2016 Year in Review: Conducting a Life Retrospective

Year in Review Life Retrospective

Facebook notified me recently about my year in review. It was a slideshow of my photos captured within the current year. I am not really sure what is the algorithm on how Facebook chooses photos for a year in review; probably those that got the highest number of likes and reactions or probably not. It was nothing but a reminder on how much I gained weight in just a matter of almost 12 months, and that the year is about to end, and that we are about to welcome a brand new year.

Since we are just a few days away from 2017, why don’t we all do a life retrospective? It’s pretty simple. We are just going to answer the three questions that are only often asked and answered during IT projects’ sprint retrospective: What went well? What went wrong? How can I improve?

2016 was not a great year. It was not even a good year. Several inspirational artists died this year: Allan Rickman and David Bowie to name a few. You can check Worst Things That Happened in 2016 if you are still not convinced that 2016 has been rough.  In my personal life and career, there were several mistakes that I have made, a LOT of fork roads that I have encountered, and a couple of risks that I have taken. Nevertheless, that is not to say that there were no joyous moments that are deserving of recognition.

What Went Well?

  1. I got to travel to old and new places. This year, I went to Boracay, Subic, Bataan, and Cebu.
  2. I landed a freelance job and has been working from home since.
  3. I managed to ditch the stressful traffic every single day because.. (Refer to #2)
  4. I learned to cut ties with stressful people, no matter how painful it is to do.
  5. I discovered new things, be it in technology, TV series (Black Mirror and Westworld), books, or a discovery within myself.
  6. I wrote several poems.
  7. I got to watch Les Miserables live.
  8. I got to watch Spoken Word Poetry live (Words Anonymous and Sierra Demulder).

What Went Wrong?

 

  1. I resigned twice this year which doesn’t look good on a resume if I would want to land a day job in the near future.
  2. Glen died in The Walking Dead series. T_T
  3. I gained a couple of pounds which is bad for my health.
  4. Trip to Palawan was cancelled.

How Can I Improve?

  1. Exercise daily.
  2. Write more often on my blog and be consistent in creating new content.
  3. Read more often.
  4. Travel to new places.
  5. Talk to my parents more frequently.

I am quite surprised that the list of “What Went Well” is longer than my list of “What Went Wrong”. It is really a good practice to stop once in a while and reflect on where we are and what we have done so far. Through this, we would be able adjusts the sail of our boat when the wind is against our direction.

How about you? What are the things that you think went well, went wrong this 2016, and that you need to improve on in 2017?

Eat Girl: Kapasigan 4K’s Embutido, Caldereta and more!

This is my first post for my Eat Girl series in this blog and I am guessing that this will be the most updated category because if it’s still not apparent, I am going to say it now – I love eating!

I’ve been a Pasigueña since childhood (although I was born in Pampanga). And before I self-proclaim Pasig as the traffic capital of the Philippines, I have watched Pasig bloom into a beautiful food hub. I mean, try visiting Kapitolyo and tell me that the search for your food cravings is not yet over.

So without further ado, I am going to feature this little food place at Kapasigan, 4K’s Home-made Specialties x Clash of Burgers. 4K’s used to be just a small catering service and I think they still do as per my research on their Facebook page. Click this for 4K’s Home-made Specialties Facebook page.

20161117_123717The ambiance is decent. The white wall paint helps in getting the right amount of light in the place. The menu were all laid out properly and everything looks clean.
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There’s also a CCTV camera if in case you want to say hi to the person in the control room. JK! We need it for security purposes.

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Once you enter, it seems like there is not that much space for you to dine-in but they do have another floor for guests who would like to enjoy their food inside.  20161117_124046

I am not sure if it’s just me or there is really a school-vibe with these stairs. #Nostalgic20161117_124050

I loved the art wall as well.20161117_124127

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We ordered a pitcher of red tea and I was surprised that they only provided plastic cups rather than glasses. It came out as a surprise to me since the Pasig City Government discourages establishments from using plastic.I think this is something that they should improve on.

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They are not the best in plating, but hey, Caldereta tasted good it tasted FIESTA!!

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I did not like Embutido that much, it’s a bit too dry for my taste. Also, the stir fry veggies side dish didn’t match the viand. I guess it would be better if they paired a soup with the Embutido.
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My favorite amongst what we ordered was the Nachos for only P79!!

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Take a closer look at the Nachos if the picture above isn’t mouth-watering enough.

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I haven’t tried their burgers yet so I guess that is enough reason to come back!!

Follow their social media accounts for more info:

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Overall, I think that the place for people who are looking for full meal, but are currently tight on budget. There is not much parking space in the vicinity, hence, it will not be a good idea to bring your private car.

I hope that somehow, I was able to give useful information regarding this food place. Thanks a lot for reading!!!

On Quarter-life Crisis + Free MSA NMAT Reviewer

Imagine you just received your most awaited salary. You can now buy that thing that you have been eyeing for so long. You go to the mall or wherever the hell you can find that something that you have always dreamed about. Finally, you are at the doorstep of that special place. You can finally have it, after months of saving up for it, you can finally own that thing. Except that you don’t want it anymore. You no longer feel like it’s worth it. That thing that seemed as a necessity before, now feels like just a mere want in your life. So you veer away from the place and find a new thing that entices you. This new thing feels like it is what you have been waiting for so long, and when you can finally have it, you lose the interest again, and again, and again. And you are stuck in this cycle, feeling lost. That is what quarter-life crisis feels like —  a limbo, a purgatory, a place where there are no directions, just several forks in the road.

Just like many other people of my age out there, I experienced this crisis. I cannot say that I am over it, but I think I have already learned to keep it at bay. What helped me during these times are the articles and books by Mark Manson. My most favorite article is entitled Screw Finding Your Passion, which debunks the myth that we need to find our passion in order for us to be happy.

I used to see myself as a professional doctor — fully dressed in white, working in a hospital, or in a clinic, treating patients and diagnosing illnesses. In my head, I will be like Dr. House, who seems capable of treating the most obscure illness there is. It seemed like a pretty cool job. It felt like it was my passion, job that will make me happy, and a dream that I needed to fulfill. But when reality bites, boy it stings and it stings like a freakin’ giant arthropod. Long story short, I realized that the medical profession is not for me, not because I am weak but because I am not interested with the process needed in order to get there. I am just interested with the result. I am interested with the degree, with all the benefits that comes with, but I am not interested with long hours of sleepless nights, exams, and whatnot. I am not in love with the process. I am only in love with the result.

I salute all med students who, though already on the verge of giving up, still continue to study because they feel that what they do is worth it and meaningful. I actually follow MaartistMD on Twitter and this Twitter account shares comic relief on being medical students. You should check their Twitter account. This afternoon, I cleaned my room and saw the MSA NMAT Reviewer that I bought last year when I decided that I wanted to enter med school but as since I no longer need them anymore, I felt the need to give it away to those who really need it.

It is an MSA NMAT Reviewer Revised Edition 2014 with practice sets on Chemistry, Physics, Quantitative Reasoning, Inductive Reasoning, Perceptual Acuity, Biology, General Reviewer, and Companion Volume Answers and Explanations.

NMAT Reviewer for free!
NMAT Reviewer for free

Mechanics:

  1. Let me know your current year, course, school, and the reason why I should choose you. Send this as a private message on my Facebook account.
  2. Share this blog post, and comment on my facebook post so that I can see your name! Your post must be set to public.
  3. Contest will run until Nov. 30 11:59 PM GMT +8.
  4. I will announce the winners anytime on Dec. 3 GMT +8.

Thanks for reading!!!

I Resigned!!! + Spontaneously Discovered Northern Cebu for 3D/3N

Last Nov. 8 – 11, I went to Cebu to meet some web developers and web designers for the projects that I am working on as a freelancer. (I resigned last Oct. 7 and I have been working freelance since.) I was accompanied by PJ and although he also had to work, we did a side trip and explored the Northern part of Cebu. If you are looking for a tipid kind of itinerary, this is not the right travel post for you. What we did was something spontaneous, hence, not the best budget for a trip. Nonetheless, here is our itinerary and a breakdown of our expenses:

  • Grab to NAIA: P300
  • Airfare (MNL – CEB – MNL): P12767.60
  • Taxi from Mactan – Cebu Airport to Crown Regency Hotel: P200
  • SkyWalk Extreme Adventure + Dinner Buffet: P1500
  • Starbucks (Sobrang gastos lang nagSB pa sa Cebu. LOL.) : P175
  • 7-Eleven (mostly toiletries, and food that we will bring to Bantayan!): P450
  • Uber from Crown Regency Hotel to Cebu North Bus: P100
  • Cebu North Bus to Hagnaya Port: P340
  • Hagnaya to Sta. Fe Port: P400
  • Environmental Fee: P20
  • AirBnB: P3482 for 2 nights
  • Market (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for 2 days): P1500
  • Motorcycle: P500 for 2 days
  • Gasoline for the motorcycle: P50
  • Bag (This is totally unnecessary. Gastos lang to. lol): P140 
  • Lunch at Kermit’s: P280
  • Tricycle to Wharf: P200
  • Boat to Virgin Island: P1000
  • Entrance to Virgin Island: P500
  • Goggles for Snorkeling: P150
  • Nature Park Entrance: P400
  • Sta. Fe to Hagnaya Port: P340
  • Environmental Fee: P20
  • Van from Hagnaya Port to Mandaue City: P340
  • Taxi from Mandaue City to Mactan Cebu Airport: P200

TOTAL Expenses: P25354.60

Expenses per person: P12677.30

Few notes that I learned from our trip to Bantayan Island:

  • Take promo fares seriously. A big chunk of the expenses went to our airfare. I think this just costs around P250 during sale.
  • Before going to Virgin Island, buy meat and ingredients while you’re at Bantayan Island. I swear, the prices of the food are doubled or tripled on the island! For example, 1 liter of Coke costs P70!!!
  • It is really convenient that you have someone with you who knows how to drive a motorcyle. For instance, our AirBnB is not that close to the public market, or from the Nature Park, so we had to drive for 30 mins using a motorcycle. Our AirBnB host told us that it costs P200 if you hail a tricycle to go to public market.
  • Bantayan Nature Park is not that noticeable. You cannot see the sign when you are coming from the public market so be extra attentive and do not forget to ask the locals for direction.
  • Be really cautious and attentive when you are inside the BANTAYAN NATURE PARK!! I think I bumped a twig and a snake fell on the ground. I wasn’t able to see it but PJ did!!! He said it was a green snake. We asked one of the staff of the Nature Park if there are really snakes lingering in the area and he said that there are but they are just small and not harmful. I don’t know about you but just the thought of snakes near me is just freaking scary!!  It really freaked us out that we left the place before it gets dark! Haha!
  • AirBnB is gold. We had a whole beachfront apartment, complete kitchen utensils for cooking (perfect for those who love to cook!). They also have DVDs and books for leisure. Ate Chrissy also has been a wonderful host to us. Please check the references for their AirBnB listing if you would like to visit Bantayan Island!
  • Ask, ask, and ask! What made the stay easy for us is that the locals are very approachable. We met Kuya Poly at the Nature Park and he helped us get a private boat that will take us to Virgin Island. I shared his contact number below for those of you who are interested.

Here’s a photodump of the whole adventure:

Cebu Skywalk Adventure
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Cebu Skywalk Adventure
The view from our AirBnB apartment
The view from our AirBnB apartment
A hammock is installed in front of our apartment.
A hammock is installed in front of our apartment.
Virgin Island
Fine white sand
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I love view!
Virgin Island
Awra!

I also did a vlog while we’re at Virgin Island. LOL. Puro tawa ko lang ‘to.

 

References:

  1. Kuya Poly’s Contact #: +639506415340
  2. Click this for the AirBnB listing of the beachfront apartment in Bantayan Island where we stayed!!!

Thank you for reading!!!!

 

Depression #MentalHealthAwareness

It’s a rainy day again.
Even if the sun shines perfectly.
The weather app says it’s 25 degrees celsius.
It’s 12th of June, and there is no chance of raining.
But you phone your friends and family, because as perfect as the weather may seem, it still feels a little bit cloudy.

Only to hear the words:
“Get over it. There are people who have it worse.”
You hang up the phone and you again bear witness as the monsters start to dominate your skull.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than not knowing if you can still get through the day.
When the count of your breath depends on the drugs you were prescribed.
When you can hardly get out of bed because of the condition that only a handful can recognize.
And you wish, and you hope, and you hope that they know..
That you’re silently wishing that your life would be as colorful as your brain’s PET scan.

Today Means Amen: Sierra DeMulder x Words Anonymous

Disclaimer: I am not a professional blogger or a writer so pardon if my thoughts are scattered. I just had to write about this experience before all the emotions get forgotten.

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09 October 2016 –  I watched Today Means Amen. This is a Spoken Word poetry night where you get to listen to poets recite or read their poems. Back when I was young, I used to see this in movies. People would go to poem recitals, and I would wonder why would people would want to go there. I felt like it’s boring, and who in their right mind would pay just to listen to poems? But then again, the young me hasn’t encountered any hardships in life yet, hasn’t battled insecurities, hasn’t experienced failures. I watched Today Means Amen to get a different perspective from other people, and just for the fact that I want to know that I am not alone. And it did not disappoint.

Sierra DeMulder also performed with Words Anonymous. They recited poems, not just about hugot kind of love, but they wrote poems with regards to hugot on all sort of things. Feminism, Sexual Assault, Murder, Unrequited Love, Envy etc. My personal favorite is Sierra’s poem about New Years. You can read it on this link (https://sierrademulder.tumblr.com/post/116164719579/new-years-1030).

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Thank you Words Anonymous and Sierra DeMulder for making my soul happy last night. I felt different kinds of emotions. Listening to people like you makes me feel that there are other people out there who’ve had a fair share of grief (and bliss!) as well, and I am not alone in this journey, and that life is a blessing, and that words are very powerful. The world seems so much better with people like you who give me a different (and share the same as well) perspective in life. Listening to all of you last night makes me want to be friends with all of you.

This will not be the last, and I am looking forward to another poetry night soon. <3

Here’s a piece that I’ve written for introvert people. This is not yet finished but I would like to share just the same.

Everyone who knows me would say that I am an introvert.

I am not for concerts, music fests, and everywhere that are loud.

I am not for crowds.

Instead, I find happiness in solitude. I find peace when I’m alone.

I get energized when I am on my own.

But don’t get me wrong, I have friends.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. No, 9. They’re not much, I can count them with both hands.

But I know I can count on them.

 

My Les Miserables Manila Experience

Five months ago, I booked a ticket to an experience that I know I will never forget. Marking the 29th of March, I got to watch one of the longest running musicals, Les Miserables. Two days later, I’m still hungover with the fact that I actually got to watch what I dreamt of. The musical was held at The Theatre at Solaire. It was actually a decent venue for me. It was small, and just perfect for musical since as an audience, you wouldn’t want the stage to be so big that you cannot almost see the actors faces.

To be honest, I just got interested to Les Miserables because of the 2012 movie that starred Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean. I did not read the book nor did I have knowledge on French Revolution. Probably what got me engaged to it was how the story was told since the songs were very catchy plus Hugh Jackman’s and Anne Hathaway’s performances were superb in the movie. Though I often read that Les Mis fans were quite disappointed with how the movie turned out, I personally think that the movie still set the bar high for people who have zero knowledge of the story.

If the movie set the bar high, Les Miserables Manila just made the bar higher.

Simon Gleeson is the perfect Jean Valjean. The first time that I set my eyes on him was when I watched their rehearsals of One Day More. I was astounded by his powerful voice which really meets the expectation for Jean Valjean. He is just perfect for the role. My favorite part was when he sang Bring Him Home. It was full of emotions, that I can really feel him begging for God’s help to spare Marius’ life from the revolution. (Also, who sings high notes while sitting?!! You’re crazy Simon Gleeson. I love you.)

I was actually saddened by the fact that Rachel Ann Go was not able to perform when we watched the show. Nonetheless, the whole cast’s performance was great. One Day More finale of Act 1 actually went beyond my expectations. It was so surreal that I cannot believe I am actually watching the show. I don’t know where to look, I try as much as I can to look around the stage and see what every cast is doing because I do not want to miss anything from this show.

One more surreal moment during this experience was that everyone was so engrossed in the moment. There were no flashing cell phone lights. There were no chitchats heard which you can barely witness nowadays where cell phone charges are longer than people’s attention span.

If there’s one take away from this show, I just want to say that the Les Miserables Manila cast is perfectly assembled.

I would love to watch this musical again. I’ve read that they have extended their run until May 1. You may book your tickets now at TicketWorld Manila. It will be really worth your time and money. Actually, IT IS WORTH MORE THAN your time and money.

Now, time to read the book.

Trying to blog again.

Hi, it’s me again, forcing myself to go back to blogging. I can’t count on one hand how many times I’ve attempted to return to the blogging life. Most of the times, I can not commit to it because 1) I always lose motivation, 2) I’m busy with life (mostly busy with reading, sleeping, and working), and 3) I don’t know how to properly put things into words anymore. It’s not that I have nothing to blog about, but it’s the process that makes it exhausting. It’s simply because I’ve noticed that it’s not easy to blog nowadays as compared to the year when I started blogging. Everyone is connected to the internet now and I cannot consider it as private as it was before. Nevertheless, I still believe that blogging can be an outlet of everything one feels and everything that one wants to say (though probably now, it comes with more critics than before. That’s why bloggers are more careful nowadays with how they write things).

I promised myself that I will blog once a month as a start. Once I get the hang of it again, I will probably write more often. There is no reason. I just want to write. I read somewhere that if you want to write, you need to start with a word. And you need to put those words together to form a sentence. Then try to group the sentences to form a paragraph. It’s quite a common sensical thing but it’s easier said than done. And here I am, trying to put my own words together. Hoping that someday, there will be less time consumed looking at a blinking cursor and a blank paper and writing a two-paragraphed blog entry won’t be as exhausting as it is right now!