I always love going to Dahican, Mati, Davao Oriental despite of the 3-4 hour drive from Davao City.  The clear blue sea, sky and the peace that you just feel from being away from the bustling city always make it worth the drive.

Dahican waves.

Aside from the beach, Dahican is famous for Skimboarding.  Skimboarding is similar to surfing but the main difference is you dont need to paddle out for the wave, you wait for the breaking wave at shore.  I have tried it a couple of times before, and I have not been successful at all!  It looks so easy, but it is not.  And knowing that it could potentially break some bones, I dont think I will ever try it again.  I just enjoy watching the people do it, most especially when Sonny Boy "Bayogyog" Aporbo is around.  He is a local in Mati who won (and keeps on winning) competitions both local and international events.

But this post is not about him or about Mati and its beauty.  This is about my colleague who eventually became a friend.  Let's just call her Yuri. 

Yuri was on a weekend trip to Dahican with her friends.  She really is not someone who would typically try out something daring.  But to my surprise, she did.  She tried skimboarding.

Yuri and her friends tried to learn how to skim for hours and they were enjoying it!  She had some slips here and there, but she actually was pretty good despite of it being her first time.  However, after doing dozens of tries, she lost her balance and landed on the wrong foot.  To makes things even worse, her friends does not know how to drive an automatic, so she drove all the way back to Davao City.  Good thing it was her left foot that was sprained.  (I was not there.  She just told me what happened and showed me the clips of herself and her friends having a good time.)

So when they got back, Yuri immediately went to the hospital to have her foot checked.  To her horror, it was not a simple sprain.  She actually fractured her foot and she needed a cast for at least 6 months.

Yuri went through a lot during the first few days and weeks of wearing a cast.  She still needed to go to work, but of course she could not do everything by herself.  She was depressed, frustrated, could not sleep well and was always worrying that her foot may not fully heal or that she might need surgery.  But as time passed by, I could see that she was getting stronger.

I see her everyday.  She drives herself going to and from the office, and walks with a big smile on her face.  She somehow exudes this light of positivity as if she's not broken at all.

Each and every single one of us have our own strengths and abilities but sometimes we take these for granted by not using it in its full potential, or not using it at all.  Then there are people who are physically disabled and yet they go out there making the most out of what they have.  The irony.  I know its not that simple as I do have my fair share of not doing my all. 

I have learned so much from Yuri's injury.  Being disabled does not mean we can no longer do meaningful things in life.  But rather, we just need to look at life from a different point of view and perhaps start doing things in a much more creative way and still be positive about life in general.  We just need to do whatever that we can, have trust and faith that we can move whatever mountain that is in front of us.

Just by simply changing the first syllable of the word "disability" already gives out a more positive message dont you think?  So lets go out there and show the world of "this ability"... no matter what it is.  I'm sure you guys will be hardcore. 
Okay.  No excuses at all for only posting today so Im not even going to try to explain!😅 

Its ber-month already, literally the start of Christmas season here in the Philippines!  No kidding!  I  even started watching Christmas-themed videos last weekend.  I cant believe at how fast the months flew by.  Have you ever felt like everything seems to be playing fast forward?  I definitely have.  It just made me want to take things at a much slower pace to cherish the time spent with family and friends even more.

We are all given an opportunity- to fail, to feel pain, to learn, to love, to grow...  and it becomes overwhelming as there are times that some of these things happen all at once.  Which brings us again to the fact that we have no control of anything, except for how we react and how we look at it.  No matter how bad it looks from another perspective, always know that we are given another chance to take the next best shot and be a better version of ourselves.  

Every day is a new day.  Its cliche but theres a truth to it anyway as there is always something good in it.  Let today be the day you look for new ideas/activities to try; start looking at the different angles of life; and try to be a better you.

Earlier today I finally got me some time to review my journal/planner.  It felt good to just write new plans down and looked back on the stuff I did a few months ago.  In order to move forward and start anew, we should accept and recognize everything we did in the past and just let it go.  Trust the magic of a new day, of a new beginning and taste the sweet delicious ambiguity that life has to offer.  Lets live while were young and make today count.

Watching the sunrise with Debie 👭 | Dahican, Davao Oriental

A few days ago I wrote this birthday message to one of my closest friends ever which made me want to add more and share it with you.  Wherever you are at life today, I hope that you are happy and well.  And if its kind of rough lately, I hope this post helps.  xoxo.

You can barricade these walls and seek surrender
We'll taunt enough to turn a raging sea
But the only way we find to quench these embers is killing me
Let the stages burn and the tears turn into scowls
And if the glory of the past is all I ever see
Still the only way to quench these embers is killing me

-Live While We're Young / Johnnyswim
Christmas is in the air!  Or is it???

Christmas rush. Davao City traffic just got even heavier lately.  My 30 to 45-minute travel to my classes became an hour and a half!  I get to sleep during the commute, and thats not really a bad thing. hahah!

Christmas thoughts.  I don't have any issues living alone:  I can feed myself and my pets; clean the house (just a teeny tiny bit 😉); do the laundry and other chores (I love nature, but I dislike watering the plants 😂); come to class and work in one piece!  But maybe because I'm growing older and since its the Christmas season, the thought of not being with my parents or either one of them for Christmas is the worst!  My mother told me the other night that they might be home AFTER the holidays.  Sarcasm just took over and said "Great! More alone time, just what I need".  It just made me miss the times when I was younger, my siblings and I would gather around the Christmas tree to open up our gifts our parents had for us and me super excited to just look at what sweet treats "Santa" got me.  And speaking of Christmas tree's I have not even finished mine yet.  Oh, gosh.  I think I got a taste of whats called the seasonal depression.  I need me some sunshine!  What more if I get to experience winter? Pffffft.

Parents can be a little difficult at times, but so can we (even more so I think in my case.tsk)  Some of us get into fights with our siblings as well, but we miss it when we/they leave home and make our/their own.  Or is it just me?  Now I ensure to make time and date my parents while I can.  Besides, they're my only family.  And aside from my friends, they're all I got.

Just hanging around with Santa. 

Remember the moment
You know exactly where you're going
Because the next moment, before you know it,
Time is slowing, and its frozen still
And the window sill looks really nice, right?
You think twice about your life
It probably happens at night, right? 

-Holding On To You, TØP |-/
I love to eat!  Who doesn't?  I eat when I'm stressed, when I'm bored, and when I'm neither.  During the later years in high school and college days I didn't have much to do during summer so I am often left at the house (except when I'm on vacation and the last year in college where I had summer school).  I didn't have any money so I couldn't buy anything that I wanted to eat, that was when I started to make my own (just simple ones though because I only used whatever was left on our kitchen).

Nowadays when I'm living alone, I am forced to always eat outside or just prepare something instant.  Sometimes I use that "alone" time to try dishes that I haven't made before so I wouldn't be embarrassed if it turns out bad.  When it turns out good I make it again for the family when they're home.

Yesterday I wanted to try and make Tuna Pesto Pasta for dinner, so I looked for easy recipes online and knew about Clara Ole's Cheesy Pesto Pasta Sauce and saved the rest of the ingredients on my phone.  But the pasta sauce wasn't available on the grocery store :(  I was already there and I didn't want to leave empty handed.  Plus I wanted to make something new really bad but the data on my phone was so crappy I couldn't search for other recipes.  I just trusted my gut and bought whatever was on my mind. hahahah

I just eyeballed most of this because I didn't have any recipe to guide me.  I didn't document the time but I was sure that I finished it within an hour.  So.. follow at your own risk hahahah  I am sharing this because my "experiment" went well - I took the rest at work and I was happy that my colleagues liked it!

1. 250g penne pasta
2. 250g Italian sauce
3. Cream of mushroom - Campbell's wasn't available, I just used 1/2 of Knorr cream of mushroom soup instead
4. 1 Hungarian sausage 
5. 1 Onion - next time I'll add one more ;)
6. 5 cloves of garlic
7. 1 tablespoon butter
8. 1/2 cup cheese - a mix of Eden and Quickmelt
9. Ground pepper
10. Parmesan cheese (optional)

I hope I get to explain and break it down properly though.  Here it goes...

1-Cook the pasta & mushroom soup / prep other ingredients (est 15min)
While I waited for the pasta and mushroom soup to cook (just followed the instructions on the packet), I chopped the onion and garlic, sliced the sausage and grated some cheese.  I took the pasta and mushroom soup aside when it was done.  

2-Cook the sausage / mix cheese and soup (est 15min)
Using the same pot I used for cooking the pasta, I melted the butter, added the onions and the garlic, then the sausage.  When that was cooking, I added and mixed 1/2 cup cheese to the mushroom soup that I cooked earlier.  

3-Mix the sauces (est 10min)
Poured the Italian sauce to the cooking sausage.  Mixed it and covered it until it started to boil.  Poured and mixed in the mushroom-cheese sauce.

4-Mix the pasta and sauce / add remaining ingredients (est 5min)
I added and mixed the pasta with the sauce.  Turned the heat off, added pepper to taste and sprinkled parmesan cheese on top.

You could save time if you use Campbell's cream of mushroom

I forgot to include the butter and pepper

Finished product! Yey!

I think this is just a simple twist to when you make spaghetti, I don't know if other people have been doing this.  Friends have told me that they put condensed milk and/or cream when they make theirs.  I'm not a big fan of a sweeter taste in pastas so I haven't tried that when I make my own.  I'm not a fan of spicy food as well, but the touch of spice from the sausage is just right for me.

***I am not a chef and I don't always cook.  Sometimes when I do, it turns out bad.  But luckily this turned out to be good hahahah So again, follow at your own risk :) ***
So my phone crashed, its stuck on the apple logo.  I googled it and tried to troubleshoot it myself but nothing worked.  So I am left with having the factory settings restored and lose everything in it.  I was upset because I was going to lose all of my files!  The recent pictures that I took at the beach and when I was out of town - just petty stuff really.  But seriously... I am going to lose my updated schedule/to do lists for the remaining days of the year which I was not able to back up recently!  I remembered a couple months ago someone told me to write down my schedules when I thought that I accidentally deleted one category on my calendar, but what I actually clicked was just the hide button.tsk  Yep!  I'm a bit of a klutz.  Okay, maybe a big one.  I'm just hoping the phone isn't dead yet though the thought of it dying is already there.

So I thought... What about going back to using old school paper planners?

The planner that I used for 3 consecutive years was the Belle de Jour Power Planner. Aside from the usual planner pages, they also have other useful pages such as the goals page (which is basically at the front portion of the planner where you write down your major goals for the year), a page to plan your vacation (what to bring, how much money you need, who you are travelling with,), bills/cash flow tracker, a sort of bucket list or checklist page, menstrual tracker (which I find very helpful as I used to have bad menstrual cramps back in college) and tons of discount coupons!  I actually got it for the discount coupons because I don't like spending too much (my friends know how kuripot I can get 😉).  It was fun having a planner for many years, jotting down notes using my colorful pens. ✒️ Yep, I had tons of them!  I had this "system" where I categorize my schedule/to do lists by using those different colored pens (ex:red-urgent matters, blue-personal matters, green-school, violet-work, and black - for doodling or what not).  At the start of each month, I was able to basically see a snapshot of all the things I needed to do/get per category.  The pages after that would be the details per week.  And I would place different sizes of sticky notes either to emphasize the urgency of something or just to show the quote that I recently like.  I also doodle a lot, so there are a lot of random notes all over the place.  There are also days when I would write down what happened during the day.  Simply put its not just a planner for me but a journal as well.  What I don't like about using planners: a bit heavy and bulky to carry everyday.  Or maybe I just needed to work out. 😜

Dear Diary: embarrassed in 2013 and tired in 2014.
Its nice reading what you wrote down years ago when you barely even remember what really happened.
Its like the "memories" in facebook nowadays.

I decided 2 years ago that I no longer need those paper planners because I didn't find it necessary anymore compared to just typing all of your schedules down on your smart phone or tab which will remind you of the things you needed to do/get.  What I really like about it is that you can repeat these reminders/alarms on your calendar in a jiffy!  You can also group your activities per category using different colors as well.  For Apple Calendars, I like that I can put labels on different colored categories.  I tend to forget what certain categories are for so the labels are a plus for me.  On Samsung's SPlanner, I like that there is a function where you can enable the country's holidays to appear.  So you don't have to put it one by one.  Both things didn't appear on both devices though, or maybe I just don't know how to.  I can sync my gmail account (or even Facebook) to my phone as well (both Apple and Samsung).  So any birthdays or what have yous on your gmail account will also appear on your device as well.  Aside from that, they don't take up much time inputting new activities and you could share your calendar with family/friends!  I used to have this school app on my tab so I can be reminded on the exam schedules especially when I get too busy at work.  Its funny now that I remember it, I actually uninstalled it after one semester.  Do you really need different apps when basically it provides the same purpose - to help you plan, organize and be reminded.  What I find very useful was this savings/expense app that I had which allowed me to track my expenses from my daily transport to monthly bills.  So at the end of the month, I would know where I would need to cut down costs (if any).  What I love about planning/organizing on a smart phone/device is its convenience - I take it anywhere with me and it doesn't give you additional weight.  What I don't like about it is the fact that your phone or device could get corrupted - but you can always back it up... which I didn't. zzzzzzz

So here are some links to help you organize your Apple Calendar/Samsung SPlanner just in case you are having trouble with it.  I just couldn't find anything that is more updated for Samsung.

I tried looking for my 2012 one, but I couldn't find it. 

So which one do you think is better -  paper planners or smart devices?  Or is it both?  With all of these things in mind... I prefer this time around to use both side by side.  I think I just found the "perfect" planner and then maybe I can frequently back up my devices so I wouldn't have to worry if it bugs down 😉

Check out my previous blog post about 2017 Planners that are under Php 600.00 (USD 12.25). 😉

**I am no expert on planning/organizing.  Well...  I am no expert on anything! hahahah  These are just some of the things that worked/works for me and I hope that you find it helpful :) 

We only have a few weeks left before 2016 ends!  And along with that comes the excitement of what the new year will bring.

Are you using old school paper planners?  Have you already picked out your planner for the new year?  What are your considerations when buying a planner?  Do you like colorful ones or the classic, more simpler ones?  Are you getting the same one from this year?  Does weight matter?  Do you like it personalized?

I was with my girlfriends a few days ago and the timing was just right as they were also planning to go back old school and use paper planners.  We hung out at a coffee shop and asked about their free planner.  And so the frugal side of me immediately popped out and I started computing for the total amount of money to be shelled out for a good number of coffee stickers in order to get the free planner.  After seeing the amount thats over Php 2500.00 (USD 51.16), I was like "heck no, its too expensive!"  Back in college and the first 2 years of being employed, I used to think that my planner that annually costed me Php 598.00 (USD 12.24) was too much and it was even providing me with tons of freebies and discounts to restaurants and so much more.  So I told the girls about it and showed them that there are a lot more choices that are cheaper than that coffee planner.  Sometimes when we see or hear that a certain something is free, we get overwhelmed and take hold of that free thing without even realizing that we actually paid for it.

What makes the "perfect" planner?

I know... Nothing is perfect.  It would be if we can create planners based on our needs, then choosing wouldn't be a problem at all.  I have been scouting for the "perfect" planner, the one that would seem to fit just right.  Unlike before, I am now wanting a more functional one.  Not just tons of pages that I wouldn't be using at all.

Out of everything that I've seen so far, these are the planners that caught my attention from the 3 companies: Filed, C&S Designs and Viviamo.  All of these planners are sold at less than Php 600.00 (USD 12.25) which is a plus.  I've also found undated planners that were released for 2016 that are still available and are being sold at a much affordable price now (Camper and Doodle) so go grab them while you can.

If you opt for something that you can carry everyday without giving too much extra space from your bag and is lighter than the rest, then I recommend the Camper Planner / Keepsake Planner / Scribble Planner / Petit Planner.  If you prefer functionality over everything, then I'd go for the Back to Basics Planner / Limitless Planner / Focus Planner.  If you are on the artsy side or you like those with more color and style then the Doodle Planner / Keepsake Planner / Scribble Planner / Design Your Life 2017 Planner / EIP Planner is for you.

So if you are interested in any of these planners, I have linked their websites so you could see a more detailed view of each one.  Tried getting all of the details which I think are important, but some are just not included on the websites.

Camper Planner on sales @ Php 295.00
~ 6" x 6"
~ Smyth sewn
~ Undated
~ Finance tracker

Doodle Planner on sale @ Php 395.00
~ 8" x 6"
~ Smyth sewn
~ Hardbound
~ Undated
~ Finance tracker

Keepsake Planner @ Php 545.00
~ 7.5" x 5.25" x .75" 
~ Smyth sewn
~ Hardbound
~ Undated

Scribble Planner 2017 @ Php 595.00
 ~ 8.5" x 6" x .75"
~ Smyth sewn
~ Hardbound
~ Dated
~ Finance tracker

Back to Basics 2017 Planner @ Php 595.00
~ 7.75" x 8.5"
~ Ring/coil bound
~ Hard cover*
~ Dated
~ Project tracker
~ Finance tracker
~ Travel planner

Design Your Life 2017 Planner @ Php 595.00
~ 6.5" x 7.75"
~ Ring/coil bound
~ Hard cover*
~ Dated
~ Project tracker
~ Finance tracker
~ Travel planner

Limitless Planner @ Php 550.00
~ 7.75" x 8.5"
~ Ring/coil bound
 ~ Hard cover*
~ Undated
~ Project tracker
~ Finance tracker
~ Travel planner

*Not hardbound covers.  One youtuber sort of described it as a cardboad-like type of cover.


EIP Planner @ Php 598.00
~ Smyth sewn
~ Hardbound
~ Dated

Focus Planner @ Php 450.00
~ Smyth sewn
~ Hardbound
~ Dated

Navi Planner @ Php 598.00
~ Smyth sewn
~ Hardbound
~ Dated
~ Travel Planner
~ Comes with over Php 25,000.00 worth of discount coupons

Petit Planner @ Php 320.00
~ Petit version of Viviamo's BDJ Power Planner*
~ Dated

*with finance tracker, travel planner, etc.

So have you found your planner?  I sure have found mine ;)
I hope this post helped :) 

***all images are from the planners' company websites***

But I've got high hopes, it takes me back to when we started
High hopes, when you let it go, go out and start again
High hopes, when it all comes to an end
But the world keeps spinning around

-High Hopes, Kodaline
Earlier today someone said that some company-employee relationships are somewhat comparable to facebook friends.  They decide to hire you and add you up as a "friend".  You work and please them, they give you likes, follows and sometimes even leave a comment for a job well done.  And when they are done with you, as soon as they have everything that they can get from you, they replace you and "unfriend" you.  So impersonal and detached.  

Imagine this.  An international company providing services in more than a hundred countries.  Existing for more than a century.  Ranking at the top, being benchmarked by others.  Provides excellent benefits to their employees.  Sold their own office building one day.  Sold a business entity the other.  Now the whole company is being owned by the competitor and they are now taking over its operations.  So what's next?  People losing their jobs.  At first, they are being promised that changes will take effect a year after.  But you just find out one day that you are one of the employees that the company has to let go.  You.  The top performer.  The first to arrive in the office.  The one who spent extra hours/days in the office just to get everything right.  The one who treated the company as if it was their own.  The one who stayed loyal for decades despite of the many challenges.  The one who sacrificed time with family and friends just to close the business deal.  The one who had a miscarriage a month ago.  And they just hand you the pink slip (discharge notice) as if merely clicking the unfriend button.  

The office became your second home.  Co-workers became family/friends.  You share ideas, hopes, and dreams with each other; share smiles, laughter and tears; share fears and insecurities;  you go on adventures and invite each other out to just chill and relax; you help lift each other; you became a source of strength and inspiration to one another; together you became stronger.  5 days a week you spend time with them making the 8-hour work (sometimes even more) just bearable.  You don't always get to have that.  Comfort and familiarity.  And all of the sudden it has to stop.  You have no choice.  You have to leave.

Lessons learned.  You have to keep something for yourself.  Realize that you have a life outside of your work.  Because what do they provide when a family member dies?  Flowers?  Cards?  You can never bring back the time when you should have been there for that basketball game your son had instead of taking the clients out for a drink.  Yes, you are working hard.  But I guess we just need to have a sense of work-life balance.  Do not give the company your all not unless it is your own because at the end of the day, it is your health that is important; it is your family/friends who care; it is your personal life that really matters.  At the end of the day, what matters to them is their profit and how much they are able to cut costs.  Maybe start young so you still have more energy and you don't have that much responsibility yet - learn to look for other ways to make money while on that 8 to 5 grind so that you don't have to rely so much on that one source of income.  Just make sure that it does not create conflict of interest.

Well and good if you are in a company who prioritizes their employees needs, much more if you are able to establish friendships with colleagues and bosses - cherish those moments and invest in those friendships so it continues.  But up until when will they provide you with these benefits?  What if they need to layoff employees?  What if they need to lay you off?  Some companies give ample time and give you hints at an early stage.  But what if they don't?  Learn from others and don't wait for it to happen to you.  You'll never know when its time to let go and say goodbye.

At a time like this it is never easy.  But as the saying goes... When a door closes, windows of opportunities open.  And I am quoting what I wrote on my previous post, "We may have a lot of unanswered questions and maybe some of them are best left just like that (atm).  But we have to move forward no matter how difficult/ confusing/ frustrating life gets.  This is how we understand and discover the meaningful answers to the whys.  It may not be clear now, but someday things will make sense."

If I seem distant.. Baby, I am
Words are like scissors in your hands
There's no script to follow
So I just close my eyes
That way it won't hurt so much when we say goodbye

My heart feels like a circus
Its too much to take in
Its hard to lose a love
But you were my best friend

-Say Goodbye, Katharine McPhee