A Travellerspoint blog

a real travel post: the next places to conquer

rain

ever since i arrived in Manila, i have been already planning on where to go. and yes, i will be going on shorter trips for the meantime because A) i don't have the budget for another cross-province trip and B) i don't have enough leave credits.

Derrick and i planned on going to Vigan this month but he has work stuff that came in the way. the small group peeps are planning a Nagsasa Cove trip and i might tag along.

planning is the funnest thing to do. but as you can see, this time i have to be with other people. A) because i need people to take pictures of me too, not just Elmo hogging the spotlight. B) the boatrides are expensive for 1 person. C) there are treks that are scary to do alone. what i may need to do is to see if i could get involved in the planning stages, or if they have been to the place, then i can just relax for the meantime!

even with these in mind, i still want to go out on my own. i took the test that i saw in one of the pinoy travel blogs where i had to mark the places in Pinas that i have been to and i got a D! ouch. too bad i don't know how to post it here. here are the places i might visit on my next solo trips:
Cebu
Bohol
Zambo
Iloilo

And then i need to join groups in the following:
Bicol region
CDO
Camiguin
CWC
Bora
Quezon Province

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 23:25 Archived in Philippines Tagged travel_posts Comments (0)

my soul's travels: Ephesians 4:29

rain

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

i have always believed that people deserved to hear what was on my mind. with the culture of freedom of speech that i learned in UP and working for companies that taught me how to be more aggressive, i have often been outspoken to the point of no restraint in the manner that i delivered the message.

true, people deserved to know what their shortcomings were, or what were the things that they did wrong. but it is also true that how we say things can also matter. and to think that i teach that for a living, right?

i found that the more hurtful the words were, the easier it was for people to learn. i thought it was okay to say "truth hurts, deal with it." but isn't it better to say that the truth should educate us? what we say should make other people learn instead of just feeling bad about it. we should bear in mind that people have different personalities and ways of digesting certain information. different strokes for different folks.

another hurtful form of messages would be gossip. again, we argue, most of these are true anyway. but what happens when we gossip? do we get anything out of it? are we helping the people by talking about it? the sad things is, messages may evolve from what was originally said.

once, i shared my thoughts about certain situations to a trusted friend at work. i tried to be very objective with the situation, picking her brain on whether what i thought was right or wrong. i went to her because i wanted to look at the situation in an intellectual manner. it turned out she got me wrong. she thought i was planting thoughts in her mind that would make her turn on our bosses. in the end, she may have mentioned what we talked about to our bosses, and one of them ignored me, without asking me what was that about. i never talked to anyone else about it, so only one person can be the source.

i felt bad, i felt betrayed. because had she clarified with me what my real intention was before talking to other people about it, no friendships could've been broken. the way that she delivered the news may be different from what my real intention was.

i am guilty of gossiping. and it is a daily struggle not to participate in "small talk" about other people. i should start choosing what to listen to and when to talk about stuff. sometimes i feel good when i know information about people, but not all these things are good for the heart.

it is wise to think that everytime we say something about other people, we are talking about our brothers and sisters, our family. lately, if i feel that i may have said something wrong, i quickly say sorry while looking up. kinda comedic, but it's a start for me.

with this, i pray Father that i will be able to be more constructive in what i say about other people. please let me be alert if what i'm saying is helpful or hurtful. i hope that in all conversations, i can mentally erase what is not useful, and only spread good news. although i know that i will encounter people who will talk about other folks, help me be aware of how i should react. instead of being trivial, i hope to be able to spread Your Word in any little way, so the people around me can see the miracle of change that You blessed me with. everyday is a struggle, but with Your grace, i can start censoring myself and be a better communicator.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 20:58 Archived in Philippines Tagged soul_travels Comments (0)

my soul's travels: James 2:12-13

rain

"Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment."

These are the action steps that were proposed by the publisher of the reading plan i'm following:

"Do you find it difficult to “let things go” when someone has hurt or offended you? We often judge others by their actions but ourselves by our intentions. Ask God to show you where you need to show mercy to others." Taken from here.

again, this has been very much on the spot. i have always said that i have no judgment over things that the people around me say or do. but i do. aside from judgment, i also have my way of excluding myself from the company of folks who i feel are not good for me. what's bad with that? i never tell them why, i never explain my thoughts or my feelings. too many times have i just run away from people without ever stopping to tell them what their faults were, or telling them what they need to do to change.

as what BJ said, i feel that people owe me the truth. and i thought that was my right, because as much as possible, i try to be true to anybody. it's only recently that i realized how selfish that was, to let people feel that they owe me everything. and when i've been wronged, i never forget. i always marked the people who have hurt me and limited my relations with them.

i think that forgiveness rings true when we completely forgive what people have done to us, the same way that we would want God to forgive us for everything that we have done that are not according to His will. the hard part is, we never forget. and mercy is lost when we forgive half-heartedly. the smart ones might say, "What if it's done over and over?" would that mean you will have to close your heart? will you not do things that might help the other person to stop doing the same thing to you?

we only get what we give. if we let people hurt us over and over without proactively doing anything to change stuff, then we're worse.

this is really hard for me. i'm at that point where i'm thinking about the people i should have said sorry to, instead of the people who should have apologized to me. and my ego is hurt. sorry is one of the hardest things to say. but i have to do it.

i pray Father, that i can muster the strength to apologize to the people i may have hurt in the past, or in the future. i pray that i start thinking less of what people owe me but what i can do for the people around me. grant me with the humility that i need, and the patience to wait for the right time that You set for me to fix my broken friendships. open my heart to the idea of forgiveness, in the same way that You forgive us with all our sins and bad decisions. let Your grace take over my heart and hopefully, everyone else will follow Your will.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 22:44 Archived in Philippines Tagged soul_travels Comments (0)

a real travel post: my week in pictures

rain

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me and Elmo

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At Kusina ni Gerry's, Day 1 in Gapo

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Kare kare!

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Day 2 with Elmo

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Almost raining at Harbor Point

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Harbor Point, back view

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At Max's, with a special guest, Day 2 in Gapo

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At Wimpy's inside Subic

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Welcome! Day 3 in La Union

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San Juan Surf Resort

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Surf shop

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The sea

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Look who's enjoying

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With Luke Landrigan

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At Veniz Hotel, Day 4 Baguio

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The Bible :)

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My bed

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Baguio City Hall

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Cafe by the Ruins, closed

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At Pizza Volante

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At Wright Park

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The Mansion

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Wright Park

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Wright Park

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Happy Tummy at Ketchup, a food community near Wright Park

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Peanut butter cake and Thai tea

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A view from SM Baguio

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Start of Day 5, Baguio at Tam-awan Village

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Hut for reproductively challenged couples

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Oh, those stairs

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Among the clouds!

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Guys on the hood at 50's Diner

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Cemetery of Negativism and some of my favorite tombs

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CW moment

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Oh. Em. Gee.

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Where i made my pact with God, teh Bell Ampitheatre atCamp John Hay

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At Starbucks, Camp John Hay

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 21:34 Archived in Philippines Tagged baguio olongapo travel_posts harbor_point san_juan_surf_resort luke_landrigan camp_john_hay cemetery_of_negativism veniz_hotel wright_park Comments (0)

the case of the Bible reading plan

Living the Surrendered Life

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you might be wondering where i'm getting the passages that i have been posting for the past couple of days.

i have been following a Bible reading plan from YouVersion called Living the Surrendered Life, and here is a link to the next verse i'll be reading: Click Here.

it's amazing because so far, everything that i've read has something to do with my current struggles and sitches.

hope this will help you too.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 21:41 Archived in Philippines Tagged the_case_of soul_travels Comments (0)

my soul's travels: 2 Corinthians 5:17

rain

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

everyone i know knows my story, or at least what i thought was important.

if anyone was asked about me, here are the top answers/words they can relate me to: gay, vodka, food, party, laughter. sounds like a good list, huh? it may have, before. some of those words have to go.

it was only recently that i started to question the differences between personality and preference. i may have always interchanged them.

i can still have the same personality: funny, awesome (lol), cautious, supportive, etc. but my preference needs to change.

i have always said i am taking baby steps. in my trip to Baguio just last week, i finally made a pact with Him. i just need to wait when He lets it happen. i now believe in the power of choice.

i chose to quit partying, smoking and drinking. i can choose to change my preference too. not easy alone. but with God's grace, it might be a miracle i shall soon see.

i pray Father, that You continue to lead me to the path that You chose for me, the life that You designed for me. now that i have realized the lies of my past, let me live in Your truth and i need Your guidance and the support of my community, be it my family or the Church. i pray that You enlighten my other friends, the way You have enlightened me through others, that they may not see this as a trivial change but as a transformation of Your child who was lost for quite some time.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 18:57 Archived in Philippines Tagged soul_travels Comments (0)

my soul's travels: Ezekiel 36:26

rain

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh."

this couldn't have been a more perfect timing for me to read this passage.

after my linner (yeah, lunch + dinner) with BJ today, i realized i had put too much importance on the thought of people owing me things, like the truth, or loyalty, that i have forgotten that my heart is not about those things but love.

i remember my conversation with Mr. Big a year ago, when he told me i was becoming too jaded that i have put a wall around myself. keeping people that i needed in, and those that i despise out. maybe i have done that too much, that the wall has become too small to fit people in. and one day, the wall may only have my heart in it. a heart with stone walls and no one to care for. sad, isn't it?

right now, i could see a clear vision of those people i have shut out of my life and wonder how they are. some of them i have tried to reach out to with no response back, but i pray that one day God will just let our paths cross. it's not because i'm tired, but because maybe God is telling me this isn't the right time.

i have to push the walls as far back as i can, and hopefully tear it down in the end.

maybe my heart problems are part-clinical, part-spiritual. have you ever felt your heart being so heavy even if you know you've been eating the right food? have you told people you are happy, but you still can't sleep very well at night? have you ever turned your back on people and told them you don't care about them anymore but you end up wanting to talk to them again and say sorry?

i guess the first step to actually having a heart that works is to know what it is for. more than an organ that pumps blood throughout the body, it is where faith resides. our faith connects us with Him, and if faith cannot penetrate the heart, then He cannot be welcomed in.

a free heart is a healthy heart. forgiveness, humility, honesty, etc. these are things that break down the walls that do not let others in.

with this, i pray Father, that You slowly free my heart from sin, from pride and from lies. sin that move me away from you, pride that disconnects me from others and lies that hinder me from seeing the truth. Your truth. i pray for strength, for strong will, for guidance. i pray for the people around me to ask for the same things, and open their eyes to how much lighter our hearts would feel in a world with no resentment nor escapism.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 17:41 Archived in Philippines Tagged soul_travels Comments (0)

A real travel post: Day 5 of the 1st adventure

Baguio, Day 5

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after my midnight walk on Session, i slept really well that i woke up around 8am. not too good because i had planned to go to more places that morning. i went to the hotel cafe for breakfast, which was not a blockbuster. the milk for the cereal was a bit sour. the embotido was burnt. i guess i did not enjoy the free breakfast. at all. after that, i just stayed at my hotel room to blog about the previous days. i finished right about 12 noon.

i arrived at Tam-awan Village by 12:30pm. it only cost me 80 pesos from the hotel. based on what i saw on the net, i expected the place to be big and full of natives. but it was not. it was like a makeship village with art galleries and hike trails. don't get me wrong, because after the initial dismay, i actually loved my stay there. i was greeted by a receptionist and had to pay 50 pesos for my stay there. i was given a map and a bookmark. knowing me, i didn't use the map at all. i just let my feet take me where they wanted me to go. and they were really tired.

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i walked up a steep flight of stairs made of stone and at the top was a gallery of paintings and artsy stuff that can be bought. beside the gallery were stores for pasalubong. thinking that i was on a tight budget, i did not buy any.

i reached the cafe, and there was a table full of noisy guests so i avoided that. it was raining when i arrived so the steps were really slippery. the bamboo stilts and handrails were also mossy, so you must wonder how a maarte person like me was able to stay there for more than an hour. the first steps and makeshift bridges were okay. it was the upper trail that was really a challenge for me. i did not notice how high i already was that when it rained, i settled at a hut that seemed like a resting place, and in a few moments, i was among the clouds.

i took this time to pray, thank the Lord for letting it rain. my plan was to just take pictures and leave. but the rain made me stay a bit more and breathe what must have been the freshest of air. suddenly i forgot about the insects that were feasting on my legs (yeah, do not wear shorts and use sturdy flip flops/shoes). it was cold, what with the rain and the fog, but i felt warm inside. after 20 minutes, when the cold was too much for me to handle, i whispered "Lord, please let the rain stop. like, right now" (with a smile, of course). after a few minutes, i left the place. Tam-awan Village is a miniature of what the natives would have lived in. it was fun to see idols planted around the place. there was the hut for reproductively challenged couples. there was also a place for bonfires, with stone chairs surrounding it. a tour guide must have been really helpful, but there were so little to see about the culture. the hiking part that i did not expect made me appreciate the place more.

with all that climbing i did, i was hungry. this time, i made sure i went to 50's Diner, which cost me 91 pesos coming from Tam-awan Village. true to its name, it was a diner. the look, the feel, the music, the posters, the uniforms of the servers, etc. i ordered Guys on the Hood (no, it's not what you think), which had a slab of porkchop, fried chicken leg, fries, pizza, spaghetti and mixed veggies. boy it was one heck of a meal! good: well-done porkchop, crispy chicken skin, sweet sauced spag, big slices of fries. bad: the pizza was just a slice of bread with cheese and tomato sauce on top. also, the Boo-boo's Special (four seasons) was too sweet, i had to take a couple of gulps and put more water in my glass. the whole meal was less than 200 pesos. i should come back.

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after carbo loading, i felt it was appropriate to walk some more, so i headed to Camp John Hay. from 50's Diner, it cost me 61 pesos for the cab ride. the first place i went to was the Cemetery of Negativism (oh, there's a 50-peso fee) and just passed by the Filling Station. i have gone there two years ago anyway. i took pictures of each tomb, and it made me sad that some of the sculptures have been broken, and the tombs are only maintained by re-painting from time to time. i also took pictures of flowers, the totem pole and the huge sunflower that was their symbol for the Panagbenga Festival.

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the next place i visited was the Bell Ampitheater, which was like a circular garden with steps surrounded by different, colorful flowers and the steps would lead to a small stage in the center. i didn't know what got over me, but a few feet away from the stage, i started to cry. to make it more dramatic, it rained. i took this time to talk to God again, and made a pact with Him. if it was His will for an event to happen in my life, i wanted that to take place in this beautiful garden. i was stuck in the garden for a few more minutes because of the rain. when the rain stopped, i had to walk for a few minutes before i was able to get a cab that would take me to Starbucks.

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yes, the Starbucks inside Camp John Hay is my most favorite ever. it has a wooden ramp that leads to the front door, but the interior makes it lose its cabin feel. i suggest that they build a fireplace inside, real or not. after my stay there, i had to walk a lot. it was difficult getting a cab anywhere! i started walking from Starbucks, and got a cab near Filling Station. that was not fun at all because it was raining. anyway, i wanted to experience nature, so there. i got what i wanted.

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i went straight to my hotel. rested for a bit then went to SM Baguio because i was craving for sizzling stuff. i got tenderloin tips. so-so. stayed at Starbucks (again) then went home. i had a hard time sleeping that night. by 2am, i had to go back to KFC to eat. i think i slelpt around 4am, and woke up an hour after to get to the 6am bus.

and next time, i should ask the route for the buses. because i could've paid less had i gotten off Quezon Ave. i thought after Cubao would be Sampaloc so i got off Galleria and took a cab to get home. i slept almost the whole trip. i've seen the views anyway. and i needed sleep.

when i got home, i was so hungry. good thing there were a lot of food. i wasn't able to hang out with everyone anyway, i was too tired.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 16:16 Archived in Philippines Tagged travel_posts camp_john_hay tam-awan_village Comments (0)

my soul's travels: James 1:19

sunny

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

recent events have proven that i have so much to improve on when it comes to my temper. no, i do not need anger management. it's just that certain situations have made me walk out on a lot of people.

so it's more like an outburst, but not violent. however, i have been known not to look back at the things i have already left. my ex-boyfriends are not my good friends now. i have a handful of ex-friends that i have not talked to for a long time.

if there's one thing that i disliked the most, it's finding out the lies behind things that i was previously told, that i believed to be the truth. i have this weird habit of remembering small things that people think i might forget. but i remember things, because i believed them to be true. and when i start putting the pieces together after realizing something was false, i start formulating questions in my mind. and with the frustration of not knowing the answers to those questions, i get angry. then i start to pull myself away.

can i listen? i think i should. a part of me says that i would want to hear the truth, but in reality, i don't. and maybe that's why i run away. i should start listening, no matter what disappointment the conversation may bring.

can i speak slowly? i guess my more important question is, can i judge slowly? i always say that i have no judgment on things, but i do. i may not talk about it, but i judge. and when i judge, what comes next is the decision whether i should keep my relations with that person.

can i get angry slowly? this is the hard part. i know myself. i know what makes me angry. how can i do it slowly? the 1-2-3 turtle does not work for me all the time. i have lost my hold on my fish philosophies. maybe it's time that i focused on those more. maybe they don't work because i still believe that i should always speak my mind and i should always be right.

i thought that change was an easy process. i thought everything would change once i prayed for it. but i shouldn't just pray for change once. it's not everyday that i am faced with situations that would test me on this. but i pray that God lets me remember James 1:19 whenever i have the urge to be angry. i don't want to reach the point when i have turned my back on everyone, and in the end realizing that i have nothing to go back to.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 02:01 Archived in Philippines Tagged soul_travels Comments (0)

the case of the vacation summarized

sunny

so i'm back. after five days of travelling via buses, jeepneys, cabs and by foot, i am definitely back.

in all honesty, i think i achieved what i wanted out of this vacation. even though i was not able to attend the yoga session that made me go to Baguio in the first place, i was able to find a substitute activity for it.

Days 1 and 2 were about Thanksgiving. this was the part of the trip where i had to be with relatives, and i chose Olongapo. i was able to hang out with my nephews and nieces for a bit. i also treated some of them to food, and went around the mall in the base. lately, i have not gotten out of my way to meet with relatives, i would have preferred that they went to Manila, so this was one way to let me get out of my comfort zone. Subic has changed. it is more open to people now. i never felt as though i was in another place.

Day 3 was about relaxing. even though the place i went to was a surfing spot, i never did surf. all i needed were the sun, the shore and the sound of the crashing waves. i would never get so much waves in any other place, i guess. there i was, reading a book alone, while the others enjoyed surfing. i didn't think about anything, or anyone. i had a great time with myself. as i planned, i smoked and drank, as i bid goodbye to my vices. that was the last shot of Absolut, paired with the last pack of cigarettes.

Days 4 and 5 were originally for yoga, but i wasn't contacted by the organizers. instead, i communicated with nature and culture. dressed in shorts and my trusty jacket, i braved the cold drizzles of Baguio and roamed around the city. it was as if on queue that i found myself in the clouds. after that i was surrounded by beautiful flowers and talked to God while crying, alone in the rain. i made a pact with Him, whatever His will for me was.

after all the food i ate, the people i was with, the things i'm turning my back to, and all the pretty things that made me appreciate my life more, i was really thankful. it was not the perfectly planned trip that went by according to schedule, but i found myself in the right places. there are three things that i was able to focus on: family, serenity and nature. this trip has shown me the kind of fun that most people forget. food tastes much better when shared with family. i am most at peace when i'm at the beach. and there are a lot of places that will make me feel that God is really awesome.

my next trips will be shorter. no more province hopping for the meantime. but i hope to learn more in the next adventures.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 01:44 Archived in Philippines Tagged the_case_of Comments (0)

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