Friday, November 01, 2013


Image from

November: my month is here.

Last Thursday, October 24, I was rushed again to the ER: this time, it's peptic acid disease (I'm still confused though if it is the same as peptic ulcer disorders). This is the second time I was rushed to the ER of The Medical City for a stomach-related problem: last July it was acute gastroenteritis.

I had a very rough year. Yes, "had." Because I will make the last two months of 2013 way, way better.

While the year had been rough, I was never alone. I thought I was. But all I had to do was ask. And even if I did not ask, when I was visibly in need, there were people - old and new in my life - who came to my aid and stayed by my side. Surprisingly, those who are not family were the ones who helped, cheered me the most.

And I am dead set to make it better so I can close 2013 on a better note.

Let's make this a sweet November, shall we?

Thursday, August 08, 2013


A friend from Tokyo, Japan told me earlier that he has no way to feel what a woman feels but maybe he understands a little, having five sisters at that. 

When I shared with him what I am going through now, he said that it sounds corny but I should try hugging myself. 

Stretch my arms until I am fully enveloped in my own hug. It will help a bit and he said, at the very moment I am hugging myself, I would feel less alone.

I tried. I stretched my arms to fully envelop me in my own comfort. It helped. A bit.

There are many studies stating that hugging has the power to heal.

I need to be healed.

And if I keep hugging myself, assuring myself that everything will be all right, maybe soonest I will be healed.

(Now that is a bear hug, cute photo from

Friday, July 19, 2013

DESCOVRIR Leandro by bike

And so I had another food poisoning episode yesterday (my second for the year) and this time, it turned out to be acute gastroenteritis.

Spent half of my working Thursday sick as a puppy with bad throwing up and diarrhea episodes, and when I managed, my manager and teammate accompanied me to The Medical City, where I spent almost five hours at the ER waiting for consultation, tests, test results and pondering about what is going on with my life --- relationships, career, and health most of all (this is my second trip to the same hospital for this week; Monday was scheduled FNAB and aspiration of my non-toxic goiter). I was thinking, if I am getting sick like this, I will not be able to accomplish what I want in life. I was fighting tears and self-pity last night and I think I did a pretty decent job.

But when I finally got home, I again pondered what is it I am doing wrong to experience all these, and after chatting online with a friend, I felt better. On medication and ordered to rest for two days, and with WiFi fixed thanks to my youngest brother, now I am amusing myself here in my bed, reading, chatting, browsing the Internet, and now attempting to complete this blog post using my iPad 2, (on Safari than in Blogger app as I find it difficult to blog there).

And on this day I am told to rest, and in a way, to be still, I stumbled upon an inspiring story of a young man who aims to bike his way from Amsterdam to Asia, and in his recent trip, landed him to Vatican City and had a very special audience with Pope Francis.

How did Leandro do it? With someone who managed to have his letters read by Pope Francis, he above all believes that life is simply crazy and that nothing is impossible: the next day you may find yourself camping in the forest with no shower and in his case, a non-Catholic who was humbled by the experience to meet Roman Catholic Church's most inspiring leader to date.

To read more about Leandro Martins' meeting with Pope Francis, here:

Thank you, Leandro, for sharing your experience meeting Pope Francis.

Thank you for that dose of inspiration and with that, I will aim more regardless how the flesh is weakened by frail health. If I truly believe, and be inspired through Pope Francis' humbleness and gentleness as a leader, I will achieve what the Lord, through his son, Jesus Christ, has planned for me.

Pope Francis signing Leandro Martins' well-travelled Brazilian flag, photo from Leandro's blog

Monday, July 15, 2013


Six months and 15 days and we are already in the half of 2013.

How time indeed flies. My first half of the year was so-so, but I still have the remaining year to turn things for the better.

I admit, there were days this year that were truly unbearable that I wished to be gone from the face of the earth.

There were days I wished never happened.

There were days I felt like I died in anticipation for something fortunate to happen.

But there were days that I was all right, and for those, I am thankful.

There were days I am simply thankful I smiled for something seemingly ordinary, like seeing gleeful kids playing with dried leaves on one summer afternoon.

There were days I am very thankful for coffee for making me comfy on a tough day.

There were days --- and nights --- that I was spontaneous, and I liked the spontaneity I experienced.

There were days leisurely spent with dear friends.

There were days spent staying at home watching TV shows or movies with mom and my younger brothers.

There were days I am at peace finishing a book.

There were days I met new friends and spent hours discovering one another through exchange of stories --- and their stories transported me to their countries, to their own worlds that only heightened my desire to travel more and discover more for myself.

I am thankful for the days I experienced the bad and the ugly because there were sunny and hopeful days to look forward to.

And for those awful days, I am trying to learn not to count how long they had been. Rather, I think that soonest, 2013 will be over and that I pulled it off with God's grace.

Indeed, as The Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin sums it up:

The days are long but the years are short.

Watch the clip here:

Friday, June 28, 2013


I used to say that I thrive in beating the deadlines (being a former journalist). That adrenalin rush was my game and I am on top of it.

But the snail-paced career growth, the burdening financial obligations, the recurring issue concerning my previous relationship --- these are all catching up on me. And at times, I feel I can no longer manage things.

Just this month, I had repeating migraine episodes; upset stomach (anticipating a meeting last Wednesday was an example); very irregular period (like in May, there were only less than 10 days I was period-free); becoming reclusive (I mostly spending my lunch breaks working or just by myself with a book to keep me company); at times, turning down opportunities to go out with friends or invitations to date because I am simply too tired.

The more I worry about my worries, the more I am weighed down by them. I try not to think of them too much, but there were just days and nights I could no longer take them.

If there is any consolation, I am managing to stick to my health and wellness regime: jogging every weekends; trying to eat less in terms of portions (but still could not cut off my caffeine and sweets). Enriching myself through renewing my spirituality and finding inspiration in my love for reading and writing (through blogging) are keeping me sane for now. New friends from various parts of the world are also sending me encouraging words.

But these are not enough to cope with stress, most especially when I am becoming physically weary, as they say, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Stress warning signs and symptoms. Those highlighted symptoms are what I am experiencing at times. Not good.

It is also not helpful that I blame myself for all these things happening to me now. While I acknowledge my fault, I am not the only one responsible for these things to happen but there is no one truly helping me at the moment.

While I am able to collect myself through my highs like a very good laugh shared with friends or praises for a job well done; but again when I dwell on my lows, I really, really, really feel I am at my lowest.

Thus, while I at times I am wallowing or I am physically in pain, and if I could still manage, I still wake up and go through my daily grind over and over. Acknowledging that there are more who are suffering than what I am going through is a consoling thought. Att times I falter, but I always bounce back, continue to re-frame my perspective to my advantage, and trust that all these shall pass.

Yes, I am stressed now. My worries are playing up on me and I maybe slow or the things I need to happen are simply not happening at the moment, but I am showing my worries and the root causes of them who is the boss. And in this game, I am going to be on top, hopefully, soonest.

Stressed is dessert spelled backwards. If all my worries are like a piece of cake, ha! They are demolished already, gone forever!

Image from

But dessert is a reward, and soonest, I will reap my reward.

Share your stress-busting moves, I love to hear and maybe try them!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I am happy when a barista spells my name right. Now, if I could always be easily happy that would be so much better. Photo by me, Descovrir

The thing about forgetting is: it is hard to forget.

I just came across this quote: it is hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.

That is so true.

Although I think forgetting is like coffee: as a mix, it is OK. In a pack or sachet, everything you need for a cup is made for you: coffee, creamer, and sugar. It is a quick fix. It is instant gratification at an affordable price. Just add hot water and stir to your content until the mix dissolves.

But if you want "proper" coffee, then 3-in-1 or instant coffee is not for you. Perhaps you want your coffee brewed to perfection. Or you do not want creamer but rather skimmed milk or non-fat milk or soya. And you do not add sugar to your coffee; instead you use Splenda or if you use sugar, you only use brown or muscovado. If you have coffee and the add-ons you need, you just made yourself a fresh cup of coffee. And a very good cup gives you such soothing, energizing, calming high.

Leave your brew idle, the coffee gets bitter, to a point acidic. You do not want to waste the brew, so you reheat; even add more creamer or milk or sweetener. What remains though is the sickening taste of your stale, brewed coffee. The aftertaste is too much --- and leaves your stomach upset. The same goes for the instant coffee: leave your cup and it gets cold and not too inviting to drink anymore.

So as is forgetting. No matter you try to remember all the great things about someone and try to smile about the good, old times, these really amount to nothing. For all the pain that someone caused you overrules them. What is worse is that in your attempt to forget, you vividly remember all the things you did to try save the relationship. And you keep asking why the other person did not help you stir the relationship to what could be your perfection together.

And all that is left with you, all that remains with you is the acidic truth: the other person (as a friend blatantly put it) has no awareness of the pain he or she caused you. That the other person simply moved on, leaving you like a pot of brewed coffee, leaving you to stale.
Unless you empty yourself, and brew a fresh, new start.

Now if forgetting is as easy as brewing coffee. But it is not. Especially when the subject (or a related subject) you are trying hard to forget is still stirring you to hurt.  And what a timing, when the other person is celebrating, a date that you are trying so hard to erase from the old calendar of your life.

Let not that unwanted stir affect you more. Remember that you can brew your present to a lasting happiness you truly deserve. Maybe your very own barista can help you.

Remember: FORGET.

Go ahead, make a fresh brew.

Saturday, June 01, 2013


I am just glad May is over. I had a rough time concluding it.

I am too selfish to think though that it is only me who is having a hard time. There are many out there who need more support than I do.

Still I got supported: through prayers, advices from old and new friends, scolding even --- a smack I needed to wake me up from my self-wallowing.

I am not 100% all right now. But there is nowhere to go but up. And I can not just quit: my family needs me. The world has yet to see what I can become.

As I am having my "me" time this late afternoon (with coffee and doughnut at that, very healthy, ahmph), I was able to update my journal (too many pages to fill), I also finished a chapter in Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's bestseller and acclaimed,  Jesus of Nazareth, a highly recommended book from my friend

Image from Wikipedia

A very touching and timely text from the chapter, "The Lord' Prayer" (discussing the sixth petition, "and lead us not into temptation") hit me hard and I shed tears (which I was quick to wipe since there were many patrons in the coffee/doughnut shop). And I quote:

"... I know that I need trials so that my nature can be purified. When you decided to send me these trials, when you give evil some room to maneuver, as you did with Job, then please remember that my strength goes only so far. Don't overestimate my capacity. Don't set too wide the boundaries within which I maybe tempted, and be close to me with your protecting hand when it becomes too much for me ...."

Indeed. Doubting Thomas that I am, but I must completely rest my worries to the Lord.

Doors have closed on me and I must stop knocking on them over and over.

I have the support I need. There are other doors waiting to be opened.

While I seek them, I know there will be more trials to face, but I will keep in my heart that I am being guided and as Saint Cyprian interpreted the sixth petition:

".... 'And lead us not into temptation,' we are expressing awareness 'that the enemy can do nothing against us unless God has allowed it beforehand, so that our fear, our devotion and our worship may be directed to God --- because the Evil One is not permitted to do anything unless he is given authorization ....' (De dominica oratione, 25; CSEL III, 25 p. 285f)."

I have so much to learn. And I would not be able to do so if I let trials prevail.

I am thankful I have a new month to have a fresh start.

Trials or not, I will remain because I am guided.

How are you coping these days?

Friday, May 17, 2013


I had a quiet view of Commonwealth Avenue  from my seat last Saturday at Enchanted Farm Cafe. I was so transfixed with the view, with this glass window. And figuratively, a window opened for me. And I am pro-active about this. Photo's mine.

How's the week going?

Mine has a share of both good and bad happenings.

The bad happenings were my fault, because I let them rule this week.

But I am reminding myself that I am still blessed.

And as opportunities closed, a window opened. It was actually a closed opportunity, but for some reason, it reopened --- and this highlights my week.

Thankful for this window of opportunity, it is letting in some needed sunshine in my life now.

Backtracking to Tuesday, May 14:
  1. After Monday’s mid-term elections, it was back to work the next day for most of us. As for me, I had a whole day training then. It could have been cancelled by the trainer since there were lapses in the logistics which were not his fault, but all nine of us students were already there. He was innovative enough to push through with the class. This was the second time I had him for a trainer, it really shows he has the knack for it, as he explains complex topics in a simple way, like using French fries as an example. And I learned a lot.
  2. Finished Walking in the Light 30 Days with Pope John Paul II Wednesday night, May 15. It was supposedly a 30-day read, but it took me four months to complete it. I am being inconsistent about my reading goal for the year --- and I must hit my goal.
  3. Wednesday was when the window of opportunity opened. I was simply elated with this development; I thought this was gone already. I took the first step to open further the window for me. The next day, with assistance, I was able to complete the requirements. All I am waiting now is to get a peek of what is waiting for me behind that window. I am positive because I badly needed this for my career and personal development.
  4. Thank God it’s Friday, that except for completing an online mandatory training, it was quiet at work. I even kept myself busy by working on something that was not urgent. And I was able to complete other tasks which I could not do when my project requires my full attention.
  5. And during my breaks today, I was able to finish my second book for the week (my third for the year): The Best of Archie Comics. My love for this comic book was revived. I remember when I was in grade school, I would borrow copies from my Mom’s student and read them until I fell asleep. The same for this compilation of Archie and the gang’s 70 years, twice I fell asleep finishing this 400-page turner.
  6. Tried today Starbucks’ Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino and it was too sweet for me. Too sinfully sweet for me now that I am trying to lose weight and curbing my sweet cravings. But my fave coffee chain has a promo: when you buy the frappe mentioned, or the Red Bed Green Tea Frappuccino, you will get a scratch card for a prize. And my treat for the next store visit is “Buy One, Get One.”  Hooray for this caffeine treat and go share the calories!

Oh, I still have problem (nine days running now) with Globe and the Tweet assistance (I bombarded @talk2GLOBE and those Tweeting to me from the telecom) to finally visit one of their stores to assist me (I am guessing it is the SIM card that has a problem). This merits another post. A not so pleasant one though.

Let us all enjoy our weekend!

Monday, May 13, 2013

DESCOVRIR Happenings

My mom's Mother's Day Rose Inspiration Fresh Cream artisan cake from Tous Les Jours

I had another enlightening counseling Monday, April 29, where I am highly encouraged to engage in ways or activities that will help me to be truly healed. So that day, I started posting a Facebook status (I normally "like," "share" interesting readings, and Instagram photos). My post that day was something so contradictory with my posts two years back, and the difference made me feel better.

The regular Facebook status focuses on my "happy happenings in a day." Many have commended the effort, as it is sometimes really hard for us to count the times we have been happy in a day because we are consumed with the unhappy things that ruined our day.

The happenings were not big, but surely made my day lighter. Counting them outnumber the times I was sad or mad in any given day.

And earlier, a light bulb moment hit me: why not blog about my "happy happenings in a day?" That will be meeting my goal to blog positively on a regular basis and counting the happy things that made my day.

So backtracking to Friday, May 10, here are the "happy" things that happened:
  1. As wished by most, it was payday Friday, four days earlier than our scheduled payday (we are actually blessed to always receive our salary a night before the scheduled payday).
  2. Had a relaxing Friday night, watching again for the nth time While You Were Sleeping on HBO Family, one of my feel good fave films.
  3. Had a surprising, heart touching exchange of SMS that just made me cry silly.
  4. Saturday, I replenished my supply of toiletries from Human Nature, now my favorite because their products are affordable, environment-friendly (free of harmful chemicals commonly used on beauty, body, and bath products), and above all, the company is a social enterprise, supporting various causes and providing livelihood to fellow Filipinos.
  5. After, had a quiet afternoon snack of TinTan's banoffee (which was huge!) and the delicious Bayani Brew, offered at Enchanted Farm Cafe, an advocacy cafe. I had a quiet view of Commonwealth Avenue from my seat, something different from my daily commute on this highway.
  6. And Sunday, Mother's Day, my family had a simple lunch at Shakey's. I wanted for us to dine somewhere fancier and make a reservation, but arranging mine and my brothers' schedule was a challenge. Still, we made it for our mother. We owe everything to her and treating her for lunch is not enough. After lunch, we picked up her cake from the South Korean patisserie, Tous Les Jours. We got her the Rose Inspired Fresh Cream artisan cake that was highly recommended by my teammates, and yes, it did not disappoint.
  7. And lastly, I fought the temptation to splurge. After jogging, Mass, and coffee, I went to the bookstore and caught fancy of Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project One Sentence Journal: A Five-Year Record, a complementary to her bestselling The Happiness Project book which I read and in a way, helped me be more positive one step at a time in my life. I almost bought the journal since I thought it was perfect for my "happy happenings in a day" effort. But self-control and a tight grip on my purse prevailed. I am having a hard time to fill my Belle De Jour and Starbucks journals, why add another one? But I will consider this new journal for next year.

Tomorrow is no ordinary holiday: vote wisely. Seriously. Help make our country a happier place to live.
And have a happy week to all!

Sunday, March 31, 2013


Very aptly, Easter is "starting anew."

That was the key takeaway from the Easter Mass I attended earlier.

For believers, faithfuls, that Jesus Christ the Son of God has risen is a fulfillment of an eternal promise, as emphasized by Pope Francis in his first Easter message:

There is hope.
Love has triumphed.
Mercy has been victorious.

As I try to renew my vows to the Roman Catholic church, the message of hope, love, and mercy is what I hold dearly the most since I had a crisis:

I hoped. But hope failed me.
I loved. But loved ruined me.
I forgave. But I am, and probably would never been forgiven.

The first quarter of the year started with a renewed hope: that love would blossom again once more and forgiveness was made in order.

But I gained pain. This time, it was more hurtful.

However, I faced the challenge with much courage, with much resolution, unlike how I dealt with it two years ago. This time, I surrendered my brokenness to Him and let Him through his Son, Jesus Christ, heal me.

The painful experience taught me that every single time I thought that hope failed me; that love ruined me; that mercy was not given me, it was actually the Lord's way of teaching me to rise, start anew, hope, love, and only through such I could truly forgive myself and those who have hurt me the most.

I still have a lot to learn in this course called Life.

But now, I always try to say "thank you" for every opportunity I have. That I am thankful for the blessings that come my way, big or small.

I must admit though that I have my inner desires that need attention. But I am doing my very best to be healed from this deep-seated pain. Only then I can truly be hopeful, experience real love, and be merciful.

I am still searching, for what it is, I do not exactly know. But this time, I fully acknowledge that I am being guided in my search. And when I read this part from Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle's extemporaneous commencement address to 2013 graduates of Ateneo De Manila University, I shed tears and smiled big for it hit right at my heart:

"A mind and heart with a clear purpose seeks God. Perhaps it can also be said that God wants to be found in the times when we feel our purpose is unclear. In the times when we feel we can’t see Him, perhaps He’s the one searching for you. That is part of depth.

When someone comes up to me and says, 'I feel lost,' I don’t always know what to say. Sometimes though, I just say, “ Just wait to be found. As you are searching for God, God is searching for you.'"
So let us all rejoice, the promise has been fulfilled. Have hope. Love and be loved. Be merciful.

Happy Easter!

P.S. Moving forward, starting with this post, I will be posting with DESCOVRIR in every title --- though the topic is not new, but it will always be a discovery for you and me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

All I ask is a truly forgiving heart

Something to ponder about: "Forgiveness is above all a personal choice, a decision of the heart to go against the natural instinct to to pay back evil with evil .... It has its perfect exemplar in the forgiveness of Christ, who on the cross prayed: 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they are doing.'" --- Pope John Paul II, Rome 2002 (from Walking in the Light 30 Days with Pope John Paul II)

How can you forgive someone who has hurt you for the nth time?

The answer: forgive yourself first for letting that same person hurt you again.

Then, you will truly forgive the person who hurt you the most.

Eventually, you will move forward, hopeful that the person who hurt you learn to forgive himself or herself for all the hurt that he or she has done to you and to others.

So easy to say, but really hard to do. Especially if you keep on forgiving, giving chances, accepting, but you were repeatedly abused, hurt, mocked --- the works.

I thought I have already forgiven myself on the "lighter" problem I talked about in my previous post. That we were heading toward reconciliation. But over the weekend, I was disappointed again, driven mad, fooled. And I never learned my lesson.

After hours of exhaustion because of begging, crying, convincing the other person that he was making the wrong decision, I eventually calmed down. Then, I said sorry to the other person for being angry because I am hurt again. That I am sorry for being too honest about the matter because I felt the truth has to be said, and it is never easy to say --- or hear the truth. And all these fell again on deaf ears.

Is there any bright spot from this happening? Yes.

My friends --- even those I am friends with online but having very good, meaningful conversations with --- assured me that I have done everything possible to make things work. But there are really people who are so hurt, who have unresolved issues, that they consciously or sub-consciously hurt others to feel good about themselves.

I am coping now, steadily forgiving myself.

Shedding copious amount of tears also helped me feel better. However, I look forward to cry over joyous happenings.

Saying thank you to the Lord for giving me a big heart capable of limitless loving and a huge capacity to forgive is what I consciously, repeatedly doing these days, especially when I am feeling low again over this latest blow. And I found the following text from Walking in the Light 30 Days with Pope John Paul II:
Today, I will focus on one person to whom I should offer forgiveness and I will resolve to let my act of forgiveness to be forever. 
And such act is what I am striving to do once more.

Thinking also about my health --- how I need to be well --- is driving me too, to let go of this recurring source of drama. According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness can lead to:
  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress, and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
Channeling my energy and time on more pressing matters at work and at home is also my way to be occupied and not dwell anymore on this latest blow.

As such, let us all start to actively choose to forgive the person who has offended us (as there are some grave cases like sexual abuse that it is "permitted" not to forgive).

Let us move away from being a victim.

Let us release ourselves from the control and power the offending person and situation have had in our lives.

I hope these 9 additional quotes on forgiveness (with religious overtones or none) will be helpful to us all as we forgive, let go, and move forward:

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
― Mother Teresa

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
― Mahatma Gandhi, All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Keep in mind, hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude and inconsiderate, you can almost be certain that they have some unresolved issues inside. They have some major problems, anger, resentment, or some heartache they are trying to cope with or overcome. The last thing they need is for you to make matters worse by responding angrily.”
― Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

“Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive.”
― Wm. Paul Young, The Shack 

“Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Trust requires a track record.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here for?

“Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Dear Lord, please show me everything I need to understand about forgiveness and surrender.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

“It’s not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn’t do. All the things we should have done.”
― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie   

Friday, January 04, 2013

10 ways to beat post-holiday blues

I had a couple of this Gingerbread Man from Krispy Kreme and such made my holidays! Child-like but this surely uplifted me. Holidays done, and no more Gingerbread Man for now, but I will stay uplifted.

I think the post-holiday blues bit me.

I was so hyped the whole day yesterday --- completing three deadlines, one of them actually due today but I finished ahead --- that upon leaving the office, I felt tired.

It probably did not help that I had to wait almost an hour for the shuttle ride home, and the mosquitoes were feasting on my ankles. When I got home last night, I felt so hungry that I ate a complete rice meal (the plan was to skip and stick to fruits, which I had apple, two regular-sized bananas, and 2 kiat-kiats/mandarin oranges for lunch), plus dessert! Then I finished the Swedish film, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and after, I just fell asleep on our sofa, dead tired! And I was supposed to workout, read, and blog! Earlier, I snoozed for countless times (having moved to my room around 3 a.m.), and when I finally woke up, it was almost 8 a.m.! I am so thankful that traffic was smooth I got to work in an hour. What happened last night seemed like manifestation of post-holiday blues.

Holiday hangover, post-holiday blues, Monday blues, January blues (which study says mid-January is the most depressing time of the year) --- called by different names but it only means a type of not so pleasant mood (often associated with depression) that some people experience after long breaks. Many of us looked forward to the Yuletide season as the most awaited event of our year. When it set in, we felt all hurried and stressed with various preparations, parties, and gatherings. Come back January 2, we dread to return to our routine (work or school), that we also feel lazy, tired, and irritable.

The good news is, it is supposed to last only a week. If it would not wear off in that period of time, it might mean something more serious that might require medical attention. Thankfully though, there are a lot of ways to beat the post-holiday blues, and I am taking note of the following so I can cope well:

1. Move forward. Again, my theme fits this fight against post-holiday blues. I am trying my hardest not to dwell on things that did not work for me in 2012 or even years back, as they would only pull me down --- migraine, very painful menstrual period! The days ahead are promising and I am seizing them to my advantage.

2. Be productive. I am filling my planners with things to do both on and off work; upcoming occasions like family birthdays, an event to attend to, meeting friends! Surely, these would mean more reasons to keep going.

3. Surround myself with "positive" people. Really, it works for me. Recently, I met someone who by far, has been the most pleasant person I talked to. The conversation was so light and easy that time passed so quickly. I am just glad to know that there are positive people out there who can make other people light and easy, and I like to be one of them. I am trying. Smiling more often is a start. I have been often complimented to have beautiful, smiling eyes (though hidden behind fashionably nerdy glasses). So yes, why not maximize that asset of mine?

4. Eat good food --- and with good company. I do not know how many times last year that I had working lunches. This year, I am more conscious to resist such bad habit. Good food is meant to be enjoyed, only while dining, and not while multitasking. It also helps though to dine with someone or a set of friends, and family of course! Food is indeed best shared. As I always say to my teammates, "share the calories!"

5. Look after myself. I vow not to miss my doctor's appointments and do what is necessary for me to be well and going. Eating consciously (having small portions and avoiding skipping meals) is also a must for me now. My running shoes, pedometer, and jogging suit are waiting for me this weekend! My basic Pilates kit is also on standby. I spent on those workout tools so I better use them to my benefit.

6. Finish a book. I am more than halfway reading Haruki Murakami's 1Q84. It is a long, voluminous read but it is so worth it. Reading a book --- fiction or otherwise --- puts me at ease. Nothing also beats a nook of my own, with coffee in hand as I finish another tome --- print or in ebook format.

7. Seize my thoughts. So far, this is my third blog post for the New Year --- last year I only had 9 for Descovrir! I have been absent for almost a year writing for magazines, so my blogs (Descovrir and Rediscover) are the best avenue for me to continuously sharpen my journalistic skills. And there are so many things to write about!

8. Create more livable space. The general cleaning I had of my room last weekend was therapeutic (though the allergic rhinitis that followed was nasty). I made more space for my stuff by throwing away stuff I no longer need. I think there is more decluttering to do, both in my room and our home in general, so I am scheduling another weekend for that.

9. Have more quality alone time. There were a lot of times last year I deliberately isolated myself --- avoiding my workmates for team lunches, turned down friends' invites, locked myself in my room. And those times I was alone were not healthy times. Now, I am making my "alone" time more quality alone time, use them more productively and more positively --- whether I dine out, take a long walk, stay in my room, or travel more --- those alone times would be the best for me.

10. Pray. Or be still or meditate. Personally, nothing beats Divine Intervention to help you work things out. Yes, ora et labora or pray and work --- this Rule of St. Benedict is my formula. I have to do my share to achieve the things I set out for myself. And I pray for guidance that whatever happens for this New Year, I would be able to accept it.

And I pray hard that these things I listed here to cope with post-holiday blues --- or any time of the year blues --- would work. They might work for you, too!

So, post-holiday blues, be gone!

Thursday, January 03, 2013


Image from

While filling out my Belle De Jour 2013 planner last night, I had to stop when I came across this: My power word for 2013 is ___.

The busy day Wednesday did not stop me from thinking about it. Until I remembered Elizabeth Gilbert's word (as cited in her bestseller Eat, Pray, Love): attraversiamo, Italian for "cross," as in "cross over."

Since I am pumped up with my self-created theme for 2013 which is "moving forward," I thought of it as my word. But that is a phrase of two words.

So I looked for its translation in Spanish: avanzando. Why Spanish? It is closer to home, with our language that heavily borrowed from Spanish (as we were colonized by Spain, and we already moved significantly forward from those 333 years of colonization).

So there, I have my positivity phrase. I have my power word for 2013 --- and they are one and the same in meaning.

I am moving forward.


What is your power word for 2013?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 and moving forward

Happy New Year to all!

I ended 2012 by letting go of things or habits that did not work for me and I forgave several people --- myself above anyone else. The new year --- and beyond --- is about "moving forward."

I first heard the phrase when I joined my current company. During meetings, if we would discuss something about what could we have done better for our clients, they would say, "moving forward ..." to ensure that the next time we complete a deliverable, the lessons learned from a not so good experience, plus best practices must be in place first and foremost.

During our visioning session last week, it was agreed that to move forward is better than to "move on" because the latter connotes an excess baggage that still burdens you while you attempt to bounce back from an unpleasant experience.

So, moving forward, I am bubbly to start 2013 right.

A better way to stick to my vision is to write them down. Being a journalist by training and former profession (but still my passion!) I love to write. And because of my love for writing that I was able to write about things I never thought I would be able to write about, like business and finance. And yes, I highly appreciate the notebooks/notepads and pens of customized, special kind as freebies/giveaways from press conferences or events I attended. And my planners/journals are great tools to aid me in moving forward.

From left: Time Check life planner designed by motivational speaker and TV host Anthony Pangilinan; Starbucks planners for 2008, 2011, and 2012; and Belle De Jour for 2010 and 2011

The Time Check life planner was given to me (actually I got two) from two press conferences I attended organized by Gwen Carino. Unlike any other planners, it is date-free --- you can start or continue whenever you want to or like to. It also has motivational and inspirational pages. When I like to put something into action and that overwhelms me, I first write it here until I organized my thoughts.

Of course, being a coffee drinker, the Starbucks planner has become a holiday tradition (except for 2010 that I skipped it for reason/s I forgot). Mainly, I use this for work --- time ins, deadlines, meetings, etc. Last year's planner also doubled for personal appointments, lessons learned, and milestones.

I got introduced to Belle De Jour when one press conference of Canon Philippines had this as a giveaway (being one of the advertisers). This overly girly planner is a hit because it has coupons of discounts, freebies, and upgrades from various establishments. The layout is so feminine coupled with motivational and inspirational messages. The best part of this is the menstrual tracker, which is useful for me given I have an irregular period and being monitored for it. Also, belatedly I learned that the planner was designed by one of the layout/graphic artists I worked with, so I guess the familiarity with it.

This year, and without expecting, I got two planners to fill in. Of course the Starbucks planner 2013 which I accomplished earlier than expected (thanks to my friends' help), and the Belle De Jour 2013, a Christmas gift from @carly_tops.

The Starbucks pen was wish granted from our team's kris kringle

After this post, I will start to write on these "moving forward" tools of mine for 2013. And at this early, I am praying that if my visions did not go accordingly as I claimed them to be, I know for sure that I tried and I will move forward more positively.

So, are you ready to move forward?