May 17, 2019

I am grateful for

Brugges, Belgium 2019

Ten things I am grateful for:

  • The time to break a sweat in the gym in order to enhance my mood, drain some fats (!!) and be assertive.
  • The free will to live my life the way how I want it every single day. 
  • Easy access to listen to podcasts. I am binging on 'The Linya Linya Show' and 'Wake Up With Jim & Saab'.
  • Great books - I just had finished reading 'The Kite Runner' and loved it! I'm planning to watch the movie later in the day.
  • My connection to the internet in order to feel my family's presence although I am miles away from home.
  • A safe place to live in.
  • The people I've met for the last 4 years that I have lived in Dubai.
  • Knowing that I will come home soon to be with family.
  • A job that gives me satisfaction.
  • Food on the table.

May 5, 2019

Life Lately | 6

Apart from trying to lose some extra weight (simply because I cannot afford to buy new clothes if those won't fit anymore), I have been challenging myself to have a work-and-life balance. 

For quite a few months earlier (or should I say the past year?!), I have been always thinking about work. It has been 24/7 in my mind. I think I am just too passionate about what I do which is a good thing. However, I also wasn't able to do more fun stuff or more me time. So in order to change that, I slowly reset myself to balance these two things. So far, I think I am back on track. These past few weeks, I was able to leave work behind at 6 pm on weekdays and proceed with my personal things after that. Although I want to prepare my to-do list before I start my week again but that is fine because I want to prepare everything ahead. That's my way to stay organized :)

Let me have a rundown of some highlights in the past three months:
  1. New Year 2019 - I spent my New Year's back home in Davao with my family and friends. I am forever grateful to finally celebrate it with the people dear to my heart. 
  2. Traveled to France, Belgium, and a bit of Netherlands - I had a lovely time during this whole trip! It's such a meaningful trip as well as I met new people and someone dear to me.
  3. My first business meeting in Oman, Muscat. I am very grateful for this opportunity to have learned more about the company and met great people from different luxury hotel brands. 
  4. Got promoted - can't say more about this. I am just forever grateful!
Today, I just booked a staycation with my family in two weeks! How exciting to pretend like tourists in this city! I am so excited about that! And I'm planning to go back home in July. Hopefully, that will push through. xx

May 4, 2019

ice breaker #15: what are the advantages and disadvantages of your age and career?

Living on your own is quite liberating. I think being in your 20s is the most interesting part of life since this is the age where you can do whatever you want in order to "find yourself" and "know yourself" more.

Having a career in the travel industry really helped me get inspired more on what I like best. I never thought  I would land a job that somehow relates to things close to me - blogging, travel, and techy stuff. Although it's not blogging per se. It's more on managing content for a travel website and as a graduate of Computer Engineering, I guess what I have now is a perfect combo that I can ever land into. I'm forever grateful.

One of the challenging parts is not knowing until when you are able to stay. There is no way for me to stay longer where I am now due to visa restrictions and even though it is mostly based on my employer - as long as I have the contract then I can stay. One of the challenges would be a career path. It's normal human behavior to always strive for the best possible opportunities. Although I have no concrete plans yet, I know that for as long as I feel satisfaction on what I do, I can stay. 

I am two years more until I say goodbye to 20s - I wonder what my 30s would bring me.

March 29, 2019

yearning for something more

Right at this moment, I am yearning for more words. I am yearning to gather my thoughts from within that I can write down here because this is what this space is all about -- words. Life has been interesting as it goes... looking back to the last 28 years, it has been a share of good and bad memories. And no matter how much you try to move the fulcrum to make Happy things go higher than the rest, life will always put an amount on the other end to keep it balanced. "You can never be too happy in this life", a reference to Eraserhead's Fruitcake.

You can be content with what you have and when you are, then I guess you should be fine. Am I content with what I have right now? Yes, I guess except I am missing family and friends with me. Four years and I still haven't really gotten used to living here although I manage to survive every day with the same routine, at some point, I find myself yearning for the good old days.

I feel lucky for having the chance to travel less than two hours to visit my sister and her husband over the weekend and go home at least once a year for at least two weeks to see everyone back home. I have never really felt homesick although I do not really know how it should feel exactly.

But being here gave me the chance to live on my own and, honestly, I feel having more freedom to travel everywhere. I have been to different countries and that has changed how I see everything as time goes by. It's such a great gift to be able to travel - I guess I suppose that's the best part of living here.

Even though it feels like life here is stable, I still feel that I need to get out of here somehow. I am not yearning precisely to what I used to have but for something new, that's going to change my life forever. I want to give it a try. Someday.

January 12, 2019

an intro for twenty nineteen

I think I forgot how to write. Worse, I let myself abandon the idea of writing. Some days, mostly when I am under the weather, I would tell myself that I am going to write something. But ever since I let myself bask into microblogging tools, I instantly think it would take too much time for me to write. So I go on my phone and constantly tap, tap, scroll, scroll. It never ends.

Here I am, sitting and listening to jazz on a January afternoon. So what's the agenda for today's blog? No idea. I think I will just go on and on just like the old days. There is something in letting the words come out of your head. It calms me down. And this is exactly what I miss.

There are several reasons why I have been blogging for quite a while now: I want to have something to write down my thoughts by which I think I have written mostly about my day; just like what you write in a diary. At some point, I used blogging to connect with other people and brands. I was part of a blogging community back in Davao. It was great to be part of a community, know bloggers whose very passionate about writing, and work with brands, as well. Also, I think I have made my blog more interesting with my book reviews. I loved receiving books from authors and in return, I would review them here (and on Goodreads). Ever since I wrote about my adventures and this will never change. Speaking of adventure, I guess I have traveled everywhere but never really had the chance to write them down. And I will forever be proud of the recipes, mixtapes, arts, and crafts that are in this space. I was everywhere, and I think that's what being in your late teens and early twenties is all about.

I want to make something out of this blog. No, I am not making this a commercial space. But, I want to make something more of how it used to be. I hope my 2019 will have more time for writing down my thoughts, travels, and everything else.

This year, I will be twenty-nine. Not sure how to feel about this. Should it suppose to make me feel pressured since this will be my last year of being in my twenties? Being thirty scares me but I think it should be fine if twenty-nine isn't too intimidating. This morning I stumbled upon a phrase that says "Life is not a race." This is true. Sometimes my mind says to take it easy but also, it constantly asks me, "what's next for you?"

But then we should just let life unfold. Just like this cliche: it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. I guess this year will be more of always taking the high road and just enjoy the ride.

More thoughts to come. xx

July 6, 2018

Backpacking Diary - ThaiCamViet 2018 - Cambodia to Vietnam

Going from point A to point B should be easier by plane but cheaper by land. For some of us, we want to save as much as we can on transportation and indulge more on food, shopping, etc. This was the mindset we had for our Angkor, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam trip. We opted in for a land trip from Angkor to Phnom Phen and finally Ho Chi Minh. During the day. It took us about six hours as compared to an hour or so plane ride. But we were in for the experience!

We had a view of Tonle Sap which is a fresh water lake in Cambodia.


A few stretches here and there and then it was time for another long ride. The ride was not bumpy at all so it was not a problem to sit on the tail of the bus where we met a fellow traveller who was on her way to Phnom Pehn. She knew we were headed to Vietnam and so, since she is a Vietnamese, she has mostly given us tips on what to do and what not to do when we arrive in Ho Chi Minh. As well as Phnom Pehn, actually.


From then on, we had assumed that Phnom Pehn is just like Manila - harsh and familiar (except that it was our first time so there was no familiarity, at all). To be honest, it was the unlikeliest place I have been to. Unfortunately, we did not give this city a chance to be discovered (and hopefully liked) within a few hours of our stay.


We walked around the hotel's neighbourhood and found a Chinese restaurant. The food was amazing! My rice and pork bowl felt like home. Seriously!


We spent a few hours eating and talking about life - in general. We went back to our hotel and since we are not going out anyway, we had another pint. The moon was beautiful that night.


We spent the night away on the rooftop bar of our hotel mostly talking about our future endeavors. Although we may have chosen to stay in, it felt like it was a perfect time to actually sit and wind down after days of being out there. It was the time to stay still as another adventure begins the next day.


Then - we started to think that the hotel room was a bit spooky. Just for fun. And then we snoozed...


Now we are off to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam!


Phnom Pehn, thanks for the easy night!


And then our Vietnam journey begins...

June 12, 2018

Backpacking Diary - ThaiCamViet 2018 - Cambodia



Siem Reap to me is rich in history. Just like any other city in the world but this one is one of the places I have been to that makes me indulge into reading history books.


It felt to me that it was a must to visit Siem Reap if you are wandering around Asia. Though it was a small city, having only three nights is not enough for me (at least). Sure, you can visit the temples of Angkor in one day but it is not enough to grasp everything there is to see in that compound let alone the whole city. 


I arrived in Siem Reap at night and could not wait to meet my best friend and the adventure that awaits us. The tuktuk ride from the airport to the hostel felt so familiar - the crisp and fresh evening air that brushes against your face, the bragging sound of the motorcycle on a highway as if it was the only vehicle on the road, the open fields in between luxury hotels, and the smell of a bonfire on the front yard of some houses, it felt like it was home. 


Lok Lak - this was the first food I ate in Siem Reap. It was basically just braised (though not sure) pork and rice. I think this was mostly what I ate during our stay in Siem Reap. We stayed a few steps away from Pub Street so basically it was difficult to sleep at night when you are surrounded by loud music everywhere. I remember they played Usher's Yeah but they also played John Denver's Country Roads. So it was not too bad. 


We witnessed the sunrise at Angkor Wat and then visited a couple of temples around Angkor. Here's a list of temples that we visited: Angkor Wat, Bayon, Preah Khan, Ta Som, Pre Rup and Ta Prohm.


We saw a few tourists who carried books around the temple. My best friend told me that some people stay at least five days to see everything and the book might include a history for each temple and some glimpses of the bygone empire. I never really had the chance to read about the temples or even documentaries to explain what happened in such an amazing place before my trip. But after this trip, I drowned myself with some documentaries and therefore I came to know that the whole compound was once a modern town from centuries ago. And some more interesting facts. Such is their water management and irrigation system which is believed to be the reason why it is abandoned - due to failure of maintenance and climate change.


Witnessing both sunrise and sunset was an amazing experience in Angkor. I am glad to witness a whole day of a beautiful distraction from the city life that I am used to. And I am going to treasure this day forever. I've had blisters around my feet (from walking too much and wearing the same sandals since day one in Thailand) and it was getting too uncomfortable to walk around, but seeing the whole day end with a golden sunset, it was all worth it. 


This life has too many complexities that sometimes we forget to step back and take another route. For some reason, unconsciously, we kind of like going around the same circle. But I am glad that I took that trip and always grateful for my best friend for coming along, for the strangers we have met, for the friendly tourists who took pictures of us, for the chance to visit another place, and for those moments that make us humble.


By having visited Angkor and witnessed its uniqueness, we celebrated this small victory over a small pint of beer. Actually, two... and then some.

June 1, 2018

Backpacking Diary - ThaiCamViet 2018 - Thailand

 

When I was a little girl, I wandered around my village with a few of my friends on one sunny afternoon. We walked along the shore line, walked across a big canal on a narrow log bridge which connected the North and South villages, and rock climbed a big man-made wall and found ourselves victorious. We ate ice cream all the way back home.


Every time I think about that day and all the other adventures I had since then, I always find myself asking where to go next. In the later months of 2017, I wanted to do backpacking around some parts of Indochina. I wanted to go to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I wanted to get lost in there, I wanted to see it, and there I was waiting for cheap tickets for my pre-booked annual leave in the office. I think sometimes when I see a cheap ticket, I take it as a sign to really go and visit the country. Heh.


I did not prepare much at all. Except for a list of places I want to go but nothing too detailed as how do I go from point A to point B. I just wanted to go. I packed a few clothes and got lost in a those cities. I was scared. I was excited. I was looking forward to that journey.


It was a Tuesday and I left straight from work to the airport via train. Arrived at the airport and approached the check-in counter. The lady who gave me my boarding passes asked me "backpacking?" and I openly responded, "uhm, first time.". She smiled and mentioned she just came back from a Europe trip with only a backpack and stressed that "...we should travel solo at least once in our lifetime. It's an amazing experience. Have a safe journey and enjoy!" That's when I got more and more excited to fly!


Bangkok, Thailand - I landed around 11 in the morning. I did not have any idea how to go from the airport to my hostel but I managed to find a shuttle bus that goes to Khao San Road. My hostel is not on this road but I know that when I reach there, I can walk two blocks to arrive to my hostel. So it was fine. The plan was to see the city as much as I can therefore I walked a lot during this trip. Thanks to GPS technology - I swear it helped me navigate better as I am really, really bad at directions.


I approached the bus lady to drop me off along Khao San Road but she seemed she did not get what I was trying to say and instead kept nodding her head and pointing to the current location we were in. So, I smiled and went back to my seat. Surprisingly though, I was not scared at all. I went back to my seat and wanted to laugh at myself. "What am I doing with my life? Ha ha ha" A guy approached me and said he is also stopping at the same road so I should get off the bus with him. He introduced himself and mentioned that he just came from backpacking around Russia and Israel and decided to spend some time in Thailand before going back home. He was kind enough to walk me towards my hostel and talked about his inspiring travels along the way until we had to separate ways when we arrived at my hostel. 


I took a nap and freshened up and started my journey around Khao San Road, Soi Rambutrri and neighboring alleys with my camera. I wandered around, watched the sunset at Santi Chai Prakan park and found myself eating a Pad Thai for dinner along Soi Rambutrri. A guy approached me and asked if he can interview me regarding some market research. I am aware that I am making myself vulnerable that moment but I am glad I said "sure". Otherwise, I would not know another person who is passionate about travel to the point of developing a travel app for solo travelers. It was a combo to have delicious food, great local music sang by a local artist, and talking to a local whose passion is almost the same as mine. Then, we had to separate ways. I walked towards my hostel and took a different route which was near the Chao Phraya river and saw locals having dinner along the quiet street, a few tuktuks passed by as compared to the opposite alley and most of the local shops are now closed. 


The next day was my last day in the city and my first breakfast at a local guest house. It was great to witness the city as it was slowly waking up and the Phra Sumen road was getting busier while the tuktuks are taking over the streets. I had breakfast outdoors and surrounded by potted plants and an almost grey sky hovering above me. However it did not rain that day. I wanted to visit the temples: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. I managed to visit all of them by walking and riding a boat. The temples looked amazing. I wish I had read more about them but I have selected some documentaries on the side that I can watch on my free time. Finished my Bangkok trip at the upper class neighbourhood and met up with my high school friend, Dawn.



We spent around an hour in one of the coffee shops in Siam Paragon. As both of us are expats in different countries, we were mostly talking about the challenges and joys of being one. It was great to see her and know her journey which is almost the same as mine. Then headed towards the airport via train and bus.


My time spent in Bangkok was too short but I am glad that I saw the main attractions in the city (at least). From the time I landed to the time I left, never did I felt too scared about getting lost in this city. It was a lovely trip. It was very liberating to see unfamiliar places, talk to strangers, and having conversations about A to Z. I would love to go back soon.
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