A decade of incredible ride…

Wonderful day… Hello everyone, wishing to catch you with a cup of coffee and what not and spend some time to hear my writing voice. I am just been honored and humbled to share, just some kind of an inspiration :)… deciding to always be grateful of all the things coming my way.

March, my birthmonth, also marks my 10 remarkable years in this tourism industry. I am sooo thankful… would like to salute all who’ve been a force for good in my life, I absolutely couldn’t have done it without the supportive people around.

Yes, there have been some few regrets and opportunities lost but i accept it as all part of the journey. I learned to own my mistakes, embrace my failures as it happens to everyone and it’s the fastest way to learn. Trying not to be a slave of my past, what matters more now is what we do next. There is still a lot to learn and a lot to teach, learning what works and what doesn’t.

Been living with this, ‘To be is to do’… the best I can. Through ups and downs, there is really no easy way out, when the world never runs out of ways to put us down… always remember that there is something bigger, higher than us, we can’t do anything without Him. God is the one rolling out the red carpet for me, the least I can do is walk where He leads.

To all the experiences and life lessons, I’ve learned to see the best in everything. Back then, i really couldn’t have imagined what it would become today. There are a lot of things that are beyond our control, some things don’t go as planned, but it’s what we do that have control over in how we react to whatever happens in our lives.

Life would never a straight line. Just imagine, what fun it would be if everything was perfect ?:)…

Acknowledging extraordinary privileges I never thought would really mean to me. Those are some of the short communications with people that became the extremely powerful ones, it happened many times when i got in depth talk about life and experiences with some people, eventhough it only lasted for a few minutes, it’s something that i will remember because I’ve learned a lot from them.

One beautiful woman said… A power of choice is a fundamental power of a human experience, so put choice as an authority. Remember that the power that you make have infinite consequences. They all really made sense to me, it improved my self-awareness. So, do not be confused over what other people say you are other than you know who you are. Believe in yourself, we all have different uniqueness in everyone.

We are more than what meets the eye. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and thinking if only you did more. Confidence is not innate in me, it needs to be developed but i told myself that i don’t have to worry if I’m not an immediately confident person in every scenario that life throws my way, no one is.

We have so much to give in this world to be a better place to live through those life lessons that will lead us into a more meaningful life. Each of us has a personal calling that’s unique like a fingerprint, we are all gifted for something.

So, let’s get busy living :)…

God bless us all.

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Under the Palm Trees and 90 degrees in Florida

Now in the mood of killing procrastination, reminding myself of the “get it done” list, waiting for me in a while. My pleasure to share our Florida trip last 3rd week of June.

And so we arrived in Florida after a jam-packed flight of passengers from the airport. Two connecting flights (Nashville TN to North Carolina, North Carolina to Fort Lauderdale Airport). Boarding an Uber to the hotel, getting ready for whatever lay ahead. Excited to see how our cards play out here for four days. Along the way, dangggg… I have never seen as many Ferrari cars in my life as I have seen here. It’s either of the two… they love racing or luxury cars. Maybe both, that’s amazing.

We headed straight to the hotel located in front of Pompano Beach. The name Pompano was derived from the Florida Pompano, a fish found off the Atlantic coast.

Lo and behold… sunshine here is legendary but there is so much more in Florida than just it’s sunshine. It is a big place and has such a fun vibe. We were oozing positivity every morning as both love the outdoors and spur-of-the-moment trips. For every spur of the moment trip, you never know what you’re looking for “ but you know it when you see it” and of course, knowing which stories need to be highlighted a bit. Some need to be lost completely.

Okay hands down, let me get this straight. The whole point of being in Florida is… having that chance, a chance that is so special. Florida, nicknamed as a “ Sunshine State” reminds me so much of home. It has tropical and subtropical areas. There are a lot of common plants and trees here that are at home. I mean, if it’s only me, I just wanna calm down and sit underneath these coconut trees as long as I can at the same time keeping my eyes peeled with this beautiful place. Really and truly, home is not just a place, it’s a feeling. A feeling of ties that forever bound me to a place like this.

Surely, you can’t bypass that pristine sand beach. I always miss getting the skin color that blends well in the ocean. Or that “sunburn, i don’t care” moments back then.

Looking at the balcony, a lot of these gorgeous grand structures and buildings, some are like fortresses… were merely called “buildings” for some time. I know these buildings have already accepted the truth that they have been left unoccupied, unused for some time because of the pandemic. Also accepted the truth that the world will fall back together, in a brighter way. I know all of us still believe in the sun even if sometimes it is not shining.

 Sinks into the view of the fascinating fancies of life I once knew from tv screens and magazines. Some sights you can whistle for appreciation and snap a picture.

Aruba Beach Cafe… it’s versatility is earning it’s respect. Recommended by a friend. That first time, we knew that this was the place to be. A place and food that we would love to return again and again for our whole stay.

Our first-time experience in Aruba was very good, it is beachfront. I loved that sesame crusted salmon with vegetables and mashed potato. It’s cooked to perfection, simple and moist.

They had a really good acoustic guitarist/singer in the main dining room. It reminds me of El nido in Palawan where you can see diverse travelers. Always love to see the uniqueness in everybody. The tables have large plexiglass sheets between them. We definitely enjoyed our time and returned more often during our stay as well as enjoying the beautiful beach view at our leisure.

Fort Lauderdale beach runs the length of North Atlantic Boulevard featuring towering resorts, great dining venues with palm trees along the edge. It offers a laid-back tropical tranquility, a welcoming atmosphere and artistic vibe.

Anglin’s Pier is a popular fishing spot for the locals and tourists. So, while we’re out and about, we walked around and to the Pier.

A group of young guys were fishing off from the Pier. They caught a big fish, approximately 22 inches long, and released it after 2 minutes. That was epic. Being young and energetic, you can’t really put a price on it.

For me, that was pure luck, that catch would have been a nice time for a  grilling celebration. As there is no single regret for locals there being aware of the established presence of marine life in the vast ocean fluttering in the waves and wind every single day.

A very good friend of hubby, Bruce.. who is a fishing guide and owner of a boat dealership, took us for a yellow snapper fishing. Along the way, he pointed out and gave us a guided tour. We saw some of the celebrity yachts, big and luxurious. Sometimes I wonder, do people who are able to spend a lot of money have more brakes on their ability to have fun or are they more self-conscious, more demanding, more careful?

We were there for like 4 hours, I was impressed how seriously they were doing it, until they felt sorry for me, I fell asleep. I felt I was drunk with the cool breeze and wild sweet air around. They brought me back to the mainland. 

One of the most prominent pieces at the place where we stayed at is the beach carpet as those 6-letter word Marriot serves as a gateway for a fantastic experience awaiting for everyone to enjoy the beach.

Right after we left Florida, they closed the beaches on account of covid, of it being heavily populated by tourists. But we didn’t have any problems that time as the place that we stayed at is not a crowded spot.

These stories I have, do live in me forever. I am sure there will be much adventure here, but ‘till next time.

Thanks for reading…

What have your eyes got to say amidst pandemic?

When masks must be worn at all times nowadays. What is not spoken in a visible full face is expressed exquisitely in the eyes. Just the way it is, surely our eyes have a voice. The powerful communicators of feelings, comfort and discomfort which helps us read others ever since. For me, it’s hard to tell right now, there are people who can talk loosely but have the most quiet, reserved eyes. There are some who can be a lot shy and polite, but have the strongest eyes you might have seen.

Little or no eye contact is not always perceived as a sign of deception anymore but a sign of being cautious, being careful and worried. At the same time, eye contact gets more faithful and warm than words will ever be. There are words holding within them.

A new normal exists. I have to go along. And I know I can’t be careless, that I know i cannot emphasize enough. Nobody don’t see it coming. Though there are predictions and teachings since. Enormous changes arise. Oh how I missed the good old days and ways. Those hugs of greetings, etc. I don’t want it to be totally forgotten. Really and truly, adversity is the best teacher. I cannot deny that at all. Trouble never sends a warning, really. 

That day after hearing the lockdown, we sat quietly, saying a little, each of us trying pieces to say until we found ones that fit. It also caused me enough to slowly rise from the table at the dinner time that night. Lying down on the bed, eyes remained open. My eardrums buzzed against the silence but cloudy and gray. Some days seem dark no matter how sunny the day is. But positivity is winning above all. Trying very hard to put it in my container of understanding. Spent a lot of time looking around outside. It won’t stop getting into my thoughts and have concluded that much is revealed during these darkest days.

There are a lot of questions, holding my mind and trying to be still. I am gonna carry on as long as i live, as best as i can. And in spite of the different struggles of our lives, most of us still smile and laugh hard.

In the heat of this pandemic, the urge of restlessness to be someplace else was still on me, on us. Admittedly, this mood of restlessness is present. And at the same time in the hope of thinking the pandemic will be over faster, sooner…today. Our itch brought us to this wonderful place, Gatlinburg in Tennessee.

Going from Nashville to Gatlinburg is a two-and-half hour drive. Gatlinburg is the capital city of the Smokies. More than nine million people visit the park each year, 800 square miles of parkland. It is obviously a huge diverse natural resource and you surely get no space to get bored here. There are lots to do and see. It offers entertainment, activities, necessities of life and so much more. Blue-green mountain range topped with smoky mists is awesome.

Upon arrival at the Skywalk information and ticket area, wearing a mask was required. We were greeted with a warm smile, hiding in their masks. Yes I am saying it again, that greeting and warm smile. Don’t you say it’s always the same? It’s always the same in that aspect. I can see it in their eyes.

Eye communication is very vital just like body language, the windows of our soul. Words can change when eyes meet. I found joy to observe and have a closer look the way people communicate with their eyes nowadays. Magic is happening and i’m letting the magic happen. 

But once we got situated on that cable chair, we were free, feeling the good breathing with that smell like vanilla mixed of everything in the forest is so relaxing.

Taking a seat in a chairlift or cable chair as I call it, climbing gently up 518 feet is very relaxing, truly a pleasure. Landing off from the chair, we have to kick off our whole body and jump.

I am the last one one who landed off. Good that i don’t have a cup of drink in my hand, if i have, i probably already spilled it.

Then the Skywalk bridge starts. That glass walk at the middle of that bridge is not for the fainthearted. Well, it’s not hard but it scares me a bit. For me, as much as I loved the heights, the-felt-like swaying of the bridge, the vastness of the view, I felt the presence of the sky, clouds and highness as if I am so close to His Highness. It sent chills to my body, trying to hide my so much excitement. But seriously, it’s soothing to my spirit. It revives my mind. It’s unexplainable how this trip has offered me another fresh new start. Suddenly, there’s this little girl I could see myself through, walking funny at the middle of that glass walk bridge.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Stunning aquarium, worth the cost. Clean and neat, well done, well maintained. It’s a wonderful feeling of coming face to face with thousands of appealing fishes and sea creatures and a lot more to see and learn.

Finally, after what seems like hours but is no more than 15 minutes, we were already at the deck breathing deeply. It’s nothing but awesomeness. The person that i am who grew up with an affinity for wild landscapes, this is home. Nature has always been the base of who I am.

Living here is also living in a culture within a culture. My journey is one of discovery and observation. Wherever I am, I try to participate in the culture.

Moreover, everyday now, I can’t see most of the people’s whole faces, I find myself endlessly looking into people’s eyes as they maybe look into my eyes too. Talking through the eyes is very interesting and at the same time confusing. I should know how to read signals and emotions through especially at work. I know that the eyes are more than just pupils and iris. A form of communication, kind of like that of alphabets and math. One doesn’t learn how to cook right away, just like one doesn’t learn how to paint or how to write.

It made me thinkin’, “How have my eyes got to say?”. I have observed and found some remarkable people through eyes…

The appreciative happy eyes. Her eyes reveal excitement. Some kisses are given by the eyes showing affection.

The overwhelmed and stressed eyes.

Through her eyes you could think she is too nice and reserved, but she also gives a spunk and bite. She could read people like a book. She doesn’t wanna intrude and mess around with anybody until they mess with her.

The eyes that symbolize all that was elegance and graceful.

She got the eyes that tell as the International Women of Mystery”, she is a person of few words and everyone would assume that if they’ll ask her, she will say nothing. And it challenges me, that i still wanna read right through. There is a depth of emotions from her eyes. For sure, she is saying “ The less you know about me, the better”. She wanna be invisible. 

The eyes who are hungry for someone to talk to. If she can talk to somebody she would be very grateful thinking they were sent by God. She is always full of spirit.

The eyes that you can’t seem to stare at. The always-on-the-go guy. The type of person that needs to be something happening to feel alive. An adrenaline junkie as you call it. His step is equal to my 3 steps, he walks fast and furious. I feel my jaw clench every time I see this person. The energy that he has to put somewhere and grateful that he’d been able to put this energy in something good. He can art energy at a speed of light. I wonder how he dealt with the past “total lockdown” event that just happened? When all his adrenaline pumps in everyday, then quarantine happens. He is the person who would not hold still.

A woman who got the eyes who enjoys being in charge. She is a bit overwhelming but i like her. A small woman but she stands tall, her presence is a bit superior.

She got the tired eyes.

Snobby eyes.

The eyes that don’t take things for granted.

I won’t blame anyone at all. And even if, sunshine, gray or clear blue skies… are still beautiful. Whatever the weather may be, in times of this pandemic. For as long as i can enjoy it, how can i be sad? Just like our brain is designed for survival. That fact has never lost on me.

 I am getting more rendezvoused with the sunrise and sunset, as if I am memorizing the moments. I may not be old enough, and I don’t consider myself old. But the clock could stop tickling right now, tomorrow. Still wanna bring those precious moments to whatever maybe the afterlife.

I may sometimes have felt that I am looking on from outside as an observer, not a participant which is a continuous process of learning, which more often than not can be a force for connection.

Still thankful for this journey, no matter how it ends. It is still what pulls in my soul.

I shall endeavour to find the most creative endings I can find. And I am just incredibly overjoyed for the people that I’ve met and will be meeting.

Thanks for reading.

Appreciating the WHY’s and How’s of US …

It’s been a year this month and the beginning of 2nd quarter 2019 has seen me settle here. Surely, i didn’t think about it until it happened, really.All I know is we’re processing the papers, got that reasonable amount of worries thinking what’s next, doing our best with all our purest intentions.

Over time, as good as things have gotten, the newness is slowly turning into familiarity here. Even though that trip from Philippines was quite rough. That flight from Manila to China was delayed. As a result, I was left by a plane (that connecting flight) from China to Chicago. Barely managed to catch that changed flight, but the minute i situated on the United Airlines entrance, I’m SAPPY ( sad and happy). After a minute, I am soooooo grateful. I am alive and I freaking did it. God saved me again after that boat accident back home. Family and paradise i forever love, got a lot of longing from. It sure always in my heart and mind.

A lot of remarkable experiences and advices that stick with me, taking it by heart. In dealing outside, these are my behind-the-scene voices.It’s like within me a new seed is planted. Roots are weaving into the very fabric of me.

This remarkable spin in my life gets me excited for what’s next, be it here or anywhere as i continue to be a seeker of everyday magic.

Surely, being in a new environment, you don’t come away the same person. It changes you to see it, to actually be there. I am living through this power of the present. Giving me the chance of finding myself in American society. I stay being me regardless, trying to connect, keeping my eyeballs focused.

Everyone has a story to tell. And I know i got a story to share.

With that in mind, I tried to compile some of the strongest impressions from my months here. And US? Especially Nashville, is so ripe with stories. But you know sometimes I get restless and scatterbrained. I just chilled waiting for that momentum to be able to organize and write. That kind of energy that feels not entirely me usually, liking and not liking it when I had to be pushed out of my shell.

It’s been a journey.

But it’s guiding, teaching and commanding me for everything in between. It’s like living in a world for a few minutes or hours that existed in my head. That kind of strength that once seemed smooth-flowing and boundless. I gotta take advantage when that moment comes.

And when it comes… there you go, that voice within is turning into letters and words.

I appreciate…

1… how quickly this place can feel like home

People are so welcoming here, I felt at home right away. Yes the best of Nashville is absolutely it’s people, the history and it’s connection to each other.
Like home it’s freeing.

I am enjoying the process of marinating myself with the spices of this culture. Taking my time. Loving the place. Looking at the window, that view across the golf course that i see everyday? It makes me feel grounded and steady. I don’t wanna look at what I don’t have instead of what I have and be contented. That first sight was one of the moments that speak volumes. I am humbled.

A lot of growing and learning along with an open mind to be taught. Constantly building a foundation that will help me stand with the test of time here.

2. … the food

More than anything, speaking of food, I wanna tell you that the smell of that boiling rice in the kitchen is still… still the happiest smell I know. That aroma, always shift me into that happiest mode. And of course, a good morning coffee still remains a comfort.There are many selection of food. Surprisingly, some unusual menu was just as delicious as I had hoped.

And the noontime meal was sometimes called dinner, it became the main meal of the day. Just in terms of food, I get more delighted and it’s the greatest thing that unites any nationality.

Aside from Supermarkets, Asian stores as well as Farmer’s market are super convenient. All the fruits and vegetables, meat and everything you could need are there. Always blows me away for what I can find.

Overall, that feeling of “at home” is just comforting.

3. …how they speak their mind

Right of speech is something everyone value a lot. Some say it’s better to speak up than to regret that you did not.

BUT, know when to let things slide.

No beating around the bush. If you want something, say or do something about it. Do not assume that the other person will always read between the lines.

There is no magic person in the world that knows what is on your mind.

However, there are things to keep something at bay and take some as a grain of salt. I listened hard and their points are well taken by me.
Oh, and by the way… they line up, yes they stand up on line, they take turns but do not get too close, you need to take a distance from another and still on queue.

They practiced putting things together in particular order and follow.

4. …things are not promised but… promising

You can be what and who you wanna be.
America has a lot of room to do, choose and write and build the masterpiece of your life. As we always hear, in the US, you’ll have more opportunities of trying to live your dream/dreams.

The famous Statue of Liberty signifies it’s iconic symbol of new opportunities in life. It serves as a source of inspiration for Immigrants.

Being here is such an honor to also pass a great honor for the Statue’s intent to welcome immigrants. The backbone of the United States is people who believes that progress is possible.

But it just depends on the person, it depends on you, it is really up to you. If life gives you tea, it’s up to you if you will make it unsweetened, sweetened, hot or cold. If it’s beer or wine, then it’s up to you if having a party would be cool or not.

Like a ball. It rolls. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down.

So, it is really up to you. It’s not easy, not everybody that comes made it, knowing some stories around.

Truly, opportunities are not given, but they are taken when they present themselves.

Just trying to do the best I can everday. I learned, learning and a lot hopeful.

Everybody deals with one fear one way or another. It makes us do the things we wouldn’t usually do. We can do whatever we wanna do in this world, it’s all very out in the open. Like internet is there for whatever and whoever we wanna reach and know.

You know I’ve lost focus some time in the past, I get caught up in all of the reasons that I can’t do some things. I guess it had to happen at some point. Sometimes thinking of “should haves” are a waste of time, don’t you think? We all have them?

But now, whatever happens I told myself that I have to look at myself in a real world in a real way.

5. …they are not just communicators but huggers

Some don’t just accept handshakes but a big hug. That first-time meet ups with family and closests friends. Their welcoming words, hugs and friendly smiles mean a lot to me.

Small talk is everywhere. Starting a conversation is normal. At first, I am lost for words. Distant courtesy is so amazing.

A lot of “Hey, how are you doing?”. At restaurants, stores, etc. At the mall, they are always in a “how can I help you mode” then leave you to enjoy your shopping. Just letting you know they are there if you need them. Cashier’s talk to you too.

Some struck you a harmony of friendship.Some, I just decided to just settle for politeness over friendship.

6. …fishing and football

Early morning weekends, most of the time, we were up and ready to go. In fishing, surely it’s the flora, the fauna and the solitude.

For him, there is no better plan to get away from life for the weekend than fishing, sometimes hunting.

And it’s true.
It is about playing nature’s game, on nature’s way. It’s a trial and trial after it happens. Trying more, believing we are much closer to getting there. To catching some or none at all.

The not-so-fun part for me is him throwing or releasing those fishes back because it didn’t pass the required length or is not the target fish while for me, that would be a good meal.

Well, those were the times when I just silently cheered him for catching not for keeping. It’s a sports for many of them, a catch and release game.

After a while, there came a twist, he and we were bringing fishes home for food.

Those first few moments of me catching. I was so confused. I thought he was saying “Really, Really???” then I was trying to argue saying ‘Why you’re saying that, when you actually seeing me catching fish?He responded back, I was just laughing when he actually was saying “Reel it, reel it!!!”, that fisherman’s way of not losing the fish.

In some ways, it reminded me of an inspiring book that I’ve read, Thomas Edison gave an advice to young men “Learn to be a good loser, never be discouraged when things don’t work out – keep at it!”
In football, sat with him in front of tv and shared with his enjoyment. Football is really a big thing here. I was surprised about this sports phenomenon with a tremendous amount of national following. I was just surprised that there are many major league sports other than basketball here.

Parents are grooming their kids as early as 4 and 5 years of age. Football is obviously a physical game but is also a mental one. It’s fun to watch as everyone is working for a common goal, that touch down and the likes.

7…. i can’t keep up with the Southern drawl

Southern accent is distinct.

I am amused. I couldn’t understand some of the words exactly. That vowel breaking and some heavily stressed syllables. Sometimes the words are too strong. There are times I found myself trying to piece the words together to figure out what they mean, and most of the times I can’t keep up.

But whether or not that accent begins to kick in from my words I guess it doesn’t matter. Nobody will judge. What I know is communication matters, regardless… in whatever shapes and sounds. Diversity is so much recognized.

8. … I can’t resist the plenty

Now, we’re trying to serve just enough and eat what is left. Both love to cook and not waste. Trying very hard to control this life’s great pleasure of eating.

9…i was teased

Part of their sense of humor is teasing each other. It’s like teasing is one of their favorite sports. Some find sarcasm kind of funny too.
I really don’t like it at first. When I first arrived I am a little bit of a softy especially to my husband. Glad that it didn’t take me too long to thrive through.

Now, I tease back, more than he thinks I can. Enjoying it. Playing it cool. Some are silly jokes they used since their childhood. There are times that we could already read each other’s minds and finish each other’s jokes.

9 … they take Vintage cars as their babies

Many are very passionate about Vintage cars.Old cars are a piece of the past. Trophies of our history, of our parents. A reminder of the times when things were slower or not as complicated. Also a representation of quality craftsmanship but yet made to last where in today’s times, things are made in quantity.These Vintage cars continously appreciates it’s value.Walking into this world, I am ready to be amazed. Ready to enjoy.

Truth be told, I learned as I go. Things doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be enough. I am keeping my faith, taking these experiences as the substance of things hoped for.

At the end of the day, I am the one who’s controlling what i take in and out of this plate of life.So much was beginnings and will be beginnings here.

But even more than the how’s and why’s, is about the experience.

I am meant to accept that I can’t have all the answers.

And… some things are better kept only for myself for the time being.

Stay safe everyone.

Thanks for reading.

The fastest way is to take it slowly…

One moment stands out in my mind asking how and why i missed out something big in the past years. I heard and watched Zumba oftentimes knowing it’s existence worldwide is over 19 years now, I wish I did it long ago though I also joined in some of the dance activities before. Having been invited several times by my friends back in my hometown. I don’t know why I just put it off bringing the excuse of having no time.

Lately, friends introduced me to this and with the full support of hubby, well… them saying it made it so. He and almost everyone I knew here is a member of YMCA. So thankful for their support. Then I believe it’s the right time now. Never too late for everything though, I am grateful, I will regret less. I should be more stronger and wiser than my excuse.

The present is a gift and the future is my motivation. Truth be told, when you do what interests you, interesting things will do. There is no middle ground, it’s like you are either drawing closer to God or you are moving away. It’s either you do your best or not doing it at all.

Zumba is awesome, it combines fast and slow rhythms and the least I can say, it’s a total workout incorporating all aspects of fitness.

It gives me this special feeling of strength, doing this appeared to be something of not really working out at all. It will get you caught up in the playful groove of the music and body moves. It’s a silent version of being in the presence of any body of water letting myself be attuned to it’s sounds and waves as my mind goes with the flow of the future, a higher deeper inner sense of that energy while being in sync with the beat of the music.

Before long, an hour passed I was sweating generously mixed with a kicking dose of positive energy each time, a kind of enthusiasm that’s so contagious.

Yes, it is a fitness programme and is also called an exercise in disguise, you are getting some exercise integrating with the dance moves. YMCA offers classes for every fitness level and interest. I oftentimes walked to the treadmill to get some warm up to getting ready for zumba.

Hard but true, I can’t wish for a good body, I should work for it. Yep everything has to be worked out.

The environment is welcoming and supportive. Zumba is for everybody, it doesn’t need a special talent in dancing and it’s tricky.

Apparently… talent is absolutely in this place. I am astounded. The first time, I found it very difficult to follow along, they moved so quick. I tried hard to keep up although the instructor is guiding everyone with the movements by hand signals and hand claps. But still I am oftentimes incoordinated of moving to wherever sides which made me behind between the beat. While the others transitioned to the next step I continued to the same step and felt embarrassed. That first time, I avoided looking at myself in the mirror. At a glance i looked funny and stupid with my lagged moves and steps. And I don’t wanna be watched.

Over time I found that I am not the only one having a hard time, I saw some are also trying to execute the right movements. Yes, it’s a mind and body workout. I had some little troubles in my body coordination but I decided to stay curious, stay excited, stay driven and stay motivated.

I learned not to welcome the worries of not being able to get all of the steps on that day 1. I wonder if one does. I know progress comes with that difficulty. It’s like starting a job you have to prove yourself at lower levels and get promoted. It’s a me versus me. I know I have to be patient with myself. After a while my body just sort of work for itself same as nature has always a way of balancing itself.

It can never be any easier but it’s an enjoyable hobby. I maybe a little better now but of course it went and will consume hours and days of physical exertion. It’s a work in progress same as life that’s gonna be a work in progress until I die. It’s a great experience, I am enjoying and learning as I go. The most exciting part is being with the people together to dance and sweat.

It’s super fun.

My Strawberry Festival Experience ❤

Had the chance, which would be a venture that I will always look forward to, witnessing a lovely celebration of Strawberry Festival in Portland, Tennessee. The sun was out and the sky was clear. Hubby’s co-worker friend Todd and his wife welcomed us to their beautiful elegant house and backyard before going to the venue.

Sweet and pretty, Todd’s wife.

They gave us the incredible side-by-side truck ride. Todd, is truly a master of timing, drove well made me screamed through the twists and turns, jumped along and above the mounted ramps. It was so cool and a hard core experience with a group of friends (wish my daughter were here).

Cool headstart of the day.
Ate Virgie had the first ride.

So, it’s a perfect weather for everyone here. The Festival is well-organized, walking around I am constantly in awe of the things i have the opportunity to see and experience. It’s an all-in-one affair of the beautiful creations of the display of the produce, the beloved strawberry. A huge celebration along with the program of events that entertains the whole family, pets… to include my favorite, horses.

I was just singing the song “Old Town Road” silently. “Yeah, i’m gonna take my horse to the old town road. I’m gonna ride till I can‘t no more”

The celebration has so much heart and culture, I would say this is a piece of diversity in unity put together. The place has the most appealing charm, I can see and feel a very bright picture of the variety.

Since I’ve been here in the US, I saw so much beauty and strength in every differences which I find comfort, not something to fear, it made me embrace myself more than ever and being proud of who I am at the core of being a Filipino.

I am a person with renewed eyes here. Subconsciously, I have created tons of little pockets of additional information and honestly at the very present it’s still a lot to absorb, yes it’s hard to absorb at one time. I am like a watchful child, literally like a mind of a child… thriving, constantly watching and listening. Most of the time, I’d give hubby and friends flood of questions and I know sometimes I just have to open my eyes, no need to ask, no need to worry because being too inquisitive can lead into an unpleasant situation, as curiosity kills the rat if I may say.

Everyone is asking how’s everything going with me here, well.. a slightly more honest answer is that sometimes I got disoriented with the unfamiliar ways but everything is going well and good.

Day by day, inch by inch I am growing with this culture. Diversity truly brings people to maturity. Everything is useful in confirming my understanding of how things worked here. I’m wishing for the day that I can tell myself, just for myself “i knew well enough here”.

We weren’t able to catch the parade but there’s a concert giving people some kind of a groove on, the band is satisfactory.

A surprised expression hit me joyfully when I heard them singing the song “Tennessee Whiskey”. That song gave an emotional impact on me, still fresh from my being. A night before, me and hubby were singing those karaoke songs on YouTube trying how the microphone and speaker work, he bought before I came. He sung the song on his own silly version. We enjoyed that moment totally knowing that our voices are only for us to hear, we had so much fun. Oops I mean I can also sing, in the bathroom I believe I have a very good pitch and everything sounds okay.

So, how do the festival started? I learned that it goes back many years, strawberry was once declared as premier crop of Tennessee in the early 20th century before it became a county-wide affair.

The celebration gained it’s wonderful progress which flourished into becoming a local attraction here. There are food booths serving yummy food to dig into, rides, arts and crafts, antique stores and a whole lot more. There was a long line for some strawberry purchases, worth it though, we got fresh strawberries to go. And the strawberry lemonade, Yo! it’s another special version of something refreshing for me, it’s a berry blast.

Being here made me think deeper and vibrant in a way that makes me hold my breath saying… Carpe Diem. I always try to seize the moment and to be more than I already am. As Gary Allan said… Life ain’t always beautiful but it’s a beautiful ride.

I am a happy wife.

Charmingly idyllic place, Ilocos

I love writing with every bit of my being though I know I’m far from expert but I can’t stop because it speaks for me. I had the very clear sense that I wanted this to continue. I feel like a voice from writing is so nice, I can do whatever i wanna be, it is spontaneous and free flowing. I don’t have a professional background for writing, I just let go of my thoughts reflecting my own truth.

Portrait of late President Elpidio Quirino in Syquia Mansion

A mansion that served as a home of the 6th President of the Philippines and his family, now a museum. He is a proud of Vigan. Vigan, known as the ‘Door of our Past’. Their doors are open for people to see, left me amazed, wondering how extraordinary they lived their lives here before. It’s a lot of homey-ness in here, very elegant. I am very pleased. They have personal family pieces around the house that’s flattering. It reflects a very bright personality of the family.

It’s when days like these made me excited for what’s next, a lot of times i got tied up from work and breaking the routine is just okay. Good times are getting few and far between making this moments more exciting and meaningful. At some point we gonna have to draw a line and keep things calculated to balance work and play, we gonna have to relax.

Thankful I decided to join the National Tourguide’s Federation Convention in 2012, the whole trip was just an overload of happiness though I got sick at the middle of the trip which led me to put a score in my mind over a friend whom I’d like to believe she cares for me but it didn’t happen. Still thankful for that uncomfortable moment of headache and vomiting, I still got to be mindful of everything where it also served a time of test. My vulnerability brought some guidelines for me whispering through my ears saying that in life I have to guard myself not to be taken for granted.

At times like these, it’s telling me to really know who my true friends are. I got a hint, tried hard to ignore it, she is still my friend. I know I am a good friend for her. Well, the idea of a benefit of the doubt still remains intact on my being. Everyone has different shades of color and I appreciate those, everyone is beautiful on their own. What’s not hard to do… is just shut up and understand the situation.

And in the truest sense of the world at the end of the day, no one will take care of us except ourselves. Or maybe it’s my fault, I should not expect anyone to be on my left or on my right through this journey of my life. Tried to be always armed with the list of the beautiful things that makes me happy. Overall the experience here was something worthwhile.

Vigan, Ilocos Sur was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site also a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC). It is one of the few towns left in the Philippines whose old structures have mostly remained intact.

It is some 2-hour land trip from Manila to Vigan City. With this ambience and Kalesa (the best way to go around), I can’t blink I am so amazed. It gives me the feeling of living back in time, this special feeling is simply just here, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. For me, the astonishing intricate beauty of colonial and oriental style of architecture with cobbled streets here represents a magnificent wholistic view of a past.

I was obsessed with a bouquet of garlic I borrowed from a shop accross just for this picture. I don’t know why I imagined a lady holding a bouquet of flowers on this perfect place, obviously my outfit did not match, but I’m still happy for the captured moments. I love the way it feels here, the ambience always go as the brightness goes, everything is timeless.

A very charismatic man, late President Fernidand Marcos was born here, he served the country for 20 years. I remember I’ve read his life story back in my high school years. Though I can’t remember most, all I can say is… he has the unbelievably sharp wit and eloquence so perfect for his personality.

Vigan I would say, exhibit a certain kind of toughness, a character I call unity. They belong to each other. They are devoted to each other. Much to my amusement, the combination of their compelling history and natural beauty makes this place an extraordinary one to visit.

I am so delighted…

Me and the White Lady

I shall never forget the day we went to Sagada. A so-called White Lady appeared on this picture, my co-worker friend showed me right after she captured. I was surprised with what i saw, but what can I possibly say? One thing i’m sure is… I didn’t feel bad, I was pleased.

Whether it’s true or not from other people’s perspective, my mind has told me every reason to believe that’s she’s there. She is pregnant, it seems like she wanted me to hear and feel her precious life on her womb. I can tell she wanted to talk and share her happiness. You can easily view her on the picture, she is positioned side view with her most prominent white gown. I was astonished and proud of this remarkable experience.

No doubt of her not showing her face, they will never. I knew, no one can get a clear picture of their appearance since in life they were each a different person. Their face will never be visible. But what my instinct was telling me is… she’s enjoying being with the crowd in that magnificent place. I got thrilled naturally, I know they are wandering spirits with no harm intent.

Even the tourguide confirmed that she is one of the friends around. My mind is blown…

It’s 435 kilometers from Manila to Sagada via Banaue, long ride and worth it. Most of the people I saw and met here has red tinted teeth, got really curious, found out their very interesting custom of chewing betel nut.

If you keep a watchful set of eyes, it seems like the town is colored red. A red spit from residents out of betel nut. I wanna live for rare moments like that, wanna sit around and watch people do what they have to do. I wanna see enough, watch more beyond the usual and write it down but we have to go and maximize the day along with the itinerary.

Chewing betel nut reminds me of our neighbor way back in my elementary days, she is an old lady constantly chewing she called nganga or bunga.

I was curious, she rolls a betel leaf, some sliced nganga or bunga (a nut of an Areca Palm), mix with a pinch of apog or slaked lime. She folded then chewed. Research says there are some benefits like it is a medicine to relieve some digestive problems as well as cardio illnesses. In a deeper view, they get a sense of well-being to where at some point they treat it as everyone’s bestfriend.

Spelunking adventure in Sumaging Cave is immensely enjoyable through the steep and slippery paths but with the assistance of the Tourguide, it became easy and safe. The whole caving activity takes 3 to 4 hours. It was impressive surrounded by countless rock formations slowly shaped by nature over thousands of years ago.

Hanging coffins

It is a traditional unique burial where they elevate the bodies of the dead on cliffs. Placing them higher is a way of sending them forward closer to heaven and eternity as well as bringing them closer to their ancestral spirits.

The world is really so vast and beautiful, everything is created miracles from miracles. Life goes and the list goes on, each day is a moment to appreciate even the most little things around.

Let us keep our lives alive. Cheers…

Looking beyond Tagaytay…

Always dreaming of wonderful moments waking up with these view holding a cup of hot coffee and staying out with a cup of tea at night. It gives me the feeling closer to Milky Way connecting to the Universe… and wanting to do it all the way out to the end of the night.

With the view here of Taal Lake and Volcano, having a record of several eruptions in the past declared as Second Most Active Volcano in the Philippines, it’s still one of the most attractive views in the Philippines.

The name “Tagaytay” is very different from what I first thought that the meaning is because of the location being situated in a ridge with featured hills, mountains covered with forest and grasslands. Legendarily, the word Tagaytay came from “taga” meaning to cut and “itay” which means father. It’s about a wild boar they are chasing of which the boar suddenly attacked the father. The son shouted with fear “Taga, Itay” which means cut him down, father. They were heard by the villagers, from then on, the place began to be known as the beautiful Southern City of Tagaytay.

The combination of high elevation and lush greenery contributes to the cool weather here.

Tallest Ferris Wheel in the country at 207 ft. with 32 gondolas

Sky Ranch is a 5-hectare leisure park perfect for families and group of friends. Lots of rides here that will surely bring a unique experience of seeing the wonderful view of Taal Lake and Volcano.

The many different kinds of “highs” in Tagaytay.

This picture is remarkable for me, I was facing toward west prayerfully wishing for someone to be my lifelong partner. Daydreaming it may be but wanna dig dipper that moment having a positive mindset of envisioning and manifesting it will happen in my truest and purest intentions. I wished hard enough in the presence of the many wonderful places like these. I knew someone is there for me. Someone to where I will not be afraid of opening myself, exposing my vulnerabilities and creating a space of love and experiences where we can grow together.

I am so thankful it happened, that love came from the west. We’re not perfect but we have a beautiful story. He loves burger, hotdogs, fries and all that Western food of which I am not so much a fan of, and I love okra and hot spicy food to where he’s not. To settle for our many differences is to being one. We adore each other. The Universe heard me, I couldn’t be more grateful. This picture is a very good way to end my visit here ‘t was a wonderful experience, I’m sure be coming back. This is sublime.

I must say to anyone, whatever happened in the past, we have to allow ourselves to be loved by the people who really love us, the people who really matter. I know it’s hard to move on from failures but to get over it is even harder… harder not to see life in it’s most brighter side.

I learned that when things go wrong, I try not to go with them, tried going to the right. Life is so precious not to be happy and if I can’t be happy, then what is it right there? I don’t wanna live in misery, gone are the days when I cried myself to sleep. Right now, it’s time for me to let myself be loved and I’ll do the same.

Love conquers all…

Port Barton, where my heart is full of radiance

Over time I have learned how to break free and find a place that made sense to escape from city life. My way of saving me from myself, my own breather just what my spirit needed. Plus the sense of curiosity of always wanting to go somewhere to learn about life elsewhere.

Port Barton is one of the places in my hometown Palawan where I am so attached. I have a special feeling here, unexplainable. Heaven knows what it made of me, to include a great sense of peace and beyond… or a sense of newness to put it into words.

My fav seat

Whenever routine dominated my everyday life, I always viewed this sight from afar… and I kept coming back.

This place taught me to slow things down a bit and be my own person. To reflect on the life I am given and how I live my life on earth. I learned to do things on instinct, even if sometimes I scramble it’s okay… at least I tried. Not denying myself of taking the responsibility afterwards whatever it takes, in God’s grace. That’s when it is molding me in a unique shape I call my own.

Port Barton’s laid back atmosphere is all I wish for. I am all for it’s presence, feeding my soul with it’s solitude through my own constant process of discovery. Sometimes it makes my weirdness less, balancing my insanity it may be.

It is such a gorgeous perspective here and with this perspective, there’s no limits to where it can go, to where it can reach. That’s why, I’m always excited as to where my imagination will take me. That imagination makes me happy, satisfied and alive but sometimes it scares me. I really love this introvertism in me here, it’s taking me to my sense of well-being more deeply.

Port Barton is really special…

A sincerity of the past in Corregidor, Bataan

Whenever I plan to go to a place somewhere I used to ask people about it, I really do appreciate them sharing their experiences. They would end up saying, ‘You should go there sometime’. Their eyes glowed the warmest I can ever see while talking, got me inspired even more. On this journey, to marvel myself to these multitude stories of our colonial past that encompass oppression, resistance and independence is a strange feeling, had a little hazy in my head but a very heartwarming feeling for our heroes.

Every experience was great, those places took something from my stillness of which I will carry as long as I live. I wanna learn more, I don’t wanna be like a stagnant pond that breeds malaria. It feels good to declare myself to be a creator of art in my own art of memories and experiences.

And so, a journey to Corregidor, Bataan was made real. It’s 48 kilometers west of Manila. You can find it right exactly at the entrance of Manila Bay.

Corregidor became the headquarters of the Allied forces and also the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth Government. The ambience here is so vibrant and quiet which gives you an air of peace and freedom after all, despite of the hardship of the Filipino and American soldiers from the war. There’s an energy peculiar to it. In some ways, I can’t help but say there’s nothing sadder than a place that was so innocent and untouched… once.

Speaking of war, I always reflect it with black- and white scenes just like watching war movies and documentaries. I couldn’t imagine that time when so much weapons and guns form part of their normal everyday life.

Wishing I were a little kid again, like too little to understand how the world works. Then I can’t be such a worry wart imagining situations like these. But still I admire this place, until now the fortress island stands strong with the ruins of the buildings, structures and tunnels .

With so much respect and credits to our war heroes

As i tour around this remarkable historical place, along with curiosity, the whole place seemed a grand drama. I think of wider world, so many questions. I can’t imagine what it would be like here during night time. It’s how strange history sometimes works for me.

What ignited deep inside of me was a sense of anger why people fight and kill each other which affect the innocent ordinary people causing many dreadful consequences. But history is calling for our respect, I am beyond words proud of my country. What happened in the past changed every nation’s political alignment along with many aspects which led to economic recovery. Good things came out countlessly. Even so, there was still an odd excitement in the air here, interesting place it is. A real world feeling. A genuine admiration to those who fought for our country and humanity. It is truly a proof of our unwavering love for freedom.

Everything served it’s purpose so well. Thankful for this wonderful trip…