Stand Up 2016

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Before anything else, I just want to greet you (my reader), A Happy New Year! For the last couple of years of blogging, I always think of a theme for the present year. For this year, I wanna call it “Stand Up 2016”.

2015 was such an amazing year for me. Just like every great story, I had experienced several failures and downside. But it was nothing compared to the joy, laughter, great memories, lessons, experiences and realizations that were added to my life. I had grown a lot.

And since there were downside most specifically in the last quarter of 2015, the only way for me to move forward is to “Stand Up”. No matter how optimistic a person is, there will be times when she feels like not standing up from her bed, not doing anything but to lie down, disregarding the plans for the days because she lost the drive. I remember myself several days ago in that exact situation. A subconscious mind then tells me, “Berna, stand up! Literally! Stand up from your bed!” Because that is the first step, the start of something.

Last November, I applied in a Pediatric Brain Injury Hospital in the UK but I didn’t make it. God knows how much I wanted the position. But the timing isn’t right. For I know the very reason why I wasn’t able to get it, it’s because I didn’t give my best during the whole application and interview. To be honest, I was not at my best self at that time. I had to learn from that experience and move forward. I have to “Stand Up”.

For us who went after the chance, took the risk but got hurt, please Stand Up. These actions are admirable.

For the health issues, disappointments, rejections, heartbreaks and pain last year, this 2016, can we all be brave enough to STAND UP and try again?

“Walang Forever” Movie Experience

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I just watched earlier the movie Walang Forever together with my 2 close friends. This post is not meant to give quick facts or information about the movie but to share feelings and emotions that I felt during and after watching the film.

I chose Walang Forever out of all the MMFF entries because I always go with the movie that I know I can relate to and because the title captured my imagination. What was this movie about? I wondered.

Being more than half past my 20s, the struggle at this age is about being in a relationship and finding “The One”. This is the age when a person is already a young professional, already certain of his/her career path, but having this certainty lacks him or her in another aspect which is the lovelife.

A year ago, I had a conversation with someone who had broken up with his long time girlfriend. I asked him with that experience, what has love taught him? He jokingly said, “Walang Forever!” I laughed and immediately replied, “Grabe ka naman.” He then gave a serious answer. He said, “You have to be the best person for each other.” It left questions in my mind. I didn’t ask him to elaborate more. I just thought that in the future, I’ll figure it out. This I still have to ponder in the days to come.

This is not a movie about bitterness of the characters over their failed relationship. It is romantic and hilarious and at the same time, a tear-jerker (my friends cried). I didn’t cry in the drama scenes because I was overwhelmed with the romantic and funny moments of the movie. I admit to giggle from time to time and had that smile on my face from the start till the end.

This is a different kind of love story. It’s timely, relatable and captivating. It is indeed a beautiful Filipino movie.

Lessons I Learned From the Movie ‘Inside Out’

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Earlier, I was able to watch the movie “Inside Out” by the Pixar Animation Studios. It was an animated movie that I thought was created for the kids but it did have a lot of lessons and realities that are applicable to life. The scenes were very relatable. When you watch the movie, you see yourself in some scenes. You remember yourself when you were a child.

It was a story of an 11 y/o girl named Riley Andersen and the emotions that she has in her mind: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear. These emotions control Riley’s reaction and perception on the situations she encounters in her everyday life.

The story in the movie happens in real life. When a child was born, she was like a blank slate. In some scenes, it showed Riley’s significant moments that are called core memories which make up her personality. A child always grow up as a happy child until life’s circumstances got in the way that Sadness overpowers Joy.

I, personally, can relate in the movie. I silently reflected the time I lost the child-like behavior in me. When did I lose the characteristics of a child? The capacity to be joyful. Not only me, but also other people. The reality is that people change because of experiences.

It is true, what’s on the inside will manifest outside. That is the central message of the movie. And fear, they’re all in our heads. But just like the illustration in the film, negative emotions like sadness play an important role in a person. It has its purpose when used in the right moment.

I was captured by the moment when Riley broke down into tears telling her parents how she misses her hockey team, her friends, their home and backyard in Minnesota, her previous life. Change will happen in life and it is inevitable. Who wouldn’t relate in that scene as everyone did experience a change in one or more aspects in life. What is important is to have the courage to face anew.

This is a brilliant film. I salute the creator of the story. It will make us examine our lives and the emotions that we allow ourselves to take over. Might as well allow joy to take charge of our emotions for the rest of the day. 🙂

Beauty in Vulnerability

06/26/2015

Dear “Future The One”,

I have a lot of things to tell you. So while I still haven’t met you, I will write, and will just show this letter to you in the future.

You know what, I can’t sleep. Headache. Tears are on my eyes. I don’t have problems right now. Why tears? I just keep on wondering when will I see you, when will you enter my everyday, when will you be part of my life?

I won’t give up in believing that one of these days, soon, you will arrive. And the longingness, excitement, all the tears that has fallen through the years of waiting will be all worth it.

I want to tell you my everyday experiences, how adrenaline has taken over my entire self whenever there are emergencies happening in the workplace. I want to tell you the realizations I have everyday, from the simplest things like being grateful for waking up every morning to being appreciated at work. I want to tell my fears and worries, if there’s any. And above all, I want to tell you my dreams, my plans, my goals, the things that I’d like to learn like applying make up on myself and braiding my own hair. I want to tell you of my plans of working abroad, of the preparation for it, of the exams I have to take, of the nervousness and anxiety that I feel as that exam is nearing. I want to tell you all the failures I had in the past. Failures they maybe, but I also call them as redirection. I want to tell you of the amazing speech and life lessons I learned from Steve Jobs in the Stanford graduation ceremony. Basically, I have a lot of stories to tell. But just to be clear, I’m not talkative. I just have a lot of stories to tell. So please, hurry up! Find me! Talk to me! Don’t give up on us.

I’ll wait for you patiently.

Your “Future The One”,
Berna

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This is probably the most vulnerable thing that I will share. I learned through an inspirational speaker Brene Brown that there is beauty in vulnerability. It’s about being real of your feelings and not thinking of what others will say. The letter above was from one of the random thoughts I had sometime in June.

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Here are the lessons Brene Brown has shared in one of her speeches.

According to Brene Brown:

Connected people believe that what makes them vulnerable makes the beautiful. Connected people are willing to say “I love you” first and take relational risks. They are willing to get hurt. This is fundamental to a connected person.

Questions to ask ourselves:

*Am I willing to be vulnerable eventhough there is no guarantee?
*Am I willing to love with my whole heart?
*Can I practice gratitude and joy in the face of rejection? In the face of risk?
*Am I communicating to others that they are enough, even as they are?
*Do I believe I am enough? Do I believe I am worthy of love?
*Do I understand that my beliefs I am worthy of love directly connects with my ability to connect with and love others.
*Are you afraid to be vulnerable?
*Do you believe you are a safe person people can be vulnerable with?

In order for connection to happen, we must allow ourselves to be seen. We must overcome our shame. A sense of worthiness is connected to a sense of love and belonging. People who have strong sense of love and belonging believe they are worthy of love and belonging. What keeps us out of connection is the feeling we are not worthy of connection. People who are living out of a sense of worthiness are whole hearted.

Being whole hearted means:
1. Having courage. Courage means to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. Whole hearted means we have the courage to be imperfect.

2. They have compassion for themselves, and therefore have compassion for others.

3. They have connection. As a result of accepting themselves and having courage to project who they really are, along with having compassion for themselves and others, they were able to be authentic, and therefore connect with others. They are willing to let go of the idea of who they should be in order to accept who they are.

P.S. Can we all be brave enough to be vulnerable?

Zoomanity Parks Visited by Kpop Groups Asha and Fameus

Four weeks ago, I was invited to cover the event of Zoomanity Group of Companies where Kpop groups Fameus and Asha visited the two theme parks, Paradizoo in Mendez, Cavite and Residence Inn Tagaytay. We arrived in Paradizoo at around 10:00am. A few minutes later, the two Kpop groups arrived. The girl group is called Asha while the boy group is named Fameus. To be honest, I am not a Kpop fan but I was looking forward for the two groups and see for myself if I too, will be captivated by their charm and talent. And indeed, I was. Of course, their presence were undeniable because of their white and fair skin, fashionable outfit and colorful hairstyles.

Paradizoo

Paradizoo

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Asha

Fameus

Fameus

Members of Fameus feeding the rabbits

Members of Fameus feeding the rabbits

With the five-legged cow

With the five-legged cow

While touring the Paradizoo with them, their child-like attitude became evident. Who wouldn’t be happy at seeing rabbits, donkeys, cows, ostrich, etc. right in front you? We were exhilarated and I had seen in their reactions the joy of interacting with the creatures that we do not see everyday. They were so cute! In Paradizoo, the boy group performed the famous Tagalog song “Na Sayo Na ang Lahat” originally sang by Daniel Padilla. That performance was not one-liner or sang in acapela but with music, second voice and they literally sang the whole song. And I must say, they really have beautiful voices.

After lunch, we headed to the Residence Inn Tagaytay which was only 15 minutes away from Paradizoo. Hundreds of fans were awaiting the two groups in the activity area. Just like in Paradizoo, Fameus performed “Na Sayo Na ang Lahat” and “Mahal na Mahal” originally sang by Sam Concepcion. And again, I was amazed seeing Koreans sing Tagalog songs beautifully. Afterwards, we watched a magical show performed by the theme park’s actors and actresses. Kids in the audience, the Kpop groups, and all the people in the venue enjoyed the simple magical show.

The magnificent view in the Residence Inn Tagaytay

The magnificent view in the Residence Inn Tagaytay

Arabian camel

Arabian camel

My realization in that day was that as we grow older, our standard of happiness increases. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to be pleased or to be happy. That’s why I love being with kids because they have simple happiness, plus the Kpop group, they are so child-like. I will always remind myself to be child-like. These two theme parks will bring us the same feeling of how to be happy just like when we were a child. Let us never be afraid to show the “child” in us.

Book Review: I’ve Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has

Cover page

Cover page

Last month, I had come across several quotations of Mandy Hale in Facebook. I immediately searched for her in Google and found out more about her book and her blog. Mandy Hale is an American blogger and the New York Times best-selling author of “I’ve Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has” which is the second offering following the success of her first book entitled “The Single Woman: Life, Love and a Dash of Sass”.

“I’ve Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has” detailed Mandy Hale’s journey after graduating from college until the release of this book. At first, she thought that the journey for a happily ever after will be easy but it was not. For instance, she had been to several jobs and was fired which resulted to a depression. Just like other young adults, in those years she fell in love and got her heart broken several times but she did not lose her faith in God.

I had learned so many things through her life experiences. My favorite was the one she said in an interview about the idea behind the title. She said that in life, we often go search of one thing and end up finding something so much better. Because guess what, that is God’s plan.

Some of my favorite lines are:

“God, like a proud Papa, I think He sometimes does things for no other reason than to make His children smile.”

“I didn’t take the no personally, however, as I knew that every no was pushing me one step closer to a yes.”

“She didn’t have the perfect hair or the perfect nose or the perfect clothes, but she still felt she deserved the world.”

“I was learning on this journey that we call life that failure is just a sentence in our stories. It doesn’t have to overshadow the whole book.”

“It had opened me up to the magic and joy and possibilities of life again.”

“Because no matter how bad you might mess up, or how foolish you might look, or how high you might crash, there is absolutely nothing worse than the feeling of regret you will have if you don’t try at all.”

And a lot….. There are too many to mention. I think the central message that connected me to Mandy Hale’s life experiences is the realization of connecting the dots. Just like what I learned from Steve Jobs’ Standford graduation speech, he said that “We cannot connect the dots looking forward, we can only connect them looking backwards.” Realizing that we were in the situation in the past and we met these people because having them prepares us for what lies ahead in the future. Rise up from a fall, move on from hurt, bounce back and then pursue your dreams are her advice to all women.

I bought the book for Php595 in the National Book Store. This is a great read especially for women going through tough times in terms of career, love or life in general. The readers will realize that if Mandy Hale can bounce back and so do I.

Have you read it? Please comment your thoughts and learning about the book. 

Back on Track

https://www.google.com.ph/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAYQjB1qFQoTCP3DuP-6jsgCFQgZlAodtB0IpA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gettyimages.com%2Fdetail%2Fphoto%2Fhispanic-teenage-girl-royalty-free-image%2F530100875&psig=AFQjCNFMtybRYLoo9rjp8e_NgR0weWBxgg&ust=1443142523894458

Hello! I just want to share that right now, I am on vacation leave (VL) from work. My VL started on September 16 until October 11. Almost a month.. Yay! The reason for that long VL is because in the hospital where I am presently working, whenever an employee reaches her anniversary from work, she will be granted an 18 days vacation leave. Great benefit right? For me, including the 2 days off per week, it will be a total of 26 days of not going to work. So in this 26 days, what shall I plan to do? Long before I reached this VL, I had been thinking and planning on several productive things to spend my time well and for me not to be bored and suddenly realizing wanting to go back to work. I thought of going on vacation, visiting my parents in the province, out of town with my friends, learning something new like driving or swimming, attending blogging events, updating my social media profile and writing/ blogging a lot. In reality, I am now on vacation and not all planned months before will be materialized.

Sudden changes were made like finally booking for IELTS (International English Language Testing System), which is one of the requirements for my application as a nurse in the UK. I booked the exam the other day and it was indeed a very expensive one. The exam date will be on October 8. I did not rush to take the exam. I just realized that while on vacation leave is the best time to take IELTS since I have ample time to review and am just relaxed and not stressed from work. After registering online for the exam, I made a decision to finally focus on reviewing by watching tutorial videos on YouTube, doing practice test in the reviewer I bought in the bookstore, and showing up in the review center where I enrolled myself in.

Yesterday morning, I sent my updated resume in the agency through email. I am already qualified to be hired as a nurse in the UK which requires a minimum of 1 year hospital experience. However, I needed to pass several exams and IELTS is the first one. In the afternoon, I went to Makati to attend the free IELTS talk offered by the recruitment agency where I am communicating with for my application. I liked the talk because the myths regarding IELTS were made clear and we were advised that the exam is an objective one in a way that test takers only need to give what the exam asks for.

After the talk, I met with a blogger friend and he treated me to a fast food chain and just enjoyed the company of each other. It’s just amazing how blogging allows me to meet interesting people and learning a lot from them.

When I was updating and sending email to the recruitment agency yesterday, there was this exhilarating feeling because I just felt that I am back on track. I am back to pursuing my dreams and goals when I was in high school. The same feeling as how I dream before in high school is exactly how I felt yesterday. The burning desire that was lost during college and during the first two jobs after graduation returned. The feeling of being lost and not knowing where the direction of my life will be heading because of quarter-life crisis is no longer in my system. The past sadness, disappointments, rejections and all the not-so-wonderful feelings were all gone as I view them as God’s way of redirecting me to where I am meant to be. I feel so excited every day because I have many things to look forward to and I have a dream and goal to pursue.

Let us continue to live, hope and dream. Day by day as much as I can, I am trying to work harder, study harder, play harder and risk harder than ever before. 🙂

Drawing Inspiration from the Founding of Lamudi Philippines

Lamudi-logo

http://www.property-report.com/lamudi-philippines-supports-the-annual-philippines-property-awards-2015/

Lamudi Philippines is an example of a startup, a company that is newly formed or created. It was launched in 2014 and data shows that it is now the most visited real estate website in the Philippines.

On September 3, 2015, I attended the media night organized by Lamudi Philippines where they presented more about their services and introduced the people behind their company. I arrived in TGIF in Greenbelt 3 at around 6pm and enjoyed the company of fellow bloggers and writers. After the cocktail, we headed to the cinema for the exclusive screening of Transporter Refueled. After everyone had settled in the cinema, the founders introduced the company and how it started.

Jacqueline Van Den Ende, Managing Director Lamudi PH

Jacqueline Van Den Ende is the founder and managing director of Lamudi Philippines. She came all the way from the land of tulips, Holland. When she was telling us how she started the company, I felt that it was really a hard work to grow a company which literally started with nothing but just a small office beside Lazada, their sister company, and a small picnic table. Rocket Internet Group hired her in 2013 to start the company and that means moving to the Philippines. Her only idea of this country is that it is a land of typhoon and a place of heavy traffic in the city. Despite the hesitation, she packed her bags and gave it a go and now loving every minute of her stay and never regret her decision. At the cocktail, she reached out to the members of the media and really talked and get to know us one by one. I admired her courage to go out of her comfort zone and that was leaving her home country in The Netherlands and taking a leap of faith to start something new. I learned that she also had fears at the beginning but she did not allow that fear to control her decisions in life.

Lamudi Philippines was formally launched on January 2014 and is now the biggest online real estate website in the Philippines. Currently, they have 700,000+ visitors per month and over 90,000 listings. The company is part of the Rocket Internet Group who also founded Lazada, Zalora and Carmudi.

Finding your dream home? You might find it in www.lamudi.com.ph.

Sanggala Mountaineers’ Outreach Program in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija

sanggala outreach

Being a Novo Ecijano (a person who grew up in the province of Nueva Ecija), I will always call it my home wherever other places I may have been in the past or will be going in my life in the future. It’s a sanctuary, it’s where I learned to dream and to pursue my dreams. Through the simplicity of life in the province, I had appreciated even the smallest thing that can make a person happy.

After finding out that the Sanggala Mountaineers will be having their 3rd Outreach Program in one of the barangays in Brgy. Camachile, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, I immediately volunteered to blog about it. The group will be assisted by the municipal government of Gabaldon for the information and coordination with the barangay. Municipal Coordinator, Mr. Chito dela Cruz, suggested some items to be donated such as rice, canned goods, noodles, soap and medicines. These things are necessary especially for the most oppressed family in the area.

Sanggala Mountaineers group is accepting rice, noodles, canned goods, medicines, hygiene kit, etc. for the outreach program.

They are also seeking for some health professionals like doctors, dentists, nurses and specialists to practice their profession by serving the people.

Here is the demographic data of the barangay.

Families/ Household: 144

Population: 580

Males: 310

Females: 270

Primary source of income: Farming (80%)

About the group:

Sanggala was founded in June 2014 and humbly means isang gala, saan ang gala or the expression pusang gala. 

Please click on the link to join and know more about the outreach program.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1494747377404930/

Everyone is welcome to serve. It is true that when you spend your time with people, you are sharing a part of your life that can be never be brought back, living life in a meaningful way.

Experiencing the Land Down Under: Melbourne

It was last year when I had my very first trip outside the country, and also to a different continent, Australia. It was an educational trip in one of my classes in UST The Graduate School. I remembered a few days before the trip, I was very excited but at the same time nervous because our Australian Visa were not yet released. The trip was scheduled on Saturday but it was only 2 days before our departure, on Thursday, that our visa were released. I started blogging in 2011 but 2013 and 2014 were not a blogging year for me. I was not in the mood to write, so the wonderful experiences on those years were not posted here. That’s why I’m catching up right now. I want to look back on these experiences years from now, 5 years or 10 years down the road, if I already have my own family, realizing that life may have been far from perfect but I lived and enjoyed life while young and single.

From Kuala Lumpur International Airport, we had a 9-hour plane ride to Melbourne Airport. I was seated with an Australian man (I forgot his name), who was working in a Casino in Melbourne. He was going back to Melbourne from his travel in Thailand. For me, one of the best perks of traveling is meeting strangers, whom you can have great conversations with, learn a lot of things and exchange ideas from one another’s origin. As with the Australian man, he shared his experience from Thailand where he was able to attend a wedding of a local Thai who both were working in the Elephant conservation area. The elephants were the “guest of honor” in the wedding. He also showed me a video of baby elephants rolling and enjoying while taking a bath on a large basin. The elephants were so cute. He also gave tips and helpful information for our trip to Melbourne, as a Melbourne local himself.

Restaurants

We ate in a different types of restaurants in Melbourne. We tried Turkish restaurant where we ordered lamb meat, wrapped like a shawarma. We also experienced Chinese buffet restaurant, China Bar, in the Central Business District, where the family of my professor’s friend hosted our lunch.

Transportation

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The Tram

Melbourne has an excellent transportation. The kinds of public transportation are tram, cab and bus. I think the most famous is the tram. We bought a tram ticket in 7/11, it’s called Miki card, where you will tap the card in the censor upon entering the train. The tram was so comfortable, it was air conditioned, and not crowded. What I absolutely admired about the transportation was their road. The  busses, cabs, private vehicles, and tram share the same road, but they each have a right of way with the help of stop lights, so accidents are far to happen. We were also lucky to go inside the Metro Rail Network, where the engineer, showed us the office and how they ran the railway system in Victoria.

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Inside the Metro Rail Network

Metro Rail Network Office

Metro Rail Network Office

Places we’ve visited

Our primary reason for traveling to Melbourne was to meet the officials of the Deakin University, in Burwood. After the small conference, the officials toured us around the university. We went to the different colleges, the university library (a haven!) and the university art museum.

Sunday Catholic mass

Sunday Catholic mass

With the Deakin University officials

With the Deakin University officials

Deakin University Australia

Deakin University Australia

Library of Deakin University

Library of Deakin University

Christian Union of the University

Christian Union of the university

We also met the Philippine Consul in Melbourne, Ms. Gigi Kalong. She was such an inspiration for me, as how she’s being a steward for the welfare of all Filipinos in Melbourne.

With Ms. Gigi, the Philippine Consul in Melbourne

With Ms. Gigi, the Philippine Consul in Melbourne

Another activity we did was visiting Carlton Brewhouse. We were taught how a beer was produced, its ingredients and the long process of brewing and bottling. We were able to taste the different kinds of beer. I just noticed that in Australia, the employees are multi-tasker. Our tour guide was also the barterder and the waitress of the bar, amazing! I and my classmates enjoyed the beer tasting at the end of the tour. We ordered pizza and chicken, the food best paired with unlimited beer.

Beer tasting with classmates and professor

Beer tasting with classmates and professor

Other spots

There are a lot of parks in Melbourne where you can relax, people watch, and spend your day. There’s also the famous Flinders street, the central station in Melbourne’s suburban rail network. We went inside the State Library of Victoria, where everyone can go in, use a computer and enjoy free wifi. The library holds over 2 million books. We also stayed for a few hours in QV Melbourne, it had several restaurants and offers unlimited Wi-Fi access. When we were there, me and my classmates lie on the grass and stare at the sky, realizing our last night in Melbourne.

Flinder''s Street

Flinders street station

State Library of Victory in the morning

State Library of Victory in the morning

Flinders Street

Flinders Street

Hotel

We stayed in the Grand Chancellor Hotel. What I loved about our accommodation were the friendly hotel staffs, and the thing I looked for every morning, the hotel’s continental breakfast. I loved sausages, scrambled eggs, fruits, pork and beans, ham, bread, etc.

In front of the hotel

In front of the hotel

People

Australians were friendly, and such a smiley, in a way that when you look at their faces, and they caught you looking at them, they will give you a warm smile in return.

I really fell in love with Melbourne. This trip ignited my childhood dream to travel more to other parts of the world. It is not always everyday that I can travel like this. Truly, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.