38 random life lessons 2015 taught me

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Dark chocolate birthday cake from Parvati, incidentally also the name of the Hindu goddess of love, fertility, and devotion

To celebrate my birthday and to bid 2015 goodbye, I made this list. Shout out to Robin Sharma for the inspiration.

1. You cannot please everybody. You can try but you’ll be setting yourself up for a major disappointment. Some people just won’t like you no matter what you do or say or become. It’s totally okay. It should be okay.

2. Do not assume anything. Ask questions.

3. Nothing ever stays the same, and no one stays forever with you. As you get older, remember that your parents are also getting older and weaker. Be thankful, be patient with the hundred thousand annoying little things seniors do, and cherish every time spent and every experience with them.

4. Children grow up way too fast so let children be children. Minsan lang sila maging bata. Don’t be the corny, kill-joy parent or tita/tito. And again… be thankful, be patient with the hundred thousand annoying little things kids do, and cherish every time spent and every experience with them.

5. Smile a lot. Make it a habit. Practice your “resting smiley face.” It should be a tipid but friendly almost-smile that won’t scare people away, esp. strangers. Smile and people will smile back and be nicer to you.

6. No matter how seemingly bad a person is, he or she has a redeeming quality. There is no such thing as a “hopeless case”.

7. You cannot claim to thoroughly know a person. Hindi mo alam lahat kahit nagkukulitan pa kayo sa Facebook. Open your mind and do not judge.

8. You can change for the better and still be yourself. You are not betraying yourself. You are making a better version of yourself.

9. Wag problemahin ang problema ng iba. Listen to them, give moral support and concrete help to the best of your abilities, pray… but in the end, know that you cannot possibly save and help all people with problems. Kung ano ang kayang itulong, gawin mo. Wag maguilty na hindi mo nasolusyunan ang problema ng iba.

10. Most of the time, you actually worry over nothing. So stop. Please. Before showing kindness to others, be kind to yourself first. The best way to do this is to stop worrying over every little thing.

11. You always have a choice. Always. Sa anumang aspeto ng buhay mo, may choice ka. Wag kang duwag. Make a choice and take responsibility for it. Wala dapat sisihan kung palpak ang desisyon.

12. This is super cliche but…everything will work out in the end. Everything happens for a reason. You may not understand right away the whys and hows, but always, things do work out. It’s like wired into the universe.

13. An ukulele is not a toy. It is not a small guitar. Yes, it looks and sounds fun, but learning how to play it really takes time, attention, and dedication.

14. When you feel as if your heart is bursting with JOY when you see or even just think of him/her, it is safe to say it’s love.

15. Most of the time, kung ano yung nakakapagpasaya sa yo, yun din mismo ang nakakapagpaiyak sa yo. At malamang sa malamang, mahal mo yang kung anuman yan o kung sino man yan na pinaglalaanan mo ng ganyang ka-extreme na emosyon.

16. Even if you have the best intentions, you will be judged by your actions. It is not always fair, but that’s the reality.

17. It is possible to live without cable, or TV for that matter. It’s just a timesucker and an unnecessary expense.

18. Pain can be managed. For physical pain, there are safe meds for that. You don’t have to suffer and bear the pain in silence.

19. You don’t really need many clothes. Clean up your closet first before buying any new clothes. Out with the old to make room for the new.

20. Nobody is perfect. People fuck up things. If you are the fucker, a sincere “I’m sorry” will not unfuck all things, but it really is the kind thing to do/say.

21. If you are the fuckee, forgive people. Even if they’re not asking for forgiveness, forgive them anyway in your heart and pray both for them and yourself. It’s the kind thing to do.

22. Di lahat ng nagmumura, masama. At di lahat ng nagdarasal, mabuti ang asal.

23. Listen to understand — hindi para mag-abang ng oportunidad na iangat ang sarili o maipilit ang hidden agenda. To listen is to respect the person you are talking with.

24. Don’t compare yourself to others. Iba-iba ang kapasidad, ugali, ganda, yaman at talino ng mga tao. Wag kang ano dyan.

25. Pag nakapanood ka ng super depressing, nakakabother, o nakakapangilabot na pelikula na gusto mo makalimutan bago matulog, manood ka ng cartoons o ng kahit anong Pinoy comedy film nung 80s at early 90s. Garantisado, makakalimot ka.

26. Yung totoo: nobody cares. Ok lang magsleeveless blouse kahit ang pangit ng kilikili mo. Ok lang magshorts kahit ang laki ng legs mo. Ok lang kumanta sa videoke kahit di kagandahan ang boses mo. Ok lang sumayaw kahit di ka graceful. Ikaw lang nacoconscious. Nobody cares.

27. Choose your battles wisely. Di lahat ng bagay ipinaglalaban. Nakakaupos ng enerhiya pag laging gigil. Ask yourself, “In the scheme of things, does it even matter?” Most of the time, the answer is a resounding “hell to the no.”

28. Tulungan ang sarili bago tulungan ang iba. Kailangang malusog, matino at maayos ka muna bago makatulong sa iba. Tulungan ang sariling pamilya at kamag-anak bago magkawanggawa sa iba.

29. Tama si Tita Whitney: Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

30. Use recycled paper when wrapping gifts. (Try old calendars and glossy magazines — the paper is much nicer, it’s free, and you don’t add to more waste and trash.) More importantly, never judge a gift by its wrapper.

31. No matter how oily you think your skin already is, you still need to moisturize. Lotion is your friend. Aaaaand no matter how cloudy or rainy the weather is, you still need to apply sunscreen.

32. There is always hope. Habang may buhay, may pagasa at pwede umasa. Libre yan, parang pangangarap.

33. There are many things to be thankful for, no matter how dire the situation seems. Minsan masyado ka busy magdrama sa buhay at magreflect sa kung ano ang mali at masama, di mo na napapansin kung ano yung tama at mabuti na nangyari sa buhay mo. A grateful heart is a joyful heart.

34. If you find yourself funny, you actually are not.

35. Alone does not mean lonely.

36. Being opinionated and outspoken is different from being rude and crass.

37. When people die, your memories with them live on. That’s what you hold on to, those little pieces of their time with you. Everyday, you are making these memories with your loved ones. Make happy memories. Make everyday count.

38. Christmas (the frenzied, commercialized celebration it has become) is overrated and is actually the saddest time of the year. The whole shopping and gift-giving madness just boggles the mind. The true meaning of Christmas should be celebrated all year round. Value your family and friends, be kind to everyone, and suddenly it’s Christmas!

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Who versus Whom: When to use which

Honestly, I’m one of those people: I simply  avoid having to write or use whom. I do conduct a “meaningful, productive life without whom.”:)

Thanks to Grammarly, I’m gaining the confidence to use whom.

Here’s a great tip on when to use who and whom:

Use the Pronoun Switch Method.

If you can answer the question with the pronouns him or her, use whom.

If you can answer the question with the pronouns he or her, use who.

Use the pronouns he, she, him, and her to help you decide. If he or she makes sense in the sentence, use who. If him or her makes sense, use whom.

Examples:

To whom are you submitting the report? I am submitting the report to her.

Who is going to the museum? He is going to the museum.

The woman, for whom the song was written, was blushing as the song’s first verse played.

The song was written for her, the woman who was blushing as the song’s first verse played.

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The Stress-Free Calaguas Beach Getaway

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Step 1: Join a package tour group. DIY trips are for responsible people who do their homework. For the rest of us people who wouldn’t be bothered, get a tour operator. Harhar!

Step 2: Endure the 8-hour land trip and the 2-hour boat ride.

Step 3: Swim, eat, drink, sleep to your heart’s content! Relax and enjoy!

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My friends and I booked the Calaguas package of Sandtoes Travel for 2 days and 1 night for PhP3,500 per person.

The package includes:
–  All Camp Meals
        * 3 meals for 2d/1n
        * Day 2 (for 2d/1n guest) lunch is optional. Should you want to include meal package just add PhP100.
– Tent Accommodation
– Jeep pick-up from drop-off point to port of  Vinzons and vice versa
– Roundtrip boat transfers
– Guide fee
– Entrance fee at Mahabang Buhangin
– Environmental fee P20/person

Itinerary:

Day 0
Assembly at Cubao bus terminal before 9:00pm. Other pick-up points are at Pasay, Alabang, and Turbina. Just coordinate with the tour operator.

DAY 0
9:00pm ETD from Cubao, Quezon City to Daet, Camarines Norte

DAY 1
6:00am ETA in Daet, Camarines Norte
7:00am Breakfast (customer’s own account)
8:00am Go to Vinzons port, ride a boat to Calaguas Island
10:00am ETA Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas Island
12:00nn  Lunch (camping meal 1)
02:00pm Swimming, free time
7:00pm Dinner (camping meal 2)
9:00pm Mobile Bar: drink all you can! (No extra fee; it’s part of the package but not advertised as such.)
12:00am Lights Out

DAY 2
7:00am Breakfast (camping meal 3)
11:00 am ETD at Calaguas Island
1:00pm ETA Vinzons port, ride jeep to Bagasbas
2:00pm ETA Bagasbas, free time, late lunch (meal 4 –we got this for free)
Optional: Surfing (different charges for the instructor and  rentals)
8:00pm ETD Daet to Manila
5:00am ETA Manila

Travel dates: May 22-24, 2015

Tips:

1. If you have motion sickness, drink Bonamine — not for the boat ride, but for the bus ride. I was warned that the boat ride would be hell, but thank goodness, the sea was very calm on the day of our trip. I wasn’t expecting the bus ride before that to be so horrible. What you have to prepare for are the winding roads leading up to Daet. I was clammy and woosy by the time we arrived in Daet.

2. Upon arrival in Daet, you’ll be dropped off to have breakfast at a hotel (on your account, not part of the package). A meal of 1 cup rice, fried egg, 3-in-1 instant coffee, and 1 kind of meat (tocino, longganisa, beef tapa, hotdog, fried chicken, or pork chop) costs PhP100. You don’t have to eat at this hotel. If you fancy McDonalds, there’s one a short walking distance from the hotel. McDonalds has pancakes and brewed coffee at a fraction of the hotel food’s cost.

3. An hour or so after dinner on Day 1, they will open the bar. Gather around and take advantage of the free cocktails. Enjoy!

4. On the island, there are public bathrooms/toilets. Lots of water, thanks to the deep wells. You’ll surely put your upper body strength to good use. Taking a bath could be a challenge because of the cramped space, so bring a large plastic bag which you could sling or hook onto the door and where you could keep your towel and your change of clothes.

5. There’s a beginner’s hiking trail on a hill very near the campsite. It’s private property so they do charge an entrance fee of PhP50. It’s a nice way to see Mahabang Buhangin from a different perspective. Plus, the hike burns calories.

6. Best Experience: Deep into the night, open up the top part of your tent. Ours had a zipper and hood on top. It was 2:00am, the entire island was dark and quiet, and the stars in the sky were AMAZING. I’ve never seen so many bright  stars. It was absolutely breathtaking.

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