Kindness All Around on My Third Solo Travel

Since I’ve started my solo travels in 2014, I’ve always been on the receiving end of the kindness of strangers. And today, I experienced kindness in full circle.

Onboard the ferry from Puerto Galera back to Manila, I met a German woman on her own and on her way to the airport. In my head, at her age she should have at least a companion. Small talk soon ensued and I found out she has one, but opted to stay behind while she decided to head back to Munich because she had a minor accident and won’t be able to swim anyway.

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Commuting from the countryside to the airport is not convenient. Not at all. Possibly two transfers: bus and then cab. And in her case, it’s extra difficult because of her luggage and stature: she’s a foreigner. And I don’t want her  to be taken advantage of and leave the Philippines with this kind  of memory.

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Just a few minutes away from the Batangas Port.

True enough, as soon as she stepped from the ferry, there were portmen hounding her get a private van for Php3500 (Eur65). 

 

I just had to step in and took it upon myself to haggle for her and brought it down to Php2500. With her condition, she’s better off in a private van and I told her we can share so I can make sure she gets to the airport safe. But she won’t have it and offered I ride with her. The driver turned out to be a nice fellow and dropped me off at a train station. 

And while on our way, I asked her what can I do for her. I told her, we can call her husband on Skype or WhatsApp but she said he’ll still be asleep. All she asked instead was that I check if there’s a Saudia flight today for her connecting flight  to Jeddah for Munich.

Some three hours later, we arrived  at the airport and Edda and I hugged each other goodbye.

So I got back to Manila for free because today, kindness reaped kindness. Sweet.

Have a safe flight, Edda. Godspeed.

 

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You Know You’re A Filipino When…

image We’ve just celebrated our 118th Independence Day and we are reminded of everything Filipino (or Filo to our Aussie friendsūüôā ) As much as I love this ridiculously-traffic-ridden country, I am also very self-aware of how we generally are. So here are some signs to confirm your Filo roots.ūüėČ

1. You love karaoke.

We love it so much that it has to be regulated. Give Pinoys the chance and we will karaoke until the wee hours of the morning and on full blast too. And (some) are freaking out of tune!

When the new president assumes office, loud karaoke in the neighborhood will be until 10PM only. Thank goodness!

2. You love rice.

You eat rice at least thrice a day and it’s not considered as ‘real’ meal without it and ulam (viand). The first time I started cutting out on rice, my mom thought I will drop dead anytime soon because I was just eating salad and fruits or just the meat or fish she prepared.

3. You are notoriously late.

There won’t be a ‘Filipino time’ if we can manage to be on time. We all get late at some point but it should never be a norm to get used to. I was brought up that it is better to do the waiting than let others wait on me.

Be time-conscious because showing up on time is respecting the other person’s time.

4. Escalator etiquette is foreign to you.

Why do we care about those rushing off to somewhere, right? We love hugging the escalator to ourselves especially when we’re with our friends and boyfriend/girlfriend. We just NEED to stand beside each other.

5. And what lift etiquette are you talking about?

We just won’t let people out first. We have to squeeze our way in amidst people trying to get out. We are one of the nicest people in this planet but we can honestly be etiquette-challenged sometimes.ūüėČ

6. You hate seatbelts.

Car manufacturers can actually ditch the seatbelts for cars sold in the Philippines because seatbelt use is an option. It was only back in 2000 that Republic Act 8750  was signed and seatbelt use has become mandatory.

We just hate being safe that we do #7.

7. Cross the street whenever you like it

Seriously, what stoplight? If the vehicle is still few meters away, feel free to cross the street or you can try when it’s just that right distance and cross the street for that exhilarating moment.

But you should see us when we’re in other countries, we are the most behaved lot.

8. We even alight at proper bus stops when we’re in other countries. But here, passengers get seriously annoyed when drivers will drop them off at the proper stop because it’s just soooo far from where they want to alight. And by far, I mean, like 10 steps.

9. You think that your relatives living outside the country are rich.

Mind you, those living abroad struggle too. They earn dollars, spend dollars and cost of living is just expensive.

In the same manner that relatives living in the provinces think you’re rich because you’re living in Manila. Not true. There is such a thing as urban poor and some are even working in offices.

10. You think being in fluent in English is much better than being fluent in Filipino.

I know English fluency can give you a really good advantage and confidence but it doesn’t make you smarter than someone who is less fluent.

We are such grammar Nazis that we ridicule those English-challenged individuals but surprisingly, we are lenient if they mess up in Filipino.

We are all about perception. As nice as we are, there’s a good chunk of Filo brags out there. People will think we’re shashall if we cannot speak Filipino properly. Eh saan ba kayo nakatira? Sa Pilipinas di ba? I find it ridiculous that people equate intelligence with fluency in English.

That a person who speaks good Filipino is inferior to someone who speaks English is just beyond me. As Heneral Luna says, “Punyeta”.

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Musings from the Couch: Farewell

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I’ve learned that my cousin lost her battle today. After being confined in the hospital for weeks, she finally gave in. Her illness came as a complete surprise to all of us because she’s young and strong and beautiful.

We share the same birth month and year but I’m a week older. And her passing on is a reminder of my own mortality and what could possibly be my purpose that I’m still here.

A reminder that we’re all here on borrowed time and the hope is that when we finally leave this place, we will be remembered with fondness and how our brief stay on earth has made a difference, however little, in another person’s life.

We all take comfort that you’re in a much better place where you’re free from pain and reunited with your parents. If you see Tatay, can you please hug him for us?

Rest in peace, dear cousin. You will be missed. ‚̧

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Courage and Happiness

2015 may have been an uneventful year compared to 2014 but if there was one thing that this year taught¬†me, it’s courage.

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To walk away

From people who drag me down emotionally.

From people who think it’s¬†perfectly ok for them to come and go into my life at their own convenience. ¬†No distance, time zone or priority will keep them from making you a part of their lives IF they so want to. It’s a decision.

When I walked away from people who I thought makes me happy, I became happier. It is possible.

To love oneself

It’s so hard to love oneself when you know how imperfect you are; how you wish you’re prettier, skinnier, smarter, richer and all those comparatives that leave you feeling inadequate. But try. Hard.

We need to love ourselves¬†because that overrated Jerry Maguire movie line,‘You complete me’, needs to be eradicated from¬†every person’s head (men and women alike). That is one Hollywood b******t at its finest and we all need to forget because we DON’T¬†need another person to COMPLETE¬†us. We NEED¬†someone to COMPLEMENT us.

To look at the weighing scale

It’s unbelievable how a normal¬†weighing scale can scare the bejesus out of us.¬†To check our¬†weight takes a lot of courage and acceptance that we¬†have indeed gone heavier. If you’re ok with the new weight, then good for you. But if you’re not, do something about it.

Loving oneself means eating properly. Losing weight in the process is but a consequence of good eating decisions. It boosts our¬†confidence and consequently makes us¬†happy. Imagine wearing the jeans you’ve had since 2007. That is an achievement.

To ask and say something

As talkative as I am, cat gets my tongue each time I want to ask a guy,¬†‘So, what does this whole thing mean?’¬†Women out there, ask! For your sanity.¬†¬†It takes a lot of courage to open your mouth and ask but believe me, it feels liberating. No regrets. No what ifs. And if you’re lucky, you’ll remain in touch with them. I am!

Though there was a moment this year that I stopped myself from asking. Only because I realized just in time, I don’t like him as much as I did five years ago.

To be on your own

You don’t know how spending time alone will make you happy until you’ve tried it.

As much as I love traveling and spending time¬†with friends, traveling solo gives a different kind of happiness.¬†Conquer your fears of feeling stupid wandering the streets alone or eating alone. It’s not easy. But when you give yourself a chance, you’ll find yourself looking forward to your next travel. I did.

I conquered Hanoi last year and I did Baguio last November. So many stories, so little time. I’ll post my itinerary and more tips on traveling to this beloved northern province.

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In the meantime, while it’s customary¬†to wish a ‘Prosperous New Year’, I wish for everyone to ‘Be Happy in 2016’!ūüôā

 

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Virtual Religiosity and Morality


Disclaimer:
Post may be offensive to the overly sensitive. This isn’t about dissing any religion or belief. It’s an observation of how people currently perceive religion and morality.

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I really flip over when I see reposts of those photos that say ‘Type Amen if you love Jesus, keep scrolling if you love Satan’ and countless other variations that mean to make you guilty as hell for scrolling away.

Seriously. Ridiculous.

I cannot believe that the God we have regarded in such high esteem is so ridiculously shallow that people not liking or typing ‘Amen’ is equivalent to loving the fallen angel.

Can we all please give this God that Christians believe in more credit than we’re giving Him? That simply typing ‘Amen’ or liking that photo will score you points in heaven? Or that being a follower of a certain¬†religion guarantees you this heaven that people are aspiring for? C’mon! Work for it!

Those ‘godly’ posts have a cousin.

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Photo courtesy of wanna-joke.com

Liking photos depicting hunger and poverty doesn’t feed or help them. But maybe, if you get off your phone and try to see what’s happening around you, you’ll notice the old man begging for alms. Rather that, buy him food. Talk to him. You’ll soon realize he gave more than you did. He made you realize that however crappy you think your life is, you have it way better than him. And sometimes you realize¬†why you have been so discontented when you have so much to be grateful for.

Helping isn’t about magnitude but attitude. It doesn’t need to be a grand display of kindness; it simply needs to be sincere. ¬†Extending help in however little way, without expecting¬†for anything in return is noble. But when politicians do these¬†huge feeding programs (which technically is from our own pockets too), I cannot help but question the sincerity ¬†because it might as well be laying the foundation for the next election. Yes, I am that cynical with people in the government.

I hate making sweeping statements but a good chunk of them has a sense of entitlement over public funds with nary a trace of decency in their wickedly evil ‘dark’¬†bones. That was an intentional swipe at these families of corrupt (and subtly corrupt) politicians who have been ruling this country with yellow, red, white, and orange (let’s just say the whole range of Crayola) propaganda.

God help us all next year. Like if you agree. <<insert sarcasm here>>ūüėČ

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