After visiting Manila a few times for strictly business purposes, I decided to return there for a very quick spur-of-the-moment overnight trip.

I was lucky to score a great deal from Cebu Pacific Air. It was not Piso fare but it was economical enough for me to afford it. As I was on a tight budget and I really did not plan for this tour, I had to scour for a reasonably priced hotel in a not-so-inexpensive metropolis. The internet has basically become my best friend through this process. Sure thing, the internet did not fail me and I was able to book a hotel room for around Php 900.00 or so with GoHotel.

So off I started with my cheap thrill journey.

I took the jeepney from my home to about three corners away from the airport. From there, I took the cab and paid only less than Php100.00. When I arrived at the Manila airport, I walked out all the way to a Paranaque circle. I was not sure the exact name of that place but it was a good 600 meters walk from the airport’s main exit. I took the jeepney from there to the MRT station along EDSA corner Taft Avenue. Then I boarded the MRT to get to GoHotel.

Since it was such a short trip, I had to use my time wisely. I headed to SM Mall of Asia after checking in at the hotel. It should have been a long travel but was made shorter and that is thanks to MRT. I got off at the EDSA station after which I rode the bus.

I am a mall rat. So I leisurely strolled at what was said to be the biggest mall in the country. I was amazed at how big it really was. The mall seemed to occupy several hectares of land plus it offered a scenic view of the Manila Bay. I spent a good three hours for window shopping, buying some stuff, eating at a restaurant that was not available back home and simply enjoying the chance to wander. After enjoying the mall, I went back to the hotel by riding a bus. There are several bus companies that transverse through the Mall of Asia-GoHotel route. Travelling through bus is another inexpensive alternative. This is especially convenient since I need not get off and find another transportation to get to my destination. However, this is only recommended when its already late at night and there is lesser traffic.

The next day, I decided to go to Intramuros. Again I took the MRT, got off at the EDSA station, rode LRT from there and got off at the Central Station. From Central Station, Intramuros is a mere 5 minute walk away.

Intramuros blew me away! The place is so full of history, which I find very exciting. There are a lot of structures that were preserved in its original state. I was in awe in everything I saw!

After a calesa ride around the walled city, it was time to go. I took the same route in going back to the hotel. I got my bags; rode the bus to Mall of Asia since traffic was not heavy that day. I ate lunch there then rode a cab going to the airport.

Less than two hours later, I was home. That was then that I decided to reward myself once in a while with a low-cost trip. After all, exploring need not be expensive.

People who knew us as a couple somehow expected us to head down this road. After all, we have been together for more than seven years.

I have always dreamed of his proposal to be romantic. I have thought of it as something that would sweep me off my feet once more and would make me realize again how charming my real life prince actually is. However, true to his "not romantic" nature, there was no proposal; no bending on one knee with his hand holding mine and asking me to marry him. I can vaguely remember what actually took place. All I can clearly remember was the start of year-long planning for a wedding to take place just before 2010 ends.

In all fairness to him, he and his family did ask for my hand from my parents. We had an engagement dinner strategically planned to coincide with my 27th birth anniversary. It was memorable, true. But it was not the proposal I was hoping for.

Looking back though, I cannot say I regret anything. I may not have experienced a movie-like proposal but I was able to get a wedding that was somehow close to what I have been dreaming about. I was not able to marry a romantic prince but I married someone who is genuine, smart, witty and fun.

It has been almost a year yet I can still feel the excitement of finally being called his wife.

I guess my young girl's fairytale fantasy was not that important after all. Putting everything together, what is essential to be grounded in the reality that not all the best things come in a dazzling package.

It has been quite a while since I last posted anything here. I was caught up in a web of opportunities that I barely made it out alive. Yet, whatever the past months have provided me, it still brought me to writing and so I am back!

With much excitement, I am all geared to start over in this lovely home. I am in the process of brewing up plans to redecorate this site and give it the maturity I have gain all these years. There are also numerous things I have lined up to write about ... my travels, food adventures, my wedding (yes, I got married!) and all of life's amazing offering that I got to experience.

I am absolutely thrilled to be writing once more. I cannot wait to hear from you guys soon!

Last Thursday, I celebrated my 26th birth anniversary. I am always very grateful during my birthdays as I am given another year to celebrate life and the many things that come with it. It is also a day when I honor my mother most for her strength and love. Without her, I would surely not be here.

Anyway, last Thursday is probably one of the most beautiful birthday celebrations I ever had. We did not have a grand birthday party; only a small gathering that was attended by my parents, my only brother Czy and my Desie, who has been my boyfriend for the past six years. We did not serve the best tasting meals; we only had takeout orders of my most favorite dishes. What made my day very, very special was nothing grandiose. I was just so happy to be with the most special persons in my life. I am so glad to be sharing that dinner and to be having a light yet warm conversation with them.

I guess, when people become vulnerable to a lot of harsh realities in this life (like having to lose a loved one), the things that matter most are not those that are superficial; what becomes so important is being around with people who loves you and whom you love back with all your heart in return. It is an opportunity that I am honestly so thankful for.

A few years back, I had the chance to visit Outland Adventure along Diversion Road here in Davao City. I was in the company of my classmates from the Masters Degree program I was enrolled in. The visit was actually a requirement in one of our Management class.
Outland Adventure is a few minutes ride from downtown Davao, which takes pride with the green nature as their background. It is undoubtedly on top of the list of a lot of Davao-based offices or groups that hold team building as they have a team challenge course program. This program includes activities that imbibe trust, communication skills, problem solving ideas and varied leadership styles that can be used by the participants in their respective organizations.
Our course started with the trust fall where each team members had to climb up to what looked like a mini stage. From there, the team member had to let himself freely fall to the ground with their hands placed across their chest and their back facing the ground. The concept of the activity was to instill trust among the team…trust that the other team mates would not let them fall helpless on the ground …trust that the person about to fall has placed his or her confidence in the team.
The activity was probably one of the hardest for me. I admit having trust issues since I almost always trust in myself to do everything that needs to be done. I had to redo my fall around three times before the facilitator finally told me that the fall I did was a success. The criterion that the facilitator relied on was the body language of person falling as it really says whether or not there was trust.
Next up was what I and my friends called the Great Wall of Outland. In the activity, all team members have to climb up to a wall measuring around eight to nine feet tall without using a ladder. What the team has to do was to help each other climb to the top. The catch? How would the team help the last man on the ground reach the top? This is where teamwork, planning and strategy come into play. Well, hurray to group for finishing the activity! Everyone was able to come up. I think our success can be greatly attributed to the fact that most of my classmates are big, muscular men who are used to carrying heavy load.
We were then given an hour to eat and rest from the strenuous activities. After the break, we were heading toward the rope challenges.
The facilitators from Outland told us that the adventure-based programs were made similar to an obstacle course however the ones that they have is suspended through the use of ropes. Again, this activity still aims to enhance teamwork, trust and communication. The experience was probably one of the most physically taxing I have ever had. Apart from the use of force, those who undergo the rope challenges need to use their intellect to come up with the best strategy.
I was actually thinking about giving up on the obstacle course as I was sweating profusely and my mind and strength seem to fail me. However, after hearing the cheers from my peers and pondering on my next move, I was able to make it through one tough dare.
The finale for our Outland Adventure was grand! We were able to experience the Zip Line. This exciting activity was made even more exhilarating as we were made to zip from one hill to another. We had to cross a river through a makeshift banca to reach the starting line. It was the best!
If you are up for dare, Outland Adventure is the way to go.

It has been a week yet I still have cough and colds plus occasional fever. I already tried drinking medicines but still nothing seems to work for me. My boss, who happens to be a doctor, discouraged me from me from taking antibiotics. Instead, he told me to let my antibodies do the working and allow my body to naturally heal itself. Anyway, for those of you who could be in the same predicament as I am, here are some of the things that you could do to speed up you recovery.
1. Drink lots of water – Water is said to contain disease curing properties. It is a natural remedy for common sickness. This benefit can be attributed to the fact that water acts as a body purifier, by removing toxins and waste from the body.
2. Take Vit C – Scientific studies show that intake of vitamin C actually reduces the severity of cold symptoms. It acts as natural antihistamine thus it controls allergy. By taking a dose of this vitamin, the duration of colds may shorten.
3. Get plenty of sleep – Sleep is shown to have a critical function in the immune system. It actually provides an opportunity for the body to cleanse, repair, and rejuvenate on a deep cellular level. Thus, a need for plenty of healing sleep.
As a final reminder, do take care of yourself. Our bodies are the only ones we have. We better take care of it in the best possible way. Do not forget to bring your handy umbrellas as it is best for us to be prepared in this ever changing weather. Drink your multivitamins. It actually helps your body.
And just in case you have been travelling abroad with known cases of Swine Flu, do self quarantine. After all, the symptoms you manifest may be more than just a common flu. If symptoms persist, do consult your doctor.

I took the chance of answering one of the many online tests though I was apprehensive whether the result is really the fact of the matter. Anyway, I took my chances and got quite surprised about the outcome of the quiz. This is what came out:

I took the Is he The One? quiz and got the result: 99% chance that he's the one..
The result said : You've found someone truly special! Beside an amazing chemistry, you two share so much in common. All you need to do is to trust your feelings and things should work out on its own.
I am not really sure if this thing is for real yet its nice to think that this could be true. Why don't you try one for yourself? You might as well know the chances if he is the one for you.

After a gruesome week where I had to cope up with so many stresses, I decided to pamper myself. I visited my favorite spa, Body Bliss, which offers several services. It was much needed as I could feel a heavy weight on my shoulder, pain on my hands and a recurring headache that Ibuprofen cannot seem to ease.

As I entered the spa, the dim lights and the smell of essential oils seem to provide a serene feeling. It was the first time in so many weeks that I felt that calm.

The therapist immediately attended to my needs. The session started with warm water cleansing of my feet which was followed by muscle stretching, the relaxing Bentosa cupping and a combination of Shiatsu, Sweddish and Thai massage. Slowly, the soothing effect of the therapy began to loosen the stiffness of my muscles. Bit by bit, there was a sense of ease that has brought me tranquility.

The session I had was indeed therapeutic. The Bentosa cupping is an ancient Chinese-Filipino practice wherein small glass or bamboo cups are attached to the skin. These hot suction cups are placed on acupressure points of the body, particularly at one’s back, to activate blood flow, clear toxins and energy channels and prevent colds and fever. The “cold wind” which is locally known as panuhot is sucked out from the body leading to a better feeling. The massage, on the other hand, gives a lot of physical and mental benefits. The physical benefits of massage include relieves muscle tension and stiffness, reduces muscle spasms, promotes deeper and easier breathing, improves blood circulation, reduces blood pressure, helps relieve tension-related headaches and effects of eye-strain, enhances the health and nourishment of skin and strengthens the immune system. As for its mental benefits, the massage is said to foster peace of mind, promotes a relaxed state of mental alertness, helps relieve stress, fosters a feeling of well-being and reduces level of anxiety.

No wonder that after a much needed treatment, I feel so relaxed. I felt I was reborn to face yet another challenging week ahead.

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