10 Things You Didn’t Know About a Traveler

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Vagabond, rambler, wanderer, traveler, drifter, maunder, gadabout, wayfarer, (beach) bum, nomad, or adventurer. Whatever you are, we have one thing in common, we travel. Travel? Is that the only thing we have in common?

I am broke…

I’m not rich. In fact, most of the time, I’m struggling. Struggle to eat thrice a day, to stay in my grandparent’s house, to pay my bills, to support my daily use, etc. I don’t have a single penny left in the bank. I spend it all in travelling. I invested it all in experience, best captures, good food, with great locals and life lessons. I don’t care if I am broke… I’m still rich in something worthwhile- good memories. Currently, I am saving for my next place ‘cause my grandma wants me to find my own place. She said “Get out! Get Lost! Move away!”. Now I’m ready again to be broke!

I am lost…

Will somebody out there try to call 911. Someone is lost. My soul is lost. Lost in an incredible moment. I often ask myself, where in this beautiful world I am? Is this real or am I just dreaming. ‘Cause if I am, I don’t want to wake up anymore. I found my new place and it’s called wanderland. Wanderlust. Yes! That’s the right word. Don’t dare to find me. You will just lost like me. And trust me baby, you will just drown in memories.

I am drowning…

As the lifeguard tries to save me, I just said, just let me. So he let me be. I am drowning… drowning in memories. Is that okay? Yes! Like John Legend said,”my head’s under water, but I’m breathing fine”. I know it’s crazy, but that’s all I want right now. Good vibes, better feeling and best experience.  I just want to drown in the vast sea, in the field full of sunflowers, drown in the endless beauty of sunrises and sunsets, drown in pure bliss, etc. If I’m going to die right now, please open my travel diary, read  it and get my last will and testament which I folded it twice and use it as a bookmark. It said there that, all my wealth from travels- experiences, memories, and captures will go to the one who take the time to read this article. I don’t have children nor a husband ‘cause I am still single so I pass it all to you.

I am single…

I am single and that’s okay ‘cause I’m happy. My singleness is such a big deal for everybody. Most of time, they often ask me where in the world is my boyfriend. Or the funniest question I ever heard, are you a lesbian? And the weird thing..is your heart still beating? Yes! It doesn’t mean that I am single, I have so much hatred for guys. It’s not that I don’t have time for human feelings. It’s just that, I love my freedom very much and I find freedom whenever I’m on the road. I’m not forcing you to understand me right now, but someday baby, you will understand me.  And to those who asked me, did I ever fall in love? I have fallen in love and I am falling in love to “him”.

 I am in love…

I am in love right now. In love with the places I’ve been to. In love with the people I met along the way. In love with the thought of being in love and happily in love with him- named “travel”. His name sounds familiar to you? Yes! I’m not kidding, baby! The first time I knew him, I fell in love with him. There’s something about him that I can’t resist.  Some people mistakenly thought that love is an emotion or a feeling when in fact it is an action. “Travel” always gives me flowers, watch the sunrises and sunsets with me, an addictive smile, a walk in the park, visit to the museums, a day at the beach, an adventure in the mountains, a date in the bench under the lamp-post, a romantic dinner in the street with the best menus-street food, discover some havens with me and everything under the sun. “Travel” never leave me. That’s why I am never afraid to take chances and follow the stars. I love you “travel” to the moon and back!

I am not afraid…

Being with the people they called strangers, staying in unfamiliar places, experiencing different culture and religions, sleep in a Nipa hut, train/ferry stations, or just in the hammock, I am not afraid anymore. I don’t want to be that coward before who just follow what other people say ‘cause she’s afraid to take chances. Now, I am facing the world. A wonderful world indeed. And I am positive enough to every remaining days. I want to live my life the way I wanted it to be and I am not afraid anymore. I just want to live a simple life and be happy.

I am happy…

Just do it. Doing something of what you really dream of, even if some people don’t totally agree with you- go against the odds. Following your bliss even if it means leaving our love ones for a while. Pursuing on something worthwhile even if it means sacrificing your comfortable life. Trying to live life to the best we could. That’s happiness. We gotta fight for it. When we fight, we have to fight all the damn way through. I don’t have any regrets that I follow my heart, my dream, my bliss and my happiness. I am happy that I make a difference even in my own little way and I learned it all in travelling.

I am learning…

Travelling taught us many things in life that we can’t learn and find it in school. Travelling taught us to be empathizing, more sensitive to others, valuing life, time and human race, down to earth, helping our mother earth, embracing ourselves, understanding other people even we have different languages, etc. We learn to help other people, to respect their culture and religions, to understand their souls, to embody their beliefs, to live like a local, to keep humble as much as we can, to embrace our imperfections, to be familiar with our strengths and weaknesses and a lot-of-things-not-ended. There’s so much to learn while travelling. Experience is our best teacher and we are those wanderers who eagerly wants to learn and hungry and thirsty to new possibilities and ideas no matter how hard it is.

I am hungry and thirsty…

Hungry of exploring this beautiful mad world. Of discovering the hidden wonders of the world. Of walking through the moon and floating in the galaxy, swimming in the Milky Way, wandering under the sun and loving every inch of humankind. I am thirsty of all those thoughts. Even the vast sea, the underwater, the raindrops are not enough. I am so thirsty…thirsty to experience what this world can offer.

I am who I am…

We often misjudged by other people, misunderstood by many, discrimination seems our buddy, despise by ignorant, and envy of society. No matter what other people say about you, good or bad, it will not define the real you. People have always something to say and let them be. Don’t listen to them. Just follow your heart and you will never get lost. We are born to be wild. We are born to be nomads. We are who we are. A lover of life, a wanderer, a soul believer, a freedom seeker. We are a traveler and will always be.

“Have the guts to do it, to be yourself, to follow your dreams, to follow your heart, to follow your bliss. Have the guts to wander. “

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P.S Sorry if it took me a while to update my blog because I’m too damn busy in my studies, internship and travels. Finished on my internship already so I have now more time to publish stories/writing which I put it all on “Draft” for almost 3 months.

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10 Harsh Realities Young Female Travelers Face When Traveling Alone

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“I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinion of others. I choose to be motivated, not manipulated. I choose to be brave and not to be coward at all. And I choose to live by choice not by chance”

I decided to leave the beautiful island of Siargao to make some changes and somewhat try to find a better life in the city. My grandparents offered us (me and my twin sis) a great opportunity we can’t say no. Hey! A better life, good education and an opportunity to travel: what else could you ask for? Honestly, I really miss home a lot. 8 years ago, I took the courage to travel from Mindanao to Luzon by bus and ferries. That time, I know nothing about life. All I know is that, I will try to make a difference even in my own little way. I know, it will never be the same if I go back home. I can say that I changed a lot. The way I talk, dress, and think. Travelling help me to grow, mature and live my life the best I could. It makes me a tough version of being me. Like they said, you must learn the hard way in able to feel your sweet success. Yes! I’m not perfect, I do have lots of failures in life, battles I did not give a damned, I made mistakes a lot, but I learned, bad experiences that help me to whom to trust and not, heartaches, scars and even risked my life 3 times. I owe these whole things in travelling. Here are some common issues and misconceptions you might encounter too (which I did encountered) during your travels.

  1. Some people don’t listen and believe you because they think that you are just a 7-year old brat

It’s sad to think that older people don’t listen and believe you, and honestly, I still don’t understand because I’m not like that to other people. When you go to the airport, in a bar, hotels. First they will ask you, even if you’re telling the truth, they still don’t believe you not unless they see your ID or passport. I maybe look like a brat, but believe me, I’m not! And stop treating me like a 7-year-old brat. I’m a grown up now. I’ll be turning twenty this year for goodness sake.

  1. T.R.U.S.T

I easily trust other people. Well, I trust them enough, even my life I left up to them. The motorbike driver, pilot, seaman and bus driver, I fully entrust my life to them. I’m a direction challenged lady so whenever I feel that I’m lost I never hesitated to ask other people I met along the way. Yes! I believe them and I trust their information they gave to me. If I trust, please don’t just take for granted. Like they said, it’s hard to bring back the trust that lost. And by the way, if you just take that trust for granted, damn you! Don’t expect me to trust you again like before.

  1. I guess romantic relationship is not meant for me 

This one sucks! I want to fall in love not just the thought of being in love. I guess the romantic relationship isn’t meant for me. Whenever I left the place, I know I have someone out there to leave behind. C’mon, they have their own life too, and I have my own. I don’t want them to be stuck in a situation where no one will benefit in the future. Don’t date a girl who travels!

  1. My singleness is such a big deal for everybody

I still don’t understand that my singleness is such a big deal to my family, friends, co traveler-blogger-musician. They said I’m not that ugly. I’m intelligent, kind, beautiful, independent and everything a man could ask for (this is not a self-loathing post). Okay, once and for all. Maybe right now I’m not into it. I love my freedom very much. I don’t want to have an extra/ heavy baggage with me whenever I go somewhere. I often get lost (lost in an incredible moment) and I want to find myself alone. I like to consider myself an independent woman. Maybe, in the right time and in the right place with the right man (or maybe not).

  1. When people think that I’m super rich

This one is so funny. They thought that I am super rich. No, I’m not! I’m neither a daughter of Bill Gates nor a girlfriend of any tycoons, and obviously I’m not a Kardashian. I’m just a simple girl trying to find myself in this amazing world we live in. I get and got the opportunities to travel because of my grandparents and for academics. If I do well in school, they will give me a reward and I often ask a bus/ferry/plane tickets. All expenses are paid by them. That’s why I will always be grateful to my kind and ever supportive grandparents. I also do teach English (exchange languages) and I do volunteering.

  1. Asking favor is such a big deal for me

I don’t usually ask nor beg to other people.  As long as I can still handle everything then I’m fine with that. Couchsurfing is good but i don’t want to bother other people. I appreciate the kind offer but I’m pretty fine even sleeping in a hammock, spend the day in a park or in the beach. They have their own lives too I don’t want to be a burden to them and add to their worries and problems.

  1. When people are so kind, loyal, and generous to you that you don’t want to leave them at all

Saying goodbye is the hardest thing to do, do you know that? It makes me sick to think that the people who accepted me, taught me great things in life, be my second family, even just for a while, the great memories we’ve shared. Oh gosh! It makes me want to cry, I have to leave them behind and move on with my life and head to my next destination where my next home awaits. You learned to love them already and you feel at ease and comfortable around them. And then one day, you’re leaving them.

  1. Some people are so arrogant they don’t even think what they’re saying

You cannot please everybody. Some are kind while some are rude. Some have humor while some don’t have. Some are intelligent enough, they respected you while some are so arrogant. Believe me, been there. When they know that you’re single, they will offer you money in exchange for sex. One time, a guy asked me (…lots of guys already but this one was unbelievable) if I could be his gf and his wife. He offered me his beautiful house, he said I don’t need to work at all, I don’t need to worry about the money and daily living ‘cause he will provide everything. All I have to do is just be his gf and later on maybe his wife. Frankly, I was insulted and humiliated that time. I felt so cheap. Did it turn me on? NO! I want to slap his face, punch him and kick his ass. He thinks he can fool me and blind me with his wealth. Damn him!

  1. Losing yourself for a while, then back to the harsh reality of life

Yeah! I maybe had a great time during my travels. Fall in love with the places. Everything was so wonderful and beautiful. But after that, we just have to deal the harsh reality and go back to the life where we have to be serious in life. In able to save money, we have to work hard and work smart and tighten our belt just to save. I have to face my accounting books, wake up early, but sleep so late at night. I have to study for my exams, report, recitation and everything about the stressful matters in school.

  1. That don’t-worry-I-will-be-okay thing

Homesick. I don’t know what that means until I drowned in a vast sea, almost die in a ferry, had a typhoid fever and diarrhea, dengue fever and starve myself to death. Some of my friends and my grandparents once said to me that I am nothing but trouble. Among their grandchildren, I’m the most stubborn. I don’t know what’s wrong with my female hormones but I really like to rule and conquer the man’s world. I’m into extreme sports. Adrenaline rush. When I was in high school, grandma confiscated my phones (it was not really my fault, it was my twin sister). And yeah, I got used to it (whether you believe it or not. Well, you have no choice but to believe it ‘cause I’m telling the truth nothing but the truth). And you know what? I like the idea of not having one and I’m proud that I’m not a slave of phone. I don’t like disturbance when I’m on a trip. They will only get information about me when I already home. I always have with me just my laptop, camera, watch, backpack, and necessary things I need for my travels. But don’t worry, I will be okay. I’ll have fun, I promise!

Happy 1st Anniversary!

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Thank you very much for the great support guys! Thank you for reading and visiting The Stranger Canvas 🙂 To all the hopeless romantic, life lovers, foodies, travelers, fashionistas out there, a big thanks to all of you guys! Here’s a one-year recap! Have a great day everyone! Happy blogging!

Love lots,
Zoelie Sapphire

 Food

collageLinguine Carbonara with Luncheon Meat + Garlic Bread + Coffee
Yellowtail Fusilier Sweet & Sour
Pineapple Pie, Ice Cream & Fresh Milk
Siargao’s Best (Exotic Food)
Food 101: Homemade Mashed Potato
Food 101: Salmon Belly Sinigang (salmon belly sour soup)
Food 101: Baked Ziti
Food 101: A Great Escape
Food 101: Chicken Cordon Bleu w/ a twist
New Year’s Eve 2014!
Food 101: Holiday Special 2013
Food 101: Chardonnay (vino frizzante)+ Mocha Cake
Food 101: Caesar Salad+Steak+Mashed Potato+Broccoli

 

 Fashion

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Living Young, Wild & Free
Better Day!
Chiconomics 101: Printed Long Sleeves

 Photography & Travel

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Skimboarding
The Typewriter
The Boat
Cloud 9
The Rugged Island
Lost in Paradise
Paradise Hideaway in Siargao
Sunset in Paradise
A Glimpse of Paradise
Siargao Island

 In Life and Love

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How Do I live Without You?
You’re Still The One
Poverty
What is Sacrifice?
2 Dozens of Teaching and Learning
Comparison
Rain
Sacrifice

 

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15 Reasons Why Your Haters Hate You
8 Reasons Why We Won’t Be Facebook Friends in 2014
Enjoy the little things!
9 Things Women Will Always Find Attractive In Men
10 Reasons Having Twins Is Awesome
13 Ways You Know You’re Dating A High-Quality Woman
The 50 Most Romantic Movies Ever Made
3 Signs You’re In A ‘Situationship’

 

 

An Open Letter To The Man I Once Loved

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I’m sorry if I didn’t tell you that I love you even if I already knew.
I’m sorry if i was a total jerk because I did not fight for you- for us.
I’m sorry if I was a coward mortal who’s afraid to face all my responsibilities of being in a relationship.
I’m sorry if I let other people easily enter our lives and tried to separate us.
I’m sorry for all the heartaches I caused to you.
I’m sorry if I can’t bring back the time when we were still truly, madly, deeply in love with each other.
I’m sorry if I easily give up on you.
I’m sorry if I wasn’t a good buddy.
I’m sorry if I’m always not around to be by your side, to let you cheer up whenever you have problems.
I’m sorry if I fail to give you a bouquet of your favorite flowers during Valentine’s Day.
I’m sorry if I care less sometimes about you.
I’m sorry if I let you feel that you’re not important to me.
I’m sorry if I fail to send a text messages to tell you that ‘I miss you and I love you’.
I’m sorry because I didn’t know that I’m giving you a hard time.
I’m sorry if I get you jealous.
I’m sorry if I was not the first and the only one you love.
I’m sorry because I let you suffer for what I’ve done.
I’m sorry if I make your life miserable.
I’m sorry if I can’t still move on.
I’m sorry if I can’t still forget about you but baby honestly I’m trying so hard but I just can’t.
Maybe not now.
I’m sorry if I am still in love with you.
I want to kiss you and hug you but I guess I don’t have any right anymore.
I’m sorry because I still want to see you.
I’m sorry if I still keep on disturbing your own life.
I am not saying this because I want to lessen the burden or guilt that is within me but I’m saying this because I hope,  and I am still hoping that maybe someday you will find in yourself to forgive me, at least if not to forget.
I know exactly what I did was wrong in your own point of view but baby I just did my part so that you will not sacrifice and hurt anymore.
It’s hard on my part that the one I love get hurt because of me.
This is also hard for me but I’m trying to be strong not to breakdown because of you.
We all knew that both our families are against our relationship in the first place.
We are not Romeo and Juliet to fight for our love till the end.
This is reality.
We have to wake up from this dream that only both of us exist.
When you cried in front of me because you were badly hurt about the situation-about us.
But baby believe me I was more hurt than you.
You beg not to give up but I did. Heaven knows how i want to be with you.
I know your parents want only the best for you and I guess they knew that I am not the best for you that’s why they have to do their part to keep us apart.
You have a nice future ahead and I’m sorry I can’t be part of it.
I want to find myself also alone. I want to be someone you will be proud of someday.
Maybe someday I will find the strength and courage now to fight for you and to tell you how much I love you and how badly I want to fight for you, too.
You are such a dearest to me and I’m thankful that I met you.
I never regret all the things that we have together.
I want you to know that I still love you and I will always love you till my last breath.
I promise, I’ll wait for you!

2 Dozens of Teaching and Learning

1. Dream big. He always said to me that it is always free to dream but we need to work on it to become reality. If you dream, dream bigger. Dare to fail. Rejections, pain, failure and breakdown are part of it. But we must learn how to cope up and stand with it. If you have dream, you are always motivated because you want to reach your goal and that is to reach your dream. Don’t be idle. Always remember that dreams do come true! If others can do, you can do it too.

2. Learn from your mistakes. Everyone of us make mistakes. Of course, because we are human. Human learns not only from their experiences, academic lessons but also from their mistakes. “Accept your wrongdoings. Say sorry and learn from it. After all, it won’t make you less a man/woman” he said to me. Mistakes are our stepping stones toward brighter tomorrow. It makes us stronger as a human. After all, we are not perfect.

3. Never give up. God gives us a bundle of trials and problems so that we will not forget Him. Remember that it is just a test paper given by God to see if we have learnt on His lesson called “Life”. We may experience difficulties in life, feels like became a burden to others, problems that seem unsolvable and never ending trials but don’t you ever dare to give up. Life is never said to be easy but it’s worth living. He said that I must never give up when I still have something to give because nothing is really over until we stop from trying. What he said to me became my motivation in life. It’s just like a big placard on my mind written the phrase “NEVER GIVE UP”.

4. Save and spend wisely. He always said to me that if I have the money, try to save it for rainy days. One time, he asked me on why woman is so expensive. Did they know that shopping is not a chore? He asked. I answered him this: “what will we do to our money if we don’t spend it? Shop. That’s the first thing, us, girls, usually came onto our minds*with a meaningful laugh*. He said “instead of spending it, why not invest it in some business or in a bank?” That questioned of him stop my senses. I realize that he is right. We must be practical especially that it is so hard to earn money now a day. Save money and spend it wisely. In the end, it’s your benefits not any one else unless you will share it to them. Why settle for less if you can afford?

5. Think wisely. Before we came up to any decisions, we try to think and plan it first. We sometimes weigh things first and think of the possible outcomes before we start to make an initial move. “If you make a decision, try to think it a hundred times so that you won’t have regrets in life. Don’t hesitate to ask me or anyone about it”, he said. Think twice, thrice or even a hundred times. Wise men/women always consult to the expert. Be wise enough to face the world. Don’t be the center of mediocrity.

6. Learn to look back. “Always look back from where you came from. It will leads you to your destination”, he always reminded me. Don’t forget the people, places and memories that put you where you are right now. Some people said that past is past and don’t look back anymore. I halfly agreed about it. I believe that we cannot bring back the past but that past your talking to is what makes you who are in the present or in the future. Forget the bad memories in the past and look back the good one who and which became your inspiration in the present.

7. Always be thankful. In every blessing that we receive everyday, we must be thankful about it. He said that if someone did good or bad things to you, you must be thankful. Maybe you’re wondering on why we have to say thank you to the one who made bad things to us? Of course we have to because they made us realized that there’s still better person out there who deserves our company and knows our worth. God has a reason on why He let things happen that way. I believe that we must be thankful to our Almighty God because He gives us a reason to survive of not to live.

8. Acknowledge your mistakes and faults. Sometimes we find it hard to acknowledge our own faults and mistakes because of our damn pride and ego. It’s also hard to say sorry for it. We even put the blame to others and accuse them for our faults. “The truth hurts but the lies worse” that’s what he said. Human must know how to acknowledge their faults and mistakes. I know it is hard to accept it but it will lessen the problem and definitely will set you free-peace of mind. Your conscience will set you free. Don’t hold grudges.

9.  Be independent. As I got a little older and try to gain my independence, I wanted to move away from my grandparent’s zone. I want to be independent. I started to do my own stuffs. My grandpa confronted me about it. “I know you wanted to live on your own now and I’m proud of you for being an independent and responsible lady. You are already grown up. I and your grandma are not getting any younger; would you please do us a little favour? Stay home. You can be independent here too. Being independent doesn’t mean that you have to find a new place to live at. It is not only measures on how you survive in your new place and settle down”. We can be independent in other matters to- in feelings. Don’t depend your life to others. I once fall in love and I became dependent on the strange feelings called love and to him. But after a total heartbreak, I’ve learned. Don’t depend your happiness to others because you will definitely breakdown if that happiness your talking to will leave you or evaporate. Don’t be a burden to anyone and a burden to yourself. Be independent.

10. Travel the world. God created so many beautiful things and places for us human to live, love, appreciate, enjoy and taking care of. Some are haven of wild animals and some become a perfect paradise for mere mortal. My grandpa said that there’s a lot of exotic paradise in the world. If you have the opportunity, why not grab it? Since I was a child, I always wanted to go to Paris, France and I promised to myself that I will work hard just to get there. I’ve been traveling the Philippines; I’m happy and feel blessed that I got the chance to visit our own paradise, too. Travel the world and experience the different cultures and religions of different races around the world.

11.  Extend a helping hand.” Share your blessings” and “it is better to give than to receive”. Old sayings that gives me an inspiration to kindness. It feels great if you help someone. He said to me that don’t hesitate to extend your helping hands to those who need your help especially the less fortunate. If you can help, HELP! It is never become a sin to help other people in a good way. I always want to be one of the UNICEF volunteer and works with great philanthropist out there. Help without expecting in return. Forget the hesitation to help because nothing will lose in people who have the courage and heart to save the world.

12. Learn the art of letting go. Nothing is permanent in this world except change. Change is inevitable. Sadly, there are some changes that we need to let it go. There are things we need to let go especially the things that causes too much pain for us. Human must learn how to adapt changes. “The world will not stop if you fail, all your dreams crash, people leave you and if you give up. Let go and move on”, he said. We must learn the art of letting go. Let go all pains, frustrations, heartaches, hesitations and forget about your yesterday’s nightmare. Start a new beginning. Remember that “Nothing is heavy if you start to let it go”

13.  Love and respect your family. He said “Family is family. Nothing will change that no matter what happen”. They are the one who will accept you even if you fail, breakdown, lose hope and everything seems so wrong about you that nothing is there to accept you. Your family. Our family is our main foundation in life. Sooner or later, you will have your own family and maybe you start to settle down. There is a probability that you will do the same thing to your new family from where you came from. Love your family. Live life to the fullest until it last. Love your parent and respect them while they are still alive. Say you love them so that you will not wake up in every morning with regrets. Life is too short to live in hatred and regrets. There’s no place like home and there’s no greater thing than our family.

14.  Cling to God. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. Grandpa said that God is always there watching from up above. If we seem to give up, lose our hope, feel weary and everything seems so wrong along our way. Cling to God. Cling to our Heavenly Father. We may have a different religions and teachings and I fully respect that, the important is we have our God to praise and cling to. Religions make us all unite and give hope to each and everyone of us even though we have different races, cultures, teachings, beliefs and traditions. There is more to life than to love; it is to cling to God. Walk with faith.

15.  Be humble and keep your feet on the ground. “Wherever you are, keep your feet on the ground. If fame brought you to the top, be humble” he said. People who are down-to-earth are loved and appreciated by many. Don’t be the heavy wind trying to destruct the humankind. There should not be a room for thick air inside you. Simplicity is beauty, down-to-earth is worthy.

16.  Smile always and laugh often. Smile and the world will smile at you. Cry and you’ll cry alone. Smile makes us look better. I remember my grandfather bought some stickers from the National Book Store. When I opened the bag, I saw some smiling emoticons stickers. He put and pastes it on the walls, inside the bathroom, in the living room, each of our room and on my study table. I cannot help myself but to smile whenever I see them. It was a childish act but very much appreciated. He said he always see me frown that’s why he did it. Sometimes simple things make us damn smile like a fool and laugh even if it’s not funny. Some people chose to be stupid for them to feel of what they called happiness but me I don’t need to because I know how to smile even if the world frowns at me. I laugh too. Problems? Laugh at them. Difficulties? Have fun at them. Laughter is the best medicine. If someone tells you that you’re like crazy, SMILE at them. Smiling doesn’t need a lot of common sense after all.

17.  Never run after your problems. Problems are part of human life. If you don’t have problems, I guess you are not normal and probably not a human. I believe that in every problem, there is always a solution. I heard this saying from my grandpa, “Don’t problem the problem, let the problem problems you”. It’s quite difficult to understand but the logic is “sometimes, problem solves itself”. It doesn’t mean that we will just let the problem come and go. If you have problem, face it before it creates another problem. Don’t let today’s failures ruin the beauty of tomorrow.

18.  Live young, wild and free. Freedom is something everyone wants to have. Everything in life is just temporary. Live ‘till it last. As possible, he wants us to enjoy every stage of our lives. He wants us to feel that we belong in the society, in this planet earth. My twin sister and I are more than capable of making what we say into reality. We have the ability to show what we mean instead of just mouthing an array of words. “If you don’t act foolish while you’re young, you won’t have anything to smile about when you’re old”. Stop blending into the mainstream of things. It won’t make you stand in the crowd. Live life while it’s free and keep your spirit young, wild and free.

19.  Accept criticism. There are two types of criticism; constructive and destructive. People are exposing in the open world full of criticism. In this world full of lies, pretences, deceit and hypocrisy, it is so hard to find who and what is real. They will tell you what to do, not knowing you are starting to fall into their trap. You’re making fool of yourself out of foolish people. He said that if someone’s criticizes you, you are not obliged to follow them. It’s up to you whether you will accept or tolerate it. If it is good then follow it, it will help you a lot. If you think it is somewhat destructive/bad, the hell why follow it? Be true to yourself.

20.  Fall in love. One of the greatest feelings in life is to love and be loved. Old folks believe that there is a right man/woman for everyone of us in the right place with the right time. Fate or destiny? I don’t think so- it is a choice. “Love feels like heaven but hurts like hell. That’s why it takes courage to love”, he said. Love and pain are always together. We cannot question the existence of the strange feeling called love. Some things cannot be seen or touch but can feel with our heart. Did you that the greatest thing in life is free? It is to love.Fall in love.

21.  Believe in yourself. I believe that everyone of us has the capability of existing in our own field and become a role model to others. Sometimes our existence gives hope to other people without even knowing it. We are born to be a winner. We must have to believe in ourselves to make it real. We don’t just have a remnant of potentials but full of it if we believe that we have and we can do. “If you think that your path is going way ward, just follow your, believe in yourself and you’ll fly high”, he said.

22.  Get a degree. “Education is the only treasure we can give to you, you better study hard and get a degree, sweetie”, grandpa said. I think life will become easier if we have a degree, a profession we must be proud of. We should never stop from learning. There’s no such thing as old in learning. Age doesn’t matter. Focus in your studies. Priority first before anything else. It feels great when someone calls you “Doc, Engineer, CPA, Architect, etc.” connected in your name, people will respect you. Others cannot get your wisdom that is within you.

23. Face your fears. Everyone of us has its own fear/s. Afraid to fall, scared to death, afraid in flying cockroaches,  scared of being alone, afraid in the dark, afraid in pain, in height, ghosts, lightning, etc. Me? I have musophobia (fear in mice), batrachophobia (fear in frogs), ophidiophobia (fear in snakes) and dromophobia (fear in crossing the road). I admit that until now it’s still driving me crazy. I’m not jealous of the people who are not afraid to die but I’m jealous of the people who fond of reptiles. I don’t know what’s gotten into my nerves; maybe I’m just afraid because they are a family of dinosaurs. Grandpa encouraged me not to fear anymore instead learn to face it. I may be one of the cowards out there but I promise I will do my best to overcome it. Little by little I will learn to love it.

24.  Save the planet earth. Save our mother earth- one of the common slogan I knew but hard to understand by common people. When I was a child, I can’t help wondering and asking why grandpa used to bring extra plastic bag and put in our car. We are used to travel and I’m very sure that no one has a jet lag or feels like vomiting. He always let me keep my own junks until we got home. Then that’s the time I can now throw it in the trash bin. Until now, I still practicing it but grandma always scolded me because I’m bringing trash in our house. My bag is always full of trash. I admit I’m a clumsy girl and everyone knows thatJ Grandpa is my inspiration in saving our planet even in a simple ways. Learn to save electricity, water and natures. Technologies are one of the big factors in destroying our mother earth but human must learn how to use those technologies to protect our exhausting planet too. Dare to care. Dare to save. Plant trees, don’t burn plastics, stop kaingin, avoid littering, prevent/stop pollution and be an eco-friendly person. Your simple act is a big help. Let us be uniting to save our mother earth. Join the revolution. Be one of us.

Meet my amazing grandfather, Mr. Virgilio Villena Cuadro, who became my inspiration, my mentor, my loving father and the only father/grandfather that only exist! He was a retired US navy, interpreter during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines and a loving husband to my grandmother Mrs. Celenia Nautan Cuadro. 

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Comparison

Comparison

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Life has a funny way of sneaking up on us. Sometimes we left us with no choice, testing our capacities and force us to live in the world of comparison. Who would have thought that even if life is sometimes so unfair, it has a funny way of helping us out? God created everyone of us differently. Though we are different, we still can’t stop comparing ourselves to others. Unfortunately, we measure how we fit into this society by comparing our existence to others.

When I was 7 years old, I innocently asked my mother if I can just go back on her womb and not be born at all. It’s not that I don’t like to live; it’s just that maybe I got tired of comparing and competing with my alter ego. Every breath we take is a competition for oxygen. Frankly, I hate comparisons, who doesn’t? Everything about me is always paired with comparison. Is it because I have an identical twin sister or it’s just a part of human nature?

We are often called “the Nautan twins”. I have an identical twin sister named Laika. People didn’t even bother to call us on our name instead they called us “Nautan twin”. Unfortunately, they didn’t see us as a two different individuals. The language of comparing twins is inevitable, I guess. Having an identical twin I guess will always have also a twin rival-comparison and competition. Who is prettier, smarter, more responsible, etc.? We often compare ourselves with each other, unfortunately, everyone else does! Maybe other people don’t have the intention to hurt our feelings but sadly, whenever they started comparing us even if we didn’t care at all still the insecurities are there.

The whole comparison thing starts out innocently then with the whole awareness. Wherever we go, they treated us like clones rather than human followed by labels they had given to us. How can I disconnect this thing if it’s already part of being me? Instead of using “I”, I’m always using “we” and people who doesn’t know that I have a twin ends up on asking me “why you always have to use “we” instead of “I”? I remember whenever I have an interview, essay writing about myself and even I was confined in the hospital, I always used “we”. Maybe I have to accept the fact that I am not alone in this world.

How it feels to have a twin? Actually, I don’t know what it’s like not to have a twin. Sanayan lang siguro(we have to use to it). It’s a little bit crazy! I don’t hate my twin sister; in fact, I love her more than I love myself because without her i will never be complete. She will always be my other half. My rival? I don’t think so. She is never a threat to me. We were raised in equal and fair society. In fact, more than any people could ask for and I feel blessed about it. Instead of mouthing an array of words, they gave us the capacity of doing things and mean it. We may not have everything but I think we had enough. About our social life?Typical. We cannot stop people from talking as long as they like. We really don’t care at all as long as we’re not stepping other people’s privacy and rights.

My classmates and friends often called us “doppelganger”, too. We’re used to it (whether we like it or not, we have to use to it). We just pretend like the real one. It never our intention to fool other people but what can we do if that’s part of the consequences of having a twin. We just said to them “Gutom lang yan, baka namamalikmata ka lang” (maybe you’re just hungry and looks can be deceiving sometimes)

One time, we planned switching our identity especially if we don’t like the subjects. I will be Laika instead of Maika since our teachers didn’t even bother to get to know us better. We end up both pretty guilty about what we’ve done and that was the first and last time we did that. We promised ourselves not to do it again. Thank God, they didn’t notice us even our classmates and friends.

I don’t know if it’s part of the nature of twins but I tell you something about us. We have the same taste in fashion (I often raid her closet even though we have the same clothes if not the colors), music (I can play all her pieces and I know how to play all the instruments that she plays and vice versa), grades (my twin and I always received almost identical marks in all our subjects at school. It’s okay to be like that because it meant we didn’t have to put up with being labeled the smart one versus the dumb one), foods, colors, likes and dislikes. Can I tell you a secret? Well, we used to have the same crushes ever since we started to look to our opposite sex until now. Even if I don’t like the guy, once she likes it I don’t know but I can’t help myself but to like the guy as well. Then when I asked her “Did you like that guy?” “How did you know?” she asked, “Because I really don’t like the guy but whenever I saw him my heart skip to beat and it sounds like thunder.” The moment she said yes, all my doubts started to fade. How can I don’t know about my identical twin sister if we always together since birth or must I say ever since we are still fetus.

Recently, I really don’t understand on why she and my classmates started to act differently. It was our third quarter recognition day. Our physics teacher talked to our grandma. They seem to talk a very important matter. Then during our flag ceremony, my grandma stand behind the guy named “Kenneth”. As I looked at the guy, he was so stiffed and his face almost turned red. That time my grandma already knew that they are an item and I was not. After our recognition, the commotion started. I was speechless because I really don’t know anything. Then my classmate came to me and asked me “Have you told your grandma about it?” then I asked him “of what? What are you talking about”. He answered “I guess they are already an item”. Then that’s it. I was like a big jerk. I thought the guy liked me because he always looked at me with a sparkled on his eyes. How come I didn’t know anything about it? I admitted that whenever I saw this guy, there was something I can’t described. Before the school year ends, she and her friends told me everything about it. They even blamed me that it was my entire fault when in fact the hell I care about it. And I don’t know anything about it for chrissake! It was crazy but at least we’ve learned something about it that despite the whole comparisons, we are still two individuals. Due to the series of events, the whole comparing things started again. Why your twin sister is like that and why aren’t you? Why your sister is not as smart as you? (I was the class valedictorian and she was our first honorable mention). Why she isn’t good like you? The comparing things never end.

When we were already in college, I make sure that we didn’t look like as we always are. I cut my hairvery short and her hair remains the same. I’ve always thought that I looked very different from my twin sister, even though we’re identical twins. But other people can’t tell the difference though. Sadly, how can I avoid the comparing things if we have the same school, room, classmates, professors, subjects and unfortunately we are seatmates (she also taking up BS Accountancy). I thought I was out on the cage of comparison and have a normal life like the non-twins. Sadly, I am not. I was trapped again, this time, not only from myself but also beyond everything- especially the people around us. Despite the comparison between us, whether it was in academic, athletic, or social accomplishment was completely inevitable, but it helped us to thrive, always striving to match the other. The world of today is full of deceit, hypocrisy, lies and pretenses; it is so hard to find whom you can trust. If there is one person whom I can trust, it is still my resemblance-my twin sister. I am not myself if I don’t have her in my life. No one can break this bond between us. They may not understand us especially the non-twin but one thing I’m very sure; Comparison is always there but it can’t make us apart, no matter what.

Some people fall into the trap of comparing themselves to others. People must see us as properly separate individuals. Despite of having an analogy in face, I still considered myself as a separate individual. I am not writing this because I’m full of bitterness to my identical twin sister but I am just trying to say that there is more to life than comparing yourselves to others. It is to love yourself. No one will love yourself the way you do. Stop making excuses that she has a lot of money for the cosmetics, they have a nice genes, they can afford to have a surgery, etc. Stop those damn insecurities and throw it away in the trash bin. Be true to yourself. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone of us is beautiful aside from the eyes of the insecure.

Rain

 Rainy season has begun. It may look so sad but it’s beautiful once you started to appreciate it. Admit it that as a student, we like the rain because it means that we don’t have classes. Just like love in a relationship. Lots of people are against about it but we can’t deny that it became part of our needs. It’s impossible to stop because it was destined to happen just like a rain that destined to pour. Even if it’s not in my senses to like it, I will try to enjoy the rain if ever it will pass on my way.

Ulan ka ba?Kasi sa ayaw at sa gusto mo, babagsak ka pa rin sa akin (Are you a rain? Because whether you like it or not, you will going to fall for me). Admit it that you were a bit flattered and I guess thousands of jolts of electricity runs into your body as you read/heard this old pick-up line. Maybe life is like a rain, it may be a problem to some of us but it helps a lot in our daily living. Just like in love, we didn’t know when it will come but we can’t deny that we are all waiting for it to come. Just like a rain to pour. Either it’s only drizzle (temporary only) or a heavy rain (it will leave us a memorable experience), we are still excited to witness for its first drop.

I remember a famous children song about the rain. It’s called ‘rain, rain go away’. The children want to stop the rain because they want to play. But then again, the rain is unstoppable. I’m just wondering maybe it’s nice to play in the rain especially when it’s raining very hard. Just like little children running outside their houses. They didn’t even bother to think if they might get sick. You can’t hide the smile on their faces. Just like playing in the rain, the laughter and smiling faces of the children even though their lips are already pale. They are just trying to grab the opportunity to play in the rain because it seldom comes.

Just like in love, it feels good. The greatest feeling in the world is to love and be loved, do you know that? It’s envious sometimes. That’s why we try to go with the mainstream to fall in love. Just like the happiness we get in the rain, we didn’t even think of the consequences of it. Maybe it gives us a great feelings but it may also the cause of a total heartaches. We’re not sometimes aware of the damages that causes to us. The unstoppable pouring of rain is sometimes become the cause of people lost their home. Just like in love, while it stays a bit longer on us, there’s a possibility that it will be more painful once it vanish. We don’t know that it’s already become a typhoon. It will destroy lots of houses and it will leave a broken hearts. It’s too harsh if it will ever happen.

Just like a kid playing in the rain, I try to play also. Just like a normal teenager, first time in my life that my heart beats not only for myself but also for the other people. I knew I’m too young to enter this kind of crazy life, and definitely I’m not ready to play with fires, but when you’re already there, you can’t stop it. A pitiful heart now becomes the target of cupid.

I remember his brown eyes, blonde hair, fair skin and his perfect figure that my eyes can never forget. We were classmates back then. I felt attracted to him because he’s not just physically gorgeous but also has a brain that can change the world. He’s not pure Filipino (Aussie-Filipino) but his heart is truly, madly, deeply in love for this lucky country. Just like rain, he became part of my daily living. He completed my day. The day without seeing him is like a year without rain. I always waited for him to enter into our classroom. Then fate arranged our first real meeting, it was raining cats and dogs. He lends me his umbrella. He just ran fast going to the school bus and I go straight to our car. My heart seems to burst and melt that time but I try not to be obvious so that our family driver will not noticed. That day I was thankful because it rained even though most of my classmates even cursed the rain. I’ll never forget that day when the rain makes us crossed our way even if I knew that it will be going to be a one-sided love. I can’t help but admired the rain. It looked so calm and the surrounding was so peaceful. All I heard was raindrops from the car roof. The surrounding was as peaceful as the rain trying to come inside the closed window of our car.  But then again, even if we really like the pouring rain, it will stop eventually. Just like in love, even if you don’t want him to go, you have to accept the fact that his world is not only revolving around you. You have to set him free. And that’s the least thing you can do for the sake of his future. After the school year, they migrated in Australia and I don’t know if they will come back in the Philippines. I decided to transfer in a bigger school. It’s a university then.

Whatever we do to not to stop the rain, it will eventually stop once it’s already done pouring. Just like us, people may come and go. They are not force to stay if they don’t want to. Even if we like to create our own rain, we can’t do that because we are not God and we are just a mere mortal. The rain that you waited a long time ago became a strong typhoon that destroyed your innocent heart. Sometimes life has a funny way of ruining your life but has a funny way of helping you to become a better one. Who knows? That rain your cursing to is what can make your life a stronger you. You became unbeatable. Even the strongest typhoon can’t make you easily give up.

There is always sunshine after the rain. After the heavy rains with thunders, you will still find a hope on it. The destroyed houses, damaged source of living or businesses, people who lost their family and relatives because of the calamity and animals that lost their shades, I still believe that there’s still our Almighty God to guide and help us. I knew He will never leave us. We just simply have to trust His will. And I believed that this rain that passed and gone into my life will never be a hindrance to continue my challenging yet exciting journey. It’s like rain on my miserable day, isn’t it a blessing in disguise? At least they will never notice that I am crying while standing in the rain. A tear that runs down on my face and the rain which become my handkerchief trying to wipe all my tears away. The bad times I’ve been through together with the rain will always be only during that rain and once the rain is over, it will disappear, too. It will become soon a memory then.

I know in time, there’s a rain that destined to pour for me. And the next time that rain come into my life, I will never let that rain ruin my life instead I will make that rain, every drop of it, a sign of new hope, new life, new blessings and love that never fade. If I have to ask God His permission to continue on pouring rains, I will do it.

Rain can make our lives put in danger but also can help us in our daily living. We must be ready whenever the rain comes. In fact, we are lucky enough because we have now PAG-ASA/NASA to warn us. I’m just kidding. We never know that the constant pouring of rain now becomea typhoon or worst supertyphoon. Just like Ondoy, now the typhoon Maring and the supertyphoon Yolanda/ Haiyan that killed thousands of people in the Philippines. My point is? We have to prepare ourselves from everything especially the lightning that will strikes in our lives. We should not go into the mainstream of things (Just like water in the stream that goes only with the flow), believe me, it will never make you stand in the crowd instead try to walk in the rain. You will appreciate the beauty of it- the beauty of life that you are not alone.