Don't be Shy to Explore Around

Friday, March 17, 2017

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Lost and Found

Lost and found.

My destination was  an art gallery found at a corner of 2 streets, that was all I know and that was all the information I had to lead me there.  I went on taking the bus that my bro-in-law told me to take.  I told the conductor to drop me to the place I intended to drop off.  Advised by my seatmate, he nudged me telling me to go down because we have reached the place I was telling him about, and confirming from the yells of the conductor, I went down the bus.  But I knew even upon entering the corner a few minutes ago that I wasn't in the right place, this was confirmed by the candy seller, tricycle driver and van shuttle caller.  They don't know the place where I wanted to go.  So the guard from the bank nearby asked me to go to the overpass because near there was a barangay station and people there could teach me where to go.  So I grabbed my 11"x16" framed art and went down the street for a 5 minute walk towards the station.  Inside I saw 3 men sitting down on plastic chairs and at the corner there was a man at the desk, whom I would be asking directions from.  He then phoned another barangay station as the place I was going to wasn't part of his terrirtory.  Over the other line was a 40-ish year old woman, telling me to go to the gate, and hop off the jeep at a certain point, I found myself scribbling hurriedly on my notepad, and just to be sure, repeated to her what she just said.  So when all was noted and right, I thank the lady, put down the phone and thank the guy at the desk.  I went up the street again from where the candy seller was at and got a jeep there to take me to my destination.  I dropped off, crossed the street with a woman and her little girl.  Got inside the gallery and submitted my art.  Heading outside, I still didn't know how to get home so I then asked a tricycle driver for directions, upon asking, another driver rallied over to what the other driver was saying.  They both said to get the jeep which would take me to the highway and I did.  I then paid the jeepney driver and went down the highway along with a handful of passengers, walked a few distance and snuggled under the shed of the tree.  I saw the jeep that would take me home, hopped in, dropped off and walked home from there.

You see, I had been through a lot of people, for what I thought was just a simple errand of going to the gallery and going home.   It was far more twisted than I could have imagined, and a trip that I thought would only take me less than 2 hours took me almost 3 hours to accomplished, but I didn't complain.  Not a bit.  Frustrated?  Not at all.  Anxious?  No, never.  Getting lost in a place that I haven't been to, getting lost under the extreme heat of the sun, getting lost while it's hot and smoke belched out was clouding up my lungs, for sure those would probably upset me.  But, you see,  I didn't really got bothered by it all, for what really, truly appeared to me was that people from all sorts of background were there to help me readily, willingly with concern and care.  They even asked others for directions for me.  I felt guided, safe, and above all loved.  For me, the simple errand of submitting my artwork was a journey of love.   By being lost, I found His love through these people who had helped me find my way. 
Publisher: Shy - Friday, March 17, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

ShopBack: The Smartest Way to Shop Online

Adulting is hard.  

It  pushes me to study things I don't want to study; it drives me to care for things I really don't even want to  care for before, and it forces  me to figure out the nitty gritty of real life like budgeting, prioritizing and calculating, bringing me back to that subject I hated most - Math.  And since I wanted to be carefree, my initial reaction was to rebel and to avoid, not giving in to the pressures of adulthood.  So I went on a spending free and next thing I know,  I couldn't withdraw anymore.  My ATM slapped me on the face with the pop up saying 'insufficient funds'.

Ever since then, I vowed to think smart, live smart, and to save as much as I could save, prioritize on things that are more important, leave off the ones which aren't really needed, and finally put my life in order.

And just as I was in this middle of figuring out this financial literacy thing, ShopBack came into the picture like an angel in the night.  It opened my eyes to great saving possibilities that I couldn't even imagine possible.  It showed me exciting opportunities on getting as much as 14% cash backs on my purchases and transactions online.  With ShopBack, I could now enjoy unlimited savings on my favourite online stores!

You can earn cashback from ShopBack when you shop online using new and latest Lazada voucher, seasonal Zalora promo code and even travel bookings with Expedia.

What is ShopBack you say? 
It's an online platform where you could shop or book through some of the world's largest shopping sites such as Lazada, Zalora, and and hotel/travel booking sites like Expedia, and, and get cashbacks from your transactions.

Sometimes you could enjoy higher cashbacks especially when you see the money bag icon,   which means an upgrade of cashback.  This would pop up every now and then depending on available deals and promotions so make sure to be on the look out for it.

What is the Beauty of ShopBack?
I have always been on a hunt for a Cold pressed Moroccan Argan oil, because I heard of all the magical wonders that it could do for my hair.  But after much scouting I soon realized that it's a bit expensive that I wouldn't want to bet my money on it for now.   Luckily I discovered that the 30ml Organika Cold Pressed Moroccan Argan oil is now on 53% sale on Lazada, and through Shopback, I am able to get as much as 3% cash back on top of it.  Purchasing Argan oil now seems to be a lot more possible.   It may sound pretty petty, but for someone who had been eyeing on this item for awhile now, this is MAJOR.    And just recently, I heard that Under Armour is running a promo where they're giving away 25% discount on their items, and with Shopback's cashback of 6%, it's now possible to enjoy a 31% discount. Calculating gets a little bit more exciting when counting discounts.  I think I am slowly loving Math already with all these yummy cut backs.  Call me stingy if you want, but I call it playing smart.

How does ShopBack works?
Online sites sites would give ShopBack commissions from referrals and in turn ShopBack shares a portion of that to us through cashbacks.  So it is mutually beneficial for the parties involve, a win-win-win situation for all.

How to Use ShopBank
1.  Log in to your ShopBank account and shop in your favorite online shopping sites like Zalora, Lazada etc.

Note: Once you select one website to shop from, a 'few things to note' window will pop up.

2. You will be directed to the main site.  Purchase items as usual and add to cart.

3. Cashbacks credit would appear under Pending page in your ShopBack account within 48hours after purchase.

4.  Credit would be redeemable once it reaches P300 and if it's already 30-60days after purchase to ensure that item was successfully delivered and wasn't returned or shipback.

5.  Request cash out through paypal, Globe Gcash or to any bank accounts listed below:
- Metrobank
- East West
- Chinabank
- Security Bank
- UnionBank

Note: You have to do payment cashout within a year once credit became redeemable.

6.  Bonuses could be given once redeemable cashback reaches a minimum of P300.  Different bonus tiers and promos apply on different deals.

no foll

I know shopping is fun, but it's even more fun when you know that you are getting the most savings out of your purchases.  Shopping through ShopBack, for me, seems to be  the smartest way to shop.   I don't think I would shop anywhere else after this.  I mean, why would I when I know I could get more savings when I do it over ShopBack.  It just makes more sense that way, don't you think so?

Thinking of all these money saving techniques, I couldn't help but to feel more like a responsible adult now. Shopping smartly is easier now that I have the right tool to do it.  Well, adulting doesn't seem to be so hard after all.  I think this is a good start.

Publisher: Shy - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Looking in This Time


My 2016 was a year of movement and travels and since I was usually in motion, I'd like to make 2017 in stillness.

2016 was the year I search for outside to fill me from the inside.  I look for other people or other place to explore, befriend, and be accustomed to, loosing me in it.  The noise outside blocks from what I have in the inside.  I looked at life like a tv screen completely forgetting me as the viewer probably because I haven't created much or done much for me to see myself in the whole picture.  Maybe that's really the essence of creation, this invokes my participation in my life.  For me to see myself being it, I need to create something be it a moment, an object, a masterpiece, and see myself through my creation, and stand in my world as futile or as strong as my creation made me.

There's a sense of urgency that's blocking me to think, to hope and to be positive.  It's like a siren that rings endlessly, that forces me to move, fast now.  Move, go, fast, now, over and over like a broken record.  With stillness, it could allow me to embrace and appreciate whatever I have, thereby making me embrace and love wherever I am, in whatever situation I may be in.  To see that wherever I am now, is exactly where I should be at this moment, gives me a sense of rightness and a level of victory.  This gives space for clarity and for openness to catch whatever signs that life would direct me to.

I'm going to invite stillness in 2017, more inward reflection, and more writing, more meditation, more prayers, more yoga, more being in the moment and more appreciation, and let's see what life throws at me in that space.
Publisher: Shy - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Highlights of my 2016

This year has been one of the most memorable year to say the least.  There were victorious and tumultous times, however even with the deep dips in this year, I've considered this one as the one where I got the most lessons and growth from.  

Thus I am eternally grateful for 2016 and for the people who were part of it.

February - Sister's Wedding and Tea Party with friends

March - Air Balloon festival, Clark, Pampanga

April - law of attraction group, Nagsasa Cove, Zambales

pic not mine.Source

- Pahiyas festival, Lucban, Laguna

July - My first group art exhibit, Tagaytay, dgroup get together

October - dgroup outing

November - Batanes, Christmas party dgroup

December - Vietnam

Just a sudden enlightenment:  I asked the Lord for growth for this year.  I asked for mental, spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial growth. but I think it was answered in His way for I received a huge lesson which has greatly changed me and and my perspectives in life.   

There's growth in every lesson learned.  

Thank God for the answered prayer.
Publisher: Shy - Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

My 2016: Its Ups and Downs and All its Run Arounds

life lessons

I've set this year to be a year of growth.

Growth in all aspect: financially, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually.  Like other people I started strong, and like so many others, dwindled along the way.  When there's a lot of things to do, it's too easy to get lost in it; it's too easy to loose the determination, and it's too hard to sustain the fun.

So the first lesson of this year, never ever set yourself for defeat.  At first, we get lofty with our goals, and we get impatient to get them so we squeeze them in an unrealistic time frame.

So no more 10 new years resolution for me.  It will be cut down to 3 this time.  I must say that what I have improved on for this year was socially.  I hooked myself in a church and signed up for a discipleship group which I thank God for because the ladies there are just divine.  We may not be able to see each other regularly as hope but the sisterhood is something that could potentially last forever.

Financially was not at all pleasant.  I could not find the right job and I was not able to push myself to work hard on a job that I have grown very familiar with for the last 7 years.  It was clear to me that it was time to move on or lie low.  The thing that I am only waiting now is for that right opportunity to show up on my plate.

Physically had its highs and lows.  I was able to do a physical challenge for a month, one where I may have pushed myself more than I've wanted too, moreso that I easily convinced myself that it wasn't for me.   I've realized that it doesn't really make sense doing things that wasn't fun anymore.  Sure at some point, I need to challenge myself.  But then life will be throwing a lot of challenges on my way in the future, why not just have fun on things that I can have the option to have fun, and endure on things that life demands me to endure.  So enough with all these physical challenges already and on to what I truly love, dancing.

Emotionally was a standoff. Sure there was growth on that area, but I had to go through some hard things that were necessary for me to learn what I have already known -- self love.  I get lost in relationships, because it was one of my occupation whenever I don't feel well.   Of course I still get to do things I need to do for myself, but when nothing much is happening, I find myself falling back on my relationship as a sort of an emotional cushion.  And when it's not there to catch me or support me, I become a mess.  So then I learned that the only emotional cushion that I need to fall on is God and me because I cannot rely on other people, and sometimes I cannot rely on myself, at least I have God to rely on.  The pillar of my strength.

Socially was a bloom for me.  I find myself growing in that church.  I don't feel required to attend every Sunday, but when I do, I feel like I'm being welcomed with arms wide open, much like the story of the Prodigal child.  I squander, I lick the earth, but whenever I sense that I need to 'go back', I am embraced; my attendance feels being celebrated and I think this is how a church should be.  And so I would be coming back for more of it, and probably be active in a ministry.

Spiritually is pretty much connected with my social area.  I did however dabble on the spiritual energy and meditation side as to cover much ground on my belief of spirituality.  I got myself a group on law of attraction, some belief I was able to incorporate into my lifestyle, however some teachings become wooshoo-voodoo type that I feel I need to distance myself a bit.  I'm looking forward for more growth in this area.

So there you are, a bit vague, but that's how I like it.  My realizations would serve as a reminder, but I somehow understand that people have to go through things for them to really learn a lesson.  So my advise is to be open for life and be okay if it isn't moving the way you wanted it too.  Being still and waiting are spiritual.  Life isn't supposed to be a rat race all the time, life is also the stillness.

Embrace every aspect of it.

Publisher: Shy - Monday, December 19, 2016

Vietnam travel guide: A first timer point of View

Because Bahn Mi makes me happy!  Oh yes indeed!  All I know is that I just wanted to eat as much Vietnamese food as I can.  Forget MeKong, forget Danang.  That'was the end goal for me.  But since I was traveling with a friend, I had to compromise on things, like going to Ha long.  Yes I went to Hanoi just to visit Halong.   Anyways, we all travel with a purpose in mind, it's just that mine was shallow, yet indulging.

With a goal that's shallow as that, I missed out on a bunch of information about Vietnam.  So I was surprised to know a number of things about the country and its people.

1.  They're strong and aggressive people.  
Now it may be just in my experience only but on the second day of my stay in the homestay, there was a ruckus that happened outside.  A number of adults were shouting to and fro.  There were also a couple more of confrontations happened. Know that this may be not applicable to the majority but this is what I and my friend just observed.  Generally the locals were nice and were willing to help me the best way they could.  

2.  Only a few knows how to speak English.
I actually thought they would know the language since there were Americans that went to their country.  But it just makes sense since the Americans failed to conquer the place, English was never a thing there.  Going to Chinatown, I got lost and found it hard to communicate with the locals.  Good thing some hotel staff and a few shop owners could speak the language.

3.  Crossing the street isn't really that scary.
Opinion alert here.  Of course it differs. Crossing with traffic lights isn't really difficult, you just cross when the pedestrian sign turns green.  But in narrower roads, you just have to raise your arm in 45 degrees and confidently walk forward.  What you don't want to do is to panic and move backward and forward making your moves unpredictable for the motorists.

4.  Go for Mailinh and Vinasun taxi that are smaller.  
There 2 versions of the vehicles depending on the size.  If you hop in the smaller taxi, the flag down rate is around 6000 dong, the larger one charges 11000-12000 dong.  These figures would appear minus the zeros to prevent confusion.

5.  The tastiest Pho I found are the ones in the whole in the walls, not in airports or in hotels.

6.  If you've been to ko phi phi islands in bangkok, or El nido philippines, I would not recommend Halong Bay.
It takes 4hours going to the bay from Hanoi, and you would just spend 2-3 hours within the place. So transportation time is longer than actually enjoying the place itself.

7.  Not all streetfood is fantastic.  
Remember these are for local tastebuds so don't expect to be blown away immediately.  It's an acquired taste.  You might get blown away on a first taste, or you might not.  It's a hit and miss fiasco really.

8.  Avail of free walking tours.  
They're free and you would be going to places that you could not achieve on your own.  Also know that these are non profit so don't feel guilty to not give money.  My friend felt the guilt and was able to shell out 300k dong.  

9.  Take the bus, it's cheap.  
We never thought we would get so excited after hopping out off the #152 bus from Bien Than Market to the airport.  Had we not taken the bus, we would have spent $16 for a van transfer or around 40,000-50000 dong.  Bus price is only 5000 dong, if you're carrying a huge luggage, it'll cost you another 5000 dong. 

Publisher: Shy - Monday, December 19, 2016

Traveling to Batanes: What every traveler should know

There were a number of things I've read from blogs that were proven to be untrue when personally experiencing the place myself.  This post is not to focus on lambasting those bloggers but just to inform the masses what the real deal is.

Here are a list of things I would quick to tell any of interested visitors.

1.  About visiting Batanes on a rainy season as OKAY.   
If you think getting rained on every now and then is okay, then yes, it's okay.  But as a traveler I'd rather experience the place at its best.  My fault, I took my chances and ended up getting the brute of everything that could possibly go wrong in a trip.
- skipped South Batan trip because of the rainy season
- crossed the sea when the coast guard prohibited smaller boats to pass.  Our coordinator hooked us up with Al Joyner, a bigger boat believed to be the only boat that could survive the waves.  When they said that the waves are big, the waves are goddamn big.  Now we have expected this because we were warned, but we didn't really expected it to be really titanic big.  My senior citizen mother had a panic attack and was crying and all tensed throughout the trip.  If you have a heart problem and are afraid of waves and the seas, please for the sake of god and your godchildren, skip it!  The good thing here is that the Ibatan seafarers are accustomed to this and that they know exactly what they're doing.  The only problem is the tourists ability to endure the situation.
- cancelled flight due to strong winds and heavy rains.  My brother and mother had to cancel their flight going back to Manila and had to rebook for a hefty price.
- almost felt sick because of getting rained on most of the days.

2.  About walking around North Batan on foot.  
BS!  I am an advocate of walking it out, thus my blog name, but believe me when I say that some places are far.  There are parts of North Batan that you could walk on foot, but there are areas that are really far.  When we were touring that area, I really felt sad looking at a couple trekking up to Fundacion Pacita.  I'd rather ride on a tricycle or a van, and enjoy the place than drain all my energy just to visit one location.  This is not Holy Week that you need to walk kilometers people, this is vacation, and vacation demands for pleasure, and walking uphill for minutes isn't pleasurable.  I don't care if the scenery is great, I wouldn't see the beauty of it anyway when all I feel is pain... everywhere.

3.  About cycling around North Batan.  
Yes, it's possible, but I don't really recommend it as there are no railings on the majority of the pathway, I'm talking about the one going to Fundacion Pacita.  The railings are a bunched up twigs and shrubs that if you crossed it, you would go downwards to god knows what, possibly to your death.

4. About having to spend a lot when going on a tour.  
Let me tell you something that happened.  I contacted a popular tour agency in Batanes to inquire about their tours.  Finding out that it's too expensive, I stopped communicating with them and went on looking for a cheaper deal.  Thank God that our Nanay Cita of Nanay Cita Homestay offered me a price I cannot turn down.  She gave me a third of the price of what an individual would pay compared to the original well known tour that I first inquired on.  Talking about that travel agency, upon arriving at Batanes airport, I was surprised to see my name on a list of names that I assumed booked tours on the agency.  Of course I didn't approached them because I didn't have business with them.  To add more to my shock, a couple of their representatives barged into the homestay where I was staying and asked me, or more like interrogated me, if I was still interested on getting on the tour with them, and that I was missing on a great deal, all these in front of Nanay Cita.  Needless to say they were rude, shady and they're giving me all sorts of feels that I really don't need and deserve especially when I'm on a family vacation.  I just graciously declined their offer and they both went off, leaving me and nanay and my mom puzzled and shocked.  Let's just say that was the only time that I felt insulted for inquiring.

Now when I'm not for one who would destroy a reputation, I just feel that it's important for a blogger to tell the truth and not mislead people.  This is what I know as the truth and I hope people would have a better time and a memorable trip, memorable for all the right reasons.

Publisher: Shy - Monday, December 19, 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

DIY Davao City Tour: Walking in the Heart of the City

Davao's tourism has long been booming, but only when the new president  Rodrigo Duterte who is a strong political figure in the city, started promoting about the safety and beauty of the place, the number of tourists have skyrocketed in an all time high, leading to fully-booked hotel rooms and sold out flights. I highly suggest booking your hotel in advance through online booking sites like Traveloka, otherwise you may not find a place to stay when you arrive.

For starters, the best way to see Davao is to explore  the heart of the city on foot.   The center of the city is where many prominent landmarks are located close to each other, such as the City hall, the Rizal Park, Quezon Park, the Davao Museum or Museo Dabawenyo, San Pedro Cathedral, and a popular accommodation, Grand men Seng Hotel, which is gaining popularity because it has been featured to be one of the places where Rodrigo Duterte, during his mayorship, would hold lunch meetings with his constituents.

After going around these landmarks, you could start walking down the San Pedro street, where you could find an array of stores selling cheap items,  from clothes, fake DVD's, cellphones, toys and just about anything.  It's pretty much the  counterpart of divisoria in Manila.  Also if you're feeling a bit hungry, you could indulge on siopao ( Chinese meat bun), and lomi (noodle soup), at Kusina Davao, which is one of the oldest restaurants in the city.  Right across it is My Hotel where many tourists who are looking for a cheap and decent place to stay within the city.   Another budget-friendly option is Las Casitas Inn, located along J.P. Rizal Street.  The place has a pretty homey vibe and the room has all the basic amenities that any budget traveler would need.

Okay so maybe by then you're feeling a bit tired, and worn out from walking and you want to have a blast of aircondition to awaken your spirits, don't worry because just few minutes ahead is JS Gaisano.  The mall is one of the first malls in Davao city thus it's small and a bit beaten down, however davaoenos still visit it because it offers cheap and fair quality products which would run from clothes, toys, make up and the likes.   It's pretty much a haven for budget shoppers.

To continue the last leg of your tour, you may want to walk for about 5 to see People's park, one of the biggest and grandest park, which showcase the murals of our National artist kublai and the beautifully landscaped endemic plants.  Drop by here early in the morning for a free zumba class or just have a quick sprint around the park.   At night, you'll see a play of lights and water along the fountain area.

To cap your tour, why not hit the Pasalubong center located just outside the park.  There you could find different kinds of trinkets, native wallets, Davao t-shirts, and even durian and durian candies,  which Davao is also famous for.   One standing brand is Lola Abon which has really chewy, creamy and soft durian candies, a far cry from the regular durian candies that we have known.
If you get lucky, you could also score a free viewing in Cinemathique, which features local movies made by promising film directors in our city.

So that's it, guys. This is an insider's guide of Davao city, one that I would suggest any tourists to do.  There are much to see and do, but this is my go-to guide for anyone who would want to explore the city on foot.  Some landmarks are quite far from each other that's why I suggest this because tourist areas are closer to each other, and thereby are more practical and worth going to.

Publisher: Shy - Thursday, November 24, 2016
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