This anime song reminded me of my quest to getting a Japanese scholarship back in 2003 and in 2005. My friend and I first tried the Monbukagakusho scholarship of the Japanese government. We didn’t get it. My friend stopped her quest but I pursued. Then I tried Panasonic. I had high hopes I’m gonna get it because for once in my life I trusted myself that it was meant for me. I was confident I’m gonna get it for I’ve gone to the final stage of presenting my science research after that gruelling written exams.

After my interview with the interviewers, both Japanese, representatives from Panasonic and representative from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), I was approached by the interviewer from CHED commenting that if ever I won’t get it (only in case I don’t), she asked me to come over to CHED so we could work on my research on ocean planktons. It made me feel sad for it gave a hint of me not getting it, but still I kept my hopes up. They told me that if I get it I will receive a call, otherwise, I will receive an email.

I travelled from Laguna to Pampanga, waiting for the email/call from Panasonic hoping that they will tell me that I got it. I remember that it was raining as I travel from Laguna to Pampanga, adding drama to the scene while I focused my gaze at the misty glass window of the moving bus.

As soon as arrived home, I turned my computer and put my cellphone beside me…waiting. It was such a torture…hoping that I will receive a call instead of email. Then, comes an email from Panasonic….I didn’t get it. :) My tears immediately fell as soon as I read the first few lines of the email. It was painful. From then, I gave up my dreams of pursuing my research in Japan.

Fast forward 2015 a lot of things have changed and have happened in my life. I’ve gone to places, I’ve met a lot of people, experienced the pain of heartache, lost a loved one, lost some of the most exciting and most lucrative projects at work and lost some of the people I value the most in my life. My heart is broken. For years I thought it was a bad thing, that you go through life soiled, broken, and hurt. But through time I realized that we can manage to remain beautiful and alive even if the sun is not shining in other parts of our lives.

So what’s the point of all these? Well, one thing – passion and awareness. Passion because even though I didn’t pursue my love of sciences, I managed to bring it with me. I didn’t let it go. I allowed it to fuel me as I go through life bruised and injured. I, however, identified some opportunities around me and worked on them while my passion guides and propels me. Don’t let a major setback stop you from living the life you wanted; don’t let it kill your spirit to dream and achieve real greatness.

With Awareness I mean that thought of being able to appreciate every single thing that’s happening in your life. You take the good with the bad. We can’t exist in this world hoping that everything’s gonna work out fine for all of us, that everyday is a walk in the park! No. Awareness means gratitude, it means constant appreciation of what’s in front of us instead of constantly identifying what’s not available and pushing yourself to achieving whatever you want to achieve in life yet still aware of the fact that whatever we put our mind into, the possibility of attaining or not attaining it exists. Nonetheless, both are beautiful and both brings you a beautiful product out of that creative experiential process.

Today, I have everything I need and gone to places I wanted to visit. I think I’ve succeeded in achieving all the things I wanted at the outset and accomplished things I never thought I could. From the point of view of others I may not have everything, but who cares? Life is short for comparing yourself to others. It’s the worst thing that you can do to yourself. Comparing yourself to people around is a sure ball to a miserable life. No matter how many times you tumble along the EDSA road, there will always be people who are smarter than you, richer than you, or more good looking than you. Let that go! Just focus on yourself and start creating the life you wanted. Nobody reaches the end of this road we call life alive! We will all be dead before we know it.

So just go out there and feel the heat of the sun, breathe the salty breeze of the ocean, and enjoy the moment. Tomorrow is not promised. Just love and let go. :)

Louvre Museum, Paris France

A picture from Louvre Museum, Paris, France

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Incredible India: A Country of Contrast

by JM on April 20, 2015 ·

in Travel

My trip to India was rather unplanned. I went there with little knowledge of the country I ttrm visiting; blame it on my busy work life. However, I feel like a little ignorance provides a huge amount of excitement as you tread on a foreign land and be amazed at your utter lack of knowledge of the area albeit common among travelers. This is not recommended on all types of travels though. I was just lucky to have a companion who takes care of those boring stuff  LOL.

India is a picture of contrast in all aspects of life including cultural, financial, and spiritual. Flora and fauna is so diverse as it spans across great longitude and latitude in the world’s map. For an ordinary tourist, this country can be super overwhelming. My 9 day trip is never sufficient for me to come up with a definitive description of what this amazing country is about but what I will share with you are some of the beautiful aspects of this country and debunk on the some of the ridiculous misconceptions most people have about this country of 1.2 billion people.

The Golden Triangle Tour

New Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra make up for the popular Golden Triangle Tour in India. India is a “perfect mix of the old and the new” and just like many other countries, it both has its strengths and flaws as no single country is perfect.

I will write three blogposts with each dedicated to New Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra. For the meantime, here are some of the most amazing places you will visit when you take this tour. I’ve created several albums in my Facebook Page so you can check out my India photos with better picture resolution.

New Delhi

Qutb Minar

Qutb Minar, New Delhi

Qutb Minar, New Delhi

India Gate

India Gate, New Delhi

Jaipur

Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds

Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds)

Galtaji, the monkey temple

Galtaji the monkey temple, Jaipur

Agra

The Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Misconceptions About India

  • Is it dirty? I am surprised to see that India isn’t what is shown on the television. The media is to blame whenever something so bad is portrayed on the television and the good part is left unrevealed. I think it’s dusty but not dirty. There are areas that are littered with garbage but every country in the world suffers from that same problem, not just in India. The Philippines, France, the US, Spain, Thailand, Indonesia suffer from it, too, and not single country is spared especially in big cities.
  • Are the trains awfully crowded just like what the media usually  show on TV? There are local trains that service commuters who are visiting far villages in India and while India has a highly connected train system, it cannot accommodate all of its people with its huge population of more than 1.2 billion people…and still growing! Soon enough it will become one of those countries with a young population just like in the Philippines. Too much kama sutra readings :-D. The roads in India are well paved and their train system is highly interconnected, affordable, and very efficient, too.
  • Do they stink? This has been perhaps the most frequent question I get from people who have been following my travels. For me, it’s normal to attribute a particular smell or odor to a particular race because I believe that every race has that “unique smell” based on the food they eat and the weather but what is not right and inaccurate is to classify that a particular race stinks. Mind you, even some citizens of affluent nations in the west who have access to modern personal hygiene products smell terrible, too, so no single nation has a monopoly on stench LOL. Well, let me explain this further. Food is one factor why Indians have this strong and distinct smell. I experienced this when I was in Sri Lanka last year. My sweat have become so strong and I started having that distinctive smell after days of eating curry meals. The same is true in India where almost all kinds of food are cooked with curry and masala. My body odor normalizes again when I returned to PH and started eating the local food I normally eat. A Chinese friend of mine commented that Filipinos smell like fish. This might be legit because we are surrounded by bodies of water and one staple food in the Philippines is fish. So that makes perfect sense. We just don’t know it because we are somehow “immune” to our own smell so we don’t bother. Those who stink are probably the ones who cannot afford to buy personal hygiene products or those who refuse to use them for personal reasons which is true to all races of this planet. I went on a train ride in New Delhi and was surprised that I hardly smell anyone who stink. You may not believe it but you got to be there to find out for yourself. Some would say that I only stayed in fancy places in India that’s why I didn’t get to encounter the smelly ones. I mean, seriously? People who say these things are the ones who haven’t travelled extensively. There are many affluent families in India and that’s evident in the manner they speak and the clothes they wear.
  • Is it safe to walk around? If you follow the general rule on travels like don’t walk alone in a not-well-lighted street or seedier areas especially at night or don’t make yourself stand out “so much” from the crowd by wearing expensive jewelries or bringing gadgets or an expensive camera slung around your neck, you will be fine. I didn’t show it in my picture gallery but I also went to their local market similar to our Divisoria in the Philippines and it feels just OK. It’s part of the overall experience when traveling.

India lived up to its tourism slogan “Incredible India” as it highlights both the old and new and its potential to become one of the world’s superpower with its talented people and wonderful past. The culture is unique and diverse peppered with UNESCO heritage sites that are truly awe-inspiring. India is worth the visit!

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Sigiriya, Sri Lanka: amazing feat of ancient urban planning

April 19, 2015

Sometimes when we think of urban planning, we think about the huge city complex built in modern metropolis. We thought it’s something that was recently invented or a knowledge that has recently come about. During the reign of King Kashyapa I of Anuradhapura of Sri Lanka from 477 – 495 CE, he built a massive […]

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Sri Lanka: an unforgettable travel experience

October 29, 2014

I have visited many asian countries and some european countries already but I think that the only country that I’ve enjoyed the most (aside from Spain) is Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka may not have the biggest buildings like many first world countries have and the most stunning temples like that in Cambodia and Thailand but […]

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Caramoan, Camarines Sur

June 2, 2014

Camarines Sur hides precious gems and one of them is Caramoan. For most people, this place is rather unheard of until it became the location of the 26th season of Survivor – The Survivor Caramoan. How to get there You can go to Caramoan, Camarines Sur either by land or air. Book a plane ticket […]

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Bohol Travel Tips, Guide, and More

September 25, 2013

The province of Bohol is a group of islands located in the Central Visayas Region close to other major and economically important islands of the Philippines such as Cebu and Leyte. When people hear Bohol there conjures images of the famous Chocolate Hills and tarsiers, dubbed to be the world’s smallest primate and lives endemically […]

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Toledo, Spain: Travel Tips, Guide, and More

August 15, 2013

Toledo, the capital of the autonomous community Castile-La Mancha, sits 70km south of Madrid, Spain’s Capital. The entire municipality of Toledo was declared World Heritage site by UNESCO on 1986 giving you an idea of the rich monumental and cultural heritage existing in the region. My visit in the summer of 2013 (June-July) allowed me […]

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Vigan, Ilocos Sur Travel Tips and More

May 3, 2013

The trip to Vigan is a one-of-a-kind experience that you shouldn’t miss for it transports you back into the 16th century. it is important to know that Vigan was declared as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site due to its well-preserved Spanish colonial towns. What’s unique about Vigan is that it not only showcases European […]

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Goodbye Tatang, Dad…I’ll Miss You…

April 17, 2013

March 28, Thursday, was an unforgettable day for me and my family. My father died peacefully but the events which came before that were more painful that one can ever imagine especially for those who haven’t lost a loved one yet. My relationship with my father was better than I can describe it. I’m not […]

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Mount Pinatubo Travel Tips and More

January 29, 2013

Mount Pinatubo is one of Philippine’s natural wonders. The “sleeping volcano” took many lives when it erupted back in 1991. Now, two decades after that powerful, killer blast Mount Pinatubo has transformed itself into one beautiful, unique tourist destination. I was invited by a few travel buddies to join them in this one-of-a-kind trekking experience. […]

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