A new generation

There is already a new generation that is starting to take its place, and will be taking over our future pretty soon. About 25% to 30% of all posts I see on my Facebook newsfeed are of my friends and colleagues babies and children. I am starting the last year of my 20s, and my friends are about the same age as I, give or take about 5 years older or younger. Considering that most of us are in our late 20s, my friends and classmates have just started getting married the past 2 to 3 years, and most of them are starting to have their babies this past year.

My childhood best friend gave birth to her beautiful baby girl seven months ago. The wife of a close guy friend just gave birth to a baby girl yesterday. A number of friends and batchmates have kids from about 0 to 4 years old. There are three babies born within a six month period to three of my second cousins based in Sydney, Australia, and another baby born two years ahead of them, and it’s so cute to find my cousins pictures with these babies altogether. So much bundles of cuteness around.

Oh well, here comes the new generation, the new batch who will be making their way into the world. These are the individuals who will be exposed to the current and future technologies, and given the vast opportunities of the future. What will the world be in 2080s to 2100s? We probably won’t be able to reach that point, but our children, the next generation, will be able to forge and experience this future world.

I won’t be reproducing anytime soon, though, not until I find me a good husband to be my partner. But I now see the shift in responsibilities and priorities of my generation. It’s time to be responsible for another individual’s life as we now start to be blessed by children. We’re starting to be less-selfish and childish, and more thoughtful of other people, more responsible, and more aware of the need to contribute to a better society and a better future.

P.S. I’m still trying to get used to my title as “Tita” (Aunt) Abii , after being just an “Ate” (Big Sister) Abii to a number of my younger friends in college, and to all of my cousins. My colleagues kids have already started calling me Tita Abii in the past few years, but only now is it really sinking in, perhaps especially when my friends’ kids start talking.

No regrets

I have this one friend who I met as one of our exhibit designers for The Mind Museum. When I met her, she was still a student of UP Fine Arts, or perhaps just recently graduated then. Of course, a lot has happened since then, and she became a friend. She also now works as a professional makeup artist.

There was this one time I was out with her and friends, and I could never forget a thought she told us. She realized while working on designing exhibits that she hated doing technical drawings. She didn’t enjoy doing the CAD and 3D drawings needed in the process. She says she didn’t regret working on those exhibit designs, because it made her realise the things she did not like or enjoy doing. Because of that realization, she was drawn to what she’s doing now – makeup. She didn’t need to do all those orthographic, CAD and 3D drawings to be able to do her craft now, but she’s still creating beautiful masterpieces on her clients’ faces.

Her thoughts stuck with me much more than she may realise. It’s a wonderful way of looking at things, of dealing with mistakes, wrong choices, or undesirable situations in our lives. It’s an ingenious, “no regrets” way of thinking.

We make mistakes, make wrong choices along the way. Sometimes the “right choices” do not work out. But instead of feeling hopeless and negative about it, we can just take them as life lessons. Failed relationships teach us how we are in relationship, and a little bit more on the types of people who match or do not match us. We learn about the things that we’re supposed to do more of and what we should avoid. Wrong career decisions point us back to what we really want to do, and we will hopefully know how to make better choices the next time.

Perhaps the important part of everything is knowing how to recognize the lessons that each “challenging situation” pose, and keeping these lessons to heart. This ensures that we move forwards and onwards, make better choices along the way, and not make the same mistakes again.

Dear Charity

Dear Charity,

Do you remember this? blue day book–>

It’s the blue day book you gave me many years ago. Yes, I still have it, and I found it lately whilst sorting through my stuff. Even many years after, many thanks for it, not just for that tiny booklet, but for the short but sweet message in the end.

Do you still remember that fateful day that we met? It was the first day of our freshman year in college. We were still so young, and so carefree. Don’t you miss being like that, like 17 again, and so enthusiastic and open to the world? I do remember being the first one to approach and talk to you, how lucky was I that we were seatmates during the the first day of freshman orientation. In all honesty, the me you met during that time is the real me, no pretensions.

How I miss being like that, just being very open to everyone around me. So many things have happened since. Many people have judged and treated me wrongly, taken my friendliness out of context. Bit by bit, with every disappointing moment that people have mistaken my friendliness for a desperate call for attention, I withdrew from the world and built my own shell that grew thicker with every passing moment.

Thank you for that little note in that tiny booklet that reminded me of how I used to be. I wish I can become like that again. Perhaps it is possible, since once upon a time I was so happy and enthusiastic about meeting and interacting with new people around me. I wish I can start trusting people again. I wish I can start trusting and entrusting myself to other people again.

I wish you love and happiness always. Know that even though we may have not seen each other a long time, my friendship for you remains in my heart.

It’s a small world (after all)…

The world is indeed getting smaller and smaller. In the digital technology era, internet and social media communications across the globe, and the advent of budget flights, budget accommodations, and couch surfing, we find ourselves more and more a “citizen of the world”.

I have proved this in three aspects during my trip in KL, Malaysia:

New Found Friends (NFFs)

That wonderful opportunity I had during the ASPAC conferences I attended in New Zealand in 2010 and in Singapore this year has imparted me more than just professional and career development, but a discovery of many new friends across the world. I still continue to communicate with some of them via Facebook. I was also lucky to be part of the ASPAC Future Forum this year, and was able to interact more with specific people from the entire conference. During my KL trip, I was able to meet up with my Malaysian friends Melissa and Nensi, who were my group mates for the Future Forum, and Daniel, who I’ve met during both New Zealand and Singapore conferences.

I’ll be glad to meet a few more of my ASPAC friends in other countries, probably some in Australia during my upcoming trip. I’m also hoping to find a lot more new found friends across the globe, even the people I’ve met online through my blog and my other online accounts.

Long Lost Friends (LLFs)

Not really “long lost”, but LLF is just a label we use for really old-time friends we haven’t seen for a while. While in KL, I had the opportunity to meet up with Singapore-based friends Arnold and Wenna (and yes, I’ve met up with them in Singapore last April and in Manila just recently). Isn’t it so interesting to meet up with the same friends in different places around the world? I wonder where I’ll encounter them next. Also, I was able to see Esti, who I honestly haven’t seen or spoken with in a long while. He’s working in Malaysia now. It was nice to see him again.

The “Global” Family

Without really knowing about each others’ plans, my sister and I booked separate international trips happening on the same weekend. I went to Malaysia, and she went to Cambodia with friends. My brother is based in Australia, and my parents were left back home in Manila. We have a very healthy habit of chatting with each other via iMessage when we can, and that was what we were doing during that weekend. Very interesting to have a chat with your family while on different countries.

I’ll probably be planning a lot more trips around in the next few months and years, as far as the finances permit. I would really love to see the world, meet new people, find old friends, and discover and learn many new things. Perhaps in our world now, it’s not so lonely anymore when you go away from your hometown. Well, as long as there is wifi connection wherever I am going, I’d probably be ok. :p

The KL Adventure – Part 2

(a continuation of the last post)

Pavilion MallAfter the tour, I asked to be dropped off at Bukit Bintang. I had late lunch of Asam Laksa at Old Town, and then went for a walk around. As I was resisting all and every urge to go shopping (and my credit card was completely cooperating because it wasn’t working in Malaysia), I decided to leave the Bukit Bintang area and proceed to Central Market.

Kuala LumpurUhm, but then again, Central Market is also a shopping place, but at least it wasn’t a mall. Still resisting the difficult urge to shop, I just bought a few items for my folks back home, and just a single item, a batik sarong, for myself. After Central Market, I walked to the Chinatown nearby. I was thinking of buying a few more items in Chinatown, but nothing got my fancy. Yehey wallet, you’re saved again.

Jalan Petaling

Tired from the tour, the looooooong stair climb at Batu Caves, and all the walk, I headed back to the hotel to rest a while and freshen up. After resting enough, I set off again, but not too far from the hotel. I went walking around the area of the hotel, around Jalan Raja Laut.

LomiThat evening, I decided to have some authentic local food. I saw a number of side-street restaurants just outside the hotel, so I walked to one and ordered myself a bowl of Lohmi. Oh yes, it’s so similar with the Lomi I know from back home, but I had to try. Also, I got Lime juice with salted plum for my drink, which actually tastes like calamansi juice with kiamoy in it. It was strange but yummy. 🙂

It was good to have had dinner very near the hotel, because after that I headed back and just rested the entire evening.

Woke up on the last day of my KL trip feeling refreshed, although my legs were still a bit painful from the day before. I remembered that it was a Sunday (actually, my parents reminded me the night before), so I went online to find a Catholic Church nearby and attend mass. I showered and dressed up, had breakfast at the hotel, and then took a taxi to the church nearby. After the mass, I went back to the hotel and finished packing, and then checked out. I brought all my stuff with me to KLCC.

Suria KLCCI met up again with Daniel at KLCC. He works at Petrosains, together with Nensi and Melissa, and all of them I met during the ASPAC conference. Daniel and Nensi took me around Petrosains.

After going around Petrosains, Daniel took me to a food place nearby, to be able to try a few more Malaysian food. This time we had Indian-Malaysian food, consisting of biryani rice, curry, deep-fried bitter gourd, and some fried maggi. I really fell in love with that deep-fried bitter gourd, because I have never eaten amplaya that good. He also got teh tarik for my drink, and corrected me and explained that teh tarik is really taken hot, not cold (because I thought I have tried cold teh tarik somewhere in Sg or Manila maybe?).

After lunch, we had a walk around KLCC and KLCC park. There are wonderful views of the Petronas Towers from the park.

KLCC park

With time almost running out, we went back inside Suria KLCC and sat down for some coolers – ais campur and kedondong juice. Yumyum! Melissa came and caught up with us. It was wonderful to see Melissa even just for a short while.

Kedondong juice

After the snack, it was time for me to leave for the airport already. I bid goodbye to my friends at Petrosains, took a taxi to the Sentral Station, and took the train-shuttle connection back to LCCT airport.

Such a short trip, only a little bit over two days, but I had so many new experiences, new places visited, and new food savored. Everyone was telling me that a weekend is not enough to experience all that KL has to offer. I answer them simply, this won’t be my last visit to the city. Now that I have a taste or a teaser of it, I can plan my future trips better.

Many thanks to Daniel for helping me plan my trip and my destinations during this short trip, and also for the warm welcome and the wonderful food! Much appreciated. I’ll be at your service when you decide to visit Manila next time. It was also great to see Nensi and Melissa, and I’m hoping I’ll get to see them both again and maybe longer the next time I visit KL. 🙂

And because I couldn’t fit all the nice photos in the post, you can just check them out in my Picasa album.

The KL Adventure – Part 1

Perhaps it just happened that I’ve wanted to go on a personal adventure for the longest time; or maybe because I have new found friends (NFFs) in that city; or perhaps because I keep on seeing a lot of things about that place on cable TV. Whatever the real reason was, I booked my flights and my hotel, and though I hesitated and had thoughts of postponing the trip, I did push through. I’m so glad I did.

I arrived in Kuala Lumpur on the evening of August 24. It was my first time there, and I was alone, but eager and ready to start my adventure. I was really aiming for a budget trip, to spend the least I could but still be comfortable and safe enough.

Kuala lumpur LCCT Airport

Instead of taking the taxi from the (LCCT) airport to my hotel, which would have costed between RM80-90, I took the shuttle-train connection from LCCT to KL Sentral Station, and took a short taxi trip from the Sentral Station to the Hotel. I spent less than RM30.

I stayed at Citrus Hotel. It wasn’t in Bukit Bintang or around KLCC, but right within the city and not too far away. It was a 15min taxi ride from most locations around the city. Around the city, I did travel mostly via taxis, since I am not too familiar to feel safe taking the regular public transport yet.

First agenda for that trip fell on the evening of my arrival. I met up with my Malaysian friend Daniel at the Pavilion Mall along Bukit Bintang. He gave me a really nice welcome dinner, and immediately introduced me to Malaysian food. I particularly remember the beef rendang and the satay… and he did teach me how satay was traditionally eaten.

Early morning the next day, I was awoken by the ringing of my hotel phone. Ah, yeah, I was expecting some people. My friends Arnold and Wenna, who were based in Singapore, were also in town and they just arrived then in KL. Another old friend, Esti, was apparently based in Malaysia, and was also with them when they came to meet up with me. We had a quick breakfast buffet together, the four of us, before I had to fly off to my arranged tour for the day.

National Mosque

I pre-arranged a tour with the hotel, and this particular one had a number of key destinations around the city, as well as a visit to the Batu Caves, around 30 minutes from the city. First destination was the National Mosque (Masjid Negara), for which I needed to put on a cape and a head scarf before I can enter the mosque.

The next destination was the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery and the Merdeka Square. It was a good overview of the history and culture of Malaysia and the city of Kuala Lumpur. Also, it was a week before the National Day of Malaysia, and there were practices and preparations happening in the Merdeka Square, an important landmark and center of national activities.

Next was Istana Negara, or the palace of the Agong (or the incumbent national King) of Malaysia. Malaysia as a country has a number of Kings or Sultans, each of which reigns over specific areas or states in Malaysia. One of these sultans is assigned as the Agong, whereas this role is rotated around the different sultans. Unfortunately, the public is not allowed inside the Istana Negara, so we just took pictures outside.

The next is the most significant destination of my journey, in terms of mass, time, as well as energy and effort spent. We went to the Batu Caves. The Batu caves are a series of Hindu temples built into and around large limestone cliffs and caves. At the entrance is the 42.7 m high golden statue of Lord Muruga. There are 272 steps from the ground to the main temple, and yes, I did climb the entire thing. Inside of the cave was a wonderful mix of natural limestone formations from the 100m high cave, as well as the cultural and religious structures and images of hindu gods inside.

From the Batu Caves, we made our way to the Royal Selangor Pewter factory. They are the biggest manufacturer of pewter, which is an alloy made of tin, antimony, and copper. Apparently, the British were drawn to Malaysia especially because of the abundance of Tin in the natural resources of the country.

Last destination was Beryl Chocolate Store. Although I didn’t have plans of buying any, I had a taste of their special tiramisu milk chocolates, and they were superb! I ended up buying a bag of chocolates for me and the family back home.

(to be continued in the next post)

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Letting go. Sometimes, it’s the most difficult thing to do. Not only of letting go people from our lives, but also of letting go of memories, of mementos, and of ways that we have gotten used to.

I’m not quite sure what really changed in me that I finally got to working on letting go of a number of things in my life. But after 28 years of my life, I finally got to slowly getting rid of my hoarded stuff.

I have such a big thing for stuffed toys all my life. Believe it or not, I had a bunch of them in my room until early last year. I was able to cut it down to four just late last year. But now I intend to just have one left. I’ve sent my two favorite bears and my 21 y.o. cabbage patch doll for cleaning, and have stored them in a sealed bag, saving them until eventually when my kids arrive. Those are the three things I can never throw away, but I’m taking them away from my bedroom now.

I also have two big boxes full of “mementos” – or mostly ancient old letters, documents, notebooks, and what-nots. I’ve been going through them and trying to throw away unimportant ones, and setting aside important ones for proper filing. I have so far thrown away one whole trashbag full of shredded paper, and another plastic bag of unnecessary clutter. Soon I’ll try to throw away much more. I want to retain only the stuff that I may check or read back in the future, important or landmark documents, and things that may be interesting to display by my 50th birthday or at my funeral, whichever comes first. Sorry to say, but seems I’m throwing away much of the random notes and letters from gradeschool and highschool. But special mention to the people who’ve sent me the most sincere, creative, and cute letters ever, my gradeschool friends Franzel, Regina, and Pearlie. Next are my highschool chums Pia, Roma, and Joyce. I may throw away the paper, but never the memories 🙂

I’m also set to clean up my old digital files. Will try to just find the most important ones to keep, and then delete everything else. Will try to use the same criteria that I used to clear out my big boxes.

I am travelling light from now on. It is time to keep light to be able to fly farther. *wink*

“Letters are just pieces of paper. Burn them and what stays in your heart will stay; keep them, and what vanishes will vanish” ~ Watanabe, Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami)

Travel Buddy

Writing this while currently basking in the sun. I am on an out of town trip right now with a friend of mine. It’s our second adventure so far.

Ironically, my friend is currently based in Belgium. She was my barkada back in high school, but we were not able to spend a lot of time in college because we were in separate universities. After grad, she went to Europe for further studies, and have stayed there since. She comes back to the Philippines around once a year.

Last year I went on adventure with her (and a friend of hers) to Coron, Palawan. It was our first time there, and we really enjoyed the place. A great place to go back to soon.

This year, we were supposed to go to Boracay. However, due to some unforseen events, her trip back to Manila was postponed and we had to cancel our trip. She finally arrived two weeks ago and tried to plan the trip again, but the weather forecast wasn’t so good so we decided not to book for Boracay anymore.

But we were still desperately craving for sun, sea, and sand. We just had to plan something else that did not require from us a long time of planning. After discussions and a little research, we took our bags and headed here, in Subic. Luckily we were able to get a nice boutique hotel in the middle of Subic. Wonderful architecture and interior design, great music and ambience, a nice little pool, and a beautiful suite, at a reasonable price (definitely not cheap, but well worth it). They also have a great spa and a good restaurant.

An afternoon at the beach a short drive away, and a really relaxing time here at the hotel. My last hurrah for this year’s summer isn’t so bad, even if this is my only beach trip this season. Ready for the hectic work I have to face for the next of the year.

It’s so fun to have these adventures with Pia. Her trips back to Manila is always a good reason to plan out of town trips with her.

It’s nice to have travel and adventure buddies like Pia. How do you know the people who are good travel buddies? They are usually:

  • someone you know well enough to be comfortable traveling and sharing accommodations with;
  • someone who is fun to hang out with;
  • someone you can stand (and actually enjoy) talking to for extended durations;
  • someone who’s willing to spend a little bit more than usual;
  • someone who’s willing to spend time on vacation and completely abandon work during the trip;
  • someone who is as adventurous as you; and last but not the least,
  • someone who is actually willing to go on the trip (or trips) with you.

Of course to find a good travel buddy, you should also be a good travel buddy. Don’t expect to enjoy traveling with someone if you don’t know how to enjoy yourself. Be all of the things above. On top of these, do a good research of potential adventure spots, and cheap flights, reasonable accommodations, and the various activities you can do in the places you’re going to.

(Written on June 3, 2011, 12nn, in Subic, Zambales. Edited some other time and somewhere else, back in the city. Booo.)

Best Friend

Waiting to meet up with my two bestest buddies of my entire life. Let’s just say that I didn’t really have a choice when it came to my best friends, I was sort of born with them already. Best friends from the womb as we say, and rightly so. Our mothers were first cousins, and they lived in the same compound before we were born, until around 10 years after. Lyn is 6 months older than me, and Ynna 6 months younger, and they are sisters. That pretty much spelled out the friendship that started between us way before we could even walk and talk.

Ten years of living in adjacent apartment units. We only went to the same school during Nursery and Kinder, and separated to different schools after. But the moment that school is over, we would practically crash into each others house, or better yet, play outside our houses yet still in the safety of the apartment driveway until our parents come home from work. A short novel won’t be able to encapsulate all my memories with them. But of course, things change, people move, and little girls also grow up. At 10 years old, my parents already bought their own house, and so we moved away. Perhaps that moment until this moment shows how the best friendship should be – never-changing.

After separate gradeschools and highschools, we somehow found ourselves “together” in the same university – UP of course! However, we were in completely different colleges and I didn’t really see much of them. Not that I needed to. It was nice to run into them now and then, find their car in the parking and leave some post-its to tell them that I was there.

Then we graduated. Lyn went to med school, Ynna did freelance work, and I started my life as a corporate slave.

All these years, we wouldn’t say that all we had were each other. We were never all over each other’s lives (except maybe while we were toddlers?). We had other best friends or close friend in the different stages of our lives. And we were never exactly the same person as the other. In fact, we grew up to be much different in many ways. But our friendship, trust, and love for each other never changed. I love them completely. Just in case my whole world falls and I am left hopeless, I know they will always be there for me.

I’m meeting up with them in a bit to catch up, to reminisce, and everything in between.