Motivational

The Bluebird of Happiness (P.2)

A continuation to my previous blog post about my current read:

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin.


WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO DO?

I spent countless days wondering why my life is going. My doctor couldn’t answer life’s purpose for me, nor can a Sunday Church Service magically tell me that. I figured only I could, and the Happiness Project reiterates that there is a difference between people who LOVE their work and people who are simply hardworking. People who actually, genuinely, sincerely love their work tend to pour more enthusiasm and intensity into what they do.

The author has helped me find what I love to do by a simple question: What do you do on your spare time? What did you do enjoy doing when you were younger?

I paused to think for a bit. What is fun for ME?

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1. I love, love, love spending a quiet time alone at a coffee shop with good music and the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee wafting through the air. Reading a good book, writing down my thoughts on old-fashioned paper and reflecting about life. This is when I feel most inspired – a really big sort of an “I-can-change-the-world” kind of inspired.

2. It fills me with a sense of warmth when I spend time with my pets. I have had Sushi, a sweet, adventure-seeking Maltipoo (Maltese-Poodle), for a year and a half now; and I believed it was about time for another source of joy. I bought Summer the kitten (at four months, she’s the sweetest little thing. A British Shorthair cat breed, sold to me without papers, but it doesn’t matter because I loved her the moment I saw her). Knowing that you have a purpose in something-someone else’s life. Feeding them, giving them lots of love and care, it really does help boost my mood when they give back love in return. By this I mean lots of furry cuddles, I love it!

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Here’s little Summer, the newest addition to our family!

3. On my spare time, I enjoy window shopping,

29663913_10160308595705525_1910296982_n.jpgor in this generation, online window-shopping (what’s that called?). I am thrilled when I see unique new things on the market. I also happen to have a knack at remembering item prices, making it easy for me to compare the price of one item from one store to another.

4. When I was younger, I don’t remember doing anything else apart from drawing, really. I draw during class, I draw at home, I doodle during Sunday Service, I draw through meetings. That’s pretty much what defines me and what I truly enjoy.

5. TRAVEL! I love it. I’ve been a junior jet setter since I was three years old. I love seeing new places and it fills me with overwhelming joy when I see new places, discover new cultures and indulge in unfamiliar dishes all over the world.

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It took me these three bullet points before I realised that I am already exactly where I should be. At BARKINGHAM PET GROOMING SALON,  I work day in and day out with dogs, I’m surrounded by people of similar interests, and colleagues who I now consider as my family. I am able to use my purchasing “ability” for the shop, and by thinking out of the box (and hating to see the shop become JUST an ordinary grooming salon), I put up a cafe to serve the waiting customers.

Pets, friends and coffee. Barkingham, I realize, is my bluebird of happiness.

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Here’s a quick tour through the shop, in case you’ve never been here yet. (Oh, please do come by with your pets, I’d love to meet you guys!)

EMBRACE CHANGE.

I’m not one fond of a change when it comes to things I’m already used to, such as waking up at 7:30am in the morning, eating only after I’ve fed Sushi, things like that. Rubin speaks of embracing change in terms of opening yourself to try new things. So I’ve made a list of my own to live by this year, even just to TRY.

  1. TRY BOXING (AGAIN) – I’ve tried this and quitted on my second day a few years back because of the intense post-work out body aches. Maybe with a new set of goals I can do this with purpose this time (and not quit, hopefully).
  2. TAKE MORE PHOTOS – Sometimes they’re all we’ve got at the end of the day. It’s a way to preserve not just the memories, but the feelings associated with these keepsakes. Here are a couple of my travel photos, I’m making a mental note to have these developed as soon as possible. Alaska, Greece and Spain have been my favourites so far.
  3.  

    PLAN A PARTY – I’ve  been giving this some thought because I’m not that all fond of planning my own party or much less being in a room full of people. The author mentions that it increases one’s happiness to be around people, and rekindle friendships and build stronger ties. So I’ll add this to the list as well, and plan a double party (for Sushi and Me) soon. Part of the source of happiness for this would come from the planning, and then half would be the actual event itself. I’m half excited and half scared, fingers crossed!

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GROW EACH DAY.

At the end of it all, GROWTH = HAPPINESS. During this time of reflection I realise, how much of a different person I am now than I was three years ago. The twenty-two year old me would be afraid to speak my mind, would be afraid to take chances and would fall into the guilt-trap when I happen to say “NO”. Now, I say “NO” with enough conviction, and in my own way, tread the path I want. It’s one thing to be spoiled, and a whole different thing to be brave enough to lead the life you choose. “You are one choice away from a different life”, this much is true.

I’ve learned to live independentIy, as costly as it might have been. I’ve learned to walk away from a group when I don’t belong.

Having been brought up in a family that communicates very little, I never learned to speak my mind or to express any sadness, anger or hurt. I’ve always kept to myself, my thoughts, my opinions and my desires until it turned me into a shrivelled shell of a person. It never occurred to me how important it is to step out of the shadows and be heard. Therapy has played its part in my growth, it has taught me to be more open, to allow the past to be the past. Amidst my recovery, it has also been my conscious decision to find ways to grow.

On my twenty-fifth year, I finally learned to express myself.  I cry when I need to let out some stored-up emotions. I’ve learned to get angry, likewise I have learned to let go.

 

A tree doesn’t grow through sunlight alone, it also needs plenty of air and water to flourish and become one that gives oxygen, fruit and shade to the people around it. Likewise, there are many ways to grow, through friendships, through books, through experience and so much more. Allow these things to help you grow, allow life to bring you to the best you can be.

Constantly be ready for change, be ready for growth but always, always remain true to who you are. Even if you’re like myself, a complicated mess of things. 😉

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XO,

PEARL

 

 

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Motivational

The Bluebird of Happiness (P.1)

With an all time high and newly energised by Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, I started this morning with a feeling of newness.

I strolled through a park to a nearby Starbucks with spring through every step, the cold wind brushing my cheeks and the warm sunlight on my skin at 7am in the morning. Nothing came close to this feeling of freedom and contentment, well, not for a while now at least. For some reason I felt optimistic, more than I’ve ever been since January this year. I was excited for this day, I was excited to share all that I’ve learned from the book so far, and how it has turned my life around.

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I’ve often seen this little blue book at the bookstores. Wondering with interest as to why had always been one on the best-sellers list. I never bothered to pick up the book, thinking it would be a nasty, preachy, wordy, self-help book. There came a point in my life though, when I wanted answers, I was looking for directions in this ever-so chaotic world, so one day I grabbed it and purchased it straight away. I didn’t regret a single penny that I spent on the book that day.

The Happiness Project, has gives a wholistic view of how life could change for the better, with one’s own conscious choices and decisions to do so, of course. It doesn’t work like a preachy Sunday sermon or a lengthy book going around in circles. Rubin’s book was straight to the point, and very down-to-earth. There’s a kind of practicality in it that makes us realise what we’re missing and what we could do better; as a friend, a spouse, a family member, and a whole person generally.

I lie in bed on most days, wondering how my life has ended up going around in circles. Wake up, work, eat, sleep, repeat. It didn’t sound like much, and I knew there should be more to life than such a routine. I’m sure we can all agree that we are destined for more than to live a life dictated by society, family, traditions and status quo. I wanted more, and that’s why I purchased The Happiness Project. I was hoping for a roadmap, no, a treasure map. True enough, halfway through it I can feel my spirits lifting, as my mind grasped the fact that I was never alone in the search for true happiness. Rubin answers the life questions we were all too afraid to ask. In truth, this book is a wake-up call, an invisible force to urge us all to get up, get out and be YOU.

I’ve always asked myself why I feel stuck on the first step of the ladder, never going another step higher as the days go by. Why am I stuck in this vicious cycle? Why didn’t I feel any progress?

The Happiness Project highlights baby steps we all can do to find ourselves. As “finding ourselves” is such a broad incomprehensible goal, Rubin lays it out for us by chapter, with achievable goals and rewarding results.

Here are the points that have changed my life today.

 

TOSS, RESTORE, ORGANIZE.

Declutter. It has hardly come to my attention -until just now, that each day I open my cabinet, there is a slight nagging at the back of my mind that I should wear that blouse I bought two years ago. Going through that everyday cause a kind of guilt that I needed less of in my life. That’s why Rubin went straight to cleaning out her closet, and she felt free of that tiny shopping-guilt.

I happen to love this tradition I call “Spring Cleaning” even though Spring isn’t a thing here in the Philippines. It’s that day of the year when I go thorough all the things in my 10×10 sqm room and decide if it’s a keep or a toss. I went straight to the task, removing everything from my shelves, tables and cabinets, and deciding which one was worth keeping.

We, girls often have this habit of keeping clothes-we- actually-wear, clothes-we-hope-to-wear, and clothes-we-won’t-wear. I opened my cabinet to see all the impulse-buys I’ve made over the past years. Seeing that I had tons of clothes I just kept for the sake of it did give me that guilt, that feeling that I need to wear it soon-just because. Eventually, I mustered up the strength to finally let go. I was surprised myself when I ended up with two extra-large garbage bags full of items and clothes that I didn’t really need, at the end of the day, I decided to give them to charity.

COLLECT THINGS.

HOARDING 101. My room has always been the only place where I can express myself. I can’t quite distinguish if it’s a good clutter or a bad clutter. Anyway, I’m happy the way it is, and it very well defines ME. A mix of artistic, adventurous and quirky.

Pinned to my wall are photos from my travels, a large world map to exude my sense of adventure, polaroids of my dog – Sushi, postcards from all of the places and countries I’ve visited (a colourful mishmash of cards I hand-picked from Greece, Spain, Tokyo, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, San Francisco, Paris, and more).

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I am a fond collector of miniatures, figurines an memorabilia from various countries. Photos are a great way to remember not just the adventure, but the feelings associated with them. I kept a postcard from our recent cruise to Korea, and I couldn’t forget the nostalgia, the sense of comfort and enjoyment it brought me up to this day.

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REMEMBER LOVE.

“THERE IS NO LOVE, ONLY PROOFS OF LOVE” (P. Reverdy) It’s often the little things we fail to notice, yet it’s the little things that matter. They say that expectation is often the poison of relationships. As a girlfriend I admit that I occasionally fall into the trap of expecting much from my significant other: expecting him to give me a ride home, or writing love letters in reply to the ones I wrote him (a year ago). Sometimes people love differently, and show it in their own way. I accept him for being that guy who shows his love silently, simply and yet genuinely true.

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An illustration of love I drew quite a number of years ago.

As a big sister to two (annoying, smart, not-so-little) brothers, I do miss those summer days when we would stay in and do simple arts and crafts together while the dogs lay asleep beside us. Those little moments won’t happen again, those memories shall remain memories. Some say we never go through the same road twice, on the contrary one writer exclaims, we never go through the same road once. At one point we will always be a different person, at a different place in life, at a different scenario. “The days are long and the years are short” I will get out of my way now to say that I do miss those days. I hadn’t realised how much those meant until now that they’re too old or too far away to spend time together as a complete family again.

BE YOU.

It struck me how simple yet profound this principle is. My generation and the ones to come, (admittedly I am also a victim to this) have a low self-esteem because of the standards set by others; whether it be the social media, movies, peers or family. Furthermore, the number of “LIKES”, “COMMENTS” or “SHARES” do NOT dictate who your worth. The only person who can define you, is you. Rubin mentions a quote by Erasmus: “The chief happiness of a man is to be what he is..”

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I admit I’ve always been ashamed of who I am, for being that finance major who never had a inkling about math, for being an introverted wreck, for the inability to express my emotions vocally since childhood and the fact that I am an emotionally unstable person (currently under therapy). It’s hard to love a person like myself, I have accepted this fact since day 1, and I’m surprised there are a handful of people who have provided me with the kind of love I’ve never had nor deserved.

Rubin was right about this: “People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think they do” I have long been afraid of gatherings, and opt out of group events because of the fear of being different. I’m afraid to be judged, to be noticed and then be the subject of gossip. I learned it the hard way, that you can never please anyone, no matter how what kind of wallflower you are. They’ll notice you anyway, gossip about you anyway, make up stories too. If you’re lucky, they won’t notice you at all. In the end their opinions about you don’t make up your identity, that’s your job, not theirs.

I am often plagued by my inner dialogues such as: “Go there and mingle! You need to get out there!”, “But I don’t know what to say!”, “Find a common interest and get to it!”; thus leading to lower self esteem when I don’t do what my mind tells me to because I personally enjoy being on my own. The Happiness Project reinstates my stand that you don’t have to have the same interests as others, you don’t have to go with the flow if it isn’t YOU. I, for example enjoy the company of dogs more than people for the reason that I am fascinated that they have a language heard only by those who listen well enough.

 

 

While on the other hand there are people, like my boyfriend who can mingle with a crowd like it’s no big deal! Some people can work for years in a closed-office environment, while it would drive me nuts to sit in one place for hours. Everyone is different, and it changed my life when I began to accept that I don’t have to be like everyone else, I don’t have to enjoy what others enjoy, but be at peace being ME.

“In many ways I wish I were different…” but I have learned to “embrace what IS”.

29829236_10160308098305525_783679629_oWe are all unique individuals, beautiful and interesting in our own way. The key to happiness is to accept oneself, and be free of the standards posed by society. That’s true freedom, that’s true happiness.


I’ve divided my blog post into two sections, partly because it’s quite long, and partly because I can’t wait to have this post up right now and share Rubin’s goldmine of wisdom in this book. (THE HAPPINESS PROJECT)

I’ll be working on the second part soon!

 

XO,

PEARL

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Motivational

The Reality

I feel the “Christmas Blues” as December draws nearer.

Since August this 2017, it’s been liberating to be able to freely post and share to the world the reality and familiar feeling of depression. It’s more than a “feeling”, more than a “disease”, it’s an invisible monster that needs to be battled tirelessly on a daily basis. Although my Instagram follower count has dwindled and the changes in life has become more evident since then, I have never felt freer to take off the mask and finally be myself.

For people suffering the same, it’s often described like a dark cloud waiting to come at the most unexpected time: like darkness without the dawn and thunderstorms without warning.

It’s not rainbows and butterflies when one deals with such demons, waking up seems harder, sometimes even eating becomes a chore. Ever since I began treatment last August though, the could has lifted a little. Days have become a little brighter. Sunlight comes through once in a while, and there are good days when I have the energy to draw once again.

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This is one of my favorite photos from our recent trip to Tagaytay. It sums my life up in one photo. I love how the sun shines brightly through the clouds and the horizon beyond is infinitely beautiful.

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My TRAVEL ESSENTIALS: Canon EOS M3, Moleskine and fineliners (inside my Punchdrunk Panda Organizer)


Although life isn’t getting easier, it takes a lot of hard work and support from loved ones to get me through each day. Travelling has helped me get things off my mind temporarily, too. With lots of sights, sound and culture to be immersed in, I realized that instead of imploding with all the thoughts of self doubt, self blame and self harm, there is more to life than “ourselves”.

Hong Kong was a beautiful place, similar to the hustle and bustle of the city life here in Manila. But throughout our brief stay, I saw that I was being too nearsighted, that the world is enormous, that there is more to life than oneself. Overcoming depression is about finding YOURSELF (Overrated little quote I agree). But in between my therapy schedules and regular life, it took me a while to find what makes me happy to be alive. I’m still on the pursuit of finding that “something” but little by little, life isn’t as bad as I thought it was.

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City Life is Coffee Life

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I learned to live one day at a time, worrying less (I need to work on that), stressing less, and being braver in facing life’s challenges.

I hope and pray that as the days go by, I’ll find what makes me fly.

“We’ve all got wings, all we have to do is fly”.

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Cheers to brighter days ahead.

XO,

Pearl

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Motivational

Stationery Haul-idays!

 

Christmas is in the air! What better way to celebrate the holidays than with (more than) a room-full of colors? I was giddy with delight as I stepped into the SM Stationery section was bursting with delightful colors!

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PRO TIP for Stationery Addicts like myself:

  1. DO bring a basket. If you’re a hoarder and a rainbow fanatic like me, a double decker trolley would be much recommended.
  2. DO NOT set a budget. Hey, it’s Christmas! The perfect time to splurge as a way to say “Thank You” to the people who have made your 2017 extra special. (And of course you can get yourself a little something along the way, too. You deserve it, girl! ) *wink*

I was eyeing these black and white tote bags. These would make perfect personalized gifts for those closest to your heart. Just grab a set of fabric paint or fabric markers and you’re all set to make your gift, a masterpiece from the heart.

Ohhh those colors. I had to resist grabbing all those candy-colored wall plaques. The inspirational ones were among my top picks. I’ll post the rest of my haul on Instagram, check it out here: LITTLE GIRL WANDERS

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Did I just see a unicorn? I’ve been obsessing over lights since I moved down from my attic-studio. I spent half of my moolah mostly on home decor recently (much to my wallet’s regret). These unicorn lights are the more affordable version, compared to those I’ve seen from Typo Shop. It’s pretty much the same thing and costs less, so why not?

SM Stationery prides itself for having a little something for everyone, check out the latest stocking-stuffers they have for everyone!

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Here’s my recent haul from the stationery section. My favorite is the rub-on sticker that says “Collect Moments Not Things” and I plan to stick it somewhere in my room! The toiletry kit and travel pillow are such cuties, perfect for my upcoming December travels, more on this soon!

I was never fond of cats, and a cat-lover was the last thing I thought I’d be. But I guess it just takes one cat to steal your heart: I rescued a stray kitten from the streets one day and my life was never the same again. That’s why I just had to get my hands on this pink kitty-cat bag – because it’s pink, too- duh! Oh, I absolutely love a pastel-themed Christmas! Don’t you? 🙂 What are your Christmas gift ideas? Show me your Pastel Christmas hauls and be sure to tag me at @littlegirlwanders!

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Have a merry, merry Christmas shopping! 🙂

XO,

Pearl

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Motivational

About Coffee and the South

We all need a break once in a while. Sushi here has been itching for some time out of the hustle and bustle of busy-‘ol Manila. The road trip was a quick one as we drove steadily down to Alabang early in the morning. Here we are hanging out at Starbucks for breakfast with my baby girl. She loved the cold Greek Yogurt cup they serve!

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If you want my honest opinion on their Americano though, I’d say McDonald’s is way better – by a lot. I’m not too fond of Starbucks when it comes to coffee, as it seems too diluted for my taste.

The best places for coffee for me (whose budget isn’t a far stretch):

  1. Costa Coffee and Seattle’s Best. They make their coffee just right, with the blend of Espresso and milk right on fleek.
  2. McDonalds (perfect for those who are on a budget and fond of straight black coffee).
  3. Barkingham Pet Cafe (@barkinghampetcafe) – of course, where I can bring Sushi along with no fuss. No skimping on the espresso right here, I’ll tell you the beans are the secret. (Will blog about this soon!)
  4. Afters Espresso and Desserts. They take their coffee business seriously.
  5. Craft Coffee Revolution. Always the first in mind when it comes to the entire beans to brew process. They roast, brew and serve the best of the best.
  6. St. Marc. Well, not the best but the Vietnamese Coffee kept me up til sunrise.

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On a hot day, thankfully Evia Lifestyle Center was (seemingly) open-air, yet air-conditioned. Lovely, lovely place to survive the Philippine heatwave, especially for the pets.

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Evia was certainly a place perfect for lovers of all things fun and whimsical like myself. From the brightly colored buildings to the amazing display of flowers in Happy Magnolia and the fantastical ambiance of Another Story; Evia is certainly a must-visit. It is a bit far from Manila, with a one-and-a-half hour journey, but it’s definitely worth it for pet-owners seeking for an indoorsy-outdoorsy venue (Visit Evia and you’ll get what I mean).


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Sushi loved the mini Carrot Cupcakes from The Cheesecake Fairy! They’re tiny little nuggets of joy for this little one. (I checked the ingredients, they said it contains no nuts, no raisins, just carrot, egg and flour.)


Where else have you and your furry friend been to? Share your experience with us and sign up on our newsletter below to win PAW-some prizes from the BarkinghamPH!

SIGN UP HERE: BARKINGHAM ROYALTY VIP

Love lots,

Sushi x Pearl

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Motivational

16 Signs You’re Not Actually An Introvert, You’re A Highly Sensitive Extrovert

By : Brianna Wiest


As everyone is both introverted and extroverted (we identify with the one we prefer more) it can be hard to weed through the nuances of what each of them mean. This is never as true as with someone who is a HSP, or a Highly Sensitive Person. HSPs are identified as being more emotionally intelligent, intuitive, creative and sensitive to stimuli than the average person. When these traits are combined with extroversion, they can create the illusion of introversion. It’s a tricky but important distinction to make, because the better you know yourself, the more you can build your life to fit who you really are.

1. You don’t actually mind being around other people, you just prefer to be around some more than others. Being around the wrong people exhausts you; being around the right ones makes you laugh a lot and feel understood.

2. You have one or two close friends who you see or speak to regularly. If you have one best friend you see every day, or a significant other who you love to be around as much as possible, the sheer quantity of time you spend around others might make you more extroverted than you think.

3. You want to be liked by everyone. This sounds unflattering, but is a common human desire. A deep longing to be loved or admired by many people often correlates to social anxiety or a fear of being unloved or disliked, especially in people who prefer to feel connected to others.

4. You love being in love. HSPs are true romantics (and are usually pretty sexual). This is because they are so attuned to their emotions; being in love is a true high for them. Of course, introverts can also love being in love, but extroverts tend to be more outwardly expressive of it.

5. If you take an honest look at your emotional patterns when you’re alone vs. when you’re with a community of friends or loved ones, you see that you thrive more in the latter. You think you are happier on your own, but you’re not really.

6. Your daydreams revolve around other people: impressing them, being loved by them and so on, rather than the high you would get by seeing and experiencing the world on your own.

7. You were an extroverted kid. If you think back to an average day in your childhood, you were always calling friends to come over or playing outside with other kids on your street. Then, at some point, you had some traumatic event(s) that lead you to prefer to be on your own. Being isolated is a coping mechanism for you, not something you are naturally inclined toward.

8. Your intuitive ability to pick up on what people are actually thinking and feeling can be uncomfortable, because you have a hard time just letting things go. On the other hand, it’s the same quality that makes you such a “people person” when you are being social.

9. You get really stressed when you feel like someone is self-sabotaging and you can’t help or fix them. This is what makes you want to isolate yourself – the fact that you are hyper-sensitive to other people’s problems, and often take them on as your own.

10. You actually connect with people rather easily. When you go out, you’re the life of the party, or the person all the baristas know at the coffee shops you regularly visit. The sheer ability to relate to or at least get along with most people well is more commonly a trait of extroversion.

11. You are a very loyal person, but only with someone you love a lot, or friends you are super close with. When you love, you love completely, and that person becomes a part of you. However, getting to that point is a longer-than-average process of opening up and building trust.

12. You love to go out and have fun, but in limited doses. When you’re out, you’re the life of the party. However, being around so much energy (and exerting so much energy) exhausts you, and you need a stealthy recovery period afterwards.

13. You “ghost” on people a lot, even friends. It’s sometimes hard to articulate that you need more time to yourself than other people do, and when people don’t respect that need (even if their intentions are good and they just want to see you) it’s sometimes easier just to make yourself inaccessible.

14. You’re more at ease around a large group of strangers than a smaller group of acquaintances. This is because there is no social obligation for you to impress, connect with or bond with a stranger. This is an equal display of your extroversion (not caring about being around others) as well as your HSP qualities (being drained by having to connect with people too much).

15. You prefer to work alone, but do something that other people have to relate to. For example, you’re a writer who works on their own, but who then shares that work to many people who consume and respond to it.

16. If you were to draw a picture of your dream life, you’d ideally have some combination of a loving partnership, a few great friends, or a close family. Your objective in life is not to stay away from people, but to choose the right ones, and keep them close to you no matter what.

LINK TO ARTICLE: THOUGHT CATALOG

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Explore, Motivational, My Life Story, travel

Albay Adventure

 

This month’s TRAVEL has been quite the experience for me. Unlike many others, this is the first time I’ve booked a ticket less than a week before our scheduled flight. Oh, little did I know this is just the beginning of all the spontaneity I’d be facing this week!

BICOL has long since been my second home, where I spent countless summers shopping at the local mall, cooking for my relatives and yes of course, eating. But I wanted this time around to be different.

Spending too much time in the metropolis just, kills. I wasn’t a shriveled prune yet from all the hustle and bustle of the city, but my soul just wanted to feel alive again. Free of routines, free of rules and free of all the rushing. I sought to find peace, to find – something.

All set and packed with a last minute plane ticket, a pair of rubber shoes, a hand-drawn map of our itinerary and a head full of hopes, we boarded the plane and on to Legazpi we go!

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A sketch of our itinerary (not drawn to scale)

 


Quitinday Hills, Camalig Albay

Upon reaching the hills, there was quite a drizzle causing the soil to be quite a challenge to walk on, especially this being an uphill climb. The weather wasn’t ideal (of course, this was expected travelling during low-season), but the view was spectacular nonetheless. The view was most beautiful upon reaching the first hill.

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For the brief moments spent atop Quitinday Hills, I breathed more than just fresh air. Within me came an overwhelming sense of awe for all the beauty I didn’t know I’ve been missing out on for so long. Looking at the 360 degree embrace of nature, there was no better feeling but to know that there’s so much more just waiting to be seen.


Sumlang Lake, Camalig, Albay

After a quick lunch at one of the best places for PINANGAT (A native dish made from Gabi Leaves and Coconut Milk), we headed on to Sumlang Lake. Pleased that the rain stopped and Mt. Mayon finally came out to say hello.

I believe it’s just beautiful how the land and the sky meet to form such a sight.

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Sumlang Lake


Cagsawa Ruins, Albay

We headed on towards the ever-so famous tourist destination in Bicol, the Cagsawa Ruins. Just imagine how much history this site holds!

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From where I stand : CAGSAWA GROUNDS

Okay I guess I have to explain why the photo below was one of my favorites (aside from Mayon photobombing quite nicely).

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Mayon ATV Experience

I am an introvert, shy, reserved and I often keep my opinions to myself (whether or not I believe it will win the argument). I was brought up that way, and I guess it came to mold the person I am now. I believe time is gold, and would never spare a second to be idle. I work from 7:30am to 8pm these days. Thus, I can be quite the control freak when it comes to planning, wanting everything ironed out, neat, tidy and on-the-dot. Sometimes I can shift from happy to angry in a snap, yes, the little things can unsettle me in ways. I am uptight, never bending my own rules and being an INFJ – I’m a downright walking contradiction. (Read more about personality traits here: INFJ PERSONALITY)

I started out scared as hell as I’ve never been lucky when it comes to vehicles (I crashed a car once, and it’s traumatizing). But ten minutes later, I revved up the engine wanting to go faster! (P.S. I was trying so hard not to overtake our guide).

Kidding aside, this short trip made me find myself. By “finding oneself” I mean to say: to know oneself better, to find one’s strengths and weaknesses and to love oneself a little more. This was the first time in a long time when I actually let loose and go wild.

I knew this trip was definitely unlike any other. With no final schedules of our own, driving on unknown roads, battling the moody weather and facing full uncertainty, it added to the thrill of what the journey brings.


Vera Falls, Malinao, Albay

The journey to Vera Falls was quite an adventure! The road reached a dead end, where the bridges were destroyed by the recent floods in Malinao. The locals were so kind to volunteer to get us to Vera Falls. I felt a rush of excitement as we hitched a ride with them on their motorbike up the lofty hills and through the quiet town.

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The rapids.

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It took less than thirty minutes to reach the falls, and behold the roar of the water came to welcome us to one of the hidden gems in Bicol.

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You know when you’re happy, when it’s not your lips that do the smiling, but your heart. Being happy is rare for me, but that’s what I felt as I sat there. Enjoying a dip in the cool water, smelling the freshness of nature, listening to the joyful chirping of the birds, and watching the violent cascade of the water.

Nature truly holds a cure for the city-living, it heals all the senses and revitalizes the mind. It shows us how simple life should be, and how difficult we all choose to make it.

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In this Bicol adventure, I found a piece of myself. One where I learned to embrace the uncertain, let loose and live one day at a time.

 

 

XO,

Pearl


 


I’ve been reading through “Steal Like an Artist” (Austin Kleon) this February, and came across an enlightening tip for creatives. Here’s an excerpt that inspired me to get up and go.

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RULE # 8 : GEOGRAPHY IS NO LONGER OUR MASTER

LEAVE HOME.

“At some point when you can do it, you have too leave home… Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings.”

“You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend time in another land, among people that do things different than you.Travel makes the world look new, and when the world look new, our brains work harder.”

“It helps to live around interesting people, and not necessarily people who do what you do. You have to find a place that feeds you – creatively, socially, spiritually and literally.”

“Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” -Jonah Lehrer

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