Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gratitude List: #ProjectGoodVibes

My friend, Kristel, tagged me on her #ProjectGoodVibes post on Facebook. The challenge is to list three positive things in your life that you're truly thankful about. I guess I'm no stranger to this as I have #GratitudeList and #ProjectPositivity on this blog, hence, posting it here instead. Here we go. 

1. A deeper relationship with the Lord, and sharing the journey with my partner. (Hello, Sweetie!) I was born and raised in a very religious family and I grew up admiring the faith and dedication of my lola and aunts. I went to a Catholic school from nursery and practiced my religion as expected. But for so long, I did it out of tradition and duty. It's been only a few years since I started questioning, reading, deciding and finding out more about my personal relationship with my Creator. I discovered new ways to practice and deepen my faith, and even debunked a few practices I don't understand and believe in. I now understand people and their religious beliefs (or lack thereof) better. Faith, I discovered, is truly personal. We can't go around shoving our own ideals to people just because we think it's the right thing to do. That's why I love our Pope so much! I can't say my journey is complete, but everyday is a revelation I'm truly grateful for.

HS Girlfriends

2. Blessed with Good People. I consider myself a really lucky blessed girl. Maybe not so much on material things, but my life is really brimming with the nicest, smartest, most joyful people. My clan is wickedly awesome, I can't stay sad in their company. My childhood is epic with memories of family outings, late Happy Meal Drive Thru's and silly Christmas games. I also have a circle of trusted girls whom I've been friends with since Elementary and HS (Hello, Tara, Chai, Yhel, Tethas, Cath, Ren and Libay!). If I wasted myself and gone astray, I'm pretty sure they will find me and pick me up from my mess. No questions asked. 

Amazingly, I also found a good man (10 years ago!) who's been with me through all my ups and troubles. He's also been unbelievably patient with me when I can't even be patient with myself. My 29 years have not been exactly breezy but I've managed to get through and remain positive because the love I receive from people are simply overwhelming. It would be a shame to let them down. For some reason, it's as if I'm born with a magnet that attracts good people. Hooray! :)

3. A Second Home in EON. It's been more than three years since I took a leap of faith and left my comfort zone to join EON. One of the best decisions in my life. I met and learned from the smartest and most brilliant people in the PR industry. EON honed and polished my skills, exposed me to various industries and practices and stretched me to go beyond perceived limits. It's one hell of  a ride, sometimes scary, most of the time fun, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. More importantly, this is where I met really good people who eventually became trusted friends.The management (and everyone else!) is so supportive of me, it really felt like family. 

A career in PR is never too easy (if it is, then you're probably doing it wrong), but amidst the tiring days, unholy working hours, crazy deadlines and uhm, challenging clients, it's my colleagues, mentors and my friends who kept me going. EON is and will always be a second home. Plus, I tell you, we know how to have fun! ;)

Boracay 2012
Christmas Party at Club Muah 2012

Creepy Matryoshka dolls | Halloween 2013
EON Anniversary at Spicy Fingers October 2013
Shell FuelSave Drive Feb 2014
Bohol June 2014

As I type this, we got news that EON won the South East Asia Consultancy of the Year Award from The Holmes Report. The first ever PR agency recognized from the Philippines! Woot! :)

Now's your turn. Join the #ProjectGoodVibes and spread positivity and all around!

Much Love, 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Perfect Timing

It's funny how people are always in a hurry for everything. Kids can't wait to grow up, young professionals slave themselves to get a promotion ASAP, lovers jump on the next chance to get hitched. I'm no exception. If there's a value I need to practice more than anything, it's patience. When it comes to this ballgame, I'm an amateur. In basketball jargon, bangko.

When I was 16, I applied for a part-time job as a fastfood attendant. I didn't need the money, I just wanted a fastlane to the grownup world. My parents didn't sign the waiver, and you wouldn't believe the amount of tears and tantrums I threw at them all summer. Now that I look back, I'm glad they did that. Summer was a good time to meet new friends (boy crushes even, ha!), learn new things and spend more time at home. I mastered my biking stunts, bruised my knees, started my love affair with cooking and did things that I don't have the time and chance to do now that I'm already in the workforce. 

Most people I know spent a few weeks after college just to take a break after 15 years of schooling. I did the opposite. My graduation ceremonies was still a month after the official end of school so I said what the heck, I'm not wasting a minute being a bum. I logged in at Jobstreet, sent my CV to a BPO company, got a call for an interview the next day and signed my first job offer later that evening. Did that work out? NO. BPO environment was not for me. Graveyard shift killed me. I was miserable. All because I was in a hurry. For what? Nothing really. 

Now that I'm in my late twenties, I still get high on impulse, but I can manage better. I now choose my battles more carefully. I buy time to go over big decisions. I finally met patience. He's like a gentle old friend, rich with life's experiences. He's mild-mannered and composed. He has no reasons to cram or panic, because he's well aware of the universe's perfect timing. And I tell you, the Big Man above is not shy to show His great mercy and glory to the believers!

Petronas Tower, Kuala Lumpur | 2010

When my dad had a massive stroke earlier this year, I prayed hard that he gets transferred to a regular room at least before my birthday. After three gruesome weeks, we got the doctor's order to move him. It was the night before I turned 29.

I then decided to pursue my plans to work abroad, and since my brother and a handful of other relatives live in Dubai, it was a natural choice. If not for Ramadan, I would have flown to Dubai last May. But Mr. Patience asked me to painfully wait again. It's impractical to go around and hunt for a job in Dubai when offices operated for only half a day for almost a month. Not to mention that average temp is 50 degrees. So when Ramadan ended in July, I gave myself two weeks to pack and say my good byes. I have a ticket for August 14. Alas. I got my job offer to expatriate to Kuala Lumpur on the eve of August 13. It's a dream job for PR practitioners like me. I had to let Dubai, and the promise of still being with family, go.

I will be 30 years old next year, and I've told myself time and again that I will move out and live on my own before I hit the big 3-0. I've been ready for so long, but I didn't have the heart to leave my mom alone until this great opportunity came. I broke the news over Chinese dinner and she gave me her full support. Now is the perfect time to live independently, alone (but not lonely I hope!) in a foreign country. It's also time to learn how to properly do the laundry.

Now, can you honestly say these are mere coincidence? I refuse to believe so. I call it God's Perfect Timing. And I'm very very excited for the rest to unfold. 

Have a blessed weekend! :)

Much Love,

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What I Learned Today: In a Snap of a Finger

I expected my third visit to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia to be relatively uneventful. But traveling has so many ways to delight and surprise us. I met several new friends, set foot on the outskirts of the Sabah state, tried pickled fruits that tasted like bugs, traditional Malay and Dusun cuisine and a really badass rice wine called Tapai. A few sips and you're buzzed for the night.

On top of that, I also managed to get myself into a very sticky situation that involved near drowning, a good amount of blood and medical evacuation from Kiulu river. Don't panic, I've fully recuperated. My frantic mother scolded me for being too "brave". What was I thinking when I jumped in the raging water to body raft, as if river rafting is not exciting (and risky) enough? 

It was an unforgettable experience. But while it's nerve-wracking, I don't think it will hinder me from seeking future adventures. In fact, it drew me closer to my desire to see and experience more of this world. Among the things that ran through my mind after brushing with death, this truth struck me the most. If we can be gone in a snap of a finger, why waste our lives with mediocrity and regrets? Each morning is an opportunity to chase our dreams harder, to act kinder towards our neighbors, to love more passionately, to serve our Lord more faithfully, and never forget, to find life's greatest adventures.

Rice paddies at Tambunan Village
Feeling small
and all playful at Mahua Falls
Gearing up for white water rafting at Kiulu river
Token shot at the snake road going to Tambunan village

Thank you for all the love and well wishes! I'm up and about and ready for my next adventure. Shout out to the lovely Kitingan family who hosted us so graciously especially to Ann who escorted me to the clinic and all the way to the hospital. All my love for you guys!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The 3-month late Birthday

Here's a 3-month late post on how I spent my 29th birthday. It was a difficult time because my dad was still in the hospital then, hence the missed birthday blog. But despite that, my family was still able to arrange a swimming party for the April celebrants and some relatives from abroad spending summer vacation in the PH. How blessed can I be! :) 
It was a fun night of hot spring pools, cakes and bubblies.

On top of that, my colleagues invited me to a pseudo brainstorming, which turned out to be a Japanese birthday lunch. Hooray for good friends!
For what it's worth, Happy Birthday to me! :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gratitude List: Downtime

Glenda, one of the most powerful storms to hit the the Philippines this year, has left eastern and southern Luzon in shambles. Manila, the mega city and the country's capital, was left in chaos and some areas remain powerless for several days now. We got our power back a few hours ago after four days of struggling with darkness. While I'm too happy that the power, along with all the comforts it brings our home, is back, I'm also grateful to have a bit of a lull to see a few things in a totally different light. So today, I woke up early from a fake cold night, grabbed my computer and listed some things I'm thankful for during my forced downtime. 

Preparation is key. Parts of Manila was (and some are still) in the dark. Most households I know are equipped with the usual emergency supplies but only to a certain extent. Are we prepared in the event that the blackout stretches to a week or more? With the batteries, emergency lights and candles sold out in almost all groceries in our area (only on the second day!), I guess not. Time to beef up my Doomsday Preppers vibe.

Be with an employer who genuinely cares for you. It was 3am, and I was desperately trying to do something about the banging windows and ceiling when I read the office thread over WhatsApp. It was our business unit head, tracing the whereabouts and safety of each and every employee. I know some companies, especially those whose clients are overseas, cannot suspend work because of the nature of their business. Not entirely their fault, but I'm just happy to be where I am right now where people's safety matters more than anything. 

Do not take communication for granted. I cannot stress enough how it's so hassle-free to communicate these days. You can message or call anyone with a few tap on your personal gadgets. For a digital immigrant who still remembers how my dad and uncles send voice tapes from abroad, I value how communication is now at our fingertips. Sadly, once a thing becomes too easy and too abundant, people tend to take it for granted. So when the networks went wonky, people scrambled to their phones to reach their loved ones. Do we really have to wait for a storm to reach out? 

Home is where my heart is. Power was out in our place for four days. That's almost a hundred hours of sweltering in the dark. By the second day, cabin fever sets in. In this time and age when I and most people in my circle are connected to the web 24/7, I'm sure you get where this is heading. A number of good friends who live in buildings with generators or in unaffected areas offered to host me and my family until we get our power back. But my mom is old-school and didn't want to leave the house. I was very tempted to stay at a friend's place since I needed to sleep to be able to work, but somehow, I long for my home. It's where I'm most at peace despite the lack of all the usual comforts. Aside from the sleepless nights, it still wasn't so bad. 

Makeup-less and home with the boss

Live a simple life. A friend posted about how they drove for hours to find a hotel because her kids cannot take the power-less night. They didn't find any because all hotels are fully booked, and people were actually waiting in line. She also said how she remembers that when they were kids, they managed to survive a few days without electricity and how people nowadays will die of the inconvenience rather than the typhoon. I have nothing against people, especially families with kids, who cannot survive a night without hot water and air conditioning. But personally, I want to try to keep a simple lifestyle and be less dependent on the everyday luxuries. Just in case we get doomed, I have better chances of adapting.

No sandwich maker? That's fine. I'm happy with my hot and freshly delivered taho! :)

One day at a time. In relation to living a simple life, no power means no fridge, which means we have to cook food just enough to finish in one sitting. On a broader sense, there will be days and instances when the world will ask us to slow down and not be sick and worried too much about the future and just live one day at a time. We could all use a break from paranoia. 

Sharing one of my favorite verses from the scriptures
Pray for resilience. In times of difficulties, we usually pray for the energy and strength to survive. In life, we aim to display courage and power. In truth, when our humanly strength and betrays us, what we need is the ability to spring back to our original form and bounce back from all the difficulties. SHRUG. IT. OFF. 

My mind is a bottomless pit of insights and life lessons the past days. I guess 96 hours of downtime did me well. Wishing everyone's safe after the storm. Take care!

Much Love,