SALTWATER HEALS

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They say saltwater heals, whether in the form of tears, sweat, or the sea.

It’s starting to become a tradition, a beach escape in March.

Escape is not being used lightly since it was technically an escape. There was no Wi-fi, nor phone signal and nobody heard anything from me for two days.

I began composing this at two in the morning. Apart from the sound of waves kissing the shore and the crickets chirping away, the world is quiet. My mind is quiet as well, an anomaly, but definitely a welcome change. In the quiet of the night, I let it all come, the truths I have been ignoring and forgetting amidst the vicissitudes of daily life.

Your superbrain is killing you, superbrain. 

Overthinking has been taking out the joy in everything lately. Overanalyzing and overplanning every task to ensure efficiency, assuming what another person is thinking instead of asking him/her directly, and diving straight into the worst case scenarios (in the guise of preparation in case things go wrong) has been incredibly draining. Tonight I am reminded of the fact that we need to live in the present, in the actual world, for this is how we determine what could be.

It’s okay not to know everything.

The beauty of Schrodinger’s cat. What is meant for us will always come and what is withheld from us is oftentimes for our own protection, and this includes information. Similar to the way spoilers work in movies and novels, life would be incredibly boring and pointless if everything is made known to us prematurely just because we wanted to know.

Communication isn’t always the key to a good relationship

Because sometimes, letting go is. I have always been the type to talk it out, but as life went on and my circle widened, I have come to meet people who don’t really prefer to discuss conflicts and its possible resolution. I made the mistake of pushing for the talking solution with a dear friend last February when we had a minor disagreement and it only made the conflict worse. What could’ve been resolved in a day (if only I had let it go) ended up lasting for a week and a half, and that week and a half could’ve been filled with happy memories. I did realize eventually that letting go is the only solution, and that if we are truly secure in our relationships and we know the heart of the other person, it’s okay to leave things unsaid.

Mental health breaks are a privilege

I realized this when I informed my mother of this trip. She wished me safety and that I get the equilibrium I am seeking. But I ended up thinking about her life which probably became overwhelming multiple times, being a single parent and all, when I was a child. She never once took a “mental health break”. Falling apart is a privilege. If you can afford to be broken down by difficulties, because it’s not a life or death situation, or there’s no child that will go hungry, or you can afford to go soul-searching, you are still better off than a large number of people.

Tomorrow I go on a boat ride and a snorkel trip with two of my best friends. Looking forward to being reinvigorated by nature so come Monday, I can face the world anew.

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TURNING 22 – BORACAY ISLAND

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I turned 22 in my grandmother’s hometown last May. It was a much needed change of pace, quite literally, as people there are able to walk slower and cars are able to drive a lot faster. For a week, I wasn’t forcing my brain and body to get up and properly function at 4:00 AM so as to not get caught in the maniacal traffic of Manila.

It was a much needed week away from work (which had become quite draining at that time). We had just wrapped up two conferences and most of us were still trying to get over the residual bitterness and trauma left by a toxic former colleague. The quality of my work and my work relationships were starting to suffer. I needed to get away and be reminded that there are other aspects of life.

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It was also a time for family. The last time I was able to visit was 12 years ago, and it was lovely to find that our extended family has grown quite a lot. I have new aunties and cousins that I needed to get to know. Talking to my cousins is always a fun experience as most of them don’t speak tagalog. My cousin Jullianah made it her mission to teach me Aklanon during our stay. She failed however, but mostly due to my hardheadedness.

I celebrated my actual birthday in the island of Boracay. I was a child the last time I visited and I was taken aback by how much a party city it has become. It is still beautiful however. The sand was powder white, and the ocean was startlingly blue. At sunset we were treated to a hundred shades of mermaid colors. There were green mountains at the distance, lined with hundreds of wind turbines. It was awe inspiring. God is the most incredible artist, and I am grateful for the opportunity to document the nuances of his creations.

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I finally got my tattoo in Boracay, my first and last. I’ve wanted to get this design on my wrist since I was sixteen, over my pulse, my lifeline. God is greater than all the highs and lows. The summary of my relationship with the Lord.

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My 21st year has been marked by people stuff. Friendships ending, truly toxic people, and challenging personalities. This year (and beyond) I promise not to sweat the people stuff, be more communicative and always come from a place of love and understanding. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. We can’t control people but we can control our response.

I also promise to get to know myself better this year, the strengths that needs to be reinforced, and the points for improvement that needs to be remedied. I also promise to work on my relationship with the Lord and get back to a place of complete dependence and trust.

I’m grateful to have a hometown. A place I can visit anytime healing becomes necessary. I’m grateful for family, for eyes that can see, and for the opportunity to document everything beautiful in this world.

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Photos taken using a Nikon D200 and an Oppo F1s+ 

LOBO BATANGAS 2017

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The second weekend of March was spent island hopping in Lobo, Batangas. One of my good friends from work grew up in the city and she kindly let me, and two other friends, explore the virgin beaches of her hometown. I’ll never forget the various shades of blue that the ocean had, the mountains that grow nothing but coconut trees, the limestone cliffs and boulders, and the fresh sea breeze that carried away all of the tension built up from staying in the city for far too long.

It was also a trip of many firsts. We slept on a tent by the beach the first night and caught the sunrise. We visited a mangrove forest and climbed up a tree house and also jumped into open ocean from a boulder for the very first time. It was trip that solidified friendships and built trust and openness.

Areas visited are:

  • Malagundi Point – Beach is made up of medium to large pebbles. Two flip flops died in this beach.
  • Simbahang Bato – Only accessible by boat. Beaches are lined with Limestone cliffs and rock formations that obviously used to be part of the seafloor centuries ago. The beach is a mixture of pebbles, broken corals, and sand.
  • Malabrigo Lighthouse – Visited for the sole purpose of exploring the lighthouse. The lighthouse used to be an outpost for Japanese soldiers during the second world war. It is said that the decapitated heads of murdered prisoners were thrown down the wells (now sealed) and the bodies off the cliff. Also, you have to climb 100 steps to get to the lighthouse.
  • Kastilyo – A shallow area full of large black boulders. This is where the mangrove rivers meet the ocean.

Below is a music video I made for the trip. The music used is CRED1X’s “Can’t Find You”. Footage was shot using the SJCAM SJ4000 and Oppo F1S+.

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Gotta say, the SJCam is made for videos but definitely not for photos.