Tuesday, December 30, 2014

People of My Year 2014


My fifth year of creating this list! 

I want to start another tradition of preparing this list by integrating a certain theme to make the recognition more special and warm. For 2014, my theme is: The value of relating.

What's with this theme and what does it signifies?

I'm a great fan of Dr. Leon Buscaglia, an Italian born American adult counselor and a world-famous author. In his book, "Loving Each Other, the challenge of human relationships", Buscaglia explained "In friendship, each individual affirms the other's presence and reinforces the other's integrity. As the friendship becomes deeper, it becomes a sharing of vulnerabilities in a safe environment. We show in action that we respect and admire one another, that we enjoy the opportunity to be together and to share experiences".

The value of relating emphasizes how we interact and behave with others, how we connect and treat each other and how we feel secure and comfortable with the friendship. The people in my list this year provided me with so many reasons to celebrate life and to thank the Lord for allowing me to experience the value of relating.

This year, I have also learned an important lesson in relating that not all people we encountered and met are worthy of the journey we took in friendship. When trouble arises, we will really know who among them are the blessings and who are the lessons. But the ride is worth it because we don't just meet people by accident, the encounter has a purpose, they are really meant to cross our path, either to become a blessing or to teach us a lesson.

I will concentrate on the blessing aspect.

Preparing my list for the most amazing people I relate with is not difficult as I am pretty aware how each of them exhibited a unique kindness and generosity and how their friendship made my year extra memorable.

Here they are:

ARMAN ESMAS

I haven't met Arman, we just interacted online, but I considered his friendship as the greatest blessing I ever received in 2014.

Talking about relating, I don't have a close guy friend whom I can easily talk on many things, much more someone who seems like a complete duplicate of my personality.

It is just so surprising that despite distance, we easily hit up, he's always there when I needed something (like those incredible photos for my blogs :-P) or needed someone to talk to.

He is ultra kind, very generous with his time and very supportive in so many ways. I could feel the golden character deep within him. Who would not be felt elated having him as a friend? He is so "huge" in the workplace and infinitely successful, but then he never discriminate me nor plod on my being "underling", unlike those monsters out there. He remains remarkably humble and very down-to-earth despite his stellar achievement in life.

Life is so generous for allowing our paths to collide even just for a short period of time. I don't hold any guarantee that I could really see him in person someday, but I am forever grateful for the chance given to know a part of him, that part which I can relate so much because we have so many things in common. We almost have the same mind set and could agree to everything.

For all the support and kindness you have given to me this year, thank you so much Arman. It means a lot to me. Your friendship is like a spark that filters through dark alleys.

ROWENA TAGAAN

My traveling buddy! I am always grateful with this lady because she has been very  supportive with my obsession in traveling.

Rowena has  been accompanying me in all my travel exploits since I moved in Metro Manila. We've been friends for more than a decade now and we are so at ease with each other, comfortable sharing with all the misses and hits in our lives.

I can confide all my apprehensions and longings in life with her and all those dreams that might never come true. I am glad there is someone I can always run too when things get pretty bad. We would talk endlessly in a day or over the weekend allowing tension to subside. Rowie really showed me how a truest friend should be and how lucky I am to have her as my best friend,

Thanks so much kiatot for the great time together and for your extraordinary generosity! You are soooo amazing!!!

ANELYN ARCON

One of my closest teenage friends whose friendship never changes through out these years. Despite  distance, she never ceases to be a part of my life and that of my sister.

Anelyn is now living in Germany and would only take vacation in the Philippines rarely but we remained very close and would communicate regularly. She is like a sister, extending help when necessary, extremely generous and extra compassionate, she is someone I can always rely when trouble sets in.

In life, I encountered fewest people whose generosity seems eternal and Anelyn is one. I am very lucky to have her as my friend and as the year closes, once again, her generosity is ever present. She is just a phone away!

On New Year's eve, she gave us a call and we talked, laughed over silly matters and wished each other a beautiful life ahead. Hope she could take a vacation this year so that we could be together in another travel adventure.


KATHY DACANAY

Kathy is one of my closest friends in Davao, we're colleagues back in the University and we easily hit up due to our common interest in blogging and food choices! We're both into Japanese cuisine and pasta and a little on cheesecake ^____^.

Kathy is a web developer and quite expert on the technical aspect of blogging so I always run into her everytime I encountered glitches in my blog templates and she is always there to help me. 

She had visited Manila in August this year and we had this amazing bonding moment with Rowie. All those missed moments of chikahan had been renewed and there was no time wasted with that brief bonding. It was splendid!

I am hoping we could travel together in the months to come and spend time sharing good conversation. I missed Kathy because when I was still in Davao, we would always go out after work and dine somewhere and talk about French lesson, photography, blogging, internet marketing, fashion finds and food, lots, lots of food!!!

Thank you Kathy for being a wonderful friend to me down through all these years!

PRISSIE DELA TORRE

Finally! After three years, I saw Prissie again. I met her (with Rowena) last December 21 at NAIA when she had a stop over from Dubai, we needed to go to Terminal 3 to meet her as she was just having few hours before taking her connecting flight to Davao. It was a beautiful moment of laughter and sharing conversation over food just like the old days.

Just like Rowena and Kathy, Prissie and I formerly worked in the same University and she's one of by closest friends in the workplace. We would go out then to anywhere that caught our fancy, movies, restaurants, malls, etcetera.

We spent countless Valentine's dinner outings together with our colleagues and would poke at each other for always spending Valentine's day with the same set of friends, our common question at that time, "Will the time ever still comes for us to spend V-Day with someone? (sigh),  a decade later, the story of my Valentine's day is astoundingly the same, waaah! And oh God, another Valentine's day is approaching, shockks!!

Thank you Prissie for being a great friend to me and after all these years, you're still the same. Hope we could spend enough time together in the future for more hearty conversation and laughter!!!

With Kathy and Rowena at Cafe Juanita, August 30, 2014
With Rowena and Prissie, NAIA, December 21, 2014

Arman, Rowena, Anelyn, Kathy, Prissie, Thank you so much for the gift of beautiful friendship and for being part of my journey in 2014 , you made my year truly memorable and incredibly great. Godbless you all and cheers to a good life in the coming year, more wonderful time of relating with each other!!!




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As 2014 closes...

One way or another, in our lifetime journey, we would really encounter rejection with an unimaginable level of pain from the people we’d once met and cared about and from the circumstances we chose to embrace.

But time rolls and situations change.

One day, another dawn is breaking, the sun brightens up promising a new beginning and eventually we will forget the traces of those hurt and failure. Everything becomes enchanting again, more inspiring, vibrant and auspicious, because life is generous, we’ve given so many chances to identify God’s graces, either in the places we’ve visited or through the people we’ve meet. Life, with all its vagueness, manifests magic and excitement, and the more we are keen to understand its vagueness, the more generous it is to us and the more we will understand the complexities of the world.

We will eventually encounter new people who will play an important role in our existence. They might be folks we meet in the new workplace, in the street, in a party, in the most unlikely places or someone we did not meet yet or might never meet at all.

Whatever it is, they did not cross in our road for nothing; circumstances make way for the encounter to take place for a specific purpose, either to teach us a lesson or provide us an inspiration. And somewhere along the way, something will fall into place, it could be an answered prayer or another lesson to live by.

Either way, happiness is visibly felt. Life offers tons of reasons to smile, to be inspired, to be motivated, to be cheerful, to acknowledge God’s gifts and to express deepest gratitude for all His goodness.

There are moments that we feel like being stuck in the corner of desolation but that’s our human side. God is so huge larger than our problems and concerns. He always makes things possible. He has bigger plans better than what we’ve always dreamed of. He knows what’s best for us, where we should be walking and to whom we should start relating. It might be delayed, or a little bit late based on our timeline but trust God, for His time is always perfect.

Life does not end in misery or in rejection or in chaos. It’s a continuous quest and somewhere along this journey, we will really meet nice people who deserve our attention, who are wonderful, selfless and supportive. They did not just burst in unto our horizon with no reasons at all, it’s the work of God, something or someone destined to cross our paths to be the instrument of a new hope and motivation.

As 2014 closes, I would like to thank all the people I encountered this year especially those who provided me with so much memories to cherish.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Heartwarming Story of Forgiveness

Christmas is the season of forgiveness, hope, joy, love, reconciliation and unity.

So what's the most amazing story you ever heard/read at Christmastime that has something to do with these virtues? Mine is always the story of Pope John Paul II, now St. John Paul II, and the man who seriously shot him in 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turkish terrorist.

On May 13, 1981, while Pope John Paul II was driven around St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican city for his public audience, gun fire rung across St. Peter's square, tearing the jolly mood of the crowd and seconds later, the Roman Pontiff, drenched in blood, fell to the arms of his body guards. 

Photo credit: EPA and Daily Mail UK
Pope John Paul II in 1981, fell to the arms of his body guards after 
four bullets lodged on his body

Everyone watched in horror as the pope struggled for his life. While being wheeled to the hospital, he was heard uttering this line "Why they did this to me". 

The authorities easily captured Mehmet Ali Agca because he was stuck in the large crowd and unable to get his way out. According to reports, he had an accomplice that supposed to detonate a bomb at St. Peter's square. But after seeing Agca seized by Vatican's guards, the accomplice panicked and left Vatican without detonating the bomb. 

Agca was still carrying the pistol he used to fire on the pope at close range when he was captured. Then it was discovered, he was a feared Turkish terrorist who had escaped from a Turkish prison where he was serving a life sentence in for killing a journalist.

Photo credit: Associated Press and Daily Mail UK
The Pope, now St. John Paul II, recovered after a five-hour operation.
His full recovery was considered a miracle as some of the wounds he suffered were fatal.
One bullet narrowly missed his heart, the other tore his intestine. 
He was 61 at the time of the assassination attempt

Agca was brought to a jail in Rome. Four bullets lodged on the pope's body. It was a huge miracle that he was able to survive. He was seriously injured and some of the wounds were fatal. One bullet narrowly missed his heart, one passed through his abdomen that tore his intestine. A five-hour surgery was performed to remove the bullets. 

Several weeks later, the pope recovered and went back to Vatican, did his usual job and still seen having his regular jogging routine around the Vatican gardens. He was 61 and had just been in the papacy for less than three years.

It could be the end of the story. But on December 27, 1983, the Pope went to Rome and visited Agca at his prison cell, There, he asked for some privacy to talk affectionately to Agca, hugged him and bestowed forgiveness. No one knew what the pope had said to Agca but the encounter had massively changed the terrorist's life.

It was also revealed that Pope John Paul II reached out to Agca's family in Turkey, visited his mother in 1987 and talked to his brother. 

Photo credit: Associated Press and Daily Mail UK
Pope John Paul II and Ali Agca, then 23, 
during the Pope's visit to  a prison in Rome where the terrorist had been detained

He had served for 19 years in jail for this assassination attempt and the pope intervened for his release. The Italian president at that time relented and deported Agca to Turkey. Agca served another 10 years in a Turkish jail for several crimes he committed -- murder, bank robbery, street gang and destabilization activities. He was finally released in 2010 and became a free man. What followed next was a series of miracle that transformed Ali Agca into a great follower of Jesus, much like St. Paul in the Holy Bible.

No clear reasons why Ali Agca tried to kill Pope John Paul II but speculations later emerged supported by evidences that Soviet-based secret services and Islamic fanatics were behind the assassination attempt, they wanted to see the Pope dead because of his strong campaign for a democratic movement around Europe and some Islamic states.

Partly, Pope John Paul II was the instrument of the collapse of communism in Eastern and Central Europe.

Following his release, Agca thoroughly deserted Islam and converted to Roman Catholicism. That forgiveness granted to him alone by the great pope had ultimately changed his life.

In 2005, when he heard that the pope was fatally ill, he sent a letter wishing the pope good health. He was seen crying when the pope died in April that year. Agca's family also sent a letter of condolence to the Vatican emphasizing they were in sorrow of the pope's passing because he had been a great friend to them.

Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images and Daily Mail UK
Former Turkish terrorist, Ali Agca, now 56, carried two bouquets of white roses and laid it on top of the tomb of St. John Paul II in Vatican,  this is the first time he visited Vatican since he shot Pope John Paul II in 1981A spokesman from Vatican released a statement that Ali Agca has no legal impediment in Vatican, thus, free to visit the microstate anytime 
but they refused to grant his request to see Pope Francis.

Photo credit: The Telegraph UK
Ali Agca converted to Roman Catholicism and deserted Islam after Pope John Paul II had visited  him in his prison cell in Rome and bestowed forgiveness. After his release in 2010 in a Turkish jail where he was serving for  other crimes he committed before he shot the pope, Agca expressed interest to move to Poland, the home country of the late pope, 
and became a Polish citizen.

Today, December 27, 2014, 31 years after Pope John Paul II visited him in jail, Ali Agca went to Vatican and visited the saint's tomb and laid two bouquets of white roses. Agca was seen shedding tears while carrying the flowers. According to a Vatican spokesman, Agca has no legal impediment in Vatican, thus, free to visit the microstate anytime, however, they refused to grant his request to see Pope Francis.

His statement on this visit "Today I come because on December 27, 1983, I met the pope. A thousand thanks, saint, Long Live Jesus Christ"

Although some reports revealed Agca uttered bizarre statements in the past which questioned his mental condition, like claiming he is a messiah and the world might end soon, it could not be denied that the current life he adopted manifests renewal and reconciliation, that everyone has a chance to be reformed and lived a decent life. That even a notorious criminal can still be transformed into a good citizen, has a right to live and enjoy life like everyone else.

Even the Holy Bible teaches us that Jesus did not come to earth for saints but for sinners. Forgiveness can really make a big difference, it changes lives.


SOURCES:

DAILY MAIL UK.com
BBC.com
TIME.com

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Goodbye 2014 I don't have regrets

The year is about to bid goodbye.

Another year is approaching and the burden of facing uncertainties starts to wobble in my horizon. Would I face another dreadful year? Or finally something worth keeping will unfold.

Each end of the year, I always try to look back and go over with all the events that befell in my life for the past twelve months and reassess in which area I encountered hits and misses. I often try to contemplate if it has something to do with my sedentary or aggressive approach in life.

Then all the questions started to burst in: Did I achieve something remarkable for the past twelve months? Did I hit my target with my life plans? Am I happy? Am I contented? Am I fulfilled? Do I serve as a blessing to others or as a mess that should be removed from their horizon in the coming year? Am I traversing the path I would really want to navigate or should make a re-route and continue finding my place? Am I worthy of anything? Why it seems I am forever stuck in this God-forsaken corner of life?

So today, I am undergoing a cycle of reassessing again. And the answers never sound like the one I would want to hear as the year approaches its final phase because after so many attempts to smoothen up everything, it’s so frustrating to know that I am still a bit of a loser, and with all honesty, I still considered myself a big failure in all aspects. Why all these misses kept repeating? Am I too reckless with my moves and decisions or too lenient to go and chase my dreams.







Usually, I never talk about work in my blog because this online journal is just about my personal thoughts and emotions, things I want to separate from work. But today, I feel the urge to do so, of talking something about work because I want to liberate my mind from anxiety, angst and torment, I want to free  myself from a self-defeating thought that my destiny looks like a big joke.

I feel aghast why it seems my career path is still leading me to nowhere. Did I overestimate my plan? Or this current environment is simply hostile and discriminating to someone who just came from the province.

When I obtained my master’s degree in business administration, I made myself believe I was destined for something incredible. Afterall, I’ve been working for ten years, exposed to some challenging tasks both from a regular day job and a freelance writing career online where I worked with foreign clients, picked up a handful of experience along the way and gained wisdom.

I am extremely confident that I could land a job that would not only boost my self–esteem but would also provide me with a sense of fulfillment. That I am good at anything.

I was terribly wrong. It did not turn that way. Instead circumstances dragged me to the opposite side of the spectrum that it felt like I was deliberately thrown out to a curve of wretchedness and mortification. I was not being fitted to what I supposed to be in.

Every day I felt so humiliated and demeaned, enduring a terrible feeling of being underrated and devalued, shove into a situation inappropriate to what is due, eventually, my self-confidence plummeted and towards the end of a tiring day, I could not help but think what had I done so wrong to deserve all these blunders.

But I’ve no reason to complain. I know the concept of life. I am emotionally mature, I know it’s part of God’s plan, allowing nasty things to happen to let me understand the true value of patience and waiting and to realize where should I supposed to walk in. God's plans are better than mine, wonderful than what I had been envisioning because He knows what’s best for everyone. If not for all these slip-ups, I would never learn a hard lesson and would never recognize things to be tossed away and things to be kept and eventually realize where to dart my focus.

Now I know where to dart my focus.

I am still capable of making things happen, of working things out, of rearranging my plans, because life happens based on how we want to live each day, how we define our future and how we perceive things.

I know God never closes doors, I don’t believe on that. Everyone is given an opportunity to recognize gifts; we only think the door closes because the plans did not go as what we wanted it to be and we hate being stuck in desolation and unfortunate circumstances that’s why we think the door had been shut. But it did not.

It’s just being coated with a dark shadow of our weaknesses and abhorrence towards sufferings, because we hate sufferings, but the truth is, that dark shadow is a grace to live by, a wisdom, a blessing in disguise. If we open our hearts of interpreting it in a positive sense and on the brighter side of life, we will recognize that it’s a magical door that will lead us to fullness and abundance, to a new road of fulfillment.

And that’s what I am thinking right now. Despite my anguish and disappointment towards the time wasted of being tied into the current environment and this dreary journey, I know there’s a golden spark that lurks beneath, a blessing in disguise that would usher me to a meaningful road.

Every circumstance is a testimony to a beautiful story. I know my life story has just began, and as the year 2014 prepares its final goodbye, I am welcoming another year of hope, another year of making things possible, another year to catch the tide of contentment. Another opportunity to work things out.

I have no regrets though, because there are beautiful things that also unfolded, so despite the torment I felt, I am grateful. I've encountered nice people and gained a whole new experience. I was able to see the other side of the city.

I am hoping the following year will give me a different story to tell.
 



Why God Allow Us to Wait?

"When God know you are ready for the responsibility of commitment,
He will reveal the right person for you under the right circumstances,
so wait patiently,
don't waste your time searching and wishing for someone to come into your life,
grow and be ready, and you will see,
God will give you a love story far better than what you've been dreaming"


I’ve been posting entries about waiting for like a hundred times. Waiting has been part of almost every month of my blabbing.

Waiting for something to happen, waiting for a great opportunity, waiting for a beautiful moment to come, waiting, waiting, waiting, whatever it  is.

Until waiting became one of the most complicated word in a dictionary that is so difficult to understand. Why God allow us to wait longer? How to fully understand the value of waiting without breaking into pressure?

There's one at least beautiful lesson I got from Rissa Singson-Kawpeng, Editor-in-Chief of Kerygma magazine, one of the topics she wrote in her book, “Confessions of an Impatient Bride” was about the value of waiting, she compared it to the attitude of the potters in Japan:

"In Japan, potters carefully molded the clay and waited long to release the bubbles before they would put it in the molding jar..."

Rissa concluded the story with...

"God has a purpose for our waiting. He's actually preparing us so that when it's time for us to make a big decision, we won't crack under pressure". Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11), indeed God's time is always perfect!

"Where we are is where God wants us to be. No "ifs", no "buts". If we believe that there are no ifs in God's world, then we can rest assured that where we are right now and how we got here is where God exactly wants us to be". For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

"When God doesn't reveal His plans clearly, maybe He is teaching us something better, something better than clarity".

And that's why God allow us to wait...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Morning 2014!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! So how's your Christmas morning out there guys?

My Christmas morning is so quiet here, but the environment is so beautiful, soothing air, bright morning sunshine.

I just wake up now. I have only three hours of sleep. I was wide awake the whole night of December 24 up to this early morning of Christmas day. I went to bed only at 7:00 (3 hours ago). I just could not believe it! My first time to do such thing. In the past, after sharing noche buena with my family or even friends, I would go to bed at 2:00 in the morning.

Last night was a different one. I was busy working on many things, listening to Christmas songs and caroling in the neighborhood, and lots of pondering moments. But no reason to grieve and be sad anyway.

While figuring out how to edit the html of the post date to make it visible (I am undergoing a coding adventure right now!), I am musing pensively. It's another Christmas day. I am yet to cook my meals this morning and it's nearing lunch! 

I am all alone here with nobody and nothing but our 11 cats as companions and some fruits to munch. But I am not moping! I am very thankful and grateful for witnessing another Christmas day, life itself is a gift that is worthy to be cherished and appreciated and everyday exemplifies new beginning. I am used of living alone anyway and quite comfortable with it but I am hoping my next Christmas would be a different one.

I am very excited with our Vietnam and Cambodia travel this January 1 and this alone is already a precious gift from God.

Asking what I received this Christmas? No tangible gifts, except the two lipsticks given by my friend, Prissie Dela Torre, who came from Dubai. Other than these beauty finds, I did not receive anything. But it's not important. I am not a child anymore. I do appreciate beautiful things that happened to me for this year and I am always grateful with the new people I met and encountered and the opportunity to spend quality time with long lost friends.

Christmas is always an opportunity to appreciate the best things in life and to recognize God' gifts.






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My Idea of a Perfect Christmas?


Is to spend it with you! And so goes the song of Jose Mari Chan...


Honestly, I want to spend it with family, my own family, I want to have a heartwarming Christmas celebration at home with lots of laughter, sharing stories, preparing food, singing along with traditional Christmas songs that are as old as the story of fairytale, initiating an enduring Christmas tradition that will last a lifetime.

May this earnest wish will finally come true next Christmas...and next...and next! Ahhhh wishes, wishes!

Just as the clock stroke at Christmas eve, I spent the entire early dawn surfing the net to see how other families celebrate Christmas on the other side of the universe. I landed at Jolly Mom's site and read her family's tradition of having "12 Days of Christmas Activities" So sweet and wonderful because the tradition is being shared with her family: her husband and two children. Isn't that exciting and romantic?

This Christmas tradition idea is so exciting it makes the waiting for the most wonderful time of the year more amazing and warmth and full of love and great anticipation.






My idea of 12 Days of Christmas Activities maybe might go something like these:

Day 1 - December 13: Bake goodies like customized cookies, cupcakes, muffins, scones
Day 2 - December 14: If it will fall on weekends, maybe watch movies together or go for a concert
Day 3 - December 15: Cook meals together, experiment recipes that are so unique
Day 4 - December 16: Sketch something comical or meaningful for each other
Day 5 - December 17: Dedicate a book, a song, read together, listen to the songs
Day 6 - December 18: Road trip to somewhere else, the the country side, something closest to nature
Day 7 - December 19: Try hard to compose a poem for each other
Day 8 - December 20: Gather around the Christmas tree and share stories in childhood at Christmas
Day 9 - December 21: Pajama party in the house
Day 10 - December 22: Family game night
Day 11 - December 23: Go out and give gifts to less fortunate in the street
Day 12 - December 24: Surprise each other with unique gift(s), gather in the living room, share meals

I always value family gatherings and reunion especially at Christmastime, there's nothing more amazing and fulfilling than to spend Christmas with family.


What's your idea of a perfect Christmas? You may share it here by posting your comment. Merry Christmas everyone!


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Merry Christmas - Real Time!

It's 12:50 in the morning here in Manila, Philippines and it's Christmas morning!!! Officially, the Christmas season begins!

Merry Christmas dear readers, may the spirit of the happiest time of the year be with you all and may your heart be filled with so much joy and harmony. Be safe with the celebration.

So what's happening in the neighborhood right now? 

Blasting of firecrackers! Singing is also everywhere. But I'm here pondering, thinking what to do, which plan to pursue for the months to come. May the virtue of patience will dwell upon me and may the Holy Spirit will continue to enlighten my mind and my heart.

I've nothing to wish for this Christmastime except peace of mind and a permanent place I can call "home" wherever it is I know God is leading me there. 

Happy Holidays!

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Nosey Parker



Someone is prying in my blog. And whatever the purpose -- accidental, coincidence, or deliberately intentional -- is something I don't care but I am hoping the purpose is out to generate information or read my sharing and learned from it and not to fish out controversies and spread vicious talks.

There's a huge difference between reading to learn from the post and be informed or just spread intrigues, you will go down to the level of a rubbish blether. 

To the readers of this blog: This site is public and if ever you have a problem with the topics I posted here, whether you may find it too offensive, foul or ruthless, you are free to express your thoughts in the comment section, I am encouraging everyone also to send me a message through the Contact page of this site so that I can address it properly and can explain what's this site is all about, don't channel it to a third party and then hide under your mother's skirt.

Furthermore, if you still have trouble understanding the purpose of this blog, you may read the "About this site" page and check the TERMS OF USE

This is my sacred journaling space, this is my hang out especially when things become to maddening and tormenting, I hide here and confided all my thoughts and let the emotions flow because that's what a journal or diary is all about.

The effect of mongering without directly reaching out to the site's owner is somewhat offensive to bloggers because it connotes something --- suppressing freedom of speech/expressing personal views and feelings. And that's horribly alarming in a country that values democracy. This is not North Korea isn't it?

If a certain post intrigued you but could not find any name somewhere in the post if it gravely points to someone, the most ethical way is to reach out to the one who posted it and ask for clarification instead of discussing it elsewhere, it suggests impropriety on your part as you are merely speculating. 

Life in the metropolis is already full of clutters and the more I will focus my gaze in the computer screen, the more difficult my days would become. So I always find ways how to get through the nutty days and loosen up. Others chose to chill somewhere, I chose to just hang in my online journal because I find it more relieving and liberating, I could let nasty things flow out from my system, releasing my mind from burden and stress. But I never do it at the expense of others and never fire a direct attack that could damage someone's reputation. I always maintained secrecy in all my posts by not dropping names, it's one of the stern policies imposed by Google to all its verified publishers and I am strictly observing it.  

I never use this space to malign or get back at someone subjectively. I am trying as much as I could to be fair with my words and expressions, however, there are times that I can be monstrous or totally ballistic and can spit uncomfortable words when provoked or the severe thoughts of being demeaned would get on the way but hardly towards a specific person, I always speak in general terms and let my emotions flow.

I have a stubborn streak that is a fact maybe because I have this own principle and concept about life, views how everything should be treated and understood, because I value my individuality. I can be fierce with my opinion because I value my freedom of speaking what's on my mind. So as long as I never malign someone arrogantly nor mention a single name then I don't see reasons why others would irk up. If you bark then you are guilty.

But I never feel sorry just because I blurted words out of context or something had blown out of a proportion. It's the statement of the true story that occurs in a day and I am damn if I would censor it.

Again, this is not North Korea.

However, no situation could ever prevent me from expressing my opinions and what's deep inside. This is my blog and as long as I am abiding with the terms and conditions, policies and rules imposed by my hosting company, that is Google, and paid the package of my domain, I don't have issue with anyone.

I do appreciate criticism from readers, everyone is free to post comments here, you can even send me a private message through this site if there is anything you want to clarify. I will address it properly. Just be on the right platform and everything will be fine.



Friday, December 19, 2014

Misa de Gallo


I've been attending Misa de Gallo (Early Dawn Mass) since my childhood years. My father is serving the Catholic church as a lay minister and even during the time he worked in the government office, his focus was always in the church. When I was still in my grade school years, I used to tag along with him every Misa de Gallo because my father was the one conducting the celebration of the Holy Word (lay ministers could not conduct the celebration of the Holy Mass, only ordained priests and deacons can celebrate it) of Misa de Gallo in the small baranggay we lived. It wa awesome!

When I moved to Davao to attend college and until I got a job, this tradition would continue. It was pretty easy to go out and walk all the way to the church because San Pedro Cathedral is only a walking distance from my boarding house and no fear of walking alone as Davao is very safe. If I could not wake up early, I will just attend the mass at Ateneo de Davao University chapel, which is also a walking distance from my boarding house. Everything was nice then.I never missed attending Misa de Gallo, but when I relocated in Manila last year, everything changed. Except for Sunday, I could no longer attend a weekday afternoon mass in the church, much more Misa de Gallo. I lived in a boarding house in Mandaluyong during weekdays and church is a bit far. My boardmates never cared also to attend the mass, oh heaven! It's so sad that my spiritual obligation would be sacrificed this way.

Speaking of Misa de Gallo, I am quite frustrated when I heard people saying "they are attending the mass and vow to complete it so that their wish will come true. Since my childhood years, my father never told me that way and with all honesty, the Catholic church's teaching is not something like that.

Misa de Gallo is a novena mass - the highest form of prayer and practiced by the Catholic community in preparation for the birth of the Lord or the commemoration of the birth of Jesus and as Catholics we are supposed to attend the mass because it's a celebration of the Holy Gospel, a Catholic duty, not because there's a wish we want to receive.

Wishes, indulgences, gifts, dreams, are part of our prayers but it does not mean we are only attending the Early Dawn Mass because we want these wishes to be granted, that's totally a bit down the track and not being encouraged.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

He's Just Not That Into You


To use the phrase from the book “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

“Things are really crazy right now. 
I’ve just got a ton of shit going on”!

One evening, I had a talk with one of my female best friends (well, of course all my best friends are females :-P) about, errrr, our monotone love life, funny isn't it? But the topic suddenly sprung from our mind while waiting for our meals to be served.

 I've never been into a relationship so this aspect of a human life is some sort of a dream, like wishing to fly to the moon. But I don't want to sound like a tormented damsel so I won't touch those sensitive issues of "why-I-am-forever-welded-in-one-corner" stuff. I've had enough of those in the past years and I am bloody tired confronting myself with all those dreary questions.

So, we just laughed it off, then our conversation geared towards something like ---- ahhh, wondering how to understand the complexities of a man's world. Darn! Our conversation was interrupted by a tray of food laid by the waiter so we did not pursue the topic and talked something else.

When I returned home, I pulled my old diary and checked all the entries I've written between 2009 to 2013. Sometimes, tripping down-memory-lane, through reading old diary entries, pacifies my exhausting day.

My gaze darted to one chapter where I unload emotional burden and suddenly remembered this book "He’s Just Not That Into You", Oh, crazy stuff! I've no copy with this book and no plan to buy one, I've just read few chapters of it somewhere.

I laughed at myself while recalling the content of this book, really, because it talks about, well, girls' excuses gauging men's actions. It's a bit funny, because it feels like, yeah, I am that jerk woman in that book, who sometimes creates excuses for a guy's actions.

In case, you are not familiar with this book, the opening chapter will really amuse your boring evening, although there’s a little kick in the abdomen:

“He’s the guy that’s so tired from work, so stressed about the project he’s working on. He’s just been through an awful breakup and it’s really hitting him hard. His parents’ divorce has scarred him and he has trust issues. Right now he has to focus on his career. He can’t get involved with anyone until he knows what his life is all about. He does not want to ruin the friendship. He wants to plan first for the future. God, he’s so complicated” blah blah blah!

How do you find it? Yeah, according to the book, this kind of man doesn’t exist in reality. He is just entirely made of girls’ excuses. 

Because although there’s really a guy that fits to the descriptions and stuck in that familiar situation, according to Greg, “If a man is really excited about someone, he can’t stop himself from wanting that someone and if that guy is attracted to his friend (girl of course), he wants to take it further and never think if the friendship will ruin or something".

If a man doesn’t say anything or no hint of any atomic reactor heating up in the horizon, well, there's only one clear explanation, "He is just not that into you". So stop making excuses with his actions, don’t over analyze, because the plain truth is, if he does not say anything or if he continues to dither, only one thing is sure -> He is just not that into you!

And according to the book “Almost all guys will rather choose to cut their arms in a window of a city bus than admit to a woman straight to her face that he is not attracted to her or she’s still not the one". So stop searching for reasons why someone has not make any move. The truth is, He is simply not just into you.

After reading few chapters, I had a good laugh that evening, not because those hints are so real but because of the humor of the author. I learned so many tips writing a hilarious manuscript! Heaven the book is so wonderfully written and very entertaining, the content is ultra-funny, full of comical anecdotes. Hmmm, I want to write something like that, of course with a different topic, I am not expert tackling issues about relationship as I have never been into it.

Here's a nice quote from that book which I read from Good Reads hehe:

“If a guy truly likes you, but for personal reasons he needs to take things slow, 
he will let you know that immediately. He won’t keep you guessing, 
because he’ll want to make sure you don’t get frustrated and go away.” 



Did I say, don't over analyze? Yes, don't attempt to fabricate stories, don't ever think it is attributed to someone, I just can't help but be amused with this book because the writing style is very unique, it caught attention!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Sulky


Cool weather. Rain. Storm. Typhoon. Whatever it is that runs havoc in the environment, I am unconcerned. I've my own battle to conquer too than think how the environment would be torn into pieces for the next 10 hours.

It's Christmastime and I am shrinking. I'm used to it anyway. Each end of the year, it feels like something deep inside is slowly disintegrating. Empty. Missing. Wretched. But it will come to pass anyway just like each year. So this little weird feeling is nothing but just a vicious cycle. Like those damaging typhoons that made a regular visit to the country as the year approaches its final phase.

The feel of the holiday rush looks like invading my system in a different way. I feel sorry about myself and begin to recount years of my life where I have to wish something. Something that could never be realized. It's pretty sad to finally accept the fact that I am destined for nothing.


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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Haru Sushi Bar and Yoshinoya


When it comes to dining style, my preference is always oriental especially Japanese cuisine, I love the way meals are prepared, simply scrumptious and in small proportions only! I don't like bulk set of meals. I am not fond of buffet or those restaurants offering American or Latin dishes and except for pasta concoction, European dishes also never appeal me.

Here are some of the most interesting Japanese restaurants I recently visited in the metro.


Haru Sushi Bar and Restaurant
21 West Capitol Drive
Kapitolyo, Pasig, Metro Manila
Tel No: (02) 631-0597

I like the quaint location of this Japanese restaurant within Kapitolyo, Pasig, very intimate and yet conducive for dining. The atmosphere is very Japanese, from food staff who wear kimono, to table arrangement, cutlery and restaurant interior and the Sushi bar looks enticing!

Gyoza and Spider roll maki
Chicken Teriyaki with mayonnaise and shredded vegetables

Items in the menu are equally delightful especially Gyoza and the shredded vegetables, Spider roll maki tastes good but not as excellent as I expected it to be. The only downside thing of this restaurant is the parking area, if you will come to this place and you're bringing your car, you will have a hard time looking for a parking space so be prepared for a worst scenario. 


With former university colleagues, Kathy and Rowie, at Cafe Juanita

Haru Sushi Bar and Restaurant opens from 11AM to 10PM. It is located just beside Cafe Juanita, a cafe house that offers finest Filipino dishes with a western twist. We also visited this cafe house taking a dessert (Creme Brulee) after our lunch at Haru. Cafe Juanita has an ultra luxurious interior with glittery embellishments but under a Filipino culture atmosphere, Filipino cultural songs are being played on the background. 

Tofu
When I am in a Japanese restaurant, I always finished 
my meal with a cup of Green Tea!

Here's how I rate Haru at the scale of 5 where 1 is the worst:

1. Convenience (looking for the area): 3 due to its very remote location, which is a bit far from the main thoroughfares of the metropolis
2. Parking Space: 3 the place has a narrow/small parking area
3. Value of your money (meal rates/prices): 4 Affordable compared to other Japanese resto under the casual dining style
4. Ambiance: 5 if you're looking for a quiet place and somewhat cozy and intimate
5. Food: Between 3 and 4 


Yoshinoya
2nd Floor, Glorietta 1
South Drive, Ayala Center
Makati City
Tel No: (02) 625-3662

Yoshinoya's signature recipe is Gyudon or beef bowl but when we dined there last November 16 we opted to choose bento combo meals because the set is more affordable and comes in assorted goodies. I chose the tempura set with rice, tiramisu and vegetable salad. 

Bento set consists of rice, tempura, 
vegetable salad and a slice of tiramisu
All-time favorites: Green Tea juice and California Maki

Unlike most of Japanese restaurants in the metro, Yoshinoya has a fast food ambiance, a type of atmosphere that's so familiar to Filipino diners, not intimidating to budget-conscious people. Sometimes when we think about Japanese restaurant, we easily attach it to "costly" and "expensive" sort of things, but Yoshinoya is not, it is very affordable and the meals are ultra satisfying. 

My rating for Yoshinoya at the scale of 5 where 1 is the worst:

1. Convenience: 5 because it can be found in almost all leading shopping malls in the metro
2. Parking Space: 4 depends on which branch are you visiting
3. Value of your money (meal rates/prices): 5 very affordable
4. Ambiance: 3 because it's a fast food atmosphere and quite noisy 
5. Food: Between 4 and 5

Yoshinoya has ten branches around Metro Manila, check its different locations here