Remembering the quarantine

More than half of the year has passed, and about five months have been under quarantine, from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), general community quarantine (GCQ), and so on. Many of us may have gone through different phases of emotional and even physical distress during those times.

I have been fine in the early weeks of quarantine. However, as I needed to work on various school requirements and family concerns, emotions came rushing in with no warning. In those times, I think that the worst experience is when my mind wanders off to past events, dreams, and plans—having the time to reflect also made it challenging to focus on and appreciate the present.

Is it the same with everyone?

I can never present my experiences as the same as everyone else’s. We all have our moments and our ways of facing our giants. We may have similarities in our experiences and the emotions that we carry, yet we can never say that we are the same. Instead, we can declare that we can relate to each one. This global health pandemic has truly left a scar in the hearts of many. A scar that will remind us of the events that brought thousands of deaths, thousands of people jobless, and many more sad memories we have to carry in the coming years. However, does it end there?

During the quarantine, I felt distressed early in the morning when some memories of plans made and canceled, dreams never started, or even simple tasks that I could do anymore greeted me. It did seem that my mind was my worst enemy during those moments. In hindsight, people may think that it is easy to control your mind from presenting those memories. However, that is not the case for me. I believe that our minds, our thinking, serve the most drastic punch to our hearts.

Hope is still there

Despite all those moments of weakness, I am still able to find hope. There are mornings where I pause and let those thoughts accompany me for a while. However, once I get the strength to move, I pray. This moment is where I learned that I need to offer everything to the Lord as I know that I cannot face my giants alone. There is this sense of fear lurking to eat me alive once I welcome it to my day. Yet, as I listen to music, read the Bible, or devotional for the day, I feel reassured by the Lord’s great presence and promise.

This experience may not be the case for everyone right now as we find ways to fight our giants the best we can. However, it is also a good reminder to know that we are not alone in this battle as we have the loving Father to help us, guide us, and walk with us through all these trials. I pray that this new week can bring us peace in our minds and hearts. Happy Sunday!

Baler: Surfing and So Much More for a Quick Weekend Trip

I caught some last minute heat as the dry season (there’s no summer in the Philippines, we only have two seasons 😉 ) finally said goodbye this year. I filled last weekend with a fair share of nature’s quiet beauty and the surprising waves of the open ocean in the stunning little wonder down south – Baler.

I have always been curious about this particular town as I usually hear about it whenever people search for nearby surfing destinations in Luzon. Being a non-confident swimmer (I still can’t do water treading), doing such activity isn’t really at the top of my list. But, surprisingly, I enjoyed surfing the most during my quick trip to Baler. Before I share that experience, here are some additional events that happened and the special moments that I also truly appreciated.

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A Weekend of Love

I haven’t been able to write much on this blog because I have been busy finishing my final paper for my literary criticism/theory class. 😦 But, luckily, I was able to have a wonderful weekend. What started as a sort of simple yayaan with my MA classmates, became an eye-opening experience on my part.

Last May 20 and 21, I attended the first writing workshop of Reb Fiction (Rebel Fiction) under the Precious Pages Corporation. They are one of the imprints of this famous publishing house. So, I am not really familiar with their titles, but it caught my attention because they are a brand that focuses on Young Adult fiction. This is interesting because there are a lot of different stories and printed books out on the market that are catering to the “young” readers, but the genres of stories aren’t really that wide with Filipino prints. Reb Fic, on the other hand, is trying to offer more varieties of novels or novelettes for the young readers to enjoy. This is a plus point on my part because I hope to see “riskier” or even a bit of “experimental” texts that are still going to be relatable to the YA field.

There are a lot of popular novels under the YA genre, but those are mostly foreign prints like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and others (I grew up with less known ones like those written by Margaret Haddix, the Nick and Norah book, and even that of The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night Time). This is a good chance for Filipino writers to work on YA stories and further add that certain touch of “Filipino” sentiments and values.During the workshop, I also learned more about the YA genre (and market) as well as the process of building a “hero/heroine.” I was even able to present one story already. Now, I hope to work on that manuscript as soon as possible, so that the ideas are still fresh in my head. But… I think I need to go back to my final paper first and (face my fears 😂) finish the semester well before this. Still, (crossing my fingers) I hope to submit it to Reb Fic before the end of this month. 😀 ❤

Northern Beauty and the Swarm of Travelers

2017 – This year, I promised myself that I’m going to travel more often and enjoy the beauty of the different local attractions. I have never really been that adventurous when it comes to traveling or going out in general. Yes, I had started meeting with friends more regularly starting mid last year but that was just it.

Anyhow, one of the top destinations on my list is the Ilocos province because (1) I have been more of a southern Luzon girl than ever so I wanted to explore the north; and (2) I have learned from friends that there are a lot of wonderful historical places to visit there (though, in general, the entire country is filled with beautiful historical destinations).

A random “yayaan” (yes, I’m going to code switch now) in the office sparked a search for an affordable travel package. Just a backstory, I worked for an outsourcing company for over a year and met a bunch of funny and likable officemates. 😀 I became more sociable (it may not seem so at first but I’m more of an introvert before). So, with this, I found an affordable package from Travel Galore.

A quick review of their services before I proceed with the fun parts of the trip. Continue reading