Monday, November 18, 2013

Giving in the Midst of Emptiness

I have been going through a lot of emotional turmoil lately. However, I am amazed at how I could extend help in spite and despite of my brokenness.

When typhoon Yolanda hit the central part of the Philippines, looking through all social networking sites was heartbreaking and devastating. The whole world has been talking about it. Friends and friends of friends expressed how we should help for the country.

And on that night, a few days ago, while lying down comfortably on my bed, I just couldn't take the fact that in spite of emptiness I feel inside, I am more blessed compared to the worries of the world. I had to be strong for my country. I had to be strong for the needs of the world. I had to put down my own worries that seemed too little compared to what is happening.

When I came to work the following day, I informed colleagues of the situation of the Philippines and sent a mass email of the initiative that I've thought of. Aside from asking them for old clothes to be sent to the Philippines, I informed them that I will be baking cupcakes for 2 days to sell to them, and all proceeds will be given to Philippine National Red Cross.

I was overwhelmed by the response and generosity of my colleagues. I've been baking cupcakes for them for free whenever I want to, and I bring it to work on a Monday just to fight the blues at the start of the week. But this time, I sold the cupcakes for $2 each. I was only expecting pledges amounting to around $100 but when I counted the money, it's more than double of what I am expecting. I shouldn't really be underestimating the goodness in people.

There have been meetings and events left and right for me so I really never had the chance to monitor the response. I just placed the cupcakes on the table with a container for the money to be placed. The whole initiative was based on honesty policy. Looking back, I actually liked the idea. The money we have put up was more than enough!

There were colleagues who just like eating cupcakes, so they bought. But little did they know that it was a win-win situation. While they enjoy the goodness of cupcakes, they are also helping people who are suffering in the Philippines. And there were mostly colleagues too, who doesn't have sweet tooth, never took even one cupcake, but placed their pledges into that container.

Later today, I will be sending the money to Philippine National Red Cross. It may not be much from the pledges others have made all over the world. But I believe that a little help is better than nothing.

I look at the heavens today with a different kind of gleam in my heart. In the last few days, I have underestimated myself too. I knew that I have channelled my attention, love, and care to unnecessary and unworthy people, things, and experiences. Little did I know that I can only find happiness within.

Today I am even more grateful to the Universe. Yolanda survivors may thank me for the little help that I did. But honestly, I should be thankful that this initiative has taught me so many things on the realization of my self-worth. I am starting to love myself more.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Self Portrait 2013

I woke up this morning with a very sudden and strong urge to draw.

And for me, one of the best therapy is drawing self portraits which I've mentioned here. But today, I drew me, naked. This process is overwhelming and awakening at the same time. Every curve, every stroke, every highlight give more reasons on what it really means to be alive.

 Self Portrait 2013
Charcoal on Watercolor Paper

Friday, August 23, 2013

What Happens After 100 Days

The days dragged on that seemed like forever.

Four days ago was the 100th day.
Two days ago must've been the 8th year.

Counting numbers that doesn't even give reasons to life. To death.

There've been so much questions. Yet afraid of answers.
I am the truth. Yet you hold your own truth.
Talking must've been good.
But if flowers are not fragrant enough to blossom, let's rather keep our silence.

The world is filled with suffering.
Neither you, nor I is spared.

I've kept myself immersed with the world.
I am empty. But unashamed.
From here springs forth infinite possibilities.

If, one day, God wills, we cross each other's paths,
spare US a moment.
That time was never wasted.
Never even thought it was.

I am sorry for hurting you.
I am sorry for hurting me.
I am sorry for hurting US.

It was a beautiful love.
Until WE died.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Why are you unnecessarily worrying?
Whom do you fear?
Who can kill you?
Soul is neither born nor does it dies.

What has happened has happened for the best.
What is happening is happening for the best.
What will happen will happen for the best.
Do not brood over the past.
Do not worry about the future.
The present is on.

What is lost, that you are weeping?
What have you brought, that you have lost?
What have you made, that have been destroyed?
You brought not anything.
What you have, you got from here.
What you took, you took from this Universe.
What you gave, you gave unto this Universe.

You have come empty handed and shall go empty handed.
What is yours today was somebody else's in the past and will be somebody else's in the future.
You think it is yours and are deeply engrossed in it.
This attachment is the cause of all your sorrows.

This message was sent to me by one of the people whom I regard as a second mother. The message came at the time I needed answers to questions that kept on lingering. And how amazing to know that it can be answered through questions.

I've been liking the word "Unattachment" lately. It is far different from the word detachment. I realized that when I embrace reality with unattachment, I do things with immense passion and with a sense of purpose, and just offer to the Universe whatever the outcome is. And apparently, it makes a lot of difference.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dear Future Love

When I woke up this morning, I thought about you.

We may have met or we may have not, nevertheless, I still thought about you. When I think of you, there is no face, gender, look or voice that comes up. I just want to think that you will exist in my future. And that realization alone, suffice.

I guess I am liking the fact that I don't have any expectation of you. I just want to have a companion in life who can talk about anything and everything, whom I can exchange laughters and tears with, who will accept and respect me for who I am and who I was. The rest can be compromised.

You see, I write this letter to you at the time that I am broken. Or rather I would say, at the time, I am slowly picking myself up from being broken. I already passed the stage of curling myself up in bed in almost all nights, waking up from swollen eyes due to tears that lulled me to sleep. Though, of course there are still nights, but quite a few now compared to the previous days. I already started to go out of the house to get some real sun, reach out to friends, and wear a smile on my face.

Now, I am already preparing myself for our meeting. I want to call this phase as the preparation stage before finally meeting you. I know you are also preparing to meet me too. I have changed, but I assure you it's all for the better. Though I still weep at mushy love movies and I still scream at sweet surprises, I am now a person who likes to live in the "now," who have cleared the baggage of the past (and does not even intend to carry more in the future).

In my life, I've already given so much love. But surprisingly, there will still be lots of it reserved for you. I am being patient. I know you are worth the wait. We have a lifetime to spend with each other.

See you soon, future love.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shared Bedroom

Since I was born, I never had my own room. I grew up sharing a room with my sister. Even if we have separate beds, we talk and do things even after our mom turns off the lights at night. The walls were filled with doodles and illustrations of our growing up years. We even had freedom walls in our teenage years to fill up with our favorite quotes, our feelings for the day, frustrations, heartbreaks, happy times, and memorable photos. When our dad bought us a radio, we would always listen to our favorite radio station to lull us to sleep. We shared stuff, clothes, and conversations. Even if there were times in the past that I envy friends who got their own rooms, I was generally happy to share a room with my sister. It was not all sunny days, but memories are worth remembering.

After 29 years, I know now how it feels to have a room on my own. Since I came here in this country, I have shared a room with somebody -- somebody whom I have shared conversations with in the middle of the night too, whom I have exchanged pats on the back when our day's gone bad, whom I have shared a tissue box with while watching my favorite drama series on TV, among many others.

Having a room all by myself is such an overwhelming feeling. I regard it as a very good way to enlightenment. Slowly, I am beginning to seize the moment I share with myself. This was the time I realized how much I missed myself and how much I owe to my spiritual growth. My time, my thoughts, my actions are my own. And no matter how paradoxical it is, being alone by myself paves the way to connect and re-connect to others.

Others will have haircuts. While others will go places. In my case, I re-arranged and cleaned my room to signal change, new beginning, and a little step to moving on. The days have been tedious, challenging, and heart-breaking. But ultimately, I have a heart which never gets tired of breaking.

I've been on a long hiatus. It took me tons of guts to get back on track. Please bear with the nomad who is having a hard time to be blissful.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Chinese New Year House Party

It's my second year to be invited in an authentic Chinese New Year house party. And in a way, I have learned so much from previous year's mistake.

As a tradition when invited to Chinese New Year house parties, guests should bring at least 2 mandarin oranges. The first time I was invited last year, I brought another kind of oranges (because I thought since they're more expensive, they're luckier). All my Chinese friends made fun out of it. Until this day, whenever we remember, we could not help but laugh. I felt so foreign.

But this year, I feel like a true blue Chinese. Luckily, my sister was in town so I brought her to her first Chinese New Year house party. I taught her the house rules. Each of us brought two mandarin oranges and a hamper filled with Pinoy goodies-- all of which are my boss-friend's favorites. We ate steamboat for dinner. After which, the card game began. I'm not quite sure if my sister was amazed that I am finally conversational in Mandarin. And most of the time laugh at how my accent changed over the years. My adaptability process is just amazing, I myself is at awe.

Ended the day with a lucky draw of hong bao. Red packets are filled with money in different denominations -- 38SGD, 28SGD, 18SGD, 8SGD & 6SGD. My sister and I both got 8 dollars inside our red packets. :-) It feels like Christmas all over again.

*Photo courtesy of my sister, Christine.

The Colours of New Year

In Singapore, the welcoming of the Lunar New Year is a grand celebration. It's like Christmas season in the Philippines. People do a lot of spring cleaning and buy plants to decorate their homes. Like how Filipinos decorate their homes with Christmas trees and other stuff reminiscent of Christmas, Chinese decorate their homes with Kumquats, Mandarin Orange trees and Pussy Willows.

It's a good experience to be working in this industry where the whole nursery will be filled with Mandarin orange scents, and most of all colourful flowers. Shipped from all parts of the world, my workplace becomes an orchard of beautiful things.

So as they say, Xin Nian Kuai Le! Gong xi fa cai!


Four Season Kumquat


Pink Kalanchoe
Orange Kalanchoe

Japanese Crab Apple
Mandarin Orange
Big Orange

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2012 In Pictures

The year Mayans predicted as the end of the world is the year I took big leaps in every aspect of my life. I partly believe in what they call, "the end of the world," because as it was, the year have been a complete struggle with ending and leaving behind what is unnecessary as I boldly took a step into the new beginning.

I always made a habit to look back at what has happened in the previous year because it helps me more focused on my goals and aspirations in the coming year. It makes me feel a lot more thankful, blessed, and ever determined to be what I want to become.

So, here are the highlights of my year:

On this parcel of land, the house that I've ever dreamed of since I was young will be built here. It will be an abode which will be filled with people I love, celebrations, laughters, and will be a witness of all the things and dreams that have yet to be.

Finally got a new member in the family! And yes, you will realize that in our world today, families come in different faces! Our Singaporean Malchi (Maltese Chihuahua), Xiao Bai brings so much colour in our everyday lives. We always find it hard to book for overseas travels, because we have a baby that will be left behind. (Talk about how expensive dog hotels are in this country.) That is what you call, responsible parenthood.

What is more patriotic than bringing your boss-turned-out-to-be-your-close-friend to your native land? What is more humbling than trusting her own life to you? It has been a week of eating good food, seeing beautiful places, and experiencing how enchanting the Philippines is. She couldn't get enough of how beautiful it is, she asked me again if I could tour her around the Southern part since we mostly covered the Northern part. In a heartbeat, of course, I said yes! I have become even more proud of being a Filipino.

It has also been a year of good travels. Went strawberry picking in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Ran vigorously on the streets of Saigon. Went inside one of the Cu Chi tunnels. Saw the overwhelming Bangui Windmills. Strolled along Calle Crisologo at night. Revisited the majestic Mines View Park in Baguio. Surfed in the gigantic waves of San Juan, La Union. Universe, more of these please for this year?

What is more fulfilling than doing the things you love? Sewing. Crocheting. Crafts. Gardening. Baking. Cooking. I've never been this grateful to the Universe for giving me a creative mind and an ever powerful pair of hands. These are the things that make me look forward to every weekends. And from the moment I opened the door for making all these, it's just pure immeasurable bliss. I am blessed too that J has ever been so supportive of the things I love doing. She gave me gifts that kept on giving -- sewing machine and an oven. Since then, I have started giving people personalized gifts on their birthdays, and even last Christmas! Aside from that, I commissioned projects such as quilted blankets, dresses, and hair accessories. I opened my online shop, FRESH! before the holidays and I was able to accommodate more than fifty orders for friends and friends of friends as gifts. I've been baking cupcakes and even made and designed birthday cupcakes for my favorite boss! I've finally decided to experience my first ever garage sale which I sold not only my crafts but also pre-loved clothes. Honestly, it's not the monetary amount that I get from all these that makes me fulfilled. It's actually doing what I love and making people happy because of what I do. And I think, it's more than enough.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

30 Before Thirty

What a better way to welcome the year with an even braver heart to embrace change and growth.

This year, I will be turning into an age most people are dreading to face. And yet, here I am, even more convinced than ever that this is going to be a great adventure!

This is my own take on the 30 things I want to achieve before reaching the big 3-0!

With crossed fingers and a gleam in my heart, let's do this, 2013!