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I Travel With My Childhood Friends

I know this is a chestnut, but still my favorite quote on traveling: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

About 5 years ago, during the start-up period of this blog, I wrote about one of my life’s blessings which are my friends. For those who have read my blog 3 years ago, you might have remembered (or not!) one of the travel adventures I did with my childhood friends too. So basically, you have an idea that I maintain a 25-year-friendship with my solid core.

Okay, for new subs, to give you a little backgrounder, I grew up being friends with a lot of people – Yes, generally I am friendly but I think everybody will agree that amongst all your friends, you have a core group. The group that you could go silly with or serious with or sneak out at night with. The ones who are with you through ups and downs. Yes, I have a solid foundation. I have been friends with my 4 girls who I fondly call “bru” ( short for Bruha – a Tagalog for witch) for 25 years now. Needless to say, I met these girls in grade school (First Grade to be exact).

I love traveling a lot and some of you have seen that in my series of posts already. Indeed, traveling makes me discover the unknown, thus, changes my perspective as a human being. It makes me humble having to realize that my niche in this world is just a tiny spot in this vast universe.  I am glad that in the last 3 years, I get the privilege to explore the world with one of my best brus , Joan. We went to Bohol, to Singapore, Hong Kong , Macau and our supposed travel to Malaysia (please read my “Why Malaysia Made me Cry’ here.)  not to mention our local travels together. Amongst all the places we’ve been to, I love our recent travel to Hong Kong and Macau.

Why? Well, not so much with the place, ( don’t get me wrong, the country is good but I have been to other better places.) still my favorite  because we went along with another bru, Anna Marie – plus, they brought their kids (and husband). Yes, some of my friends have kids already and I am glad that we are turning the pages of the unknown world together. What makes me a little emotional is this: We were the kids’ age when their moms and I met. (oh boi, times do fly so fast).

Beholding the world in the eyes of my little God-children and looking at how happy they were in every Disneyland rides while, us, adults have gone crazy, in every expenses, responsibilities and “adulting” stuff that we talked about, I realize how lucky I am to have explored life with my childhood friends whom I consider my family ( by choice).  I wish and pray that these kids, 6-year old Liam and 7-year old Eanna, find a solid friendship as strong as their parents’ (and God-parents’).

I wish the same for my future little ones.

Soon, when they grow up, we will tell them how nice it is to turn pages of life, explore the world and rediscover oneself together with your solid friends. Just like their moms.

You may read my HK and MO travel thru the links below:

Four Days in Hong Kong
Day Tour in Macau

 

 

Of Walls and History

I have been to a lot of places. Yes, I have travelled Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and even a certain foreign country. I consider myself well-travelled ( as compared to other people my age, I supposed ) , but it was only lately that a reality hit me:  I was a  Stranger on my own land – this is how I was whenever I was asked about Intramuros; Fort Santiago and other land marks in the old City of Manila . What a shame, I know. I don’t even know anything about these historic places right at the center of  Metro Manila.

I know I’ve been here a long time ago, but hey, as a kid, what will I remember about war and history? All I could probably recall was the dirty Ice Cream I asked my mom to buy and the Calesa ride, of course.

Well, I was not alone; I have colleagues who haven’t been there too. ( Whew, what a relief! J ) . So, one Saturday Morning, we decided to go to the walled city of Manila – the Intramuros.  We also took the chance to tour our guest from India around.

So as a backgrounder, Intramuros (Spanish, “within the walls”) is the oldest district and historic core of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Also called the Walled City, it was the original city of Manila and was the seat of government when the Philippines was a component realm of the Spanish Empire. Districts beyond the walls were referred as the extramuros of Manila, meaning “outside the walls”. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intramuros)

So Why walls?

Well, history has it that the city was in constant danger of natural and man-made disasters and worse, attacks from foreign invaders. This has been attacked so many times which prompted the construction of the wall to protect the district.

Not only did we tour within the walls, we also went beyond to visit The Manila Cathedral ; San Augustine Church, museums and we even went across  to visit Fort Santiago. Touring around Intramuros and Fort Santiago made me realize how much part of the rich Philippine history and culture I was missing. I know I still have a lot to explore within my native land, but I am glad we have started this journey.  And I know for sure, this is just the beginning.

One side of the wall
One side of the wall

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Plaze de Gobernador - currently the COMELEC office but it was originally where the head of the state was residing
Plaze de Gobernador – currently the COMELEC office but it was originally where the head of the state was residing
Manila Cathedral
Manila Cathedral from afar
Inside Manila Cathedral
Inside Manila Cathedral
Kids enjoying the Calesa ride
Kids enjoying the Calesa ride
Jose Rizal- Philippines' national Hero on his prison Cell
Jose Rizal- Philippines’ national Hero on his prison Cell

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manilacathedral2
google images
Rizal's footsteps
Rizal’s footsteps
Intramuros Gang
Intramuros Gang

P.S:  Shoutout goes to my colleague Francis Lauron who took all the photos.

Featured photo : googleimages

Big Three Zero ( Tagaytay)

So, It was my Bday! And what better way to celebrate my #dirtythirty than have it with family?

Big sis with her Boyfriend, ‘lil sis and myself drove all the way to Tagaytay City to celebrate my #threezero on #10thofJuly.

A short background about Tagayatay City – ( source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagaytay )

Tagaytay  is the Philippines’ most popular tourist destinations because of its outstanding scenery and cooler climate provided by its high altitude. Tagaytay overlooks Taal Lake in Batangas and provides one of the iconic views of the Philippines, the view of Taal Volcano Island in the middle of the lake, viewable from several vantage points in the city.

Tagaytay is relatively close to the capital city of Manila, only 55 km (34 mi) away via Aguinaldo Highway, providing an easy escape for the locals from the heat of the big city.

It is always great to have an escape from your daily routine at work, especially when it’s spent with your family and have it on your Big day!

As brainyquote.com say, Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories.

I thank God for thirty good years full of wonderful memories with people I really care about.

Today, I’m making more memories with my sisters, one of the greatest gifts I ever have.

Sky Ranch Tagaytay
Sky Ranch Tagaytay- It was a rainy afternoon, so fog is all over
Bulalo to beat the rainy weather
Bulalo to beat the rainy weather
Sky Eye covered with fogs
Sky Eye covered with fogs on a Saturday afternoon
a visit to lady of Manaog Shrine
a visit to lady of Manaog Shrine
Sisters goofing around
Sisters goofing around
Smile with sissies!
Smile with sissies!- At the Most Beautiful Starbucks place in the Philippines – Starbucks Twin Lakes
Dinner at Carlo's
Dinner at Carlo’s-Pizza and pasta are great
The cold didn't bother us
The cold didn’t bother us
Breakfast at the hotel - affordable and yummy beef tapa
Breakfast at the hotel – affordable and yummy beef tapa
They know I'm not into sweets so I'm having a mini cake on my Big day
They know I’m not into sweets so I’m having a mini cake on my Big day

Our Road to Big Three – Zero ( Singapore)

With us turning 30 this year, also marks the 24th year of our friendship.

It has always been a part of our bucket list to travel abroad before we reach 30. Amongst the “brus”, as we call one another, only Annalyn has the chance to go out of the country for several times already with her family.

It was Joan’s and my first time to travel a foreign land and SG is our first destination.

Sharing with you our Singapore Adventure- The first destination on our road to big Three Zero!

Singapore Flyer: The world's tallest Ferris Wheel
Singapore Flyer: The world’s tallest Ferris Wheel
Tourist Unlimited Card that we purchased that could be used in MRT, LRT and bus
Tourist Unlimited Card that we purchased that could be used in MRT, LRT and bus
Bugis Junction Area
Bugis Village Area
Trying out local food with my Bru
Trying out local food with my Bru
A pose with Merlion, ofcourse
A pose with Merlion, ofcourse
Marina Bay Sands at night
Marina Bay Sands at night
Obligatory Selfie at Universal Studios Logo
Obligatory Selfie at Universal Studios Logo
Goofing around like true-blue foreigners :-)
Goofing around like true-blue foreigners 🙂
In a land of Far far away
In a land of Far far away
Giant grove at gardens by The bay
Giant grove at gardens by The bay
We were like Kids again
We were like Kids again
We saw panda bear
We saw panda bear
Taken by my beautiful travel buddy
Taken by my beautiful travel buddy
Singapore Botanical Garden
Singapore Botanical Garden

Life’s Best: Travel and Girlfriends

Traveling is one of my hobbies. It gives me a bizarre experience, a feeling of independence and a chance to appreciate world and its beauty.

When I’m not travelling, I love spending time with my friends. Being with them makes me feel happy, at peace and our time together could take us down memory lane. – remembering everything that we went through as kids, as teeners, asstudents, being adults, and for Joan, Motherhood.
I recently got the chance to hit two birds In one stone – an out of town vacation with two of my treasured girlfriends, Annalyn and Joan.

I practically grew up with these ladies, along with other childhood friends. 10 years of being classmates, a lifetime of being friends, and now, travel buddies. What else could I ask for ?
In an ordinary blog, I would probably be sharing with you my travel itinerary, budget breakdown and practical tips on exploring Bohol island, but now, I will give you a snap shot of my treasured moments with my girlfriends of 24 years at the beautiful island of Bohol.
This is just a start of our travels together.

The next time I reminish with them, this travel is surely a part of of wonderful memories that we will always go back to.

Lunch by the floating restaurant in Loboc River
Lunch by the floating restaurant in Loboc River
what's a trip to bohol without a visit to  our little friends?
what’s a trip to bohol without a visit to our little friends?
Butterfly sanctuary
Butterfly sanctuary
Driving an ATV
Driving an ATV
chocolate hills which we jokinlgly call Pandan Hills because it was green when we were there
chocolate hills which we jokinlgly call Pandan Hills because it was green when we were there

Camera 360 Camera 360

Joan and Me on snorkeling DAy
Joan and Me on snorkeling DAy
With Annalyn : this is has been here a couple of times already but for us, she didnt mind going again.
With Annalyn : this girl has been here a couple of times already but for us, she didnt mind going again.
Man-made forest at the background
Man-made forest at the background
Shell Museum
Shell Museum
I love these girls
I love these girls
just like the old times
just like the old times
being in a beautiful place with eautiful people
being in a beautiful place with eautiful people

My SuperMom

 20 years ago, when I was just about 7, I regarded you as the antagonist in my own story:

  • A woman who woke me up early everyday
  • A woman who nagged at me when I went home late from school
  • A woman who required me to pay respect to ALL people even when I don’t feel like doing it ; even if they are mean
  • A woman who would scold me when I get home with bruises and cuts from my irresponsible- childish games
  • A woman who violated the anti- child labor law by forcing me to make my bed; to clean the room; to wash dishes and worst of all, by forcing me to learn how to do the laundry.
  • A woman who forced me to stay at home when I feel sick
  • A woman who turned off the TV during exam days even if our favorite show is airing
  • A woman who made me wear clothes I don’t like wearing at all
  • A woman who made an inventory of how I spent my allowance  for the day by making me recite everything that I bought

My list was never- ending. I could go on and on pointing out  all that I hated in you when I was growing up.

But you know what? I miss all of those things now.

Now that I have grown into a fine woman, living my own life, all I can say is, thank you to the WOMAN who made me into who I am today.

 Thank you for teaching me to develop a pattern of waking up on time every day, it taught me how to value not just my own time but of others too.

 Thank You for training me how to make the bed and for  forcing me into doing the laundry. I am now living on my own and surviving because I can do all these chores.

 I am on my way to reaching my dreams because you didn’t give up on me and my siblings. We are living life to the fullest now because you raised us well.

 Just when I thought you were just simply being difficult to us when we were growing up, you were patiently giving us your tough love. You only wanted the best for us.  And I have long realized that.

Thank You for playing a very important role in my life, Nanay.

You are the best woman in the whole –wide –world. And I’m taking  my word back 20 years ago.

 I meant to say, you were, you are and will always be a Superstar in my life story!

Child In Her!

She nags; she demands; she requests; she commands; she cares; she loves. She is  in a way strict but somehow  lenient to us, her younger siblings. She is Rhea Cornepillo, our eldest sister.

Today, all she was is a KID.

She rocked the Gawad Kalinga Village in Laura drive as she had her post bday celebration with the GK kids.

The busy bee took a time off from her busy schedule and party with kids. With a couple of clowns; party balloons; jolly spaghetti and hamburger; games; prizes  and 80 spirited kids, my ate Rhea’s 31st bday was indeed a celebration at its best.

To the kids of Gawad Kalinga Laura Drive and their parents, thank you for giving us the chance to celebrate with you. Your smiles, your joys, your never-ending “thank you’s”are blessings enough for us.

Thank you for my sister’s sweetest smile.

Thank You for bringing out the Child in her again.

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Time and Love

This is something that I’ve  read, I honestly couldn’t remember the site but the story is indeed remarkable. Just in time for Heart’s day. This is something to remind us that LOVE is the most important of All time!

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Once Upon a time there is an island where all the feelings lived : HappinessSadnessKnowledge and all the others including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all prepared their boats and left. Love is the only one who stayed.

Love wanted to persevere until the last moment. When the island is almost sinking. Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you”.

Love decided to ask vanity who was also passing by in the beautiful vessel, “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered. Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, “Sadness, let me go with you.” “Oh…Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!”

Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!Suddenly there was a voice, “Come Love, I will take you.” It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder her name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way.

Love, realizing how much he owed the elder asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?” “It was Time” Knowledge replied.

Time? Asked Love. But why did Time help me? Knowledge smiled with deep Wisdom and answered, “because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

Counting My Blessings: FRIENDS

Based on my Facebook list of friends as of Dec 3,2012, I have exactly 1,131 friends.

I would have to be honest; I don’t believe I have that too many friends. I know I am known to be friendly. Ehhmmm… I know I was awarded Most Friendly for 3 years back in High school 🙂 🙂 , but come on!!! 1000 plus friends in a cyber world?!!

If I would have to narrow down my list and look back to the very day  I could still remember how I encountered and started my friendship with these people, a thousand is now down to a hundred and 50’s and to a very few people left.

My longest friendship ever is with Dr. Lourem  Sioson. Trust me, I may be so proud of what she has become now, but I am not used to calling her Doctor. To me she is still the same simple, sweet and smart girl called “Yeyet” I used to know back when we were still 6 years old; Kinder 11; wearing our cute  green Notre Dame uniforms  at San Isidro Parish Learning Center.

Yeyet and I went to the same Elementary School where we met amazing set of girls:  Annalyn , Joan, Anna Marie and my closest and smartest cousin who happened to be my classmate , Eden.  We were 6- 7 yrs old then. And from that day forward, we have been part of each other’s lives.  We went to the same High School, except for Yeyet but the friendship remains.  From one of the girls’ wedding; to their children’s Christening; mom’s b-day etc.. Our friendship went beyond just being together in happy days, our bond brought each of our families together.  Our parents and siblings have become part of the friendship that we have started and nourished too and I know I am with good company because my family is on it. Over 2 decades of friendship with these girls is something to be considered as one of my many blessings.

Just when you thought I only have girl friends, you were wrong. I also got my boy friends, although they don’t  wanna be called boys anymore. They are men now:  Jeric; Mark Anthony ; Harold and Joey are my closest guy friends I met in High school and we still maintain the bond 10 years after.  Joemarie is one of them too, I just recently reconnected with him after HS. Thanks to FB. And guess what? I have become friends with their wives too!

College was a totally different environment for me. I was all alone, my HS girls went to different universities and we had to explore, go out of our comfort zones and start making new friends. I Found a new set of friends at Jose Rizal University. My girls who until now, still find time to update each other every now and then. I found my bestfriend Thea and the rest of the girls, Ann, Brenda, Matet and Jane.

I also have my ComArts girls and boys where I was one of the Board of Directors at the Campus: Kaila and Pam , Ices and Emond the rest of the BOC’s and POC’s. MY Youth For Christ campus-based buddies: Eugene, who is now married to Pam, and my kuya Paulo.  Not to mention the guys : Laurence, who happened to marry my best friend Thea later on, Jonathan and brothers Mickey and Mike.  I also found at the University my comic partner, Johndel and our forever audience and fans, Noel and Kuya Bob. I am happy to maintain the friendship I have with these people to this day.

Now, when the going gets tough at the corporate world, I still run to these people and everything just feels so right again.

Yes, at the corporate world! I have been working for 6 years now and I have met a few people who I still see and value friendship with until now. Back in TUI at Sykes, my first ever company, I have Steve! My brother/sister from a different set of parents, I have Syl , Pam , Ronna and Wendee, as well as the whole of team Ron. We only see each other once a year but we know we still value the friendship.

After a couple of years ,I moved to Sutherland and I have found my soul sisters in Cris, Love, Vanz and NC. I also have friends like my former housemate Roni and Krisna  who I met from Suth.  I later on, joined eBay Training Team at Sutherland and I got special connections with my fellow Trainers too; Emhir, Ed and LJ as well Anna E. I love my training team and I learned a lot from them.

My New-Found Friends

I’m now with IM and for a year, I have my constant companions and travel buddies : Tracy, Chito, RJ and Pauleen. I also have mommy Mitch, Keno and Karen as my IM closest friends.

Wait, I am talking about my IM friends, and before 2012 closes, another IM friend adds up to my list. He is the person I have not seen personally yet but have been exchanging banter with lately, yes via email. He is Dan L. from IM New York. (He promised he will read my blog whenever his name is on here 🙂  ). Thank you Dan for laughing at my Corny jokes and for making me feel that I am not the only corny in this world. Hahaha

To complete  the list of my important friends in my 27 years of existence,  I have my Singles For Christ ladies. They are my support system, my spiritual pillar, my prayer warriors and my sisters from different mothers: Jaja, Dana, Miki, Tin, Atty. Maan, Dr. Kat, my college friend Ann is on it too as well as the rest of the household group.

If these aren’t my blessings, then I don’t know what being blessed means.

Thank You guys for being part of who I am now,  and I look forward to our never-ending friendship. 🙂

And thank you God for giving me one important gift:  the gift of FRIENDSHIP!!

2 decades of friendship
2 decades of friendship
loving college friends
loving college friends
TUI friends
TUI friends
Sutherland Angels
Sutherland Angels
IM friends
IM friends
SFC girls
SFC girls