Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Turning 29

I must admit that I get mixed emotions every time my birthday is about to come up. I feel really happy knowing that family and friends take time to greet and surprise me during this day. However, reality does sink in that I am not getting any younger, and that there is still so much I want to do in life, and time seems to be running out.

Of all the birthday's I had, I will never forget my 16th, 18th, and 27th birthday.

On my 16th and 18th birthday, my family and friends gave me a surprise party. I still remember on my 18th birthday, I volunteered to help in the National Elections, and as I got home, my friends and family were all waiting inside our house. I knew something was fishy because there were so many cars parked outside our house. It kind of gave away the surprise, but not knowing who my parents invited and seeing everyone there made me really really happy.

For 4 or 5 years now, my colleagues/ friends have found a way to make me feel special. They'd all come to school in pink, and most or all of my gifts would either be pink or a hello kitty item. Last year, I had a surprise party in the faculty workroom.
My last year with the English dept. 2009

My 27th Birthday 2010

My family in pink

Had a big celebration last maraming friends

My 28th birthday (2011) in the office

I specifically had a big celebration last 2010 because I just felt that everything was falling into place. The year started out right, and it seemed that everything I had wished for or wanted eventually followed. I was truly blessed. 
I started 2010 by losing 20 pounds, which evetually I gained back in 2011. I was given a new assignment at work, had exciting travels to Caramoan and Boracay, took driving lessons and bought a car, got a dog, and overcame my fear of blood and needles. I am proud to say that 2010 was my year. 

Unfortunately, 2011 was not as great. I still had some good things to be thankful for like being surprised by my Unit 3 teachers with a simple but heartwarming celebration, being accepted as a runway model for a plus size brand, and finding a buyer for my crappy car, which only gave me headaches in all the 8 months I had it. I didn't have a big celebration last year because my finances were a mess since the car had to be repaired every month.

Anyway those are all in the past now. This 2012, I don't feel as lucky or as negative either. I feel I'm just stable. So far, I haven't broken a single New Year's Resolution. I have actually accomplished most of it in just 5 months. I have won "Biggest Loser" in our school, have started a healthier lifestyle, went on a Korea, Bellarocca and Cebu trip, have given away old things to clean up and organize my closet, and I was able to try a "New Look" (kind of by accident since my hair started to fall off)

So what am I looking forward to this year: A lot of changes! I'm assigned a new role at work again. It's still a bit similar to my old work, but things are still unclear since it's transition year because of the k12 upgrade. I also want to be able to go on a Cambodia trip before my next birthday...

If I could be given a chance, I'd choose not to grow old. Life was way simpler when I was young. Problems were so petty, but with age comes more experiences and more wisdom, and I certainly want that as well. Since I can't stop myself from growing old, I must make the most of the year to come so that I can look back and say that it was a year well lived. 

I pray that God continues to guide me in whatever challenges I'll be facing this year. In the 29 years that I have lived, he is the constant thing in my life who has never disappointed me. Sabi nga nang Spiritual director ko last year, " Chaveli, you are spoiled by God. You are a spoiled brat because God has been so good to you, and almost everything you want in your life he has given, so if he has not given to you the 1 thing that your heart desires, you must be PATIENT"... To this day, I am still praying for that 1 thing he has asked me to be patient about, and I know that God will give everything at the right time : )

So as I celebrate my 29th birthday tomorrow, I pray for courage to face difficulties and for patience because God has a plan for me. 

To my family and friends, i love you all. Thanks for always being there even in the craziest times of my life. 

More than my 29th birthday, I am looking forward to my 30th birthday because I know it will open a more exciting chapter in my life.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why It's More Fun In THe Philippines Part 2

Part 2:

Last May 4-6, I went to Cebu. It wasn't my first time because last 2011, I went to Cebu for work related purposes. What made this trip special and different was having new friends to enjoy the place with and seeing for the very first time a Religious Profession.

We arrived on the evening of May 4. Our 6 p.m. flight got delayed, so we arrived in Cebu at about 9 p.m. My friends and I agreed to stay in the retreat house in Lawaan City where the Religious Profession the next day would take place. As soon as we brought our things to the room prepared for us, we immediately decided to have dinner and drinks just to be able to make the most of our first night in Cebu. We took a cab, and went to Giligan's Bar and Resto in Ayala Center. We ordered some finger food and had some drinks. We also had a chance to meet up with two of my other friends who were also in Cebu for a vacation.

The next day was more exciting. I attended a Religious Profession. I didn't know what to expect, but the celebration was very solemn and the music was just fantastic. My friends really felt touched by the whole celebration because they personally knew some of the brothers who were having their profession. After the celebration, my friends really took their time to approach and take pictures with the brothers, whom they miss a lot. I didn't join the picture taking since I was hesitant to be in pictures with people I have not known personally. Joining them would mean, having to be introduced again and again, and I didn't want all that hassle. Plus, I don't really like being in crowded places (except when shopping) or being in awkward situations.

After all the excitement and the free buffet lunch served for the people who attended, we decided to take a road trip to Oslob, Cebu where we would be able to see and swim with the famous whale sharks (Butanding). What I love about my friends ,who were with me in this trip, is the fact that they enjoy road trips as much as I do. We just love adventure, and I must admit our Oslob Trip was a trip to remember. 
The bus trip was suppose to be 3 hours long, but because of the traffic in the city, it took us almost 4 hours. In the bus, I did nothing but sleep. The driver was quite crazy. He would drive really fast, and would brake just as fast. If made me dizzy, so I had no choice but to sleep during the whole bus ride.
We arrived in time for dinner. Since it was late, we definitely couldn't swim with the whale sharks anymore.  
The place is quite remote: no hip restaurants and coffee places... just plain simple home-cooked meals at very affordable prices. Since most of the eateries there looked alike, we choose to eat in a place where an attractive poster was displayed near the entrance. We were not disappointed... Food was simple, affordable and I think I was satisfied.
with my really nice new friends

We ended the day, with a few drinks and some heart to heart talk about life. We went to bed early because Day 2 in Oslob, Cebu was surely going to be more exciting, and we just couldn't wait.

In Oslob, Cebu

Day 2 had to start at 5 a.m. We rode a tricycle to the beach where we were given a short orientation regarding the whale sharks. We rode a small boat and not very far from the shore, whale sharks were already visible. Once the boat stopped, we were allowed to go down the open water and swim near the whale sharks. Even if I love to swim or (should I say float), I started to panic as soon as the guide told me that a whale shark was right beneath me. Even without my snorkeling gear, I saw the whale shark clearly. It was big and scary. Though harmless, it freaked me out. I asked the guide if I could go back to the boat and he said I could, but had to discover how to go up... (That wasn't easy!) Since I couldn't go up the boat, I decided to swim and see the whale sharks from a distance. It was astounding to be able to swim beside these creatures. I also marveled at how beautiful the sea was. I just couldn't think about anything else, but of how Great God is because he created all this.
Unfortunately, even if I did have fun swimming with whale sharks, I felt like something was biting me everywhere in my body.

Pictures below, show us before and after the whale shark experience:

Whale Shark Orientation

After our whale shark adventure, we headed back to our simple yet comfortable lodging to pack our things and to head back to Cebu City.

We had lunch in Hukad in Ayala Center.  The best dish for me was their Adobong Talong. Servings were big, but service could have been improved. 

After lunch, we bought some souvenirs and food for our families and friends in Manila. Our flight back to Manila was delayed so we took some photos while waiting.

Honestly, 3 days in Cebu was not enough. Even with the extremely hot and humid weather, I still want to go back to try the Sky Experience Adventure in the Crown Regency hotel and towers or go to Kawasan falls to feel the refreshing water or go to Bantayan Island : ) I'm happy because I actually still have reasons to go back.

I left Cebu with a heart filled with happiness. I met new friends, experienced something new and had a short but meaningful adventure just before all our work in school starts to pile up. I will cherish these memories, and hope that it doesn't end with this trip.

I honestly look forward to more trips with these Awesome and Funny people. 

Until my next trip, Fierce Ladies!



Why It's More Fun In The Philippines Part 1

This summer I had the chance to go around. I went to Korea, and that has been written about in my previous blog. However I haven't had the chance to write about my trip to two AWESOME places here in the Philippines: Bellarrocca Resort in Elephant Island, Marinduque and Cebu.

Last 2011, my friend informed me of a promo voucher to go to Bellarocca. At first, I was quite hesitant because there were a lot of scams out there, and I did not want to fall victim to those things. I did not want to plan and expect a beautiful trip, only to be disappointed in the end. Anyway, eventually, we were all convinced because the offer was just really good: Buy 1 Take 1 for 22,000. Normally, it's 22,000 for 1 person. All four of us, (BG GIRLS)--- if you want to know what BG stands for, it's in one of my previous blogs--- agreed to have the Bellarocca trip on April 2012. Honestly, the wait was super duper long.

The view exactly outside our hotel room

After my 1 year wait, I can say that it was what I expected. The place is quiet and peaceful. It's a place more for the young couples or for those newly married. Here, you can have all the alone time you want. The hotel rooms and villas are to die for. Beds are too comfortable that at one point I was just tempted to sleep all day. The view around you is breathtaking and the beach, though not having white sand, is a great place to swim. Of course the food and service is excellent. It's a complete package : )

Here are some pictures of Bellarocca Island
 Bellarocca Island

 BG arrives in Bellarocca

At the Hotel Lobby

My favorite part of the room

View from the Infinity Pool


Can you imagine me in Greece?

A view of Marinduque--- the heart shaped island

By looking at the pictures, you'll definitely fall in love with this Greece-like island. However just like most trips, there were some flaws to it. 

First, the only plane that would get you to this small paradise is Zest Air. I don't think I have to elaborate how great their service is (Being Sarcastic Here!). I actually believe that eventually this airline will kill Bellarocca's business soon. To give you an example of how bad their service is: my 1:30 p.m. flight became a 6 p.m. flight. Can you just imagine how late it was already for the people who were just arriving. I was lucky that it was my departure that got delayed. Aside from the horrible airport or should I say nipa hut, the plane was really dirty, aircon was not functioning properly, and the aircraft had a disgusting smell as I entered. I'd definitely go back to Bellarocca if given the opportunity, however, I'd prefer a different airline if possible.

Second, everything is really expensive. Food is priced from 350 to 650. Yes, I must admit it tastes good, but to spend 400 per meal on average is quite not my thing. Take note, there is only 1 restaurant in the Island, so you actually have no choice where to eat, however, there is a wide variety of food to choose from.

Third, aside from sleeping, walking around, eating and swimming, there is not much to do. You can rent their DVD's or sing at their karaoke room, but if you are the party type of person, and you are looking for some happenings then this is not the place for you. It is nothing like Boracay if that's what you are expecting.

Fourth, they don't have stores or groceries, and their souvenir shop only sells branded items like a dress worth 18,000 but actually looks 150 pesos for me.

All in all, I'd rate this place an 8.5 over 10. It was a good place to relax and get out from the very busy life of Metro Manila, but honestly, with their new rates of 44,000 a night in a hotel room on 95,000 per night in a villa, and the crappy plane that has to get you there, I'd suggest that you try some other place. I'm sure there are more fun places in the Philippines.