Monday Musings: A Hero’s Journey

How does one become a hero? All of us grew up watching all the superheroes, from Mighty Mouse to Spider Woman. We always saw their strenghts and their kryptonites. Those shows always remind us that those heroes were also human (except for Biker Mice).

When I was a child, my biggest ambition was to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner. I remember the imaginary game with my cousin and sisters ( I think I was 6 years old) where we pretended to be in a beauty pageant. My sister then asked me what I would do if I was given a lot of money. I told her that I would use the money to help the poor (yes such a cliche but I was young and seious about it).  I wanted to help save the world (I still want to up until now). The only problem, the change I dream of was just a dream. I never did anything to reach it. I partially blame living in a small city. It did not help in empowering my childhood dreams (centralization only helps big cities get more opportunities). I grew up thinking and feeling that I was a powerless nobody filled with frustrations of wanting to do more and that the only audience that I will ever get will be my schoolmates who pretty much had no choice.

It was not until I had my first heartbreak that I realised that I could do more and that I had a blind spot. I did not need to find a hero to save me, I needed to save myself, I was 22 years old then. At such a late age, I started to accept who I was. I accepted my physique and all my quirks. I never wore shorts and sleeveless tops before thinking that I looked ugly and fat. I always hid. I avoided opportunities thinking I was not smart enough or that I was incapable. I was nowhere near perfect but I knew I had more to offer to the world. More than complaining on social media, more than wishing that people did things differently, more than hoping others start caring for the poor and the environment.

I discovered my skill in public speaking when I accidentally won in a impromptu speaking competition in highschool ( I was just trying to escape boredom at a class, joining competitions gave me a valid excuse to miss it). When I knew that I could talk and that it could get people’s attention, I decided to push myself further. For two years, I would constantly put myself under the spotlight (not that I loved being the center of attention). Being comfortable in public was my biggest enemy (All my highschool and college friends and professors can attest). The awkward teenager in me started dying, I became more confident in public speaking. From a kid who could barely order food in Jollibee, I have found that my words have more impact on a bigger crowd and that I had the power to bring out confidence on others as well.

At 24, I decided to try my luck by moving to Manila. I was a stranger to a big city but I knew the city welcomed risk takers and dreamers. After meeting an influential guy who was never scared in innovating (he ended up being one of the country’s richest man), I broke free from my little safety box. I would go to Couchsurfing meet-ups and talk to people that I have never met before. I took different routes and found my way around the metropolis (I got robbed by a guy with a knife but it never stopped me). From being anonymous, I started making a name for myself, using my height and my Filipina features to get attention through beauty pageants, I was able to spread the word on worthy causes that I believed in. I worked diligently and professionally for people to make friends in different industry. Although the Manila journey ended up with a failure, I managed to bounce back into the journey once again.

I do not consider myself a hero to others (I am trying to be a hero to those without voices and power), I was and still a hero to myself. Real life heroes are no different from you and me, however they possess two traits that make them extraordinary, courage and commitment. It is not easy to take a stand and to stay your grounds. People will break you down and try to kill your spirit but they will not succeed unless you give them that power.

My journey is still far from over and I do not know how many failures are waiting for me ahead but I continue to walk farther into the unknown.

How about you? How far are you into the hero’s journey?


2015 Check

After the time spent for self-assessment last week, you had a chance to get to know who you really are and now a new leaf has turned. June just started and you are now halfway into 2015. What now?

It is time to check your progress towards your New Year’s resolution. Here are the usual resolutions most of us have:

Now ask yourself:

  • Are you working to do all of it?
  • Do you still have the same goals?
  • Are you still on track? If not, what is not working?

List down which resolutions you have achieved. Spend time evaluating what you have and haven’t done for the past 5 months.  Start acting on resolutions that are important to you that you have neglected. Be more specific and breakdown each resolution to small achievable tasks.

Time to catch up!

“Good resolutions are like babies crying in church. They should be carried out immediately.”
― Charles M. Sheldon

My Lifelist

We all have our ambitions and dreams in life, I was born with an intense one which included owning a Nobel Peace Prize, being one of the best in the field of Science and solving world peace. Although I still pine for making the world better, I became a bit less idealistic.

Here is my Lifelist:

  • Dress like a samurai during the Sakura Festival and learn how to do archery on a moving horse in Japan.
  • Learn how to cook at least 10 dishes and see all the temples in India.
  • Go on food trip around Vietnam in an Ao Dai.
  • Walk around the Mandalay Palace in Myanmar.
  • Dive with the infamous Mola Mola in Indonesia.
  • Learn some Muay Thai skills and dance the Khon in Thailand.
  • Run around the great wall of China and know all the illegal things in the Forbidden City.
  • Win over a local in a beer drinking/sausage or potato eating contest while dressed as a bar maid in Germany.
  • Take a panorama shot of the Aurora Borealis from an igloo in Alaska.
  • Row a gondola and be like Casanova in Italy.
  • See Van Gogh’s work and places of inspiration in France.
  • Learn the right way to make good pasta and pizza in Italy.
  • Dive in the Red Sea and have a selfie in the pyramids of Egypt.
  • Try to live like a Dane for a week in Denmark.
  • Look at the world from the highest peak and talk to a monk in Nepal.
  • Learn about the different holy places in Israel.
  • Do a head stand in front of the Petra in Jordan.
  • Kiss a koala, run after a roo, shout from the top of Uluru and dive in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
  • Go around New Zealand dressed like an elf.
  • Spend a week diving around Tubattaha Reef.
  • Live like a sea gypsy at the north end of Palawan.
  • Dive in all countries included in the Coral Triangle.
  • Travel in different countries with a man who will convince me to get married and have awesome kids.
  • Own a coffee, chocolate and cheese farm that helps locals.
  • Be the best Filipina technical diver
  • Go on a crazy road trip across U.S.A.
  • Set up my camp in Burning Man festival.
  • Save a life.
  • Publish 10,000 blog entries.
  • Learn Spanish, Chinese,French and German.
  • Play at least 5 songs with the guitar.
  • Start an animal haven.
  • Stay awake for 3 days straight.
  • Represent the country in an international competition.
  • Climb a coconut tree and open the coconut without help.
  • Start a fire using bamboo.
  • Finish university.
  • Sew a dress using my barehands.
  • Solo backpacking across Southeast Asia.
  • Hitchike in the Philippines.
  • Create a food trail across the Philippines.
  • Create a website from scratch.
  • Learn three programming languages.
  • Sky dive next to the Burj Khalifa.
  • Freedive in the Blue Hole.
  • See all the shark species. (Already saw the thresher shark, white tip, black tip and whale shark)
  • Swim with a big school of manta rays.
  • Win an international speech contest.
  • Drive a McLaren in a F1 circuit.
  • Own a black Ducati.
  • Have a supporting role in an episode of a foreign travel show.
  • Stay healthy until I reach 80.
  • Ride a camel through the desert.
  • Go on an African safari.
  • Run next to Usain Bolt.
  • Watch the World Cup live.
  • Read 5,000 books.
  • Visit all the tea farms and collect all the tea varieties.
  • See all the swords of the world.
  • Have a New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square.
  • See the fireworks over Sydney Opera House.
  • Spend Earth hour under the Eiffel Tower.
  • Have an action scene in a movie.
  • Do an underwater photo shoot.
  • Talk to a stranger daily for an entire month.
  • Be a vegan for a year.
  • Be good at yoga. (Currently a beginner)
  • Receive one post card from all the countries in the world.
  • Dive in all 5 oceans.
  • Swim with narwhals.
  • Walk with penguins.
  • See 100 sea horses and sea dragons.
  • Visit Galápagos Island.
  • Win a grant for a personal project.
  • Meet a member of the Costeau family.
  • Visit NASA space station.
  • Earn my first million by 40.
  • Live together with a nomadic family for a month in Mongolia.
  • Fly a plane.
  • Take photos of all the national costumes.
  • Meet Sylvia Earl
  • Own my own sailboat.
  • Visit all this unusual beaches: