Atoms and Stories

Living without Borders

Make sure to take a great photo of the place. Morning strolls are the best to take shots of the sand, sea and sky, all in unison in elegance.


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The Sun, the Fun and the Sands of Boracay

Boracay Island is a small strip of land in the province of Aklan. It has long been regarded as the best beach in the country, and for consecutive years, is on the list of the world’s top destinations. The foamy exchange of the waves and the fine sand is by itself enough invitation to stroll the beach.

Make sure to take a great photo of the place. Morning strolls are the best to take shots of the sand, sea and sky, all in unison in elegance.

Make sure to take a great photo of the place. Morning strolls are the best to take shots of the sand, sea and sky, all in unison in elegance.

Bora, as it is fondly called, is a long stretch of beach divided in what locals call Stations (1-3). The morning is usually for water sports and adventures, or simply a relaxation by the shore. One can try the popular banana boat, fly fish, para-sailing and helmet diving. The place comes to life by night time with fire dancers, music, liquor and a lot of partying. It’s tranquil by day and trancing by night!

Banana boating is tiring. But hey, with good friends, it really wouldn't matter!

Banana boating is tiring. But hey, with good friends, it really wouldn’t matter!

Sand sculptors (do you call them that?) make these great sand castles at night. You may have your photo taken for a small donation. C'mon, don't be too close-fisted. =)

Sand sculptors (do you call them that?) make these great sand castles at night. You may have your photo taken for a small donation. C’mon, don’t be too close-fisted. =)

For those wanting to escape the noise, rent a boat to bring you to Puka Beach, a relatively empty place perfect for bathing and chatting with friends, while still enjoying the white sand and the azure waters of Boracay.

PUKA BEACH. Commissioned boats will wait for you until you're ready to go back to the main beach area.

PUKA BEACH. Commissioned boats will wait for you until you’re ready to go back to the main beach area.

Good food is all over the place. Whether you are on budget or just simply want to splurge, you will always find that big bite for your appetite. Places for you to lodge is also from the relatively cheap to jaw-dropping expensive. Take time to really plan things out before you pack your bags. You can try Eurotel or a humble inn you or your friends know of. Jaypee, my awesome travel buddy, and I stayed at Ellen’s Apartelle. It was cheaper but the accommodation was fine (aircon room, private shower, and clean bed) coupled with a plated breakfast. Breakfasts are a must for us when we travel. We don’t want to wake up every morning worrying about what and where to eat. Remember to always be true to yourself and what you can only afford. You wouldn’t want to come home broke, or worse, buried in debt.

Jaypee and I trying the sumptuous food. We literally had to walk the whole stretch before deciding where to eat.

Jaypee and I trying the sumptuous food. We literally had to walk the whole stretch before deciding where to eat.

The island has it’s own international airport so tourists can have direct access to the place from wherever they are. Flights directly to Caticlan is expensive (from the perspective of a budget traveler like me). The airport, however, needs a lot of upgrade and something has to be done with the extremely long lines outside and in the check-in counters. I personally had to line up from ten in the evening to make it to my two in the morning flight. Imagine that!

For those wanting a bit of adventure and short on flight budget, you may opt to book a flight to Kalibo, the capital of the province of Aklan. It’s cheaper but will take you a little longer to experience the white sands. There are buses that ferry passengers to Sabang Port. That’s a two – hour drive add-on to your travel time.

 

When you hit the beach, make sure you shun the sun with a good sunscreen, not necessarily to avoid getting dark, but not to have sun burns.

When you hit the beach, make sure you shun the sun with a good sunscreen, not necessarily to avoid getting dark, but not to have sun burns.

Finally, visit Boracay with an open mind. The place may be quite liberated, but still deserving of our respect, the same respect we give to any great beach in the country. Boracay will remain on the A-list for years, and it would be great to help keep it that way. =)

 

FESTIVALS, MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES. Never without a smile, performers slide and glide to the tunes of Hala Bira, Iloilo!


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Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival 2014

Dinagyang Festival is one of the giant trio that jumpstart the year of festivities in the Philippines, the other two being Sinulog of Cebu and Ati-Atihan of Aklan. Iloilo is transformed from a mid-metropolis to a bustling city of lights, laughter, colors and resounding cheers. It may be the most extravagant event in the Ilonggo Calendar, said Smile Mag. =)

Photo taken at the mall in Iloilo. Dinagyang is one of the most awaited festivals in the country, along with Ati-Atihan and Sinulog, happening all in January.

Photo taken at the mall in Iloilo. Dinagyang is one of the most awaited festivals in the country, along with Ati-Atihan and Sinulog, happening all in January.

Once again, I find myself boarding a plane bound for the City of Love on the last week of January. Dinagyang invites people like me from around the globe to partake in the parties that last til dawn and the myriad of colors that rave the streets the morning after.

At Zyron's for the great Sex on the beach (that's what we were drinking hehe) and the amazing party!

At Zyron’s for the great Sex on the beach (that’s what we were drinking hehe) and the amazing party!

The street presentation is one of the most – awaited part of the festival. This annual competition features different contingents from, I think, across the Visayas in an array of dancing, chanting and singing and creative portrayals of their districts’ goods, gods and everyday activities.

FESTIVALS, MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES. Never without a smile, performers slide and glide to the tunes of Hala Bira, Iloilo!

FESTIVALS, MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES. Never without a smile, performers slide and glide to the tunes of Hala Bira, Iloilo!

 

Aside from this, Iloilo City is never without good food. You know what they say, Eat, Pray, Love. Eating good food like baked oysters with good friends and newfound ones will definitely energize your thoughts for the long jams and late night experiences. =)

Jaypee, Nancy and Isay waiting for the baked oysters and the grilled bangus at the Grillers Oyster House. =)

Jaypee, Nancy and Isay waiting for the baked oysters and the grilled bangus at the Grillers Oyster House. =)

If you wish to visit, check on your purse. Prices for accommodations sky-rocket during the week of the festival. Reserve your room early because all roads lead to the same place you-re going. Because prices of hotels and inns are too expensive and don’t vary much from one another, find a place that gives you the best value for your money. Jaypee, my travel buddy, and I stayed at Circle Inn for three days. We thought it was expensive at first, but we were satisfied with the services. Each room has wifi, clean, comfy bed and bathrooms, and guests are treated with an almost A+ amenities, an eat-all-you-can buffet breakfast (with at least 10-15 food to choose from), a super cold swimming pool which guests could use for free, and superb dining. It’s also at the end of Iznart St, Maria Clara so it’s a little far from the noise when you wish to relax before hitting the parties.

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Best of all, remember Iloilo City was not called City of Love for nothing. Best to discover your own story. Happy Dinagyang!

 

Roxas Boulevard was just across our hotel, so we didn't miss the chance to take a stroll and have our photos taken. I'm talking to someone special here. haha


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Travel #1.2014: Malacanang Palace, Manila

This year, I’d like to really lessen my spending on travels and lessen the pressure on my finances. I’m getting older so its high time that I save up double. =) But then again, I just can’t resist the wanderlust. Probably, I need to strike that balance.

My first travel this year (for free) was to the official symbol of political power in the Philippines. Malacanang Palace is the official residence of the president of the republic. Although they are not mandated to reside there, unlike the President of the United States who is obliged to stay in the White House, many of the past presidents chose to stay within its elitist halls. The palace started as a vacation house of a Spanish Governor General, and through time, has been converted to its present state. I wasn’t able to tour the entire place, for security purposes of course. I was privileged however to at least take a walk within the Kalayaan Hall, the original palace where important declarations and laws were signed by past presidents. Today, the second floor of this building houses some important artifacts, documents and pieces of history open to the general public for viewing. Take a look!

With Joco and Bolen standing outside the old governor-general's office. This was where President Marcos signed the declaration putting the entire nation under Martial Law. hoof.

With Joco and Bolen standing outside the old governor-general’s office. This was where President Marcos signed the declaration putting the entire nation under Martial Law. hoof.

Campaign poster of Garcia when he ran against Ferdinand Marcos.

Campaign poster of Garcia when he ran against Ferdinand Marcos.

Old campaign poster of then President Marcos when he ran for President for the first time

Old campaign poster of then President Marcos when he ran for President for the first time

portrait of president Marcos.

portrait of president Marcos.

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Portrait of the first president of the Philippine Commonwealth. Pres. Quezon died of TB. hehe I had to say that because I can very much relate to that sad story. =(

Portrait of the first president of the Philippine Commonwealth. Pres. Quezon died of TB. hehe I had to say that because I can very much relate to that sad story. =(

with Xyra and Joco

with Xyra and Joco

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This is the old table of President Quirino

This is the old table of President Quirino

The only camera we had was my phone haha too bad!

The only camera we had was my phone haha too bad!

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Kalayaan Hall Museum houses small and big statues such as these. They were given by heads of states to the President of the Philippines as symbol of state friendship and cooperation.

Kalayaan Hall Museum houses small and big statues such as these. They were given by heads of states to the President of the Philippines as symbol of state friendship and cooperation.

At the second floor is a hall full of books, paintings and replicas. They tell a colorful story of how our republic was born and how it becomes stronger every administration.

At the second floor is a hall full of books, paintings and replicas. They tell a colorful story of how our republic was born and how it becomes stronger every administration.

Stayed at Bayview Park and Hotel. It was for free because we were participants of the Salubungan workshop.

Stayed at Bayview Park and Hotel. It was for free because we were participants of the Salubungan workshop.

Roxas Boulevard was just across our hotel, so we didn't miss the chance to take a stroll and have our photos taken. I'm talking to someone special here. haha

Roxas Boulevard was just across our hotel, so we didn’t miss the chance to take a stroll and have our photos taken. I’m talking to someone special here. haha

With Xyra and Joco. Bolen always took the good photos haha

With Xyra and Joco. Bolen always took the good photos haha

I was able to reunite with my friends whom I met in Indonesia last October 2013. Yehey!

I was able to reunite with my friends whom I met in Indonesia last October 2013. Yehey!

Baked mussels! First time to taste this. hehe

Baked mussels! First time to taste this. hehe

We had ice cream!

We had ice cream!

So that’s my first.  Check out my next travel blog. =)

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2013 Travel Wrap

 

Been travelling a lot last year (and last year was two days ago haha). So here’s a recap of my travel history. And sorry for the rhymes. haha Twelves months of the year!

On the first month of the year, I went to Laguna with a ho-ho cheer, along with a bunch of mentees, and oh, some beer!

PROVINCE OF LAGUNA

During the tour of the province. Oh, I miss this!

During the tour of the province. Oh, I miss this!

POWER RANGERS! And I believe the white ranger is the leader? ehem haha

POWER RANGERS! And I believe the white ranger is the leader? ehem haha

While waiting for the rest to get dressed! Uh, hello, ladies, you so sexy! haha

While waiting for the rest to get dressed! Uh, hello, ladies, you so sexy! haha

Can you beat that? She danced as if nothing's on her head! Wow!

Can you beat that? She danced as if nothing’s on her head! Wow!

Heineken. haha purchased this at a local store and gave them to my students haha shhhhh

Heineken. haha purchased this at a local store and gave them to my students haha shhhhh

 

On the love month of the year, I went to Baler and surfed, oh dear! Yeah, I rode the waves and conquered  my fear!

BALER, AURORA

Arrived in Baler a day early. Was able to watch this show..

Arrived in Baler a day early. Was able to watch this show..

Met the governor of Aurora during the Aurora Night.

Met the governor of Aurora during the Aurora Night.

So sorry, that Baywatch body minus the tummy haha

So sorry, that Baywatch body minus the tummy haha

I had to practice. hehe

I had to practice. hehe

The oldest Balete tree at 400 years old! Aurora

The oldest Balete tree at 400 years old! Aurora

On the month of the grads, I was a happy lad. Went to the city of Naga for a little PagAsa, Pagbasa (love this rhyme hehe)

NAGA CITY

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On April fools, I went to a beach so cool! Showed my body like this..oh nevermind you might drool! Lol

SUBIC ISLAND, MATNOG, SORSOGON

Oops. sorry haha

Oops. sorry haha

At our house in Matnog, Sorsogon. We had to spend the night here so we can be early at the beach the next day.

At our house in Matnog, Sorsogon. We had to spend the night here so we can be early at the beach the next day.

One of the best adventures I had. Rode on top of the tricycle! You don't believe me? haha

One of the best adventures I had. Rode on top of the tricycle! You don’t believe me? haha

There. haha

There. haha

The beach is the best!

The beach is the best!

On the month of May, I was a jetsetter I would say! Travelled north and travelled south, hey hey hey!

CEBU CITY, ILOCOS NORTE, ILOCOS SUR, DONSOL, SORSOGON AND LUCBAN, QUEZON

Nalusuan Island Resort, Cebu

Nalusuan Island Resort, Cebu

On our way to the Island Resort

On our way to the Island Resort

Nalusuan Island Resort, Cebu City is a marine sanctuary.

Nalusuan Island Resort, Cebu City is a marine sanctuary.

Nalusuan Island Resort, Cebu

Nalusuan Island Resort, Cebu

Pahiyas Festival at Lucban, Quezon.

Pahiyas Festival at Lucban, Quezon.

Pahiyas Festival, Lucban, Quezon

Pahiyas Festival, Lucban, Quezon

Sand ATV at Paoay, Ilocos Norte

Sand ATV at Paoay, Ilocos Norte

Calle Crisologo, Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Calle Crisologo, Vigan, Ilocos Sur

At Donsol, Sorsogon during our coastal resources rapid assessment with Greenpeace and a team of biologists

At Donsol, Sorsogon during our coastal resources rapid assessment with Greenpeace and a team of biologists

The start of class was a lot of stress, but I got to travel twice nonetheless.

CORON, PALAWAN AND ZAMBOANGA CITY

Tried to find Nemo, but he wasn't there. haha

Tried to find Nemo, but he wasn’t there. haha

Kayangan Lake, the one usually printed into postcards! Yehey, been here!

Kayangan Lake, the one usually printed into postcards! Yehey, been here!

Relaxing!

Relaxing!

Fort Pilar, Zamboanga City

Fort Pilar, Zamboanga City

Fountain show at the Paseo de Mar, Zamboanga City

Fountain show at the Paseo de Mar, Zamboanga City

July was not the same. Needed to be on top of the game. Been to the turf of the academics, never the lame!

MANILA HOTEL, MANILA AND DONSOL, SORSOGON

Poster presenter at the 35th National Academy of Science and Technology. This is the biggest (by invitation only) gathering of scientists in the country! Thankful to have been given the chance to be here!

Poster presenter at the 35th National Academy of Science and Technology at the historic Manila Hotel. This is the biggest (by invitation only) gathering of scientists in the country! Thankful to have been given the chance to be here!

And its not just me. I had a reunion with my college classmate, also a presenter in the convention. We're growing old, but really successful. haha

And its not just me. I had a reunion with my college classmate, also a presenter in the convention. We’re growing old, but really successful. haha

Returned to Donsol to join the Save our Oceans campaign of Greenpeace

Returned to Donsol to join the Save our Oceans campaign of Greenpeace

 

Of course, always with the bunch of mentees!

Of course, always with the bunch of mentees!

 

My birthday month is special, of course. Been travelling a lot, should I buy a horse? (sorry, my mind’s not working haha)

BAGUIO CITY AND KIDAPAWAN CITY, NORTH COTABATO

After three years, I was able to visit Baguio City again. Cold!!!!

After three years, I was able to visit Baguio City again. Cold!!!!

Was able to have a mini reunion with a college friend in Baguio..

Was able to have a mini reunion with a college friend in Baguio..

The only photo I had when I was in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato was this. haha Mangosteen!

The only photo I had when I was in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato was this. haha Mangosteen!

September is the start of the months so cold. But the travelling never stops for the, uhm, spirit so bold? haha

PRIETO DIAZ, SORSOGON, TAGUIG CITY AND LAGUNA

The reason why my skin gets darker and darker is this. I spend a lot of time outdoors. PRieto Diaz, Sorsogon.

The reason why my skin gets darker and darker is this. I spend a lot of time outdoors. PRieto Diaz, Sorsogon.

Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon. Looking over my students. haha I love my job!

Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon. Looking over my students. haha I love my job!

Having breakfast at Eurotel, Makati City before the start of the International Youth DEvelopment Summit

Having breakfast at Eurotel, Makati City before the start of the International Youth DEvelopment Summit

haha had a little pictorial in the room. Was the host of the first day of the convention.

haha had a little pictorial in the room. Was the host of the first day of the convention.

With the gents at the convention center.

With the gents at the convention center.

Splash Island, Laguna!

Splash Island, Laguna!

October, ahh, the best of them all because I fell in love and I always have phone calls. hihi

PADANG, INDOENSIA, ISLAND PROVINCE OF GUIMARAS, ILOILO CITY AND BACOLOD CITY

The Filipino delegates to the International LBD in Indonesia.

The Filipino delegates to the International LBD in Indonesia.

The first Asian country I was able to visit was Indonesia for the International Youth Forum on Looking Beyond Disasters.

The first Asian country I was able to visit was Indonesia for the International Youth Forum on Looking Beyond Disasters.

During one of the dinners.

During one of the dinners.

Bintang, an Indonesian beer with less than 5% alcohol

Bintang, an Indonesian beer with less than 5% alcohol

Great beaches in the island province of Guimaras!

Great beaches in the island province of Guimaras!

The belfry in Iloilo City fronting the Jaro Church

The belfry in Iloilo City fronting the Jaro Church

The Mansion in Bacolod City

The Mansion in Bacolod City

Mascara Festival in Bacolod!

Mascara Festival in Bacolod!

November, the month of the zombie! But hey, we did a workshop on marine fungi! hehe

TRINITY COLLEGE AND TRINOMA, QUEZON CITY

My only photo of a fungus during the Marine Fungi workshop in Quezon City.. hehe

My only photo of a fungus during the Marine Fungi workshop in Quezon City.. hehe

I have no photos during the fungi workshop. haha So this would do. Reunion with my college best friends!

I have no photos during the fungi workshop. haha So this would do. Reunion with my college best friends!

Two of my college best friends are medical interns already!

Two of my college best friends are medical interns already!

And now it’s the last, but it’s a blast! Today’s the end, but I’m fulfilled, happy, and made a difference my friend!

CAMARINES SUR WATER SPORTS COMPLEX

Make a Difference Camp in CWC Camarines Sur with some of my mentees!

Make a Difference Camp in CWC Camarines Sur with some of my mentees!

The best way to enjoy the year!

The best way to enjoy the year!

And finally, had a great time wake boarding!

And finally, had a great time wake boarding!

That's me reading the script because I was the host during the second day fo the convention. hehe

That’s me reading the script because I was the host during the second day fo the convention. hehe

 

So there. Let’s travel! It’s fun! =)

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Lessons from Filipino Perya’s

The lights and sounds of happiness are not limited by what we do or where we came from. The crisp and nostalgic laughs will echo miles into our core. No amount of money can par the excitement and no form of reward can surpass the longing to immerse even more. Such is the culture of the perya.

Been to the local fair few hours ago. I lost some money, but went home happy, honey!

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Enjoying the local fair starts with allowing yourself to be immersed into the diversity of colors and forms. Not all angles are right but all of them give us perspective and leverage. Be lost in the multitude of strangers and emerged knowing yourself better!

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The rides at a local perya may seem unsafe for the faint-hearted. The place, perhaps, is not for the feeble. For the adventurous, riding them is a gamble between final destination and final fantasy. Besides, the perya is a subtle casino, and the wheels are as colorful, even better.

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Many are a number game, so is with life. Hitting the right one needs practice. Practicing is a loss today for a gain tomorrow. But when luck comes in early, there is no need for lost time. Never rely on it, though, because luck is a lady and they say ladies are hard to predict (have to say that depends hehe)

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At the end of the day, most can say that there is no space for two victors. History can only remember one and will almost often forget the rest. I am inclined to believe that that is how it was designed. That there can only be one, and that winner stands alone.

 

 

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Adventures of 2013

The reason why I get darker and darker and darker is that I love the outdoors! Aside from my love for beaches (check out my blog on that here http://atomsandstories.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/tale-of-four-beaches-and-a-hot-summer/ ) I just can’t say no to a good adventure, especially when you’re with good friends. This year, I had fun doing my very first surfing lesson in Baler, Aurora, sand surfing in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, a rough ATV ride in my home province of Albay, and finally wake boarding at Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex.

Full blog on Baler, Aurora here http://atomsandstories.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/surfing-at-baler-aurora/

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I really had to pose. If you were me, wouldn’t you? hehe

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This was my first attempt. I was able to ride the waves! Too bad no one captured that moment I stood on the surf board and shouted “OOOMMMMGGGGG I’m standing and surfing baby!”. Of course, I just shouted some curses (which I didn’t mean).

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My instructor (forgot his name) must be so patient. I tried surfing for thirty minutes and he just kept on pushing and pushing.. Bravo!

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Sand surfing is relatively easy. It’s like skateboarding without the wheels.

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If you mind the dirt on your face, you’ll overlook the genuine smile. So never mind the dirt, just feel the great experience!

 

Full blog on the ATV adventure here http://atomsandstories.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/albay-mabuhay/

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ATV. I want to do this again!

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Mayon Volcano at the background

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We had to stop at spots so we can take good photos and upload them on facebook later and tag everyone and say “you should try this blah blah blah”. haha

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Yeah, another of that pose. hehe

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Because we had wakeboarding for free, it didn’t matter how many time we lined up to try the sport. This was my first attempt.

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And yes! I did it! Oops, photo bomber right there!

So go ahead, make your own adventure! Don’t think about money coz the greatest adventures don’t need that. Great adventures are made by imagination, and that’s absolutely free! Don’t try postponing it because you might wake up with an arthritis or you just can’t get up for reasons beyond our imagination. See how imagination works! So go ahead, try. Adventures can lighten up your spirit, make you feel youthful and invigorate your soul. Remember, we only have today. But hey, you can start biking. hehe I love that simple melodramatic outdoor sport.

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You can start with biking. Go around your neighborhood. You might be amazed by how much you’ll find out about your neighbors. Not really the gossips, although that’ll be interesting too hehe

Have a fun-filled adventure everyone!

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Five Things I/We Hope Not to Tell Myself/Ourselves in 2014

I’m not an expert when it comes to giving advises but I have learned some things which I wish to share to everyone. So these are five things I hope not to tell myself next year, which I hope you too.

1. I’ll Do It Tomorrow. We have a lot of time, anyway.

No, you don’t. The common misnomer of a young person is we have all the time in the world. That’s not true. We all have uniform twenty four hours a day, and we can’t save any, whether we spend it or not. We can only manage our time to get things done most efficiently. Tomorrow, which I think does not exist, might be too late to do things you are passionate about. We might miss the next big promotion and advancement in our careers, or the next cheap flight to who-knows-where. The thing is, do it today. Prioritize. We don’t have time. We only have strategies to shake off those lazy buns.

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2. I have no time to choose, so this will do.

So, you may argue with me on this but telling yourself “this is okay” isn’t a really nice thing because, I think, its mediocre. Important things need planning. The big events in your life, especially those that come once, should have the least mistakes. There aren’t take two’s or if there were, it would be hard to re-do. So what about a planner/ journal/ diary? =) And what about energizing yourself with some anti – stress tabs or so…

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3. No one loves me.

hahaha shut up! We all have at least one person who loves us and that’s you. So when you think no one loves you, you might wanna ask yourself: “do I love myself?”. If you’re unsure, introspect. But trust me, your family loves you, your bestfriend, boyfriend or girlfriend. There might be a stranger who stalks you (creepy) and loves you unconditionally.

4. I’ll exercise tomorrow.

Here’s a fact: tomorrow never comes. We deal with today. Whatever we do today is all we have. True, just the word keeps laziness alive in our system. Making simple exercise a habit kills the laziness. If you plan to do a gym workout, a gym buddy might give you better chances of doing it regularly. I’m not a fan of exercising myself, so let’s do this together, shall we? =)

5. I’ll take the photo instead. I’m not prepared to be photographed.

Haha coming from a photophilic like me, shying away from cameras is akin to blurring the memories of people of you. Every picture will bring back little pieces of who you are, how you talk, dress, move, and how you’ve changed – for the better or worse (of course we always opt for the better). So go on, whatever you’re wearing (as long as its decent, but sometimes its ok if it’s called for, hehe or whatever, you decide coz you know best) join the photo sessions. You’ll be amazed by how much you have changed. And you have photos to upload on Throwback Thursdays! hehe

before and after through the years haha throwback2

So there goes, have fun!

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