Category: Uncategorized

Chinatown (Singapore)

Since my recent trip to Singapore was already my second time, you could say that I was not as much scared to venture out on my own as compared to the first time I had been there. I was able to figure out how to ride the bus and the MRT on my second day which surprisingly was quite easy as long as you read and follow the maps available in the stations. I happily explored Singapore while my sister was slaving it out in her office. The one place that I frequented to when I was there was Chinatown. I simply love the place. For one thing, they sell so many interesting pieces at a bargain (and I am a sucker when it comes to shopping)–Jades, Chinese bags, fans and wallets, pashmina, shirts, quirky chinese amulets, I mean they are all over Chinatown. This is, to me, the best place where you can buy stuffs to bring home. You can get great finds for like 3 for 10 dollars and sometimes 4 for ten dollars.

I love Chinatown

one of the best places indeed

one of the shops

rickshaw

busy street

In one of my outings to Chinatown, I chanced upon the Sri Mariamman Temple, a beautiful Indian temple. I got curious and went inside since it is open to tourist. As soon as you enter the gates though, you have to take off your shoes and walk barefoot since you are standing in what they considered as holy ground. If you want to bring your camera with you and take some pictures, they also charge a minimal fee of 2 dollars. I was mesmerized by the beautiful hand painted ceilings and big statues of their Gods.
at the entance

handpainted ceiling

work of art

looks like a tombstone

main door of the temple

worship area

Indian Gods

On the other side of Chinatown stood the Buddah Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, a buddhist temple. I specifically looked for this place because they said it is beautiful. True enough, it left me awestruck. You do not have to take off your shoes here but you have to be careful not ot disturb the ones worshipping. The security team is also very strict with the distances so you always have to respect the line. You cannot go past it or else they will get upset, after all it is their place of worship. When I went there, there was a worship going on so I had to wait for it to finish so I can see up close the giant buddhas made in (sigh!) gold. I made sure I did not miss anything, there is just so much to see. In one of the floors, there is this Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic made in stuppa and pure gold. You can go inside the room but you cannot take pictures so I just stayed long enough for me remember how it looked like since I cannot capture it in film. This Buddhist temple is truly, truly beautiful. I was lost in this place for hours just drinking in the sights.
Buddhist temple

Universal Wisdom Hall (with the giant buddhas)

Pagoda of A Thousand Buddhas

Prayer wheel

just a small portion of the thousand Buddhas (mini ones)

lots of Buddahs around

My Zodiac Sign God

Buddhists in worship

Worship Hall

Posing with one of the Wisdom Buddah

last shot before stepping outside

looks majestic from outside

This is one of the things that I love about Singapore, the abundant culture clearly present there. It is very rich and diverse. Whether you’re a foreigner living there or just a transient visitor, the place, it just grows on you.:)

GIBO for President

I am proud to share that I voted for GIBO. I like him for his unassuming brilliance and quiet ways. He clearly knows his place. That is at the forefront of change and not in the middle of a giant marketing hype/media frenzy nor at the beck and call of his political party, nor even in the shadow of his family legacy. He never once hogged the headlines of any newspapers or vied for the top post of surveys but his name still resounds in hearts of the many thousand Filipinos out there including youths who believe that he can deliver real change. He is the only candidate I know who has clear cut ideas and well thought out plans in making our country move forward. Though he might not make it to the presidency like what the “wisemen” of the surveys predicted, I am still proud of the fact that, that one chance of a vote that I casted did not go to waste because it went to (for me) the most deserving one among the candidates. Much luck to you Gibo, may you continue the good works you have started and may you make your future plans and dreams for a great Philippines happen.

Epiphany

I asked God for a sign, he did not give me one, but instead he gave me three wrapped in love, in different stages, the last the most resounding one…I felt them reaching the deep crevices of my heart, I felt them spreading to the depth of my soul. Now I realize, He has been preparing the path for me all along and ever so slowly, ever so gently he is leading me to His will. The decisions I’ve made, the circumstances that presented itself, the opportunities that came along, it was part of His great plan. With his skillful, masterful hand, he is slowly revealing it to me…and so like a puppet in the Mighty hands of Her master and with blind faith I accept. Thy will be done…

My Husband's Version of Our Love Story

This entry became a finalist in Fitflop Philippines Share Your Love Story Contest.:)
I always see her every morning in the office doing what she does best—order us around.:) She loves to play boss when the real boss wasn’t around, so I always thought, astig tong babaeng to, minsan sarap sapakin. She was either demanding towards me especially when she wanted a much higher end of the month sale or pasweet kasi me papadeliver na machine. So allergic ako sa kanya. I stayed away from her until that one “fateful night” (hehehe) when we found ourselves in the (unhappy? hehehe) company of each other sa party. It was a night full of wonders. After that we fell into a simple routine of me giving her three mentos candy in the morning before I leave the office and us going home together.
I believe that the whole universe conspired to bring us together. We were opposites. I was a happy bachelor, living it out to the fullest. My life at that time revolved around work and endless gimmicks while she is a snooty brat who just kept to her small circle of friends. I guess tama sila love knows no rules and breaks all boundaries. When we finally admitted to ourselves that we love each other, the earth did not shake, the skies did not open and lightning did not struck, love simply happened to us.Yung kaibigan ko sabi nya I wouldl recognize love right away when I see it. I didn’t recognize it right away but instead I felt it.
After just three months in the relationship, we got married. I never once doubted that she is “the one” because she is the only person who can make me wait “happily” for hours for her, the only person who can wrap me in her own little finger, the only person who can shut me up with just a look (hehehe), the only person who can be brutally honest with me and get away with it, and the only person who can make me do things that a guy in his right frame of my mind wouldn’t normally do like blow dry her hair at 5 o’clock in the morning everyday. She is the only person in the world who can always bring out the best in me and who can make me believe that I can always be the person that I choose to be (split personality?hehe). She is my cheerleader, my fan, my worst critique and my worst enemy (hehehe). She is my life

Countless Chances

Everyday we are given countless chances to…
love for the right reasons
fight for the right reasons
let go for the right reasons
Everyday we are given countless chances to…
be eXtRaordinary
be the best that we can be
go the extra mile
Everyday we are given countless chances to…
forgive others
forgive ourselves
forgive our past
Everyday we are given countless chances to…
make others laugh
make others smile
make others grateful for our presence
Everyday we are given countless chances to…
rise above the situation
break free from what’s keeping us
begin again
Everyday we are given countless chances to…
grab each opportunities
follow the path that leads to our star
shape our destiny
Everyday we are given countless chances to…
make a difference
leave our mark
touch lives
Everyday we are given countless chances to mAke tHings RiGhT…

A Tent Story

When one of our loved ones passes away, we go through different stages of grief. First there’s that heart wrenching, too painful kind of grief that you usually feel right after the funeral, where even the sight of his things and the mere thought of him makes you cry. Then after a few months or so, you go through that second stage of grief where he just seems to be there, you feel his presence and you imagine hearing his voice but the thought of him doesn’t evoke buckets of tears anymore. After a year or two, whether you have realized it or not, you step on to that stage of grief called moving on where that person just becomes part of your memory and not your everyday life anymore. You think of him in a nostalgic kind of way and remember him more with fondness and not sadness anymore. At this point it is very easy to share his being to other people.
I would like to think that I am at that last stage of grieving. I would like to say that now, I can easily take my daddy in and out of that corner in my heart that holds all my fondest memories of him anytime I want to without feeling even that small twinge of pain. There are still times though when I get all panicky when I would realize that days or weeks had passed without me visiting his grave and thinking about him. But then again, I would also realize that I haven’t really forgotten him at all, I have simply accepted that he is now gone.
My daddy passed away but I know he will forever remain in my life. Sometimes I ‘d like to think that he is just there smiling down on us. I see him in the most unlikely circumstances and situations. Like this morning when my husband and I woke up at 3 am because of the strong winds battering our house because of the typhoon. The first thing that we thought about was the tent that my husband put up in his grave for our visit today and tomorrow. I was depressed the whole time because I know with a tent like ours, there’s no way it could’ve survive the storm. You see my dad was a perfectionist, he was during his lifetime too vain and too proud. He always wanted nothing but the best. I felt that we failed him because the typhoon would surely have wrecked the whole tent, candles and flowers. As soon as the strong wind stopped, my husband went to the cemetery all prepared to pick up the broken pieces of our tent but then much to his surprise, in the midst of all the broken tents in the cemetery, there stood one solitary blue tent, our tent. The candle holders were not broken and the flowers were still blooming safely in the basket. I don’t know how it happened, but I would like to think that my dad held on to that tent in his desire to have the best one because he sure wouldn’t want a wrecked one standing on his grave. He would rather “die” than be caught in an ugly one.hahaha. That is so like daddy. Of course it could’ve been because my husband and his friend made a good job mounting it up, but there’s really no way, no way at all for an ordinary tent to survive that kind of typhoon unless some strange thing happened. It still amazes me right at this moment just thinking about it, like the many times my daddy amazed me with the many different ways he showed his love when he was still alive. I miss him a lot and I am thankful that He still continue to make his presence known even in the most unlikely circumstances.:)

Optimism

Most of you would agree with me that being an optimist is one of the hardest thing to be especially if there are just too many negative things happening in our life at the moment. Some people have that gift of positivity in them while others, like me, have to struggle everyday to be that. It is much easier to whine, sulk, curse and hate the world most of the time rather than smile and take everything that life throws our way in stride. But have you ever wonder why you seem to be forever stuck in your negative patterns and why you seem to attract the very same things you hate the most? Well, it’s really because you are forever focusing on these thoughts. The mind has the power that can surpass all the powers of the superheroes combined. You actually attract what you think. So if you want good things happening in your life, be optimistic.
Optimism simply means focusing on the blessings that you receive each day rather than on your misfortunes. It is seeing each failure and mistake as opportunities to grow and learn. It is acknowledging and accepting your limitations as a person and being cool about it. It is seeing the good in each and every person that you meet (however hard that might be). It is giving yourself a pat on the back whenever you accomplish something, may it be big or small. It is not letting any put downs, gossips or bad hair ruin your day. It is choosing to snap out of your depressing/heartbroken state and bravely facing the world and moving on. It is accepting that you are exactly where you are supposed to be and not wishing to be some place else. It is making the most out of whatever situation you are in at the moment. It is thinking that everything happens for a reason. It is also about never giving up and always thinking that every problem has a solution. It is believing in the premise that everything will fall into place and will turn out right no matter what. It is always looking at the bright side of things. It is focusing on the “what is” rather than dwelling on the what “would have”, “should have” and “could have” been. It is forever keeping our hopes up and simply choosing to embrace life and everything that it has to offer.
Happiness is a choice that we make each day. We are the ones who call the shots in our life. So if you want to live the good life, think happy, positive thoughts.:)

A Taste Of Heaven Here On Earth

Up in the mountain where the earth meets the sky, I got a taste of heaven…It was pure bliss to sleep in fresh, crisp, white sheets and fluffy pillows. Being awaken from deep slumber at night and being scared shitless by all these nocturnal animals like that tuko paying homage from our screened window. It felt good not worry about getting the sheets mussed or having it changed or putting the bed in order…eating food that you would not even thought about preparing for yourself. Healthy appetizers (veggies in assorted dips and sauces), well thought out main dish and sinful desserts served in porcelain plates and silverware…fine dining and being served upon by charming ladies at each meal. In an ordinary day, I would be eating a hurriedly prepared meal and I wouldn’t think about using different kinds of plates, spoons, forks and knives at each course of a meal since I’d be thinking about the pile of dishes that i had to wash…It felt good being waited upon and not to worrying about a thing…spending the afternoons strolling along trails and enjoying the breeze and the sloping view of the mountain and the city far away….spending mornings doing quiet meditation or solemn prayers. In that place where there is not that much noise you can clearly hear your thoughts and the desires of your heart. It felt good confessing to a priest who got amused with my sins, hearing him laugh out loud while I was recounting with him little anecdotes of my sins. He never made me feel awful for being a sinner like some priests i know but instead he made me feel good in knowing that no sin is ever great not to be forgiven. At that time, I felt like it was really God I was confiding in.
I was reluctant to spend those three days up there in the mountain because for me it was very hard to leave my busy, comfortable life, and I felt guilty being away from my family that long. But with all the countless blessings I have been receiving, how can I not give just three days of my whole life to commune with God. While I was there, I realized that we are tied to our “busy” life as tightly as we would like to be, when we loosen our hold we will realize that the world that we left behind did not stop just because we let go. Sometimes we need to be with our self to find again our balance and our purpose, to reaffirm our beliefs and values, to not get our “self” lost in that busy state called life…When I left for three days, the world did not fall apart, no major catastrophe happened, no major conflict arose like what I feared, instead everything just work out on its own..It is true that everything is ready in the plan of God.

An Amusing Day at DFA

This one is for the books also, worth writing about just like my not so recent trip to LTO for my driver’s license renewal a few months ago.  I now kinda enjoy doing business with these government agencies with all the amusing things I’ve been experiencing and all the different characters I’ve been meeting there…my real life drama this time, well okay okay, comedy, happened at the Department of Foreign Affairs a.k.a. DFA…and here are the wacky and horrendous characters I met there…
CHARACTER NO.1: THE LONE SHARK. When we got off from the cab, this lone shark together with the other piranas swarmed before us, shouting “ate! ate, dito o me form dito, ano pa kelangan mo? picture, halika dito ka, 2 minutes lang gaganda ka pa! (WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN!)”… grrr, of course my ego was hurt, but like what my husband instructed me to do, i didn’t mind them.  And so this lone shark followed me, almost pushing me towards the photo shop and since we didn’t have any photos yet, we gave in. She didn’t stop tattling. She keeps on insisting that they have the best photos there coz you will come out beautiful in your picture (imagine at this point smoke coming out of my ears).  When she saw my DFA appointment letter and my duly accomplished application form though, she blurted out to the other pirana, “Tsugi ko nato, wala naman pala ako kikitaan dito” (AS IF?!) and with that she left in a huff.  (HELLO, ANO KO JUNK NA PAGKAKAKITAAN?!)
CHARACTER NO. 2: LOLA STRESS BALL.  And so we were in line, waiting for our turn to go inside when she arrived.  She was quite a spitfire, chatting with us and interviewing us.  There’s just one problem, she had this word written all over her forehead S-T-R-E-S-S.  When she saw me arranging my daughter’s copy of school ID, she blurted out in panic “School ID? school ID, kelangan ba nyan, wala ako nyan, naku, wala ako nyan?!” (HELLO MANANG, 50 GOING ON 60 KA NA HANAPAN KA PA BA NG SCHOOL ID?!).  A few minutes after reassuring her that it is only required for minors like my daughter, she had again another panic attack when she saw my daughter reading her baptismal certificate.  She shouted, “Baptismal, baptismal, meron ako nyan, teka papaphoto copy ko, teka, save nyo ko dyan” and off she ran to the copy center not even waiting for me to tell her that I just accidentally brought it with me  and it wasn’t needed (SI MANANG TALAGA O, ADIK!).  She never stopped chatting and panicking from processing all the way to encoding.  She even bullied my husband into asking the guard and the man in charge if we need to staple the pictures and if we need to use glue or paste in attaching the pictures.  She asked the same question to anybody she happened to make eye to eye contact with, “Ano ang requirements?!” (PRIVATE JOKE FOR MGs: I asked myself  lots  of times this afternoon when I was with her, “MRS. L_G_SPI, is that you?! the voice down to her brown hair were spookingly like her and of course the you know what..hahaha)
CHARACTER NO.3:  MISS BAD TRIP. She was behind me, silently observing Lola Stress Ball.  When Lola Stress Ball made eye to eye contact with her and asked her the question “ano requirements?”, she screamingly told her, “Tingnan mo kaya likod ng form mo, andyan o, basahin mo, baaasaaaahiiiiin moooo!”. We were all shocked.  I was waiting for them to pull each other’s hair. I was so disappointed when it did not happen..hehehe…I later found out that she was duped by a fixer outside DFA. He asked her for three hundred pesos for the picture and the application from.  She saw red when I told her, well because she asked me, that I downloaded mine from the internet for free and I paid 150 pesos only for the pictures.  She was ready to kill that time and she almost killed Lola Stress Ball.  (DI KO NAMAN ALAM, EDI SANA SINABI KO NA LANG SECRET?!hehehe)
CHARACTERS NO. 4: POWERPUFF GIRLS. These three girls are all set to follow their dreams that’s they were eagerly lining up outside DFA for days now like this afternoon.  They were waiting to be blessed with the much coveted philippine passport.  This is the third time they went back there. Patience and perseverance at its finest definitely.  Bubbles is chasing her dream of becoming a domestic helper in Singapore, Buttercup plans to be a waiter in Dubai and as for Blossoms she is trying her luck in Japan together with her band.  They told me the same thing when I commented that it’s a good thing they don’t get tired coming back there at DFA (they are twice rejected for lack of supporting documents/proof of identity).  All of them answered me with “Para te sa pamilya ko to.”  Talk about filial love at its greatest.  They were all so excited and full of optimism. That is why when I got so impatient in line a couple of times, I restrained myself from having a tantrum fit because seeing them made me think that my discomforts were so little compared to what they’ve been through just to get there.  My husband told when we got home, “Be, ang saya natin kanina nun magkasama tayo, di kasi naginit ulo mo!” If he only knew the self-control I was exerting that time.:)
Well, that’s about it.  There are a lot more characters there, I’m sure, but I didn’t have the chance to meet all of them.  I would love to meet some more but I had enough for the day I guess.  The world is full of amusing people, you just have to go out of your way and meet them.  Our parents always say when we were little kids, don’t talk to strangers.  But you’re not a kid anymore.  Sometimes you just have to smile in welcome to the stranger beside you and you will be surprised to see a different world from their eyes.  For all you know, these strangers might make your day the way Lola Stress Ball, Miss Lone Shark, Miss Badtrip and the Powepuff Girls did to mine.
Some DFA tips: 1.  Better have your picture taken there at the 2 minutes photo shop.  Although nothing spectacular happened to my face like what Miss Lone Shark kept promising, their photos don’t get rejected at all.  It’ll save you another trip back to DFA.  Plus, they have a wide array of blazers to choose from if you’re not in your collared shirt, with a wide array of smells though–from patis to pawis kinda smell (ew!)–never mind that, focus on your goal instead–not to have your photos rejected  2. Bring also your original and photocopied local civil registry birth certificate.  My assesor asked for a photocopy of  my birth certificate from the local civil registry aside from the original NSO certified  3.  Bring a fan with you, it’s hot in the auditorium where the encoding takes place but its more efficient now meaning fast unlike before 4. In the reviewing of documents, choose the line where the assesor is an old lady.  They are more respectful and accomodating unlike the younger ones who are rude and haughty (you will think–UH, IMMIGRATION LINE BA’TO, AM I AN ILLEGAL ALIEN?!).  This pimpled lady acted high and mighty thankfully not to me but to my husband when in fact she was the one who was wrong.  I guess they don’t like their job at all 5. Better show your driver’s license, PRC, SSS and company IDs.  If you don’t have any 3 of these, they will require you to get an NBI clearance which I think is horror of horrors.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to get that or else I’ll have again another exciting trip to another government institution.  If that happens, I won’t be writing about a comedy, it will most likely be an action or suspense drama! Thank God I wouldn’t have to go into that:)

Stress-free Life

I have been surrounded by stressed out people lately.  It seems that all of them are almost at their wits end because of the varied stressors that seem to be attacking their universe.  I can say that at some point in my life, I have been in their shoes so I completely know the feeling of somebody who is about to lose their sanity because of those relationship problems that are just too much to handle.  Here are but some of the simple things that I learned from different people and from the school of hard knocks that helped me get through those horrific stressful moments in my life with (whew!) my sanity still intact…
Tips for a stress-free life:
Always think happy thoughts…do not dwell too much on past hurts.  If shattered to pieces by some big blow of life, pick up where you left off when you were just happily going about your everyday life, dust off to make sure there are no remnants of the hurt left and move on…
Think positive…in this way you will attract blessings and good things. Negative thoughts and words coming from you will block the positive energy coming your way and instead attract negative things back to you
Stay away from toxic people…walk away from a fight or to a person itching to have one, turn your back from gossip mongers or from a person whose main agenda is to destroy people and relationships.  You don’t know how good it feels thinking that you yourself chose not to go down to their very low level
Surround yourself with good people…people/mentors who can give you sound advices, friends who will not tolerate your lunatic tendencies but instead help you become a better person
Accept your shortcomings…like what I always say, you can blame others for all the misfortunes in your life but in the end there’s really nothing to blame but yourself, for in life we are forever presented with choices, your choice is defined by the kind character, attitude and  values that you have..so make peace with yourself
Forgive yourself…you cannot successfully move on if you have a lot of excess baggages in your life that need sorting out.  Deal with your personal issues so you will not commit the same mistakes or find yourself in the same stressful situation again
It’s okay to be angry…I am known for my quick temper in our family.  My husband knows how to play with my temper.  It is okay to get really really angry, what is not okay is to stay angry for a long time coz in the end you are the one who will suffer even if you’re the one who has been wronged..so chill out
Acknowledge that people are different…sometimes we get frustrated because we expect others to act the way we like them to.  Well, surprise, surprise, their umbilical cord is not connected to you, your hearts don’t beat as one and you both are not thinking the same thoughts.  So it is useless to expect the person to love you back just because you love him/her or stick it out with you just because you sacrificed a lot for him/her
See the good in every person…sometimes we tend to focus on the bad side of the person just so we can reassure ourselves that our bad action towards him/her is totally acceptable.  Try forgetting the bad stuff and instead look for something good or remember the good in that person so that the thought of him/her just living in the same universe as you is not so bad after all
Accept that there are some things better left undone..same as there are some things that are better left unsaid.  Things have its own way of working out.  As long as you did all your best to straighten it out that is enough.  Know when to stop and give up
Strive to be the person you can be proud of…I always say that what others think of you is not what is important but instead how you see yourself and how proud you are of what you see are what’s important
May stress-free life be with you…