Tag Archives: Nature

Travelling is Living

12 Jan

BanguiWindmills,IlocosNorte
Reverie. Bliss. Excitement. Fear. Love. Life.

All of these emotions embrace me with great intensity every single time that I travel. With each place that I set my feet unto brings me a renewed appreciation of how big and wonderful the world is. And with each of these places, I come to realize that I am no more than a speck in the whole realm of creation.

Travelling allows me to immerse in the lush of serenity of tropical rainforest, feast on the bounties of nature, and savour an invigorating scenario which brings nothing but a sense of fulfilment. But travelling doesn’t only allow my eyes to feast on scenic spots but also lets my stomach indulge in tasty treats and sumptuous food offers. The whiff of fresh foods, unlike those in fast foods, stokes a gastronomical delight bringing me into an unknown place of satisfaction and curiosity. I’ve also come to learn about each place’s glorious past thru its songs and dances. The way indigenous people live their lives in the middle of the mountain seems so simple yet very enchanting.

I’ve climbed the second highest mountain peak in the Philippines, explored the deepest chamber of caves, jumped off of a waterfall, crossed one of the longest hanging/ suspended bridge in the country. I rode in a vehicle that couldn’t almost get thru a high-waist mud as it traverses the top of the mountain.  I experienced riding on the top load of a jeepney while overlooking deadly cliffs on our way through.

I did some extreme adventures, too, like that of a somersault in a river with sharp and giant stones around. I got face to face with a python, a crocodile, and even the remaining smallest primate on this planet. I tried walking and hiking for twelve straight hours, mountains after mountains, just to get to my destination.  I rode in a roller coaster where I literally felt my body departed from my soul. I tried living in the middle of a mountain where there is no electricity but a single lamp lighting the whole house. I bathed on a river naked as it is a way of life in that village. I’ve visited museums, centuries-old churches, and unknown sub-villages. And I’ve listened to many stories by old villagers as they unveiled the secrets of the past and the stories of the World War II.

To top it all, travelling makes me a better person. It allows me to appreciate the simple things that I have. It gives me a better sense of responsibility toward nature, culture, and life itself.

So I dare you to go out and discover the beauty of the world. Head off somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of a city life. Allow yourself to get lost in the wilderness. There are a lot of surprises waiting for us to discover. While a lot of references can vividly describe how beautiful a certain place is, I tell you, it is way more beautiful and exciting if you experience it yourself.

Wherever you go, keep your wonder alive. Keep moving. Go forward. Keep your spirit adventurous. And keep it still enough to savour the beauty that moves around you, too. So go travel while you are still able and free.

P.S. Don’t forget to take photographs.

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Running is Love

11 Oct

After my morning run with the gorgeous sunrise in teh background

09Oct2012

Nothing is as lovely as waking up at the stab of a still dark morning. You witness the moon slowly fade in the background as the mighty, gorgeous sun takes over. You watch the birds fly at a distance so close you can almost touch them. You watch the dew drop from the leaves and they suddenly glitter as the ray of the sun split from the haze of clouds. And you find yourself smiling as you continue to go in motion while half of the world is still asleep.

To be who I am

2 Feb

I have always loved the waters, the mountains, the smell of fresh air. There is this particular serenity and solitude that engulfs me whenever I communion with nature—the towering trees, the rustling of leaves, the humming of birds in the mountains, and the gentle caress of the ocean’s waves as it splashes on my bare feet.

And the thing I love most about it is that it gives me a moment of peace, a time to look back, to clear my head, and to take a little step forward.

When I was in the mountains a week ago, I felt the urge to cry as every memory of yesteryears came flooding back to me like a mighty waterfall. Those were the memories I kept locked in a tightly-sealed box which I promised to open once I am whole again, once I am strong enough to be the woman I’ve known inside me. I stepped outside my room allowed the night’s cold breeze to cup my body as the deafening silence enveloped around.

I thought of my family and friends whom I miss so much. I thought of my childhood years when life was so carefree back then. I thought of high school and college years—the funny and embarrassing moments which keep a smile on my face and even giggle every time I am reminded of those. I thought of how fast life is unfolding before me. The many places I have set my foot unto. The many people I met whom some I am unsure I’ll ever meet again. And as in every moment like this, I am always drifted back to the times where my heart was constantly bruised and my mind was constantly daunted with questions that up to now reaped no definite answer.

I have written more than a dozen blog posts about how I struggled and recovered from the sting of heartaches of which I knew weren’t very easy at all. I constantly reminded myself that as a vital part of my recovery, I should be more vigilant the next time around, the next time I get smitten with another man. But like I said, breezing through it wasn’t very easy.

For another more hour or two, I freely allowed myself to devour on those memories. I thought of my exes, of the men who entered my door without even knocking and left without me knowing, and those men whom I believe have somehow loved me back (and maybe still do). And as I filled my thoughts with them, I once again felt that unwelcome guest and the pain of rubbing a salt in a fresh wound.

I am not sure how far, or if I have even progressed at all, for the last 18 months that I tried to find myself, to love myself foremost. Perhaps this time, I need to take a pause. To give myself a little more time to think over things. To let the wounds in my heart heal by itself. Because even though I am sure that I have gotten over my past relationships, the present is constantly haunting me.

I need more time; just a little more to figure out how to forget who I were and become who I am.

 

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!

My Durian-eating challenge in Davao

7 Dec

Davao City is known to be a dazzling cornucopia of things to see and do. It offers a wide range of exciting and extraordinary adventures and activities that any tourists, even locals, won’t dare to miss.

Davao has been very well-known in housing the tallest mountain peak in the Philippines which is the Mount Apo. It is also home to the very rare and exquisite orchid—the waling-waling. Aside from these, it has also been inherently identified as the haven of the Philippine eagle.

But among all these treasure-trove offerings, the most exciting and must-try experience (for me) is eating the durian fruit. In fact, Davao City has been dubbed as the “Durian City of the Philippine” for this exotic fruit grows abundantly in this city.

As to why eating durian became 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. The odor is like a fume from the unknown jungle (I might be exaggerating here but really the odor is no good at all). After eating, too, the smell in your breath won’t give up that easily. It would last until the morning even after having mouthwash or bubble gum.

I have observed from the durian eaters, though, that they would eat the fruit with their bare hands. This, they said, makes durian-eating all the tastier. Of course, I thought, the odor of the durian would stick on to their hands. The folks, though, gave a very simple hint that could wash the odor away. And that is by pouring water in the durian’s shell and washing your hand in it. Same thing goes with relieving the smell from your mouth. Pour water in the durian’s shell and use it as a gargle.  I did not try this tactic but these folks attested its wonders. I might try this when I get a chance to eat another durian fruit. I promise! It is not the most appetizing description to a fruit, yes, but certainly a Davaoeño favorite. In fact, it’s Davaoeños famous dessert.

And to give you an idea how this durian fruit looks like and how I struggled to stuff it into my mouth with all the super powers I can summon, take a look at the photos below.

The exotic Durian fruit!

I nearly puked!

Trying all might to swallow it.

One chunk down! Yahoo!

Success!

Just some of the left-overs.

I was able to finish four huge chunks! Yehey! And for an adventure-seeker, must-try-it-all person that I am, this is one of the challenges I’ll forever cherish. It wasn’t really easy to keep stuffing it in your mouth but indeed it’s worth a try.

After surpassing such challenge, for sure you’ll say: One more!

My Christmas is back

1 Dec

Years ago, which I could hardly remember now, I could already feel the coming of the Christmas season upon opening my window. A cold breeze lands on my face, caresses my cheek and whispers the melody of the yuletide season.

As I stride through the neighborhood, lanterns and Christmas lights were already grandiosely decorated on each house as well as the trees mightily standing on the streets. As the night comes in, the whole stretch of the place, as far as my eyes can see, was vividly lighted. Its glowing colors illuminates to every corner making the night come to fuller life as it signals the arrival of the Christmas season.

Years fast forward, this fleeting moment never came back to the picture again. Not until last night.

While I was still recovering from lack of sleep for nine consecutive days and regenerating from bone-breaking legworks, I still dragged myself to work over the holiday with the hope to finish my proposal and assigned articles. With the long to-do-list I have in front of my computer, I felt ill all the more. For the whole day yesterday, I was shaking inside and out. But I still tried to get my focus and my will won over my exhaustion.

Feeling already wearing out from the day’s toil, I wished for a breath of fresh air. I was itching to get out from my succumbing office. As if the heavens heard my little prayer, a friend asked me out.

As we freely sat on the grounds outside the university, my weariness and fatigue came tumbling all over my nerves. But as I caught that cold breeze again, those monsters of stress fade out all at once.

Having with us a very kind teacher-turned-businessman who is an excellent singer and guitarist all in one package, the bustling night turned into a calm, peaceful mood as he serenaded us with songs from the 80’s and 90’s. While I and my friend were listening to his music, I thought to myself: This is wonderful. This is life. At first, I didn’t know if it’s because of the song echoing through the park or is it because of the presence of that dear friend who sways like a li’l child as the guitar kept on being strummed. Or is it simply the company that is bringing me a momentary relief? Or is it because it was already too long ago that Christmas season passes without me noticing it?

Because I wanted to cherish every split second of this wonderful moment, I lied down on the grasses, not minding anyone else around the park. As I gazed up the sky, I can’t contain how happy I was feeling at the moment because finally I am star gazing again, which is a simple thing that never fails to bring enormous happiness to my heart. Just by looking at the stars and locating the small and big dippers (which are the only constellations I am most familiar with), I feel peace and serenity. The universe is extremely huge and full of exquisite wonders, I thought again to myself.

As I tossed to my left side, where my friend R is, I asked him: Is Santa Claus real?  I know I was kind of stupid in asking that question but maybe I was just under the spell of the magical night that made me ask a question that is somewhat not quite too fitting to a 22-year old woman like me. But to be honest, I still want to believe Santa Claus is real even If my friend gave me a quizzical look upon throwing such question.

I was further bewitched by the moment as I noticed children play around the park, hugging the 6feet tall Santa Claus figurine and taking pictures with it. Oh how wonderful is it to be like a child again… carefree and believing in Santa Claus without ever getting that quizzical stares from anyone.

The park was also surrounded by Christmas lights and several lanterns ready to be lit up tonight as December 1 takes off. And oh… those bold, whimsical letters saying Merry Christmas. And the Christmas carols ringing all over the place. And… I was snapped back to Kuya Nine, the singer, and my friend R who are already tapping their pants to shun off the tiny grasses that were stuck to it. As they rose, I knew it’s time to leave and call it a night.

As I and R headed home, I felt how that night, how that one hour moment magically turned my heart at peace once again stoking that little flame of hope that Christmas, the old Christmas way I used to have, is back again.

Merry Christmas everyone!

It’s a beautiful day

10 Nov

What else is more heartwarming and rejuvenating other than feeling lighthearted because of the infinite wonders around you?

Today, I woke up early, feeling lighthearted and animated, as if zillions of vigor is infused in every inch of my nerves. I rose from my bed, murmured a prayer for a minute, and released a heavy sigh of relief. It’s going to be a good day, I told myself.

As deliberate as it is, I made myself a cup of coffee, sat on my native-inspired couch, tucked my knees together and slowly sipped my coffee, not wanting to miss its perfectly blended taste and rich aroma spewing around my room. Then I watched the hands of the clock as it tick around the numbers and felt relaxed for I still have an hour to enjoy my morning routine before I head straight to my office again.

Still feeling undisturbed, I scanned through my books and re-read a letter from a dear friend. Then I realize that written words on paper never seem to go out of style. And it never fails to make the heart grow fonder.

After a couple of minutes tripping down memory lane, I stepped inside my shower room and enjoyed the splash of cold water on my skin. The bubbles of my musky body soap felt smooth and caressing.

As I stepped towards my door, ready to battle over workloads, I stood still for a minute and felt my heart. It beats very silently and normally. I smiled and raced outside. As the air caught my breath, I closed my eyes and felt the tranquility of the day. The wind sings a melody.

Looking up, I noticed how gorgeous the blue skies are. The sky hums along.

As I tread along, the buds around are starting to uncoil into a lovely flower. The dews settled on the green grasses are vividly shining as the sunlight breaks through the clouds. The nature is coming back to life.

For another minute, I stood still again and just listened to the sounds. The chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves connived along.

For the first time in year, I noticed how beautiful the wonders of my surroundings are. I noticed how simple things could mean big. And I realize how focusing on the positive vibes could do wonder amidst debilitating chapters of my life. This, too, reminded me how being grateful instead of focusing on the hardships of life could magically turn your spirit high and your aims in life clear and straight.

Keep thinking happy thoughts!