Live like all the birds in the skies

Care-free and steadfast to the Almighty's promise of wonderful life..

Love with all your heart

Loving keeps us young and glowing. To love and be loved- It's the best feeling!

Dream like a child

Imagine beautiful things in life and never give up in reaching those dreams..

Share selflessly

Blessed are those with big heart to extend a hand; share not only the tangibles, but also those with greater value- your smile, warm hug, hopes, aspirations..

Inspire them with your story

The greatest testimonial is your life; never hesitate to tell your downs and how you rise above all life’s challenges. You never know, you can touch lives.

Search This Blog

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Embrace the light and let your eyes feast on the kaleidoscopic colors of life

I was startled by my phone's alarm. I squinted my eyes as I check on its screen. It said 8:30pm and my shift starts at 11:00pm. I placed it again on the white, plastic bed-side table. Its light was still beaming, filling my dark room. I lazily crawled towards the end of my bed and sat down feeling the floor below to let my feet search for my slippers.

I ceremoniously stood and walked towards the door. It was unusually quite in the apartment. I opened the door and peeked outside. It was so dark and I started to feel uneasy. I stood outside my room and steadied my eyesight looking through the lobby. I suddenly felt gloomy and alone.

There are times in our lives when we find ourselves in the midst of darkness - feeling cold and alone. We tend to dwell in that place which is making us feel tormented and taken for granted. In those moments, we self-pity and we succumb to that feeling. We let that situation impair our vision and judgment to realize that we always have the power to let light shine through our lives. All we need to do is find the courage to walk a little further, take couple of steps towards the light.

After minutes of staring at the lobby, I found the strength to walk two steps towards the corner and switched on the lights. Yes! The colors are back to life! It was as EASY as THAT. However, I do recognize the fact that this is opposite when it comes to the reality of staying in the 'dark'. There are people around us who need understanding ears and helping hands so they can get themselves out of the dark. We'll never know. One of them can be our sibling, an officemate or a friend. Those people who are afraid to tell anyone that they are going through hardships and depression from abusive relationship, addiction, unhealthy habits or problems in married life.

For a moment, I stood still as I stare at the lobby lined with shoe racks, wooden cabinets, linens fresh from laundry shops and colorful slippers outside each door, among others. I took deep breaths as I recall the times when I was struggling in the dark. 2009 - when I discovered the truth behind my then almost 4-year relationship. 2010- when I experienced the first 'devastating' heartbreak then followed by failure in the board exam. 2011 - Our family lost my only brother. Yes, those experiences were just part of the prelude to more challenges in life. 2016 is about to end and 2017 is oozing with wonderful promises and realization of dreams.

Out of nowhere, a lizard fell in front of me and I hopped in circle with suppressed shout while it hastily crawl towards the wall. Whhhoooaa! That was mind blowing! I giggled after realizing what happened. I hurried to prepare for work.

After the realization that night, I decided to visit a colorful restaurant near the office. My eyes will feast on its artistic interiors, well-crafted chairs and tables, pastel-colored decorations hanging from its ceiling and the inspiring thoughts scribbled and framed on its walls.
Vanilla Cupcake Bakery - a cupcake wonderland!
Its façade will  immediately tell you that the cafe will tickle your imagination with its arts display and cutesy paintings on the wall. Mouth-watering cupcakes lined up in a pastry stand and pedestal. I was excited to savor another hearty meal from their kitchen. I chose their fried garlic bangus  (milkfish) served with special Vanilla Cupcake Bakery rice and sunny-side up egg (or a fluffy egg, your choice). The plate was enticing with a couple of tomatoes topped with pesto and fresh, thinly sliced cucumber.  I was so refreshed with their Oreo-milk shake. Such a wonderful meal!
I know my words will fall short in describing how wonderful the place is so I have these photos for you.
Their walls say: A balanced diet is having a cupcake in each hand!
Choose Happiness.
It's the possibility of having dream come true that makes life interesting. - Paulo Coelho
Their pastry stand is filled with enticing cupcakes! You can never say no. Indulge!
More of the inside interiors
 Whatever life may bring, let us choose to let light shines through our lives and serve as our guide. Stay in the light and be reminded that life is full of colors. Every tick of the clock springs forth radiance of yellow and sunshine; every second is a chance to paint the town with overwhelming red and love. Enjoy life's colors. No matter what your life's color is at the moment, remember to spin life's color wheel and let every color you choose stand for friendship, laughter, peace and love!
Sharing colorful moments with you,
Antonia
PS:
The Vanilla Cupcake Bakery is located at Ground Floor, Glorietta 3, Ayala Center, Glorietta Complex, Makati City. It is on the left side of Wendy's; it's front area is a taxi lane.
 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Our family's first synthetic Christmas tree

It's the second day of my vacation in the hometown. I could not contain my happiness when I arrived home yesterday for my Tatay's birthday. He was waiting on the sala when I entered the house. He hugged me tight and I tip-toed so I can kiss his cheek. It will be a happy and fun 5-day stay.
 
I looked around the house and I smiled seeing the changes. It was last June when they started renovating. I have been away for 5 months while saving for the construction. My Tatay saw the grin on my face and asked me to enter the newly furnished room. I can see how proud he is knowing that he closely supervised the construction. He has been keeping a sketch of his dream house since I was a child and it is our aspiration to have it realized.
 
Completion is still at 40%. Excited as he is, Tatay asked me to check their room. I pulled the door sideways. He chose to have a glass door for the room. I have seen the structures in pictures but I am still all smiles when I see a couch on the left side and their bed on the right side near the aircon. A small ceiling fan is also installed and in between the couch and bed, a stand fan is in place. I am so pleased with the floor tiles they have selected and the paint color (soft green) of the walls and ceiling is eye-friendly. The glass doors are not tinted so Nanay placed a pretty yellow green curtain with wild grass/flower designs on it.
 
I stood on the sala area and from there I can see the second floor above the room. The space is envisioned to be a rooftop terrace and the leftmost side area will have one room to be constructed. 60% more to go and so much more saving to do. I strongly believe we will achieve our dream house.
 
Christmas is fast approaching and I do not see any holiday decors around the house. My childhood was fun especially during the holiday season because my Nanay is so artistic when creating our Christmas tree. She would rather create it from used papers, Bakhawan branches, yarns and other art materials. One time, she used a bamboo pole then made holes on it and inserted sticks from coconut leaves to serve as branches.  I recall that she will mix water with food coloring and pour the colored water on an ice candy bag. Those little plastic bags will hang on the from the makeshift Christmas tree branches - yellow, orange, green and others. They will reflect the lights from the christmas lights.  

 
We have not installed a Christmas tree for a very long time. This year, we decided to buy our first synthetic Christmas tree from store. I want my Nanay to relax rather than going to the nearest pond and look for Bakhawan tree or ask/buy for newspapers from sari sari stores. We bought glittery stars, artsy christmas balls, santa claus stuffed toys, little drums, colorful garlands and golden bells as well as Christmas lights.
 
For the new room, I placed a Merry Christmas sign hanging from the roof top. I attached silver balls and angel figures on it with strings made of small silver balls. I can't explain how I feel when I am putting up the pieces of the Christmas tree with my sister and a little girl from the neigborhood. Childhood memories were flashing back and it felt really heart-warming.
 
To complete the Christmas tree, I hoopped around it the colorful lights with small-size bulbs. My Nanay helped in switching it on. We heard a motorcycle coming so we hustle. When my Tatay finally entered the house, we light up the Christmas tree. He smiled sweetly and his eyes sparkle. I am really home. So happy!
 
Love,
Antonia 
 
(My big brother died last November 2011 and we are still grieving until this time. I am not sure when the pain will disappear - I think it will stay forever. This is the reason why we could not put up Christmas decors or celebrate all out during the yuletide season.)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

UPDATE: Suspected part of an insect on my left eye!

I was in a movie house with my friends when I started to feel weird again on my left eye. Halfway the movie (Fantastic Beasts and where to find them), I decided wear glasses. I reached out for my bag, which was placed on the floor, to fish out my eyeglasses without taking my sight off of the screen. I remember I stopped applying the prescribed eye drops five days ago, just in time when the redness disappeared. I really thought my eye is totally healed after the sclera (white part of the eye) cleared out. I felt something moving on the lid and it seems pointed. I continued to enjoy the movie though I am still bothered by my left eye.
 
I kept the glasses on even after the movie. My left eye started to become teary while I am standing on the taxi lane. It was a long queue since 6:00-7:00PM is already peak hours for traffic. I waited for roughly 30 minutes before I get a ride. While waiting, I pulled out my pocket mirror and started to check my left eye. I looked down and up but I could not see any speck or any foreign object. I closed the right eye to check if the left is still seeing clearly and gladly - it's okay.
 
I arrived home and I prepared immediately because I could not wait to dive on my bed. On that day, we went straight to the movie after office and buffet. I knew I needed to sleep but when I close my eye, I can still feel the pinchy feeling on the left eye. I tried to change lying positions until such time I fell asleep with the discomfort on my eye.

Doc pulled out this suspected part of an insect from the lid of left eye
(brownish, shiny and rounded)
 After 3 hours of sleep, I woke up at 12:00midnight and I can feel something moving on my eye. I was thinking it might be a nerve or what. Assuming that a part of the insect or even a live one is on my eye will totally scare me. I went straight to the shower room and check my eye. Both eyes are red maybe because I did not have enough sleep. I pooled water on my hands and opened the left eye under water. Nothing happened. I stayed there for 20 minutes repeating the process of looking down, looking up, pulling the eye lid and soaking my eye again under water. I was so tired and sleepy so I went back to bed. I was already alarmed but I kept calm or else I have to hail a cab (12midnight!?) to the nearest hospital. No, I was so tired and I did not want to go out.
 
I woke up at 8:00AM - Sunday and immediately called customer representative of Intellicare to request for help in searching for accredited clinics with Ophthalmologist on a Sunday. I was advised that there is no available eye doctor during Sundays so I decided to have the consultation the next day. However, I still tried to call one of the suggested clinics and happily, I secured a slot to see an eye doctor at 1:00PM.
 
On my way to the clinic, I was so excited and nervous at the same time. Weird thoughts bothered my mind. What will happen if I need to undergo operation? Well, that's exaggerated thought. Worried that if I need to be admitted, I may need to cancel my flight scheduled on the 23rd. That would be a problem because I am already scheduled to celebrate my Tatay's birthday with family in Negros! :)
 
I finally arrived in the clinic and waited for about 30 minutes. Well, as I expected, the eye doctor is handsome! Haha! Here's what happened:
I have to place my chin on the part of the instrument
then position on a lens for the doc to examine. 
1. Doc let me read some letters on the screen to test my eyesight and I got an A because I still have my glasses on! He did not recommend that I get a new pair. Yey! 

 
2. I sat behind the instrument with lens that Doc used to examine my eye. He asked me to look down, up then straight. He saw nothing.
 
Before the examination started, I already told him the background story of the left eye. I lost control and got so chatty like in my blog posts. Haha!
 
3. He dropped anesthesia on my eye. I closed my eye feeling a tolerable pain/sore, like a pinch then I blinked several times.
 
Anti biotic eye drop -  1 drop, 3 times a day
for a week.
4. Doc checked again my eye on the instrument. He then pulled the lid up and folded the skin. He immediately reached out for a tissue. I panicked a bit when I saw him holding forceps (puller).

I thought I am going to faint but I held on to my consciousness. I was just so nervous!
 
5. He instructed that I should keep looking down. I did not move but I think my facial muscles shivered. It's like I am going to convulse. Haha!
 
6. I felt a pinch on the lid and he pulled out a brown-shiny-rounded speck. Doc placed it on the tissue and showed it to me. He joked that I can take it home! Yes, I did!
 
7. I got an anti-biotic prescription, also an eye drop.
 
I was all smiles when I left the clinic. As of writing, the left eye is not acting weird! Hopefully, it will totally heal. The effects of the anesthesia has worn off and I am pretty sure that there has been no pinching feeling on the left eye.
 
Lesson Learned: Do not take for granted any discomfort felt in any part of the body. It is best to visit the appropriate doctor for consultation as soon as possible before the condition worsen.
 
Yeah. Looking through the eyes of love.
 
 
Take good care of your body. You only have one to enjoy in this lifetime.
 
Getting well- for real this time,
Antonia
 
(I have talked about how I got my eyes irritated in my previous post. Check it out also.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Living alone and away from home: How to survive sickness (colds, cough, fever, fatigue)?

Monday - 4:00AM and he was ready to leave. I hugged him tight and kissed him goodbye. It's time for him to go back to Negros for work and I am left here in Manila. He turned his back and started to roll his duffle bag. I followed him out and stayed on the doorway. He waved his free hand before he turned right to a corridor and I lost sight of him. My heart was crumpled. I thought I was going to cry. I am dreading this scene every time we need to part ways. One of the sad scenes that one needs to endure in any long distance relationship.
 
It was still very early and I knew I need to go back to sleep. I started to sneeze and had runny nose the other day. Was this caused by strolling under the drizzle and cold breeze in Tagaytay? Or, was this triggered by the long hours of travel along dusty road? I do not know but I am certain that I got colds.
 
Yes, I managed to smile in this picture.
I stayed in my room the whole day wasting tissue paper and starting to cough. At noon, I started to feel feverish. My colds worsen mid-afternoon with runny nose, teary eyes and headache. Around 6:00PM, I informed the office that I will not be able to report for work on a Monday.
 
My last meal was around 10:00AM (Brunch). I had taken colds medicine and Paracetamol for fever. It's Dinner time but I did not want to move. My mind was telling me to call Buddy's (Restaurant near my place) and order Chopsuey with rice and a bottle of Calamansi Juice but my body was not cooperating. I just drifted to dreamland without taking my meal. I was not able to continue taking my medicines on time because I just wanted to sleep. I felt weak and really drowsy and not feeling well.
 

I was sick and I had the time
to take picture, huh?!
When I am sick, childhood memories keep flashing back. Way back home, my Nanay always makes me feel better. When I have fever, she will give a relieving head massage and a soothing back massage as well. She used to prepare a special vinegar with all other herbs and spices. She will store the glass container somewhere for several days or weeks for the vinegar to age and will be used for herbal application. I remember that she will pour a part on her hand and apply it during head and back massage. Before she ends it, she will let me smell her hands with the vinegar residue on it. I can still recall how I complained about the smell. After that, I just sleep and when I wake up, I feel better. Those scenes appeared on my dreams that night. When I woke up around 1:00AM, I was still not feeling well. I miss my Nanay's warm touch and care.
 
I opted to drink water and take one decolgen then dozed off. I woke up again around quarter to five. I laid still staring at the ceiling with the dim light coming from the Apartment's lobby. I heard my tummy making some familiar sound. After some time, I checked my phone and browsed the net. At 5:30, I decided to call Auntie Linda (the cook in the nearby Carinderia).  She did not answer so I texted her to check if she has breakfast for me.
 
I got out of my bed and washed my face. I still felt feverish and really hungry. When I entered my room, I received a reply from Auntie Linda. I immediately changed clothes and marched to the eatery. It's nearing 6:00AM and I am confident to go out with this 'I-am-sick' look knowing that there will be few people outside.
 
I know this is not a nice shot. But that viand in the
saucer is Paksiw na Bangus.
Auntie Linda offered fresh from the pan- 'Paksiw na Bangus'. A traditional Filipino way to cook Milk Fish (Bangus) in vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt, chili and pepper. I had hot choco and a warm conversation with Auntie Linda. It made me so happy and I felt way better. I took medicines after eating and walked back to my room around 7:00AM. On my way, I met a Taho vendor. Taho is a Philippine snack food made of fresh soft/silken tofu , sago pearl (like tapioca pearls) and melted sugar (arnibal - sweetener). It made my day complete!
 
I think I should not miss sharing the following learning to those who are also living alone and away from home. I overlooked these points and I should keep these in mind next time:
1. Do your best to secure or prepare food because you badly need it for energy and faster recovery. Before going to sleep, make sure to have food ready - for heating or eating.

2. Though you need to sleep, as much as possible, set your alarm so you can take your medicine on time. Thus, it is important to have point #1 so you don't take meds with empty tummy. 

3. Never hesitate to text or call a friend. Your friends are just text or call away. :)
4. Think of positive thoughts. You need to survive!
5. Listen to your body. You may need to slow down so your body can rest.
6. Pray always.
 
Stay healthy and happy,
Antonia

Monday, November 14, 2016

JEEPNEY STORY: flying insect bumped my left eye

'Day Weng, duty ka today? Daan sana ako parlor for waxing/threading', I texted a friend who used to do my much-needed beauty must-have.
It's a Wednesday - 10:00AM already and I am in a jeepney on my way home from work.  Same daily routine but what makes it special for this week is that I will be seeing my beau on Friday after four months of being away from each other.

I am in a long distance relationship for 2 years now and it gets exciting as time goes by. OFCOURSE, it is not fun when he is away and loneliness sometimes take over - making me feel so down, melancholic and moody. Before moving here in Makati, we were in the same workplace and we enjoyed being together for three (3) strong and happy years.
Well, so much for the love story- I will have it in other posts Haha!
The jeepney is now approaching N. Garcia street but I have not received any response from Weng. I decided to re-schedule the next day. Anyway, I still have one more day before Bryan arrives. My tummy is sending some weird noises signaling that I need to take breakfast plus lunch before I plunge on my bed.

My phone shows 11:15AM and I have yet to take my brunch. I then received a response from Weng saying that she will be out tomorrow and I should visit the parlor today, if possible. I hustle to finish my meal and freshen up.

In 45minutes, I am by the village's gate waiting for another jeepney to take me to the parlor. Without asking if its route includes N. Garcia, I rushed to hop on one with few passengers. I realized that I have not checked the signages and its destinations. I felt timid and kept quite rather than asking one of the passengers or the driver if the jeepney will pass by N. Garcia. I resolved to just drop off the nearest intersection if ever. Yes, one of my 'lazy-and-I-dont-want-to-interact' days.

I looked around me and noticed that most of the passengers are students in their uniform. Clock is about to hit 1:00pm and I thought they may be going back to school at this time. A lady is dozing while leaning her head on the shoulder of a guy - perhaps her boyfriend. In the opposite side, a guy in his mid-40s is holding on his lap a carton with holes and I can see a rooster peeking. The rooster is making a weird sound. It's so weird that it crows at this time of the day. It has caused the lady to startle and straighten up on her seats. I smiled.

Luckily, the jeep is bound to pass by the parlor so I don't need to worry walking for few meters under the afternoon heat. I can feel that the jeepney is moving quite fast so I immediately called out to the driver to halt. In the distance, I can see the traffic light turns red so I rushed to get out of the vehicle. I raised my left hand to hold onto the bars to avoid tripping because I know the jeepney may jolt anytime. My right hand is holding a hanky covering my mouth and nose. Halfway out, I saw an insect passing through the vehicle and it's flying its way towards me. My reflexes failed to do the 'The Flash' stunt with the thought that the jeep might move and I may trip off. The unrecognized insect hit my left eye! Boom! I immediately wipe it with my hanky in my right while holding on the bar with my left hand.

How I fold my eyelids.

I am sure the passengers witnessed what happened and I got off the vehicle still wiping my eye. The insect is not that small so I was thinking it should have not entered my eye. But, something is still irritating my left eye. It is hard to open or close because I can still feel something 'piercing' through though it is not painful.

I entered the parlor and walked directly to the nearest mirror stand while I speak to the lady who opened the door that I am scheduled to see Weng. Checking on the mirror, I could not see any insect or any part of it on my eye. I opened it wider to see but none. I can fold my lids so I did to check if there is something inside. Nothing.

I entered the adjacent room and I can see that Weng is about to finish a pedicure session with another customer. I requested to use the Comfort Room to splash my eye with water. I did but to no avail. My left eye started to redden and the feeling of something piercing is bothersome though tolerable. Weng followed me and checked on my eye. She advised that I should not touch it anymore to avoid further irritation. I splashed it with water three times.

During the session, I can still feel something inside my left eye. Weng informed me that the eye is already red. Perhaps there is really something inside. 1:30pm and I returned to my room with no-hair armpits and beautifully sculpted brows BUT red left eye! I freshen up again and followed my beauty regimen before going to sleep. There is still something bothering my left eye but I ignored it.

Taken after hospital visit.

I woke up around 10:00pm and checked on myself. I can still feel something on the left eye. I closed the right eye and confirmed that my left eye is still seeing clear. I left my bed and rushed to the mirror. The whitish part of my eye is not that red but I can still feel a somewhat 'sharp' something on it. I again folded the skin on my eyeldid. I checked several times and I could not see any foreign object. After unfolding the skin, I can see a small dot of red forming on the left side of the sclera (white part of the eye). The red dot is somehow starting to grow bigger. I panicked! I was on the phone with Bryan when this happened. I immediately said goodbye so I can take my shower and clean my eye.

Before I grab my towel, I sat down on my bed. I can something weird on my body. My hands are starting to feel cold as well as my feet. I was thinking of bad stuff like what if a strand of the insect's hair or any part of it is venomous or what and it will pass through my blood vessels. I was overthinking! I blamed myself for folding the skin again for it seems to push something inside and caused trauma on my veins in the eye. I walked back and forth inside my room to keep my consciousness for I can feel that it seems that I will collapse. This can't be happening! My surroundings is gradually turning dark. It is so weird and I think I am overwhelmed with emotions - nervousness and anxiety! Or, it is possible that this is caused by sudden movement when I jumped off my bed. I am alone and I can't just let my emotions overtake my consciousness. I did the following:
1. Drank water.
2. I sat on my bed while pressing the part of my hand - in between the pointing finger and the thumb so I can feel pain on that part and somehow regain full consciousness.
3. I thought Biogesic can help. I took one.
4. I hurriedly pulled out the Omega Pain killer bottle on my medicine kit while the darkness is starting to engulf my sight. I poured an ample amount on my hands and rubbed against each other. I placed both hands on my nose and inhaled deep.
5. I calmed down. I took deep breaths. I have recovered.
 
When it is time for shower, I did the following which I should have done before I go to sleep:
1. Gently splashed my eye with water.
2. I pooled water on both hands and when its full, I submerged my left eye in the water, opened and rolled .
3. I did the process several times until I saw a black speck on my eye. I immediately took it out with a towel. It is like a part of the insect. It is on my eye while I was asleep!! Scary!


I still reported for work that night but I can still feel something bothering my left eye. In the morning around 7, I was advised by our doctor to have my eye checked in Makati Medical Center (as soon as possible) to be sure. I left the office and rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, no Ophthalmologist is on standby so they just checked my vital signs and referred me to the nearest Intellicare-accredited clinic: Aventus. However, I will have to wait for an eye doctor until 2:00pm so I requested to be checked by any doctor available that time (around 8:30AM).
It highly recommended to visit the nearest hospital if symptoms persist.

Doc confirmed that there is no foreign object on my eye based on the tool he was using (a specialized mini flashlight). He noticed that there is micro-bleeding on the Sclera (white part of the eye) and will possibly go away in 2-3 days. It is as if my eye got bumped and somehow traumatized my veins. He then prescribed an eye drop to help in the inflammation.

On my way home, I realized that I have been preparing for four months to look beautiful in the eyes of my fiancé when we finally meet. Haha! Then this incident happened couple of days before he arrives! Just wow!
We attended a wedding on Saturday. Bryan serves as the Best Man.

It's the fifth day today since the incident and my left eye has healed. Yey! Very little redness left on the obvious veins in the Sclera. Bryan has arrived in Negros safe this morning. We had a very happy weekend! We'll see each other again in 10 days. You know, I think he still finds me pretty even with the red eye. Haha!
Happy in-love and getting well,
Antonia

Saturday, November 5, 2016

JEEPNEY STORY: not-so-friendly Manong Driver

It has been a productive week after completing a 'brain-cell stirring' five-day training on a promising new product/field to support. It is already 9:00am and I am done with last minute sweep on my To-do list so I grabbed my jacket and fixed my things. I was smiling while I leave the training room - At last, it's weekend!

Same routine - I hopped in a jeepney and this time there was no queue of passengers waiting since it's Saturday. I have a blissful feeling and though quite exhausted, I know my eyes are sparkling for I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. Gradually, passengers filled in the vehicle and we are up to leave.

I was intently observing the people around me - there were lovers giggling in the other side, the elderly beside me is quite shaking when he raised his hands to hold onto the horizontal bars and the lady on my right side was dozing off. I draw a half-smile thinking that I have been dwelling in a place which is far away from home and all of these people are strangers to me.



It has been my habit to buy buko juice so I need to drop by near 7-eleven. 'Para po!', I said in loud voice. The jeepney did not stop so I exclaimed louder but still cheerful, 'Sa tabi lang po!'. The driver did not mind me. Some of the passengers are also telling the driver to stop. The guy beside the driver poked him in the shoulders so the jeepney slowed down. The guy pointed a blue-colored headset attached to the driver's ears. I realized he was listening to something so he did not notice. I was still smiling that time - I was just so happy and I was not irritated easily.
BUT then after a moment, I can feel my face's expression turned to something 'sour' when the driver exclaimed, 'Alam mo namang intersection to, sana bumaba ka na kanina nung may mga bumaba.' In my mind, I can see myself turning red with gush of steam going out from both ears and executing karate moves!!
I kept calm and subconsciously said 'Okay'. I think that changed my cheerful facial expression to a sad, disappointed one. When I finally got out of the vehicle, I was still bothered by how the driver treated me. I have the following unspoken: 
  • Why would I join those three passengers in getting out? That was 2 blocks away! We were in the middle of traffic and there were cars following the jeepney (bumper to bumper). I find that dangerous!
  • Though I really don't mind if I have to walk, I am just comfortable to land right after the pedestrian lane (few meters away) where I feel safe. Coincidentally, it is in front of 7-eleven.
  • I really want manong drivers to be cheerful while they are driving but I don't think it is advisable to wear headsets and listen to music or whatever that would somehow impair their senses to the requests of the passengers or other external forces along the way.
For many, the scene may be normal. I actually think right now that I am just Over-Reacting. What do you think? I just wish all of us can say our thoughts in a nice way possible. If I were him, I can say: 'Pacensya po, intersection kasi yun. Saglit lang po, dun nalang sa tabi.' Is this impossible for our manong drivers to say? I don't think so. I still believe there are several drivers who are courteous and kind.
Well, I may be judging him right now for treating one of his customers badly. I then realized that it is true - words are so powerful - these can affect someone's mood or alter a state of mind. In my case, the effects were somehow temporary (30 minutes). Hahaha! when I got out of the jeepney, I still managed to say 'Hi' to the buko vendor and cheefully greeted Nanay Linda when I dropped by my suking tindahan to buy lunch.
I have been working in a field where I uphold quality customer service on top of my priorities. I put passion and dedication in everything that I do especially when dealing with people. Before joining the company, I was not so sensitive in situation when unsatisfactory service is observed. Day after day, I realize the value of saying the right words and how to put stress and emotions on them. Your words can make someone's burden lighter, temporarily ease their worries and can somehow brigten up a gloomy day.
We just have to choose the right words and say them right. I am positive that when that happen, there would be one less unhappy person in the world.
Keep Smiling!
Antonia

Thursday, November 3, 2016

'Friendship Over' without prior notice. Sad.

This is a story of Amara and her former close friend Lucas.

Amara was new to her job when this happened. Her new workplace exuded good vibes - friendly new faces, supportive bosses and harmonious relationships among co-workers. Though most of the trainees were friendly, Amara was still hesitant to make friends.

After several weeks of training, she started to open up to 'strangers' and turned three of them into close friends. They are JJ, Lucas and Elize. JJ is the cheerful one and he loves Anime and he even join cosplay events. Elize stands out in the group- she is pretty and charming. Lucas is a shy-type guy but a good listener and easy to get along with.
The four of them used to spend break/lunch time together. They had a group chat in facebook where they crack jokes, make fun of each other and plan their weekend getaways. Amara realized that it is more fun to have close friends even in the office. Though work is not so easy, their friendship made her feel that tasks are lighter and inspired her more to go to work every weekday morning.

Every time spent with three of her friends brighten up her day - fun, full of laughter and giggles. They were really enjoying each other's company despite their individual differences and personal problems.

One day, Amara noticed that Elize is no longer joining them during lunch/break time. She learned that Lucas was courting Elize and that the girl turned him down. Everything got awkward with Lucas and Elize. A lot of things changed between them.

Nonetheless, Amara and Lucas remained close friends. Since JJ was well-occupied with work and cosplaying, the two were left behind. They started to form a bond. They continued to spend coffee-time together and share experiences at work. They keep each other updated and they truly cared for one another. Their officemates used to tease them for they can be lovers but Amara knew that theirs is pure friendship - no more, no less. Elize still greets them but she is spending more time with her boyfriend.

Months went by, Amara and Lucas continued to share the friendship with JJ catching up when he is not busy. Amara cherished the bond so much that she treats Lucas like a brother. It's like they can't live without each other in the office. Despite busy schedules, they find time to check through chat or text messages. Even in facebook chats, they still made each other's day lighter.


Suddenly, Lucas changed when he started to court Tanya and they became lovers. He started to act weird. Messages were shorter and pings were no longer frequent. Their funny conversations were turned to nods and cold treatment. When their paths crossed in the lobby, Lucas will look down and Amara will  still greet him to get his attention. This continued for weeks. Amara realized that they have become distant. Perhaps because he just have to focus on Tanya? No. No. Amara knew that Tanya will not be jealous of their friendship. Lucas did not say anything to let Amara know why he acted that way.

'How are you, Lucas? I missed the group. I hope we can catch up!', Amara sent a chat message. She saw Lucas was typing a message then nothing happened, no replies. Minutes, hours passed - she was on seen zone.

This sad situation happened like a blink of an eye. Their friendship was like a colorful bubble formed by a happy kid and just disappeared in the air. Nothing left but memories of laughter, corny jokes and funny stories.

Amara is now hesitant to reach out to Lucas. She still connects with JJ and Elize sometimes. Everything has changed and it hurts.
---------------------------------------------------

We all have our stories of friendships. Some of us are now separated by distance or work schedules or lifestyle changes. However, we do our best to make time and catch up, if possible. There are friendships broken due to harsh words and situations. Most remained silently despite years of being apart and when reunited, it seems nothing has changed. Others ended with no reason at all. It just happened. Sad, but we are yet to know why.

Your friend,

Antonia

Monday, October 31, 2016

Mia and the pink sling bag - A true to life horror story

When I was younger, I received a pink sling bag gift from a family's friend (we considered a grandma). The bag was such a pretty one. I can still recall that it has a kitty print and some girly stuff. I was not able to use it in school (I was about to enter college that time). I then let my sister use it.





Here's Mia, my younger/baby sister. This pic was taken recently.
I am not sure if this is the pink sling bag.
Mia (I call her Yang) was a member of the school's cheering team and they were having series of practice at night in preparation for the University-wide competition. She usually goes home at around 10pm. To keep her energized, she brings with her food/ baon - rice and viand in a Tupperware container with spoon and fork.

About five days before the competition, Yang used the pink sling bag. They were conducting their practice sessions in the school's covered court. They were chanting the last lines of their cheers and executed the hand movements. 'That's all for today', said their coach. 'You can all now go home and rest!'.

Yang was giggling with her friends as they walk through the corridors of the school. The premises started to be filled with chatters from other members of the cheering squad. The lobby was already dark since lights were already turned off. She held her bag and heard the sound of the spoon/fork clinking while walking. They already finished their meals after practice. She looked back on the lobby for she saw something unusual. She told herself it was just her imagination.

The school is walking distance from our house so she decided to just walk. There are only few people in the street and the night's breeze started to be uncomfortably cold. She continued to walk with her hand holding her pink sling bag since the fork/spoon were making some clinking sounds. She frequently checks on the clouds up high and gazed on how some stars twinkled in the dark sky.

After around three to five minutes, she reached the roadway to our house (to the right). The ground was not yet concrete (rocky road) and the area was dim-lighted with the reflecting lights from our neighbor's house. She walked in steady pace (around 15 meters from the main road) and she sighted our then wooden gate. When she reached the point where she needs to turn right, she suddenly could not move! The pink sling bag was moving by itself! She can hear the clinking sounds of the spoon and fork accelerating. She panicked. She exerted more effort so she can run. She finds herself running in the same spot.

The sling bag started to rise as if a force was pulling it from above but it was still attached to her body. She was filled with so many emotions - fears and anxiety. She ran faster but could not leave the same spot. She started to feel exhausted. She saw the bag rising up above on its own so she grabbed it by her right hand and prayed so hard, very hard. She then hit our wooden gate which was left un-locked and this collided with the wall of the adjacent dilapidated house. This caused a bang!

Our Nanay was startled and got up from bed to check on Yang. When she entered the house, Yang angrily threw the sling bag on the bed. She was shaking and shivering from the incident. She felt drained with energy. It was the most horrifying experience she had. Our mother followed her upstairs to ask what happened. She could not utter a word at first. After some time, she explained and our Nanay pacified her by saying that it might be just her imagination. She must be tired and needed to take some rest.
 
From that time forward, she is no longer using the pink sling bag. She told  me the story in Dumaguete, during the University week when they competed for the Cheer Leading competition. I believed her.
 
What do you think? Would you consider that a supernatural encounter? Look around you, do you see things that others do not?
 
Whether it was just her imagination or a supernatural encounter, I know we are living in a world where not all can be explained by science or logic. What matters most is that we stay firm on our faith and use prayer to defeat the enemy.
 
Happy Halloween!
 
- Antonia
(I can feel my hair raising and goosebumps forming while I write this blog. Worse, I am alone in the apartment. Liz is on her way from Pasay.) 

P.S. I secured permission from my sister to post her story.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

How about a buko a day? Will it also keep the doctor away?

I turned off my desk's computer and started to pack my things. It's 8:30am and I am ready to go home. I am happy to leave the office earlier than usual and wrap up the first day of work for the week, satisfied with my performance. Char!

I am chirping like a bird as I walk towards the elevator. I need to pass through the sidewalks of Landmark to reach the jeepney waiting area. The streets are already busy with people from different walks of life and a LOT of vehicles. I lined up in a quite long queue of passengers - I think I am in the 15th. The barker started to collect 7php. I was smiling then he stopped in front of me and announced that the next batch need to wait for the next jeep. Whooaa?? Just my luck! My smile turned into a pout and I patiently waited for the next one.

As usual, traffic is heavy during this time of the day - majority is in a hurry to go to work and some are eager to go home. It has been 30mins since the jeep departed from the area. I am literally stuck in the traffic and I can hear co-passengers complain. Other passengers whose offices are within walking distance from where we are, opted to go down and hike. I started to feel iritated and restless  with heat,  pollution and honking of horns. Other passengers are just sleeping in their seats.


At last, we have reached the JP Rizal street. My mood was replaced with excitement and glee when I sighted Manong's Buko cart! After battling with traffic and heat, I deserve a healthy and refreshing drink for 30php plus the buko meat! (I admit, I can buy buko for 10php in the province or ask someone to pick one for me fresh from a coconut tree.) 


The sun's heat is getting intense even if it is still 9am. I need to stay hydrated with an entire buko! Manong skillfully whipped his bolo to open the buko (young coconut) and poured the water in a plastic bag. With a flexible knife (not sure if it is just improvised), he scraped the tender buko flesh and placed it in the plastic to join the water. In my head, I can imagine myself clapping like a child.

I learned that its water has the following benefits:
  • Vitamin C and B Complex, Calcium, Potassium, manganese and magnesium
  • It is fat and Cholesterol free!
  • Soothes urinary tract infection and it is a urinary antiseptic
  • Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, it can also kill intestinal worms
  • Helps in reducing risk of kidney stones
  • Improves blood circulation and balances blood sugar
  • Aids in weight loss and helps achieve hydrated, glowing skin!
  • Boosts metabolism and aids in easy digestion.
The buko meat is also a good source of vitamin A, E and known to help reduce level of bad cholesterol. I am a rice-lover and I would tend to have more than 1 serving in a meal. With the buko meat, I am able to reduce rice intake and have it as a substitute. I am so proud of that!

What are you waiting for? Visit the nearest buko cart in your location and grab one or two now! Stay hydrated! 

Back to my routine -- I decided to take tricycle to reach my place for 16php. In some days when the weather is not so hot, I also opt to walk through the wet market. I arrived with a smile and sparkling eyes, ready to take my lunch and some beauty rest.

Lesson for today: whenever you are in a not-so-good situation, think of positive thoughts. Just smile and you will surely survive the day!

Smiling while sipping buko juice,

Antonia

Friday, October 28, 2016

I thank God for second, third and nth chances

Posted: May 22, 2008 | 5:02 PM Pacific Time
Place: Near Freedom park, Kagawasan Avenue, Dumaguete City.


7:00 in the morning when the alarm signals of my phone woke me up. huh?! I don't feel well and I want to spend this whole day sleeping. I hate this cough/colds duo! uugghh! I can hardly breathe with this colds and it seems I want to vomit every time I cough. Unfortunately, I need to go on with my daily routine. (sobbing)

On my way to school, I had my boardmate with me. We were just talking about the enrollment hassles, another problem that bothered my mind (exaggerated long queues, very hot weather, etc). We continued to talk when I suddenly walk across the street without minding the jeepney rushing towards me. I shivered but continued to walk in a faster pace. There was commotion inside the vehicle! I was about to be hit! It was very near..

When I reached the other side of the road, my eyes widened and my mouth slight open in shock looking at my boardmate. I was relieved knowing that she did not follow me. It seems that my head spins when I think of what will happen if she crossed the street. (I was so clumsy!). This day is one of those clumsy days I have in my stay here in Dumaguete. I hate busy streets. I am always hesitant to cross the street thus causing panic inside of me especially if there are vehicles approaching (there were no traffic lights on that area).
 
---At this moment while I'm sharing this story, I look back to the incident that took place just an hour ago. I am wearing this tight pencil skirt and it is hard to walk fast with this. I am wondering how I managed to cross the road without being hit. The jeepney was so close and I never thought I can still escape from it. But here I am, still breathing -- ready to take the long queues of students for the enrollment and kicking to start another day.
 
Someone carried me. He had just carried me awhile ago and He will always carry me. Now as I contemplate on things, I realize, it is better to have this yucky colds and cough than to be in a not-good-to-imagine scene. It is better to be burdened with this itchy throat than causing worries to my parents. I'd rather care to bring ply of tissue than to be covered with bandages. I'd rather fight with this simple summer illnesses than to see my parents and loved-ones fighting with me for survival. Pardon me, but my imaginations have gone so far - so dark.
 
I can survive this!!
 
I thank God for giving me chances to realize that every single thing that happened to me and every petty suffering is just speck compared to His wonderful blessings. I must thank Him for an opportunity to live this wonderful life in the fullest. I thank him for endowing in me chances to live. I thank Him now, tomorrow and always..

- Antonia

 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Life is all about Loving its every detail

Date Posted = May 21, 2008
Time = 6:55 PM (PDT)
---------------------------------------------------------
 
The series of seminar/workshops that the PYLON, official graduates yearbook of Negros Oriental State University System, conducted catered an avenue for the PYLONites to learn more on their fields and even refresh the learnings of old staff. In the Creative Writing Department, our lecturer urges the participants to make a feature article or any with the theme: 'how could you make something beautiful?' The following composition is one of the articles I made during the activity. Let me share my thoughts with you guys!

Life is all about Loving its every detail
Antonia B. Gorneo
 
I can still vividly recall the very moment I first step on the grounds of Negros Oriental State University. I know my life in this new home will be a lot different. A glimpse on the institution’s edifice stimulates a vision of how difficult will be my struggle here. Its gateways flashes a picture into my mind- a mob of students with diverse personalities and with varying aspects of life- a view that triggers my weakness and cowardice in facing the real world. The moment fills my entire being with uncertainties. With the course I am on which requires extreme hard work, I am carrying additional burden and pressure. Nevertheless, as I gaze at the uncertainties, I pulled out the last ounce of courage and determination in me. I decided to believe in my dreams and I know the paths I have to pass through will be a lot more beautiful if I’ll love every aspect of it.

As I started to live my student life in ways I am not used to, my eyes are unveiled with the realities of life. I gradually discover the very reason in my every undertaking- from waking-up early, preparing for school all by myself, taking meals all alone, doing the laundries up to accomplishing school works while scrutinizing how to spend every peso in my limited budget. I have to find new friends and buddies to share my time with. I got a number of things to do in order to succeed and adapt with the environment I am dwelling in. I know I need to cope and pass through all of these rudiments to survive.

I experienced suddenly bursting out in tears while I’m making home works. At one time, I find it so hard to understand the lessons then I found myself asking my classmates for a group study. I feel so left behind the group of intellectuals in our college. I started to assume that it’s my intellectual capability gradually failing or maybe I am never that intelligent.
I am badly missing my family- the times we shared together and the comfort of a home. I don’t want this feeling of emptiness to overwhelm me because I know I am doing this for them and for our future. I have to be tough enough to withstand the feeling, tougher than the roughness of the kind of living I am in to.


I am in the process of adjusting with the new world I am in. I am doing everything to prove that I was not wrong in transferring and pursuing my dream of becoming an accountant. I know that if I’ll start to regret and back-out, it will be my greatest failure- not only mine, but also of my entire family and the people loving me.

University life is indeed a whole thing different from the happy-go-lucky high school years. Life may be topped with unpleasant stuffs. Those are undesirable ones that every rational human can never flee from. Though things may be rough, the experiences will be worth reminiscing if one touches every element of it with passion.
 
Now, I just smile as I look back at the difficulties I had. No matter how rude and unpleasant experiences turn out, the best way to find its beautiful side is to love every detail of it. At the end of the struggle, you’ll prove that love will always keep you alive!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Rub Ribs & BBQ to spice up my weekend

I am living alone and away from home since I started working here in Makati. During weekends, I love to stay indoors and watch movies, surf the net. Most of the time, I spend my weekend alone except when I attend The Feast with Marker (my friend) or when I go out with Liz (my friend/bhouse neighbor).

My favorite singles with buttered veggies as side dish.
You would say I am boring and less adventurous and I tell you, I think I have reached my quota for 'Me Time'. Mind you, not all of us has enjoyed 'Me Time' and for sure some are craving to have some time alone.

Wait, let us not dwell on my boring side. There is one thing that I want you to know that has added spice to my weekend - enjoying good food (really delicious food) in Rub Ribs & Bbq Makati.


Tito William and Tita Jo loved the ribs!  
Just this Sunday, I visited them and ordered my all time favorite: Singles (rib) with buttered vegetables!

I have also introduced the place to some of my friends and they all enjoyed the ribs. I think Rub Ribs should give me Suki Card for always dining in their resto. I actually add that suggestion in their surveys. They provide a tablet gadget so diners can enter their reviews after the dining experience.


With Mariane. It was her first time! She also had a take-out. Thumbs up!
I love their fruit shakes (milk-based) as well as their house-blend iced tea. One of the staff informed me that they decided to offer iced-tea in single serving (Php45) to address the requests of customers taken from surveys. Perharps next time they will also give a suki card. Hahaha!

The place is not that big and they are only using the first floor for customers. The space is enough to accomodate patrons and guests who celebrate Birthdays/anniversaries in the resto, get-togethers, or those who take meals after Sunday mass.

I have taken shots on some of their menu highlights. Ofcourse, you can visit their facebook page: RUB Ribs & BBQ.









One of their wall decorations says: People who love to eat are always the best people. I hope you can also visit the place soon and experience the mouth-watering dishes. Also, they offer the food in affordable prices!

One of the best people in the world,
Antonia