Feb 28, 2015

Life @23

God finds ways to touch our stubborn hearts. HE completely had me on my birthday.

Maybe I have forgotten to appreciate the kindness of people for so long, because when it comes to saying "Thank you" sincerely, I find it hard to do. I consider uttering those words as an act of sweetness, and I'm allergic to it.

Being sweet to people is just not my thing.

But others misconstrued it as being rude. I got comments from people about it but for those who knew me well, they have accepted that part of me.

However, there are cases that I feel guilty for  forgetting birthdays of my dear friends. I often settle in the assumption that a lot of people greet them anyway, so my absence from their message list wouldn't be noticed that much. Then, I thought of myself. Myself who has a very shallow happiness would jump in glee even in a short "Happy Birthday" greeting , maybe, so are them. I kept that truth to myself until I completely realized the value of showing how we care to people dear to us.

At times, our pride keeps us from doing something childish, lovable and kind. Perhaps, that's what happened to me. But the moment you decipher the importance of "caring", you will appreciate the feeling that exudes from within. Tonight people showed me how beautiful it is to be cared and loved. And for that I need to give back. Wholeheartedly.

It is a hard lesson for me to do what I don't do. But if my kind message would mean happiness to lots of people, I'll risk my pride.

To all the people who made me feel special and loved, I'm so grateful to have them in my life. They made me realize that a person who is wicked and stubborn like me deserves the kindness of their heart. And I couldn't thank them more for that.

Tonight as I turn 23, and another chapter of my life unfolds, I'll share the highlights that have made me come this far.
The past year has been a very good year for me to finally travel and test my palate, and I hope I'll have more this year.  AJJA!

My move to Nueva Ecija
This year also marks my one year here in Luzon. I remembered the first time I set foot on this place, my childhood memories came into a flashback. It was one of the things why I wanted to be in Luzon - to visit the place where I had my best childhood memories. Though I wasn't able to drop by at the place where we actually lived in, passing through that place was more than enough for me. It changed a lot. More establishments are seen anywhere. But the dunkin donuts where  I bought my first donuts with my own money was still there, as well as the school where I studied. As I saw everything that was familiar to me, photos and scenes of everything I did flickered in my mind. It was one of the best feelings I had!

First work travel
Welcome to Clark Pampanga!
City and sophisticated vibe welcomed me when we arrived in the Hotel. That was my first travel, and  I couldn't hide the excitement I had inside. For years, I thought I will never be visiting the province again, but there I was, savoring what life has to offer. So if my first visit 15 years ago was in a resort in Arayat, which I have forgotten the name. And to note I was 6 years old that time. My second, was in Clark who tells me both of tourism and history. That was more than a decade you got there!

I was in Baguio
Baguio is definitely in my travel list. When I marked it out of my check list last year, more visits ensued right then. There is something, with the place that I couldn't get enough of, maybe the hilly streets which keep me in awe of how skillful drivers park their cars, the busy market full of fresh veggies and fruits, and people - and of course strawberry, the cheap and cute bistros, and maybe the fresh air and morning breeze that greet new life. Baguio is one of the best place to be, in times of loneliness or happiness. And the nearest place to be in to have that out-of-the-country feel.

Exploring the Mt. Province
From Banaue and  Batad to Bontoc and Sagada.
That trip is the craziest I had so far. I think I got the road trip I've always wanted to do with the right people. After I almost killed myself descending and ascending that majestic place, Batad, I told myself, I definitely need exercise. Nothing caused so much pain on my knees other than the hiking in Batad. When my friends ask about the experience, I tell them that it caused me lots of sweat, sip-on, trips just to get there. But all was worth it - I just laugh at the experience and the week's can't-walk complaints. Probably the things that are very remarkable are the topload rides, walking the streets of Sagada in freezing cold (because we got wet), trying out suggested and new restos, being with a friend who tells lots of stories, and doing all the things I never do.
I'll visit that place again one of these days.

Isdaan in Tarlac
This was the first official lunch-out with my new found friends in Nueva Ecija. The resto is sort of famous in the provinces of Luzon, whose owner is said to be Heart Evangelista's Uncle. Anyway, we had our lunch in its branch in Tarlac, as the name suggests fish haven, cottages were floating on a very large fish pond. That food trip was added on my blogging list.

Sky Ranch Tagaytay and Pampanga
I don’t intend to visit amusement parks, it just so happen that we had a side trip at Sky Ranch in both Pampanga and Tagaytay. And as I go gaga over new and wild adventures, "Lets do it!"
Remember that I've always wanted to try bunjee jumping, sadly they don’t have it there. However the rides we had made it interesting for me to conquer my fears.

Nueva Vizcaya and Baler, Aurora
It was work related but I had fun accompanying our trainees to their field evaluation. Hahaha. What a pretentious me! Ok, to be honest, I had absolute fun when we ate at the street restos of Vizcaya and Baler, stayed at the beach and took some pictures, bought souvenirs, strolled the streets of Baler while we laughed at our trainee's jokes. That was the "fun" that I do only with friends but it happened there with them.

Hot Air Balloon Festival
It would have been nice if I was in that balloon, but I was not. Riding it was for rich people, huh. To spend almost 20K is unreasonable for me to do at the moment (cause I'm broke). Anyway, seeing the hot air balloons for the first time was worth the P300 ticket.

Got my passport!
Ok, initially I don't have the passport on my hands yet. But it’s going to be delivered in March. That's another cross-out on my check list there. And I hope having it will open doors to new adventures! 

As part of the learning I had in the past years, I will continue to be invincible and confident. My volunteer stint has been a very big part of my learning process and I owe most of my optimism to the VSO-ICS program. Hope this year is another year for me to appreciate what the world has to offer.  Ganbatte ne!

Feb 21, 2015

At the training

Here's what I've been doing for a while now.
I've been assisting the ongoing training of the project I'm working with. It's been two months since it started, and we still have another two months to go before  our trainees' graduation.

The Team in Baler, Aurora

Currently, we have 25 trainees, which we call AgRiDOCs, coming from different parts of Luzon. AgRiDOC stands for the Agricultural Development Officers of the Community. They are expected to be new breed of extension workers equipped with new knowledge and skills capable of creating change in communities. They are technical experts, as well as, development agents.

Age range from 22-40 years old, most of them are middle-aged. And for two months I am surrounded by adult people that I had to think in a mature way as well. They are experts in their own field and I admire them  as they grew passionate about the new things they are learning so far. For the months they are here, they will have to complete six modules, which are packed with interesting topics  designed to be experiential and fun.

Training Mangement Team

For two months of working with them, I have come to know almost all of them. Of course there are times that it feels boring because I see the same people everyday, but most of the time I feel blessed to be part of their batch, which is the pilot-batch by the way. Its great to be with this bunch of idealistic and amazing people. 

Feb 12, 2015

A Farmer

He is not a farner, he's just one of our trainees picking up the weeds early in the morning....
One morning I met this farmer  whose farm is adjacent to where our trainees do their experimental plots. I have heard of him but it was my first time to meet him. He is old. He commended us for our efforts in documenting the training so well - which at first was a compliment. But after he told us his stories, I realized he was a little bit sarcastic.

....as he picks it up, he throws it with all his might across the other side of the field.
While our trainees were busy doing this. I listened to the real farmer's stories.  
He mentioned that most projects make good outputs and reports yet not all are well implemented to farmers. He had a point. So I listened further. I know this is not just about how Government do things in the wrong way. His reasons root from something - maybe a grudge, I don't know. Regardless of what that is - this old farmer gave me a thing or two to ponder.