Monday Musings: Take the Stage

How many of us take on the stage in our life? I did when I moved to Manila and since then life has never been boring.

6 years ago, it was my first time walking on a bigger stage and feeling small, I wanted to take the challenge so decided to move to a bigger city with only the thought of adventure and self-growth giving me courage. Since then, I never looked back. It took a lot of strength being a girl from a simpler city who always wanted to control everything.

I started out not knowing anyone and not having a job. Couple of days after the coronation night of Miss Resorts World 2011 in August, I landed a job for a new company just by asking everyone in my Facebook. The day I had my interview and found out I got hired was the day my talent manager decided to leave the apartment and I arrived in an empty space with only my luggage left. I panicked and I only knew one person and she was the hiring manager of the company. I was left with little option so I had to ask her if I could live with her. I had to swallow my ego for a month and live in a room almost a quarter of my usual bedroom in Cebu just because I didn’t have money yet because I never received any of the consolation prize. I just braved through the incident and focused on my first job in Manila. I just kept on, knowing that things will eventually get better.

Last week while in BGC, I was reminded of the struggles I’ve had since I started that adventure and how far I’ve come since that day because of that I overcame being shy about my thoughts and my ambitions.

From a girl who was scared to even talk to the woman on the counter asking for my order in Jollibee, I have learned to speak up and go for what I deserved.

I got lost several times while commuting around the city but it helped me find interesting places and gave me better idea on faster routes around Manila.

Sometimes you have to go extreme to push yourself to the limit and wake up to the truth that you can do a lot better and that you have more grit than you think.

That move to Manila definitely made my world bigger with more possibilities and opportunities and now I can only take on a bigger stage.

How about you? When are you taking the stage? Have you recently taken on a stage? If not, be brave! Things can only get better to those who dare. ūüėä

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2016 Q2 Insights and Changes

The earlier half of my 2016 is already awesome. Here’s why.

It is half way through August and as you guys have probably noticed, I haven’t done a great job at posting new content in July. I initially drafted this post last month but I could never get my mind in one place. I have had a lot of things going on in my life and I am still struggling to create the habit of consistently writing. Anyways, I am sharing new life challenges and changes for the first half of 2016.

  1. My temporary contract with Rare ended. I said goodbye to the non-profit world to take on new challenges that will further develop my skills in putting ideas to reality. I had a lot of good memories the full 8 months as a Temporary Associate for Partnerships. It was a good experience to be part of an international non-profit organization. Last January, I was lucky enough to be part of the Sinulog Grand Parade as a participant and not merely a spectator. It was my first time to also watch the competition. During my last week, I joined the first site visit to validate the information sent in by the municipality. I learned about the plights of the local fishermen and how deep corruption goes. As I left the organization, I had mixed feelings because I was leaving the people that I have been with for months. They were hardcore workers that are really dedicated to helping the locals protect our oceans. Unfortunately, in life not all stories last and this was one page I had to close to open the next one.

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    Me and my awesome workmates from Rare during the Sinulog Grand Parade.
  2. Ever since I met my boyfriend, Lucas who is equally in love with the ocean as I am, I have been diving more. It is definitely great to find someone who is also into the same sport. As of now, I have already logged in 61 dives! I have started counting down seahorses that I have seen and so far I have seen only 2 pygmy seahorse and 4 regular size ones which makes me closer to crossing this off my life list. I have visited more dive sites and I have had more close encounters with sea snakes. I am looking forward to getting my Rescue Diver License later this year (fingers crossed) since I did not get to do so last year. This goal would mean more focus on saving my pay unless I suddenly find me a sponsor (maybe you know anyone willing?).   61dives13082704_10154070688978329_4043091711850212282_n
  3. Luckily, I was one of the chosen Filipinos to participate in the first Climate Reality Leadership Training in the Philippines which was headed by Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore himself where I have met countless of inspiring people from different parts of the world sharing the same passion for the environment.
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    With my table mates!
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    Intramuros Tour with the other leaders
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    Inspiring stories from different countries.

     

  4. ¬†I was appointed as Miss SCUBA Philippines National Director, which I fully accepted even though I know how huge of an undertaking it is. Making me currently the youngest pageant national director in Philippines. I am happy that I will contribute to a lady’s life changing moment the same way I did for Cindy. I am positive that we can have back-to-back win for Philippines in Miss SCUBA International 2016. Luckily, SERALCHO, headed by Mr. Charles Lim, is supportive about my passion in promoting diving among ladies and marine conservation in the country. There will be selections all throughout the country and I am certain the next Miss SCUBA Philippines will be a woman of substance and action.

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    Me with Mr. Lorenzo Tang, GM of Belmont Hotel, Miss SCUBA International/ Miss SCUBA Philippines 2015 Cindy Madduma and Charles Lim of SELRAHCO during the Press Launch
  5. A SPACE Inc. decided that I was good enough to be Space and Community Deals lead for their first branch out of Manila. Now working hard to exceed their expectations and to have the best coworking space in Cebu. I am admittedly turning into a workaholic working for more than 8 hours per day and even having dreams that are work-related but it all pays when you see the spacers happy and the space slowly morphing into an awesome masterpiece.

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    Blending in with the participants of Angelhack Cebu challenge.
  6. I have ran farther and faster than I used to during university. I have stuck through my resolution of being more healthy and I have already accomplished much. I survived my first 12km run and made it in the top 10 finisher. I also have recently increased my speed in 10k and earned my first Sub1 10k medal.

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    I have always been into short distance running but I never knew I could be as good, if not better doing long distance.
  7. I went back to public speaking by delivering a talk on marine conservation during the Instameet organized by I Luv Cebu. It was weird to be the older person in the room as I was surrounded a lot of teenagers but it was a good test on how I could package my talk in a fun but a bit alarming way. Although, I think I scared them more. Plus Lucas and I ended up in this page of the local newspaper!

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    Photos during the Instameet Event
  8. I reached a milestone with Lucas, he surprisingly survived my craziness for a year! I have learned a thing or two from him when it comes to relationships. I am never the best person when it comes to controlling emotions. Since I do not do mediocre, I am either all in or nothing in a relationship. Managing this stereotypical girl behavior of over analyzing and over acting is never easy but I am getting better at it (I think). He is very thoughtful and always reminds me that we are a team. I got so used to being independent that I usually forget that I can ask for help. I have never been happy in a relationship.  He is not only a boyfriend, he is also my dive buddy and co explorer! What more can a girl ask for right?
  9. I recently found out that I have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Hiatal Hernia, making my diet a lot more complicated. I cannot have any acidic food which means I have to avoid tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine and gas forming foods too! I am still adjusting and to be honest, it is not easy at all. Being vegetarian is already complicated in a meat loving country. It just decreases my food choices. I was reminded that even if I workout, I should also take the time to take care of the other part of my body like the stomach. We often do not care about it. Each organ is vital to us and all should be treated equally with great care.
  10. I went back to short hair and fringe! While it is not such a big of deal, it is quite liberating. The last time I had hair this short was right after I finished university which would be 9 years ago. After having to keep my hair long for years because the modelling and pageant industry demanded it, I feel more empowered these days and it has lifted my confidence. Helped me channel the rock star in me.

What will happen next? I can try to analyse and think of the things to come but I will never completely know what to expect. One thing I know is that this is my last year to be part of the 20ish and I will not let it drift by in a boring manner. I will continue to push my limits and break current boundaries. Just as how living should be.

How is your year so far?


 

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?

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.

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.

‚ÄúJust do your best ‚ÄĒ in any circumstance in your life. It doesn‚Äôt 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‚Äôt 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.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Miguel Ruiz

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

Monday Musings: Rise

Are you in a slump? Tired of going against life’s challenges and the daily routines? Do you want to give up?

I am here to remind you of your choice!

Rise
Rise

 

Warrior Wednesdays: Do Not Assume

How many times do you judge people in a day? I admit enjoy observing people and assuming things. I am not certain if it is really part of human instinct to judge people. We have created stereotypes and used cues to formulate conclusions without clarifying it to the person involved. We hate being judged and yet we like to judge.

Assume Nothing
Steer clear from prejudice.

When I was a kid, I used to judge the candidates of Binibining Pilipinas a lot. I would assume that they do not have much besides their physical beauty and that what they did was easy. Things changed when I decided to see things from their perspective. After joining several competitions, I had to get used to the label “beauty queen” among my friends. There was one incident where I was talking to a woman and she bluntly told me, ” I did not expect to have a good conversation with you. I thought most beauty queens did not have substance”. I felt insulted and wished that I had my academic records so I could show it to her face that I knew more things beyond looking beautiful. It then hit me on how similar I was to her.

Everyday we seek an audience, we want people to understand us. We assume too much and understand too little. We think we know everything and we categorize it according to how we think. How often do you get hurt and hurt others from assuming things? Avoiding conflict, keeping things to ourselves always ends in conflict.

You Know Nothing.
Be like Snow.

Always bear in mind this famous line from the¬†Game of Thrones series, this is how you should program your mind¬†daily. Try to see things like it is your first encounter, Just as how a newborn sees the world. Do not convince yourself that your guesses are fact, they probably are not.¬†We think too much, and thinking leads to assumptions. Assumptions lead to nothing but disappointments. Follow Don Miguel Ruiz’s advice:

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.