Singlehood Was A Choice. Now I Choose the Other Way.

Let me do some real talk here because I think it’s relevant to me at present.

People often ask me why I’ve chosen to stay single for a very long time, 35 years to be exact, when I could be happily sharing my moments with someone special. They are right, I could have done that. But the thing is, I have always felt the need to safeguard my heart from pain. And when I say safeguard, it is to put up walls that no man can break them.

I stayed away from occasions when I know I’m only going to get hurt in the long run. I cut people out of my life if I feel I’m no longer needed as I used to or when I feel the other person does not want to choose me every single day anymore. Each one of us is unique and no relationship is ever perfect so for a relationship to work, you have to choose your person every single day— with all his flaws, his eccentricities, his moods, his everything. If I feel something is different or when I’m no longer wanted or if the other person does not want to fight for what we have, I let go instantaneously.

So on these occasions, you need to be the braver one to give the other the freedom he needs inorder to be truly happy— even if it means, you are no longer part of that reality. There’s probably a play of the ego here and I do understand that it’s not healthy and right when it comes, but so far, it has been helpful in keeping me away from possible numerous heartaches.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve loved some wonderful people in my life, although I never get to the point where it was made official. When I feel in love, I feel deeply in love and as I grow older, I’ve learned to tell the other person honestly about how I feel, which is so different from what I used to do years ago. I’ve grown into a different person who can now communicate what I want in the other person or what I expect from a relationship that when that need is not reciprocated, I let go. I let go irregardless of how much the person meant to me.

As it happens, I would feel the situation and ask my heart if it will be okay to do this and that. And then, I put the closure. I’m not the type to ghost on someone. When we put a closure on something, even if it’s painful for both parties, I believe it makes the pain a little bearable. To put an end by letting the other party know why is showing respect for what you used to have. There’s never a person in the past that I hold grudges with because I have tried to be a responsible adult— even to people who never managed to return a reply or say sorry. They have their reasons and I don’t have the right to judge them. Life is too short to hate and the world is too beautiful not to be happy for the lessons that have helped me grow into the person I am today. Oftentimes, I am barraged with blames from friends who I happen to entrust a part of the story but I stand firm with every decisions I make.

Once I leave, I leave without turning back— but one person just keeps showing up time and again. I let him do that because I will always be a friend to someone who needs me.

The moment I let go, a part of my heart goes to grave with all the memories I held on to of the person. It would be hypocritical to say that I’m not hurt but I’ve learned a lot about myself last year that I see pain as a very welcomed emotion and something that I have to accept as part of the moment, understand it and how it affects me and from there, I draw the courage to move forward with gratitude. Not a single regret for lost times. Not a single regret for having allowed myself to be vulnerable.

“To live for the present”, is my year’s mantra.

I have stopped thinking about the future and just let the universe do its magic. I’m not sure if what I have now is eternal but at the moment, this makes me happy. Like a weed that grows on a solid pavement, if this is meant to live, it will live and grow however dry and barren the soil it grow on had been.

Single or not, I will still be the happy kid that I am (I’m always the one with a kid’s disposition). If I happen to choose the other way now, regardless of who I end up with, I’ll keep my happy kid in me because life is more beautiful when you love unconditionally, when you learn to entrust the other person of your heart, when you strive to be happy and grateful at the moments that make your tummy flutter and your heart skips a beat— like you do when you see blueberry cheesecakes and ice cream. 😂

Love is like a plant. You water it regularly and sometimes, you leave it in the open so it can breathe on its own, so it can take in sunlight— just enough of it that it may not wither… it also means, you subject it to the forces outside your control that might eventually affect its health. But that’s how it’ll grow healthier. With its roots absorbing the nutrients from the ground, the sunlight and carbon dioxide it took in to make way for photosynthesis to occur, so does love grow into something more real, into something with profound depth. That’s eventually how it blooms with more connection, meaning and purpose.

The Breakthrough

If there’s a year that I will remember most in terms of how it molded me to become a bolder version of myself, it would be my 2019– the month of December, to be exact.

Pardon for the unnecessary photos that followed. :p

I need not discuss anything about what these things were about but I just want to congratulate myself for having a breakthrough year. As with the previous ones, there were beginnings that turned into inevitable endings and endings that gave way to new beginnings, but this year was a year of courage, clarity and closure, above anything else. I’ve learnt a lot by unlearning things and found myself when I truly allowed myself to get lost and forego my ego.

I am happy and excited about a lot of things. I’m looking forward to living not with the anticipation of a wonderful future but with the knowledge that you need not safeguard yourself, your heart and your mind all the time to be happy; you just need to forget who you were first. You need to take down your ego and kill it. You need to become vulnerable and be your true authentic self, irregardless of how people may perceive you along the way.

Remember that this journey is all yours. You take this road by yourself and in the end, it will be you and your seventy-year old self who will come face to face in the future, asking questions and throwing blames at each other. Would you have the courage to tell the older you that you were overwhelmed by fear that’s why you opted to tread the sedentary life? Or would you be proud to tell her that because you made the choice to follow the clamors of the inner you, you are happier and content, even without nothing?

I hope you get to stay on track. I hope that M‘s purpose in your life will not go to waste. I hope that you continuously savor the present moment that is laid out before you. I hope happiness will radiate outside of you that people will be able to feel it too. I hope you continuously make people happier, more content and more in tune with their divine inner self.

Here’s to another year of learning and unlearning things, to loving yourself and letting others to love you, to more adventures towards the self, to more adventures around the world, to living and letting the self die at the same time. Here’s to being present!

Hugs and kisses to all of you! Happy New Year, everyone! 💋

Looking Inward

Over the years, I’ve known enough selfless people to assert my belief that people are innately good. Prior to the biases and judgements and the painful experiences we go through, we are at our basic human state, a force of good. We are love itself manifested outwardly. We are God incarnate, in the form of flesh and blood. And maybe, some mix of the mystical stardust from the cosmos.

Just to be honest, I’ve not been very religious for quite some time now. For those of you who knew about my religious journey, this would come as a surprise. Years ago, I felt a calling to the religious life, hence, I devoted myself to further my understanding and depth of my faith. I felt being called to enter the convent. If I did not stop, by this time, you would have called me, Sister M and I would probably have worn a habit already. 🙂

But then, I felt being pulled by a string to a different direction.

Regardless, I do respect my faith. I respect the people who are so dear to me who I’ve witnessed, have done so much work in the name of selfless servitude. I am still a consecrated member of a certain religious congregation but I have kept myself away from the familiar religious crowd. Not even my mother who is a devout religious woman can make me go back to where I started.

Why? Because she knows I have a belief of my own– something that she has learnt to respect after all the years she has urged me, but failed.

Looking back, I don’t feel any different about how I feel and see the world now than before. I hold the same belief in people. I remained who I am for the most part, perhaps even more grounded and understanding of the truths laid before me– maybe due to the maturity that comes with age. The only thing that changed was that, I stopped frequenting to the places I used to spend some time on.

Was I lost somehow? In terms of religiosity, how do you know if one has lost track of his way? Does one demand more privileges, act more gifted, present themselves as better than anyone? Does one have to speak ill of others? Or think ill of others? Does one have to do something horrible to someone or the society to be regarded as a lost sheep? What if the (lost) being only seeks to understand the moment at hand, hence on a deeper level, in order to follow a more compassionate essence of living, so one can be more forgiving and grateful of this moment given to him? At the basic level of being human, where goodness resides in and of itself, within and without the body, would it be wrong and inhumane to forgive someone who have always thought bad of you? Would it be wrong to forgive the people who had been dishonest, exploited your trust and wasted the love you gave away?

If being lost is having a clearer vision of people in their most fragile and vulnerable state that instead of hate and grudges, we emanate light so it penetrates deep within the other for love to live on, then I want to be lost forever.

I want to be where love is the only language we speak and the gain we seek after. I want to be lost in a moment of stillness and complete silence where the ego is non-existent.

Just watching this cute little buddha seems to shut the noise down. This could be what being in the moment is like.

It’s a shame that until now, I still ask these questions, because this only means, I still haven’t really figured myself out. But then, figuring in relation to form, is ego working, and when ego as a work of the mind overrides the essence of your true being, the soul dissipates and so I will grow old, still unable to see who I am. And that’s when I will forever be lost.

I am on a journey towards myself. If it leads me to something more beautiful than now, then perhaps, I can say, I’ve succeeded. If not, then I will be just as who I was before this– religious or otherwise.

But then, I will continue to feel God within the confines of my inner self, to see the good in the bad, and to manifest love and light in the things that I do, however difficult it can be at times.

Hear the Universe Speak

Why in the world did I dream of someone I never even think of or who never crossed my mind in such a long time, confuses me. 

It happened with him and me in a cliff by the sea– he was holding my hand in an unromantic kind of way and was telling me to not be afraid. He probably did it to let me know I am being watched upon. He knew I had fear of the water so he convinced me to jump with him– hand in hand. I was hesitant. He jumped first, stayed where he landed, waited and urged me to jump after. But I just stared at him unsure if I want to. In the end, I stayed. And to think he is a person I looked up to in my life, makes it even more baffling why I did not listen to him, because in reality, I could entrust him my life. That’s how much respect and trust I have with this person. Of all the people whom I know personally, he is the one I want to emulate and still trying to emulate with regards to being a positive rippler. He graduated just three or four years ahead of me and eventually became our professor in that same university, and then later on, the Chair of our IE department. I looked up to him as my personal Elon-Musk-Mahatma-Gandhi kind of mentor. Without him knowing, he had always inspired me and many others to become a positive agent in this world, in our own little way and to always embrace and honor our true potential.

He was the university’s King of Engineers and the Summa Cum Laude when he graduated. But never in any circumstance, did I feel or witness that he purposely bragged about his honors or his achievements. He was vastly admired because as a King, he was modest and kind.

I remember Sir A always loved Zig Ziglar.

“The only hindrance to achieving your true potential is your denial of it” and “If you can’t stand for something, then you will fall for anything”, were just two infamous quotes that he often mentioned in class, which stayed with me all through these years. 

Since I graduated from the university thirteen years ago, I only bumped at him once or twice in public, and never got to see him again in person after that. But the only and possibly last exchange of messages we had in IG long ago was him telling me to never wait to be ready to chase after a dream, because I won’t ever be ready to do it.

It’s so strange why of all people, he would come visit me in my dream, at this particular moment in my life. It must be telling something because of the big decision I made last week and how it could have possibly change the course of my life. Somehow this dream assures me that I am being guided and led in my journey.

I’ve made that decision and was ready to face it regardless if I could live up to the circumstances or not. What transpired the decision was no longer the reason why I’ve finally written and handed the letter. I was scared but for days, I readied myself. Then I handed the letter early in the morning. I cried a bit. We cried a bit some days after and tried to understand where we could meet and change what is needed to be changed. I could have opted to be selfish– to think only of myself regardless of how it pains me to stagnate. But there’s just too many downside to a sudden departure. So yes, the letter never got to serve its purpose in the end.

Whatever change will befall me in the coming year is something that I look forward to with excitement. Until then, I have to savor this moment, this now that is given to me because this is the only time there is to live. Everything else is just an illusion, until that moment becomes the present.

Teach Your Heart to Breathe

Let your heart rest when it needs to. Do not rush, do not let it fall into the pleasant visions of your mind showing you something that is non-existent. Let it breathe and allow it to release whatever emotions it may have been dealing with. The heart is your strongest muscle, do not overwork it to the point that it may no longer be able to stand on its own. Create a healthy space for it to breathe fully, for it to heal and grow. Nurture healthy emotions by only allowing yourself to consume healthy thoughts. Change your mental diet if you need to. Or change everything from head to toe, from here to there, so you start out with a fresh vision. Change the way you see things, people, situations through your mind. And these will eventually create a new heart within you.

“How many times do I have to do this”, you may asked. Well, in reality, it’s a never-ending process. Restart as many times as you need to. And everytime you do this, be grateful to the circumstances for where it led you. It has armed you with a robust heart that can see beyond prejudices and flaws– a heart that can cry with you in silence but can also laugh of joy because the tears meant something that was worth living for.

And how do you know if it’s about time to restart? Ask your heart. It will always have the answer.

Music Lounge: The One That Got Away

From here on, I will be sharing some music pieces which I may find interesting and or relevant at the moment. I’ll be doing this for myself to see how my taste of music changes over time.

I personally have a wide range of music genre that I listen to, so I cannot say for sure if I ever had a favourite genre when it comes to music. I guess my preference depends on the current state of my mind and some other circumstances. While most people would listen to sappy songs when going through a difficult moment, I, on the other hand, would choose bright and upbeat music and vice versa. The juxtaposition is almost always never noticed, even in my innermost circle, so I let things be.

Today’s featured song: The One That Got Away
Songwriters: Katy Perry / Lukasz Gottwald / Max Martin
Cover by: Brielle Von Hugel

Early this morning, this song came up in my Youtube feed. I’m neither a fan of Katy Perry nor can I relate to this song’s lyrics fully, but I do find this cover cute, if not, partly melancholic.

Do you guys believe in TOTGAs? Or do you ever had one?

 

The Many Faces of Ahia

Ahia. Brother. Family. Sometimes, a complete stranger.

Towards the end of June, I went with my brother’s family and a friend to Taiwan with the main end in mind— to fill our urge for travel, to enjoy the time away from work and to see what beautiful places awaits us there for us to roam.

The preconceived idea about Taiwan was that, it would be more like Hong Kong in terms of the culture, the lifestyle, the food, the overall vibe and the people— mainly because both countries are heavily influenced by the Chinese. Surprisingly enough, it was far from Hong Kong in many ways.

The places had been nothing short of fantastic and other-wordly. The vibe, I would say, is more South Korean than Hong Kong. But what I personally did not expect, was the people. While South Koreans were very friendly during a trip there on my birthday last year, the Taiwanese we happened to met were tenfold kinder, more thoughtful and more friendly. More loving, in general.

Tonight, I’ll talk about the Ates and the Kuyas we met during the short vacation we had. But most notably, I will recall to you this short encounter we had with the Ahias of Taiwan— Kuya Bemboy, Kuya An-an and the cab driver whose name we never got to know. So I’ll just call him, Ahia— the chinese word for older brother.

Our trip started with a few delays on the first day, when Ed, our family friend who came with us was held for an hour and half at the immigration, to being lost in the massive Taipei Main station, to arriving at destinations where we later found out was temporarily closed for maintenance works.

The first day just didn’t sail well. We were tired but laughed our hearts out for an epic failure. Kuya An-an or Anton— Myra’s selfless uncle who had been working in Taiwan for seven years, had to skip work just to pick us up at Taoyuan airport and eventually led us to accidentally get lost in Taipei. I met Kuya An-an about a decade ago when we visited Leyte, a few years before Yolanda ravaged Tacloban, the rest of the island and its neighboring provinces, including Cebu. He was always the generous type— he was never selfish with his time and often goes out of his way to help you. Currently, he works in Chaiyi, a ginormous county 300 kms from Taipei and where we had spent most of our time during the weeklong vacation.

It was Kuya An-an who assured us a place to stay in Chaiyi, at his boss’s house. We were hesitant about the offer and the arrangement, but we gave it a go, anyway.

After getting lost in Taipei earlier that day, we rode on a bullet train to Chaiyi, arrived almost a couple of hours later and was picked-up at the train station by a massive, smiling, Chinese-looking man.

My first thought upon seeing the big man was, “Why are we being picked up by a Taiwanese and who could he be”? As soon as he started talking, we were relieved, me especially, because he spoke Waray, although I couldn’t understand even a little bit of the dialect. That was our first encounter with Kuya Bemboy— our generous and thoughtful, Taiwanese-Filipino host.

Later that night, Kuya Bemboy, his lovely, wife Ate Marlyn, Yanyan and Bembem prepared us the first sumptuous dinner, among the many breakfasts and dinners that followed. Ate Marlyn is the best cook there is, hands down.

The Yaos took us in their home, provided us a place to stay for 5 days, fed us graciously until our stomachs were painfully full, went out of their way to accompany us to some of the tourist destinations around Chaiyi, cared for us as if we were their own, provided us the best human experience a tourist can have while in a foreign land… in exchange for nothing.

How would you feel if you are being accepted into a stranger’s home like you are part of the family? I’m telling you it makes one truly humble. We didn’t know a thing about the Yaos prior the trip nor do we know where we will be staying because it was Kuya An-an who arranged everything.

With the Yaos, we didn’t feel like tourists. We felt as if we were visiting family members. We also had the chance to met fellow Filipinos as we were invited to the Sunday service before we head back to Taipei. There, we got to see how OFWs lived and thrived working in a foreign land just so they could support their families back home. They’ve shared their struggles; we know their stories like all the happy-sad stories we hear about Filipinos working abroad, far from the families waiting back home who have always hoped for a better future.

What made it a bit difficult when travelling Taiwan is the language barrier. Only a few people can speak and understand English, so having the Yaos, especially our nine year old guide, Yanyan, made it easier for us to go around. Yanyan, is the youngest child of the Yaos and she can speak English and Mandarin and can understand Waray and Bisaya. Just a year older than Francois, she is one smart, reserved and a very independent kid who, just like my nephews, also loves Pikachu.

On the 1st of July— Jorge’s 6th birthday, we woke up early, had our last sumptuous breakfast, said our goodbyes to Ate Marlyn and Yanyan, before Kuya Bemboy and Kuya An-an drove us to the bus station. I was sad that we were leaving. The night before, I had to chose to stay in my room than went out with the rest of the family just so I can take all the emotions in. As I said, I am a little cucumber with over-sensitive emotions so don’t be surprised if I suddenly had to disconnect to recuperate when I’m dealing with something.

Us, with the generous and loving Yaos.

Before we reached the station, we were surprised that Kuya Bemboy and An-an took the effort to surprise Jorge with a birthday cake. Just sweet and enough gesture to melt our hearts, all the more so.

We left Chaiyi, the Yaos, Kuya Anton, the rest of the family and everyone we met during the stay. Four hours later, we reached Taipei and went straight to the San Want Hotel, which is located a few blocks from the Taipei Dome, Taipei 101, Sun Yat Sen Memorial, the haunted Grand Hyatt hotel, Taipei Capitol, the famed Elite bookstore and Tao Zhu Yin Yuan garden. Out of the countryside now and into the urban jungle that is called, Taipei.

Since it was still very early when we reached the hotel, we roamed around to look for interesting places to get lost at again. And we were never disappointed. We really got lost after lunch. But then, always, we found uber drivers who came to our rescue and who were very accommodating and friendly, despite the lack of communication due to non of them can speak English.

The last day was spent travelling to far-off tourist spots, so we decided to get a cab, rent it for a day and have the driver led us to the destinations we’ve agreed the night before.

Ahia. We never knew what his real name was. The bell captain was the one who arranged the cab for us on our last day in Taipei. The cab driver was around forty years old, slightly chubby and doesn’t know a word in English. Ah wait, besides, thank you.

img_6946
The only photo I took of Ahia because he was very shy. But I know he silently took photos of us while we’re busy enjoying our time. I’ve seen it many times as we were having our dinner.

 

As you all know, I dread the excessive use of technology nowadays but at that time, I was grateful we have Google translate and we could use our phones to talk to Ahia.

Our first request that day was for him to take us somewhere for breakfast where we can eat nice Taiwanese food at an affordable price. He didn’t disappoint. If you want to have a real and raw experience of a place when you’re travelling, go with a local. He knows where to take you.

Ahia is a very shy man. He didn’t take the food we bought him during breakfast, even the water. But thanked us graciously. He always looked after the kids when we’re walking, he took us to places that were not part of the itinerary thinking we would miss our chance to enjoy Taiwan if he didn’t, he took our bags and other stuff we bought to the cab and returned to us after. He did this again and again, without tiring. He acted as our chaperone when all we want was a guide and a friend. Ahia is like an older brother watching after his younger siblings— making sure they are safe, comfortable and enjoying their day.

I very much enjoyed the places we went to but apart from all of these, I was more overwhelmed by the attention and care our cab driver had shown us. When Ahia took us to this mall where we had our dinner and a little shopping, it was obvious that he was not familiar of the place. He would approached locals to ask for directions and some of them were not too receptive. And then he would go and ask another, while clinching his worn-out and oversized jeans.

I would silently stay in a corner and observed Ahia and when I did, a part of me just wants to hug him and tell him that we are okay, that we can handle ourselves and that he doesn’t need to do all of this— that he can go back to the cab and rest while we are away. But my phone had already died and so did Google translate and when I attempted to communicate through hand gestures, it was obvious that I failed. I could not talk to him.

We even got lost finding the basement where we parked the cab because everyone went on the opposite direction while I insisted we were in the wrong way. They didn’t listen. We reached a dead end and everyone was laughing hard and just followed me. I sensed Ahia was a bit embarrassed.

Our flight to Cebu was at ten in the evening and from where we were, Taoyuan airport was almost a three-hour travel. It was already raining so hard when we took our early dinner. We intentionally had to take Ahia inside the restaurant so he wouldn’t have any excuse not to eat. What he was probably thinking was that, we took him in just so he can help us in ordering our food. He was very wrong. We ordered our food and his. He made every effort to tell us that he was going to have his dinner at home, wherever that home was and which was now very impossible to happen because it was almost 5PM, and as Ate Marlyn mentioned, in Taiwan, the normal time for dinner is 5PM. Beyond that, Taiwanese will only have light snacks. We were four persistent adults and two stubborn kids, so he relented. He took his dinner with us while partly-amazed watching after our Jorge, as our youngest companion independently devoured his food, all by himself. Perhaps, Ahia also has a kid waiting for him back home.

We reached the airport 3 hours before the flight despite fearing we would miss it due to the very bad weather, but Ahia safely took us to our destination on time. He took our things out of the cab, placed it on the trolley, inspected everything; we got a few stuffs and food that he can take home. He hugged my Kuya and gave him a handshake, almost teary-eyed. He gave me a handshake and I patted him on the back. I was teary-eyed. We all thanked him for his genuine love and care. He was waving at us as we got inside.

God knows I wanted to cry at that moment.

What did Ahia do exactly? And why do I feel this way about the trip?

The Ahias, as with everyone we met, gave me hope that goodness is inherent in all of us. It doesn’t have a distinct face because it takes the form of many— it could be a shobe, an achi or in the many instances we encountered, in the form of a caring stranger.

From the loving Yaos, to the Uber drivers, to the food shop employee who gave us additional take-away food (much to our surprise and bewilderment), to the friendly shopkeepers who patiently waited until our cards were accepted, to the cab driver who rescued us at midnight because no other taxi would want to take us, to our hardworking and very funny guide during the night photowalk tour, Leslie, to the bell captain of our hotel, to the store assistant who smilingly went to my rescue as to where to appropriately dispose our rubbish, to our cab driver on our last day, Taiwan is beautiful, foremost, because of its people.

We went to Taiwan as strangers looking for adventure. And we went home humbled by an experience we will never forget.

This is an experience that will always remind me to keep myself grounded and to see the good in every people and situation. For sure, Ahia may have lacked many material things but he sure is very rich in the more essential things in life.

Who says you can’t be good when you are lacking? Who says you can’t give even when you don’t have anything to give? Ahia will prove you wrong.

Transience

A few days after I posted about my heart struggles, I talked to the other person about ‘us’. What ensued from that conversation was a moment of clarity although the reason why ‘it’ cannot be is still partly ambiguous. When I would normally follow through with whys, I chose to accept and respect whatever deeper reasons he may have been struggling to deal with at this moment. Instead of leaving, I decided to not stop being a friend because at this moment, it is what I feel he needs.

What pain I felt a few days back has turned into an overwhelming feeling of acceptance. It surprised me how lightly I feel right now because I could no longer feel any pain for myself. I am more worried now for him than I am for the truth that I will never see him in this lifetime. It’s a sad thought but I understand that there are things that can never be. And this is what it is.

Is it possible to heal this early? Knowing myself, I would say, no. But something about the last convo the person and I had that made me feel mysteriously at ease with my emotions… of a certain clarity that instead of questions, I wholeheartedly accepted things as they were.

I felt mysteriously free.

It did help that I went with my sister-in-law, my younger brother and two of our friends on a road trip to the south coast— to my favourite place in the whole of Cebu and where I plan to build my retreat house when my hermit side kicks in.

I will leave everything for a chance to see the coast and Myra had always triumphed in persuading me to do things in exchange for a chance to see the ocean.

The trip eventually turned into an inter-island escapade when the squad decided to cross to the neighboring island of Negros and stayed for one night in the city of Dumaguete. There’s something about travel that excites me, even if I am the saddest person on the planet. And I am happy we decided to make that trip.

Can you spot the ghost who was running towards us? 😑
Myra took us a photo but never alerted me that someone was at my back apparently posing for the camera. I only realised when he whispered ‘hi’ in my ears. 😑

Instead of just purely exploring places, we openly talked, discussed and gave each other advices. It turned into a relationship forum of some sorts with everyone but me sharing about the status of their individual relationships. G, our oldest companion at 46 had withstood tremendous tests with his marriage… but he never gave up on his family.

We reached Dumaguete City before midnight and had a hard time searching for a hotel to spend the night because almost all were fully-booked. Eventually, we got a room at past 11PM.

Lying side by side on the bed, G, Myra and I were still discussing about serious topics until we heard a knock on our door. It was three in the morning. That prompted us to stop. That morning we asked the reception lady if she summoned someone to check on us. And like any haunted stories, voila! She said, no. Gaaah, scaryyyy.

Breakfast was supposed to be brief but again, it turned into a lengthy honest discussion about marriages and relationships.

I’ve heard and seen enough from my circle. I’ve stood for friends at a time when their worlds were crumbling down because decade-long relationships have ended, miscarriages happened, some infidelities. And I’ve also seen them in their most happy state. This is the type of experience that moves me– this chance of seeing the two faces of human emotion being manifested in its purest and rawest form. And being a witness to both state is a blessing and a curse, at the same time.

We explore a few places that morning before we headed back to Cebu in the afternoon.

The sea and sky (mar y cel)
Never mind me, I was just begging the post to talk to me. 😀
The younger brother who doesn’t look any younger than me
We even got some rambutans back to Cebu
The house of Sansrival. Oh sansrival, why so yummy though?

Later that day, we met with the baby monsters (nephews) and my Kuya back in the south coast at one of my favorite resorts in Boljoon, while the other brother and the two friends went on their way.

I had a lovely alone time while at the resort to rest, observe and process my thoughts. Because the resort is not heavily marketed, it’s not swarmed with tourists which I think is what sets it apart from the rest of the resorts around the area. If you happen to visit Cebu, I would recommend the resorts in Alcoy, Boljoon, some of Oslob’s. Although I personally would stay away from Oslob because it is very crowded as it is a prime tourist destination in Cebu with the whale sharks and Sumilon island serving as magnets for tourists. We also have Samboan and Santander on the southernmost part. On the west side, you can explore Moalboal, Aloguinsan and Badian. However, do take note that these places are approx. 120+ kms from the airport which would take an average of 5-7 hours of travel.


With the rest of the squad gone, my nephews– Francois and Jullien Jorge took over on being my advisers. Francois told me this exact words while he seated next to me and Jorge as we watched the sun fade into the darkness.

“Auntie, you need to find a love that you can see and touch. A love who will not let go of you when you ask to leave. A love who will fight for you. And stop thinking about him. You will find a new love, I know that.”

Francois is eight years old. I was beyond surprised that he said that, was speechless for a few seconds and then I bursted out laughing. If you happen to meet this young man, you would know he is not really a kid but a man trapped inside the body of a child. He is wise beyond his years but also very hard to please, like any kid. And yesterday as we were having our regular heart-to-heart talk as I often would engage my nephews to talk to me about anything, where they can freely ask any sort of question, out of nowhere he retorted this.

“I think men like you because you are a very kind person, Auntie. I mean, look at you. You are very sweet and caring and loving.”

I stopped from sewing a cloth that I have DIYed and stared at him and asked if he really saw me that way. He said, “Yes, that’s why people love you”.

Gosh, my heart…

I thanked those who, like my nephews, have also seen me this way. To all the opportunities that have helped me grow as a person and to those who thought about me in a different light, it’s okay, we will one day find a moment to see and reveal each other’s soul. And by that time, will see that we are just the same breed of souls.

I remember that this blog’s original tagline was not, “Trails of a wandering soul“, although this is also very much suited to the type of content that I have written here. But the original was also very fitting.

“We don’t just go through life, we grow through life.”

And with that, I hope we all grow in mind and spirit. And that we never fear the growth that is waiting for us at the other end of a dark tunnel.

And here are some photos of a side trip we did on our way home. Here’s a happy soul at her happy place!