Monthly Archives: February 2013

Malaysia, Truly Asia

Early this year, I went to Malaysia alone – not that I wanted to be alone, but my friend who was supposed to be on the trip with me had to cancel because of unforeseen circumstances. I didn’t want to waste the opportunity so I still pushed through with the trip. Anyway, a former officemate who worked in Kuala Lumpur offered to be my tour guide during my stay there. (Thank you, Ochie, for being such a great host!)

Here are some photos from my trip:

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I loved the food and architecture in Malaysia! I didn’t have enough time to visit all the famous tourist spots but someday I will go back and explore the countryside, the islands and the beautiful beaches.

Kota Kinabalu, I will see you in May. 🙂

Love,

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Smile, No Matter What

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~ Leo Buscaglia

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Her heartwarming smile greeted us as we made our way through the row of little huts along the village’s main road. It was almost midday and the sun was blisteringly hot in that almost arid place. It was so hot but she didn’t mind. She just flashed the most sincere smile I have ever seen. It was a smile that had the potential to move the hearts of anyone who cared to notice.

That bright smile shook my lethargic heart. She, whose future was uncertain because of intergenerational poverty, looked so happy while I, with so many choices and opportunities, felt so troubled. It amazed me how she could still smile when her stomach was empty and her tiny feet were bare and full of scratches. All throughout the day I saw her running around and playing with a  younger girl and her smile rarely left her tiny face. Each time I saw her, I was reminded that I had no right to complain about how hot it was or how my feet ached. I felt ashamed that I, who had so much, still whined about petty things. Her innocent smile shamed me.

I remember the quote that was written in a coffee mug I bought a few years back. It said, “Happiness is not in things, it is in us.” May the smile of this little girl always remind you and me to look for happiness not in material things but in real, genuine relationships.

I pray that this child will grow up well and make a positive mark on this world. I pray that God will usher in good people to help her and the rest of the children in their village be provided with better capacities and opportunities. I hope that she won’t ever forget to smile even in the face of difficulties in life. God bless you, dearest child.

Sea Turtles

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to visit Cavite’s Marine Turtle Hatchery in Labac, Naic. I was thrilled when Mr. Antiojo, the project leader, told us that there was a batch of newly hatched sea turtles waiting to be released to the sea. Thoughts of Crush and Squirt, the super cool father-son sea turtle tandem from Finding Nemo, came to mind and got me excited some more.

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Check out these photos of our Sea Turtle releasing experience:

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It is said that in extreme cases, female sea turtles come back to the beach where they were hatched. I hope at least one of the hundreds of sea turtles released at the Labac Hatchery would come back one day and lay their eggs there. As I watched the little sea turtle crawl its way to sea, I prayed that it would live long and not get eaten by a marine predator or get caught one day by a fisherman only to be eaten or be butchered for its shell.

Crush: Okay. Squirt here will now give you a rundown of proper exiting technique. 
Squirt: Good afternoon. We’re gonna have a great jump today. Okay, first crank a hard cutback as you hit the wall. There’s a screaming bottom curve, so watch out. Remember: rip it, roll it, and punch it. 

Planting Seeds of Hope

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Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders. – Henry David Thoreau

Keep Calm and Take a Break

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Magalawa Island, Palauig, Zambales

The quiet sea always has that calming effect on me. I know that it isn’t always like that, that there are days when the wind is strong and the waves are raging. Yet, I know that each storm will eventually come to pass and the sea will become still again. Despite knowing that toxic days are ahead, I somehow feel at peace knowing that everything will be alright. Thank God for the short but wonderful break last weekend. It helped clear my mind and calm my anxious heart.

http://www.magalawaislandresort.com

Standstill

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Disappointments. Stagnation. Mediocrity. These three words pretty much characterize my life at the moment. My pride is having a hard time accepting this but it has no other choice. It worries me that I, who dreamt big dreams and had grand plans, would let my life reach this point without making a bold move to change the course of things even when I had the chance to. I fear that I have changed so much, sadly, not for the better. Day after day, I disappoint myself with mediocre ideas, plans and outputs. At night when I wait for sleep to take over my anxieties, I wonder what happened to the person I thought I was and wanted to be.

As I slowly come to terms with my present self, I cannot help but feel anxious of the seemingly bleak future ahead. I know it’s time to step out of this debilitating state and rise up to new challenges. Yet, I feel the familar string pulling me back inside that already comfortable hole. It’s a viscious cycle that’s been eating up the remaining hope in me. Everyday is a struggle to break free and it’s tiring and frustrating. I’m tired of disappointing myself over and over again. I’m tired of being a mediocre. I’m tired of being the dispassionate person I’ve become. I am desperate for change. But where do I start?

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