My Eventful 2016 in Photos and Videos

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 has been really an eventful year for me.

I have met a lot of different people, learned countless of lessons, hurdled a number of challenges and got many prayers answered. In fact, a lot of my prayers last year were answered this year.

It's been a year of wonderful surprises up to the very last quarter!  

I am grateful for everyone who has journeyed with me. I am now bracing myself for yet another year of beautiful things to look forward to.

Here's to welcoming 2017 with optimism and hope for new beginnings! :D

My Favorite Lessons and People in 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

I remember just about the beginning of 2016, I declared that my word for the year was "BE". And now that the year is about to end, I would like to believe that my word has changed from "BE" to "BEcome" because thankfully, I have BEcome the person that I only hoped to be at the start.

I wish to thank 2016 for all the lessons and experiences it has accorded me. With set-backs and challenges hurdled and countless of prayers answered, I look back with a grateful heart to all the lessons I have learned and people who made a difference in my 2016.

Lesson 1: NEVER Settle. 

This so true for me and has always been the constant reminder all throughout my year. Be it in my career, relationships and goals. 

While I opted to open myself up to the world, I have always found myself validating whether people (or even things) are worth my time, love and effort. It is not really about thinking highly of myself, rather, it is valuing my capacity to genuinely love and care for people considering how appreciative and passionate I tend to be. You may give so much of yourself. But you got to love yourself enough to know who deserves you. I think I have learned to strike a balance between my generosity to others and to my own self. 

As with friendship, I realized that as I grow older I lean towards working more on quality over quantity. I aim to nurture genuine, deep and lasting friendships. And as I endeavor to be a good friend to my friends whom I consider as my second family too, I am reminded of what a Real Friend should do for each other --- FRIENDS --- Fight for you, Respect you, Include you, Encourage you, Need you, Deserve you, and Stand by you. And I am blessed to have friends who stood by me all throughout this year.

Even in my personal goals, I took it upon myself to own and steer the wheel of each aspect of my life, not relying so much on external contributors, rather, I dedicated my time to vision where I want to go, monitor the trajectory of my plans and actions to achieve my goals. I had recently proven again that determination and hard work indeed pay off. I refused to settle for less than what I earned and deserved. And so I am preparing myself now for yet another year of challenges to leap over and triumphs to thank God for. New year, new responsibilities, new things to look forward to.

Lesson 2: Surround yourself with people who will remind you of Love, Faith and Hope. 

Yes, always surround yourself with people who will remind you of Love, Faith and Hope because they are all you need to get through anything in life.

I could say I have been really blessed to be surrounded with people who inspire me to Love, Pray and Hope as I work toward becoming the better version of myself. My sky is not all bright and sunny but as long as I get a little help from whom I call "Rainbows in my clouds", I know I could get by.

I wish to take this opportunity to honor and thank my constants and newcomers, people who have etched a mark in my life this year:

My Family. Having my family around has always been reassuring for me. My Ate, Kuya and 2 kinkins to come home to has been a great joy. My possessive and obsessive mom has been my constant prayer warrior. Though she makes me crazy sometimes with her frequent calls, I love how she never stops to be a mother to me despite the distance.

Melizza. My voice of reason. Though we seldom talked over the phone this year, I know that when I do need her, she makes time to listen and counsel. She has always  been very protective and maldita to whoever makes away to her best friend. Haha. Though really, I am kinda trying hard to accept that I will have to let her go to some extent in the coming year. #thestrugglewhenyourbffisgettingmarriedisreal

Bell. My Nanay. Hers is tough love. She always says what she feels is right. They may hurt, but sometimes, I need to hear the truth the hard way to wake me up from illusion of some sort.

Carr. Soul sister who never gets tired of listening to my seemingly repetitive stories. LOL. (Buti naman di ka nanawa?! Haha!) I am just grateful to have someone who takes me as I am, loves me for me and encourages me to keep moving forward. And together we hold on to God's promises for us.

My Clingies (Sunshine, Kath and Andrea). They are my second family here in Canada. Thankful for them who remind me to keep trusting and hoping for God's Bests. 

Richen. When work seems to be very toxic and stressful, girl am I just thankful to have someone who keeps me sane in the office! I appreciate it when either one of us is feeling down, we would go to mass together. And things will just feel light after.

Dandan. That someone whom you have just met yet feels like you have known for a long time. The brother and friend in the Lord who prays with you and reminds you of the value of time in this life. Ching!

My Team mates. This year has been tough at work but I felt more grateful because of the people I worked with. They have become more like a family to me and I am just feeling the separation anxiety now that I will have to leave them soon. 

Trisha Gurl. I really look up to women who are empowered, independent and strong. And this friend of mine is one of them. Even if she is much younger than I, I learn a lot from her about loving oneself. She is my reminder to never settle. 

Apaule and Ge. My constant prayer partners. They inspire me to never lose hope and always look forward to God's promise of #morebeautifuldaysahead. 

And to everyone else, surely, I have received from you all either lessons which I would never  have learned in any other way or blessings which I am grateful for.

Thank you all for journeying with me this year and I look forward to another year of making a difference with you.

May God bless us all!


My Real Montreal Experience

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Having had my last vacay in March this year, I recently felt I needed to break away from my usual busy life. 

Thankfully my friend, Chen tagged me along to go with her to Montreal for a short trip over the long weekend.

I thought it was my much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of daily toil. But I was not expecting that Montreal could really be that charming on my 4th time visiting the city. This trip actually gave me a sneak peek of my upcoming travel to France in November. At least, I already got a feel of what it is like to be there.

Here are the snapshots of my recent escapade.


Went to walk around the Dorchester Square. Had some quiet time just sitting there watching the beautiful people of Montreal! It was entertaining and relaxing! :D

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
They have such lovely alleys everywhere.

Strolled further downtown and I had to stop by for this pose. Ha.

Old Port
Get a breath-taking view of the city at night from the Lookout at Mount Royal

Food Tripping (Pastries, Poutine & Smoked Meat should never be off your list!)

Be sure to stop by and try their delish desserts!!!

Try their Fondant Cake - Choco Lava cake with dark chocolate filling inside and  vanilla ice cream on the side.

Try their chocolate and almond croissants. Actually, try EVERYTHING! Ha!

Their Breakfast meals are superb!!! This was at Ben and Florentine

So Quiche (Kiss) me... Haha!

I loved the feel of this restaurant. It's a 5-minute walk from St. Joseph Oratory

You cannot afford to miss this most popular Poutine. We had to queue up for 30 minutes at 12:30 am for this at La Banquise. Just Crazy!!!
Finally, this was what I went there for seriously - the Montreal's Smoked Meat - so tender, so good!

Church Visitation

Mary Queen of the World is a Holy Door as well

The biggest church I have ever been to -  St. Joseph's Oratory has 1,000 seating capacity

This is the exact place where I experienced my first snow some 4 years ago.
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
St. Patrick Cathedral - one of the beautiful churches I have ever seen

I would like to thank these 3 angels who made my short break fun and wonderful! Thank you for your generosity!


With this trip, I realized that I enjoy my own company a lot. I do not mind strolling around unfamiliar places, feasting over a decent meal by myself or just getting lost somewhere. I would like to think I am a happy loner sometimes. And I need to travel alone to get in touch with my soul.

Dear Montreal, we will definitely have another rendezvous soon as you have captivated my heart. I would love to see you again! Je t'aime! Merci Beaucoup! <3

The Pursuit of Happyness

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I recently had conversations with some dear friends of mine on how life has been for them.

The answers were different but I could almost draw the same conclusion. Everyone seems to be in a Pursuit of Happiness.. And I am no exception..  Ugh... That one seemingly elusive essential in life...

I gather that different people have their own measure or definition of Happiness. Each one is driven by different desires or wishes attached to Happiness. What makes one happy may not necessarily have the same impact on others. And so I decided to only look after my own garden. I endeavored to sow little seeds here and there that I may reap the fruits of happiness in time.

My personal journey to finding Happiness started when I once hit rock bottom. One big lesson I learned is to Never rely my own Happiness on someone or something. I owe myself the happiness I deserve. I am responsible for my own happiness. 

And so it may have started as an intentional effort from me. Yes, on some days, it may even feel like pushing my luck too far, but Happiness is more of a choice, a mindset, a decision, a direction I wanted to take and pursue in my own life.

I started off listing down the things I think would make me happy. It does not have to be grand or expensive. I even wrote down some reminders to myself:

  • Choose Happiness EVERY time. The journey has to start with a decision. A direction you want to take in life: that no matter what happens, you will choose to have a positive spin of things, to look out for that silver lining or to rise up to the occasion. You may not have control over some things, but you can always choose to have a positive take on the situation. If you fall into the mud, get up! Do not stay there. 

  • Keep Trying and Never Give up. I think that life can end even before death and that is when you allow hope to walk out of the door. I know it can be exhausting and frustrating sometimes. And it seems easier to just not have any hope at all. In that way, you are not doomed for Anticipoinment (Anticipation leading to Disappointment). When you give up, you throw away that zeal, that passion to go on with life. You kill your dreams, you force yourself to stop breathing even before your actual death. It may seem far-fetched but you just got to believe in the greater things, in better days, in the bigger picture. And you can rely on that little hope in you to illuminate your dark moments. 

  • Pursue what you love doing. Start off with your own passions. Our passions direct our course of action. They give us our sense of fulfillment. I never realized how many varying interests I got until I began this whole journey. I started this blog and wrote 170+ entries in 6 years. (Not that many but that's already something for me.) I got my first SLR cam and honed my skills in photography. I travelled to and marveled at beautiful places. I dance like nobody is watching. I sing in the shower. I bought a bike. I opened myself up to people. I went to a solo mission trip for a worthy cause. I would have never been able to do all these had I not decided to take control of my own happiness. If you cannot find happiness, create your own happiness.

  • Extend your happiness to your neighbors. I have this thought that Happiness is doubled when shared with another. And I would joke about it saying if I cannot make myself happy why not try making at least 1 person happy, see if that makes any difference. Ha. I have proven that making other people happy in however little way I can generates a deeper sense of fulfillment. See, this entire pursuit does not necessarily have to be contained in one's own little world. It does not have to be all about you only. Make someone smile. Be a blessing to others. You can certainly derive happiness knowing that you have made a positive difference in someone else's life.

  • Cultivate a Grateful Heart. When you develop an attitude of Gratefulness, your eyes open up and you become more aware of every blessing around you. If you are not grateful for little things that you have, you will never be contented with no matter how much you will have. I really believe that for every person, there is always always at least 1 thing to be thankful for. Just remember too that somewhere, some people are happier and contented with less than what you have. Gratefulness unlocks the door to a Happy and Contented Heart.

  • Aim to turn Happiness into Joy. Happiness is a state. It could last for a minute or two. But I understand that Joy is something greater and deeper. Something that lingers on. Perhaps, after those seeds of happiness bore fruits, you could turn them into something that will hold ground. Once you have learned the art of generating happiness in every little opportunity you get, you develop that stability and serenity within you. You become like an impermeable membrane, in a good sense, and that no circumstances can ever dull your shine. 

I would not say I have already mastered all these, but at least I get to hold on to some things that keep me going through life. After all, they say that Happiness is not a destination to be reached. It is the entire journey altogether that brings about that state of Happiness.

And so I continue with my journey and adventures... 

I love this Powerful Harvard Graduation Speech!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Hey Everyone!

It's been a long while. I know I was in a hiatus here. But I just came across this speech which kinda rekindled my passion to write and stimulated my right side of the brain to work again.. uhm, well, before it gets rusty.. (trivia: a study of mindmapping for writers are still ongoing as to which part of the brain is actually engaged when writing. That's per my quick google research. Ha!).

Yes, I do love to listen to powerful speeches. My late dad inspired me on this. I used to listen to his recorded speech addressed to new cadets graduating some decades ago. 

I just remembered my own valedictory speech back in high school. I had never felt so much honored in my life as I was given that privilege to address my class. Well, minus the crying part, I was able to deliver. Ha! That was when I first realized each one of us has that power to inspire and empower others around us and that our own stories could bring about positive changes as we share them.

Here is the speech by Donovan Livingston, a Harvard master's graduate. His poem "Lift Off" definitely ignited the fire within those who listened to it including myself. The way he delivered it was just sooo sick (for lack of a better word!) I feel like I can do everything after listening to him talk! 

Listen and be lifted off!

The 5 Important Things I Learned this Lent

Saturday, March 12, 2016

I find that LENT never fails to give me a meaningful experience every time. It's like there are always realizations to take away. 

And so lately, I have pondered on valuable learnings that are certainly good reminders to me as I work towards becoming a better version of myelf: 

1. We choose who gets to stay in our Life. Be thankful for everyone. It's true they say that along your journey through life, you meet people who will either bring you blessing or lesson. Either way, to me, that person was meant to cross your path for a reason. As there are some who may just pass by, there are few others who stay because they decide to stay and you allow them to. Be thankful for everyone regardless of their purpose in your life. 

2. Happiness is a Choice. Love is a Decision. You are responsible for your own happiness. If happiness to you means giving way to someone's happiness, then you are doing such a noble act. But you also have to take care of your own self. Regardless of your choices, find your own happiness. Love, on the other hand, is more of a Decision, an undertaking to continuously choose to love the other person amidst imperfections and difficulties. When you have made the decision to Love, you fight for it, you protect it, you nurture it. 

3. Never let anyone or any circumstances dull your shine. Always emerge to be a better person. Life isn't perfect. You are not perfect. No one is. That's a given. Just that sometimes, unexpected events unfold and you are confronted with situations that challenge your kind of person. Always take time to process things first and aim to look at the bigger picture. When you finally realize what it is worth to you, then you know what to do next. Choose your battles. Know what is worth fighting for. More importantly, know what you deserve. Love yourself. Look forward to better days ahead. 

4. Believe in the good of every person. To me, no matter how seemingly confusing the situation may be, I would like to believe that there is that good nature in every person. It is one thing to know where the other person is coming from, it is another to actually understand why one does the things he does. People are differently situated. Each one carries his own unique cross in life. Respect that we have different ways of coping up with challenges or difficulties. Someone reminded me to be gracious with people and their shortcomings. Just focus on the good of every person.

5. You do not need to understand everything now but trust that for everything that Happens God has His purpose.

Amidst the confusion and chaos, find peace that God is working for something greater in your life. Sometimes, God has to weed people out of your life because their part in your story is done. Either you have served your purpose in their life or they can no longer accompany you to where God is taking you next. Take every trial or experience as an opportunity for you to grow in virtue. Have faith that the BEST is yet to come!

I do believe that everything that we go through in life is intended to bring out the best in us. The choice is ours really if we allow our trials or challenges to get the better of us or we emerge to be better persons from them.

All these point me to a parable I personally love. I wish to be that pencil. And so I am now entrusting myself to my Maker's hand.

How Does One Become a Loving Person?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Just recently someone asked me this simple yet profound question. I do not know if the conjunction in between two opposite adjectives made sense there. But quite rightly, as I pondered more on the question at hand, I found myself drawn into its depth. 

Can we say that we Love when we feel happy doing something for another person? Or we just do an act regardless if it makes us feel good or not? For me, it is Love when the happiness of the other person becomes essential to your own, like when you feel your own sense of purpose as you do something for your beloved. In such case, an act always comes with Love. Because Love is that force that compels you to act. And for this reason, this act becomes extraordinary because it is done out of Love. Somewhat a circular referencing but I hope you get my point.

But let me qualify the main question here. I believe that Loving is like any person's second nature. It is innate in all of us. Because we are all made to love. To Love is our life's ultimate purpose. (1 John 4:19 "We Love because He first Loved us."A person is naturally inclined to be Loving. So I guess the question should be: 

"How should one Truly Love?"

I attended this teaching and remembered us being asked to replace the word "Love" with the name of your potential partner or as in this post, we will replace this with the word "I". This way, we would know how to Truly Love our Beloved.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

4 [Love is] I am patient; [love is] I am kind; [love is] I am not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. [It does] I do not insist on [its] my own way; [it is] I am not irritable or resentful; 6 [it does] I do not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoice[s] in the truth. 7 [It] I bear[s] all things, believe[s] all things, hope[s] all things, endure[s] all things.

And if you find yourself doing these, then, perhaps, you can say that you shall have truly loved. 

Never be afraid to Love! For "Perfect Love casts out Fear." 1 John 4:18 :)

How to Be THE Happy Single

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy ValenTYNE's Day, friends! :D

I know, especially for most single friends out there, this day could be as scary as Halloween. Not to mention the unnecessary reminders through Facebook posts or even personal greeting by Facebook itself. Ugh! And you have never felt so single.. Ever! Just too much to take, isn't it? LOL.

But hey, it isn't too bad being single on Vday! In fact, it could be a day too for celebrating the other types of Love. If you must know  (or be reminded), Love comes in different shapes and forms. And there is what we call as "SELF LOVE", which is the focus of this post.

I am personally a proponent of "Self Love" because I believe that you cannot give away something that you do not have for yourself. I have been single for almost 6 years now. And throughout all those years, the best thing that ever happened to me is me giving myself the Love it deserves.

Being Single can sometimes be challenging especially in a society where there seems to be a stigma (for lack of a better word) for people who are single. Of course, in the natural order of things, life can be sweeter when shared with someone special. Yet, there are some of us who are just happy as we are as single, either by choice or by circumstances. 

I have asked some insightful tips from my brilliant friends on "How to be the Happy Single". Let's read through what they have to say:

"Do not constantly obsess about finding the "one". Aim to find friendship instead, especially when meeting men. Try not to fantasize your golden wedding anniversary on the first date. Save that for the 10th. " - Trisha | Accountant | Adventurous | Recklessly venturing her way to Love | Blogger: autumnennui

"There are no hard and fast rules on how to be happy while waiting for love to come. You should just keep in mind that you don't need another person to feel complete and happy. So focus on that thought, and do the things you want to do. I found that pampering myself and putting myself first helped me to feel happy and content. Fill your love tank on your own so that when the right person comes, you will have so much love to give and share. :)" - Mel | Passionate Soul | Intense Lover | Happily Taken | Blogger: faithloveme

"Remember that there are different kinds of love. Even if you're single, it doesn't mean you're not loved. 

The thing about being human is that we tend to fixate on the one thing we don't have and forget everything else that we do. 

So look around you and appreciate your family and friends. Enjoy their company and relish what they have to offer. 

Because just think, what if a genie arrived and told you he could give you your soulmate but you had to give up everyone else in your life, do you think it would make you happy? "  - Dee | Mother Brain | Life of the Party | Happily Single | Blogger: adeecodedlife

"Be the reason for people around you to smile" - Carr | Beauty, Brain & Heart | Traveller | Starbucks Sweetheart | Food Blogger: carriefooddiaries

"Stay happy. Period." - Bell | Fashionista  Blessed | Loved | Grateful | Blogger: belltecson

" Being single is the ideal situation to spoil yourself, pursue your goals, indulge in your hobbies, and explore your environment. Try new stuff, take that cooking class, art class, or yoga class that you've been wanting to do -  you will also expand your social circle with other like-minded individuals. Relax, enjoy the single life, and the opportunities that come with it" - Kathleen | Nurse | Promising Student | Blogger: keiz08

"My advice is, while that person hasn't arrived yet, focus on yourself and the people around you, your family and friends, don't waste time thinking about having no special someone yet. Just think that God has a better plan for you. Enjoy every single moment being with your loved ones. Don't allow yourself to get pressured with what the society dictates. You are special. You have your own timeline" - Jack | Bankable Bachelor (Works for BSP) | Spoiler Boyfriend | Currently Waiting for the One

"1. Constantly improve yourself. Join a sports club, a dance class, a cooking lesson. You'd be surprise there's much to learn.

2. Surround yourself with friends. There's always joy in spending time with them. They are the next best thing to your family.

3. Do not search for the one. It will come at the right time." - Cate | Accountant | Badminton Champion | Thoughtful & Sweet Lover

"There are times when you want a less-drama-kind-of-life and at some point you can get that if you're around with your guy friends. So if you're still single & still waiting, you can hang around with them as often as you want. And who knows maybe one of them will be 'the one.' " - Meggy | Servant Leader | Enjoying with Friends | Waiting in Grace

"Don’t see being single as being alone because choosing to be single is better than being with the wrong person. You are in a long-term relationship with yourself, improving as a person and working towards your goals and when the time is right, you may find that someone who deserves your awesome self." - Raffy | Banker| No Girlfriend Since Birth | Blogger: cafeforthecurious

So I guess the real deal is to learn to Love yourself as a single person first. No one else can satisfy the yearnings of your soul better than you. Do what makes you happy. And when you feel happy about yourself, it just reflects on the outside. Who knows, as they say, Happiness can be an irresistible attraction. ;)

Enjoy the best times of your life, my dears! :D

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Thursday, January 28, 2016

I watched this together with my Mom and my tears just kept rolling down my cheeks. Unconditional Love - this is what the story is all about for me. The Love that does not seek to be reciprocated, the kind that derives Joy from giving away of oneself.

I remember the other night coming home late from work, my Mom opened the door for me and joyfully greeted me with a kiss. She then set the dinner table and warmed up the food for me. She sat facing me, delighted to see me feasting on the "Adobo" that she cooked and set aside for me. 

Later that night, I saw her watching TV at the living room. She was munching on some biscuits that have been left on the fridge for a week already. I asked her if she had eaten earlier. She said she did. But I figured out that she gave me her share of the "Adobo".

I know I can never repay my Mom for all the Love that she's given away. That's why I want to make sure that I show her how much I appreciate her in the best way I could, every chance I get.

And I also challenge you, think of someone who has played the role of a Giving Tree in your life and thank that person Today. Show him/her how much you appreciate his/her presence in your life. We may never have all the time in the world to tell our Giving Tree how much he/she means to us, so do it NOW.

My 2016 Word is ____

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hello 2016!!!

Oh, how I love the first day of the year! There is just so much positivity and gratitude in everyone, myself included. For some reason, I somehow get a feel that there is going to be something different, special in my 2016. #tomorebeautifuldaysahead

To kickstart my year, my friend, Dee and I thought of coming up with a word for our 2016. And boy! It was NOT easy to find that one word to sum up my goal for all the 366 days this year!

Thankfully, after 3 hours into brainstorming, finally I got my magic word --- Tah-Dah!!!

I remembered last year I also wrote some goals. And this year isn't any different. Only that I got more goals that I want to achieve. In 2016, I resolved to:

> BE More Patient this year. Patience is definitely not my innate virtue. Hence, I need to work on keeping a positive attitude while waiting for things to unfold in my life. 

> BE Bolder and Fearless in my ventures. 2015 marked a milestone in my life when it comes to taking myself beyond my comfort zone. Despite my family's apprehension, I have travelled alone to an unfamiliar territory fueled by my desire to make a difference. I guess I am that kind of soul - unstoppable and passionate. So I aim to steal the moon this year. Kidding. Or steal someone's heart maybe and never return it? Cheesy! LOL.

> BE Light and Frolicsome. This is what I want to achieve alongside being intense. Maintaining a balance of my 2 extreme traits is definitely a work in progress. I know things do not always happen as planned so I should be able to bend. I must also learn to loosen up a bit and feed my playful side more often so I can fly as though I had wings. 

> BE a source of someone else's happiness or positivity. Making someone happy has become my own source of happiness. By adopting a positive outlook in my life, I also hope to help the people around me generate that positivity. In the meantime, I resolve to enjoy my life in the moment.

> BE a Better Receiver. Throughout the years, I have programmed myself to be the person who gives and reaches out. I am happy doing so. There is no problem with that. But it has become a struggle for me to be on the receiving end. So I promised myself that I will be a better receiver this year. 

It is already hard enough for me to set goals for the year ahead however, I find it rather more challenging to keep up and stick to them. BUT I figured it should be a DECISION really. 

There may be a number of external factors beyond our control and outcomes may differ from what we planned. Yet one thing is always within our control - how we want to come out of each circumstance - do we want to BE better or BE bitter. That's really a Decision that you need to make.  The important thing is that no matter what happens along the way, we try our best to work towards BEcoming that person we hope to BE. 

With all these goals in mind, I could only pray that this year be filled with Grace that I may BE the better version of myself in all aspects by the end of 2016. 

So I now officially welcome my BEst year yet!!! And it will BE for you too! :)