31 Reasons to be Thankful for in March 2014

March was a pretty exciting and challenging month for me.  The month started with a vacation but all the fun must come to an end.  The rest of the month was devoted to work. The moment arrived home, it was all work for me.  I had deadlines to meet. I thank God for the strength to face the challenges. By the end of the month, all the hard work paid off. I was glad to welcome April with an less hectic schedule.

Here are the 31 reasons why March is still a month  of gratitude for me:

1. Safe travel. We arrived Baguio safely.

2. Art. The highlight of the day is a visit to the BenCab museum. We appreciate his art and we love what he did to the place.

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3. Geography lesson. We traveled from Baguio to Olongapo hoping to spend some time in Subic for the safari and some nature walks. We did not know that Baguio to Olongapo is an 8-hour trip. I thought it was only 4 hours.  This is the result of not doing thorough research on this trip. I cannot extend the stay in Olongapo because we already made reservations in Manila.  Next time, Subic, next time.  I had a little geography lesson along the way.  These are the provinces we passed through during the trip: Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales.

This is the only photo I have of Olongapo.

This is the only photo I have of Olongapo.

4. Good driver.  We rode taxi from Cubao to Pedro Gil.  Whenever I am in Manila,  I use the MRT/LRT no matter how crowded it is.  I feel safer that way. I cannot do that while towing my aunt’s luggage so we hailed the cab. Good thing that the taxi driver knows the way. In that trip, we had taxi drivers who did not use meter and asked for an additional amount. They both cited traffic for the fee which we did not experience.  I do not always argue with the driver. ( Oh, this reminds me. I will report the incidents to LTFRB.)

5.  Reflection.  After a nice trip to Corregidor, we went to MOA to find a church.  I thought that the church was inside the mall like the one in Megamall.  It was Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lent.  We were early for the mass so I had time to reflect on my life. I remember being thankful for the opportunity to travel.

View of Manila on a boat to Corregidor

View of Manila from a boat to Corregidor.

6. Finding a dress. I would be attending a wedding two days after and the bride wanted us guests to wear a dress in a bright color. I did not want to spend a lot on something I will not wear often so my Aunt and I went bargain hunting.  We went to Greenhills and I did not find anything I like within my budget. I ended up in Landmark. It looked like a glorified daster. haha  A friend told me it is called a ‘shift dress’.

Wore it gain just to take a photo for a friend. Buntis look! I will never be a fashion blogger. haha!

Wore it again (from the laundry!) just to take a photo for a friend. Buntis look!  No, I am not pregnant. It is always comfort over fashion for me.  

7. Safe solo trip. Since I would be attending a wedding, my aunt went home alone. The thing is: My aunt is afraid to travel alone. What I did was to accompany her to the airport up to the point where I am no longer allowed to enter. I promised not to leave the airport until I get a word that she landed safely in Butuan.  Yes, I was at the airport from 5AM to 10:30 AM!   (And I went back 3PM because my friends also arrived from Butuan for the wedding.)

8. My friend’s wedding!  A lot happened during this day. The wedding was at 5PM so we have time during the day. I brought my friends to one of my favorite places in Manila:  UP Diliman.  We took photos with the Oblation, ate ice cream,  took a stroll along its acacia-line academic oval, ate at the Beach House and visited the chapel. We cut our visit short because it was time for the wedding. My cousin was also waiting for us at the hotel. The bride asked him to be the photographer and I was the ‘assistant’.  Oh, we all had fun at the wedding and after the wedding!

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9.  Being home safe.  I was already away for more than a week. It was time for me to go home. My friends’ were scheduled to fly home the next day. Oh, I got a lovely gift from my cousin. What a thoughtful person! And he has good taste, too.

Look at my awesome lamp. It looks like paint is poured out of a bucket. Cool!

Look at my awesome lamp. It looks like paint is poured out of a bucket. Cool!

10.  Strength. I woke up late because I slept late. I had a deadline the night before. Whew! While I was in Manila, I was informed that the client  needed  a report in a prescribed format.  I thought the one I did was already the required format. I had to negotiate this deadline so that I can still  enjoy my vacation. Thank you, God, I was able to get it done.

11. Travel wishlist. I was chatting with a friend and we agreed to travel together to a destination we both want to visit. We got excited because we thought it would be expensive to go there. We found out that some airlines offer promo fares to reach that destination. We now have a target month to travel to the place  and I will be on the lookout for promo fares.

12. Time for laundry. After looking through my schedule, I had to get this done or else I will be wearing my business clothes at home. Ha!

13. Normalcy. The vacation-mode switch was turned off. I had to get back to the daily grind.

14. A glimpse of the past. We were invited to a school event at our alma mater. It has been 25 years since we graduated from grade school and we will be celebrating that milestone this coming May.

15. Conversations. I make time with friends even if they are far away.I have not had a long chat with some friends for a long time.  Because of our busy schedules, I just leave messages on Facebook, they reply when she can and I reply when I can.

16. Sense of humor. A little sense of humor kept me sane. I got a little ribbing on Facebook from some friends. I just let it slide. I am usually pikon but I let it slide this time.  I know the issue will die its natural death.  It did!

17. Laughter. We had a meeting for the May grade school alumni homecoming. I did jot down what we talked about but if you ask me now, all I remember was the laughter at the meeting.

18. Faith. I knew I had quite an overwhelming task on my plate. I called on the heavens to guide me. The fact that somebody thought I could do it by assigning it to me was enough motivation to do my best and not let them down.

19. My friend’s birthday.  I am glad that even with my busy schedule there were pockets of time where I can relax and have fun with friends.

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20. New travel buddy. I have finally convinced my friend to travel with us on our next trip! My annoying persistence paid off. She booked the trip!

21. Meeting and willpower.  I used to hate meetings in my previous job but this kind of meeting was what I needed to get some directions on how to do the task that was assigned.   It was also during this day that I put an end to some bad habits- those types that I kept doing yet I get remorseful for doing  them.

22. Work. Work was a welcomed distraction from some of the silly thoughts I sometimes entertain.

23. Getting things done. I finally finished writing. The first draft was done.

24.  Good news. I picked up some good news about a friend on Facebook. She was keeping mum about it for awhile but I got some clues from her sister’s comment so I sent her a message to clarify. She confirmed my suspicion: my friend is pregnant with her first child.  I am happy for her! There is hope in the world!  (Ha! I am overly dramatic!)

25.  Ideas. The enormous task slowly took shape and was slowly gaining confidence that it would get done. The first draft underwent several editing. Thanks to the ideas shared by the group.

26.  People. Thank you for people who care.  It was also an uncle’s 80th birthday and he does not look a day older than 60.

27.  The end of the tunnel. The project  I was working on was almost done. One more day and I get my needed rest.

28. Relief. We finally submitted the completed project. Whew. What a ride!

29. Lunch with family. My cousin bought a new house and he was still fixing it up. He invited us for lunch.

30.  New Facebook friend.  A friend got a new smartphone.  I had to teach her how to use Facebook.

31.  Meaningful work. I got a feedback that the recipients of the project output were grateful for what we have done. After all the work we did, I was grateful somebody trusted me to be part of the project.

Thank you, March!

28 Reasons to be Thankful for February 2014

This post is long overdue. I have been working and traveling so updating this blog took a backseat. Plus, it took time before I got my writing groove back. I had work waiting for me and I still have not truly rested from traveling.  Then, there were those moments when I looked back at the photos of our travel and recalled the fun times we had.

Let me get this post going before I get carried away again. Here are the 28 reasons I am thankful for last February.

1. Reassurance. The events unfolding in Thailand made my heart beat faster. A friend of mine said it was okay to go there. (Note: We all know what happened to my trip.)

2. Meeting new friends. My friend organized a feeding session for those kids who were victims of Typhoon Agaton in her area. We distributed snacks and a dentist was asked to teach kids how to properly brush their teeth.  Toothbrush and toothpaste were also distributed. I got to meet some of her friends and we had a mini-photoshoot as I am in charge of taking the photos.

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3. Free time. I am usually free during Mondays so I use the time to run errands. For this time, I used the day for planning the week ahead.

4. Push to get things done.  I have filed my income tax return!  Hurray! Deadline is still on April 15 but I filed in advance so I do not have to think about it anymore.  Plus I overpaid my taxes so I still have tax credits for next quarter. Hurray!

5. Successful call. My flight got cancelled and I know it was difficult to reach the Cebu Pacific hotline but I was able to get through on the second attempt.

6. My aunt. No thanks to the developing colds but thanks to my aunt who bought me medicine without me asking.  I am really not fond of taking medicine because I believe my immune system will work to fight the virus. However, the medicine gave me relief even for a short while.

7. Entertainment. Sheldon kissed Amy! I know this is fiction but I love The Big Bang Theory!

8. Pasalubong. My cousin came from Cagayan de Oro and brought me J.Co donuts.

9. Safe travel. My aunt was away for almost a week to accompany her friend to get treatment in Cagayan de Oro.  We were uncertain when she would be home. We got  a surprise when we heard a honk from the car that brought her home. Oh, I got two laptop sleeves from her- in polka dots!.

10.  Work opportunities. There would be fewer free times. I would miss a lot of TV shows but there is a meaningful work ahead. I am fine with that.

11. Cebu Pacific Refund.  I wrote a lengthy piece about that in the previous post.

12. Time with family. It was my cousin’s birthday the day before. February 12 was also my late father’s birthday while the 13th was my late mother’s. We all went to the newly opened Chowking for lunch. In the afternoon, we went to the mall with my nephew.

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13. Sweet ponkan.  I was loading up on vitamin C because of the colds and I was lucky to buy sweet ones. I was able to consume 3 in one sitting.

14. Grape plant. I got a surprise gift from a friend with green thumb: grape! Not yet the edible kind but it is ready for planting in two weeks. I hope I won’t kill it.  Who needs a valentine when you have thoughtful friends?  Haha!

15. Books. My friend was looking for a book to read and it was a reminder for me to start reading my pending books.

16. Bibingka. My friend who was then in Bangkok showed me the cake she was eating that I suddenly craved one.  Good thing, a bibingka  (rice cake) vendor showed up at our gate.

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17. Movie break. I watched ‘Starting over again’ with my aunt. The other aunt already watched it ahead of us and recommended that we watched the movie.

18. Interesting dinner.  The dinner guests (and that included me) were treated to a poetry rendition. It was amazing how my friend’s father  can just blurt out those classic poems from memory. Fascinating!

19. Work. What needed to be done became clearer.  There were still a lot of work to do but there was confidence that we could do it.

20. Lechon.  Free lechon was always welcomed. Yum!

21. Clearer schedule. I had another work from another client and a trip coming up so setting up the schedule made the work easier.  It made things manageable.

22. Sleep! After three days of workshop, I needed my rest.

23.  Wonderful friends.  It was the second feeding session that my friend organized.  This time, more close friends came.

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24. Instant shopping. I was on a out-of-town work and I did not know we are going to spend the night in the place. I did not bring extra clothes. Right after work, I went to the town’s only department store. Good thing the store was still open. I was able to buy clothes.

25.  Safe trip. Several roads were damaged because of Agaton. Glad we came home safe.

26.  Accommodation. I used to plan ahead when I travel but things got busy. My trip was on March 1 and it was only on the 26th of February that I was able to finalize our accommodation.

27.  Workshop done. It was the last day of the workshop I was documenting. I could already focus on preparing for the trip after completing the report.

28. Report done.  I did some last minute errands.  Report was done until midnight. I packed my things at midnight in preparation for a 9:45 AM flight the next day.

Whew! Thank  you, God, for February!

A Letter for a Dear Friend

Dear Friend,

I may be the last person who has words of wisdom on matters of the heart. When it comes to love, the best advice I can muster is ‘Go for it!” This advice is not really helpful especially in what I presume you are feeling right now. I have to admit that in the past few days I have been thinking about love. It is more about your love life than mine. I vicariously live through others’ love lives. Ha! You know how smitten I am about the thought of seeing you find true love.  I know you will find one someday. I even believe that you will find one soon more than I believe I would find one for myself in the distant future.

And because I am not good at giving love advice and I want to give an unsolicited one, I borrowed words from other people (some random and anonymous) who may have rich experiences on this subject.

You are one of the few people I know who live and breathe service for others not because it is the right thing to do but because it is in your nature to do so. “You were born that way”, sabi ni Lady Gaga.  So the following advice is hard for you to do.  I know you have tried this before and it worked, albeit temporarily. It might work again.

You need to care less  because you need to prepare for the difficult part.

I realize how true these words are.

There are just battles we need to let go.

I know there will be times when you can’t help but think about that person.

In time, you will find this kind of happiness.

They say that only then can you start to open your heart to another.

And you will realize this:

I know in my heart that this will happen for you.

The heartaches will soon be forgotten.

I do not know what the future holds but this is something to look forward to.

I know you are not the type of person who will drop someone in a heartbeat. It helps to know that those who wish to be part of your life will find a way back in.

Of all the words I borrowed, this I am sure.

Know that I will always be here for you. Probably, with my cats or dogs. I’m more of a dog person. :D

Love,
Kat

31 Reasons to be Thankful for this January 2014

I started the gratitude project this year and I was able to  complete the first month!

This month has been a challenging one with the low pressure area hovering over us and finally tropical depression Agaton made its way submerging the city in flood and we were not spared. And as I am writing this one, tropical storm Basyang has just made landfall in Siargao. We are under signal number 1. It rained earlier but it was not something alarming. Thank you, God!

Despite the challenges, I still have 31 reasons to be thankful for.

1. Gift of Family.  I may be single, orphaned and an only child but I am not lonely. I spent the afternoon in a relative’s house for New Year lunch. We had a good time catching up. It has been awhile since we last had a get-together.

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2. Digital photos. Whenever I want to recall something, I looked through my photos and memories come flooding in. It is easier to keep track of what happened at a particular moment in time.

3. Opportunity to hear mass. I always say that I am not religious. I am not one of those people regularly attend first Friday mass. My friend, Mitzi, invited to me go with her.  The priest talked about being grateful instead of complaining a lot. He said something about not being too obsessed about living a perfect life. God will fill what we do not have.

4. Chat time with friends. I am not really a sociable person but, online, I can be ‘talkative’. I am grateful for friends who take time to chat with me and catch up.

5. New ideas. I found a tutorial on how to make a camera bag. My aunt was quick to measure my camera and create a gameplan. We have not yet made the project because I have not bought the materials. Soon, perhaps.

6. Little surprises.  My cousin, Arvin, bought me “chicharon bulaklak”. He said it was his Christmas gift for me. Yummy!

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7. The reminder to work harder. I started a new investment stream so I am forcing myself to save more.

8. Opportunity to travel cheap.  I booked a trip for May. I will be traveling with friends I have not seen in 20 years. I am excited.

9. Good bargain.  CDO ham was one sale! Buy one-take one!

10.  Favor. I prayed for something and God granted it.

11. Online freebies. I got the Pantene kit from ilovebdj.com from the mail. Yay!

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12. Happy smiles. My friend tagged me along to visit an orphanage. It was heartwarming to see genuine smiles from kids’ faces.

13. Energy to finish a task. When I am tired, I rest. This time, I pushed a little more.

14. Time management. I had a trip the following day so I needed to finish some tasks.  It helps to list down tasks and tick them off as I complete them.

15. No motion sickness. A four-hour land travel usually makes me dizzy.  I usually take Bonamine. This time I did not and I did not vomit.

16. Productive day. We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish for the day. Even with the low pressure area looming, we were still dry.

17.  Safety. Butuan was in the news for heavy rains. My ceiling was showing signs of succumbing to the rain. Thank God! I was safe and dry.

18. Work opportunities. 

19. No flooding. There was still heavy raining and floods did not enter the home but we already moved the furniture.

20. Acceptance. The day before we thought the flood will not enter the house. It did. Flights were cancelled. Trip was postponed.

21. Proactive aunt. (More like OC!)  When the flood receded, we immediately cleaned it up. My aunt got busy with my floors.  In less than 24 hours since the flood waters entered the home, we were able to clean it up.

22. Normalcy. We are slowly getting back  on our feet. I was able to put in some work after days of flooding.

23. Clean garage. The water has receded from the garage. Street was still flooded. We used the flood water to remove the mud that accumulated in the garage. Lifting buckets of water was my core exercise.

24. Unexpected call. Thank you for the thoughtfulness of others. A simple phone call made my day.

25. Friendship.  We were able to help my friend clean her room after the flooding.

26. Creativity. Thanks to my aunt for rearranging my living room. It looked as if Agaton never happened.

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27. Glamourbox. This is the first time I subscribed to this box. It came just when I needed some pampering after all the backbreaking work cleaning after the flood.
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28. Restraint. Sometimes we need to pause. There are things not worth the effort.

29. Bearable queue. I was sent on an errand to pay my aunt’s SSS premium. The line was long but it was bearable because I saw a friend and we chatted while waiting for our turn.

30. Ally. Sometimes when emotions get the better of you, it helps to have an ally who has your back.

31. Another New Year! It is the Lunar New Year. My friend said that it is an opportunity to reset resolutions. Ha!

How was your January?

Tapping the Power of Mentorship

The Philippines faced a lot of challenges the past year and it will continue to do so in the coming years.

Globe and its #GLOBEProjectWonderful2014 ask this question:

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The 2010 data from the National Statistics Office reveals that there are 92.34 million Filipinos. This only shows that the biggest resource of the country  is its people. I see people as assets and it is only fitting to invest on their potential. The gift I can give to the Philippines is MENTORSHIP.

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A mentor actually sees potential in a person even before a person realizes it. Imagine the people you can motivate to do better in life by being a mentor. I believe each one of us has some skill, talent and knowledge to share to others that can empower them to live a better life. In my own life, I reach out to people when I needed to learn something. And this is not even in a traditional classroom setting. It is just an informal and casual method and I learn a lot just the same. Several times in the past, I called on a friend who used to work for the family to teach me how to cook dinuguan and kare-kare. She is my mentor when it comes to cooking.  I also seek the help of my cousin to learn photography. Even if he lives faraway, we use Facebook to communicate.  I consider him my photography mentor.  A mentor is a positive influence in someone’s life.

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Here’s how I think Globe can do mentorship with #GLOBEProjectWonderful2014 :

1. Choose a pilot site to implement the project.

2. Get 5 ideas from the pilot area to know what they want to be mentored on.

3. Crowdsource through social media who are willing to volunteer as mentors for any of the 5 ideas.

4. Plan and implement the mentorship program.

5. Monitor feedback from community and modify program to enhance it.

There are other ways to approach this idea. Globe can also setup an internet portal where people can enlist as mentors and specify their skills and expertise. Others can enlist as mentees and specify what they want to be mentored on.  The portal then can match mentors and mentees. From there, mentors and mentees can swap contact details and start the transfer of knowledge.

Industry experts can be tapped to develop a training program on their expertise.  For example, Bamboo can donate an hour of his time teaching musically-inclined kids about songwriting.

Products of mentorship tend to gain confidence and develop self-reliance.  Mentorship is a  gift that keeps on giving.

How about you? “If there is one thing you can give to the Philippines, what is that gift?”

It is your turn to answer.  Write it on the comment space  below. If my idea is chosen, Globe will pick a winning comment. Winner will receive an iPad 2.

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