It’s the first day of June. Time sure flies so fast. Summer vacation for most students ends today as classes open tomorrow. Summer, my most favorite time of the year, will soon be over. 😦
This year’s summer had been a very memorable one. I got to meet my adorable niece Emma for the first time! I made it a point to take some time off from work to spend quality time with my family, especially because my cousins from Canada came home for a vacation.
I love going home to the province, even on short vacations, because I get the chance to watch the sun go down everyday at the beach near our house. I could just sit there on the shore or take a dip in the inviting water to cool down the sweltering heat of the summer sun until it had finally set. But mostly, I love going home because I miss home cooked meals and the comfort of being with my family.
Even at work, the past two months had been quite busy. I was mostly out on fieldwork gathering stories, capturing photos, facilitating workshops, meeting people, organizing events. I rode motorbikes, walked in the sugarcane farms under the scorching heat of the sun, and traveled from one island to the next. I’m not complaining. I love my work, actually. Because at the end of the day, in the few hours before I head home to Manila, I get to see the beautiful sights in the area.
As I was browsing through my summer photos, trying to relish the fun memories, I realized I had on this one top in a lot of photos! Yikes, I need some serious wardrobe change! I badly need to buy some pretty beach dresses online. And new swim wear, too (maybe something that could hide my growing curves). Besides, summer may be over but it’s always good to be ready with the outfit. There’s so much picture perfect places waiting to be explored all year round.
Anyway, check out these pictures to see what kept me busy this summer:
Thank you, summer, for the great memories and the darkened skin! Til next year.
My toes tingled as I dipped it into the chilly water. I hesitated for a bit but my excitement persisted. The sea was relatively calm that day compared to the previous days. I heard a splash a few meters away from where I stood and I saw my friend Jay already in the water. I waded forward slowly, resisting the urge to run back to the warm embrace of the white sand covering the shore. Behind me, my friend Rocky suggested I dive in the water just before he did so.
The sun was a few minutes shy from kissing the horizon. I took a deep breath and plunged into the cold water. I swam and swam thinking I needed to produce energy to keep myself warm. After a couple of minutes, I was tired and breathless but I felt warm. I closed my eyes, laid on my back, spread my arms wide and floated. As soon as my heartbeat calmed down, I opened my eyes and saw the dark blue sky above. A faint orange glow decorated my peripheral vision and I knew that the sun has finally set. A star slowly came into view above the horizon where the sun had set. I swam towards the shore until I could stand upright and only my head was out of the water. I stood there silently, hypnotized by the sight before me. The sea gleamed of iridescence, an evidence left behind by fisher folks that have gone out to sea. Before the night claimed the sky, I got out of the water, took a few pictures of the last traces of the New Year’s Day sun and headed home.
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:
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. 🙂
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
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.
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.
Check out these photos of our Sea Turtle releasing experience:
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.
- Watch the miraculous journey of infant sea turtles as these… (thekidshouldseethis.com)
- Saving sea turtles from extinction (sciencealert.com.au)
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.
Yesterday was a bright and sunny day. Before dusk, I took my dad’s bike and rode to the beach near our old family house. I wanted to sit on the sandy shore while I waited for the sun to set, just like I used to when I was younger. The sunset yesterday was worth the wait. It was really beautiful. Aside from that, I also got to see fishermen coming home from a long day at sea, with their families and relatives eager to see the day’s catch.
Today, I woke up to the sound of the rain softly falling down on our roof. I look out my window and see dark gray clouds hovering over our town. I still hope I’d get to see the sun before I leave for the city tonight.
Late last year, I went on a trip to Pangasinan with friends. I already posted about our HUNDRED ISLANDS tour but I haven’t been able to share about our second destination – Bolinao. So, here are my favorite shots from our weekend getaway in the beautiful town of Bolinao.
We weren’t able to fully explore the tourist sites in Bolinao but if you’re planning to go there, check out this site – THINGS TO DO IN BOLINAO
During one of my recent trips to my province, Ilocos Norte, my friend Rocky and I decided, out of the blue, to visit Kapurpurawan White Rock Formation in Burgos, about 30 minutes away from my hometown Pagudpud. The reason why we both really wanted to go there was simple – we thought it was weird that we haven’t been there when everyone else we know had been. I, for one, found it embarrassing when my Manila friends asked me how it looked like and I didn’t really know what to tell them. Before the trip, I only saw it from photos of friends who’ve gone there. Armed with the determination (and my iPhone) to finally see Kapurpurawan, we rode in Rocky’s motorbike to Burgos at 10 in the morning, not minding the uncomfortable heat of the sun.
At 12NN, we were both drenched in sweat when we got back to the jump-off point but I felt so glad that we pushed through with our unplanned trip to Kapurpurawan. It was an adventure like no other, and I was amazed with what I saw.
I’m happy that there aren’t any hotels or resorts or restaurants in the area yet. Although there are vendors at the jump-off point and one along the trail, I just wish they’d remain at that number. Too many vendors mean food and plastics and garbage. I hope they can maintain the pristine-ness of the place.
Now, I can finally confidently describe how beautiful the White Rock Formation is to anyone who’ll ask me. On our way home, I closed my eyes and offered my face to the wind and sun and thanked God for a wonderful day.
Check out the sceneries that we saw on our way home:
I have a LOVE-HATE relationship with rain.
I love it when it rains because it makes me want to snuggle and sleep.
I hate when it rains on weekdays or schooldays because I’d get so sleepy and lazy at work or in class.
I love how rain cools down the hot weather in my city, especially during summer.
I hate it when it rains just as I’m about to head out somewhere or when I’m about to go home because I hate wet clothes clinging to my skin and commuting is particularly hard in Metro Manila when it’s raining.
I love the sound of the raindrops pouring down on roofs and pavements.
I hate it when the rain comes with loud thunder and lighting.
I love it when it rains at night because I don’t have to use the AC or the fan (less electrical consumption = more savings).
I hate it when it rains incessantly that even the water from the faucet and shower gets cold (I don’t like taking a bath with chilly water. Brrr!)
I love the rain because it brings back good memories from my childhood – bathing in the rain my friends and cousins, playing board games, card games or hide and seek inside our old family house, and many many wonderful memories.
When I was in high school, I kept a journal describing in detail the highlights of my teenage years. I was also fond of writing poems and essays back then. When I go home tomorrow night, I’m gonna try to look for those journals and notebooks and post some of my writings here. I’m expecting it would be filled with corny, cheesy thoughts but it would be fun to just remember those days. I just hope they’re still in the memorabilia boxes in my room.
It’s easy to read children’s emotions. What do you think was going on in this kid’s head?
(Sorry, photo’s a bit unfocused. I was kinda excited to capture this kid’s facial expression.)
I’d like to thank LyndaMichele for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award! I am glad that you find my blog “informative, fun, and inspiring”. You should go check out her blog, too. I love how she captures the beauty of nature and the things around her through photography.
Here are the guidelines for accepting this award:
1.Link back to the blogger who nominated you. 2.Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere. 3.Tell them 7 facts about yourself. 4.Nominate 15 other blogs you like for this award. 5.Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated.
So, in accordance to the rules of the award, here are 7 facts about myself (this is the hardest part!):
1. I grew up in the northwestern most town of the Philippines – Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.
2. I am afraid of snakes!
3. I love photography.
4. I love the beach.
5. I want to learn how to surf and dive.
6. I am currently reading A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin.
7. My greatest dream is to be a pilot.
Here are my nominees:
9. Second Lunch
10. California Pixie
12. The Ego Tripper