A Travellerspoint blog

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

rain

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)

the cray cray adventures: a short, shorts day

sunny

after my vacation and the Christening of bugoy on Saturday, i was back to te old grind on Sunday. most of our Victory groupmates were in the singles' retreat so we did not have to meet that afternoon. Michael texted that he will attend the service in Galleria so i went with Derrick instead. i did not have any clothes left so i wore shorts, and Derrick did too, for some reason that i have forgotten.

we planned to go to the 1pm service, but when we got there, we learned that the next afternoon servcie was at 3pm. because of that, we decided to go back to the village to eat, but all the food places Derrick wanted me to try were closed. we settled for the eatery in front of Mini Stop where we ate a decent tasting pansit bihon (with two pieces of lechon kawali) and for each of us, an order of lechon kawali with rice. i gave him my pasalubong from Veniz Hotel and told him my amusing story at the bus. when we were done, we went straight to the service.

after church, we went back to the village to chill and stayed at Moonleaf. however, after some unsettling news, i just decided to go home.

that night, i met the mahjongeras for an emergency session at 6750, and decided to leave Path. seems like we won't be hanging around for a long time.

(sorry for the dullness of this post. i won't be sharing anything from the service too. not allowed.)

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 00:40 Archived in Philippines Tagged cray_cray_adventures Comments (0)

The case of the walk out queen

sunny

Okay, i haven't finished my Day 5 post of my adventure last week. What i've posted so far are drafts. It's difficult to blog using my phone. My laptop misses me. Today was supposed to be the day that i finished all the 5 posts, plus pictures. But i just received a not so very nice bit of information, and i walked out.

I have the tendency to walk out when i get bad news about anything. When my emotions are sky-high, i am most likely to walk away. Most likely, anyway. I have my moments of being confrontational, but at times i just run away. Maybe because i don't want people to see my angry face or crying face. Or maybe i'm just scared of what i would do if i didn't step away to think. I could've been in a lot of trouble.

But there are also downsides of walking away. Sometimes, i don't look back and just leave. With that, there maybe buts of information that i leave out. Or don't hear at all. A few times, i guess, i'm just scared of knowing that i was right and the other party really did something wrong that i did not like.

I have walked away from companies that i thought was not for me. After that, it took me a long time to find the right one, because i felt so high and mighty. I have walked away from friends that i considered unhealthy for me without properly addressing my issues. And it may be too late to let them hear me out.

I walked away from God. Look where that got me. I was lost in intoxication. I believed all the lies that were spread in the world. I engaged in activities that were impure and worldly. I thought i was above and beyond what others were. I believed my success was solely because of me.

But this time, i'm looking back. And right by the time that i decided to face the Lord again, He was just there, walking after me.

Right now, i'm walking away from all the bad things that i've done. I'm completely surrendering myself to His call. I have walked miles and miles away from God not knowing He was just there. Waiting to welcome me back with open arms. I've experienced all that was bad. It's time to put them in jars and let them remain there. I can not afford to walk away from Him again. He does not deserve that after all that i've been blessed with.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 19:57 Archived in Philippines Tagged the_case_of Comments (0)

A real travel post: Day 4 of the 1st adventure

Baguio, Day 4

rain

I woke up the next day at around 630am. Had to make sure i did so i can eat breakfast, which was free, and fix my stuff. There were new guests that arrived. One of which was Luis Alandy in his shirtless glory. Yeah. Sinful.

I settled my bill and paid 810 pesos for tapsilog, bihon, a glass of Absolut, and lots of drinks/milo. After taking a shower, i left.

There were no buses nor trikes passing by, so i did the unexpected, i rode a jeepney.

It was sad because i missed the 9am Partas bus. I looked at it go away. Anyway, i had to find a place to stay, and settled at Jollibee. There were a lot of Mercury Drugs and Jollibees. Weird haha.

The Jollibee crew were nice. Greeting everyone and asking for the customer's name. I ordered the crispy wings, which reminded me of what i buy on the street. Sorry. They had a feedback smiley card. Of course i told them they were excellent.

I went back to the bus station, which was more like a cubicle. On the glass screen, it said "No Reservations" but when the bus arrived, apparently there were numbers we needed to get. Anyway, so an old man told me to sit beside him because his seatmate did not come back. I paid 92 pesos for my fare. Did not sleep on the trip again. Almost cried when i realized we were among the clouds. Sigh. That feeling. It amazes me.

When i got off the bus, i was happy to see lots of cabs, which La Union did not have. I got to the hotel (Hotel Veniz) on time. The hotel looked different from the pictures. I'll blog about it separately. Anyway, i got to my room. It smelled of old wood. AC remote control did not work. But the room was decent. Just enough for one person. They had free cookies, little notes, etc. they had a Bible in the rooms, a map of Baguio and lots of information about the city.

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After getting settled, i was off to withdraw money. Went to Cafe by the Ruins but it was closed. I had to change plans and ate at Volante along Session instead. It was what it was. A diner. Had to go upstairs for more seats. It seemed like a hang out joint for students. I ordered the Marengo pizza, bolognese pasta and a mango shake. They charged extra for parmesan cheese. Boooooooo!!! Anyway, the pizza was just okay. The pasta's sauce did not stick to the noodles. I ended up eating lots of the sauce with the bread. I might try another pizza next time.

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By 4pm it was drizzling, and i decided to go to Mansion House and Wright Park. Took a lot of pictures. Without me hahaha! I walked along the road to see what else i can check out and i found Ketchup, a food community. There were like 5 restos there and i chose Happy Tummy. It didn't have that look that will tell me what kind of resto it was, but they served Thai food. I got a super sweet peanut butter cake with Thai tea, which was orange and looked weird, but was also sweet. Reasonable price too, i only paid 100 pesos.

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After that, i was full, so i went to SM Baguio. There were a lot of kids. Not my crowd. After buying stuff at Watson's, i went to Starbucks. Got an iced tea that isn't worth remembering. SM Baguio isn't for me.

I went back to the hotel. I was so full so i decided to just rest for a while. I wanted to go to 50's Diner but i was so tired. Woke up from my nap at around 11pm and ate at KFC Session instead.

Session Road was scary at night. Lots of people walking. I felt adventurous so i walked back to the hotel. Super scared walking alone! Even the overpass was scary. But i made it to the hotel safely. Will not do that again.

Did two things today: said no to lower prices for the stuff i bought at Wright Park and offered to take pictures of strangers at the Mansion House.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 16:39 Archived in Philippines Tagged travel_posts wright_park happy_tummy Comments (0)

A real travel post: Day 3 of the 1st adventure

La Union, Day 3

sunny

Although my cousins and i slept late, we woke up really early so i would be able to arrive in La Union on time. On Tuesday, i kept on googling about the travel time from Sison to San Juan, but i didn't google on the time from Gapo to Sison. Man, that was a wrong decision.

When i paid the conductor, i gave him 342 pesos. At first i thought it was little too expensive, but it was a loooong trip. We left at exactly 6am, and i arrived at the Sison bus stop of Partas at 12 noon. Even though i was really sleepy, i stayed awake the whole 6 hour trip. It was nice to see a Victory Church signage, i think it was in Dagupan. I forget. One thing my friends and i did in our college road trip was counting the Burger Machine stalls on the way; but now i want to count the all the SM malls i see. Saw one in Pampanga, Pangasinan, etc.

Anyway, from Sison, it took us a little over two hours before i arrived at the resort. The resort is awesome. It looked exactly as i imagined it. If there's one bad thing i have to say, is that my bathroom is really small. The staff is friendly. They answered all my questions. Luke Landrigan was very visible. I watched him as he went around the place, which was being renovated in some parts. I took pictures, and they're all in my instagram account. Before i went back to the resort, a few college kids ambushed me for a paper they're doing and interviewed me while being recorded in a video. it was all about the beach, and how to maintain it. Did not get their names. bummer. Too bad swimming is not allowed, because of the waves and the sea floor. So i just sat on my sarong, read my Sedaris and listened to music, while Elmo got the best shots on my phone's camera.

I saw a group of folks taking surfing lessons, but i didn't. I just wanted to chill. Rest. Maybe next time, when i come back. It would've been fun, but having friends around will make it worthwhile to surf.

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After the lackluster sunset that i waited for, i ate again, and their bihon is to die for. It had the right saltiness, and had a lot of sahog. Imagine it with meatballs. The ate there told me it was good for two, but it was good for four! I didn't finish my food and just asked ate to heat it for me later. Oh, i decided not to bring the food to my room coz there was no table. When i went back to my room, i slept a little.

And yeah, you might be wondering. There are a lot of shirtless guys. But i tried my best to look away and focused on my book.

After my catnap, i went back to the dining area for my reheated pansit. Took a glass of Absolut and ordered a pack of cigs. On Friday, i will go to the cemetery of Negativity and say goodbye to my previous vices. No, i am not smoking to get back on my addiction. This is merely a goodbye thing.

After dinner, i called Rye to tell him about Luke, and told him to come back with me. Luke's a nice guy. Really. I watched him ride the waves from afar and he was good!

And oh, i have a "Sea playlist" now. Of course there's Pure Shores.

So now, as i'm writing this, i'm in bed in my fan room. Should get AC next time. Getting ready to sleep since there's no nightlife here. I think. Just calming sounds of breaking waves at the shore. I'm def coming back.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 16:32 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

A real travel post: Day 2 of the 1st adventure

Gapo, day 2

sunny

Day 2 was a little laid back. After the clothes were folded and us Skyping with my teenage sister, my ate and i went to the house in Gordon Heights to eat lunch with the family. We had chicken adobo! And no, when i crossed the street, i ignored all snails.

We left around 2pm, and roamed around Harbor Point. we had a hard time choosing where to eat so we walked more and got some massages at Timezone. when we were super hungry, we decided to eat at Max's while it was my other cousin's break at work. We went around again after eating. Yeah. It was difficult to go around a mall where there weren't so much to see yet.

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However, i saw some prospective bags from TNF. Expensive though. After that, we went to Japan Home Center where i went crazy and bought a bumper for my phone and cheap cologne that does not last that long and new earphones without a mic. What do you know, minutes later, i found a similar set, with a mic. I bought that second one too. I was craving for milk tea but i knew my tummy would react if i drank one, so we just walked some more. Disappointed with the Sesame Street lip balm that i got the day before from Watson's, i bought another lip balm from Maybelline, while my ate tried on some make up.

Finally feeling really tired, we went Starbs to settle a bit. While i was ordering, the barista thought i was from somewhere else. Lololol.

After charging at Starbs, my ate treated me to Wimpy's. Finally, something not available in Manila!!! It was like an old Jollibee with that diner feel. The mene was really similar to Jollibee's except they had grilled porkchops that were divine! The matching potato salad was lackluster. Imagine all the carbs i ate that day.

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The three of us went back to the Kalayaan house and agreed to sleep in one room because of my nightmare the previous day. Well, we didn't sleep enough.

Sleep deprived and hungry, we all went to Victory Liner and they set me off. I almost cried when the bus left. I really had a great time. This must be God's way of making me realize how important spending time with family is.

Days 1 and 2 were really about Thanksgiving for my ate who was always there when i was hospitalized twice. I never get to spend time with her family here, and that's why i included Gapo in my itinerary. With the good times and all the food we ate, i think i achieved what i wanted to experience on those days.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 01:25 Archived in Philippines Tagged max's travel_posts harbor_point Comments (0)

The case of the nightmare

sunny

This is going to be quick. There's one thing that i left out in yesterday's blog. I just did not want to worry anyone. Last night while chatting with Derrick, i was already falling asleep. We just had a big meal, we've walked around but i was really full. So a few minutes after i slept, i had a nightmare. It was not a dream-nightmare. I was just there, lying still, looking at the wall. When i saw the wooden cross on the wall, i started saying the Lord's prayer. Towards the end, i was able to move my feet and breathe normally. I was scared. I didn't know what would have happened next. I am so thankful i still woke up... Just sharing. I am full again. So i'll sleep later than planned, although my trip tomorrow going to La Union should be at 6am. Anyway, have a good night everyone. Feel blessed by God with every waking moment.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 22:50 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

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