12.31.2015

2015


As always, I am stumped on how to summarize another year especially if it's a memorable one. Far more different than the previous years but then no years are just as similar. What makes a year memorable? When you say memorable, does it only consist of the happy and the good memories? I think not. 2015 was memorable for me because it was one hell of a mix of the good, the bad, the struggling, the happy, the terrifying, and all the little moments in between.

TRAVELS
Let's start with the good and happy. In 2015 I am grateful for my little travels. I had the chance to go and see new places (beaches most especially) for the first time. There was the road trip to Dahican, Mati last March, long-weekend in Cebu last May, company outing at Pearl Farm, college friends reunion at San Remigio, Samal and the office team adventure at Aliwagwag Falls, Cateel. 

The world (or rather the Universe) is so big and inch by inch I want to see the beauty of it. For 2016, the exploring doesn't stop!

PROMOTION
For 2015, I am most thankful for my unexpected promotion. Funny that I just associate myself before to Andy Sachs of The Devil Wears Prada (see post) and now, I am a real life Andy Sachs-ish since I became an Executive Assistant except my boss is not as scary as Miranda Priestly and my industry is far from the print/magazine industry. Haha. This year was having the courage to say yes and taking up the challenge. If it's meant for you, it will be yours. I have to give where credit is due, thank you to the people behind who saw my potential! 


CRISIS
But on a serious note, God's Hands really move in mysterious ways especially the promotion happened after a very struggling family crisis. Of course there's no way this is to be elaborated as it is personal but one thing I learned: rely on God completely as you can surpass anything (ANYTHING) through His strength. This particular crisis put things in perspective. I've learned to look what's around and actually care what's really going on especially within the family. In the midst of the trying times, you just know who the real people you can count on. There will only be few, I tell you.

WORKOUT
One of the things I am proud of this 2015 has to be Zumba! I mean it's the one little thing I'm faithful to every Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Aside from the love for dancing I never knew I had, the motive for joining Zumba was really to be fit. Before, I'd be on Instagram and stalk #thinspirations, #bodygoals and #fitnessgoals people only to realize that these models and celebrities are thin because it's part of their job, they are paid to do that! So it's a bit unrealistic to set my body standards similar to theirs. They have the luxury of time to spend at the gym, unlike me, a mere mortal, whose day job consists of a lot of sitting whole day (a bit sedentary). To compensate, I regularly walk home after work.

Anyway, my whole point is, find a workout that you'll love and be committed to. Set realistic #bodygoals. Personally, this 2015 I've come to terms that I'll never be as skinny as I was back when I was a college kid. The pounds I've gained are here to stay and I'm okay with that. I look healthier and more nourished with additional flesh. :)
LEARNING
That list when you were a romantic teenager where you wrote "to speak a foreign language"? JUST LEARN IT! Another thing I really learned this 2015 is that you don't get anything from mere wishing. You gotta do something about it. Convert your words into actions.

I've been drawn to learn French but I figure it's better to learn Spanish first since some Filipino words are from Spanish words. At the moment I'm 23% fluent in Spanish according to Duolingo app which I consider a little feat as well. I can cope a little with written Spanish. A little photographic memory can be useful here and there. But listening to a native Spanish speaker and understanding? It's still a challenge. But of course, every learning has to start somewhere. 67% to go!


POSTING
This 2015 I had the courage to participate in online forums, initiate an online conversation  and publicly commenting instead of just lurking and scrolling the Internet. It helps you voice out your stand instead of just having a mere opinion. I don't know if this is worth reading but personally, doing little things like this is a feat I consider.

For the year has been and the year to come, I'm grateful. Every year is just another opportunity to become a better person. Every year is just another chance of getting closer to your dreams and goals. Every year something just changes you. I don't want to over-romanticize life anymore as I usually do. You just gotta have to take life with a grain of salt. :)

And I quote my favorite travel blogger, Trisha Velarmino: "I wish you'll always be grateful with life - good or bad experiences they count."

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

10.13.2015

ALIWAGWAG FALLS

When you are living the corporate life, it comes naturally that you look forward to non-working holidays. These are the times you can take ample time to go on trips and relax for an extended time rather than the usual two-day weekend. So last September 25 (it was Eid'l Adha) my office mates and I pushed through with our much anticipated trip to Aliwagwag Falls at Cateel, Davao Oriental.

As you can recall, the province of Davao Oriental was one of the provinces hit hardest by the Typhoon Pablo last December 2012. It was considered the worst storm of 2012. Lives were lost, houses were flown, trees were cut, almost everything was devastated. 

Fast forward to now, while on the way, I can't help but be awed at how resilient the province of Davao Oriental is. You can clearly see the collective rehabilitation efforts. Houses were being rebuilt, roads were being paved and constructed and slowly, the once bald forest is slowly gaining its lushness. The uniformly styled rehabilitation houses were a common sight along the way. Though it may be cute and small, it is a comforting thought to know that the survivors and locals are given decent shelters as they move on from the horrible aftermath of the storm.



Anyhoo, let's move to a more cheerful topic! So, Aliwawag Falls or what is now called the Aliwagwag Falls Eco Park is consistently gaining tourists' attention. In recent times, it has fast become one of Mindanao's must-see tourist attractions. I guess the local government really put in all the efforts to boost the eco-tourism of the province so as to provide livelihood as well to the locals. 



After a three-hour road trip, here it is:
To see this beauty was worth all the dizziness I've felt while on the way! Haha

I've seen countless photos of friends posing in front of the cascading waterfalls, flooding my Facebook Timeline and now, here's my version: 
Aside from taking a swim in the cool mini pools of the falls, you can also try their Zipline, cross the Monkey Bridge (which will consist of trekking up, sure exercise for your legs) or just walk around and enjoy the scenery. We paid P50.00 by the way for the Entrance Fee, no corkage for food if you bring your own. 

Here are a few snippets I took:
I meant it when I said "few snippets". Not that there were only a "few" scenery to take a photo of (there were actually a lot) but it's actually more satisfying just basking in with the nature than stressing myself taking photos and getting a good angle (#feelingbloggerproblems haha). It's the whole point of getting away and relaxing, right? Haha

And here's the whole office team:
Going home, we went the other way (to Mati) and we technically circled Davao Oriental which was a first for me. It was such a fun roadtrip, we were just talking and laughing inside the car. We sighted a few attractions that we hope we can visit like the San Victor Island (dubbed as the Baganga's Island Jewel). Soon! Hopefully. Thank you to everyone who made this trip happen. :)

The trip made me appreciate more our local attractions and yes, truly, I believe we should explore our own backyard first! As they say, "It's More Fun in the Philippines!". And since we are nearing the year end, can't help but be happy that somehow I got to visit new and local places. The free-spirit with an intense wanderlust in me can't help but look forward to the next adventure. ♥

8.09.2015

THE PANTRY GIRLS II

Kind of a long overdue post, life was busy-busyhan.

Anyway, this was another dinner out with The Pantry Girls last July 16, Ate Lanie's birthday! We tried out the newly opened TACO LOCO, a Mexican Restaurant at Damosa Market Basket. It was kind of funny when we were deciding where to eat. We suggested options back and forth not knowing that sometimes we overlook what's in our own backyard. Taco Loco is located just right at the back of our office building, something we could just pass by when going home. I couldn't remember who came up with the brilliant idea, but we all agreed and that's where we ended!

And now on to the food..

Taco Loco's tagline is "Authentic Affordable Mexican Food". Anything with the word "affordable" always ring a bell to my cheapskate ears (thank you Ate Lanie for the treat!). My personal pick would be the Pizza Taco Bombs and the Chimichanga (which sounded more like a dance to me than a food haha). Both were something new to our palate.

After which we watched Magic Mike XXL at Abreeza. It's the perfect movie for us all Queens. We enjoyed Channing and Joe (as in). The movie was not just all about Channing's sexy moves, it was also about woman empowerment and women learning to say what they want and asking for what they deserve. It's a fair game too seeing guys be objectified. Haha (Ok, let's not proceed to gender equality issues here). O ha, may moral din yung movie di lang puro katawan. Hahaha

And to cap off the night we tried out Cafe Amoree at Damosa Gateway and conversations just flowed until it was time to go home at around 2 am (Cafe Amoree is open 24-hours). Thank you to Duban Couple for treating us that night. :)

Speaking of birthdays, I had mine last August 3 (I don't know about you but I'm feeling 2-2!). I spent it as well with The Pantry Girls at the pantry. It was a regular work day. I couldn't avail yet of the birthday leave because I'm two days away from my one year anniversary of employment (August 5). I remember blogging last year I was ecstatic having my birthday and my first day of work only two days apart and now, I kind of regret it had to happen in that order. Joke! Hahaha. That would be ungrateful of me to say.

But truthfully, I'm grateful for good friends at work, another year older and another year of employment.
More to come, I pray. :)

6.21.2015

EXPLORING SAN REMIGIO, KAPUTIAN, SAMAL!

Presenting, the beautiful shoreline of San Remigio in Kaputian, Island Garden City of Samal! 

I had the chance to explore this place last Friday, June 12 along with my college friends (the same group I was with on this trip and this). 

It was a homecoming celebration for our dear friend Pat (first row left most) who came home from Dubai (she's only staying for a month) and a mini reunion of sort as well (we weren't complete). It was lovely seeing each other and bond again together a year after graduation. Thankfully, it was a long holiday and everybody was off with work or school and we all had the chance to spend time at the beach. A year later, nothing's changed! We are still the crazy bunch!!!

San Remigio was suggested by our friend Melvin and it was even included in this 8 beautiful beaches in Davao City list from Rappler.

So first things first, how to get there:

Ride a passenger boat at Sta. Ana Wharf (near Magsaysay Park) that is heading to Kaputian Wharf (boat ride will take approximately 45 minutes to an hour and costs P80.00 per head as of writing). From Kaputian Wharf, ride a habal-habal going to San Remigio (warning: there are A LOT of habal-habal drivers available and get ready when they flock at you. Choose carefully who to entrust your life with.) We paid P60.00 each for the habal-habal ride.


To be honest, the habal-habal ride was far from smooth. Most of the roads weren't concrete and it was a bit of a physical challenge since our food and groceries were hand carried by us (not to mention our personal bags and things). It was a hilly and sloped ride, going up then down (cue in FloRida's song: IT'S GOING DOWN FOR REALLLL) #GDFR Hahaha

There was a point when me and Toni got a little scared of tripping over, good thing our driver was assuring us and later on we just laughed it off. BUT! One thing we learned was that, when going in groups, it is a MUST to wait for each other and really convoy on the way to your destination. We got worried when our friends Kim and Pau were still not at the beach considering that their habal-habal was the first to hit off from the wharf and ours stopped by for gasoline.

Turned out the motorcycle they were riding broke in the middle of the road and they had to change drivers. It made them really scared and us worried because we were in an unfamiliar place, with a complete stranger and cellphone signal was weak. Everything went okay but that was one big lesson we learned: Wait for each other and well, learn to just enjoy the rough ride. :)


San Remigio has a long stretch of white sand beach with a number of beach resorts lined up for your choosing. We opted for Alorro Beach what with it's no entrance fee and a decently fanned room with 3 bunk beds for only P600.00 (all eight of us fit in!). #cheapskatesforever :)))

In our humble observation, the sand were not that fine and it makes walking along the beach kind of a struggle since your feet or slippers gets easily buried. We even joked that it's not an ideal place for lovers to go HHWW (holding hands, while walking) kasi hassle. Hahaha.

But what we love about the place were the corral reefs and the rock formations. It was a perfect place to go snorkeling even for your friends who can only swim in shallow waters. Everyone had the fair chance to enjoy the beauty of the Earth (as we joke it) Haha. 


What I personally liked was that, even if there were lovely spots for snorkeling, there was also a perfect portion for swimming (no corral reefs and sea grass in sight). So no worries if you step on anything (I once stepped on a sea urchin on a beach trip so I'm cautious like that). Haha. You can just freely go swimming which I did and super enjoyed!


On a more personal note, I'm happy I got the confidence and courage to swim in deeper waters. I've done cliff diving a few times and if you jump directly, there's a little reassuring feeling because you know where you are getting at. You jump knowing the waters are already deep. 

But it's another story when you deliberately swim farther and deeper, coming from the shallow portion. There's always that fright (and a little panic) when you swim idly until your feet can't reach the sand bed anymore. But I'm just happy I'm slowly letting go of that inhibition and my swimming skills kind of improved (I'm thankful for all the beach trips lately!). 

Another fun thing we did while in San Remigio was to explore the rock formations located at the left side of the shoreline (if facing the beach).

SURVIVOR CASTAWAYS!!!  Hahaha
The rock formations were stellar, we couldn't resist taking photos! 


I explored the edge part of the coast all by myself. It was a little scary but beautiful! I didn't have a camera with me and the trek was challenging, you have to use both of your hands to not lose balance, so no pictures were taken. But it was still alright. I enjoyed my little "expedition". I saw a little cave-like portion where I just sat and looked at the endless sea. Solitude is luxury. <3


And now, here are some photos for vanity's sake!
(taken by our ever talented photographer Toni) Hihihi

Going back to the city, we took another route. It was a way for us to see other parts of Samal Island. Alorro Beach had a shuttle van (P60.00 per head) that drove us to the bus stop. From there, we rode a City Express bus going to PeƱaplata (P35.00). In PeƱaplata, we transferred to another bus (there's a short barge trip included and you pay another P35.00) that took us back at Magsaysay.


And now, it begs the question
WHERE TO NEXT????? :)))

6.09.2015

THE PANTRY GIRLS

Eating lunch at work or in school , especially if you're a newbie, is just one of the many struggles we face in our daily lives. It may come off as an exaggeration to use the word "struggle" (as if Africa is not suffering from hunger and famine) but we all know there's a hint of awkward truth to it. It's lunch time again and we are faced with little dilemmas...Where to eat? Who to invite? Alone again? I'll sleep nalang...

Or worse, the only option is...

I haven't resorted to eating lunch alone inside a comfort room and I pray that instance will never come. EVER. On days I feel independent, I can deal eating alone. That's a basic part of being a grown up anyway. But I know how it feels (and it sucks) to eat alone at your office desk when everyone else is eating lunch outside and come to think of it, you're sitting at your desk the whole day. (True story) Hahaha.

ANYWAY, the WHOLE POINT OF THIS POST is how I became part of THE PANTRY GIRLS at work. One's circumstances can really change with a simple and friendly invite and mine came from my workmate, Ate Lanie. And kids, that's the shortest version of How I Met The Pantry Girls. :)))

So basically, The Pantry Girls is an established (haha) group of ladies who lunch at the company pantry. We utilize the company pantry to its maximum potential (BE THE BEST!) It is not just an area to wash and store the dishes and to place the gallons of water containers but also AN ACTUAL PLACE TO EAT LUNCH while sharing decent conversations and laughing. Hahaha.

Here's us:
(But ironically, that is NOT the company pantry)

These photos were taken the other Friday when Ma'am Kath treated us for her post birthday celebration. This blog post might also be entitled as "Where To Treat Your Officemates on Your Birthday (Davao City Version)"

But seriously, this is just a friendly suggestion for anyone who wants to have an itinerary for a Friday night after work or just a simple weekend day, with family or with friends and birthdays or not. :)))

  • DINNER AT SINUGBOX ( 345 Porras Street cor. Palma Gil Street, Obrero)
If ribs and steak for a lower price is your type, this is a good place to go! It's has this hole in the wall vibe (except it's in the kanto) hahaha. They liked the Tuna and my personal favorite was the ribs with white sauce (Middleweight). We all loved their TOP RANK Juice too!

  • DESSERT AT DULCE  VIDA (Torres Street, beside Davao Convention)
We ordered Martha's Favorite (1) , Sam's Bonfire (2), Torta Chocolate (3) and Chocolate Mousse (4). Our top two picks were Martha's Favorite and Chocolate Mousse!


  • TEA AT DAYAW COFFEE (Second Flr, Alfresco, SM Lanang)
And lastly, tea and coffe at Dayaw Coffee Shop. It's a 24-hour coffee shop inside SM Lanang. Perfect for the one to sawa chikka marathon! Their nachos were good but nothing can still beat the ones at Kangaroo Coffe Co (Tionko Ave) to be perfectly honest. Hihi.


So again kids, that's how I Met (and Ate With) The Pantry Girls :)))

5.23.2015

PEARL FARM PHOTO DIARY



I recall last year when my college friends and I were on a boat heading to Talicud Island, we could see from afar the famed Pearl Farm parola and the line of triangular shaped cottages. I was hoping that someday I could go and enjoy that place. After all, Pearl Farm is one of the best resorts here in Davao (not to mention the priciest too).

Turned out that someday was yesterday and what can make a cheapskate happier is that it was all for free! Who would've thought I will be employed in one of the affiliate companies of Pearl Farm and luckily our company summer outing (my first) was there. Actually, the company summer outings are mostly held there. To be perfectly honest, it's one of the company perks I've been looking forward to ever since I got hired. Now I'm actually looking forward to the feeling of "What Pearl Farm again???" Haha.

But anyway, everyone has their first time and mine was yesterday. The earlier part of the morning was spent for Treasure Hunting and group activities. I squeezed in a little time to wander on my own and took some photos. After lunch was free time for everyone. It was the perfect time to just laze around, relax and enjoy a weekday off from work.

I explored the place along with the CDO branch team who were first-timers as well. We explored both the main resort and Malipano Island. I suggest you go snorkeling since there are many sea creatures to check out! Either you want to relax or explore, Pearl Farm can provide that for you and yes, maybe I'm promoting a little. Haha.


It was a short and sweet stay but totally didn't disappoint.
Summer is coming to an end soon, I hope you are enjoying! :)
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