Just Because I’m A Filipino Doesn’t Mean I Have to Be A Filipino. Always.

My workmates asked to have some beer sessions after work and my un-Filipino mind instantly replied “maybe next time”. Having born in this traditionally driven society, my mouth said yes and took their request as it would be very un-Filipino of me not to oblige them as saying yes to a beer drinking request is a sign of Filipino respect.

I’m not saying that drinking is bad and that I dislike people who drink. It’s just that drinking is not my cup of tea. Take me to biking, swimming in the beach, camping in the forest and I would surely oblige you.

This is a classic example of a Filipino getting forced to do something out of sheer Filipino custom. Back in my mind, I never really wanted to drink but because my Filipinoness said yes, I got nowhere else to go.

 

NOWHERE ELSE TO GO.

 

Have you ever tried questioning what you do because of tradition?

Did it come to your mind that you’re being forced to do something because of your Filipinoness?

Here’s an idea.

How about if your Filipinoness limits you from reaching to the next big thing or when you plan to step up your game.

Is that possible? Could our culture, passed down from our Lolos and Lolas to our papas and mamas, be a force to drag us down? Or remain steady?

Back in school, I learned that culture helps nurturing a man’s identity. I could never agree more to this belief as my culture and heritage is important to me personally. In fact, when I travel, I make it a point to go to a market since it is one indicator of a culture. I could literally be in the market all night, if not tired, just to experience what’s like to be in a new place.

Though culture is important for me. I firmly think that I do not need to follow my culture all the time. In this sense, my Filipinoness. Why? By completely reading this, you will know what my reasons are and why I feel this.

  1.  The Just-Agree-Attitude

My friend works in a foreign country and her boss makes her and other Filipinos work on things that are beyond their job description. She said that their bosses in their company would like to hire Filipinos more or ask Filipinos more than other foreign nationals because Filipinos don’t complain. At least publicly. Personally, I think it’s okay to work hard but doing other things not part of my job description is unacceptable. Maybe one or two times would be fair. But doing more than I should is a red flag. Some Filipinos are afraid of the higher authority (boss, the rich, foreigners) to the point of just agreeing outside even if they feel bad about it inside. They agree without questioning.

Popular expression of this is “Agree nalang para way gubot.”

  1.  The Fear of Asking Questions

You are in a class or conference and the speaker talking in front call for questions. Normally, Filipinos would think twice asking questions publicly because it would be an insult to the person being asked. Especially, if it’s an elderly or someone of high authority. In traditional classes, students feel discouraged to raise questions and probe more about the lessons discussed because they received insults from their teachers before when they tried. Some teachers would go beyond saying “Are you questioning my intelligence?” This situation becomes a traumatic experience to students making them feel questioning is never good. When it fact, questioning breeds answers and wisdom.

  1.  Question to Insult

Opposite from the latter is when Filipinos question to find fault and shame to the speaker. Yes, it’s real. At times when speakers and reporters are done, some Filipinos would intentionally drill the speakers with questions to make them look as a joke in front. Generally, Filipinos think of asking questions as a sign of making a situation worse or to be exact the person’s situation worse. So, if someone doesn’t like the reporter, it’s possible that he be given tons of questions even if the questioner knows the answer. So, to make things easier, Filipinos won’t ask questions. This answers why Filipinos seldom or don’t ask questions.

For me, it’s okay to ask questions as long as your intention is to know more and probe the ideas discussed.

Plainly accepting views without validation is ignorance.

  1.  The Feeling of Inferiority

When I was standing on a moving bus going to Samboan, I was like the patty in a burger. A Filipino lady stood before me and a white national in my back. Waiting for some passengers to take off the bus as it arrived in Badian, the Filipino conductor, knowing there’s one vacant seat, offered straight the seat to the white national, completely ignoring us Filipinos in front. I’m not the one to give in easily, so I immediately took the seat for myself. For me, the conductor was completely being indirectly discriminatory.

Because of colonial mentality, Filipinos indirectly feel little in the presence of other foreigners especially towards the whites.

  1.  The Beating-Around-the-Bush

Let me start off by saying, I am a criminal to this sometimes. We, Filipinos, oftentimes don’t say what we really want to say. So, we can say yes even if it’s no. We say yes so much but we don’t really mean it. Personally, I am so used to this that it wouldn’t bother me so much but sometimes they do. A homeowner and I had an appointment of me seeing her house to rent. Our appointment was supposed to be in a particular day but she couldn’t see me so it changed to tomorrow. Tomorrow came and it’s already 5 pm. I received no calls and texts she also didn’t respond to my calls and texts. I ended up waiting from lunch to 5 pm. Why couldn’t she just be honest? Makes everything so much easier.

 

 

Here are some reasons why I don’t always have to be a Filipino. How do these stop us in stepping up our game? These habits are a wall simply because they are inhibitions and confusions. When we are confused, our mind gets interrupted of the function of reasoning and our actions pause or becomes impulsive.

You have probably experienced these things also. I know you have more to offer about Filipino practices that seem to slow the process of getting to the next big thing. Have you wondered why you do these things? If you do get bothered a lot, why do you keep on doing them?

If you agree with me and believe this too yourself, it’s high time to question the practices of our culture. To question doesn’t make us less of a Filipino or betray our ancestry. This is the time where we have to question the common practices of Filipinos that seem to weaken us internally affecting our decisions limiting our success. Besides, not every practice is good just because it’s a habit or a part of culture.

 

Note: This is not a representation of all Filipinos. This is just a personal observation as a Filipino myself. Therefore, you may agree or disagree or maybe comment your opinion.  It’s always fun to ask questions and learn more than plainly receiving everything without validating.
Disclaimer: The feature photo is lifted from http://www.idreamedofthis.com/2013/11/27/what-i-really-think-of-the-philippines/ authored by Nathan Allen. I do not intend to use the photo as my own. All credit for the photo belongs to the owner himself.

Moalboal: My Hometown, My Home

I was thinking of the next topic I would write about and then I was being reminded that I haven’t written about my place yet. At that reminder, it dawned on me like a loud knock on the door, at the same time, the reality that Moalboal has been overly commercialized that it doesn’t need any writing at all.

It is a popular tourist destination for snorkeling, diving and the beach which have made Moalboal weekends bustling with tourists from Filipinos to other nationalities. However, though, if I don’t write about my place, I got a feeling that I am betraying my own town. That’s why I am writing this.

So, what am I going to write about my place aside from diving and the beach that you haven’t known, seen or done so much yet? I doubt if there’s still a place here that you don’t know yet so I decided to share the things I like doing and staying in Moalboal.

Transportation

Moalboal is a 3-hour ride from the Cebu City if you take the bus in South Bus Terminal or Librando Trans. You may also take a v-hire (van hire) in Junquera St. which is 30 minutes or 1 hour faster than the bus. Take your pick whatever suits you.

Bus fare                               –                              115 php

V-hire fare                          –                              100 php

When you step outside the bus or v-hire, drivers are going to surprise you with different ways of wooing you to get you to choose them as your ride which can be irritating.

Here’s a tip, get inside the market first and ask a local (vendor, etc.) about the regular fare before choosing a ride. That’s when you can only choose a ride and never ask the driver about the fare because they will normally ask more from tourists.

Note that habal-habal and tricycles are most popular modes of transportation.

Accommodation

One thing you have to consider coming here is the place you stay. An advantage of choosing Moalboal to visit is, surely, you will not have a problem finding accommodation as this is a tourist destination and there are a lot of places to stay.

However, being a tourist destination can also have a drawback. Rooms rates here are pretty high because of the influx of tourists. And one thing, the rates could be confusing as there are no fixed rates to some hostels, backpackers and inns. For walk-in travelers, sometimes rates may vary depending on how you look. I know this is a bit disappointing.

As a local, I advise you to book your accommodation ahead of time and be very good at haggling with these people. If you want a more trusted accommodation though that follows fixed pricing, go to hotels and resorts in best quality I can assure which are also a lot in Moalboal but with higher pricing also. You can search them all in the web.   

Language

Back in my freshman year in high school, my friends and I from Moalboal would wonder why our classmates from Badian say “dalagan” for “dagan” and “kalamay” for “kamay”. It used to be a point of argument between Moalboal and Badian students in our class. As a language student, this definitely fascinates me that Moalboalanon’s dialect may only be bisaya with mostly no “L” in the far south excluding Barili and Carcar. You may go elsewhere in the far south, you will surely hear words with “L”.

How did this happen? Personally, I think it’s also because of our tourism. Go to Basdaku beach on the weekends, you will see that the people who are there are from the urban areas of Cebu whose bisaya also omits “L”. I guess the influence started from there.

Just a point of clarification, I’m not saying that we don’t use “L” and that our bisaya is better than others’. I believe there’s no such thing as that. Also, there are some Moalboalanos who use “L” just like “balas” for “bas”.

Thouhgn not all, we actually have an accent too but I lost mine when I studied and worked in the city.

Places to Visit

IMG_20160828_195002

Bugho

You like to jog and bike with clean air and less vehicle? Bugho is definitely for you. It is upper part of Moalboal still close to the town center and is a great place for biking and jogging. It’s a bit steeply but just enough for your sweat to come out. A bonus in going here is the great view of sunset in the west, showing different shades of the sun which I like to view that’s why I start jogging at 5.

20160407_173420

Tulay

At first, when you get there, you might probably wonder why I included it because what you will only see is a bridge. As your eyes start to wander, you will begin to see the natural beauty surrounding tulay with picture perfect sky, seascape and landscape. Each side of tulay is the sea which Moalboalanons, though only very few now, plunge under the sun.

In the east, is the green mountains of Moalboal and its neighboring towns, looking so near you feel like you could touch them.

Sunsets are one of the things I like to photograph, so sometimes when I bike I go there to see the mixture of red, orange and yellow sun in the west.

There’s more than the sunsets in Tulay. At night, if you’re lucky that the weather is fine, your eyes will be in awe because above you is the sea of stars, twinkling brilliantly. And if you stay longer and you’re luckier, fallings stars are the next thing your eyes will capture.

With your friends, you’re there to sit and enjoy the view that Tulay offers to you.

Restaurants

If restaurants are what your taste buds are craving for being away from the city, Moalboal has a lot to offer majorly located at Basdiot, a barangay in Moalboal 3 km away from the town center. Restaurants offer wide array of choices when it comes to food. Most common are pizza, pasta, pancakes, coffee, shakes etc.

Here’s my pick in restaurants:

Basdiot

Last Filling Station (best tasting food) (no photo)

Veranda (if you want to relax with soothing music)

Chili Bar (if you want to socialize)

20170521_171606

Town Center

3 Crowns (best banana shake in Moalboal)

Pizzeria Michelangelo (foreigners’ pizza place)

Gador (most foreigners’ pizza place) (no photo)

20160501_163920

Budlot Spring Resort

If you want recluse, Budlot Spring is definitely for you. It’s far from the hustle and bustle of crowded tourists in the beach and diving area. By bike or by car, you will get there and experience the alone time you like. Since it is a resort, be reminded though, that the spring is mixed with disinfectants.

The spring looks like a swimming pool and not really that big of a pool though in pictures you may look at it as one. The resort also has got cottages for your overnight stay. There’s also like a mini restaurant inside where you can order some food and refreshment. But still, it is still advisable to buy food from the town center to quench your thirst for food.

If you want fresh spring though, you may walk down from the resort and you will find a natural cold spring, cold as ice. Near the vicinity of the resort, you will also see flowing water.

20161229_102324

Busay Spring & Cave         

Busay is a pretty bigger cave compared to other caves in Cebu. At the entrance is the clear cold spring which you can take a dip and have a swim with the locals. Also, the spring is our major source of water in Moalboal. I know what you’re thinking, drinking water and swimming in one? Don’t worry there’s particular big tubes that separate our drinking water from the swimming area.

Walking beyond the swimming area is completely dark so your phone’s flashlight app can definitely help. While inside, you will hear hundreds of squeaking bats. It takes more or less than 10 minutes to get to the endpoint of the cave but despite its shortness, it is definitely wide inside.

Entrance fee                      –                             20 php

Motor ride                          –                             50 php

Travel Tips

A day visit in Moalboal or any place is never enough if you really want to know and understand the place. As much as possible, I make it a point to have at least an overnight stay.

Why not enough? I don’t travel to places just to take a photo of the most famous landmark or to say that I was there. That’s why when I visited Kuala Lumpur, I got dissatisfied for I stayed only for a few hours.

I travel to talk to locals, to eat at the market, to swim in the falls and beaches, to ride a bike, to jump over the cliff, to marvel at the plants and trees, to sit and watch a beautiful scenery not minding what time it is, and to take pictures.

Once I learn, I get to share this to people around the world and create a network of information so that we could, somehow, bridge the gap amongst peoples.  Who knows? This information might just come in handy. And, I guess that’s what’s travelling is about – learning and sharing.

Next time, it won’t hurt if you take an overnight stay. Just plan your itinerary ahead.

First Timer in Camotes

20170426_170522Photo taken in the road to Poblacion, San Franciso

I had a team building workshop at CTU – Danao and received certificate of participation. Before the workshop, I already told myself that I had to take some time off away from my busy schedule in school even just for a short while. I know a place near Danao that I’ve been telling my friends to go but the place would just not come out in mind as we think of places to visit. I already pre-planned to go to Camotes and luckily there are participants from Camotes in the workshop that I asked info of.

Wednesday came and I packed my bag together with the infos I collected. I directly rode a tricycle to Danao Port and rode a ferry to Consuelo, a brgy. in San Francisco, Camotes. That’s how I got to the beautiful island of Camotes – the place of no return. Legend has it that when you get to Camotes, you can no longer leave the place because there you will get stuck with a man or woman and get married. Well, I got out of Camotes free from any bond so it’s probably just a legend. Joking.

20170427_065320Photo taken in San Franciso, going to Poro, next municipality.

Transportation

Camotes is mostly cheap to visit with the exception of transportation. One thing you need to consider is the remoteness of different modes of transportation. Since there’s only bike (habal-habal) to take you to places, they’ll charge tourists a bit higher especially if you plan on changing from one bike in going to places. For sure, you’ll end up paying a thousand more. For locals, the minimum fee is at 10 pesos which is still a big amount if you ask me. There’s even a signage there in the street “Save Money. Get a Bike.”  That’s the reason I rented a bike for the whole day.

You can rent a bike alone or bike with a driver/tour guide at 500 pesos from morning at 7 am to 5 PM. That’s how it works in Camotes. Pretty upsetting actually but if you know how to talk it out, then you can experience more of it. Like me, I got the bike at 6PM until 6 PM the following day.

If you don’t like to take the hassle to find a bike and you want to save money, you can bring your own bike or vehicle by bringing them in the ferry with extra payment. Gas stations are well located in the whole island, so it’s not gonna be a problem finding one and plus the presence of small business gas in softdrink bottles are countless in the major roads. Hope that inspires you.

One thing that vehicle owners think twice in bringing their vehicle is the parking fee. Normally, you pay for every hour for a high cost in other parts of Cebu or the Philippines. In Camotes, it’s only 5 pesos for motorcycles and 10 pesos for four wheels the whole day. Isn’t that so cheap?

Accommodation

I was lucky to have known locals in Camotes, so I got free accommodation though it was not part of my plan at first.

Inquiries of inns and lodges (per person):

300 php                               room with fan

500 – 600 php                    room with AC

I heard from a local friend, there’s a 200-peso room also.

I wouldn’t have had free accommodation if it weren’t for my talking. When I got to Poblacion, San Francisco, I searched for cheap price rooms to stay until my tummy said I had to eat so I ran to the nearest restaurant. I inquired the waitress where to stay and the conversation had gotten longer until I talked about where I work and where I’m from. The odds were in my favour since her husband and someone I know are close friends and her husband annually visits my place, Moalboal. The waitress went to her husband and that was the start of my free accommodation.

When I was in the ferry, the sun was directly shedding its ray on my seat, so I decided to transfer to another spot. Normally, the easiest way for me to know a place is to talk and ask a lot of questions from locals. So, I stroke up a conversation with two ladies, trying to gather more details about the place. They both work at the Provincial Capitol as agriculturists. One of their assignments is in Tudela, another town in the Camotes Island. To cut the story short, the older lady offered me a place to stay if I would not find one. She actually has a house in San Francisco. So, on my second day, I stayed in her house together with the younger lady she was with and another lady whom Maam Mayette calls them adopted in San Francisco. That goes with me now.

It does pay to talk at a foreign soil. That’s how I got my accommodations.

GOPR1575.JPG            Talkative and active siblings I got a chance to talk to

People

What I love about the locals in Camotes is their knowledge about their place. Ask anyone (not the kids of course) and surely they’ll be able to respond with promptness and precision. I get the feeling of being welcome by being given correct responses from the locals showing their hospitality. One time, I entered Tudela Church and beside it were workers constructing a school building. I asked one about Bukilat Cave and said my thank-you after the conversation.  His response was a surprise “Ayo-ayo dong sa paglaag sa among lugar.” You will rarely get to hear this in travelling.

Really, asking information there is easy. It was just my first time to get there, but finding Camotes tourist spots was not hard at all and that’s thanks to the locals.

Places to Visit

You have a wide array of choices in the places you can visit. From caves to beaches to falls to lake, take your pick, they got it all laid down for you. The best thing is places in Camotes have relatively cheaper entrance fees than other places in the Philippines.  Entrance fees generally ranges from 10-20 pesos for adults and 5-10 pesos for kids. Can you imagine that? Here are some of the famous places to visit in Camotes.

   20170427_071522

Buho Rock Resort & Garden

This resort made its way to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by no less than Kathniel because of its view of the sea and cliff jumping. The sea view is without a doubt captivating and cliff jumping exhilarating however it upset me seeing the place being poorly managed as there are signs of broken materials, falling debris from old waste materials, and garbage in the vicinity itself. Filipinos love to go to places but don’t know how to care them.

20170427_084741

Caves   

Don’t expect the caves to be as grand as the Palawan cave. Bukilat cave is only a short walk from the entrance and is well-lighted in the inside you can see rock formations and stalagmites and stalactites. There are also sunrays brought about by the natural holes above the cave which brings you the feeling like a true 2nd world war military man as the cave used to be a hideout among folk locals in Camotes against the Japanese troops. You can swim in the cave at around 10 AM where the water gets higher.

20170427_132218

On the other hand, Timubu cave takes a bit longer walk and is dark in the entrance to the middle. For whatever is the reason, I have missed to ask that. But when you get to the area where there is water at 5 ft., the place becomes dimly visible because of the lights present. The swimming area is just enough where you can dip and paddle your feet a bit. Just be careful with the sharp rocks on your footsteps and knees though as I got my knee bumped on the hard rock.

20170427_101243

Busay Fall           

Busay fall is relatively small and has got a bearable coldness which does not surprise your skin when your body gets dipped in it. It’s safer compared to other falls because its floor is completely cemented and its highest water level is just a bit over 5 ft. Like many other falls, trees and plants surround Busay fall protected from the rays of the sun.

 20170427_143005

Lake Danao Park             

I must say it is a highlight among tourist spots. The lake is wide with dark bluish water complementing the sky above. A tourist area spot is never complete without activities. Water activities such as kayaking, sea cycling, boat ride and etc are also found in the park. Another attraction is horseback riding. After having fun with activities, you can just sip a banana shake and have halo-halo in restaurants and food stalls of various food assortments you can choose from. A plus factor of this place is the presence of customer service person ready to answer queries about the whole island of Camotes.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1541.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR1541.

Santiago White Beach   

I wish I had more time to stay at Santiago white beach. The beach is beautiful with white sand which is far stretched to the sea. Also, the water level is quite shallow which is safe to kids and non-swimmers to go for a dip. The cottages are located far enough from the sea that somehow gives the sea protection from unwanted human waste. Their designs are also made in congruent to each other creating the mind an idea of a well-planned place.  You can say that policies in the place are well-implemented as the beach has minimal garbage.

Baywalk

The baywalk is place where your friends and family can get together. Food stalls are present in the area showing the tastebuds of San Fracisco locals and its nightlife. You can also catch the clear sky above you, a rare activity which you can experience in the place and just enjoy as the night slowly envelopes the sky.

3-Day Itinerary

1st Day

2:30 – 4:30 PM at Danao Port to Consuelo Port, San Francisco, 180 php Jomalia shipping fee Economy

5:00 PM at Consuelo Port, ride the white bus (only bus taking you to Poblacion, San Francisco)

5:30 PM                              Dinner

6:00 PM                              Sleep

2nd Day

6:30 AM                              breakfast at the town

7:00 AM                              Buho Rock Resort & Garden, Poro, Camotes, 20 php entrance fee

8:00 AM                              Tudela Church

8:30 – 9:00 AM                  Bukilat Cave, Tudela, 10 php entrance fee

9:30 – 10:30 AM               Busay Falls, Tudela, 15 php entrance fee, cottage 150-200 php

11:00 AM                            Lunch at Poro Public Market

12:00 PM                            motor travel from Poro to Timubo Cave

12:30 – 1:30 PM                Timubu Cave

1:30 – 2:00 PM                  Motor travel to Lake Danao Park

2:00 – 3:30 PM                  Lake Danao Park, 15 php entrance fee

3:30 – 4:00 PM                  motor travel to Santiago White Beach

4:00 – 4:40 PM                  Swimming in Santiago White Beach

4:40 – 5:10 PM                  motor travel to Poblacion, San Francisco

5:10 – 6:00 PM                  Baywalk, Poblacion

6:00 – 7:00 PM                  Dinner

7:00 – 8:00 PM                  Baywalk, Poblacion

8:00 PM                              Room

3rd Day:

6:30 AM – 7:00 AM          Poro Port

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM   Oceanjet travel from Poro to Pier 1 Cebu City, 380 php tourist student fare

Lesson from the Trip

Be street-smart in travelling especially when you’re alone. I got free accommodations twice and I extended the normal usage time of my rented motorcycle because of it. Knowing what to talk and how to talk is street-smart.

Don’t let apprehensions lower your confidence down in going to new places. Apprehensions like getting lost can deter your chances of having a well-spent vacation. And if you’re lost, ask the locals, you would realize how they could be of great help in travelling. The moment you’re confused with directions, asking someone directly eases the apprehension.

Photos from the Trip

Our Own Remote Control

Every day our mouth expresses thousands of words to communicate. We use words to convey ideas and sentiments which is why words are integral part of communication in everyday life. It is inevitable to speak unless we have speech disabilities or undergoing a difficult situation and we want to be silent. However, the latter is only for the mean time. Time will come that we will have to speak. Words as being integral, they become influential in the way we think, the way we talk and the way we accept them.

I’m going to focus on how we accept words and how we are shaped because of them which can drive our decisions in life.

Words we hear come from the people we are living with. The way we accept words from someone depends on how we see the person is in our life. It will also matter whether or not the people’s opinion has a say to our mind. Because everyone is unique, we can have different levels of accepting others’ opinion. To simply point out my idea, “Do people’s opinion matter to us?” Answer this and we will know whether it affects us. This will determine how extent is the effect in accepting opinions.

How many of us are easily weakened by a person’s opinion? Or overwhelmed? To be more specific, who are those persons whose opinions matter? Why do they matter? And why do they even matter? Try to remember the times when someone says something and we become affected positively or negatively. Happy or sad, how much does it take to get through this? Are we being consumed by it?

Let’s talk about our loved ones – family, friends and partner. They are the people whom we share deep feelings and emotions with. What we have with them, I will call it deep connection. When we are in deep connection with someone, our thoughts synchronize that we can somehow detect if someone feels happy or sad. For example, when we feel the presence of our mother even if we haven’t seen her, and then all of a sudden we see her. I don’t have a name for that but I’m sure we know that feeling. It’s like there’s vibration that we can detect through airwaves.

During tough times, we go to these people, tell our trouble, ask for a hug or an advice and learn from them. Through deep connection, their opinions somehow become an obligation that what they will have to say matters. The reason for this is their opinions are coupled with emotions which I call deep connection. Then, we allow ourselves susceptible of their opinion by giving them authority to our life.

Now, what will happen when these people’s opinion becomes a negative reaffirmation of our self like when they say we could not do some things. I understand that this is done out of love and care, but if it invites a negative feeling then that becomes a red light. I believe there should be boundaries in showing love and care, the one which does not contain opportunities. What I am saying is there are times that even our loved ones can’t figure us out why we choose a path different from theirs, which is normal in relationships. Also, they will sometimes impose who we are, who we are to become and what we are to do. We are even guilty of doing this as well because of our prejudices.

But how much authority do we give to these people in our personal life? When I say personal life, it refers to our own self apart from being a member of a family, of a friendship and of a romantic relationship. Though we automatically associate our personal life to these people, we also have a life apart from them.  This life is something that only we can understand. I’m sure each of us has reservations no matter how close and open we are to a person. Manifestly, we exhibit it through our choices we take in life. In solitude, this life is exhibited through our talk to God, to the Universe, to ourselves or to whoever we talk to at tough times. Usually, these times we can no longer understand the things surrounding us. Personally, it’s actually one way of putting me to sleep.

Knowing that we a have life apart from everyone, we shouldn’t always be dictated by their opinion to our selves especially to the things that make us unique. With this uniqueness popularly called identity, we set our self apart from everyone. Remember blurting out “Why couldn’t you just understand?” to someone? Truthfully, no one is completely capable of understanding us not our family, friends and partner, not even ourselves.

Going back to my question, how extent do their opinion affect us? Are we regularly bothered because of the negative things they say? Because if we do, this relentless pain will slowly tear our life’s pieces down until the pieces will disintegrate and become cluttered and unassembled. We blame our self of our circumstance that we can’t have the things we want because we’re this, we’re that not knowing that if the people are okay to be them then it’s just as okay to be us. We are we. You are you. I am I.

It’s not an easy process to detach ourselves from the common things that bother us. Sometimes, at our weakest, when we thought we’ve grown past it, it will haunt and confuse us again. When this happens, I talk to God and that’s only when I can truly begin to listen to my true self. It’s the most comforting feeling we will ever get having someone to listen without the fear of judgment, ridicule and surprise. Though none will be able to completely understand us, God will.

Truth be told, opinions help shape our mind as there are parts of us that we miss to notice giving extra information about our personality and showing what areas to improve. Also, it helps us understand others’ lives to have an open mind and harmony in our society. In these ways, opinions I believe are relevant. But, they shouldn’t hamper our possibilities. Opinions must partly not completely create our persona and make our choices. After all, God gave our own remote control called free will to determine the kind of person we are. The question is who holds our remote control?

And if anyone says negatively on us, say this “I am holding my remote control.”

Work vs Adventure

           Work is our bread and butter. It’s work that provides some of the basic things we need in our life such as food, shelter and clothing. They are the things we can’t live without as without them, we might not be as healthy as we are now. Also, our world wouldn’t have been able to progress without the work that people, all throughout the ages, have continually provided for us that live here.

               However, it’s not only work that’s important. Sometimes, we have to hit the pause button of our remote to take a break and lie down in our backyard or maybe go to somewhere you haven’t gone yet. Have you tried being bummed out of work? You sure are. These are the times that we simply have to take a coffee, paddle our way out from work or pack our bags for some momentary travel away from the stresses that work gives us.

               Danilo Dela Calzada, a friend from Manila, originally from Argao, Cebu, said he works and “adventures” at the same time. I met him in going to the 7 falls of Mambukal Resort. He is a proud construction worker who has his own say of the assignment of his workplace and chooses places where he hasn’t gone yet especially places where he can have adventures. He never complained anything about the long and steep trek to get to 7th fall considering his age of early forties. One time, he tripped on our way to the top. A normal reaction would be like expressing vulgarity but his was a surprise, “I missed to document that in my action camera. That would have been an adventure.”

Here he is below.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1248.

               He’s currently assigned in Bacolod and plans to go to Palawan as his next assignment as there’s project coming there. Of course, I know what he meant when he said Palawan. Something I heard from him which I also practice in my life is, “Well, you may have a job but you’re tired and not happy”.

               Yes, work is important but it’s not everything. We need to be happy to work well. Happy mind means great work. So, what does this mean to us? When work becomes a drag, it wouldn’t hurt to hit the pause button of our remote and give yourself the day off – the adventure.

Not Everything in Travelling is easy

When travellers post beautiful photos, usually what comes to our mind is “How lucky this person is” or “I wanna travel already”. Truly, travelling is beautiful but it’s not at all easy. Well, it’s true that we go to places that most people don’t normally go. However, getting to those places is another story.

The most beautiful places are hard to find. Same goes with people. This is a popular belief which I’ve realized after seeing the most beautiful landscapes only found at the most remote areas. I’m talking about natural spots just to let you see in my own perspective. And sometimes, the most captivating sceneries can’t be seen in the destination, it’s in the most unexpected places in the journey that surprises my eye when it catches it and I can’t help but get my camera phone very quickly and take a snap or video if I want to.

As I always say, I like to travel in the most basic way. Cheap travels as I used it before. Talking about rides, I enjoy riding the motorcycle “habal-habal” or a tricycle, taking the bus or any public transportation or even hiking. I do this because I am able to see places the native way and it’s easier for me to talk about them when I share travel stories to people or social media.  And, as I mentioned above, the most beautiful places are hard to find which I mean difficult to go to. Am I not gonna go there because there were no comfortable ways of going there?

Going back to riding public transportation, I make a point to talk to someone and ask about the place, learning new things especially if you want to know about cool places, distance and fare price. Why ask the fare price? When you’re a tourist, most things go high especially the fare price. Also, when you’re in a public transpo like a bus, sometimes it would take you too long cause it’s full or overcrowded. But, when I got no option, I’d take it or else I’ll go back home. And that’s not gonna happen.

Some people have told me why not just buy a car, it’s really easier and comfortable. Well, there’s really comfort, less time waiting and nice chair with AC? But my always reply: What about the gas? The monthly or quarterly maintenance? The need to find a parking space? You can’t always have a 24-hour watch of it as compared to your feet. And talk about the places which can only be travelled on foot or by motorcycles.

In spite of that, being in these rides is not easy though. Not everything in travelling is easy. Sometimes in the whole ride, I’d stand, pushing for my space and defending it. I also run for the bus door and bargain with drivers. Out of exhaustion, I’d be a guard to those seats of passengers almost leaving. I got wet from rain sometimes. If I’m so fortunate, I get to sit with smelly passengers (haha).

Now, if you’re asking why does travelling look so good and easy on Facebook or Instagram? Because, EDIT is there. Or CUSTOMIZE. It’s every traveller’s choice what to post or not post. It’s the same as choosing our best photo as our Profile Picture. We choose the best photo and edit it.  Aside from that, it’s the positive view of life, that being able to see captivating places makes me thank the Lord that you’re able to be there in that moment. “If I didn’t get here, I won’t be able to see this” I usually say. And that makes the journey all look good and easy in y

I’ll post some of my videos of transportation in my travels. Wait and see.

Let’s Skape!

Am I Slowing Down?

“Am I slowing down?” I asked myself after I told papa about my colleague who said he was almost 40. He said this when someone pointed the difference between the young who want change and the old who want to fit in. I was signing the attendance sheet of the meeting I attended and glanced on my colleague’s age. The paper said 32. “Is he being hasty?” I asked myself again. How is he almost 40 when, for me, the number tells me there’s still a lot of years for him to become 40.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0108.

Last school year, I enrolled in a law school by force or maybe by chance after years of motivation by papa. In the last two months of 2nd semester, I was already convinced that lawyering is not something I want to do as an old me. Also, I thought, then, my life was running too fast that I can’t understand the things I was doing. So, I stopped schooling.

I’m a traveler. That’s something I can’t live without. I feel like I could die of loneliness not being able to go in some place where I can enjoy and just be with nature. Last year was full of it. Basically, my travels tell me to travel more every time I see a beautiful place which I try to influence my students and my friends in to. I learn so many things from travelling. It makes me happy. And I love it. These are the reasons why I’m always on the go for travelling.

Life is not a race. I’m a firm believer of this idea. So many of us take so much in and what comes next to us is pressure. There are different kinds of pressure and each of us takes pressure quite differently also. Basically, pressure tells us to become in a hurry and worried after we see that others have taken over us or our life is left behind. We are living in the same world but we are in different situations. These experiences are unique in every way and in every person.

All of us have to undergo these, good or bad, and it depends on us how we take them. Some may have started in life at love; others may be in career. We could have started at academics and others are in extracurricular activities. And it’s okay. It’s okay to be in a different state than others even if we are living in the same world.

Now comes life as a competition. Also. Remember that we became alive out of competition – millions of sperm cells swam their lives out to penetrate a single egg – and here we are, alive and kicking. The Origin of Species by a well-known scientist explained this thoroughly that the occurrence of species we have today are a product of competition, which we are a part of. Survival of the fittest, Charles said. We compete for a job. We compete for love. We compete for survival. We compete within ourselves. Papa always reminds me of this and of lawyering.

How do you go about life with these two realities, then? Can I be a survivor and not in the race of life, at the same time? This takes me back to what my colleague told of himself about him being almost 40. Is he hasty? Or that’s just how life is. Am I slowing down? This is the question that I’m in which I have no answer on yet.

To You, I leave this up.

Abirya is Natural

563069_417478038264914_1359826791_n

I’ve been travelling with my college friends for quite some time now. In fact, most of my travels I’ve had far from home were with them. Recalling the very first time we traveled far, I can say we’ve gone so far now from the places we’ve gone and from the attitudes we’ve learned.

Dumaguete and Valencia, Negros Oriental were the first places we travelled as a group. There was a lot fun being in a new place, lots of things to do, the feeling of intense excitement considering it was my first time to go out of Cebu. I even took a video of the first time I laid my first step on a foreign island. That step was overwhelming and liberating at the same time. Liberating because, finally, I got to go somewhere new, do something new, and see something new for the first time outside the whole island of Cebu.

But, one thing that was prevailing which I was frequently bothered about during the whole trip is listening to some of my friends’ complaints. For me, it always spoils the moment hearing someone complain especially if it’s only a small thing. At least for me. So, what I always do until now whenever when I travel with them are these things:

  1. List all the possible emotional outbreaks. It feels so funny telling you this because I can still remember some of the things I listed for each of my friends in our group chat. I have specific comments for each one of them like who are mostly having these outbreaks. For example:

Things to expect:

First thing: Natural ra nang abirya. Imo ra nang dawaton.

Venue: Dumaguete

Bus Terminal: 5 AM. Sharp!

For my friends:

Wella: Ayaw ug tinapulan ug lakaw. Laag man kaha imong gianhi.

Joanah: Ayaw sige’g reklamo. Dili mag-inoa.

Fil: Bantay’g ma-late gyud ka.

BANTAY LANG GYUD NANG MAG-INOA!

Something like this. I was literally a reminder. So funny to remember. I wish I had a screenshot of it now.

  1. Have a briefing with friends. Yes, I feel like a school teacher or a stage-mom before travelling.  I used to do this before to tell them what they should avoid and remind them whenever they’re about to spill out some orange.
  2. Scold when worse comes to worst. When someone is getting totally stepping boundaries, I belt out things out of my mouth. Believe me, I’m a patient guy so when that happens, that means you are being idiot and unworthy to be understood.

I do these things to remind them that travelling should be or is light. But light doesn’t mean shortcomings won’t go to your way. They’re there. Shortcomings are always there. They’re just testing you how much you would endure in the name of travelling. You know why? Because travelling is for the patient. You don’t see beautiful and unexplored sceneries easily. Beautiful things are hard to find they say. So, when you’ve endured so much, beauty comes after. This is what light means in travelling. And that for me is travelling. So goes with life.

Let’s Skape!

P.S. I don’t do number 1 now. 😉

Note: Some of the photos were in Moalboal. And please, just please, don’t laugh too hard of how I looked before. 😉

Cheap Travels Equals Fancy Memories — Let’s Skape

I travel cheap to experience. I travel cheap to have fun. I travel cheap to see what God has given us because I believe He has created the earth so beautiful that He wants us to see the earth the way He sees it.

via Cheap Travels Equals Fancy Memories — Let’s Skape