Tales of El Nido

IMG_0100I first visited El Nido three years ago upon the invitation of a friend whom I dated very briefly. I must have been living in a bubble all my life for I never knew how relationships with visitors worked. Since then, I treasured a hate/hate relationship with this destination popular amongst backpackers.

And so excited to visit a place that I only knew about from travel magazines, I booked tickets to the nearest major airport, not knowing full well about the harrowing land transfer between Puerto Princesa and this tiny town sitting on the edge of nowhere: six hours of commute on some of the roughest roads I knew. If you asked me now, I would pay anything to avoid spending a total of twelve hours that I could never get back on a backbreaking road trip.

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Resolutions for 2013

Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are bigger battles out there and time is too precious to spend on things that will not matter in the long run.

Avoid drama at all cost, if possible. Corollary to the point above, be it your own or someone else’s drama, there’s no need to be suckered into issues that one, two, or five years from now you would just laugh about anyway. Avoid drama queens and attention w#ores, too. 
Read at least one book per month. Rediscover the love for reading and the much-needed learning it affords oneself, plus  the wisdom that eventually makes for intelligent conversations.
Show up. It does not matter whether the purpose is to participate or just to make an appearance, but what matters is to be there and make oneself count, or to witness the events that unfold. 
Smile. Life has so much be thankful for and be happy about. Or when one finds oneself with nothing much to be grateful for, at least, smile and keep others guessing. 
Choose the company one keeps carefully. There are people whose presence suck the marrow out of one’s life; there are those whose seemingly good intentions one has to be absolutely wary about; and then there are those whose presence makes one feel that the time spent with them are worthy of the moments that one can never get back. Stick to those who are worthy of one’s trust and esteem and leave the shallowness of high-schoolers behind.
Set boundaries. You do not have to be best friends with everyone, for at the end of the day, people are merely  individuals who have their own lives to live and goals to pursue. 
Drink moderately. Sweet Jesus, do I know that by now! Hah! 
Travel. To quote Gandalf: The world is not in your books and maps; it’s out there!

Work hard. People may argue until they are blue in the face that the way to make it in this life is not necessarily to work hard but to work smart, but there just is no substituting for the former. Success takes planning, thinking, and a lot of effort, not office-politicking. 
Take care of oneself. Do not feel guilty about getting pampered, buying that pair of shoes, being and eating healthy, signing up for gym classes. When all you’ve got is you, wouldn’t it be fabulous to get the love that you deserve from the person that matters most to you?
Write more, Facebook/Twitter/[insert social media here] less.

Learn. Whether it’s a new language, a new skill, a musical instrument, a technical knowledge. One never knows when a new ability would come in handy.
Get active. Run, dance, walk; join zumba classes; sign up for that gym membership; swim; do yoga; lift weights; play your favourite sport. The options are just about as endless as your capacity to take that extra serving of dessert, so your body will need all the help it can get from a bit of moving about.

    How To Be Alone

    How to Be Alone
    By Tanya Davis 

    If you are at first lonely, be patient.If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone once you’re embracing it. 

    We can start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library, where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books; you’re not supposed to talk much anyway so it’s safe there. 

    There is also the gym, if you’re shy, you can hang out with yourself and mirrors, you can put headphones in. Then there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.And there’s prayer and mediation, no one will think less if your hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation. 

    Start simple. Things you may have previously avoided based on your avoid being alone principles. The lunch counter, where you will be surrounded by “chow downers”, employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town, and they, like you, will be alone.
    Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone. 

    When you are comfortable with “eat lunch and run”, take yourself out for dinner; a restaurant with linen and Silverware. You’re no less an intriguing a person when you are eating solo desert and cleaning the whip cream from the dish with your finger. In fact, some people at full tables will wish they were where you were. 

    Go to the movies. Where it’s dark and soothing, alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community. 

    And then take yourself out dancing, to a club where no one knows you, stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching because they’re probably not. And if they are, assume it is with best human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats, is after-all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating. And beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things. Down your back, like a book of blessings. 

    Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you. Go to an unfamiliar city. Roam the streets. There are always statues to talk to, and benches made for sitting gives strangers a shared existence if only for a minute, and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversation you get in by sitting alone on benches, might have never happened had you not been there by yourself. 

    Society is afraid of alone, though. Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements. Like people must have problems if, after awhile, nobody is dating them. 

    But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it. You can stand swathed by groups and mobs or hands with your partner, look both further and farther in the endless quest for company. 

    But no one is in your head. And by the time you translate your thoughts, an essence of them may be lost or perhaps it is just kept. Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those sappy slogans from pre-school over to high school groaning, we’re tokens for holding the lonely at bay. 

    ‘Cause if you’re happy in your head, then solitude is blessed, and alone is okay.It’s okay if no one believes like you, all experiences unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you. For this be relived, keep things interesting, life’s magic things in reach, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t connected, and the community is not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. 

    Take silence and respect it. 

    If you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it. If your family doesn’t get you or a religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it. 

    You could be in an instant surrounded if you need it. 

    If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it. There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

    What to do when life doesn’t turn out exactly as planned

    Source: Pinterest

    Go through the day as if nothing happened. Leave your desk when it’s time to do so because you are not up to any last-minute meetings and sit-downs anymore, and head to the nearest mall. Or in this case, the supermarket.

    Remember that you have to purchase a clip-on lamp, you know, that kind where the base is a humongous clip instead of just a round heavy plate. Bemoan the fact that they had all sorts of cheap lamps on the rack, but not the one that you need. In frustration, head off to one of your favorite aisles: the Asian section. You are in an Asian country, and yet there is still a special section for “Asian” stuff, but that’s okay. At least they have stocked up on your favorite instant Korean noodles. Get a pack, oops it sells for P72 each. Kind of pricey for a noodle, don’t you think? I’d get two. Still too expensive. Leave the other pack. Sort through the spicy noodles. Get five packs. Still pricey. Leave four out.

    Check the veggies section. Where on earth do they keep the corn-and-carrots packs? Oh well, next time. Just get the already chopped chop suey mix. Grab a bag of your favorite pandesal. Syet naman, kuya, bakit mo ako binunggo ng cart mo? Ang cute mo pa naman.

    As you walk to the cashier, you pass by the luggage area and can’t help checking out what they’ve got in stock. Ooh, they have the model that you want et voila!… it’s a lot cheaper now. Due to the forthcoming Korean trip in winter, you would need a bigger suitcase to stuff your winter coats, boots, and what-nots in. Ask the sales assistant to show it to you. He complied, and you would have bought the thing if you had extra cash. No dice, maybe on the next pay day; you could have helped the assistant meet his much needed sales quota, but you had already put your extra cash in your checking account. Babalikan ko na lang, you promised him and you hoped he would still be the guy at the luggage section on your return. More to the point, you should hope the model that you wanted was still there, including the “free” carry-on. The polka dotted one in orange was sort of cute.

    Don’t forget the pass by the alcohols section and get a can, one measly can, of beer.

    Head off to the register and pay for the impulse purchase. Add another impulse buy by grabbing the eco-friendly shopping bag and thus get two points for each of the items that you bought on the loyalty card. Total points: 4. Get the heck out of the place. Most women buy shoes when they’re down; you buy groceries. Time indeed changes one’s perspective. Or one’s buying habits.

    Tomorrow, life should still go on, hopefully as planned. Try not to get late to work. Accomplish something. Run. Fortune favors the brave…and the persistent. Now read up on your assignment instead of procrastinating. The latest K-drama dibidi can wait.

    Reality, it permeates


    Brandi Carlile

    I watch you grow away from me in photographs
    And memories like spies
    The salt betrays my eyes again
    I started losing sleep and gaining weight
    And wishing I was ten again
    So I could be your friend again

    These days we go to waste like wine
    That’s turned to turpentine
    Till it’s 6 AM and I’m all messed up
    I didn’t mean to waste your time
    So I’ll fall back in line
    But I’m warning you, we’re growing up

    I heard you found some pretty words to say
    You found your little game to play
    And there’s no one allowed in here
    And just when we believe we could be great
    Reality it permeates
    And conquers from within again

    These days we go to waste like wine
    That’s turned to turpentine
    Till it’s 6 AM and I’m all messed up
    I didn’t mean to waste your time
    So I’ll fall back in line
    But I’m warning you we’re growing up

    I know we’re okay
    I know we’re okay 

    These days we go to waste like wine
    That’s turned to turpentine
    It’s 6 AM and I’m all messed up
    I didn’t mean to waste your time
    So I’ll fall back in line
    But I’m warning you we’re growing up