30 Things Before 30

They say that you have a lot of time when you’re 20, that’s okay. 

But now that I’m half way done with the ‘glorious 20s,’ I say that no matter how much you try to get things right when given a chance to do or have it, sometimes, you just need a few more tries to get it… just right. And you got to do them and learn from them in your 20s. You have to fall, fail and be fooled (sometimes!) so that you know what suits and best for you. 

I find myself glorifying my good old energetic days lately- Trying almost everything and finding something new each day. When I moved here in Singapore, I felt like a boring old maid struggling to live life while coping up to herself losing each piece day by day. (Haha. Yes, an exaggeration but it’s quite close.) 

My diagnosis is I am putting so much pressure to myself that I panic for not living my life the way I know how it should be. So today, I’ll be back to be a blessing to others and making other feel happy about their lives. And since it should begin with me, I’m sharing some of my 30 things before 30 (I removed some too cheesy goals) just like my 25 things and looking forward.

1. Witness the beauty of Sakura and join “Hanami.”
2. Eat pizza or have wine/coffee while sitting at front of the Trevi Fountain.
3. Learn Flamenco in Spain.
4. Pay all our loans and raise funds for parent’s retirement. (Filipino thing! Haha)
5. —
6. —
7. Read a book while enjoying Maldives with a beer.
8. Experience & learn how to make mojito in Cuba.
9. Cook a dish for a house party.
10. Learn a new language and use it.
11. See the beautiful Angkor Wat.
12. (Party for Dad’s 60th!) Appreciate the Aussie way of life.
13. Eat Pho Ga in Vietnam.
14. Learn Cooking.
15. Walk in streets of Tokyo and ride a train.
16. Drink local beers in Laos and Germany.
17. Have 2 successful businesses.
18. —
19. Skydive.
20. Watch in open air cinema in Kamari & take a photo of the sophisticated Santorini.
21. Have a photo with Eiffel Tower.
22. Ride the Trans-Siberian Express across Asia.
23. Ride a gondola.
24. Live in a foreign country for 3 straight months.
25. Climb up the Great Wall of China.
26. Have a photo taken in Roman Street.
27. —
28. Host a house party.
29. Find my passion.
30. Maintain a good blog that I can always read and reminisce the good old days.


Last month, I just crossed out the 24th in my list: Live in a foreign country for 3 straight months.


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Ohanami (お花見)

Photo taken by Tomomi Endo (April 2012)
Thanks for your never-ending support sensei!

I haven’t experienced “four seasons” (since The Philippines has only rainy and sunny days) and lately, since I’ve been surrounded by a lot of Japanese friends, co-workers and even Taku, I’ve seen the appreciation of the Japanese in the change of seasons that I find very admirable. I’ve received some emails from friends sending me photos of how beautiful the changes are and even when Taku went to a business trip in Japan last week, he sent me an email saying that he had seen “cherry blossoms.”

But my admiration to the Japanese traits and values was supported by the little fact that I’ve learned lately, that they even have the traditional celebration/party for flower viewing which is called Ohanami or less formally, Hanami (comes from the kanji for flower, hana and the kanji for “looking” or “to see,” mi which means exactly what it sounds like: looking at flowers). According to my friends, it takes place on no specific day which can be practiced any time during spring where they simply observe and appreciate the sophistication of spring – particularly sakura ume and momo blossoms (cherry, plum and peach, respectively). Japanese people do their good old parties under the picturesque cherry blossom trees with bento lunches and mats. They party with different groups- family and friends, and it usually involves a lot of sake.  I was amazed with the story that it is a job of the lowliest grunt in the office to go out early in the morning to the place where his bosses want to party later on that evening with a mat and stake out of a choice spot under the trees where he’ll sit all-day. How families try to teach the kids to appreciate spring is adorable also especially since cherry blossom don’t last that long.

Here’s the brief history of Ohanami by EastAsia Travel@Suite101:

Ohanami actually started as umemi, or plum blossom-viewing. That’s because back in the Nara period (710-784) – when flower-viewing is said to have first become a tradition – plum blossoms were gaining favor as symbols of culture and nobility. Ume trees had been introduced to Japan by envoys returning from China, who’d been enamoured with the Chinese spectacle of blossom observation and sought to impress Japanese nobles. By the Heian period (794-1185) ohanami had become a regular practice among the higher classes and was observed by eating and drinking outside. We also know from Lady Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji, a classic novel from the period that by then cherry blossoms had overtaken plum blossoms in terms popularity and become the primary flower associated with the ohanami tradition.
By the Edo period (1603-1867), the practice of finding a spot in the blossoming fields to enjoy sake and special bento had become a pastime for the common people.
Many plum blossom-themed poems appear in the Manyoshu, Japan’s oldest poetry anthology, and the fleeting beauty of both ume and sakura are recurring themes in classic Japanese literature. Along with singing, reading such poetry has become common practice in today’s ohanami celebrations.

                I like how Justhungry.com talked about the cherry blossoms and its leaves as food.

                I appreciate how Japanese people (especially my Japanese friends and colleague) appreciate little things and every natural process in our environment. I guess it talks a lot about how sophisticated and humble people they are.

It’s officially on my list of “30 Things Before 30” now; Cherry Blossoms are way too beautiful.

25 and looking forward!

Note to everyone: this is a bit mushy and very personal blog entry, please bare with me, I know this is too girly. Haha.

“Every scar, pimple and wrinkle in your body is a sign of a life well-lived,” uttered by my ever cheerful mom who always tries to be positive despite the difficulties. For the past 25 years, I lived by that principle and will continue living with it for the years to come.

As 2011 ends and as I come to the realization that I am finally 25, the moment of self-evaluation comes with a celebration. I think I was blessed with a very supportive family and friends and lucky to have met wonderful people along the way (and hoping to meet more for the next years!) who taught me how to do things right and not to stop dreaming and believing. Just like what Elle Woods says, “Believing in yourself never goes out of style.” I listed the 25 things that I dreamed and gambled to achieve in 25 years:
  1. Hiked and Climbed mountains (dreamed and experienced before I turned 18).
  2.  Surfed (finally!).
  3.  Delivered speeches in public.
  4. Produced and directed a documentary about New People’s Army (NPA)– Basically, this was the reason why I took up Journalism, when I experienced being in the middle of the NPA and RP Military encounter when I was in high school then wondered why they were doing such things.
  5.  Camped (with and without electricity)- I grew up with this!
  6.  Won a provincial quiz bee.- Subject: Filipino.
  7.   Had different sort of relationships (long, short, quick, emotional, and easy. Haha)
  8. Published in newspapers (hope there are some in blogs too in the near future. *fingers crossed* Hope I’ll be able to do something interesting and beneficial to others.
  9. Graduated with honors. – those days. Haha.
  10. Worked in TV Production and News & Current Affairs department in one of the biggest TV networks in the Philippines.
  11.  Backpacked in and out of the Philippines.
  12. Slept in the airport and train/bus terminal.
  13. Couchsurfed and explore cultures.
  14. Played basketball and got a medal. (haha. Only award in college)
  15. Got drunk and threw up.
  16. Composed a song.- I used to write poems a lot so it was easier to put a melody.
  17. Appeared on national TV. Haha.
  18. Had a broken heart (twice!).
  19.  Became a manager.
  20. Partied til I dropped.- I can’t do this anymore! It comes with the age. Haha.
  21. Got a degree! – I think this is always in the list of achievements of Filipinos in my generation. I got a few staff interviews and when I asked them about their achievements, it’s the “degree!”
  22. Brought a gift for my dad. I was too glad to finally buy something expensive for my dad last Christmas, watch. I hope this Christmas too!
  23. Got good friends.
  24. Now learned and having the best. *kilig*
  25.  Travel abroad. – I promised myself that I must be able to reach this goal before I turn 25. I thought about it all the time, wrote it over and over and travelled 3 times before 25.
A friend once said that when you’re 25, it’s too early to give up on your dreams and settle for less but too late to not know what you want in life. I suddenly felt that I’m in a very critical age. Haha. I need to start the 5 to 10 years plan again cause I just finished the first 5-year plan that I did when I was 20 and included in my list are the following:

·         Have a few good businesses: Flower Farm & Shop with my Mom (oh! Please help me God!), (Recycled) Paper & Accessories Shop or Travel Essentials Shop because I get high with these stuffs, Coffee Shop and maybe a Marketing & Events Management Company (if I can survive the fast-changing creative industry and will be able to invent and reinvent all the time.  Just like what Jeff Benjamin said in Spikes Festival 2011, “Invent or Die.”)
·         Good savings for retirement! (me and my parents)
·         Europe & South America Trips (Italy hello!)
·    Have good blogs and eventually publish an e-book or books about Marketing & Advertising as a mirror of each nation/culture and a fiction or novel.
·         I secretly dreams of being a travel show host or a show about cultures and nations. Shhh…
·         If lucky enough and fate permits, I’d love to stay happy in love and finally have my little angels. *hmmm*

Just like when I first written my goals when I was 8, I didn’t know which will be achieved but I knew that it must be written to be remembered for me to be better every day. 
Let’s all make 2012 a better year for a better us!

When I grow up…


“…I want to be a doctor”– the usual answer of kids in my time, I used to say the same. Haha.

I used to think about how my 25th birthday is going to be, thinking that it’s quite like a “moment of truth” for each individual. I was born and grew up in a countryside, so growing up, I found myself daydreaming on how I want to live my life. I’ve been writing so many things to accomplish before I turn 25 and I even have this 5-year goal listed in a small index card after my college graduation that made me realize today that I’ve quite did a great job in sticking to my goals (except for being financially literate. Haha) for the past years and how some things really change. But yes, what’s important is how you live every day of your life.

When I was in preschool, I wanted to be a teacher.
When I was in Kinder, I wanted to be a doctor.
When I was in Grade 1, I wanted to be an Accountant (My mom even got mad of the student teacher that told me that I couldn’t be an accountant because I was bad in Math. Haha)

Then I started to think about short-term goals like being top in class, best orator, best in Reading and Comprehension competition or the winner in provincial quiz bee, just because with so many influences and so many options, I couldn’t figure out what I really want to be when I grow up. On my third year in high school, I figured out, I wanted to be a Broadcast Journalist, I simply wanted to be in media because of the observation that Filipinos has been influenced by media a lot (every house has a television regardless of their status in life) and I wanted to contribute to the growth of every Filipino. I’ve wanted to understand each side of the story, I’ve wanted to be part of the history and lastly, I want to influence even a single mind.

In 25 years, I lived by my mom’s advice: “every scar, pimple and wrinkles in your body, is a sign of a life well-lived” (you can imagine what my legs look like because of outdoor activities).

My first life lesson: determine what you want at the moment, trust your instinct and follow your heart. It’s a bit tough to try to convince and prove to everybody that “it will make you happy” especially with Filipino closed familywhich everyone has something to say about you and what you do, that’s why you have to trust your instinct because it’s your life and it’s definitely what defines you. Just like what the great Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” Everything happens for a reason. Five years from now, you’ll know why things happened that way because no matter how hard the rock hit you in the head, you surely learned something good from it. 

Second lesson: determine what you deserve and life will give it to you. If I hadn’t written my life goals in 5 years, I would never know where I was going and what will definitely satisfy me. In life, you need to have a benchmark, to evaluate and define your life. I will now renew my 5-year life goals and maybe make it 10 years since things are getting clearer in my view as time goes by! But one definite example is that, in 25 years, I’ve been in a few relationships, was hurt, cause hurt, didn’t get satisfaction but learned, that forced me to list down the things that I deserve and in a few months of aiming it and living with it, I got the relationship that fits… just crazily beautiful.

Third lesson: no matter what you achieve in life, you’re never greater than others because the moment that you think that you’re better and greater, that’s when you start to be envious, judgemental and greedy. This is related to what Steve Job’s said “stay hungry, stay foolish.” There’s always something to learn so always keep an open mind and heart because life never fails to give us surprises.

Hearing about the great Steve Jobs death recently and reading his speech is a devastating moment, knowing that in the era that I belong, this great man contributed a lot in every progress of my time and of my life. I am fascinated by Apple and used iPhone for a couple of years. I know Pixar and love their movies. Job’s stories happened in my time that’s why they feel so near and real. He is a great man whose contribution will always be in our hearts and inspire us to choose, now.

It’s still 4 days to go before my 25th birthday, all I know is that I promised myself that I’ll explore the Philippines and make sure to go out of the country before I turn 25, and surprisingly, I did, twice. Now, I need to make another list and I still have 4 days.

Sundays should be just like this.

Sunday is Church and Family day for a normal Filipino family and usually, it is my “me” time as well. I’ve spent this morning attending the Mass and reading at Starbucks. And because time flies so fast, my thoughts fly as well, that Sundays should be just like this…
image from rajatandena.wordpress.com

It’s a Sunday and I am reading my favourite book as the hammock swings while I let the lukewarm wind touch my sun-burned skin and listen to the waves as they break and reach the shore. The breaking is always music to my ears, knowing that just like me; they’re part of the bigger body of water, the ocean, and me, the world. My hair is still wet because of the usual morning clean-up dive and I can hear the funniest-man-with-biggest-heart-on-earth call my name as he excitedly talks about the healthiest food he ever tasted in Krabi and how he missed my laugh in his last trip. He has a soft spot for children and I advocate environmental preservation so we always make it a point to support less fortunate kids and do efforts to preserve the environment from the returns of our café in the midst of the city and other businesses. I’m thrilled of his reaction as I plan to surprise him about the news that we’ll be having an addition to our fun life after my doctor happily confirmed it yesterday. (I can’t stop myself from smiling.) My mom and dad will be throwing a beach party for my 29th birthday tonight as they invited my dearest friends and kin as a treat for me as we also celebrate the growth of our flower farm in the Philippines. I am searching for inspiration from simple things because I will be finishing a book at the end of this month that is expected to be published before 2015 ends. Our successful branding and advertising campaign in Asia caused me to plan a Europe trip and finally make it to eat pizza at the fountain in Italy with my best man.

It’s Sunday, lazy weekend will be over really soon but I’m glad that I learned how to appreciate every moment of this good life through the years. No regrets. Good life.
I know my Sundays will be just like this.

I think I know how to break my ice.

Yesterday, I realized that I’ve been in my current job for a year already and I think my career goals improved a lot, clearer this time.


I have genuine interest in people ever since and that’s the only thing that didn’t change as time goes by.

I grew up believing that I want to end up being a Broadcast Journalist. That was my one and only dream because I want to talk with people, but when I was very near to the realization of that dream,  I felt that I didn’t belong in that industry. True, maybe I gave up too soon, but I know I want something more…

Communications and Media-related posts are everywhere! My college professor told me before that I should be very aggressive because there are many careers to venture in the industry of Communications but after joining some well-known companies in the industry, I know that I have to trim down the scope of choices and focus.

The field of Marketing, Sales and Advertising excites me. 

Look around you, media influences everything and I always crave to be part of “that” influencing body that can eventually transform lives, especially for the youth and their image of themselves.

Considering my experiences and interests, and after learning that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected the average estimated growth of jobs to enter the field of Advertising/ PR/ Marketing is around 68, 000 until 2016, my eagerness to pursue a Master’s Degree in Marketing and Advertising intensified. Keen competition is expected that’s why I want to learn more about Global Marketing.



The BLS reports that advertising and promotions managers saw mean annual earnings of $91,100 in 2007. That same year, marketing managers earned $113,400 and public relations managers earned $97,170. All three occupations saw mean annual earnings over six figures in New York and New Jersey. (http://www.collegegrad.com)

Going back to school excites me.
I’ve been out of school for almost 4 years and just like how other people give so much emphasis in the consequence of being 25, I have a guilty feeling that I should take the learning to a higher level.

After all, I’m feeling quite old these days because of the routine. To stay fresh and young, I know learning new things is a must.

Richest Person in the World 101


When I woke up this morning, I realized that I have a new goal: to be one of the richest person in the world.


I came to realize that goal because when I looked at my wallet before going to work, I only have 66 pesos. I was surprised and thought of the things I’ve done yesterday. Then I realized that I ate out and gave money when I heard the mass.

It was a mixed feeling.

The fare going to the office is tricycle ride- 6 pesos and Shuttle ride- 60 pesos. Brilliant! No excess! No contingency fund! I was so careful in my action because any move and delays could affect things. I might miss the shuttle and pay more and I don’t have the capacity to do it! LOL.

I looked at my planner and all my notebooks (I’ve got so many notebooks because I get high whenever I have new one) where I wrote down my 5 years plan, then I grasped that I’ve so many plans but I am so financially illiterate.

Savings= no movement.

          Don’t reprimand me on this again. I know what to do, I’ve read a lot on this, and yes, I’m just stubborn. But I’m very good in budgeting, but not for my own money. Tomorrow’s a new day, a new payday! So, I’m going to think of more ways on how to be one of the richest people in the world. Oh well, I have a long list of expenses monthly (rent, life insurance, Mom’s SSS, other insurances, credit cards, allowance for our home in the province) but the hell with those things! LOL. I know that I’m living life and I’m being a good daughter and friend (Excuses for not being responsible in handling my money). Aside from that a successful businessman said that to be rich, we have to value our relationships and our people.

          Mom reminded me today that I have to buy her a flower farm for their retirement. Oh no! Flower pot, I think, that’s possible! J

          I have to spend the whole night for my serious planning. Yahooo! Dan Guiam, watch out! LOL.


Dear Savings,

Please don’t leave me. Please stay in my bank account for long.
I need you. 
I really really need you.

Sincerely,

Cyra