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Summer Paradise: Coron, Palawan

Hi, Readers! I’m MIA for quite long cause I came home to spend summer time with family and friends. I want to share to you what happened to my well-deserved vacation and budget tips on how to travel without being broke. So the adventure begins! YAY!

I went to Coron, Palawan together with my college besties. We’re planning this trip for 2 years cause our broke-college-students-dilemma put us on hold. Now that we’re employed, finally we made it to Coron! It’s always been in my bucket list to travel Coron cause of the stunning pictures that I saw on the internet and blogs saying how majestic the rock formations of this beautiful island is. Truly I was not disappointed, Palawan is a paradise.

We’re group of four all girls and stayed at Momita’s lodge for 3D2N for only Php3,500 each including tour, accommodation and daily breakfast. I surely recommend Momita’s for anyone who wants to travel on budget.

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We took this picture inside Momita’s lodge.

I didn’t managed to take a picture of the whole room cause we got too excited but as you can see, it’s really wide and spacious. It has 2 double beds, 1 single bed, fully air-conditioned, 2 ceiling fan, 1 stand fan, 4 towels, 4 soaps and private bathroom. Momita is the owner of the lodge and this is also what the guests called her. She is really nice and welcoming I can see my grandma to her. She offers variety of rooms depending on your budget and how many persons. You can search her website online at www.mommitaslodge.jimdo.com  for more details.

Day 1

1st Stop: The Hunt for Food

We have ample of time to roam around the city before our tour begins..

So we decided to look for restaurant cause we’re really hungry fresh from our 30mins flight from Manila to Busuanga..

One of the many restaurants that are flocked together at the city of Coron. We choose this place cause this is the nearest to our lodge and the food looks appetizing.

Stingray in Coconut Milk

What makes this restaurant different is they served stingray in coconut milk. This is the first time in my entire life to eat stingray. It tasted like Bicol Express but the texture of it is like shredded tuna meat. All in all, it’s delicious worth a try!

And of couse, the undying love for Pork Sisig! Nothing beats the authentic Sisig back home. 2 cups of rice please!

2nd Stop: Mt. Tapyas

Momita only told us that we’re hiking 721 steps to the peak of Mt. Tapyas. We didn’t bring anything not even money cause right after hiking this mountain we’re going to Maquinit Hot Springs and there will be no lockers to put your belongings. So being the vigilant us, we decided not to bring valuables. It was a really bad move not to bring money cause we’re really exhausted and thirsty after hiking, good thing our tricycle driver is really nice. He lend us money to buy water. Thank you, Kuya! lol

On the way to city tour and Mt. Tapyas

We take pictures in between to ease our tiredness..

and to make everything worthwhile lol

3rd Stop: Maquinit Hot Springs 

This is my first time to actually bath into a natural hot spring. The view and scenery is therapeutic and the soil is really red. That’s when you know it is all natural. The warm water is so relaxing and it has pebbles underneath like a massage for your tired feet. This is a must-see if you die for a scenery like this especially, if you’re too fed up with the city life. There are also cottages in the place and grill joint where you can eat and drink.

The hot springs are divided into 3 parts: 1 big pool and 2 smaller pools

The path on the way to the hot springs

4th Stop: Where to dine for Dinner?

After a long day, we came back to our hostel just to fix ourselves and look for dinner. We landed at Carl’s BBQ just along the city of Coron. Their food are delicious, really affordable and serve in platters. Their ambiance makes you feel like you’re really in an island and good for groups and family.

We ordered crispy pata, calamares, baby back ribs, mango shake and bucket of beer for only Php1,265. Traveling in groups really shrink the expenses cause it is always divided by how many of you. I’m so sorry didn’t managed to take a photo of the food due to hunger.

While waiting for us to be seated, we asked the waitress to take a photo of us. I love the people of Coron they are just so accommodating.

They have different types of cottages to choose from. They have tree house set-up, long tables, and this cabbana style cottage.

Our first day ended full of laughter until you’re stomach hurts. It feels so good to just laugh like that again, can’t remember the last time we experience it. Also to catch up with my friends cause didn’t saw them for too long and we have many stories to tell. True friends are indeed gold.

Day 2: Island Hopping

The day we’re waiting for! We are all excited about this tour cause we can finally see the majestic rock formation, clear water and priceless scenery. There are places you can’t go without life vest, aqua shoes and mask and snorkle. They are just being careful cause of the 2 tourist died at Coron recently.

1st Stop: Twin Lagoon

I am so excited cause I can finally see and experience the beauty of it. The place I’m always dreaming about is right here in front of me. The pictures has no justice how atonishing the place is.

They have improvised stairs in between the rocks for you to go to the next lagoon. It is quite steep and the rocks are really sharp so be extra careful when using the stairs but it’s just a few steps.

Twin Lagoon has different water temperature vary from warm to cold. Amazing isn’t it?

On the way to Twin Lagoon

Look at those rock formation. Amazing God!

2nd Stop: CYC Beach

It’s a small white sand beach with clear turquoise water where you can swim, drink and eat ice candy cause locals sells them in their boats

The view is jaw-dropping

 

That clear water says it all

3rd Stop: Kayangan Lake

This is the controversial lake cause this is where the 2 tourist died. I heard from the locals it was temporarly closed but luckily, it is opened again the time we visited it. You have to hike in order to get to the lake, it is quite long so be prepared. But the hike is always worth it cause of the stunning scenery. Tour guides doesn’t allow the tourist to enter the lake without life vest.

The entrance to the hike..adventure begins!

The view that will welcome you when the boat dock at the entrance of Kayangan Lake

A photo in the actual lake. Clear water and rock formations are love.

4th Stop: Sunken Japanese Wrecks

It was a Japanese war ship during the WW2, I was mesmerized by the beauty of this ruins. It is amazing how something so destroyed can be this beautiful. Truly, nature has its own way of healing itself.

 

No filter photo of the sea. Be amaze!

That is the shipwreck surrounded by many marine life. The beauty of ruins another no filter photo

5th Stop: Coron Reefs

This was our last stop for our Island Tour and definitely the most beautiful one. It feels like I enter into a ‘whole new world’. It is a long trail of mesmerizing coral garden with shades of pink and blue, alive corals that are breathing, a home of many marine life. Philippines is so beautiful, I’m craving for more. All credits to the Most High, our world is beyond beautiful.

It was so beautiful that I actually forgot to take pictures because I was so busy just enjoying the moment and appreciating all beauty in front me. I’m sorry.

Day 3: Last Day/ Souvenir Shops

Filipinos definitely won’t forget ‘pasalubong’ for loved ones. Before our morning flight, we decided to roam around the city to look for possible souvenirs to take back home.

 

The mandatory t-shirts and keychains in every souvenir shops.

Also the ref magnets, but I love this wood type.

 

So that’s how our Coron Adventure ends. If you want peace, nature and sightseeing definitely, Coron is for you. The island is really small, it’s like a size of a subdivision back in the city. You can finished the city tour within a day. In terms of safety, we traveled Coron all girls we go out until midnight walking around the city and we didn’t experience any danger at all. The locals are really nice, polite and helpful maybe because you can notice that the major livelihood of the people are their tourism. So they really take good care of their tourists and guests.

Also Coron is really budget-friendly and affordable, I’ll show you the breakdown of the total expenses I had:

  • Airfare from Manila- Busuanga vice versa via Skyjet: Php5,319
  • Tour and Accommodation (Momita’s Lodge): Php3,500
  • Pocket Money: Php3,000
  • Total: Php11,816

My entry for Hana’s Travel Bucket List: Coron, Palawan, Philippines CHECK!!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

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An Open Letter to my Grandparents

Dearest Lolo and Nana,

I consider myself lucky to have both of you until now cause not all people has the opportunity to meet their grandparents. Though I grew up without my parents but because of your love, I never felt like something is missing in me. You filled me with love, compassion and kindness.

Now I’m older and had the taste of the real world, I met a lot of shitty people throughout this journey. I had nothing but praises for both of you for raising me with compassion for others and reminding me all the time to be a better human being. All my wisdom, morals, values and beliefs came from you. No matter how cruel the world might be, I promise I will continue to be humane cause the world doesn’t need more rude people. Everything I am today, I owe it all to you. Thank you is not enough for everything you’ve done for me.

Every time I see old people walking alone, I badly want to talk to them cause probably they also have lots of stories to tell and no one is bothering to ask them. It makes me sad, I miss you everyday. The stories from your era, history and politics of our country and all of your quirky jokes. I won’t get tired of it even though, I already heard all of it for countless times.

I can’t forget the day when I called and cry my heart out cause I felt like I can’t take the burden anymore for all the struggles I’ve been through. Like what a mother will say to his child ‘I’ll send you money, buy plane tickets and go home.’ I felt so touched and loved. Thank you for always being my rock, anchor, safe haven and home.

I know both of you are already bored with life cause you said you’re already satisfied to reached this age and your mission was already fulfilled. But sorry to disappoint you Lolo and Nana, I pray to God every night to prolong your life cause I can’t afford to lose one of you. I know I’m not vocal regarding my feelings but I love you more than you could ever imagine. Thank you for everything. I can’t imagine life without you. xoxo

Love,

Mae

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22 Life Lessons at 22

  1. Don’t take life too seriously, unless you want to go crazy.
  2. Be your own hero.
  3. Age doesn’t measure maturity.
  4. Don’t wait until you’re ready cause life is happening now.
  5. ‘No’ means no. You don’t owe them explanation.
  6. Quality over quantity in all aspects of life.
  7. Guard your heart above anything else.
  8. No matter how busy you are, don’t forget to take care of yourself.
  9. Good food, music, bath and sleep solves anything.
  10. Never stop learning.
  11. Trust your instincts.
  12. Dreams do come true if you work hard on it.
  13. Stop overthinking everything.
  14. Your faith will take you to places.
  15. There’s more to life than love.
  16. Do more, complain less.
  17. You are the master of your life, rule it.
  18. Accept the fact that people come and go.
  19. Appreciate the little things.
  20. Faking bravery and confidence can go a long way.
  21. Take every opportunity to do something you never done before.
  22. At the end of the day, a bottle of beer won’t hurt.

Navigating life has no instructions and manuals. We were given the freewill to decide for ourselves. Life is tough but the beauty of it is undeniable. Every experiences whether it be good or bad is teaching us something important and that’s what makes us who we are. Enjoy everything while it lasts, none of us coming out of this world alive. Dance like no one’s watching, do whatever makes you feel alive even if it’s just singing at the top of your lungs with your favorite jam.

I’m at the point of my life where I don’t give a shit of what others think of me, I do whatever makes me feel great and happy. When you already reached this certain point, you feel so free. It feels like I’m at the top of the world screaming to life ‘I don’t give a fuck, you can’t bring me down this time.’ Life doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger. Day by day it seems like nothing’s changing but looking back, everything is different. I’m growing into something I never thought I can be.

‘Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live’ -Me Before You 

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5 things I always miss about Philippines

It’s been so long, Dear Philippines. How are you? I might not be there anymore but I always wish all the best for my beloved home. I remember my first year in Japan, I don’t want to accept the new culture and norm I’m surrounded with cause my system can’t take the reality I’m not in the Philippines anymore.

I guess no matter how long I stay here, truly there’s no place like home. Yes, I’m surviving but there are days homesickness will hit you hard and you can’t do anything about it but cry and remind yourself to be strong. I believe this is a common struggle for all expats. They are not kidding when they told me living abroad are only for those people who has strong heart and mind, cause you will make a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes, I wish my reality now is just a dream. But no regrets, I’m just homesick so bare with my drama tonight and I really miss home right now. So here it is:

5. Weather

I miss the days where I woke up with sun beaming into my face and the sound of rooster saying it’s already morning. It’s still bright even if it’s already 7pm, the beautiful sunset with shades of pink, sky blue, purple and orange.

Philippines has only two seasons: wet and dry. As you all know, we are tropical country. All year round, you can hit the beach cause there’s no winter but beware of typhoons. I remember during my college days, even if it’s December we hit the beach at night, drink cheap spirits and BBQ. The good old days of my life! (okay. I want to cry T.T)

4. Street Foods

Filipinos loves to eat. I swear, we eat five times a day: breakfast, snack before lunch, lunch, ‘merienda’ and dinner. All of our festivities and parties equals to food. When you go to Philippines, you will notice a lot of food stands that sells street foods. If Japan has lots of convenience store at every corner, we have food stands.

Street foods are really cheap perfect for students budget. It has been part of my highschool life, after school we buy siomai, kwek-kwek, buko shake forever, ihaw-ihaw and stories we shared over it. I miss how life was so simple back then.

3. The Filipino Spirit

Filipinos are jolly people. We love to smile, throw punchlines and laugh. It’s part of our culture. No matter how big the problem is we still manage to laugh and shrug it off. This is the one thing I’m really proud of about us. I was surprised when I came in Japan, where the news is all about suicides. I wonder why? I want to tell them how lucky they are to be Japanese, their government gave them everything they need. Unemployed? Single parent? You can receive money from the government. Senior citizen? free of charge from the hospitals and medicines. Do you have kids who are minors? They can receive allowance from government quarterly. Public transportation? very fast and efficient, no traffic jams. Unlike in our country, everything is the opposite of it.

If they only knew how lucky and comfortable their life is. In the Philippines, a lot people has no work and living in the poverty lane. But it’s so rare for us to give up on life. I know I’m in no position to judge. I just don’t really understand why? I’m saying all of these cause I already saw two perspectives of it.

 2. Simplicity of life

Sure, life in the Philippines is not extravagant. It is actually the opposite of it, you can see the face of poverty at every corner but even though it’s like that, you can feel the warm, harmony and happiness. I miss the days where neighbors will hand you a plate of dish she cooks for you to taste. It’s always been like that and common for Filipino neighborhood. ‘Sharing is caring.’

Most of the time, I miss the simple life. You don’t need to spend much just to be happy and have fun. Street corners, good friends, good music,’bangketa’, anti-repellent for mosquitoes, cheap spirits and chips will do the magic.

Filipino kids don’t own expensive gadgets. Streets and rice fields were our playground. We climbed trees to get fresh fruits, climbed the roof to watch stars, and played in the rain even though we’re afraid of thunders. I miss playing in the rain, I swear. And of course childhood would not be fun if you didn’t experienced to chase by a dog.

1.People I love

Of course, this is already given. The people I left behind to pursue greater ambition in a strange land. My friends, cousins and grandparents they are my reminder that I can always come back home and they will welcome me with open arms. It feels like no matter how far I roam around or how my life has been changed for them I’m still the same ‘Hana’ and why it’s important not to forget it. It’s nice to know you have people in your life, you can always count on when life seems so restless.

See you soon, my beloved. Philippines has a lot of flaws but there’s more love in here that’s why I will always come back to you. If I had the chance to choose what nationality I want, I will always choose to be a Filipino cause I can’t have it the other way around. Exactly one month to go! yatta!

Proud to be kayumanggi. xoxo

 

 

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Budgeting 101

I don’t know if I’m in the position to talk something about budgeting cause like every other millennials, I’m struggling when it comes to it. I don’t have a huge amount of savings in my bank, but I can safely say I’m financially independent cause I pay my own bills all alone and I can still help my parents considering I’m not earning that much, I can travel and buy the things I want without depending on anyone else. Personally, I think saving up money is all about discipline and lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you’re earning a lot or not, it’s all about how well you handle your finances. So, I want to share to everyone how I budget my money.

1.Wants VS Needs

I’m a woman but I’m not fan of shopping. I can go on months without going to mall, I rather stay in my bed read books and watch my favorite shows than waste my time on it. So when I go shopping, I only buy the things I really need. You will see how much money you can save by only buying the things you need.

‘I like that mini dress! It’s really cute’ but it’s winter girl, can you wear it?

‘Oh! that crop top is really pretty.’ But do I have the guts to wear that? No, that’s too sexy for me. I can’t.

‘That heels is the bomb!’ But wait, where am I going to wear that? I’m not having dinner with Obama.

So those are the things going on with my mind every time I go shopping. You can live your life without those fancy things. It’s not as if you’re going to die if you don’t buy that dress you want. (Keyword: discipline or you can also say I’m just frugal and practical. Maybe lol.) 

2. Have separate bank accounts

I have two bank accounts, one is connected with all my expenses. That is where every month I left enough amount of money for all my bills cause automatically, it will be deducted. The other one is for my savings, obviously this account is not connected to my bills. This method is effective if you really want to see how much you save each month.

3. No Luxury Items

I’m ‘allergic’ to everything high-end whether it be a place or things. I rather have 2oo,oooyen cash than 200,000yen worth of a wallet with only 1,000yen on it. I can’t understand the logic why people are so crazy with branded stuff. A 200,000yen of bag is already worth of plane tickets to somewhere.

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This is the only branded thing I own. I bought this as a remembrance from my first-ever salary. It’s kate spade small coin purse. It’s not that expensive compared to LV.

4. Coin Banks

I’m that old-school that up to until now, I still have my coin bank. It’s all because of my upbringing, I grew up with my grandparents. Since I was in Elementary,  if I wanted to buy something for myself I have to save up for it. My grandma is so frugal, we’re not spoiled. They will provide the basic needs but not the ‘luho’ she simply won’t hand things to you especially if it’s just new toys or dolls. (I remember my coin bank back on elementary was the bamboo trunk you can bought at Public Market. My grandpa bought it for me. Every week, the money I save was only 20Php LOL)

So until college, the rule is the same. ‘If you want something, save it up for yourself.’ Well actually it helps cause I learned not to be depended on anyone and I learned the value of money at early age. So that’s the story why until now, I have my piggy bank.

Yes, it’s just coins but as time passes by you will be surprised by how much you can save on it. It can be a really huge amount of money. But sad to say, my coin bank is nearly two years now and it’s still not full. But at least it’s in half by now. LOL

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I’m using this coin bank you can bought it at 100 yen shop. There are lots of coin banks you can choose from.

So there you have it. I hope my blog post for today somehow helps and inspires you to save up. I know it’s not easy especially if food is life but nothing is impossible if you’re determined. You can still save money while having fun and enjoying the fruit of your labor like what I do.

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How to deal with homesickness?

Time check: almost 11PM and I can’t sleep due to homesickness.

Living abroad sounds fun and exciting until you have to deal with homesickness. I believe all immigrants can relate. This is the toughest battle we have to face.

When you scroll down on your facebook timeline and see your friends hanging out without you or receiving video calls when they go out, for a while you can forget the thousand miles distance from them at the same time you want to cry cause you miss them. It makes you realized how your life has been changed since then.

When you crave your local food or homemade meals and you can’t do anything about it. There will be no grill joint at the street corner, no more midnight snack lugawan, 24/7 Panaderia that serves hot pandesals, fresh coconut juice and taho early in the morning.

Even the hot weather cause I’m really getting tired of snow and winter. Missing my tropical home. I know you can feel me, right?

Most of the people who know me are amazed how fast I adjusted my life here, but they have no idea what’s really going on inside my head. So, how I deal with days like these?

1.Reminiscing the good old days

You can say I’m masochist but yeah, when I’m feeling down and missing home I always browse old photos. Those photos means a lot. Old but golden, the good times and happiness where we’re just having the best time of our lives and we don’t care about tomorrow. Photos that will make you smile no matter what’s going on with your life.

2. Calling my grandparents or love ones

Talking to my grandparents always makes me happy. They raised me, so when I’m feeling sad I always talk to them they are the only one who can give me warm and fill my heart too cheesy but true.

3. Watching favorite shows, anime or kdrama

I consider myself as an ambivert. I like going out with people but I need alone time cause it exhausts me, most of the time I watch my favorite shows to uplift myself. Sometimes, reading my favorite book also do the magic. Just do whatever makes you feel great and happy.

4. Good food, Good bath, Good sleep

The three combos that can solve anything. I know you get me.

So there you have it. The best advice I could give is only you, yourself can make you feel good. Always remember why are doing these? Who are your inspirations? Never lose of that sight. Life is tough and much tougher away from home but always remember why you started.

You are entitled for all of those emotions. It’s healthy to release it once in a while, but don’t be stuck there. You have to keep going and don’t let life defeat you. After all, living in a strange land is not that bad. Have a mindset of this is actually an adventure, a roller coaster ride so might as well, enjoy it while it lasts!

P.S. For all immigrants, I’m so proud of you.

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‘Little Miss Too Nice’

This blog post is very personal to me cause it is dedicated to all those people who let me down. This will be the first and last time I’m going to talk about it. I just want to express and let go all the pain I’m feeling right now.

I bet all of us know what betrayal feels like but I never expected it will come from those people who are really dear to me, who I knew for so long, who I trusted so much. I can accept everything if it comes from people who hated me rather than for those people who I treated like siblings. I was speechless.

My problem is I always care, I always do. Even for those people who don’t deserve it. If my friends need me, I’ll be there in a heartbeat cause I know what it feels like to have no one. If you need a listener, I’ll be there to listen and comfort you cause I know what it feels like to have no one to talk to. When I love, whether it be relationship or friendship I tend to give myself too much to the point, I was being taken for granted. I put too much trust on people even higher than Mount Everest cause I never had a single doubt about the friendship we had. But surprise! I know now that just because you treat them well with all your honesty and soul it doesn’t mean they will also do the same for you. Life is unfair. Why do I always need to learn things the hard way?

You can never really trust people these days. Even the people you thought will be there for you until the end will drop you down. I swear. So from now on, I’ll do what’s best for me. I will let go all the people who taken me for granted and never really appreciate me. The show is end, my dear ‘friends’. I don’t deserve all of these bullshits cause all I ever gave was only love and genuine friendship. My hands are already full with so many things going on with my life right now. I don’t want to waste another time for fake people.

So lesson learned, at the end of the day all you’ve got is yourself and your faith. Don’t put too much trust on people. Learn to be silent and be your own hero. I can’t kill all of you literally but I will treat all of you like a dead person. I will just completely ignore you like you never existed in my life. You won’t hear a thing from me starting today. You all made me look so stupid. I just can’t believe what you did to me cause you’re the least people I thought who will ever betrayed me.

I know now who are really true to my face. I really appreciate those people who says the truth no matter how hard it is than to comfort me with lies. Thank you for saving me from the people I thought who cares for me. Truth hurts but I’ll always choose pain and honesty than faking it. So fuck fake friend, fuck fake love. For one last time, TANGINA NIYONG LAHAT.

P.S I’m so sorry for the cursed words. I just badly needed an outlet to vent all my emotions but I’m fine now.

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Being at 20-ish

‘we’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical oh yeah..I don’t know about you but I’m feeling 22. Everything will be alright if you keep me next to you.’ 22- Taylor Swift

This is the phase where you are almost legal in everything that the world has to offer. Loans, credit cards, alcohol, driver’s license, bars, casinos etc. name it! Yep, we’re ‘that’ legal now. We don’t have to make fake ID’s anymore in order to enter a bar or buy cheap spirits. Sounds fun, right? But also overwhelming, cause from now it means we’re ‘adults’ and we have to be responsible for ourselves. (omg! Hi Mom, please read my blog. I don’t want to be an adult anymore, help! sending SOS loljk)

Nobody said it will be these confusing cause the decisions I’m going to make today will either make or break me in the future. For the past few months, I was a ‘damsel-in-distress’ trying to figure out what the hell am I gonna do with my life? I’m also wondering how come some of my batchmates are already married with kids while the others are still busy getting wasted every weekends? I belong to the latter, okay. We’re still kids who are so confused and lost trying to act like an ‘adult’.

They say 20’s are your selfish years to build, learn and explore. Being in the foreign land, makes it much harder for me to know what am I supposed to do cause I don’t have any idea what’s going on. It took me a year to realized what I want to do with my life. For the first time, I am so sure with my decisions. I finally found my reason to stay. Congratulate me, guys!

I know the journey would not be easy. It might be tough and hard but I want to pursue it. I finally understand the feeling of waking up each morning with goals and dreams to achieve. I’m not living my life like a ‘jellyfish’ anymore. This time I’m taking control with my life. I might be too ambitious but the hell this is what I want and I’m going to make it happen no matter what it takes. So young folks, ‘chase dreams, not people’ cause there’s more to life than love.

We’re still new in these whole adulting phase, so don’t be so hard in yourself if you’re still feeling lost. You might be drained, confused, lost, and stuck but I tell you, it’s completely okay cause it’s all part of the process to grow and learn. As the saying goes ‘if you’re struggling, it means you’re progressing.’ So don’t give up yet, we’re just starting. Don’t forget that we can always rewired, rebuild and restart our life cause we’re still young we’ve got time.

xoxo

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Culture: Valentine’s Day in Japan

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! As the day begins, I online as usual and my timeline was flooded with faces of couples expressing their love and gratitude for each other. Some seems so in love but of course, some are bitter cause this is the time of the year where life slapped into your face how single you are.

Let me tell you about my culture firsts, Valentine’s Day back home is all about the spirit of it. I remember back in college, it’s so normal to see ladies around the university carrying stuffed toys, flowers and chocolates while holding hands with their boyfriends. The main gate in front of school are flooded with flower vendors. But not just in school, everywhere you can see couples celebrating it in the streets, public transportation, malls, restaurants, parks and even on social media. Too bad if you’re brokenhearted, I must say just stay at home if you don’t want to see an eye sore. Filipinos are sweet, warm and romantic so it’s quite expected that Valentine’s Day is big deal and well celebrated.

The Japanese culture when it comes to Valentines is the exact opposite of my culture. I was shocked when I learned that the women here are the one who gives chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Okay, culture shock alert! Since, coming to Japan I learned to be more open-minded but there are things that still surprised me. In the Philippines, if a woman do these ‘giving chocolates on Valentine’s Day to the man’ she will be labeled as ‘easy-to-get, desperate, walang delikadesa, bitch, slut and cheap’ because we’re so used to the norm that it’s always the man who will take actions, do the pursuing and not the other way around. This culture is well-embedded in me. So, the first thing comes into my mind was: “BUT, WHY?!”

I had the chance to ask my Japanese co-worker about it cause I was really curious. She told me that they do it because this is the chance for a woman to do the ‘Kokuhaku’ or in English, confessing your feelings to the one you love or like. I was even more blown away with her answers cause again why is it the woman who will do the confession?! It’s a man responsibility and duty in my own culture. I asked her if they aren’t shy to do it. She said yes, they are also shy about it because what if the man reject her feelings or turn away but they still do it for their feelings to be known.

My conclusion about it is women here are so brave and the Japanese men are living the dream! Imagine, Japanese men won’t have a tough time pursuing a woman cause woman can also do it and it’s well accepted. Women can do the first move without judgments from the society. Japan is also a conservative country but when it comes to dating culture and the like, they are more open and equal compared to my culture where it’s always the man. So, men in the next life pray to God for you to be born as Japanese. HAHAHA lol

xoxo

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5 Surprising things about Japan

Hello everyone! My blog today might be late reaction cause if you’re my frequent reader you already know this 2017 will be my 2nd year here in Japan. I think I should wrote this a little earlier but I’m not emotionally stable last year cause that was my adjusting phase and I don’t want to sound so dramatic.

But let that sink in first..second year? for real?! OMG! Time flies real fast. Two years away from home. Two years of love-hate relationship with Japan. Two years of being (feeling) brave. Two years of knowing myself. Two years of struggling how to survive. Two years of finding a reason to stay. But no regrets, cause as the saying goes ‘life starts at the end of your comfort zone.’

So here are the list of things that truly surprised me when I stay here for a year:

Disclaimer: what you about to read are solely based on my own experiences and opinions. It doesn’t speaks for everyone else. Happy reading! ^^

5. Karaoke Pubs

Karaoke back in the Philippines is actually pretty unique where the whole street is your stage and the entire neighborhood is your audience. But Japan karaoke pubs are way too fancy! Each rooms are designed differently, some even have stages where you can let that inner Rihanna come out or just sing at the top of your lungs. The mics are rechargeable, tablets to select your song not remote. Hungry? No problem. They have menu for snacks and even drink bars. So, if you plan to go to Japan, karaoke hub is a must experience! Go for it!

4. Public Transportation

I was really surprised how Japan’s public transportation are really well-coordinated. The bus and train schedule are really followed. If it says 10:00am, it will really arrived at 10:00am! That feels like a magic for me cause I’m used to inconvenience back home. The seats are comfortable, adjustable seats for PWD and when you pay for bus fare they also use machine. Commuting here is nothing but convenience, no traffic jams and rude drivers.

3. Technology

Japan=high-technology. This is really true that most of the time I look like an idiot trying to figure out how to use certain stuff cause it’s too high-tech for me. I have a real good example here. I just got my driver’s license back then, my friend and I went to restaurant and I have to park my car at Pay Parking System where there’s a lock beneath your car. For 10 minutes I’m idle cause I have no idea how Pay Parking System works that I had to Youtube it! HAHAHA yes, I did it and for paying imagine a machine that all written in kanji’s. Imagine me, trying to google translate every button there cause I can’t read it. My gosh! struggle is for real. But yes to end the story, I made it with the help of Youtube and google translate. lol

2. Toilets

Public and mall toilets here looked like a celebrity bathroom. I swear! heated-seats, automatic flush and trash bins, powder room and even the designs are too glamorous. I also had a good laugh about toilets here. My mom is already living here in Japan for almost 20 years now, we were at the mall’s toilet. She’s calling me and asking me where is the toilet’s flush?! I find it really funny! She can’t find it cause each stalls are really well-equipped.

1.Suicide Rates

I don’t watch news here but I read it through articles online. I grew up in the Philippines and maybe my religion really plays a big role why I’m too surprised about it. For Catholics like me, suicide is a great sin to God cause we believe that only Him can take away our lives.

I know this is Japan, we have different culture and perspectives towards life. I know I’m not in their shoe to give opinions about it. I just can’t help but to wonder how can someone easily take away their lives like that and give up. Go to Philippines, see how Filipinos struggle everyday to bring food to the table, how students crossed dangerous bridges, roads and even swimming to river just to make it to school, how youths are not even studying instead doing dangerous works for a very low pay cause of poverty. I, myself have my own battles inside me but yet, we don’t give up on life just like that.

I hope Japanese can realize how lucky and comfortable their lives are. They can even receive support from their government. Everything in these country is made for the convenience of their citizens. If they only take a look and appreciate all the little things about their country, it will be a different story.

xoxo

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