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Easy Five for Bullet Journal Neophytes

Who does not go through a work day without having to check your to-do list? Here I am frantically waving my two hands. Most of us usually have listed our daily, weekly, monthly and even up to yearly plans. Planning clearly helps us in getting organized and become more efficient and effective with our activities. But how about our normal and daily lives? Do we need to plan it out? I dare say YES! We plan out our work activities how much more our own personal goals and dreams. Wait! I know most of you would probably say that setting personal goals can get frustrating but I am going to talk about that in another blog. Right now, it’s all about planning and getting organized.

Planning can get quite exhausting especially if you do not know where to start. It is important to know your goals and specific actions in order for those goals to be within reach . But most of the time it is not on the lack of planning but on the weak tracking and monitoring that hinder us from achieving our goals. Good thing I came across bullet journal about two years ago. Bullet journal has kept me into checking my goals, tasks and to do lists. So what is a bullet journal? Read on my five steps to start your own bullet journal.

1. Choose a journal

Any journal or notebook can be used for your bullet journal. If you want to customize, it is advisable to choose a blank notebook with dotted grid as an easier guide in setting up your spreads.

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Right now, I am using the Where to Next? planner which already has templates.

2. Know the keys

Since bullet journal is mostly on monitoring, it is essential to have legend for the status of tasks.

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Definitely a great feeling to put an “X” mark next to a certain task.

3. Logs, logs and more logs

It consists of yearly, monthly and daily logs.

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An overview of how the year will be.

 

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Activities needed to be accomplished within the month.

 

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Day to-day battles are written here. Thinking of adding a gratitude box on my next spread just to balance everything out.

4. Adding your personality

These are trackers on your personal goals which can be set in a yearly or monthly basis.

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Yoga is something I am passionate about, hence a spread on my practice.

5. Getting involved

I usually visit my bullet journal at least thirty minutes every morning and night.  A way to somehow de-clutter my mind and a good way to relieve stress.

Bullet journal is a good way of getting organized, constantly motivated and keeping in touch with your innate artist. How cool is that? But no need to get intimidated on how appealing it should look in terms of the theme, font and colors. As long as you can keep those goals track because let’s face it our dreams won’t make something out of themselves.

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Mt. Mago: More than A Walk to Remember

It has been a week since my first hike and I have been feeling low. I want to see the outdoors. Thankfully my friends from nearby companies (most of them were my schoolmates from college) invited me for a light trek. I got pretty excited and without hesitation blocked my Saturday.

Most of us reside in Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue, so instead of meeting up at North Bus Terminal, we decided to meet at a Total gasoline station near the Marcelo Fernan Bridge. Ten minutes prior to agreed time, six in the morning, I arrived. First at the assembly site. Fueled only by coffee, I decided to eat breakfast while waiting for the ladies. One by one, the girls arrived, and we left an hour later. We hopped on a bus to Carmen public market and bought lunch. We hailed two motorcycles to take us to the jump off point.

Seriously, it was probably the most difficult part of the entire day, holding on for dear life. I was falling off the end of the motorcycle when I asked my friend if we could exchange seats. She gladly obliged. She was clearly more adept in riding motorcycles. By the time I was in between the driver and my friend, it certainly was easier for me. However,  I spoke too quickly. As we passed by this narrow (only a single car or vehicle can fit), uphill and bumpy road suddenly the motorcycle was unsteady. My friend and I suddenly slid down to the right of the motorcycle; in an instant I grabbed the driver. He slightly jumped, I guess he was kind of shocked with the contact. I am sorry Sir if I grabbed you too tightly. We passed by farms and fields filled with cows and horses. Our driver became our guide, advertising the soon to be opened Safari. I asked if there are giraffes, he said the giraffes are already there. We really need to visit.

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It does not look like I overpacked right? But I did.

We arrived at Barangay Santican, the jump-off point, with numb legs and butt. We had two kids as our guide. Yes kids! They were around 10 to 12 years old. All of the older guides were already on the way to Mount Mago since a lot of hikers came yesterday. The trail was manageable but completely open. There were no trees for shade and it was a sunny day which made us all tired after thirty minutes. Due to my first trek, I decided to bring two liters of water since I always get thirsty. I also packed on some fruit jelly. I was always a fan of fruit jelly. My  four-year old niece and I would usually sit and watch cartoons together and eat our way through the entire pack. (Yes, a thirty year old can enjoy cartoons and jellies too). The jelly gave us a sudden boost to continue treading on.

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Frequent stop over and water breaks due to the heat.

We climbed hills and hills. Enjoying the scenery of greens and blues. Finally far from the bustle of the city. Every once in a while we asked our guide if  that would be the last hill. They were probably worn out from the same questions and the breaks we need to take ever so frequently. At past ten, we decided to take an early lunch. We shared our lunch with our guides under the shade of the only tree we saw near the trail. As soon as we had our fill, we decided to continue our trek.

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Lunch will be served under this tree. The only tree near the trail that is.

Finally arriving at the  famous boundary marker of Tuburan-Danao-Carmen. If you know the movie, A Walk to Remember, about a terminally ill girl who had her wish list granted by this hot and popular dude which includes being at two places at once. (Did I mention they love each other too?) Yep, I think we won over the movie. That’s three places at once. Well yes she had a Shane West to do it for her but then again I have the ladies with me.

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Shane West got nothing on my girls.

We took pictures and lots of them. We were still lying around next to the boundary marker talking and facing the bluest sky when suddenly something sounded. They said it was a snake. We bolted right up and started the trek back to the jump off point. Snakes can clearly make us work double time. On our way back, I was animatedly chattering away with my sister from my beloved society when we realized that we were separated from the others. We came to a forked path which we cannot remember passing by. We tried calling their names, but no reply. Our atmosphere turned grim in a heartbeat. We took note of that red mark on the tree. In case it is the wrong path, we’d go back and try the other way. I am relieved my instinct did not fail me this time.

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Definitely our Mount Mago trip is one for the books.

After that sweaty trek we decided to cool down at Durano Ecofarm and Spring Resort. The water was ice-cold. I was freezing. But the cold did not hinder us from playing in the water. We went to Our Lady of Manaoag Church and offered prayers. It unexpectedly rained so hard that we decided to attend the mass before making our way back to Carmen’s public market. As we sat silently in the bus to take us home, tired and beat from the day’s adventures and misadventures. But nevertheless a trip that’s truly one for the books.

 

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Coron: No coercion needed

 

It was a quiet afternoon. I was typing away through reports and replying to tons of emails. Suddenly my work mate, which is also my “unnie”, told me that seats to Coron is on sale. Coron; pristine waters and green specked lime stones. That Coron! I was unsure if I can go because of the schedule. However, I need to give them a confirmation as soon as possible, else it will all be sold out. My work mate did sort of forced me to say yes. But who needs to get coerced if it is the Coron.

After six months of booking our flight, finally that fateful day has come. It would have been enough time for me to slim down and fit into my bikini but unfortunately I just got bigger. Nah! who cares I am going to step into Coron whether my bikini fits or not. The destination that I loved looking on my instagram feeds. The place where I signed for an online petition so that an underwater amusement park will not push through with their construction.

We took a direct flight from Mactan to Busuanga on a gloomy day. Well, it has been raining in Cebu for a week. Thankfully, it was just dark clouds. Also, the flight was right on schedule. It took us an hour to land in Busuanga. A van took us from the airport to our accomodations, K-heights. It’s no wonder, we really need to book a ride. Stretch and stretch of green grass with lots of cows grazing was all we could see. It took us thirty minutes to reach our accommodations. We had an early check in and lunch at Kaiso, a Chinese restaurant. Just as we reached the corner of the restaurant, rain started to pour. We  chattered on how we wish the rain would stopped after we cleared out our bulalo (beef broth), pancit and buffalo wings. Heaven heard our prayers and so it did.

The city tour cost around five hundred pesos per head so instead of booking the travel tour we asked a tricycle to take us around town which only costs us two hundred fifty pesos per head. Lualhati park and Coron town hall were just a breeze. We took the liberty of buying pasalubong at the Coron souvenir shop on the first day since it will be quite hectic from then on. We really took our sweet time in picking out pasalubong for family, friends and colleagues; from cashew nuts (roasted or baked), cashew tarts, pastillas to fridge magnets and wallets. My eyes caught the attention of the Gopro for rent at the shop. I guess you really need it since Coron is all about island hopping. It will be great if you can document the under waters too.

On to Mt. Tapyas, we were quite surprised that the path to the said mountain was just right at our doorstep. We climbed stairs and stairs until we reached the view deck. Every once in a while we had to catch our breath. We also breathed  in the magnificent view of Coron as we filled our lungs with oxygen. At the summit, we could see islands and islands of beauty. My eyes reached far and wide to waters and foliage. Damn!

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Breathing in Coron’s view while catching our breaths.

The road to Maquinit hot springs was quite rough and I was enjoying most of it. With my usual, “woooh” and “waaah”. We got there at around five in the afternoon. The place has its share of foreigners and locals. The first dip was accompanied with a mild shriek. Yes, it was hot but so good. The water washes away the tiredness after that trek to Mt. Tapyas. Ah! this and the view. Perfect. We left at around six and as we went out, bunch of tourists has came down from Mt. Tapyas. Good thing we were early. We had a quick shower and went out for a walk to a nearby grill house and had dinner. We had an early light-out since we will have a full day tomorrow, the highlight of the tour.

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This and some hot springs after some trek. Nice!

Before eight we were already on our toes. In our swimsuits; packed on dry bags and tote bags are our sunblock, cameras and what nots. Yes! I packed my snorkel too. We booked an exclusive tour for just the five of us and also customized our destinations. We had Kayagan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Siete Pecados, Barracuda Lake, Blue/Green Lagoon, Coral Garden and Banol/Smith Point Beach for the entire day. Our guide, Joy, knows how to speak bisaya, so it was a joy to talk to him freely in our native language. Just before departing, we were briefed on the do’ and don’ts and jokes thrown in between. Then it started to rain but on to adventure. No rain can stop these “Last Marias” (heard Joy talking to another guide and named our group as such). I wonder why!

First on our itinerary, Siete Pecados. We donned our snorkel and jumped right in with our life vests. Joy provided us with buoy. All of us who went snorkeling did not even know how to swim. He then towed us as we dipped our heads into the water. I was too occupied on the amazing view of the depths. The corals, the fishes, the irregularities of the sea floor. Also I was taking pictures and videos while trying to hold onto one of my friend’s foot. Talk about multitasking. There were neon green corals, lavender cylinders and golden sponges. It was breathtaking. My friends started yelling if I was ok since I did not took a break nor speak even once. Yes, I was just too speechless with the beauty that Coron has offered and that is just item number one in our itinerary.

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I am in love.

Kayagan lake! This is the probably the place that signifies you have been to Coron. We climbed stairs and took took pictures at the deck.  We finally went down to the lake after a photo each at the deck. There were too many tourists, it was quite difficult to take that IG goal picture but hey, we brought our IG pose game in every click. We were having a great time swimming and laughing like we were the only people in the lake. We decided to leave the lake and as we were getting our stuff, our guide approached me and pointed out my left hip, turned out my bikini came undone. Thank you Joy, I might have indecent exposure if you have not noticed. Next time no string bikinis for me because I played too much in the water.

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No need to fret, life vests are available. It is also required.

The crowd in Barracuda lake were not that much as in Kayagan lake. I could count them with just my fingers. Joy mentioned that the lake were mostly visited by scuba divers because of its sea floors. Currently the path to the lake was undergoing renovation. We also met this funny guy from Davao, who was quite devastated by the weather but still enjoyed the waters in Coron. Just like our group.

It was already one in the afternoon when we were reminded that we still need to take our lunch. Wow! I must have really enjoyed that much because my brain did not even recognize the signal my stomach was sending that it was already past lunch time. It is disastrous if I can’t take my meals on time. Mr. Sun joined us from then on. We were the last to arrive at Banol Point beach for our lunch. Most of the tourists had already finished their meals and were packing up. We feasted on fried fish, lato (sea caviar), eggplant salad, grilled pork and garlic shrimps. I finished plates of rice, not caring how I would look in the pictures after. The food is sumptuous and the conversations over it made it even more satisfying.

Our last stop was at Twin Lagoon, the water is like Katy Perry’s song, Hot and cold. It was cold in the surface and beneath was hot. It was really interesting. The lime stone were exquisite. I wonder if some people did rappelling or wall climbing on these rocks. It would really look breathtaking from above.

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My foot making a come back on my photos.

We bid goodbye to our guide and wished him well. Dinner was at a grill restaurant, we were looking for  a cake shop since one of our friend will be celebrating her birthday. Unfortunately, there was none. We just had sumptuous meal and wished her over leche flan. It was such an exciting day and downed it with a cold beer.

Our last day in Coron was a slow one. Our pick-up time was at eleven. We had the whole morning to pack and get ready. By nine, we were just lounging and watching TV. My unnie then asked if we could go see the town. So we went out despite the rain and explored the market. I was hoping I could taste some street snacks, but that did not happen. We toured for a bit and took more pictures and went back to our accommodations just in time for our ride.

This Coron trip made me realize two things. One, it made me gain two new friends which I am pretty sure I will be seeing more of (out of the four persons I am with, it was the first time meeting the two). It is not bad to travel with new people. If anything it would make you closer for just a short amount of time. Two, for someone who loves the sea so much but does not know how to swim, it was definitely heartbreaking. So I am upping my travel next time by taking swimming lessons (and upping my life skill). I am pretty sure this will up my travel posts too.

 

 

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Thirty on being thirty

Thirty.

The age that defines the young and old. It seems to be that dreaded age that you need everything to be figured out. Hence, the pressure is on when you hit your mid-twenties. Despite these seemingly unattractive bits, there are things that thirty-something are certainly grateful for.

Listed below are the thirty something I have gained for just being alive for three decades.

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Upon hitting mid-twenties, my age had not changed since then or so I believe.

1. Kiss your mom. Hug her tight. Date her often.

2. To witness someone so dear take his last breath and the only thing you can do is tell him you love him over and over again, in dire hope he’d still hear it, until he breathe his last; will always be the greatest heartache.

3. With or without kids, at his teens or in his 50’s, I’d still link arms, kiss his cheeks and hug him tight. My baby brother will always be my baby brother. Some things sure does not change.

4. Coffee will get you through anything. Almost.

5. Friends will keep you from doing insane things. But best friends will tempt you to do the crazy.

6. Writing cures the soul.

7. It does not matter how much you want it, sometimes it is just not meant to be. But hey, be stubborn anyway.

8. A smile and thank you can get you to places.

9. Money makes everything seem so easy. I wouldn’t know if it makes some things difficult though.

10. Wander. Roam. Drift.

11. Love is like every poet has ever written.

12. Heartbreak can never compare to the poems ever written.

13. Give yourself some love. Apply sunscreen daily.

14. Being lazy is a luxury.

15. Loving the sea does not mean you hate the heights. Try climbing mountains too.

16. We all have our bad days. Be understanding.

17. Decisions are based on biases and fears.

18. The world will always have their opinion whatever you do. Stop hesitating.

19. Regrets. Sigh.

20. There is time for everything. There would not be enough time for everything.

21. There is beauty in impending catastrophe.

22. Tequila, the best alcohol to get intoxicated with. Just as this certain person, the best in getting tipsy with.

23. To be kissed ferociously that there’d be no chance to think where this deed may lead; bliss or misery.

24. Hugs will always be a booster. It does not matter if its front hug, back hug or side hugs.  But the best hug comes from the person you miss the most.

25. If you want your heart to race; run kilometers or climb mountains.

26. Nobody is entirely happy with their appearance. Find you best asset and work with it.

27. In another person’s book, you are the antagonist.

28. The runway is the best view when your vision’s all blurry due to tears welling up.

29. Know your love language. Know his love language. Know her love language.

30. Life will just get better from here on.

I guess it isn’t so bad being in their thirties. So for those who are teasing me about my age, I promise I would not sulk anymore. Hey, you’ll all catch up too.