All posts by R

I can't tell you my name but I can tell you who I am: I'm a twenty-something girl. I love the color yellow. I love coffee. I love eating. I love suspense and action movies. I love boys with nice hair, cute dimples, and firm triceps. I love cats. I love solo traveling. I dream of traveling around the country and around the world. I dream of finding the boy I love. I'm on my way to discovering more about myself. Perhaps this page will be filled with more discoveries. Being in my 20's is the best time to get to know myself better...and share a piece of me to the world. -R

The Sunshine Blogger Award

There’s this award going around WordPress called “Sunshine Blogger Award.” I did a quick search on Google and didn’t really find information on who, where, why, or how this got started (either that or I just didn’t search hard enough! If you know something, please enlighten me). Images turned up various designs and interpretations of the award, probably just independently designed by the nominated bloggers who posted about it. Anyhoo, the Sunshine Blogger Award sounds like a good thing. Bloggers nominate other bloggers famous or not—gives them a sense of recognition, somewhat boosts their blog’s morale.

So thanks to my newfound virtual friend, Francesca of A Female Flâneur, for thinking of me for this award. I don’t usually do this kind of things, but I didn’t want to turn you down (your questions are actually quite interesting!) and I’m feeling kind of bored and upset (I just got my iPod touch, which was basically like my virtual diary, stolen ☹), so this is a good way to divert my mind.

Here goes!

1. What’s your dream holiday destination and why?

Well, it should be the whole planet Earth. You know, there are a lot of great things about this world that it’s just hard to choose only one dream destination. But right now, Korea first comes to mind—it’s a dream destination that’s soon going to turn into a reality. 😉

2. What book would you recommend for summer reading?

Moby Dick. It’s what I’m currently reading! The movie In the Heart of the Sea kind of prompted me to read this classic. It’s a good read when you’re stuck at home and wishing for some sea adventure.

3. What outfit or accessory makes you feel fabulous?

Just high waist jeans and sneakers. However, currently, I’m starting to get obsessed with wire rings. They look pretty and funky!

4. On a typical Sunday morning, what would you be doing?

Slouching in bed, watching Netflix. Or spending time at a coffee shop. ❤

5. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Spaghetti!!! And in red meaty sauce only.

6. Do you have any role models? If so, who are they?

Oh gosh, it’s hard to think of anyone specific. I get bits of inspiration from different kinds of people—Barrack Obama and his diplomacy, charm, and great public speaking, Stephen King and his big-screen-worthy novels, Amelia Earhart and her acting upon her dream of seeing the world, the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago of the Philippines and her brilliance and bravery.

These are just the people I can think of right now, but I’m sure there are a lot more people who have inspired me to pursue what I am pursuing now.

7. What is something on your bucket list?

To do something height-defying. I have an awful fear of heights, and I want to do something that would challenge that. I don’t want this fear to limit me. People seem to have a lot of fun doing skydiving or bungee jumping, and if I had the chance to do these things, I would want to (although just the thought of it makes my legs tingle right now!)

8. Tea or coffee?

Definitely coffee. I love bubble tea too, though!

9. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

That I am intimidating. It doesn’t really sound like a compliment, does it? I don’t always get that kind of comment about me because I feel that I am always the one feeling intimidated by other people. So to hear that someone thinks I  have a strong personality which they find intimidating was rather interesting.

10. If there was one change you would like to see in the world, what would it be?

The first that came to mind is plastics. We have a huge problem now on plastic waste that many people, quite surprisingly, are not aware of. But then, I also thought of animal cruelty, climate change, racism, and ridiculous national leaders.

If there was one change I would like to see in the world, it is a change in people’s minds—that people would start being rational and actually care about the world.

11. Do you have a favourite fairy-tale? If so, what is it?

I like Puss in Boots and Beauty and the Beast just because I enjoyed the films!


 

I was honestly not sure who to nominate at first as it’s been a while since I last read entries from the blogs I follow. These people might be surprised to hear from me but here are my nominees! These are people I just randomly connected with in the past because I found something interesting in their blogs. We don’t know each other personally, but I do find their blogs worthy of a read.

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

Pensive Palindrome

Curlygirlabroad

(Almost) Unsalvageable

Fill and Feel

Here are my 11 questions:

1. Books or e-books?
2. Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
3. What place/town in your country would you recommend to travel?
4. Do you go to coffee shops? If so, which one is your favorite?
5. What’s your typical breakfast?
6. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love?
7. Do you believe in destiny?
8. What is your favorite planet besides Earth and why?
9. Words or pictures?
10. If you had superpowers, what would it be?
11. What was your last dream about?

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate your favorite bloggers to receive the award, and write 11 questions for them.

4. List the rules and display the award logo on your post and blog.

I look forward to reading your answers to my questions! ❤

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Prelude to A Series of Coffee-Loving Entries

I love coffee, I just do. I have never loved a guy as much as I have loved coffee—there is no such thing as too much coffee or a pain-in-the-ass coffee!

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Here’s a silly story. I guess I could say my coffee addiction started when I was in my teens. I was spending a hot summer vacation at my aunt’s, and I was so roasted that I needed something to cool me down. All that was there on the kitchen table was a jar of ground coffee and another of sugar. I was never a fan of plain water, so I took the coffee and sugar and mixed it with ice cold water and—voila!—the best discovery I ever made! Ice-cold coffee. I probably drank at least three glasses more that day.

Up to this day, I can still drink three or more in a day.

Coffee is divine.

Coffee is more than just a dose of awakening caffeine. Coffee itself is divine. Good coffee is my go-to drink when I feel happy and want to celebrate, when I feel depressed and need to feel better, when I feel cold and need warmth, when I feel hot and need a refreshment, when I feel down and need inspiration, when I feel brokenhearted and desperate for a remedy, when I feel scared and need a pacifier, when I feel accomplished and deserve a reward. It’s the real star for all reasons.

Saturday noon ☀️

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Coffee has gloriously evolved from a commodity to a culture. And coffee shops are the best place to experience this.

Another great thing I love about coffee is the places it is served. Coffee has gloriously evolved from a commodity to a culture. And coffee shops are the best place to experience this extraordinary culture. People gather around a cup of coffee to foster friendships, rekindle romance, or seal business deals. Meanwhile, individuals like me who often go alone find some company in a cup of coffee. We are drawn not only to the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans but also to the unique atmosphere of coffee shops. The mellow sound of pop and R&B on the background music, hushed friendly chatters from the neighboring tables, coffee tables that can serve as a work desk, the couches. For someone who’s away from home and trapped in a concrete jungle, coffee shops are my oasis, a heavenly refuge.

Coffee, milk and sunshine #morning #coffee

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I started with Starbucks. I thank Starbucks for introducing me to the extraordinary culture of coffee, but for years now, I have been trying to veer away from commercial and seek more of what the smaller, independent cafes have to offer—and it’s endless. Every coffee shop is unique.

Coffeeeee
In 2016, I discovered at least 42 coffee shops in and out of Metro Manila.

In Metro Manila 🇵🇭 alone, there are countless of coffee shops waiting to be discovered. And when I go out of town or out of the country, the most indispensable part of my personal itinerary is a visit to some local coffee shops. In fact, a big part of the reason I travel is to see every town’s coffee culture, to see what kind of cafes these places harbor. Coffee is a culture in itself, but coffee shops also reflect the culture of the community they belong to. And this is what I want to write about, what I want to share, what I want to remember and keep looking back to.

This is just a start. I want to celebrate coffee more through a series of coffee-loving posts and photos. I want to record and share with the world my experiences with coffee so that maybe someone somewhere may better appreciate the existence of coffee in this world.

Coffee makes me happy. Maybe more people will be, too.

– R

Except Surfing: A Retreat to La Union

We boarded the 11-pm bus, rain heavily sprinkling on one side of the bus while the other side was dry and shielded by the wide roof overhang of the bus station. I wasn’t worried about the rain or about not being able to surf on the waves of La Union. All I had in mind was finding a nice local café and great local grub.

Silly. People go to La Union to surf!

Big waves tryin to pull you in 🌊 #beach #launion #philippines #rainydays #travel

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To be at the beach, away from the metro, the central source of all that’s mundane and stressful, was the primary goal. Even if it was raining, I couldn’t say the weather was bad. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t go into the water and stand on a board with a shark fin underneath, but it wasn’t that bad. It was just different.

You face the rage of the ocean, stand right at its jaws. It taunts you to enter the water, and you taunt it back, your feet right where it can snatch you away. You think it can’t, but it can. The next wave pushes on your feet and pulls back harder, and you stagger and struggle to stay up on your feet. You know you can’t go into the water because then it’s never going to give you back to the land that once owned you.

It’s not a scary thought. Just exhilarating.

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There’s something about simply being by the beach, even when you’re not soaked and swimming in it—I didn’t have to. It was just the perfect environment that I needed. It was enough that I could dip my toes in the subsiding ripples of water and bury my feet in the soft and squishy black sand in every step, while listening to the sound of the waves and feeling the breeze that came with them. It was titillating.

We stayed at Puerto de San Juan on our first night. It was a little far from the surfing area, but that was okay. The beach at Puerto de San Juan was more secluded, so it let us have a long peaceful stretch of walk. The hotel is age-old and has maintained its retro interiors. It felt like we were in an old mansion. The facilities provided enough comfort for the duration of our stay.

That night, the hotel held an acoustic night at their restaurant, which redeemed me from the displeasure of the day’s indecision and bad choice of restaurant for lunch. Our dinner was great.

We had a mouth-watering serving of sinigang with kimchi in a big palayok (clay pot). It was the first time I encountered this concoction, and it was perfect. The kimchi contributed to the sourness of this sour Filipino delicacy and added a very mild spicy taste. I also enjoyed the grilled tuna, beautifully presented on a wooden plate, with vegetables and, of course, kimchi on the side.

I just sat there, on a table nearest to the swimming pool, watching rain pepper the pool. It was dark out there, in the ocean, but I could hear the waves from where I was seated. The waves were so strong  that, even if I couldn’t see them that night, it felt like they were thrashing on my chest.

The light of day let me find the waves.

In the morning, I left our room and went back to the restaurant for some brewed coffee and pancakes. Again, I took a seat near the pool. Beyond the pool, even if I couldn’t see the shoreline, I could hear and see the tall waves. I held my pen and wrote and doodled on my journal. It was a great time to be alone.

With the persistent and fitful downpour, we left Puerto de San Juan to get closer to the main surfing spot, Urbiztondo beach. We knew we couldn’t surf. We just wanted to be there.

We found and got settled in Sebay Surf Central hotel. The beach was just a few steps away from our room. But then again, I could only get as far as the shore, content with staring far into the horizon while breathing in the ocean breeze.

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Cafes and restaurants were also just a stone’s throw away from Sebay. The best part of the (second) day was finding The Coffee Library just across the road. It’s a two-storey Vietnamese restaurant and café with Asian-inspired rustic interiors. I was, once again, deeply satisfied with a spot in one corner of the café. I stationed myself at a small wooden table, unconsciously listening to crowd murmurs that served as background music to the local café scene while I reviewed my journal.

diz Pho Ga is purrrrfect for the bed weather‼️

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The pho ga of The Coffee Library served as a great complement to the chilly downpour outside. I was happy to be sheltered in a cozy restaurant enjoying a mildly flavored Vietnamese noodle soup.

I also enjoyed their pan grilled porkchop! It was, as far as I remember, the first time that I could actually do away with gravy and just enjoy the chops. Every bite was tender and flavorful.

Other restaurants that we tried that afternoon (what else could we do but to go on a food crawl!) were Surf Shack and Olas Banditos. In the rainy afternoon that we came, Surf Shack was a sleepy little food corner with a few diners, but this place is known as a chill and musically charged hangout for foodies and surfers alike. Olas Banditos meanwhile is an airy Mexican diner with colorful graffiti walls that serves mouth-filling burritos.

The rest of the night (our last night) was pretty much uneventful. I just went on strolling around nearby establishments before grabbing some beer from the hotel bar to serve as a finale to my mellow out-of-the-metro vacation. I spent a few more moments contemplating while looking out to the once again dark sea. All I could hear was the roar of the waves. They were fierce and relentless, but nothing could be more comforting.

Fighting Fear with Fear: I’m Finally in My Dream Job But—

 

I’m starting work in yet another company—my Nth employer in my lifetime. But this time it’s different. I am finally in my dream line of work.

It’s not easy. I’m happy—but it’s not easy. I’m having mixed emotions. But mostly anxiousness. Leaving an old job –the work you’d been comfortable with, the people you’d been close with, the place that had become your comfort zone—and then venturing out into the unknown is quite stressful. I’m setting out for a new working environment with unknown culture and personalities.

Sometimes, I wonder if I had made the right choice.

Sometimes, I wonder if I had made the right choice. Was it right to leave my comfort zone and stress out again on trying to adjust, learn and fit in? I had stayed in my last job for more than a year—the longest I’ve ever stayed in one in my entire millennial life. The reason I lasted in this job wasn’t because it was great and fulfilling but because it was so convenient and conflictless. Would it have been right to stay in this job? Would it have been right if I had stayed in a kind of job that gave me a sense of ease but not of achievement? I loved the people I worked with, but was it enough for me to tolerate the job?

Perhaps a better question to ask myself is: what do I want? Then, I’ll know if I had made the right choice.

And this is what I want. I want to grow and accomplish a lot. I want to do what I love because we only live once.

I see what I love in the new company—the opportunity to write and the chance to be read. I have worked in customer service, media production, advertising and business development, but this is the first time ever that I will be doing a job that is actually my passion and specialization (writing was my college major). This is a great leap towards the fulfillment of my dreams. A stepping stone to becoming a renowned writer.

To be able to do what I love is a great motivation, so why am I so apprehensive?


I tend to be anxious about many things. So, recently, I made a personal diagram of how I can fight fears, and applied it in this situation.

Attachment-1

The first step is, like they always say, acknowledge the fears—admit the things that I am afraid of.

I am afraid that the new job might be too demanding and stressful that I won’t be able to keep up with it. I am afraid of doing something clumsy or stupid that people are going to judge me. I am afraid of not matching the wavelength of my new colleagues and be alienated. Not only am I afraid but do I also hate to force myself to reach out to people. I’m generally a friendly and approachable person, but I hate feeling like it’s a requirement to make friends and like I have to force myself to come up with icebreakers. I like conversations to flow naturally. I’m scared of being judged.

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The next step is to know why. Why am I afraid of these things?

I walked into a bigger world with a greater assortment of personalities good and bad.

I am not even sure why I feel so afraid and concerned about not matching with other people, being alienated or being judged. I know these are all pointless, restrictive fears. Perhaps I have these ridiculous fears because my self-esteem is so vulnerable and I have the natural instinct to protect my wellbeing. In the university, I was trained and have gotten used to being open to constructive criticisms. But those were criticisms of work. I wasn’t trained to be receptive to personal criticisms. I grew up in a small and mellow environment and had always been lucky to meet good-natured friends. But as I stepped out of college, I walked into a bigger world with a greater assortment of personalities good and bad. I wasn’t used to it.

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Now that I have acknowledged what my fears are and why I fear them, my third and final step is to find more productive fears. What am I more afraid of?

I can’t grow and accomplish things, in this one shot I got at life, if I let my fears hold me back.

I go back to the question of what do I want? I want to grow and accomplish a lot. As far as I can tell, we only live once. And I’m afraid that I can’t grow and accomplish things, in this one shot I got at life, if I let my fears hold me back. I am more afraid to just leave this world and be buried six feet below the ground without leaving a legacy. I want to be remembered through my writing, or whatever creative craft I do. This is what I am more afraid of.

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As a self-confessed sluggish and sleepy girl, I am met every day with the greatest temptation of just burying my face in my iPod or laptop and binging on Netflix and video games. But every day I am also confronted with this greater fear of not becoming the person I want to be, not growing and not accomplishing.


Now, this is what I personally thought up based on my experiences, which I feel is a very good way to fight irrational fears. I have found, however, that there is a book that has tackled the same concept, although it highlighted more on the fear of God; and a very cute and touching episode of a Japanese anime I loved very much as a kid. Fear of God may be the best kind of fear, but in a more earthly sense, a good fear can be anything. It can be the fear of hurting the people you love or the fear of not achieving your dreams.

I may be afraid to leave my comfort zone or make mistakes in the new job or not be liked by everyone, but all of these are a part of the wholeness of the world—at least the world I live in. Leaving my comfort zone means widening my horizons and stretching my capabilities. Making mistakes means learning. And not being liked by everyone? We can’t please everyone, it’s true. But as long as there are people who love me, I will keep going.

Fighting Fears: Canyoneering, College and Conquests

You’re standing above a vast landscape of the sea. Clear skies. Cool breeze. Sparkling ocean. And you’re standing at the edge of a cliff. Do you think you could jump?

Have you ever felt so scared that the hairs all over your body stand, butterflies turn into vultures in your stomach, and you feel like you’re going to poop? That’s how I feel every time.

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Heights is one of my worst fears. I don’t know how I got my fear of heights as I don’t recall any traumatic experience. I just found myself one day, around the age of 5, riding Enchanted Kingdom’s Jungle Log Jam and crying my intestines out, begging my father to just throw me over to the crew on the side of the river before reaching the upward rail.

Ironically, 2016 had been full of heights and high jumps for me.

This same month last year, I went canyoneering in Cebu with good fellows. Canyoneering’s main feature is, apparently, the canyons–which are really high FYI. And yet, my super-beginner self did not get any hint that it also involved a lot of cliff jumping!

So, I was there, at the edge of the cliff, and my fellows were already in the water screaming weee!, while I was still up there screaming MOM!!!

After a while, I started to feel jittery. It wasn’t because I was scared to jump though. I was worried that my friends were leaving me behind. They all looked so happy, and I certainly didn’t want to miss whatever fun they were having down there.

I was more scared of not getting a taste of that special experience.

1… 2… 3…? Uhm, okay, threeee!!! Then I finally plunged into the water. I overcame my fear of heights because I was more afraid of getting left behind. I was more scared of not getting a taste of that special experience. I don’t always get to visit canyons, and it was scary to miss this chance.

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Looking back to the good ol’ college life…

When I was in college, I stopped schooling for a while and got a job. I was young and totally hooked on earning and spending. A year later, I knew I had to go back and finish what I had started in college.

I walked into my university with the intent of taking the first step of readmission. And that’s when I saw her. She was behind Window 5 (if I remember well) for readmission applications. I approached her and asked with a kitten smile, “Ma’am, may I know the process for reinstatement?”

She responded with stuff like “Did you fill out these forms already? Did you write a letter to the College Dean? Do you have these documents? What, why not?”

I kept getting peevish answers from her that made me feel stupid and so embarrassed, and I got scared of asking anymore questions. She, along with the tedious lot of requirements, made me feel like reinstatement was going to be hell and it scared me.

It took me another year to go back and try again. At first I was hesitant, but I thought, this was already way overdue. I looked back on my freshman year and remembered my dreams after graduation. I thought of my parents who were excited for me to graduate.

At that point, I found a greater fear. The fear of not realizing my dreams and disappointing my parents. I held on to this fear as I walked back to my college and faced the grumpy lady again. She was still as scary as ever, but I held my position, politely and patiently until it was all over. It wasn’t so bad. I got reinstated! And two years later, I finally graduated.

There is nothing scarier than hurting  the ones that we love and not living the life that we want just because we let irrational, counterproductive fears hold us back.

I conquered my irrational fear of jumping into a tedious process of college readmission with a better kind of fear. There is nothing scarier than hurting  the ones that we love and not living the life that we want just because we let irrational, counterproductive fears hold us back.

***

Life is a vast, intimidating sea but it is also the most beautiful thing. We should not miss the chance of experiencing life just because we’re too afraid to jump out of our comfort zone.

I jumped off terrifying cliffs. I got one of the best experiences that nature has to offer.

I jumped at the tiresome readmission process. I graduated!

And then, I jumped at my first Toastmasters International Speech Contest. I joined the contest with the fear of messing up and not winning. But I fought it with a greater and more meaningful fear.

I was more afraid of letting the chance pass–the chance of learning and the chance of sharing my message to others.

We all have different kinds of fears. Whatever your fear is right now, take the time to think: is it a good fear or a bad fear?

There are fears that hold us back, keep us confined in our little comfort zone. And there are fears that push us to our limits so we can become better, and stronger.

We should find the latter. When times get too difficult and too scary, let’s use the good fears to fight our bad fears away. Let’s fight fear with fear.

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This was originally my contest piece for my first prepared speech contest. It was an opportunity for me to share a bit of my experience canyoneering in Badian, Cebu, and a bit of my struggles through college.