Summer Dream

Going through my old blog, I feel the need to repost these random poems I once wrote.
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Radiant smile so enthralling

Beguiling eyes like turquoise water

With thoughts denser than the Amazon

Embraces as warm as ocean zephyr

Saccharine mango kisses ever addicting

Vivid sunbeams taking dark clouds overhead

Alluring oasis so promising

You plague my thoughts

Oh summer dream!

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Life is A Bowl of Cherries

Life is a bowl of cherries. Not everything in life is good but it is up to you to pick out and throw the bad ones.

For the past few months, I have struggled to fix the mess that I have made. Countless rash decisions that led to a domino effect where I found myself hitting rock bottom, I almost lost hope on my life.

We all have made decisions that seemed right at first which turned out wrong. It is easy for us to dwell in those mistakes and punish ourselves for it. I for one am guilty of this, for months I have clung on to these thoughts which debilitated me and left me in a mental and emotional paralysis. Sometimes with all the negativity, we end up thinking that we deserve it and that no matter what we do it will never change. There is nothing worse than being a victim of your own mind.  We can go on and on blaming the world for being unfair, others for not caring and everything else in the universe but it will never free us from ourselves. Luckily, I had good friends who reminded me that I have within me the power to change the world that I am in and though it may seem so complicated it started with one small step, a change in perspective.

It has always been in our nature to act like gods and when we commit errors we become our own executioner. We should not let our mistakes deny us of the beauty that life has for us. To change is to let go, not only of situations or people but also of the need to control life. Life happens and we can only do our best to make the most out of what is given. Do not hold on to the rotten cherries in fear, it only ruins the rest. You cannot choose all the cherries given to you but if you make it a point to keep the good ones, you will have enough to have la dolce vita.

red cherries on stainless steel bowl
Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

“Life is a bowl of cherries. Some cherries are rotten while others are good; its your job to throw out the rotten ones and forget about them while you enjoy eating the ones that are good! There are two kinds of people: those who choose to throw out the good cherries and wallow in all the rotten ones, and those who choose to throw out all the rotten ones and savor all the good ones.”
― C. JoyBell C.

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Over The Moon: Happiness in the Modern Times

“I’m okay.”, this is our usual response every time someone asks how we are doing. A primary reflex that most of us have used to avoid being faced with the thought of our own happiness. People have subjective definitions on what is happiness and where we derive it from. Happiness could be a good job, complete family, perfect health or it could simply be delicious food.  As the world celebrates International Day of Happiness today, we are again faced with the question: “Are you truly happy?”

Happiness and Reality

At an age of anthropocentricism, where human beings are considered the central or most significant species on the planet, all of our actions greatly affect everything else. While a small percent of the world are worrying over “first world problems” such as having WIFI connection or the latest Iphone, the rest are fighting just to live another day with dignity and basic needs. We are now facing a depressing reality that as society is getting richer and more technologically advanced it is not making the world happier. In fact, never have we experienced such great inequality and suffering. We witness wars, hunger and natural calamities. We start forgetting our connection and start thinking that we can exist as islands focusing on ourselves and no one else, thinking that another person’s misery will not affect us, but it does and there is no escaping it.

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Formula for Happiness

Action for Happiness has developed the 10 Keys to Happier Living based on a review of the latest scientific research on happiness.

The research suggests these Ten Keys consistently tend to have a positive impact on people’s overall happiness and well-being. The first five (GREAT) relate to how we interact with the outside world in our daily activities*. The second five (DREAM) come more from inside us and depend on our attitude to life.

           G IVING Do things for others
           R ELATING Connect with people
           E XERCISING Take care of your body
           A PPRECIATING Notice the world around
           T RYING OUT Keep learning new things

           D IRECTION Have goals to look forward to
           R ESILIENCE Find ways to bounce back
           E MOTION Take a positive approach
           A CCEPTANCE Be comfortable with who you are
          M EANING Be part of something bigger

For us to realize our own happiness, we must ask ourselves these questions:

  1. What do you do to help others?
  2. Who matters most to you?
  3. How do you stay active and healthy?
  4. When do you stop and take notice?
  5. What new things have you tried recently?
  6. What are your most important goals?
  7. How do you bounce back in tough times?
  8. What are you feeling good about?
  9. What is the real you like?
  10. What gives your life meaning?

Happiness is quite complex if we keep on postponing it, yet simple if we take the time to answer the questions honestly.

Make Your Smile Contagious

Happy People Means Better World

It is important that we take the time to check if we are happy with our lives. Several research have shown that happiness doesn’t just feel good, it has a lot of benefits for our performance, health, relationships and society. An extensive study in the British Medical Journal followed people over 20 years and found that their happiness affected others in their networks across “three degrees of separation”. Happiness is  contagious, making yourself happy means making your friend’s friend happy too. Countries with happy citizens have better GDP’s and standards of living. It is your obligation not only to you and your loved ones but to the world in general.

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What are you waiting for? Stop denying yourself of happy days.

Do what makes you go over the moon.

Pursue happiness.

Rabbit Nightmare and Turtle Dream : How I Became A Licensed SCUBA Diver

Little lines of rabbits tied up on top of a huge conveyor belt, all heading to a machine where they would go out lifeless, I was panicking, trying to find where the switch was to stop the killing machine. As a hit the stop button, I realized my footprints were blood imprints. I looked around to see all the lifeless animals surrounding me, crying heavily with the horrendous sight, then I woke up. It was my one of the first nightmares that I’ve had as a 4-year-old kid.

Playing around at school
Playing around at school

I grew up with animals always near me, I had 3 dogs, couple of fishes, cats and white mice. Every afternoon, I would spend time to feed them and would even talk to them. Meanwhile my parents raised chickens, quails and pigs in our backyard. My dad loved joining cock fights. There were times I would try to skip meals after my father killed one of the chicken for our dinner. I would beg them not to kill animals but they always explained that it is natural for humans to eat them. I played with my dogs most of my time after school. I was always fascinated by animals that there was one time I asked my mother to buy me a horse for my grandparents’ farm, which she of course immediately declined. I even dreamed of becoming a veterinarian and would play pretend as doctor to our sick pets. All throughout childhood, I would endlessly browse over my grandfather’s old hardbound coffee table which had a lot of photos about different creatures. It was there when I first read about the Nautilus and the Portuguese Man-of-War.

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It was when I got over my fear of the deep (someone pushed me into a 6 feet deep pool when I was about 6 years old) that I started appreciating marine life and by the end of high school, I wanted to take up marine biology but for a country where practicality wins, it was not an option. The course needed expensive dive equipment and my parents were not well off. I took up nursing instead and moved to another city, leaving my pets behind. Up until graduation, my dream of becoming a marine biologist never left my mind. Just when I though all hopes were lost that I saw one competition posted in Facebook that would include free diving lessons for the grand winner. Without anyone to help me, I went alone to screen and qualified. It was during the discovery dive when I met my scuba diving instructor. Finals day came and I finished second place. I was sad knowing that the opportunity to have sponsored dive lessons slipped through my fingers.

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The year after, the founder appointed me to compete internationally where I eventually had my sponsored dive lessons plus new dive equipment. Just when you think things will never go right, it did for me. To top it off I almost won the competition, I finished right after UK. I got to dive in amazing sites and talk to different people about marine conservation. Not everyone is lucky enough and each day I do my best to prove that I earned it. They teased me as Pawikan (Filipino term for green sea turtle) when I was young. In a way, I am a turtle. I had to fight through a lot of things to make it into the waters. It took time for me to reach my nesting grounds and now I am back to lay new dreams. Whatever it is you dream of, have tremendous passion and perseverance, and everything will fall in the right place.

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Here are some of the sites where I already done some dives:

Malapascua, Cebu

Subic, Zambales

Anilao, Batangas

Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte

Napantao, Southern Leyte

Sipadan, Malaysia

White Island, Camiguin

El Nido, Palawan

Panglao, Bohol

 

 

Little Champions, Big Victories

Out of the 400 kids currently under our training program, 23 kids under 15 were chosen to create 2 teams: 1 male and 1 female.

It was afternoon of February 20th when we met-up with the kids to start our journey. A lot of them were excited, they have never travelled out of their city.

Typhoon Haiyan was the worst typhoon in history and Tacloban City was left to rubbles. Communities lost everything and for people from marginalised communities it seemed like hope was lost.

Yolanda Haiyan Typhoon Victims in Tacloban City-720667

Months passed since the tragedy happened but up until now people are still rebuilding. While most NGOs and government units are busy rebuilding physical structures, Fundlife International is busy rebuilding lost dreams. Half of Tacloban’s population are youth and to deal with such a traumatic incident, with the Football for Life Project we try to introduce play therapy for psychosocial support as well as to challenge them to work for their dreams.

Playing in fields

It was around January when we knew about Thirsty Cup, it is an annual football competition in Cebu City and we knew it was the right motivation for the children to show what they were made of. Out of the 400 kids currently under our training program, 23 kids under 15 were chosen to create 2 teams: 1 male and 1 female.

It was afternoon of February 20th when we met-up with the kids to start our journey. A lot of them were excited, they have never travelled out of their city. Cebu City was one of the big cities in the Philippines and for them it was a dream to go on a ferry boat. It was a 7 hour trip and the boat left by 10p.m. but instead of sleeping early, the kids were so pumped up that they did not sleep until 11a.m. While hanging out with them, I started hearing their stories. For some it was already a big opportunity to compete in another city. Hearing their story of their first travel also took me back to my childhood. I also grew up from a simple family who was always trying to make ends meet. I remember the happiness I felt being on the boat and it was the same thing I saw with the kids. I chatted with them until all of them fell asleep.

4a.m and I woke up to the sound of the stewardess announcing the arrival of the boat in the port of Cebu and I looked at the foot of my bed and there were several girls trying to take a peek on what Cebu looked like. They kept on asking when we would go to the hostel where they would sleep. The moment they got off the boat they started seeing how bigger the city was and two of the boys even decided to sit in front of the jeepney.

Peeking through!
Peeking through!

As we arrived in the lobby, they gathered around the vending machine. They have never seen such contraption and they asked me to show to them how it works. When we got their room assignment all the kids rushed into the elevator, leaving some of them behind. I told ones left that we should just take the stairs but one little girl looked up to me and said, “Coach it’s my first time taking an elevator.” I just couldn’t deny her of it and so we waited.

After hours of preparing they headed onto the stadium where they met the other teams. Most of them were double their size and yet they did not let it scare them. The boys just lent their shin guards to the girls while both our goal keepers did not have any gloves and still they managed to give a great performance. They never backed down eventhough they went up against more trained players.

PintadosFC

The Pintados FC, our boys’ team, went up against three of the best teams but they managed to keep the score of their enemies to 1. While the Pintadas, managed to have 2 draws and a goal that secured their spot in the semis. It was so inspiring to see both teams which were formed in just a month who trained together in just a couple of weeks with barely any equipment, accomplished so much.

As we embarked on the boat back to Tacloban, they were all smiles and stories of how they made it through their first competition and for them it was just a new beginning. They were already asking me when the next training will be. The first taste of victory made them see that they can do more than just wait for people to help them.

Pintadas

Most of the time, we grown-ups do not realise how lucky we are to have certain things and opportunities. These kids made me appreciate a lot of things on the course of our trip, even just having a pair of socks where some of the kids did not even own a pair. To be reminded to not back down from our dreams just because the world seems to big to conquer. These little football players scored their first victory not only on field, but against inequality. From being mere victims of calamity, these young survivors are on their way to being champions of their own lives.

Get more updates on about them here.

Birthday Post: Life Can Only Get Better at 28

Crazy how years pass by so easily, today I turned 28. I normally avoid celebrating my birthday but my mom keeps on reminding me to. She says that it is a blessing, a special day worth enjoying.

A couple of days ago, I went back to my hometown visit Lake Danao, though I originally planned on going to Sagada for my birthday. There were a lot of things that did not go well. It was raining on and off, hours waiting for my friend, walking around to find the jeepney, waiting for hours before we left Ormoc City, missing the last trip back to Tacloban, getting stranded in Ormoc and to top it off losing my mobile phone and ATM card along the fields while waiting for a ride . It was a series of unfortunate events yet I managed to tick off several things in my bucketlist: top load on the jeepney, hitchhike from Dolores back to the city proper and stay with an awesome local family. In the end, the whole journey made me content and happy.

The trip is a lot like life. We do not have full control of everything but in general life is still beautiful. You just need to turn away from the negativity and see things like a child.

Blessed with the freedom to steer my life into the direction I wanted, good people who are there for me despite my shortcomings and unthinkable opportunities that turned me into changemaker not just a dreamer (Fundlife). I am grateful to my parents for bringing me into the world. 28th year of existence!

Though I still find it difficult to see reason in celebrating my birthday, I have lots of reasons to celebrate life. 27 chances and counting, I choose to make things right and make the most out of my life.