Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Taiwan Buddha Memorial Center and the 2012 International Youth Seminar on Life and Ch'an Day 3.

Hi guys! Si here's the continuation... Like I said in my previous post (Taiwan FGS Buddha Memorial Center Tour: A Prologue), so far, the third day of the youth camp has been the most fun of all. Aside from the usual protocol done during early morning meditation, breakfast and lunch, we did Sutra Calligraphy, listened to a talk about Life and Ch'an, witnessed Buddhist chanting, did a Dharma Hunt, watched a concert and ended the day with a Light Offering and Prayer Ceremony. So first things first...


Sutra Calligraphy


At 8am, all delegates gathered at the assembly hall. For the first time, we saw the hall filled with rows and rows of tables and chairs. We all went to our respective groups then took a seat. On our table were sheets of calligraphy and pens. At 8:00, one of the Venerable Masters explained to us what calligraphy is and what it entails to trace the different characters on the piece of parchment. It's not just about copying or tracing, but it's about meditating about the meaning of the characters as we trace them... it's about finding wisdom in the calligraphy... it's about ch'an or meditation. It's about freeing the mind from worries and other attachments and living at the moment.

Before we all started tracing the calligraphy, a little prayer ceremony was done where all delegates participated by praying through chanting. Then from 8:30 am - 9:00 am, we all traced the calligraphy.



My fingers actually got numb after some time that I had to pinch it a couple of times. But at the end of the 30-minute period, I was surprised at myself that not a lot of the other delegates were able to finish everything unlike me. Maybe it's because I just went with the flow of tracing the characters using my hand and the pen, resting my fingers for a few seconds every now and then, and just continuing with the act, appreciating the beauty of each character and when done tracing, just simply moving on the next. I guess I was able to empty my mind and free it from any kind of emotional attachment or worry and other unproductive thoughts which definitely helped me finish the entire calligraphy. I can only speak for myself though. I don’t know how the others did theirs and why they weren’t able to finish their calligraphy on time.

Those who weren't able to finish were asked to continue doing it during their free time. Then those who did finish were asked to submit their work including the pens.

From 9:20-9:40, everyone went for coffee break.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Taiwan FGS Buddha Memorial Center Tour: A Prologue

 

I've been doing a lot of meditation and contemplation as of late that it made me think back to my 2-week trip to Taiwan when I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the Philippine delegates to attend the International Youth Seminar on Life and Ch'an

 

Then I realized that I've been doing so much traveling (almost non-stop for several years now) that I've been seriously lagging behind my travelogues. But I am becoming a little more diligent in publishing my stories now. And so, even before more days pass without me posting anything here, at least let me give you a prologue to my next travel story --- Fo Guang Shan Temple (FGS) Buddha Memorial Center in Taiwan and the 2012 International Youth Seminar on Life and Ch'an Day 3.

 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Heading to Real, Quezon with Barefoot Travels... Who wants to join?

*Due to typhoon Glenda and Henry recently, this trip was re-scheduled to Aug. 2 and September 6.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Just a quick post... I'll be going with Barefoot Travels this Saturday, July 19, 2014. There are still a few slots left. Who wants to join? Please read the details below:

Surf and Trek Adventure
Real, Quezon


Real is a small first class municipality in Quezon province, approximately 145 kilometers from Manila. Conveniently located only 2.5-3 hours away from the Metro passing by the picturesque Laguna Lake and the scenic Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges, this town is slowly becoming a beach destination for quick and easy weekend getaways. With its coastline facing the Pacific Ocean, this has also become a surfers’ haven due to its great waves and much less crowded surf spots.

Get stoked with Barefoot Travels in this one-day adventure at Real, Quezon!

STANDARD PACKAGE: Php1,499/pax
ADD ONS:
  • Php200/hour board rental
  • Php400/half day board rental
  • Php800/whole day board rental
  • Php500/hour surf lessons
PACKAGE INCLUSIONS:
  •  Round trip van transfers from Manila-Quezon-Manila
  •  Picnic lunch (fresh catch of the day)
  •  ID/bag tag
  •  Travel insurance
  •  Side trip to Balagbag Falls
ITINERARY:

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

100 Happy Days Project - I'm Back!

OMG! It's been a really LOOOONG time since I've last written here. People, most especially my girl best friend, Mer, has been urging me to continue blogging, but no thanks to Facebook, it just seems easier to post on social media sites than to spend hours drafting a blog post. On the other hand, I do see the value of blogging still. Aside from the fact that it's important when it comes to marketing products and services (which I do for some of my clients), personal blogging like what I do here, is still very catahrtic for me... I still treat it like a diary where I pour my heart and soul. It's just that the last 3 months have been very hard on me that I couldn't bring myself to write. But now that I feel much better, here goes...

So what have I been up to since I last posted here?

Okay, to summarize:

1. I've been separated from my ex-hubby since early March (If we're not close, don't ask why. I want to keep some parts of my private life private since my ex is a very private person.)
2. I went away and vacayed for two months in Oslob, Cebu City, Dumaguete, Dapitan, Dipolog, Claveria and Cagayan de Oro City (which I still plan to blog about in more detail sometime).
3. When I came back, I just focused on moving forward by first hibernating at home where I found joy in cooking once again.
4. I started going out (no, not to date... I hate dating!), but going out with friends or as friends.
5. I started making new dreams and plans too for myself through the help and support of my family and closest friends. Now I feel like things are starting to fall into place once again.

I think I started feeling much better, after June 8 (our supposed 12th anniversary --- which has been tumultuous and heartbreaking for me). After that fateful day was when I finally decided to be happy again no matter what, hence, the start of my #100HappyDays project.

Below are snippets of what my first 5 days after June 8 were like. I'll continue to blog about my 100 Happy Days in between other blog posts. And yes, thanks also to an FB friend and avid follower, Rona Chen, I indeed will continue blogging again. :)


  DAY 1 of #100HappyDays
I sometimes forget that happiness can indeed be found in simple things. So I started seeking out help from my 2 best friends (Risfor Rogue and Hanz Villanueva) instead of just waiting for them to call me up whenever they can. It felt good to be proactive for once and I am grateful for their acceptance, love and friendship. Let my #100HappyDays begin... Here's to #Day1!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Berjaya, Petronas and Menare KL Tower: Kuala Lumpur Walking Tour

It's been a week since it happened and my days have been a roller coaster ride of varying degrees of extreme emotions. In order to get out of my funk, I thought I'd do other things that I enjoy like blogging. In this particular post, I'd like to just share with you that time Jayme and I did our Asian trip in January 2010. I never got to finish that series because life took over and as they say, the rest is history. Well, this is one history of my life that I'd like to document. And hopefully, from this post, my days will be filled with blogging about my previous trips all the way to present. It's always nice going back to old happy travel memories.

So Jayme and I had just come from Singapore and Vietnam. A quick stopover at Kuala Lumpur was next on the list. Since we were on a budget, we just decided to go around the city via bus and on foot. After checking out Batu Caves in Selangor, Malaysia located north of Kuala Lumpur, we had some lunch at a vegetarian Hindu place first just outside the gates of the Batu Caves before boarding a bus back to the city of Kuala Lumpur. 

 Lunch!

Back in the city, we stopped by Berjaya Times Square Shopping Mall just adjacent to the Berjaya Times Square Hotel majestically towering over the skyline of Kuala Lumpur City since it is located right at its center. 

 Berjaya Time Square

Both hotel and mall can be easily accessed via monorail or road to all primary attractions around the city of KL. It is a must-see place for both leisure and business travelers.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Of Endings and Beginnings

I've been feeling the blues and it's been going on for a while now (severe depression which has been on and off since 2012). I was pretty ok last half of 2013. The NLP / Neurolinguistic Programming sessions I took in September helped a lot. In a way, the emotional baggage I've been bringing with me since I was a kid got healed somehow. Plus the non-stop travels I did the past two years did a lot of good to my psyche. 

The non-stop hopping from place to place was tiring, yes, and I was welcoming the rest I will be having from these trips come February, my birthday month which was last month, the only time I got to rest from my travels since January 2012. 


Fun, fun Feb, my birthday month!

Everything was going great; I was looking forward to celebrating my 36th birthday at home despite all the emotional trials I've been going through... until something hit me hard and since then I was never the same. :( :( :(

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Summer Travel Schedule w/ Barefoot Travels



Can you feel the heat? Yep, I think summer is here! After that cold spell we all experienced in January, I'm ready to welcome the warm and sunny weather coz that means more beach trips and more travels!

If you're "nomadic" like me and have this immense thirst for traveling, you might be interested in what I want to share with you. Even if you're not the wanderer type, but you've been dreaming about getting out of the office and going on some adventure somewhere, then this post is for you too.  

In the past, I was used to traveling on my own if not with my hubby. Then a time came when I always wanted to travel with my old friends. Then sometime 2012, I started traveling with my bessy. Recently though, I discovered a group who likes organizing fun and affordable travels and I've already been with them thrice! They're called BAREFOOT TRAVELS. My experience with them in Sagada was life-changing! Then last month, I've been to Baler with them twice! The first was for an overnight trip and the second was for a 3D/2N surfcation. 

Before I came to know BAREFOOT TRAVELS, the only other traveling group I've been with was Travel Factor back in April 2012 when I first visited Baler with my hubby and gf Koryn. We had some mishaps at that time with Travel Factor but I still considered it fun because I was with my husband and friend. However, with BAREFOOT TRAVELS, considering that I was by myself and I didn't know anyone when I first went with them (to Sagada),  it was really a nice surprise how much I came to love, adore and miss this group! Plus, it's a bonus that every time I join them in their travels, I get to meet new and interesting individuals from all over! It's really an amazing experience every single time. I think it's because their travel coordinators who go along these trips are really nice, friendly and accommodating people. The bring out the best in each participant and they're also all for the adventure, camaraderie and bond that come with these trips which I love that about Barefoot Travels. 

And now that summer is here, it's time to travel some more and go BAREFOOT! I'm sure many of you are looking forward to spending some quality time relaxing on a beach, or surfing, or climbing mountains or just simply heading out there onto a new adventure, bonding with friends, families, loved ones or simply enjoying yourself or meeting new people. If so, check out the following schedules that BAREFOOT TRAVELS has for you beginning this month all the way through May: 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Barefoot Travels Baler Surf and Trek Adventure


Baler Adventure

Hey gais! I'm still here in Cebu, in Oslob in particular. I've been traveling non-stop so to speak since last year and now that I'n resting a bit here at my bessy's place (my flight back to Manila is early tomorrow at 3am), I decided to make time for another blog post, this time about Baler. I was just there last Jan. 11-12 when I joined Barefoot Travels in their surfing adventure. I'm going back there for a longer vacation this time, from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, for a surfcation as they call it. Two more slots are still available so if you want to join, contact Barefoot now at +63923-5610062; +63917-3589716. So yeah, as soon as I go home tomorrow, I'll have to pack again for another  surfing trip. Just look at some of the surfing videos my new friends took last time. Who wouldn't want to go back there, right? Whew! What a life! ^_^


 

Going back to this surfcation, instead of having a jam-packed overnight schedule like what we had last time, we'll have two nights to chill, relax and just simply enjoy the waters of Baler. We'll be going around the many tourist spots Baler has to offer as well. Hoping to blog more about these beautiful spots come February when my travel schedule won't be as full.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Barefoot Sagada Package Inclusions

Below are the details you need to know if you want to join one of Barefoot Travel's future Sagada trips. I got these details from the primer they sent me a week before my scheduled tour of Sagada. You will receive one too should you decide to join them. You can also read my introductory post about Barefoot Travels and my Sagada excursion with them. Just go to this link here: Sagada with Barefoot Travels: An Introduction. Barefoot Travels has an upcoming Sagada trip this February 7-9 so be sure to register! 

If you wish to contact them for further details and clarifications, feel free to email Barefoot Travels at barefoottravels@yahoo.com or contact us at +63917-3589716 or +63923-5610062 Go Travel. Be Practical. Have Fun. Go Barefoot. Work Shoes: OFF LIMITS!

The Annual Sagada Bonfire Fest, now on its 5th year and held every last week of December, is organized by the Sagada Genuine Guides Association or Saggas. It is a night of merry-making, food tripping, music jamming and cultural bonding. Experience this one of a kind bonfire feast as Barefoot Travels brings you to the heart of the Mountain Province this December. 

PACKAGES:
 SAGADA EXTREME: Php5,500 per person (Php5,250 for early birds) 
STANDARD PACKAGE: Php4,450 per person 

Sagada Rice Terraces

PACKAGE INCLUSIONS for Extreme and Standard: 
  • 2 nights accommodation at Sagada
  • Roundtrip transfers Manila-Banaue-Sagada-Baguio-Manila
  • Jeepney transfers when touring Sagada
  • Stop over at Banaue Rice Terraces view points and La Trinidad Strawberry Farm
  • Services of local guides and Travel Coordinators and Tour Director
  • Barefoot souvenir bagtag
  • Sagada town tour: Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins, St. Mary's, Calvary Hill,
  • Sagada weaving, Lumiang Cave, Pongas Falls
  • Meals: buffet dinner at Log Cabin and 2 breakfasts
  • Entrance fees, local fees, environmental fees
PACKAGE INCLUSIONS for Extreme
  • Cave connection: Sumaguing & Lumiang Caves
  • Bonfire party with dinner on Day 2
  • Barefoot souvenir shirt
PACKAGE INCLUSIONS for Standard
  • Spelunking at Sumaguing Cave
Lumiang and Sumaguing Cave Connection

Monday, January 06, 2014

Sagada with Barefoot Travels: An Introduction

Sagada Rice Terraces

Sagada has always been one of my dream destinations ever since my younger sister told me that she's been there during her UP days (about 15 years ago) and it was such an awesome experience for her. She was telling me all these wonderful stories of heading there atop a jeepney squeezed between her friends traversing the dangerous and steep sides of the mountainous Banaue while intoxicated with alcohol and what-not. It sounded so much fun and I wanted to experience that too. Unfortunately, between my younger sister and me, I am not as brave. So whenever I'd try to schedule a trip to Sagada, visions of buses and jeepneys falling off a cliff would pop in my head and just as soon as I thought of going there, my dream would immediately fade away too. Yeah, I'm such a scaredy cat. 


My dream of riding on top of a jeepney while cruising along Sagada  finally came true!!! Thanks Kuya Lawrence for this awesome photo!

Then sometime middle of December 2013, I met a guy on Facebook. It was probably a blessing that I answered his private message coz that was same time that I think I was having one of those midlife crises that I wanted to have 5,000 friends on Facebook just for kicks. I started accepting friend requests from strangers all over the world and in just a week I was able to reach 5,000 friends. Unfortunately, some of them turned out as freaks asking for my nude pictures, or what the color of my nipple is or some other obscene thing like sending me a photo of their private parts (eeewwwww!!!!). Many asked for my number which I readily gave at first only to regret that decision later on coz most of them kept calling me and bugging me about non-sense flirtations which I wasn't interested in nor will I ever be interested at. (I'm not generalizing... There were a few though who were really nice.) So I started blocking some of those new friends on Facebook and stopped looking at my inbox (unless they're from my husband or my best friends). 

Then I saw a message from Rons Nebre. The thing that caught my attention was when he mentioned he was from Ateneo too. He turned out to be the Founder and Managing Director of Barefoot Travels, an organization committed to developing and organizing affordable, one-of-a-kind trips perfectly suited for yuppies, students and urbanites. And you know me, the moment I heard the word "affordable" and "unique", I was all for it! After all, I am a budget traveller. My heart started beating so fast and that meant he already got me hooked! I was very much excited, especially when he mentioned that they were having a scheduled trip to Sagada soon. OMG! That was it! No time to feel scared. It was then or never for me. I'm not getting any younger and my knees aren't getting any stronger so I might as well join them in this Sagada trip. Plus, Rons assured me that I'd be traveling with experts since they always go back to this place every so often. 
This is it! I'm a Barefoot Traveller!

Barefoot Travels is all about affordable travel. 
"We are a group of friends who share a common passion for adventure, the outdoors and the love for nature. Our philosophy is simple:
Travelling need not be expensive. Nature will speak for itself. 
It is because of our passion and philosophy that we’ve decided to create an organization committed to developing and arranging affordable unique trips and one-of-a-kind experiences for yuppies, students and urbanites. 
Go Travel. Be practical. Have Fun. Go Barefoot."  - https://www.facebook.com/barefoottravels/info

So to make this long introduction short, I told Baboo Peter about my plans of going to Sagada. As generous and kind as he is, he encouraged me to do it. I told my super best friend about it too. Bessy Hanz was so happy for me coz he also knows how much I love to travel and explore new places. So that was it! I gave my confirmation to Rons and I was scheduled to travel with them to Sagada on Dec. 26-29, 2013. He then gave me a copy of the Sagada primer and itinerary. Reading the places I'd be visiting in Sagada made me all the more ecstatic! Indeed, going to Sagada was one of the best decisions I've made in my life! 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2014 Philippine Holiday Schedule - Plan Your Vacations Now!

Happy New Year! 

taken in Similan Island, Phi Phi, Phuket, Thailand

It's the year of the Earth Horse and I feel like this year is going to be luckier than ever for me. Life just gets better and better, doesn't it? Just when I told myself (a few months ago) that I'll probably stop travelling so I can focus on other aspects of my life, travel opportunities came left and right that I just couldn't resist. So here I am spending the first day of the new year fixing the schedules of my upcoming trips. I just came from Bangkok and Phuket last week, and just this weekend, I was in Sagada with Barefoot Travels. And next week I'll be in Baler with Barefoot Travels again then Boracay with Baboo and Padi, then Cebu for my Bessy's birthday. Anyway, I'll have a separate blog post for all these trips. For now, just as I am organizing my travel plans, I went on looking for this year's Philippine holiday schedule which I also want to share with you especially those like me who have been busy with life that it's only now they're taking the time to organize the vacations they want to take for 2014. 

I got this from http://www.gov.ph/2013/10/01/list-of-nationwide-holidays-for-2014/. Enjoy planning your vacation, folks!


The following is a list of holidays for 2014, declared by virtue of Proclamation No. 655, s. 2013, unless otherwise specified:January 1, 2014, Wednesday – New Year’s Day (Regular Holiday)
January 31, 2014, Friday – Chinese New Year (Special non-working day)
February 25, 2014, Tuesday – EDSA Revolution anniversary (Holiday for all schools)
April 9, 2014, Wednesday – Araw ng Kagitingan (Regular Holiday)
April 17, 2014 – Maundy Thursday (Regular Holiday)
April 18, 2014 – Good Friday (Regular Holiday)
April 19, 2014 – Black Saturday (Special non-working day)
May 1, 2014, Thursday – Labor Day (Regular Holiday)
June 12, 2014, Thursday – Independence Day (Regular Holiday)
August 21, 2014, Thursday – Ninoy Aquino Day (Special non-working day)
August 25, 2014, Monday – National Heroes Day (Regular Holiday)
November 1, 2014, Saturday – All Saints Day (Special non-working day)
November 30, 2014, Sunday – Bonifacio Day (Regular Holiday)
December 24, 2014, Wednesday – Additional special non-working day (Special non-working day)
December 25, 2014, Thursday – Christmas Day (Regular Holiday)
December 26, 2014, Friday – Additional special non-working day (Special non-working day)
December 30, 2014, Tuesday – Rizal Day (Regular Holiday)
December 31, 2014, Wednesday – Last day of the year (Special non-working day)
*Separate proclamations will be issued for the observance of Eid’l Fitr and Eidul Adha

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tours & Things to Do in Sharm el Sheik



Sharm el Sheik is a place that not many Western travellers have the chance to visit. However, there are many fascinating experiences to have on you trip to Sharm el Sheik. Fantastic diving, colourful deserts, and exotic dancers will surely create a memorable experience. 


One of the biggest activities in Sharm el Sheik is diving. The corals are alive and well here, and haven't experienced as much damage from tourists as the corals in other locations around the world. The beautiful and diverse marine life in Sharm el Sheik is really spectacular to see. Even first time divers can take a discover class, where they will learn the basics of diving and do a small dive. Instructors are knowledgeable and manage safety well. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

ATC, Sky Ranch Tagaytay, Glorietta 4: a Busy but Relaxing Long Weekend with Baboo Peter


I booked a flight to Cagayan de Oro earlier this year for Oct. 26-31. I was thinking that since baboo is always busy with work, I might as well spend time with some of my friends I rarely see. The thing is they live so far away. But what's an hour of plane ride and a few hours of commute to the City of Golden Friendship if only to see them, right? 

Well, a lot of things happened in between. For one, I didn't expect to be attending training for NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) plus the heavy workload that fell onto my lap. To cut the story short, I had to cancel my intended CDO vacation and just make the most of the holiday. Honestly, with everything going on in my life, I totally forgot that it was a long holiday (Oct. 28 being the day for Barangay elections). So I guess that's where the silver lining was in all of this. At least I got to spend three happy whole days with my baboo. He was available to me, for my pleasure, at my beck and call (hehe) for 72 hours and I wasn't going to let those precious hours just pass me by.  But the thing was, WE DIDN'T MAKE ANY PLANS AT ALL. Oh bugger!

Fortunately, my baboo was very easy to please. If I am the O.C. type who prefer scheduling every last minute detail of whatever plans we have, baboo Peter is the opposite when it comes to domestic/marital/personal matters. He loves to chill and just relax and just let everything flow. So having had my Breaking Through Barriers (BTB) training with Train Station a month ago (while baboo Peter had his a few weeks ago), we learned to adjust to each other's preferences. That's what you call second positioning. It's when you take on the position of the other person, immerse yourself in the way he/she thinks and feels and from there, get an insight as to how he/she is thinking, feeling and seeing things. So in short, we came at a compromise and it all came out naturally and subconsciously, meaning, without even trying so hard like how we used to do it before we had the BTB training. 

So, what happened was, we both let everything flow while still maintaining some sort of schedule for the long weekend. 


Oct. 26

Seafood Ilsand, ATC

We stayed in bed most of the day. It wasn't until late afternoon that we showered and dressed up, hoping to catch a movie. 

But then what do you know, it's been a while since I last prettified myself and I was just being so slow. So we got out of bed, prepared for our date and got out of the house early evening, decided to just splurge on dinner and just do the movie date another day. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

28th Visual Arts Competition: “Scenes from My Hometown"


It was on Oct. 16, 2013 when the  Directories Philippines Corporation (DPC) and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) launched the the 28th edition of their annual Visual Arts Competition (VAC 28) in  Gateway Mall, Cubao, Quezon City.  
Representatives from VAC 28 partner institutions—the Department of Tourism; Canon Marketing Philippines, official imaging and printing partner; and Gateway Mall, official venue partner—were also on hand for the launch.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Breaking Through My Barriers Part II

Yesterday, I blogged about how I got into this amazing training program called Breaking Through Barriers (BTB) conducted by Train Station and how it has been changing my life since (slowly albeit surely). Before you read this blog post, head over there first to give you a little background then go back here to read the personal barriers that I have broken down so far since attending the BTB seminar. 

photo op with my coaches and classmates after getting our certificates

Like I said before,  I won't delve into the details of how the whole training seminar went for two days. You'll have to experience it for yourself if you also want to change your life for the better. But I will share with you the changes that have been happening in my life so far. I didn't plan this. I was actually skeptic if I can do this. I had very little expectations. I just wanted to be a little bit happy or at least not sad anymore. I was so tired of always waking up with a knot in my stomach and feeling crappy and depressed all the time. But after the training,  things did happen! Things I didn't expect to happen, did happen and continue to manifest. I guess our brain really is trainable. Once you learn how to unlock that part of your brain that holds you back, the possibilities for happiness are endless! 

So here they are:

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