Makiling alone

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Last Thursday, I hiked Mt. Makiling alone via the UPLB College of Forestry Trail. I went to celebrate Earth day one day in advance, to deal with pent up feelings, and also to tick off a pre-21 bucketlist item.

I was running away from heartbreak the last time I was here. Mountains have always been a source of comfort for when things get a little difficult. When you’re at the peak everything looks much smaller. That one person/thing/event that’s bothering you is nothing but a tiny dot in the vast artwork that is the universe. Suddenly you see the wider scheme of things and eventually one realizes that one day this pain will be useful, and that it’s all part of a much bigger plan that has yet to unfold. Also, you’re much closer to the God who lives in the sky.

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I’ve been feeling very lost lately and what better way to deal with figurative “lost-ness” than risk getting physically lost in a mountain famous for lost hikers due to a fanciful diwata.

I felt like I’ve lost my sense of self and sacrificed my identity in favor of belonging and being liked by people, whom I eventually realized, don’t really matter in any way at all. But in the mountains I realized that even trees and flowers of the same species don’t look exactly the same. All of creation is not meant to be the same, for every nuance is a puzzle piece that fills a specific slot which completes an overall picture. I’m weird, idealistic, and overly optimistic, for a reason and I will continue being so even though the reason why is still unclear. Though there is a certain appeal with being a “mean girl”, I will continue being kind, even if it means being the underdog every once in a while. I will continue being an idealist, a patriot, and a lover, for people who never lose hope always remain in the light.

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My mantra has always been the same in all the hikes I’ve done and this has proved useful in life in general as well:

Strong heart | Strong back | Strong legs | Strong mind 

Hiking has taught me self-reliance to the extreme. Though sometimes someone will help pull you up, you can’t rely on them completely for they’re battling their own exhaustion and self-doubt. Heart,mind, legs, and back, strengthen these and all uphill battles will be won.

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No, I didn’t hike all the way to the summit. The trail gets a little challenging for a solo hiker around station 15, and peak moments should be shared with people who matter. Also, mum would kill me if she found out I hiked alone all the way to a summit. When I got back down, the proprietor asked why I didn’t go all the way. After I told him why, he decided that my hike was an unsuccessful one because I didn’t “finish”. But I disagree, I was able to do to what I came to do and I went back down feeling much better, and much more sure with who I am and what I will do next.

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I decided to live my truth here on out. Do what is right and what feels right, in all ways, always. Be like the forest, never worrying, always self-sufficient, and always helping sustain others.

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Photographs taken using the Nikon D200. 

Three days in Kalinga

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I had the privilege of attending the 29th Cordillera Day in Guinaang, Pasil in Kalinga last  April 2013. Kalinga is better known as the home of the last mambabatok tattoo artist Fang Od. However, I did not visit Kalinga to meet Fang Od (also, she lives in Buscalan, another town) but to spend three days learning about the plight and situation of Indigenous Peoples all over the world.

We lived in tents for three days, met activists and advocates from all over the world, and listened to sessions discussing the continued exclusion of Indigenous concerns in decision-making processes, how mining debilitates indigenous communities to their very core, and how collective action and awareness can effect change. The experience was a testament in the power of international solidarity and cooperation.

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I will be back soon, this time to meet Fang Od, and get permanently marked with a piece of the Filipino culture.

Taken using the Nikon E8400

A bit of Pinto

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I got to visit Pinto Art Museum in Rizal last November 2015 with one of my best friends. It is contemporary art heaven as well as a testament of love for Mediterranean architecture. Touring the entire museum requires an entire day and a lot of energy as there are 6 galleries,view decks, and sculpture gardens to explore. It was a day of appreciation: appreciating beauty that comes in many forms,  and appreciating the gift of sight that allows for that appreciation.

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Taken using the Nikon D200

leaving to live

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Today was the first day of my last ten days in the CBD. The feelings I have are quite new to me: a mixture of both relief and sadness. There were times when I wanted time to move a little bit slower so the end would be delayed, but there are also times when I just want everything to be over and done with, so I need not feel confusion anymore.

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I am leaving because I no longer feel alive. I allowed myself to be turned into a cog that fits perfectly in a machine I knew I did not want to be part of. I have always had a soft spot for development work as I witnessed my mother dedicate decades to an INGO while I was growing up. This desire has transformed into a passion when I entered college and was nurtured by volunteering in an organization for street children. There is a more permanent sense of joy in doing work that transcends one’s own needs and helps advance a cause that is otherwise ignored: work that saves lives.

It was lovely while it lasted though. I met people, good ones as well as Regina George-types whom I thought only existed in movies. I learned that professionalism goes beyond politeness and diligence, and that it’s actually more about delivering beyond what is expected. I learned that performing well and liking what you do are not mutually exclusive, and there are more important things to take into consideration aside from how and what one feels.

However, I know it’s time to go, because I’ve been changed into someone I know I am not. And when we let ourselves be changed, we lose not only our distinctiveness, but also the little things that make us, who we are. For me that was photography, exploration, appreciation of the little things, being one with nature, spending time with my nanay, and being mindful of my health. For a while life revolved around chasing numbers, being relentless in the chase, winning the chase, needing to chase them again, and again. But for what purpose that has long-term implications?

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I had to leave because I was unhappy, and I could die any minute, and I cannot die unhappy. We are young, and driven, and full of energy. If our sense of self tells us that our success is different from what the world deems as successful, it’s okay. If our heart tells us that our success will not be found in the birthplace of wordly success, it really is okay.

The most noteworthy people are those who are stayed true to themselves despite opposition, judgement, and ridicule. The most noteworthy people are those who were relentless in their pursuit of an authentic life, despite all the difficulties that came their way. If we let ourselves become just cogs, cogs that look like every other cog, and can do what every other cog does, we become easily replaceable, for another cog of the same appearance and of the same abilities lay readily available at the next hardware store.

Ensure that you are happy, for at the end, you only have who you are. In my last ten days, I am both excited and scared, for the world is once again an unclear haze of possibility. But I know greater things will soon come, because it always does for those who chase greatness, and those who trust in His promises.

Photos taken using by BlackBerry Q10 (which broke, btw).

nope not dead no

Hi.

I’ve been gone for the longest time with nothing but the ‘hello’ post on this page. You see, what happened was

  • I got a corporate job 6 months ago.
  • I will be leaving the same corporate job in approximately 13 days.

and nothing remotely fun happened in that 6 months. My camera lay untouched for weeks, my hiking boots started to peel, bucket list items for the first quarter of the year remain unticked and my skin actually got fairer.

However,

like every other young adult (I assume) who was suddenly thrust into the real world from the (comparatively) safe arms of the university and liberal arts education, I learned a lot of things; one of the most important ones perhaps is that one can only survive without a creative outlet for so long.

So yeah, the hippie in a pixie is back.

And I can’t wait to share stories and friendships with you.

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Hello

My name is Daniella and I am never not happy and kind. Today I officially begin my journey as an online story-teller. In this blog you will find adventures (both near and far), photographs, poetry, musings, and attempts at art.

If this is the only post you see so far, please come back soon, I’m still working on the whole shebang.

If you see other posts and you’ve reached back this far in reading, let’s be friends.

I wish you a fantastic day!

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