Human


Every now and then

You stumble, you fall 

To a point where you can’t stand up. 

You cry, you bleed

To take the pain out. 

You fear, you doubt

Because you can’t hope enough. 

Yet you smile, you laugh

Because that’s when you are at your best. 

You love, you give

Because you’re human,

You’re unpredictable. 

You’re beautiful. 

You live. 

Parallel Existence


You and me, we move in the same space.

The left is yours. 

The right is mine. 

An exact replica of each other. 

You, 9 to 6. I, 9 to 6. 

You look up to  sky to count the hours until sunset. 

I look down to count the hours  until sunrise.

You, wondering how it is to be different. 

I, trying to define what is normal. 

You and me, we move in the same space. 

But never at the same time. 

Losing Sight


I frequent a massage shop called “Vibes” in a mall near my apartment. I usually go there twice a month to relieve myself from stress due to work and life, in general. One interesting aspect of Vibes is the massage therapists are blind. Unlike other regular customers though, I don’t favor a specific masseuse. I am fine with being assigned with the available masseuse because (1) I am generally impatient, and (2) it enables me to differentiate the massaging styles of the masseuses.

In the past three years of frequenting Vibes, I’ve observed a lot of things about their staff which often amazes me more than not. The massage therapists have very keen sense of touch and hearing. Even without saying a word and just by touching my back, they can tell if it’s me, if I lost or gained weight and if I am more stressed than usual. They also know my voice very well. They would say, “Oh! It’s Ma’am Melissa.” even if I just uttered, “Good evening”.

When they are in a light mood, some masseuse also share their  interests. There is one instance when I had to wait for the masseuse for a while. When she arrived, she apologized profusely. She mentioned she was just replaying the episode of a drama she missed the previous night. I asked her how she replayed it. She replied she listened through the YouTube application in her smartphone. She further shared that sometimes she replays TV shows on her Acer laptop. I was simply dumbfounded.

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Managing How to Work, Study and Travel Simultaneously


The other week, my classmates and I were joking on our Facebook group what we would award each other for our upcoming graduation this July 25. One classmate said he would give me a “Master Procrastinator Award”. I was appalled so I asked him why.

He replied, “Because every time I am cramming for our paper or an exam, I would see in your posts that you are either in Korea, El Nido or some random beach. You don’t seem to be bothered by school or work at all”.

Am I one?? (Image credits to keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk)

I was surprised that some of them had a perception that I am a “procrastinator”, so I clarified that when I am on travel, I bring my iPad and laptop. I study while waiting in airports and ports. I write papers at night or during the wee hours of the morning. I always put my phone on roaming to make sure I don’t miss anything work or school-related while I am overseas. Simply said, I multitask.

I always get questions related to this: How do you juggle things? How do you manage to keep up at work and school and still get to travel? So I thought I’d share of some of “tactics” of how I managed to do all three for the past years:

1. Multitask but do so efficiently. This is inevitable. I am not someone who can let go of my day job just to prioritize school or travel. I don’t have someone who I can say I can lean on  in case I get into financial trouble. I don’t want rely on scholarships either because in the Philippines, more of often than not, stipends are delayed. I also still send money to my family back home every once in a while. Multitasking is not ideal, but to be able to do all things I want to do and have to do, this is the compromise I make.

I am lucky enough that my classes are online. So while on travel, I can still participate in class discussion late at night or write papers at dawn. When I have something important for work that coincides with my travel, I usually check my email at least three times a day to make sure my workmates would still get the information they need from me.

Continue reading “Managing How to Work, Study and Travel Simultaneously”

Peaches and Friends


While waiting for our train ride to Hanoi, Vietnam in a restaurant somewhere  in Lao Cai a few days ago, my three friends decided to go out for a bit to look for peaches. They’ve been craving for peaches since we saw some in Bac Ha market earlier in the day. They asked me if I was coming, I told them I will just stay in the restaurant   since I don’t like peaches that much.

While waiting for them, I noticed that a Vietnamese girl in the next table was fidgety. She kept glancing around while holding her phone. So I asked her, “Are you looking for an electric outlet?”

She replied, “Yes. I need to charge my phone.”

I noted someone charged his phone near my table earlier  so I told her, “There’s one near my table. You can use it.”

She smiled and thanked me. She then asked me if I am from the Philippines since I speak good English. I responded affirmatively and thought finally someone guessed my nationality correctly. I was still mistaken as a Thai by some in Vietnam.

We then talked about her job, my job, her country and my country. She was very curious about the Philippines and certain places she wishes to visit. She even knew about Cebu Pacific’s piso seat sale.

After conversing for about 10 minutes, she excused herself . When she got back she offered me a peach as a sign of thanks. I almost said no but thinking there was no harm in trying to eat a peach, I accepted it. My friends arrived shortly, epmty-handed. When I asked if they were able to find peaches , they sadly replied they were not able to find a fruit vendor that sells them.

The Vietnamese girl probabaly heard our conversation so she went back to our table and gave each of my friends a peach. She said she bought a kilo in Bac Ha market and couldn’t finish it all by herself. My friends looked so happy and  enjoyed    their peaches with big smiles in their faces.

I smiled as well astounded at how the situation turned out. Fate? Coincidence? Whatever it was,  I was just glad to be able to make friends. 🙂

A Blessed Christmas to Everyone!


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Wherever you are
Whatever walk in life you are in,
I hope you feel loved
By family, by friends
Or at the very least
By our Savior who gave up
His life to save us all.

A Blessed Christmas to you. 🙂

(Seoul Diaries) Sawa dee Krap


You might find that there’s a disconnect in the title of this post. It’s related to my travel to Seoul but talks about the Thai way of saying “hello”. You see, I had very interesting tales associated with this greeting when I was in Seoul last October.

Upon arrival in Seoul, I and my friend Me-an immediately braved the cold streets of Myeong-dong to look for food, the best dollar to won exchange rates, and cardigans to augment our cold weaponry. I was in  awe  not just of  the number of people in the area but the variety of things that can be bought. Myeong-dong truly lives up to its name of being one of Seoul’s premiere shopping destination!

Myeong-dong for you!
Myeong-dong for you!

After happily walking out of a small stall, my spirit was blown out of my body when a man selling bags greeted us  a with a very loud, “Sawa dee Krap!”. We just laughed  so the man smiled back. Perhaps he was thinking “I got this in the bag”. Too bad just we laughed out of shock and the hilariousness of being mistaken as Thais.

On our 2nd night, we ventured to the more artsy street of Insadong where I found out street performances and magic shows are just ordinary happenings.

Yeah. Figure it out.
Yeah. Figure it out.
Paintings for sale at Insadong.
Paintings for sale at Insadong.

While quietly checking out the stalls, we were surprised again when someone shouted at us, “Sawa dee Krap!”. By that time I figure out I really probably looked like a Thai.

Continue reading “(Seoul Diaries) Sawa dee Krap”

Learning and Living


Yesterday, I heard someone (a lady) tell another person (a middle-aged man), “Why do you even bother paying for her matriculation fees? She is not even your child. You should stop doing that.”

There could be several explanations why the lady said those words to that man. The man could be paying the matriculation fees of an ungrateful child. He could be borrowing money in her behalf. Or…it could even be as simple as he wishes to a help a person who is not even his own child.

I don’t know the whole story so I am not in position to judge. However,  if the lady’s statement is related to the third scenario I mentioned, it’s so sad that she harbors such kind of beliefs. Since when there was a rule that we should only send  someone to school if she/he is our child? It violates every value I know about education, and what does this make me, my siblings and every person out there who was   able to study through the graciousness of other people?

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Public Enemy No. 1


I probably earned another enemy today. Earlier, I could not pass in a narrow sidewalk because 4-5 people were bolted in place talking loudly about a dog. So, I told one of the girls, “Excuse me, can I pass?”.

The girl turned around and stared rudely at me. Perhaps she was thinking who the hell I am to demand that from her. It took 10 tons of my patience to prevent myself to from further saying, “Excuse me. You don’t own the sidewalk so don’t block the passageway.”

To stress my point, I also stared. I flashed my signature killer stare until she moved out of the way. There goes my enemy.  On the brighter side, she didn’t know my name and I do not know her name either.  My encounter with her earlier will probably be our first and last cold war. However, she could morph…into another human being, into another public place hoarder.  I guess my unnamed enemy list could go still become longer.

I can also add to the list to that list the taxi driver who I stared at  while I waved the “hand stop” signal   because he refused to slow down while I was crossing in the pedestrian lane. And oh, I almost forgot the motorcycle driver who asked me to move out of the sidewalk  because he was passing by. Being the rude person that I am, I replied, “Why should I move when it’s people who should be using sidewalks?”.

Call me public enemy number 1.  Call me impatient.  I stare and even reply back to exaggerate my point.  But can one call my actions irrational or immature?

Be the judge.

Carefree Once


I love traveling because it’s one of the few circumstances that I can let go of work and studies and be reminded of what it feels to be a like a child and express pure admiration at new discoveries. The Ilocos trip last week provided such a good refresher and the experiences I brought would probably leave me pumped for the rest of the year. I took a lot pictures but one that properly reminds me of the very  essence of being carefree is this kid that I encountered in the cave we visited:

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 Two ladies asked this kid to take pictures of them. When he was positioned at this side of the cliff, he missed a step and went out of balance. I was so scared for him but he just laughed out loud and then assumed a serious look and proceeded to take pictures of his subject.

I missed such kind of carefree-“ness (if ever such word exists)–the kind where I can confidently say, “Bahala na.” or “I’ll leave it to fate”.  I guess this is another reason I like to travel. I am allowed to get lost. I can admit that I do not know something. I take the wrong step without worrying a lot will be affected. I am allowed to be human and be child-like… something I am feeling less and less in my current environment.

I was also carefree… once and sometimes it’s really tiring to  act like an adult or be the adult.

This post is my entry to Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme Carefree.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape


My idea of escape:

a place where no one knows me

a place where I can forget all the craziness of the urban life

a place where I can fully appreciate the wonders of nature

a place I can enjoy with people who truly matter the most

ESCAPE.

More “escape” submission at Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture


Philippines has probably one the most extensive or detailed celebration of Holy Week. In my hometown, we don’t have just one procession, we have five. The first procession is held during the afternoon of Holy Wednesday. The second one is held on the  afternoon of Good Friday . Another procession is held late at night during Good Friday. We call it Soledad and  its route is  exactly opposite of the procession held in the afternoon. My mom said it symbolizes “tracing the path that Jesus walked on his way to the cross”. The fourth procession called Salubong (literally means welcoming the Risen Lord) is held very early in the morning of Easter and the final one during the afternoon of Easter Sunday.

Regardless of the day the procession is held, the setup is pretty much the same. There would be pasos or images of the saints or scenes in the Passion of Christ. There would be altars where the priest would stop to say a prayer. And of course, there would be people holding candles during the procession. When I was a kid, the processions was very organized. People fall in two lines beside the pasos. In between altars, we prayed the Rosary. Some even walked barefoot.

A lot have changed since then. Processions became more crowded but for the wrong purposes.  I know this is a tradition that will continue for a long time but whether the intentions and solemnity will be preserved is a different question.

More entries at Daily Post.

24 at 24


Life is not perfect. However, it is the imperfections that make me love it more. There is always something to discover and learn. I have always tried to live that way—always in pursuit of higher but life-changing lessons. I do no want to stop because I know the moment I do that I would stop growing as a person. I would choose the uncertain anytime over a boring, repetitive life

I am blessed for being to able to realize this goal in my 23 years of existence. Life has not always been kind but it has certainly  been rewarding. I look forward to more years of fruitful existence.

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Encounters


The other night, I treated myself to dinner after a stressful day. While seating comfortably in the corner of the restaurant, a stranger sat in the next table and  greeted me with a big smile. Not wanting to offend her, I just smiled back. After I finished my meal, I stood up and looked  her way. She smiled again and said to me, “You’re done? Bye!”

I didn’t smile back, I just said to myself, “What an interesting person.”

It was not the first time I had an interesting encounter with a stranger. Way back  in December, while walking towards the jeepney terminal of SM Bicutan, a car stopped beside me. The driver rolled the window down and shouted at me, “Hey miss, do you have an umbrella?”

Continue reading “Encounters”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color


Colorful Men and Women of Science

I have  always been surrounded by men and women of science. I studied in science high school, took up Chemistry in college, and currently I work for an R&D institution.  “Science people” may appear nerdy and boring to some, but to me they are probably the most interesting and colorful people on earth. Why? Because of their innate curiosity for almost anything under and beyond the sun, they are also the ones who are most open to change and tolerate tons of useless information. The people of science is literally and figuratively of all colors.

Check out the colorful entries for this week’s challenge at Daily Post .

Credits to PCHRD for some of the pictures used in this entry.