Dad’s WOW #6

I’m never scared of uncertainty but I’ve always been scared of not having a stand on something because I believe if you choose not to have an opinion, someone or a situation will definitely choose for you.

If I don’t say anything, it means my stand is to let whatever will be the outcome be the outcome. Having said that, my heart is very open to accept whatever the consequences of the outcome cause it was my decision.

One of my favourite “life lessons” from my dad is to never live life with regrets. You can definitely feel it, but you cannot dwell on it.

Why? Because at some point, you made a choice and you’ve chosen whatever it is that made you regretful of something. For sure, during that time, you thought it was the right choice and you chose it.

I miss you, Daddy.




What I learned about Surfing

On top of my list when I was in my early 20s (Goodness! I’m saying this now!) was to surf, first was to climb a mountain. I usually have a timeline for my plans, Climb a mountain: 18, Travel abroad: 25, (both were realized before the deadline by the way. haha) but for surfing, it was just in my list but I never believed in actually doing it. 

I learned lessons from my first ride (hoping to get a chance for a second ride) that remind me on how I should look at life when not riding the waves:

1. Impossible really becomes not possible if you never give it a shot. My list doesn’t say that I should be a professional surfer but for a long time, I was thinking that even just trying it… is absurd. 

The photo below shows how scared I was on my first try:

2. Patience is always a virtue. Life is not designed to be flat, it has ups and downs, right and wrong, but we have to keep the faith and keep moving. If you didn’t ride the wave the first time, be more alert and try it the second time. If you fall, hug the board tight and try again. After a few try, you’ll know. 🙂
As cliche as it is, “something that does not happen doesn’t mean that it won’t happen.”

3. Listen & use your senses. In today’s world, everyone wants to talk which oftentimes make things complicated. In surfing, you need to use your senses, don’t just look, listen and feel the waves coming. Listen to the wind blowing, look at the waves beside you, quickly close your eyes to feel the waves and concentrate on your senses. You can’t afford to lose a wave cause you might not experience one anymore!

4. Sometimes, you just don’t have the chance to backout, so rock it! Sometimes, life gives us things that we think we don’t need but is actually for us to experience and we have to be brave enough to try what’s in-store for us out there. Most of the time, we need to risk then our lives will never be the same again cause it just gets better.

5. It will always be hard to keep the balance, but only the wise can do it (Read: wise- with knowledge & experience of falling and standing up over and over. haha).

6. Be prepared (you can’t afford to miss one wave, remember?).

7. Enjoy the ride. There’s a feeling of euphoria when riding a wave, it’s addictive. The feeling before, during and after riding a wave is indescribable but you can never tell a story about only “after the ride,” it needs to be a whole process to make the story complete so you have to enjoy every second of it.

FREEDOM. It was a liberating feeling to ride the waves. 
Awesome Idea: What I always do is to imagine the feeling when I was riding a wave, then I imagine my worries as the wave- scary and huge…after a few breaths, rode over my worries, then they go away! 
Maybe that’s a good idea for you to try surfing, so you’ll know what to imagine when worries come again!

So here is what I’ve found out in my hard drive, my “chimpanzee” first ride:

*This was a quick trip to Zambales, read the whole story here.

LOL for a quality life.

“To have the life that you’re wishing for, you should improve yourself to be deserving of it. To have an upgraded partner, you should upgrade yourself first. Please make sure that you’ll learn one important thing every day so you’ll improve step by step.”

When I had my heart entirely broken for the second time during the hardest year for me and to everybody I know and the time of financial crisis, 2009, my mom didn’t know what to tell me but the words above. Parts fell into pieces that I didn’t have any idea on how I was going to get by every minute but that particular time proved to me again that everything might fail and everyone might leave, but the family will always stay. I am not saying this just because I am a Filipino (and known to be family-oriented country) but because no matter what you call it—clan, tribe, network, family–definitely, you need one.

For the first time last week, my tough and strict dad was admitted to the hospital. He volunteered to visit the doctor so I knew that it was a bit serious and it was. As cry baby as I am, tears fell down as I read my mom’s sms about him and the fact that even my mom was admitted to the hospital. Then my sister and I rushed home and endured the 6–hour bus ride for our peace of mind. What I learned from it was the same with what I’ve learned on the hardest moments of 2009: live each moment and continue improving because you’ll only see the quality of life if you slow down and enjoy. Sounds cliché, but living each moment has been on top my goals whenever I write my daily to dos and it’s the hardest task to check as “done” daily. But this weekend, when I decided to see my parents and we laughed together, it was a moment that I can put on a big check: I have lived.

In the fast changing world that we’re living, we tend to overlook the things that we’re experiencing at the moment because we’re too busy thinking what we’re going to have without noticing that by not living at the moment, we’ll not be able to figure out precisely what we need to improve to avoid having regrets. Simple things like saying “sorry” to someone you unintentionally stepped on while rushing to the train, saying “thank you” for a free ride or a cracker when you were too hungry from a co-worker and asking “how are you?” from parents away from you. These moments may not matter to you, but might matter to them because they’re not walking as fast as you walk.

I stumbled upon this video of one of the pranks of Improv Everywhere, and I think that it would be nice to have this podium somewhere that I’ll pass by every morning for a beautiful and inspired day. J
I like Improv Everywhere so I think it would be nice to listen to the guy (Charlie Todd) who has been transforming these playful ideas to unexpected joys that reminded us to stop, play, laugh louder and try each day to improve you and some stranger’s quality of life.
Laughing more won’t hurt, it’s a worthy hobby.
(Filipinos know this for sure) 

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.

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!

Salisi Gang: that’s it, pansit!

They say that the true character of a person can be seen in a difficult situation. How we react on unexpected things and conflict not only reveals “who” we really are, but also unfolds the characters of the people around us, regardless if they are “in the situation” or “just heard the situation from you.”

This happened in Starbucks inside the Fullybooked in Bonifacio High Street at Fort Bonifacio Global City (as you know, a very high end and posh place in Manila).  We just had our best brunch because after a long time of searching, we just found the best French Toast in the city at 2nd’s! After the mouthwatering brunch, we headed to Fullybooked to have our usual routine of reading while having a chat and coffee in our favorite spot. We were seated in sofas with a small table just across the escalator and the CCTV camera of the bookstore. I decided to get a book because Taku brought the book that he was reading ever since he arrived in Manila more than a week ago. He took his iPhone out of my bag, and then started putting Muji’s marshmallows in my bag to tease me. I have every little and important thing in my huge bag since I’ve been busy for the past days, haven’t changed my bag and have put everything in it (even my clients’ business cards)! When we were in HK Disneyland, Taku misplaced his camera and lost it so I’m being careful when we’re together and checking all his belongings.

In short, MY important stuffs + TAKU’S important stuffs are in my HUGE favorite bag.

…When I came back after 5 minutes with a good book, I thought he was throwing a prank at me, I just lost my bag.

Taku ran after them. When he came back he said there was a girl who asked him if the P100 on the floor was his, then my bag vanished. Fullybooked and Starbucks team helped us checked all the possible whereabouts of the “Salisi Gang” and carefully looked at their CCTV cameras, but it wasn’t solved. Upon looking at the video from their Security office, we’ve seen 5 women in their 30s-50s with a man in his 50s connived in this crime. You’ll see that the old lady who put my bag in the paper bag that she brought attempted to go down in the escalator which was going up, together with the fact that they’re facing the CCTV camera of the bookstore, it might be a proof that they might not be “professionals.”

This is an opportunity to learn for us, hoping this will also be a learning or warning tool for others.

It’s sinking into my system now. I don’t even have any cosmetic left and I feel so exhausted thinking about all the important things that were gone. Aside from my digital camera, phone, important IDs and cards, I lost the Tiffany necklace which was Taku’s first gift and meant so much to us. Taku lost many important things as well, but this incident taught and made us realize so much of our big world, our generation, our country, our family and friends, our relationship and ourselves. 

I don’t think I have any important material thing right now. I even feel a lot naked spending days in the corporate world having no jewelries and make up, but I’m feeling so blessed, realizing that the most important things in my life are relationships and sharing every good thing, may it be a warning like this, with others to make this world a better place.