Sunday, October 25, 2015

When Purpose Stalks You

Meet purpose, your lifelong stalker. 

This stalker is invisible. Like your own shadow, its presence looms around your peripheral, waiting for you take notice. It manifests its presence in the strangest, most random circumstances - as you prepare for your daily report, have lunch with your colleagues, jam to your Spotify morning commute, space out in a meeting, or lie in bed wide awake contemplating where your life is headed. 

Maybe you've always known your purpose as a child. But you snubbed it for worldlier "purposes" - killing hours for play and imagination to secure a slot in a program you don't care about, or doing things just for the sake of adding lines to your resume. Or maybe you took the drastic route and lived abroad to distract yourself. 

Your stalker watches from a considerable distance as you hop from one job to another. Some get lucky, for their internal compasses align with the needs of the world at the third attempt to be a productive member of society. But for others, external motivators, like a high salary or health care package, distract from claiming ones true purpose. Things may look good on paper but for some reason nothing feel right. As you continue justifying to yourself where you are, you begin drifting through life, marching towards the grave you dug for yourself, burying your creative spirit in the process. 

If you continue lying to yourself, you could begin drinking with an amount that is directly proportional to the amount of money you are making and the stress that comes with it. Or at one point take medication to quell some form of ache masked as your typical migraine but is a symptom of some other form of pain - the pain of neglect. In extreme cases, the “neglect” disease starts as a recurring cold that ends up as the flu until you find yourself at the hospital in your quest to find a piece of the world - only to forget yourself.

Some are lucky, because to them, all of this is worth it. It was just burnout, that is all. They can go back into the world after such hiatus with a renewed sense of ambition and pride knowing that they are willing to live and die for the craft meant exactly for people like them. There is nothing wrong with that. For others, life seems to have given them no option due to obligations to fulfill, so they make it work no matter what. 

More often than not, regardless of what burdens you carry, you find yourself breaking down. Your outer facade has given in to a force beyond your comprehension. You don’t know where it came from or where it will lead, but boy, it feels good. You feel alive. You found that verb that encompasses your entire being and it is flowing through you. You found that force that is meant to be shared and not kept inside. But you don’t know where to start. As you begin to doubt this feeling yet again and deprive it of its place in your life, your mind sensibly comes up with strategies to deal with anxiety and uncertainty, analyzing how much time and money you need to own up to who you are meant to be. 

Your lifelong stalker is your purpose, your missing piece, your best self. If you don’t find it, it will find you. If you reject it, it will come back. If you ignore it, it will scream louder.

So don’t be afraid to walk on water. Trust that inner force that pounds louder with the passing of time. Take that risk that may seem crazy to others but makes sense to you, because after years of ignoring it you’ve finally allowed yourself to fully live for something greater than yourself. Choose the path that makes you feel most alive. Otherwise, continue withering and living a half-life, with the heavy burden of never even trying, eventually dying from the disease of neglecting your lifelong stalker - waiting in the shadows of the life you were meant to live.

A piece of advise from Davao's D' Bone Collector Museum

Green Therapy: Ilocos, Philippines

If you prefer long road trips, then journeying up north to Ilocos, Luzon is for you. By car, it normally takes 13 hours (via the route we took back in 2008) but our designated driver was able to get the time in 10.5 hours if my memory serves me right. 

It reminds me of Cebu a lot because of the rich Spanish colonial history surrounding Vigan (In Ilocos Sur) and also because you can also head further up north to Ilocos Norte to visit Pagudpud Beach and the famous Bangui Wind Farm. Since I visited Ilocos back in 2008, I think there are sand dunes recreational areas now and an extensive array of resorts to choose from, and I imagine the place to be more developed than it was back then. 

It is advisable to travel in the wee hours of the morning to avoid the hustle and bustle of everyday life when you pass through the small towns to get to Ilocos. That way, when you reach your  destination, the sun is still out and you can head straight to the beach to swim or to take a well deserved nap after a tedious but worth it journey. 

More than the destination I just remember seeing acres and acres of greens and blues - stretching for hours as we headed to the peak of Luzon Island (though by plane Batanes holds this title - a place I have yet to visit). When you look out your window you'd see that you're at the edge of the road and surrounded by rocks and waves. Then, after a couple of minutes, you'd find yourself surrounded by lush trees uncorrupted by development. Its a perfect example of applying the saying "it's the journey and not (only) the destination" that makes it worth it. 

How I wish Ilocos is still the same green paradise today. 

Date: 2008

Bangui Wind Farm, Illocos Norte

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Illocos Norte

View from the Lighthouse

Scenic Roadside View

Scenic Roadside View

Pagudpud Beach
Note: The beach is known for its riptides and strong current so be careful in the water

Sunset in Pagudpud

Blue Lagoon Beach, Pagudpud
I remember being surrounded by mountains and a large expanse of water, and the contrast is just beautiful

Vigan, Illocos Sur
Stroll around preserved Spanish Colonial History

Baluarte ni Chavit, Illocos Sur

Baluarte ni Chavit, Ilocos Sur

Baluarte ni Chavit Aerial Shot, Ilocus Sur

Green Therapy: Movenpick Cebu, Philippines

If you're looking for a good mix of natural and manmade landscapes then Movenpick Resort, Cebu is for you. Since it is only in Mactan Island (sharing the shoreline of Shangrila Mactan and other popular resorts) the ride from the airport should take thirty minutes or less since it is in the same island. Other resorts are far away (some needing both water and land transfers from the airport) so for a quick getaway this is perfect for those who are time conscious and have a little extra budget to spare. 

My friend and I booked a flight to spend one night here (tickets were very cheap) and since it would take just about the same time to travel to the nearest beach from Manila, we decided to just head to Cebu. 

Their food is quite ok, mostly serving international cuisine (i.e., pizza, pasta, etc). The coffee they serve is excellent (I think they used Swiss beans since the hotel is part of a popular Swiss managed chain) and can stand alone without the need for sugar. They also offer a free service ride to the city proper (check out: Ayala Mall for more food options, Magellan's Cross, Sto. Nino Parish, and the Edge Coaster in Crown Regency) but I was sick at the time so we just decided to stay within the confines of the hotel. Since we only stayed for a day I can imagine it to be quite boring for those booked for more than a day, so it is recommended to explore outside the hotel and Mactan. 

Date: May 2013

The contrast of manmade and natural landscapes: Movenpick's modest shoreline

The modern colors and architecture of the open-aired lobby

The swimming pool
(We never got to swim since we preferred to head down to the beach. Night swimming is recommended since the pool lights up and turns neon)

Some lounge chairs

Hammocks right above the water

Modest accommodations

The view from our hotel room

Another angle of the view from our hotel

Shoreline shot 
The water is really so clear! And you can go snorkelling and look at the small fish

A blue starfish

Beautiful Dusk Colors

The hotel Facade in Sunset

The Ibiza Inspired Beach Bar
It's hardly packed, and outsiders are welcome

Green Therapy: Bali, Indonesia

There are times you want to travel, and there are times you want to take a vacation. 

My trip to Bali had been the latter. 

During a random dinner back in 2013, my friend and decided to book at trip to Bali, for well deserved R&R, considering our hectic work schedules at the time. Since she worked in the hotel industry, we got discounted room rates in an excellent hotel in the Nusa Dua complex. When we arrived in Bali we had no itinerary and rented a van through the receptionist to explore whatever we felt like for the day. It was thrice as expensive as booking with a private van agency / driver from the tourist areas / airport, but we wanted to ensure our safety as we were just two girls travelling so we did not mind. 

Bali certainly has that Honeymoon vibe and relaxing charm that draws people back to its islands over time. Although the areas we went to were the tourist areas and we did not explore the cuisine much (I remember eating in Potato Head twice as we loved the contemporary food, ambiance and drinks), when I go back to the reason why I took this trip (to go on a vacation) it certainly exceeded expectations. 

Book a trip to Bali for an affordable vacation or Honeymoon and get lost in the vibe you need to experience to understand. 

Trip: June 2013

Entrance to Bedugul Temple

Fishermen in Bedugul

A cloudy day in Bedugul Temple

Boat and Bedugul

Children enjoying the serene lake

Bedugul: A Temple in the Middle of a Lake 

 I think we took a two hour drive from Nusa Dua to get here

Our Trees, Our Protectors

 Beauty amidst a cloudy day
In some coffee plantation en route to Bedugul / City Proper

I think this was in one of the sarong places in Kuta

Tana Lot Walkway

Tanah Lot's Quiet Confidence
Expect a big crowd especially close to sunset, since this place is known for that. 

Tanah Lot Low Tide

Nusa Dua Park
Fall in the Summer

Bali is Love

Cumulus clouds
Nusa Dua Park

Nusa Dua Park

Majestic Spendor
Nusa Dua Park

Water Blow, Nusa Dua Park
(Don't miss this! Its at the very edge of the park from the entrance. Expect to be around many school children in the afternoon)

Prenuptial Shot
Nusa Dua Park

Nusa Dua Beach
A Private beach for patrons in the hotels within the complex

Nusa Dua Beach
Isolated and private, only patrons of the hotels in the complex can access the private beachfront

Cocktail Bar
Nusa Dua Beach

Nusa Dua Private Beach

Life on Hold at Nusa Dua Beach

My favourite reading spot in our hotel pool

Sunset pool party at the Potato Head, Seminyak

Sunset at Seminyak

Serenity at Dusk

The calm before the storm