad (super spicy crackers) and Basmati rice. Mind you, the rice is also spicy hot!

For dinner: Bhelpuri (Vegetable pasta), Puran poli (like a pan cake), and other chicken and mutton recipes.

To be honest, papad is the only food (a cracker) that I never got enough with. It was delectable and sumptuous!

Spices and more spices. And yes, they are served fresh and in unimaginable large cuts! I tried eating the fresh onion cuts. And it wasn’t bad.

Masala Dosa (Photo from google). I can’t find where I put my photo eating masala dosa but anyways, this and papad, are my sought-after Indian foods.

You can see a lot of this along the streets of Connaught Place in New Delhi especially the road going to the Sarojini market. And yes, they are spicy, too. These are like chips. And corn bits.

Of course, some sweets to relieve the spicy tongue. Ice cream  and Gujiyas (it taste like a sweetened dumpling).

Lastly, a Gulab jamun (photo from google). This was the best dessert ever! I got so much indulged with the dessert that I forgot to take a photo. This one was amazing, so awesomely sweet that you’ll crave for more once you tried it!

And yes Indian foods are super spicy all over but they are great nonetheless!

Red Fort, India

21 Oct

I promised to make a blog about my very first travel abroad which is India but my schedules have been very unforgiving. So to start off, here are some photos I took (and some friends) during my visit at Red Fort.

As a first-time traveler abroad, I was overly amazed by every building I saw during my tours around New Delhi. When we were approaching Red Fort, I was stunned looking at the stretch of the fort, which according to accounts, Red Fort is perhaps one of the most magnificent specimens of Mughal architecture which portrays their creative and artistic genius to the fullest. In fact, it took several decades to build this extraordinary monument.

The Lahore gate

I, together with co-Action Partner, went to Red Fort basically to watch a show. We were expecting some surprises about the show. And guess what? We did get a surprise.

The organizer of our conference who brought us to Red Fort told us there will be a great show which starts at 7pm. So when we arrived it was already dark. The sight of the fort, however, is just magnificent as everything around is dramatically shed with different colors of light.

The entrance going to the ‘show’. I’m quite not sure what they call this gate.

We spotted our seats and waited for some surprise from the show. We were anticipating a real good show as the surroundings is in total darkness. Until different colors of light were coming through and sounds (like that of a war) echoing around.

Then we saw these:

And this:

For the first 10 minutes of the show, I was turning my head to every direction where the voice (rather sound) was coming through only to realize at the end that the show is portrayed through special lights and sounds alone.

Now I understand why we were greeted with rainbows of lights when we first entered the fort. It was a fantastic light show, though. Plus the voice overs sounded like real people doing a theatre play.

I had fun! 🙂

Coming next: Sikh temple 

Celebrating women’s rights, human rights

2 Dec

November 25. This day marked the beginning of the celebration of the 16 days of activism worldwide. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign that was started by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) in 1991. The 16 Days runs from November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women (VAW) to December 10, International Human Rights Day, to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including December 1, which is World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre in 1989, when 14 women students were massacred by a lone gun-man opposed to the affirmative action policies promoted by feminists at the University of Montreal.

I attended an international conference at New Delhi, India from November 21-29 which is the Oxfam International Youth Partnership (OIYP) Kaleidoscope 2010 organized by Oxfam International, an international confederation of 14 organizations working together in 99 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. OIYP is a global network of young people who share a vision of a just world and are committed to working for peaceful, equitable and sustainable social change within their communities.

To show our support to this campaign, I together with my “Gender group” went to Jahangeer Puri, North Delhi, as part of our community visit during the conference. There we joined the Action India, a group of feminists who campaign against foeticide, and its men and women allies who marched to fight for their rights, celebrate the lives of newly born babies and honor the mothers who fought for the right of their baby girls to be born.

In India, foeticide has been practiced as part of their culture of which female foetuses are being selectively aborted after pre-natal sex determination, thus avoiding the birth of girls. Female foeticide is an extreme manifestation of violence against women. As a result of selective abortion, between 35 and 40 million girls and women are missing from the Indian population. In some parts of the country, the sex ratio of girls to boys has dropped to less than 800:1,000. This connotes that the killing of women exists in various forms in societies all over the world. The Indian society pictures practices unique and particularly brutal versions among women which include dowry deaths (bride-burning) and sati (Hindu custom in India in which the widow was burnt to ashes on her dead husband’s pyre).

Seeing a group of men and women who marched together toward this cause was very inspiring. I may not know much about these customs in India but it is very clear that these are just but one of the many ways of which women’s rights are being violated and that those women are seen “menaces” in the society instead of being “part” of the society they thrive in.

November 26. Action partners from the Latin America initiated the “Light a candle to end Violence Against Women”. APs who are gender advocates from the different countries of the world joined the activity at the lobby of the Centaur Hotel, New Delhi. We convened to show our strong opposition on the abuses and violence suffered by women in different societies with different cultural practices.

We formed a circle while we pray for all the victim-survivors of abuses as we light up our candles. We echoed our support toward ending violence against women. I stepped up in the center of the circle, lift my lighted candle and prayed for all the victim-survivors of prostitution, domestic and intimate relationship violence, sexual abuses and harassments, killings and other forms of violence, and expressed my oneness to all the LGBTQs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, queers), and men and women who are all working towards the same cause.

This simple activity unlocked the door toward understanding the different forms of violence under different contexts. It made us further realize that in this kind of inequality happening in our respective communities, women are the most disadvantaged. There enters our role to be their voices to be heard and their hands to be reached.
November 28. This day marked the celebration of the Third Queer Pride Parade. A large number of queer people, along with the ‘straight but not narrow’ allies of the queer community (and I belong to this ) came all together to celebrate the dignity and rights of sexually marginalized people all across India and the world.

The event was not just a celebration among the queer community. It was also an avenue to protest against the discrimination faced by queers and make a statement of hope for a world where all people live with freedom, dignity, and respect.
Originally, the word “queer” simply meant “odd” or “unusual”. In the past century, the word came to be used as a slur for anyone who isn’t gender normative or who deviates from society’s definition of sexually normal behavior. Recently, however, people across the world have reclaimed the word “queer” to empower, celebrate and unite all those who may feel marginalized because of their diverse identities and sexualities.

Queerness is about celebrating diversity. Queer people can be gay, kothi, lesbian, queen, dyke, transgender, transsexual, bisexual, hijra, butch, panthi, femme, fairy, MSM, FSF, genderqueer, androgynous, asexual, questioning, bicurious or even heterosexual queers. Queer Pride affirms diverse expression and calls attention to everyday struggle for respect and dignity.

The march was done to show that queer people in India face violence and discrimination from many different quarters. Queers and allies in Delhi marched with rainbow stripes to show diversity. People shouted for freedom, danced for joy, hugged for happiness, and held hands for oneness. Everyone shouted for equality among Indians, love over hate, and acceptance over tolerance.

Indeed, may they be lesbian, gay, or whatever we call them, still they are human beings who deserve to exercise their human rights.

Inequalities happen in many different forms in every part of the world. The battle continues toward attaining gender equality. It is still a long way to go, indeed. But as we see numerous groups of women and men, the feminist groups, rising in their respective communities for their rights to be recognized, and witness the queer community go out from their closets and freely express themselves, is highly gaining momentum to make us realize that winning this battle is not impossible.
As we join our hands to attain gender equality, it is very important to understand that gender equality is not only for men nor not only for women but both for men and women alike. We should understand that both genders play equally important roles in our society. After all, both are human beings and both need each other to survive.

It is then a challenge for us to keep empowered and stand tall on what we are fighting for. Inequalities happen in different contexts as different culture are also on the way. To all the women, we must believe in ourselves that we can stand for our rights and eventually believe in our co-women that they can stand for their rights too. To all the activists pursuing gender equality, kudos to all of you! It is still a long way to traverse but we can do it. WE WILL DO IT.

Let us show to the world that the partnership of both genders is indispensable to boost success, sustainable development and global change. We will serve as an inspiration to other marginalized men, women and queer community who also seek empowerment for success.
Thank you to Oxfam International for making me a part of the 8-day kaleidoscope in India. I learned a lot of experiences, diversities and respecting each other’s cultures. We will continue to work FOR and WITH our respective communities.// Joahna G. Goyagoy, Philippines

Sources:
http://www.iheu.org/female-foeticide-in-india
http://www.womankind.org.uk/16-days-of-activism.html
http://adaniel.tripod.com/sati.htm