Birthday Surprise!

Since we haven’t seen each other for a few months and the last Sake Night hosted by Taku was almost a year ago, I invited the Couchsurfers in Manila to have a Birthday Eve Surprise Party for Taku! (Though I wasn’t able to invite everyone cause I couldn’t post it in public). 🙂

The above photo was how I kept the decorations (balloons, cartolina, markers, etc) and beers for a few days. Taku almost saw it! haha.

It was very fulfilling to be able to pull everything off without Taku having any clue. I was very grateful to have the CS Manila helped me out in cooking, setting up the apartment and handling the food delivery, and even in practicing their “surprise” blocking! haha.

“I thought you were a bad liar,” was Taku’s reaction at my acting skills. haha. I told him I was going to fit my bridesmaid gown for my bestfriend’s wedding on Sunday afternoon and asked him to join me in the supermarket in the evening while everyone’s dressing up his apartment. 

Then we had a surprise video from some Couchsurfers and his friends (from various places) who couldn’t make it to the party.  It was a very wonderful feeling seeing Taku’s eyes got smaller and mouth bigger with disbelief. haha. It was an awesome night, good friends, good conversations, good food! I felt like it was my birthday! 🙂

Video & Photos by Orlando Cajigal. Check out his works at

Oh! The Japanese is young!

So here’s what happened when Taku visited my hometown:

  1. He worn mask in a non-air conditioned bus because it was too dusty and watched “Lie to me” Season 1 in the entire 8-hour trip!
  2. He was able to use once again the words, “Mano po!” to everyone with glasses and white hair (even to some person we just talk to in the market).
  3. He visited with us Dad’s new home.
  4. He tried to pray with the “manangs” for Dad’s pa-siyam.
  5. He cooked and goof around while everyone’s so amazed that there is a Japanese young guy in the Philippines! (contrary to the stereotype that most of the Japanese in the country are old and likes KTV. haha).

Stage Girlfriend

I remember how I felt like a Stage Girlfriend a few weeks ago when Taku together with his team won 3rd place and the ‘Best Windows Phone Startup’ in Startup Manila. Haha. I am the number one fan of Taku and I’d offer my short legs for his autograph! Haha. I just wanna say random things. But kidding aside, I was surprised when I accidentally watched his pitch (with an opening line of ‘you might get killed tonight’) in the live streaming of Startup Manila, he was fantastic though his hand gestures are like hands of the lucky cat figurines in cabs. Haha. 

I was in Waide’s party when he told me the good new that his idea was chosen among 200 participants (Well I don’t care if he exaggerated the figure. haha) and that was the first time that I’ve felt and seen him so happy and nervous. He worked so hard to get things right.

But I think why I’m a huge fan of Taku is because of the things in the photo below:

First, he’s too simple that he uses Watson’s mini plastic as his wallet.
Second, he loves to perform without his face and even if his face is seen, he hides his eyes.
Third, he has the skill of leaving his pants or shorts like the shape of his butt wherever he stayed and decided to change. 

Amazing, right? I like seeing his shorts all over the house with the shape of a butt. They make my day. (I hope he’ll not be able to read this. haha)

I am lucky because I’m happy!

I feel so uneasy lately, feeling like I haven’t accomplished something good and worthy for the past months, I was feeling so anxious and bothered so I have been trying to work on all the unfinished tasks at work very quickly for me to be able to figure out if those things were the cause.

But then they’re done and they weren’t.
Then I had some time with myself and my notebook and I’ve figured out that it was because I worry a lot for the past months and due to some unexpected sad and tough events in my life, I forgot to live a balanced and happy life with all my dreams and hope backing and cheering me up. I was looking for my balance everywhere, trying to tighten my grip to some happy parts of my life like Taku and wonderful friendships, but it should be “me” inside that I must hold on tightly or else, even the last happy parts of my life will be lost as a result of the behaviour and attitude that mirrors the worries and pessimism inside me.
Then I read the “Happiness at work and in life” by Chiqui Escareal-Go, President of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. and also an advocate of positivity and kindness. Here are some of the parts that raided me. haha:
There was a study that said “Happier people are able to choose better partners because they perceive themselves as better looking ” and  “(they) also earned more money at work!” I imagined then that happier people are better able to choose a job that fits them well because they know what they want more clearly, and this translates to better productivity.  Just like choosing a partner in a relationship. If you know you deserve better, you wouldn’t settle, right?  And in the end, you will probably get what you want and you also wouldn’t mind waiting.
What is the boss’ role in corporate happiness?  There was a 2009 Swedish study that tracked more than 3,000 men over a period of 10 years which revealed that those with “bad bosses” suffered anywhere from 20 to 40 percent more heart attacks than those with “good bosses”.  Clearly, a leader’s attitude, behavior or mindset impacts the entire organization so much, thereby affecting and dictating the culture and performance levels of his team, and even more seriously, as this study shows, even his people’s mortality.
This leadership effect can be applied in all aspects of society –  from the smallest unit of family to the immediate neighborhood, high school gangs to college fraternities, the smallest barangay to the highest levels of government.   And to further emphasize the dichotomy, we could describe the opposite of good and happy when we look into the effects of divorce, child abuse, murder, hazing, graft and corruption.
Happiness is not a common thing to be read in the same sentence as strategy or innovation, peace and order or rule of law, neither do we often have a leader talking about happiness as a goal or as in incentive. They might say that achieving sales quotas will make everyone happy, but it is said as a consequence rather than as the cause or source.
How do we define happiness?
Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard professor, defined happiness as the overall experience of pleasure (which gives a present benefit) and meaning (which leads to a future benefit) .
Many successful entrepreneurs are naturally positive people who do not mind working 14 hours a day (or more) because their work gives them both meaning and pleasure.  Their love for their work and the promise of success are enough to fire their passions.   We could compare these hardworking entrepreneurs with social workers and medical volunteers who are able to transform lives through selfless acts of kindness, giving up their own personal time or even risking life to help those in need.
Why do people do good?  Because it makes them happy.  Can you imagine if we ask why people work well and the answer is – because it makes them happy?  Imagine what our workplaces will be like, and more importantly, what our country will be like?
To view the whole article, please click here.
                I looked back and realized that I get all the good things (travel and discoveries, good job, more opportunities, happy dinner with friends, daydreaming with my family, good health and Taku) that I wish for when I’m the happiest. I write a lot and hear people say “Cyra, you’re such a lucky person” when I am worry-free and happy…that can only be achieved when you have faith and HAPPY.
                Spend your weekend daydreaming with your Lovies! Happy Friday!

Less is good.

I don’t know if this is just coincidence but recently, I’ve talked with so many people saying the same thing: when they got older, they realized that there are just few important things in life to keep, may it be dress, furniture, shoes, bags or even friends.

I am thinking if this conclusion was formed at a certain point in time. Is it a fad? Or maybe because the world is advancing a lot and we’re facing a lot of options but most of the time, we don’t get satisfied. Or maybe my friend is right, that’s how it is when you mature, you evaluate and remove unnecessary things in your life that are not your priority and don’t give you the satisfaction that you deserve.

Both true for me, I guess. I believe that life is all about making choices and living at the moment. If it’s not your priority then, don’t be affected by it and always choose to be happy.

I’ve stumbled upon these videos in TED that gave me a better view on less important stuffs and paradox of choice:

Less stuff, more happiness by Graham Hill
Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

As for me, traveling helped me a lot in realizing what are the important few things for me because as I go from one place to another, I can only bring the good stuffs and I only remember the people that matters.

I remember when my bag was stolen with all the things I used to consider as ‘needed’ a few months ago and I compare it with the things in my bag now, (well, I still have a lot I guess but it’s lesser than before. Haha.) then I realized the big and complete set of make up kit that I used to have is not really needed! Now I just have a few things and maximize them!

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

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.