we are one

As I’ve been exploring the blogging world the past year, I’ve met (and this is very relative as I’ve not really PHYSICALLY met most of them) the most amazing, intimidating and inspiring people and I’ve shared with you some of them in the past entries (like my fashion blogger friend who motivated me to start this blog).

Before I graduated college, a teacher discussed one of the more influential e-commerce/ social media gurus in the Philippines, Ms. Janette Toral. I promised myself that if given the chance, I’d dispense of all hesitation and introduce myself so I did. I also found out that she’d be speaking for a cause later today at Vista Center, UGF Worldwide Corporate Center, Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City. It’s a benefit seminar to raise funds for Yolanda Survivors. They’ll be discussing issues regarding youth empowerment especially as one balances personal and professional life. If you have time, drop by. It’s only for 1,000 bucks and you will not only get your money’s worth from the country’s diverse speakers but also you’ll be helping people from all over Visayas who are in dire need of aid. Win-win right?

Click on this http://trainings.ph/weareone-session4/ or this https://www.facebook.com/events/393339350799094/ for details.

From now on, I’d be be posting more seminars, speaking engagements and advocacies that she’s involved with to keep you guys in the loop too.

And to those who’ll be coming or donating, in behalf of WE ARE ONE. | One Nation, One Purpose, One Voice, a very sincere and hearty THANKS.

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doing the right thing

A fellow blogger, who also happens to be a really good friend of mine, shared this on Facebook a few minutes ago. I thought it was a story worth telling so here I am on my blog, writing about it.

Photo from Brent Tzu’s facebook account

Meet 98 year old Dobri Dobrev, a man who lost his hearing in the second world war. Every day he walks 10 kilometers from his village in his homemade clothes and leather shoes to the city of Sofia, where he spends the day begging for money.

Though a well known fixture around several of the city’s churches, known for his prostrations of thanks to all donors, it was only recently discovered that he has donated every penny he has collected — over 40,000 euros — towards the restoration of decaying Bulgarian monasteries and the utility bills of orphanages, living instead off his monthly state pension of 80 euros.

Sometimes you just know you’re doing the right thing even when no one else affirms it.

Because we live in a world where meritocracy is the rule of thumb, we forget the greatest contributions that we make to society, to people we hardly know are the things we do out of selflessness and utter disregard for social image. Here is a man who may have little financially and in material possessions but he chose to live a life that still cares about others. I’m not encouraging the rest of the world to crowd the streets and beg for money they can donate rather I’m hoping I can convince you to care. 

Our gestures don’t have to be big. They don’t have to change the world. We at least have to care enough to move towards a gesture, an action, a vision that involves making other people’s lives easier than they are now. This has a very special place in my heart because I’ve done humanitarian work since I was 13 and I’ve loved every minute of it. Because I love it so much, I thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday, the 18th of this month, with my dad on a gift giving mission. It will be my little contribution to world.

I hope one day helping others out will be a part of everyone’s habit, something they do not as a burden but a vocation even when there are no cameras snapping, no cover stories and no obvious reciprocity other than fulfillment.

my superman dream

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We all have that Superman dream, that consuming sometimes suffocating vision of ourselves.

You know in your gut that’s all you wanna be and all you wanna have but you feel that saying it, pursuing it and living it is way out of your means or far from the expectations already set in front of you.

It would be easier to remain Clark Kent, pragmatic, reliable and plain rather than be the risky, over the top super hero you’ve always wanted to be.

Your dream betrays your reality. 

I’ve been there. God help me, there are days when I think I still am. On those rare, depressing days, I imagine myself already living my dream. It’s not to escape reality but just to remind myself that maybe in an alternate space or time or dimension, I’m already a humanitarian or a published author or a gallery owner or a world traveler or maybe all those. 

It reminds me that I can be whoever I want to be regardless of norms, expectations and standards. I can take a risk because it’s my life, my happiness to risk. I wish one day everyone will have the courage to do the same because we all deserve to realize our Superman dream.

Three Wishes

I refrain from posting depressing messages and pictures on my blog thinking this was originally my happiness haven but I just really had to post this one. It reminds me of why I love humanitarian work and why I do what I do. If I can help kids like these, foster them off the streets and into a more promising future then I will have exceeded my own expectations.

In Flow with Otto

The story of Sasha and Roma is heartbreaking. Two boys living on the streets of St. Petersburg. Sniffing glue the only comfort in their young life. This is a story Øystein brought back from a visit to Russia some years ago. Read the whole story on Øystein’s & Otto’s Blog

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summer for a 21-year old

The humidity in this country is beyond bearable. I found myself waking up in the middle of night, running to bathroom and taking a quick shower just to get through the next few hours without having a heat stroke. The only upside to this delirious experience is you can get creative as to how you spend the rest of the summer.

Here’s how I plan to enjoy mine.

  1. Get a natural tan by frequenting the beach . Cliche but summer is for  SWIMMING. Ladies, let those bikini bodies shine -or in my case maxi dress-covered body. 

    Suggested beaches: Caramoan, Calaguas, Atolayan and Aguirangan. They’re not as populated as Boracay but you will definitely admire the beaches and the natives.

  2. Time to catch up on my reading. I’m going to spend those lazy afternoons lounging as I read a paperback. Yeah yeah, I’m a geek. I already pre-ordered some of the books on my summer reading list.

    MY SUMMER READING LIST
     THE BEST OF ME, by Nicholas Sparks. Twenty-five years after their high school romance ended, a man and woman who have gone their separate ways return to their North Carolina town for the funeral of a friend.
     CALICO JOE, by John Grisham. In the summer of 1973, a fateful baseball play unites a dazzling rookie, a hard-partying and hard-throwing pitcher and the pitcher’s young son.
     NOW YOU SEE HER, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Nina Bloom, a successful lawyer and loving mother who years ago changed her identity to save her life, is forced to confront the past and the killer she thought she had escaped.
    A GAME OF THRONES, by George R. R. Martin. In the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are mustering; Book 1 of “A Song of Ice and Fire.”
     DELUSION IN DEATH, by J. D. Robb. Lt. Eve Dallas tries to sort out the inexplicable events at a bar where, after 12 minutes of chaos, more than 80 people lay dead; by Nora Roberts, writing pseudonymously.
     THE LOST YEARS, by Mary Higgins Clark. A biblical scholar who made an amazing discovery is murdered, and it falls to his daughter to unravel the mystery behind his death.
     THE WANDERER, by Robyn Carr.  Hank Cooper inherits a beachfront property in Thunder Point, Ore., and finds himself with a community’s destiny in his hands.
     THE INNOCENT, by David Baldacci. When something about his latest mission seems wrong, the government assassin Will Robie refuses to kill. Now he’s a target himself.
     SEVERE CLEAR, by Stuart Woods. Stone Barrington travels to Bel-Air for the opening of a luxury hotel that, according to the N.S.A., may have attracted the attention of terrorists.
     DEFENDING JACOB, by William Landay. An assistant district attorney’s life is shaken when his shy 14-year-old son is accused of murder.

     

  3. Finally learn that Caribbean Seafood Pasta recipe. Nothing says summer like gorging on a really vibrant and lemony dish.
  4. Go on a spontaneous, absolutely no plans, one back pack adventure. It’s time to let loose and unleash the fun 21 year old I know is still in me. 
  5. Explore my creative side and take on a project that challenges my imagination. It could be that painting class I’ve been meaning to take since college or photography lessons with my dad and his friends or maybe just give in to the taunts of my sister regarding starting my own Wattpad account.
  6. Volunteer and give back. Now that the body, tummy and mind are all happy, it’s time to feed the heart. Find time to donate some clothes, help a beach clean-up, adopt a homeless pup or support social initiatives via your blog. Be creative, after all volunteering is never one note.

I remember when I was about 4, I spent my summer running around the front yard, picking mangoes which fell from the trees I climb, eating fried bananas and tagging along when my grandparents when visit the rice fields. That was my perfect summer. Now that I’m older and sadly incapable of climbing trees, my perfect summer is letting loose and creating a better version of myself .

What’s yours?

Whatever it is, make sure to have fun and enjoy the sun.

Bucket List: the CHEERful Way

I haven’t written for this blog in a while. Summer brought me so much to do and enjoy that I lost track of my entries, sorry. So here’s what I’ve been up to, I’ve been listing down the things I wanna do the next few years ( a bucket list is what they call it). Here’s what I have so far:

  1. Travel to Africa, South America and the more impoverished parts of Asia as a humanitarian volunteer.
  2. Be an ambassador for the United Nations (Seriously, it’s been a lifelong dream.)
  3. Meet the current UN SEcretary- General and the world’s transformative leaders
  4. Study another language. (French or Spanish)
  5. Get my own written work published. 
  6. Hit a thousand followers on one of my blogs. (I wish, right?)
  7. Improve my drawing and painting skills.
  8. Fill a gallery with pictures I took, artworks I’ve made and drafts of literature I wrote. (This I could share with my sister who pursues the same hobbies.)
  9. Pursue my love of cooking.
  10. Design clothes and accessories made from local materials or a start a restaurant with a modern Filipino theme
  11. Set up my own foundation in the Philippines
  12. Buy then design my own house (somewhere overlooking the ocean). 
  13. Build a library (not with my own 2 hands of course). Hoard more books and meet their authors.
  14. Get a tattoo (with my dad). (Of what? I haven’t made up my mind yet. Where? I’m thinking Japan or Hawaii.)
  15. Go on a trip without a plan, with only one backpack, no phone or any means of communication for a month.
  16. Travel around the world then settle in a foreign country for a year. (I’ll make another bucket list for each country I visit.)
  17. Have a meaningful religious experience through a pilgrimage
  18. Test the adrenaline junkie in me. Try skydiving, surfing, bungee jumping and drag racing.
  19. Have a passionate, romantic summer with a hunk in the Maldives
  20. Learn self defense, preferably the less obvious ones like Kray Maga.
  21. Get toned! Abs everything. 
  22. Rock out to a Maroon 5, The Script or Lawson concert and get invited to the after party. (Tickets for Joe Brooks, Chester See, Colton Dixon, Alex Goot, Tiffany Alvord and Sam Tsui concerts, also a must)
  23. Watch as the models walk the runways of Paris, Milan and New York fashion week.
  24. Get a make over every year.
  25. Plan ADVENTURES with my closest friends like watch a Lakers game with Erwin or visit the Hogwarts castle in UK with my little sister.

I know I’ll have crazier additions later one but for now, I’m happy with this list. I read somewhere that writing them down, visualizing your goals and dreams make them more likely to come true. So here it is written and posted.

*PS The CHEERful way may be a little confusing if you’re not aware that my close friends call me CHEER. 🙂

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the human connection

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“The way the world looks don’t have a thing to do with what’s going on with its people” -Gap Creek, 1999

Often we are lured to believe that the world is getting by fine because it sure looks that way. We start our mornings with a quick walk to Starbucks, buy what we think is an inexpensive venti cup of coffee, take our tablet out to check our emails, browse through our favorite online shops and decide to finally buy that Miu Miu dress that’s worth half a month of salary. An approximately 5-minute ride away from the coffee shop is a family of twelve sharing one pack of boiled noodles, drinking what looks like a cup of coffee except you can’t really tell because too much water has been added to it. You can almost hear the dad’s sighs outside their small shanty made of cardboard boxes and reused coco lumber. Their rent was due but he was mugged last night by some teenage robbers who smelled of alcohol. In his desperation he tried to fight back, it almost got him killed. Now he sat by the steps of the river right outside their house, he was trying to have some quiet time before the loan sharks came or before the landowner kicked them out. He was really tired and confused, he thought he should run away. Maybe if he did, the loan sharks wouldn’t bother his wife and kids. Maybe she can go back to her estranged mother if he left. Her mother never liked him. He’s decided. He’ll run. The morning after, police doing their early rounds found his body floating in the river.

***

Author’s Note:

Another sob story? Maybe, but I know him. In fact, we all know him. We met him at some point, not that we noticed. We’re often busy with our expensive smart phones, talking about our new house or window shopping or just admiring how amazingly advanced the world is. This days I often wonder if this is what the world has come to, caprice covers up human connections. We become too absorbed with what we have or we want to have that we don’t notice or choose to consciously ignore  our brothers and sister who are asking us for a little push.

This is not to defend the incapability of others to cope but a recognition that sometimes despite all the gusto one has to succeed they just fail. In instances like these, we have to find in ourself the disposition to contribute to the progress of others. Find that lost human connection through those who are in most need of it.