Five Important Reminders I Hope You Hear When You Feel Sad or Depressed

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First, it was Kate Spade then it was Anthony Bourdain who shocked the world with their untimely death. Both of them are successful in their respective fields. Kate has etched her name in the fashion industry as one of the most ingenious designers of her generation. She was known for creating unique, classy, and intricate designs of every girl’s must-haves—shoes and bags. Anthony, on the other hand, is a famous chef, author, and host who has traveled different parts of the globe to share his cooking expertise and thoughts on other important matters about life on his show, Parts Unknown.

When I heard about the news, I must admit that I was struck not only with the manner of their death but of the reality that depression is truly a silent killer. It can happen to anyone but it has no signs. Therefore, it is difficult to recognize someone who struggles with it because its symptoms are not visible even to the most tangible parts of our body. Depression does not only hides the truth and conceals the pain, it is an everyday struggle to quiet the demons in your mind who steals not only your self-esteem but your sense of purpose. While anti-depressant helps, it is one’s inner being that needs to be healed.

The fact that Kate and Anthony are at the prime of their careers when they experienced depression signifies that there are more than what meets the eye. That we have to realize what a smile can hide and that success means different to each one of us. But one thing is for sure, everyone we meet is fighting battles we know nothing about and that we all have to be constantly reminded of these important things:

1. You have a purpose. We have different battles in life and I can’t say that one’s circumstances are better or worst than the other. It is true that we have crosses to bear that’s why it is important to remind yourself that there is a sovereign God who’ll not only help you carry your cross but will also lighten your burden. Faith is very important. It is the only thing you can hold on to when friends, loved ones, and family seemed to be out of reach. Hold on to that still voice in your heart that pushes you to go on. You are here for a reason. Nothing in life is an accident—not even you. Take that baby steps and push through. It doesn’t matter how long it takes… take heart and try to put back all the pieces until you realize that it was all part of God’s bigger, grander plans.

2. You don’t have to be perfect. Comparison is truly a thief of joy. With all the overwhelming things we see on social media and mainstream scenes, it becomes so easy to get disconnected with our inner core. We are too obsessed in finding our worth on fleeting things. We sometimes forget that our flaws made us human—that though we’re not perfect, our existence matters. We are defined by this world and other people’s opinions.  We long for acceptance that we’re too afraid to make mistakes, to be rejected, to be left behind. But let me remind you that its ok. Be silly. Have fun. Take chance. You don’t have to be perfect, you only need to be true. Let the world see who you are, and see how it surprise you.

3. Life isn’t always sunny. Whatever the weather is, bring your own sunshine, because yes, there will be gloomy days and things will fall apart. There will be moments where you’ll need to drag yourself out of the bed and will ask what does it truly means to be alive? Or simply feel that there’s a whole in your heart that aches when you breathe—and sadness, your long lost friend is here to be with you again. How is that even possible to live and die at the same time? Take a deep breath. It might be stormy now but it can’t rain forever. Life may not always give you all the reasons to be happy, but learn to at least hold on to that one reason that makes your heart sing. And soon, all the reasons why you’re here will unfold on ways you’ve never imagined.

4. You are loved. I think one of the reasons why suicides become rampant is the dilemma that other people perceived depression more as a “mental condition” rather than lack of love and care for others. We often think that it can easily be shrugged of, or a person who’s experiencing it is just overthinking and creating drama. Most of the time, they don’t need us to fix the situation. They only need someone who will listen, who will make them feel that they are not different—someone who’s patient enough to remind them that what they’re going through may not be easy but they will soon get better. They need someone who’s bold enough to tell them that negative self-talk wont help but loving enough to share listening ears and warm hugs.

5. There’s hope.- When we lose hope, we go back to things and people that inspire us in what we do—the reasons why we started in the first place. A person with depression will most likely forget about these things. That is why it’s very important, that as a friend or a family member, to consistently remind our loved ones that they’re not alone regardless of what their battle is. For one, there is a good Lord who’s just waiting for us to find rest in Him; and that there is hope—that they don’t need to figure things out but at least they have to hold on to something that reminds them that they are loved even at days when they can’t even love their selves.

Depression isn’t only a state of mind or a figment of our imagination. It is real. It is happening and might be experienced by our loved ones with the sweetest smile and most sound, cheerful laughter.

The death of famous personalities like Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade is a reminder that even the strongest, successful people we know are not an exemption. Their fate is a perfect example of how our thoughts affect our whole being and that what we think about transcends in our lives. On that note, I hope you’re feeding your mind right.

If you or your loved one is experiencing depression, don’t be afraid to tell it to someone you trust. You might think that no one understands what you’re going through, but help will only come when you recognize that there’s a need for it.

Life is not perfect. It has its fair share of bumps and rough roads, lows, and blows. When you hit rock-bottom or feel that you’re at the lowest point of your life, don’t be afraid to speak up, but most importantly to look up. For there is the Almighty healer who restores everything—even your most broken heart.

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5 Reasons Why It’s OK to Cut Negative People Out of Your Life

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We face different struggles in life everyday. From the moment we wake up, we think about how to make the most of our days. We anticipate what to do at work, how to fulfill our tasks, and ponder even about the most mundane things that require our time and  attention. With all the challenges we need to overcome, it wouldn’t help to expose ourselves with negativities, particularly, negative people who loves to complain just about everything and makes a minor set back a big deal.

We all know someone who can effortlessly dull one’s sunshine. That colleague who rains on your parade, a friend who hates to see you succeed, or simply an acquaintance who doesn’t want to see you happy. Here’s the thing, life alone has its complexities, so we don’t need to carry extra baggage from toxic people who sees problem to every solution. Let me tell you why its ok to cut negative people out of your life and how it will make a difference.

They hate to see you happy-  Happiness is an inside job and negative people would rather ruin someone’s mood than focus on appreciating what they have. They also love to compare—the exact reason why they feel they don’t have enough. We all deserve to be happy and enjoy life. That’s why if you surround yourself with negativity, you’ll miss the beauty and other surprises it has to offer—things that will not only help you grow emotionally but also allow you to discover more of yourself.

They are emotional vampires- Negative people sucks out all the happiness and the goodness in you. They will drain your energy as they try to make you feel that you’re the one who’s at fault of their miseries. They feel sad because of you. They are lost because of you. They are left behind because of you. They will never realize and acknowledge the fact that their feelings are a product of their choices, perspective, and actions.

They love dramas- Toxic people loves to be the center of attention. Don’t get me wrong. We all go through bumps and rough times in life every now and then and would need someone to vent out our frustrations. But to relish on the same thing for a long time without finding ways to improve the situation just because you love the idea of having someone to “listen” to your rants is so lame. We all need to move on and do all the best that we can to be better than yesterday. Sad to say, negative people would rather waste their time for a pity party than to pull of a game face on and think of ways to overcome life’s obstacles.

They make you feel less of a person- Negative people has their ways of making you feel less in your career, life, and relationships. Because they love to be the center of attention, they’ll make you feel that everything is about them. That their situation is worst or way better than the others. They’ll put up a show and give you something to be sad about. What’s even worst is that they can make you feel guilty when you don’t respond to their selfish acts.

You deserve peace of mind– For me, this is the most important reason why its ok to cut negative people out of your life. You deserve peace of mind. You deserve to do and be at your best without someone who’ll make you feel that your emotions and opinions are invalid. You deserve to experience a vibrant, positive life. You don’t need people who belittles your ambitions, who don’t see your worth, or expects you to join them when they loathe in hopelessness. You deserve a kind of peace that allows you appreciate life even more. So, do yourself a favor and avoid selfish people who loves to find fault and have lots of excuses for every situation.

Toxic people might cause you stress that have a lasting impact on your emotional and physical health. That’s why it is important to know your core and always find a reason to smile. While it is hard to see the goodness in everything, train your mind to appreciate the little things that make life worth celebrating. Always choose to be happy no matter how bad the situation is. Find beauty in the ordinary. Embrace your flaws and appreciate what you have. Take things easy and give thanks to God and the people who always find joy having you around for these are the kind of people you should keep.

 

Dear Future Self, I Hope By Now You’re Proud of Me

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Dear Future Self,

It was quite a roller coaster adventure with you. And I hope by now, you’re proud of me. 

Remember my first day in school, when I was bullied by one of my classmates and I didn’t want to take up the exams anymore? I hope you’re proud of me when I had the guts to tell my parents about it and they told me to be brave and face my fears. I know you were there when papa told me that it is a cruel world, and at times, I need to be my own superhero who knows when to fight while keeping my feet on the ground. Someone who’s brave enough to speak her mind while keeping her eyes open to the goodness of others and her heart soft in doing what is right even if it means doing it alone. 

Do you still recall that moment when I cried so hard because I wanted to buy a fancy-looking pair of shoes but mom doesn’t have enough money in her purse? I cried so hard that I wish we have all the money in the world so we can buy anything we want. After few days, she went home with a big smile on her face while giving me a new dress just in time for my graduation day. I hope it made you happy knowing that I’ve come to realize that in life, what you  want isn’t always what you need;  and that money can’t buy everything especially a good mom and a happy family. 

What about the day when I felt so sad because my sister is getting married and my best friend had to leave to pursue her dreams in a different country? I felt so alone and lonely  doing things on my own and living life in a totally different perspective. But I hope you’re glad when I learned that letting go and letting your loved ones grow and find their happiness even if it means leaving you is a sign of unconditional love.

And oh, what about my first out of town trip? When I was so nervous on my first plane ride? When I made a promise to at least visit one place every year to experience a different culture and meet new people—I hope you’re happy because I’ve finally learned that life is meant to live out of my comfort zone. That I shouldn’t spend my whole life working only to pay the bills. I hope I made you smile when I gave myself the chance to explore the unknown, the scary, and the unfamiliar.

And who would forget the first time I fell in love and felt the butterfly in my stomach? It was an overwhelming feeling. More than getting giddy, it was an affirmation that finally, there’s someone who wants me to be a part of his life, someone who’d like to spend his days and dreams with me—or so I thought. I hope I made you smile when I finally realize that every love story is unique and that heartache isn’t always ugly but an important part of becoming a better version of myself and embarking a new journey in love.

Lastly, I hope you give me a pat in the back because I’ve finally learned to embrace the changing seasons of my life—-lost, joy, forgiveness, new beginnings, and beautiful endings. I hope you are at your happiest when I’ve come to terms with myself that happiness is an inside job and that I must live each day with a grateful heart.

I hope that as you look back on our journey you can say that I tried— I tried to be the best that I can with everything. I hope that as you look at me you’ll see someone whose scars and wrinkles have beautiful stories to tell. I hope that you’ll be reminded of how I braved all the trials life has thrown at me. I hope that you’ll see me as a person who has her fair share of pain and rejection but has chosen to go on. I hope that when you look at me you’ll smile and say—that’s my girl. I hope I made you proud… I hope.

Here’s Why Worrying About Tomorrow Spoils the Beauty of Today

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I overthink a lot. My mind is often clouded with thoughts and events that don’t even exist. A lot of days, I would find myself wondering and wandering— thinking about things that happened in the past while trying to figure out what might happen in the future. As time passes by, I didn’t notice that I’m loosing the bubbly, carefree spirit within me. Slowly, I become anxious about tomorrow that I forget how to live for today.

But life has its own way of teaching us lessons we need to learn. I suddenly stop thinking about anything one day. I realize that it is about time to bring back the smile and spark in my heart that I once lost. And that I can only do that by embracing where I am and what I have in the moment. I don’t have the power to change the past nor predict what the future holds… I only have today, and that alone is enough to focus on what it offers.

A lot of things that happened in the past has caused me to be wary. I’m not sure if I’m just protecting myself from being hurt or too focused in preparing for life’s surprises.

When I was young, I would always worry about waking up in the morning, going to school, and making friends with other students.

As a teenager, I would always think of ways how to have enough money to buy the books and clothes that I want.

My worries intensifies when I become an adult. Will I get married? Will I be able to build my dream house? Will I tick-off everything in my bucket list before my bones get weak and my hair turns grey? Sometimes, I would even worry with what to eat. You see? I worry about everything— and most of them are fleeting things.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in saving for the future. I believe in chasing your dreams, working hard until your success makes noise, and that our time is limited to accomplish everything that we aim for. But then, there is a different kind of peace that can only be experienced by living at the present moment. There’s beauty in letting go and  trusting  that what’s bound to happen, regardless of how  impossible or hopeless it may seem, will surely unfold its way.

Life has thought me that loathing gets you nowhere. There is no sense in worrying most especially when you have the capacity to change the situation. There’s no point of crying when you fail because you can always get up and try again. Stop thinking about what could have beens, maybe I shoulds, and what ifs. You only have enough strength for today and there is nothing more freeing than to take life as it is… imperfect, messy, unpredictable but oh so, beautiful.

I know that it’s not always easy to be at peace at the present moment when your job, family, and relationship demand more than what you can give. But you always have a choice to live in the now and make the most of it by realizing that there’s always, always something to be grateful for each day and you can make it as beautiful and happy as you want it to be.

I may not know what you’re going through right now, but I hope that as you read this, you find peace deep in your heart. A kind of peace that comes from submitting all your worries to God and believing that He makes miracles. I hope you find joy regardless of how hopeless you think your situation is. I hope you find love in what you do and that you become a blessing to others believing that just like you, today is a gift. Most of all, I hope you find life’s meaning as you celebrate each moment even if the future leaves you sleepless and wondering. I hope that no matter how blurry things right now, you’ll appreciate the beauty that each day holds for you.

 

 

(One Day) Life Will Give You Its Sweetest Hello

 

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I don’t believe in chasing anything or anyone. Whether it is in love or in life, I’ve learned that it is always more painful to hold on than to let go. But I am a firm believer of second chances. I know that the closed doors and missed opportunities are trying to teach me something the hard way. If you find yourself lost and confused, remember that the world doesn’t stop for anyone. So, choose to push through. Whether you want to stay or leave, cry or laugh, fight or give up, remember that mistakes make you human. Dust yourself off, pick up the pieces, and don’t let failure and sadness define who you are because you are more than that.

The world is a battle ground and you need to make important choices every time. You’ll get hurt and your heart will be broken a lot of times. You’ll never be ready when a friend leaves, so treasure every moment that you have. You’ll never be happy when you didn’t get the job but remember that there’s a bigger world outside. You might never be loved by someone who’s truly dear to you but you need to know that there’s more to life than love. In this world full of “you’ll never be….” I hope that you’ll always choose, “it’s ok because I can always be…”

In life, you won’t always get what you want. You’ll get knocked down. You’ll hit rock bottom. You’ll need to prove your worth time and again but its ok. If one door closes, take all the lessons it taught you and choose the bigger ones because truly, you’ve got nothing to lose. If you missed an opportunity you’ve long been waiting for, wipe your tears and keep your eyes on the goal. I know it won’t be easy but one day, life will reveal why it shuts you that door, and why it let those chances slip your hands. No matter how difficult it may seem, always choose to fight and go on.

Know that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be and there’s no need to hurry. While you’re trying to figure out what you want, don’t put your life on hold because you were damaged and rejected by someone. Life is beautiful so you must learn how to celebrate its small surprises so you can cherish the big ones. Don’t be afraid to smile most especially when it is the hardest to give it to someone. Trust that there are second chances and even a hundred more. For as long as you’re trying, one day, life will reward you its sweetest hello.

 

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Sweet Escape to Las Casas

It’s been a while since the last time I updated my blog. A lot has happened in my life these past few days and have decided to keep the not-so-good moments to myself. It’s a relief to know that we have our loved ones and friends who are always willing to cheer us up during the trying moments. Hence, God is so good to bless us with people we can count on and beautiful places we can visit where we can just enjoy and relax. Despite the difficult times, He will still give you moments where you can say, “Lord, thank You for the gift of life.”

Last September 8-10, my friends and I had the opportunity to visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan. For someone like me who considers herself an old soul, this place is heaven. I have seen a lot of photos of Las Casas on Instagram and have always been in awe of its beauty. Every corner of the 18th century-inspired resort is not only Instagram-worthy but definitely a breath-taking piece of art.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a 400 hectare estate that showcases architectural pieces of bygone era. It is considered as a living museum of Philippine heritage where noble-class mansions and wooden stilt houses were reconstructed brick by brick, plank by plank. The streets were also made of cobble stones which takes you back to the 18th century Philippines in a blink of an eye. To complete the nostalgic experience, the traditional houses were used as hotel accommodations along with a backdrop of majestic mountains, expensive rice fields, and a running river that flows to the sea.

Las Casas also has avenues for entertainment, relaxation, and recreation. The resort has spa, a swimming pool, a private beach, gaming center, restaurants, conference and banquet facilities, plus, cultural shows, and heritage tours.

Here are some of our photos during the 3-day 2-night trip. (Please forgive my photography skills).

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These beautiful statues will greet you at the reception area.

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This casa is one of my favorites. Its facade is made of bricks and painted with rustic colors that completes its pre-historic look.

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In this photo are my friends (Marga and Janno) showcasing their millennial pose in this “instagrammable” doors.

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Fun at the beach: My friends and I make the most of our time by enjoying every spot in Las Casas including the beach.

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Casa Binondo: We’re really curious what’s inside this beautiful casa and why its accommodation fee costs PHP150,000. Yes, a whopping 150,000.

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Casa Escolta: Another beautiful structure that served as our home during the trip.

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(L-R Me, Janno, Manel, Marga) La Bella Teodora: This Italian-inspired resto is where we had our first-day dinner. The food is great and the musicians add a relaxing vibe to the place.

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An over-looking view from the reception area where our free breakfast was served.

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Another interesting part of the tour is the Las Casas’ cultural show where traditional dances like Cariñosa are performed by equally-talented dancers.

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Calesa Ride: Have a quick tour at the resort for only PHP75.00.

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Dinner at Cusina ni Nanay Maria: Cusina ni Nanay Maria serves Filipino dishes at a very reasonable price. Their kare-kare is definitely a must try.

These are only few of the beauiful spots that can be found inside Las Casas. Though I must say that our stay is a bit pricey, the fun we had experienced in this trip was still priceless.

I’m very happy to have spent this trip with the people who are really close to my heart. Hence, sixteen years of friendship might be long enough for memories but quite too short to experience more of life with the people you love. More than the beautiful sceneries, good food, indeed, it is the people we travel with that makes the journey fun and memorable.

In this trip, I’ve learned that visiting places while you still can adds meaning to life. It enables you to learn new things from the locals, expand your horizons, discover different cultures, and more importantly, know more about yourself.

What’s your most memorable trip so far? Feel free to share it.

 

 

(Note: All photos are subject to copyright.)

Things that Make True Love More Than Magical

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Falling in love and being loved in return is one of the most amazing things we could ever experience. We all dreamed of that fairy tales and happy endings as a child. But as we learn and discover more about relationship, we realize that love isn’t about a prince charming, the glass slipper, and the pixie dusts. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but true love is more than what we see in movies. It’s not the fancy dates, the limousines, and even the expensive gifts… but a series of sorry, I forgive yous, and I love yous. It is always the smallest things that make us appreciate ourselves and our partners even more.

Love is…

A good morning text saying you’re thinking about each other first thing in the morning

Praying for each other and with each other because it is God who brought you together

Spending time with each other because being “too busy” is a lie

Random I love yous, I miss yous, and can’t wait to see you just because you don’t want to miss the chance

Asking how each other’s day was even if it means telling the same old story again and again

Remembering the small details like his/her favorite color and why he/she hates a particular actor

Doing the groceries together and waiting for long hours to pay for a single item

Learning how to cook your partner’s favorite dish even if it means asking your mom for the hundredth time

Crying your heart out to each other when everything seems wrong because you feel disappointed with the situation but never with the person

Getting mad because one of you forgot to bring stuff like an umbrella and it suddenly rained

Laughing with each other (but never of each other) for no reason at all

Random photos of your unplanned dates because every moment is memorable and should always be captured

Heartfelt conversation about the future and silly talks about everything under the sun

Waking up early because you’re excited to see each other even if you saw them last night

Loving his/her friends and all the people close to him/her

Embracing his family like your own because from now on, you’re each other’s home

Eating ice cream together under the rain even if its cold just because it makes your partner feel good

Playing silly games like a child even if everyone’s watching

Helping each other with the dishes and the laundry

Choosing a pair of clothes that looks good on each other

Saving the last bite of your favorite food because seeing your partner happy and full is more important than your tummy

Going to places that are part of each other’s childhood

Cheering your partner even if you have problems of your own

Supporting each other’s dream even if it means being apart

Being each other’s fan when something seems to be impossible to achieve

Trusting their choices even because you know that you’re one of them

Believing in their actions even when they falter several times

Forgiving their mistakes because you know you  that their wrong decisions doesn’t make them a wrong person

Saving for your future

Accepting their worst, believing their best, and embracing everything in between

Ending the day with I love you even if you had arguments the whole day

Celebrating each other’s success and grieving at each other’s lost

Choosing and falling in love with the same person over and over again

Being on each other’s side even when the world has walked away

Enduring and braving life’s challenges

A conscious and effortless decision to be in love with the same person even at days he/she seems to be unlovable

Trying your best to become a better person every single day knowing that there’s another soul who deserves a better version of yourself

Jumping with your eyes closed trusting that he/she will catch you on the other side of the cliff

Loving yourself enough to give your partner the kind of love he/she deserves

Thanking God because it didn’t worked with someone else

Love after all is not blind. It is our hearts that see and feel what it truly is. Love perhaps is more than magical—an inexplicable feeling that leads us to another soul who also yearns to feel, to fall, and to be part of something bigger than life itself. It is living beyond our expectations and accepting the reality that love is putting the needs of your partner before yourself. Love is something we all want but haven’t learned at all. While it’s true that there are all kinds of love in this world how deep we’ve loved is all that makes the difference.