Postcard Stories: The Price of City Life

The question in my mind was “What is independence for you?”, there are times when I stop and think about what moving to Manila has done to me.


View of Mandaluyong from Flair Tower
View of Mandaluyong from Flair Tower

I just got back from a Manila trip over the weekend to visit a friend who had lost her father. We had to go to travel around to several cities. We flew in early Saturday morning and news was out about the chaos over NAIA Terminal after a plane landed badly. We then went straight to Quezon City to console our friend. After couple of hours, we went to her condominium to drop our backpacks and freshen up. We were so tired from the trip that we managed to only walk to Megamall to have dinner and look around.

Later that night, as I looked over the skylights. I could not help but think of the years I spent in Manila. The question in my mind was “What is independence for you?”, there are times when I stop and think about what moving to Manila has done to me. There are good things like being more open minded and building grit but somehow I feel that it made me a slave to the shallow side of the world.

In my quest for independence, I ended up in bondage of capitalism.

I am realizing how much of a bliss it was to grow up in a simple city.  While Ormoc is a city, it still feels quite provincial. I grew up at a time when internet was not yet accessible, where books, radio and TV were the main source of content. Back when google did not exist and Grolier Encyclopedia was considered the go-to for reference.

Living in the big city really took a toll on me. It made me a lot more cynical and lost. I met people who did not help me grow instead they helped in my destruction.

Being back in Cebu has given me time to heal and rethink of those ordeals. The lifestyle is a lot laid back and I still get to work in quite an innovative company. I am in a much happier place now, however, I do not know until when I will stay in this city.  Maybe, I will be back again in the city to open a new opportunity.




Monday Musings: 10 Quotes of Optimism

Pessimistic? Here’s your Monday dose of sunshine from the bright side.

Barely two weeks into 2016, how is January going for you? I would not say mine is smooth sailing but so far things have generally been going my way although there have been bumps along the way.

There are times when you feel tired of your inner battles, whether or not you should embrace pessimism all at once. Regardless of your current situation, choose optimism.

Here are some of my all time favorite quotes to get me back in the bright side:

  1. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
    ― Anne Frank, Anne Frank’s Tales from the Secret Annex
  2. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
    ― Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan
  3. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
    ― Winston S. Churchill
  4. “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
    ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
  5. “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
  6. “You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down”
    ― Charles Chaplin
  7. “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”
    ― Helen Keller
  8. “So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”
    — Viktor E. Frankl (Man’s Search for Meaning)
  9. “Write it on your heart
    that every day is the best day in the year.
    He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
    who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Collected Poems and Translations

The Optimist : Animated Short Film from John Mervin on Vimeo.

10. Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.
― Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them

The last one pretty much sums everything up. Hang on to the remaining light no matter what happens. As long as you think things can change it definitely will.

Now enough about me, how about you? What is your favorite quote on optimism?

Monday Musings: Choose Life

Surviving or thriving? Choose life.

Excitement from the new year is still around but how long will it last before you find yourself in the same situation as 2015?

How often do you envy other people for living their dreams?

You and them might have different situations but one thing you and them both have is choice.

Each day you make a choice, from the time you wake up to the jobs you take. Do not blame others for your situations. You are in full control. It is time to take the responsibility. Quit surviving and start thriving. Let your adventures begin. Choose life!

Choose Life from Rando on Vimeo.

Monday Musings: Things Fall Into Place

Everyday our lives marred by these internal conflicts between planning lives out and just taking it as it are. We are lead to believe that it is all black and white. However, life reminds us of those grey areas.

What if I took my academics seriously? What if I planned which degree to take for university? What if I stayed longer in my previous job? All of these questions linger in me as I start falling into the trap of comparison. Would I be as rich as he would? Would I have a good stable career like hers? Would I be in a happy married life like theirs?


Days before my 28th birthday, I took a trip with a friend who had an extremely positive perspective on life. He had an annoying belief that everything turns out for the good. Before I met him, I thought I was already one people who swear by the “Hakuna Matata” lifestyle but I guess I have not noticed that living in Manila for years have turned me into a cynic. There are times when I bothered by thoughts of what ifs and I know I am not alone in this. Anyways, we randomly thought of visiting Lake Danao in my hometown (I initially wanted to spend my birthday in Sagada but due to the sudden changes earlier this year, I had to give up the idea).

Here is someone else’s photo of Lake Danao since I lost all my photos when I lost my mobile.

At the start of the trip, I already felt that things were not going well. He failed to get an earlier trip because of the outdated website so I had to wait for almost 3 hours. The weather did not agree with me too and decided to make that day rainy. Therefore, we went to the jeepney terminal to catch a ride to the lake, turns out it was the last one and the only seats were on top of the jeepney. Eager to not waste the day, we tried out top loading (As a daredevil, I enjoyed the road except for the part where it was freezing cold and wet.) We arrived quite late and found out there were no transportation to go back to the main city after 5p.m. Luckily, while on top of the jeepney, a young man started talking to me. He turned out to be one of the locals whose relatives are managing the tourism office. I told him about our random trip and he politely offered to let us stay in the tourism office. The darkness of the place did not scare me. In fact, I was amused to see a sprinkle of fireflies flying around a big tree, made me feel like I was standing in front of a giant Christmas tree. We stayed in the tourism office for a while the young man went looking for his cousin. Turned out that his cousin was not around so we started worrying on where we could possibly stay. It would have been okay to stay near the lake if not for the rain. The young man was concerned about us, he told us there was a place where we could pay to sleep but it cost P500 (for him it was too much, for us it was reasonable). He took us to his house, his two younger brothers, mother and father greeted us. They were embarrassed to have us because their house was still under construction. His mother cooked dinner and welcomed us. They went far in accommodating us by giving us one of their two rooms. The children slept in the living room. Despite our offer to sleep in the living room, they insisted we sleep in the other room. The next day, we woke up to an amazing day; his mom cooked breakfast and went with us to the lake. We borrowed a small Bangka and tried our skill in fishing (I did not catch any while the kids caught several). It turned out to be a great day; we had troubles finding transportation back to the city again but a neighbor offered to take us to the main road. It was a scenic motorbike ride (habal-habal way). The sun shone across the fields and the cool breeze blew through my hair. By the time, we reached the main road, most of the students and workers were trying to catch a ride back to Ormoc. We ended up walking for hours, until a person driving a truck let us hitch a ride. In no time, we arrived in the main city but I realised that I have lost my mobile phone and that we missed the last trip to Tacloban. I tried searching for my mobile but did not find it along the road where we were walking. My friend ended up paying for the unplanned stay just because I did not foresee extra costs. At the end of the trip, I started thinking about the incidents. Would the trip be better had I planned well?


Everyday our lives marred by these internal conflicts between planning lives out and just taking it as it are. We are lead to believe that it is all black and white. However, life reminds us of those grey areas. The trip to the lake reminded me to worry less. Despite the troubles and problems we were faced during the trip, we met incredible people and got what we intended. It was not a smooth journey but it ended well.


Some call it luck, some call it fate, and others call it destiny. Whatever it is, life is never shown on a full frame. A never-ending series keeps you on the edge of your seat. It does not offer you the benefit of seeing an alternate ending. You are given options with no rewinds or edits. Life’s unpredictable nature should comfort us more than scare us. I know most of us have a bit of obsessive-compulsive nature to control everything but we cannot. Life is bigger than we are and we can never tame it according to our wishes. It however, reminds us daily that things fall into places. So take a seat, get comfortable and enjoy it as it unfolds in front of you.

There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…
― John Lennon

Monday Musings: As A Woman, Today I Rise

We have always been considered as the weaker sex. We have been living as oppressed and deceived women. This must change. Among the countries, there are only few female political leaders. Only a handful fighting for our rights for education and gender equality. Today, I am calling out to all the women.

We have the power to change the world. There have been a number of women before us who have proven that we can indeed be powerful leaders and influencers in the international arena. We are more than a flower to be admired for our beauty, we carry the seeds of a better, kinder world. Let us help the #62MillionGirls who cannot speak for themselves. So if you are at your lowest now, I advice you not be comfortable lying on the ground. Get uncomfortable and seek for the better. Push yourself up. Today is the day that you rise. You have it in you. Live with audacity.

Monday Musing : The Harshest Judge

How do you see yourself? When I started with psychology in university, our professor introduced me to the concept of Johari’s window. The window had four divisions each representing a different perspective of oneself. We had to make our version as a way to raise self-awareness.

Last week, a social experiment became viral. It spoke about how we perceive ourselves and our success.

Admittedly, I they asked me to score myself, I would also be like the participants. I am certain I would give myself a failing mark. This is because we tend to be our worst judge. While others see our success, we usually focus on our failures and we compare ourselves with colleagues and the rest.

Do not focus to much on one viewpoint. Remind yourself that there are 3 more views to be seen. Focus on weakness and work to improve it but do not let it imprison you. You are not bound to them, they are only temporary. Give yourself a break and be your number one advocate.

Warrior Wednesdays: Always Do Your Best

Be the best, this is a common line that we hear. Perfection is what we want from others, more than what we expect from ourselves. How many times do we notice our faults over the imperfections of others?

We like to troll all over the internet searching for people’s mistakes. From how they express themselves to how they look. We never fail in looking at what is wrong. But wait, how often do you look at your own reflection?

I too am guilty at times of judging others. I always had a comment about things and how everything is going wrong. Eventually I realised that it as counterproductive. My life is not getting any better with it. I knew how to spot imperfections but refused to see my own. Now, I would rather spend the time trying to always be the better version from who I was. It is the only way to live. If you only give half of what you can, the universe will pay you back in half. Doubts will slowly creep in and plague your thoughts.

“If only I have given it my all.”

Do not give yourself the chance to suffer from this. Put 100% into everything you do. It is the only way for you to live life to the fullest. Dare to reach your maximum capacity. Be relentless in bringing out the best version of you. If you succeed in this then the thoughts of self-doubt will never haunt you.

Do your best and you will live your life more intensely. This will push you to take action. If you take action just for the sake of doing it, without expecting a reward, you will find that you enjoy every action you do. Rewards will come, but you are not attached to the reward. Only with this can you really enjoy life.

“Just do your best — in any circumstance in your life. It doesn’t matter if you are sick or tired, if you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment. By always doing your best, you will break a big spell that you have been under.”
― Miguel Ruiz

As what Steve Jobs said, “Do not settle…Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”