Good Morning Sunshine

good morning sunshine

Mornings are inspiring, exciting, stimulating. Though we have different attitude upon waking up, it’s always good to greet the morning with a smile rather than a cranky face. I must admit that on a weekday, I find it hard to get off my comfy bed even if I slept like a baby. I love to stay for a bit and snooze for a little while. The thought of going to work stresses me out but it’s just about getting ready. When I’m at work everything seemed normal. I used to not like mornings before but I now realized mornings are not too bad at all. I remember when I was still in my mom and dad’s care, my mother would woke me up saying, “Wake up my dear, it’s a beautiful morning.” She wanted me to join her for a cup of coffee with my dad. They would talk about their plans for the day while I enjoy dipping the sweet buns in my cup of joe. She would tell me that rising up early is good for the mind and body. Whenever I get up kinda grumpy, I always remind myself to smile and think about how beautiful the morning was, that I am still alive, that I am lucky to be still breathing, that I am loved.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” Marcus Aurelius

Rising early in the morning gives me more time to do my turf as well. It’s always better than waking up late and staying up late. The longer the day for me, the better.

sun rays

Our attitude on a daybreak reveals our nature. Bestir ourselves to a wonderful kick-start and we’ll admit that every single day gives us unexpected supernatural occurences that brings happiness to our lives.

We are fortunate each morning that we wake up breathing and witness the fascinating charm of the rising sun, hear the birds singing, enjoy the scent of a lovely breakfast, the aroma of brewed coffee, the hot shower that streams onto our body touching our soul, the smile and the early morning hug, the touch of gentle morning breeze on our face. We might have lenghty and cloudy bygones but with just one smile and it will make the whole day better.

“May your joys be as bright as the morning, and your sorrows merely be shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet, enough trials to keep you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to keep you.” -Irish Blessings

“Every morning when I get up, the first thing I decide is: What do I want? Misery? Blissfulness? What am I going to choose today? And it happens that I always choose blissfulness. It is my choice, it is my life.”-Abdullah

 

 

Quotations courtesy of http://quotations.about.com.

Photo credits to http://www.bubblenews.com & 1ms.net

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The Blissful Province Life

I was browsing my iphoto library and I thought it could be interesting to write about the life in the provinces of the Philippines.

I grew up in the province of Aurora which is located in the Eastern part of Central Luzon Region facing the Philippine Sea. Aurora province is filled with gorgeous beaches. It is subdivided into 8 municipalities and my family and I lived in one of the small towns. Neil and I spent most of our holidays last February in the province. He met some of my relatives and he had experienced the blissful province life.

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People in the small towns get so excited when there’s a visitor from other places specially from other country. When Neil and I arrived in the farm house the kids in the neighborhood are all so ecstatic, they would stand outside our fences to catch a glimpse of us. Neil and I were so excited as well to meet the neighborhood. Those little kids four years ago before I left the country were all grown up. I can hardly recognize them. I have to ask who their parents are as these kids would come to me, call my name and I don’t even know them. Neil had a picture with the kids. They like posing with the visitor. When the sun sets, these kids would never leave unless their mom and dads would come and pick them up for supper. The usual time for supper is 6 o’clock. After supper, the family would relax for a bit and give the tummy the time to digest the lovely dinner.

My mom rented a Karaoke machine. The family loves karaoke, it’s one of the necessities when there’s something to celebrate. Neil and I sang a few songs. The sound system was pretty loud but the neighbors don’t mind. Sometimes they like listening to good music, unfortunately the singers are out of tune. I hope they were not swearing at us while we were singing. It’s 7 o’clock and the kids outside our fences would watch us sing. We asked them to dance and they would dance. The relatives would come over and sing with us. Everybody sings and dance. The night was filled with joy and laughter.

We wake up early in the morning. We hear the rooster singing Rock-a-doodle, dogs barking, neighbors gossiping, poot-poot boy passing by with the big basket of freshly baked sweet buns honking his customer magnet, pigs squealing, people shouting and a whole lot more. It’s so nice to wake up and feel the early morning breeze. Coffee and buns are all served. The helpers cooking our breakfast. Breakfast served at 8 o’clock. What a life.

tender juicy hotdog tilapia salted egg with tomatoes

Red hotdogs, fried tilapia, salted egg with tomatoes and fried rice. A very lovely breakfast. Some families would have noodles, fried sundried fish or any vegetable they can grab from their back garden. People in the provinces likes planting vegetables in the back garden, raising hogs and poultry. If they have no cash, they can just grab it from their garden or from the pig pen. People there are very resourceful even the families living in poverty can make up something just so the family can have three meals in a day.

goose

The above photo is an example of what is in the back garden. Goose, ducks, pig pen, poultry place and a vegetable garden. During our stay, my cousins slaughtered one of my moms piggy. I felt bad for the poor thing but I’m willing to eat after anyway. They planned to slaughter two of them, one for main recipes and one whole thing for “Lechon” or roasted pig but they ended up doing just one. They realized two is too much. We heard the squealing piggy begging for his life. My cousins finished the slaughtering in 30 minutes. They’re kinda good at it. Master slaughters. They started cooking the pork meat and made lots of dishes. My favourite is the “Lauya” which means pork soup. I like soup a lot that’s why I specifically requested for that one. They cooked “Dinuguan” or blood pudding stew, Ceviche, MenudoKaldereta and some other dishes that I can’t even remember. Those dishes are all tasty and savoury. Those are specialty dishes in the Philippines. It’s very common to have those yummy pork goodies during celebrations like birthdays, weddings, christmas, new years, house blessings and even welcoming visitors. Since my mom and dad missed me so much, they threw a huge celebration for our arrival or maybe it’s only for house blessing. I would like to think it’s for both.

If there’s a celebration in the neighborhood, the most common attitude is the “Come-One, Come-All” thing. Everybody is invited. Even the dogs of the farthest neighbor can come. The Barangay is so small that you’ll know every single individual that lives in one particular house. People sometimes get offended if you missed to invite them. Some people are just too shy to attend gatherings. My mom’s co-teachers are in complete attendance of course, my relatives and a lot of different faces. Everyone enjoyed the food. Pictures taken. Everybody’s talking, gabbing. Everybody was happy. After eating, some would stay for a bit and have a chit chat with the family. Some would go home early with doggy bags. It’s a common tradition to give the family of the attendee something before they go home. It’s common courtesy in our country.

sun beneath the leavesfarmlands

The most common view in our province are the rice fields. Feels like we’re in Vietnam war. Apocalypse Now. A very interesting panorama. People work on rice fields, and get payed by the land owner. That is the most common way of living in there. The rich owns the lands and the low income families works for them.

In our province, people would plant and harvest the rice manually. If the land owner owns hectares of land they hire a lot of head to work for him. They use water buffalos to plow the rice fields. Some would use machines. They harvest rice three times or four times a year.

tractor

During harvest season, they use machineries to separate rice grains from the stalk. One example of the machine is the above photo wherein Neil is posing with the people.

rice

They would have the sacks of rice grains sundried either on a concrete road or on a private drying area. One common thing you’ll notice in our province are the sacks of rice grains all lined up on concrete road. After everything has been sundried properly, they will then sell them to buyers usually from other provinces. The price of one sack would depend on the weight. The price fluctuates all the time. It peaks during the summer season. Harvest times are happy times. The rich gets richer, the low income families earns money, three meals a day. Everybody’s untroubled. Sometimes the wealthy would give a sack of rice to the low-income relatives.

We went to Baler during our stay in Aurora. We dropped by our house in the downtown area and witnessed the evidence how proud my mom and dad was. Two tarpaulins showing our achievements hanging on 2 sides of our ancient house. One for me and one for my eldest sister. It’s been hanging there for 2 years now. Neil had a picture showing the tarpaulins but I’m too embarrassed to post them. After the stop over, we drove heading to Sabang Beach in Baler.

surf in baler

Baler Bay is an extension of the Philippine Sea. It’s a 30 minute drive from our farm house to the beach. Very accessible pristine beach. It is known for the great huge waves, great place for surfing. A lot of surfers would go to Baler Bay and enjoy what it has to offer. There are lots of hotels and resorts close to the beach as well. It’s one of the most reachable beaches from out town. There are lots of gorgeous beaches down there but it’s 6 hours away from the farm. Sabang Beach is the most popular beach in the province for chilling out. Families would go there on Good Fridays, Black Saturdays and Easter Sundays. Some would just go there to feel the pacific breeze, have a fun time with friends. Some would go for contemplation, meditation etc. Some would go just to spend money.

coconut husk

People in the provinces are very easy going. They’re living a happy life. No stress. The unspoiled nature has to do with it I think. The greens, the ocean, the fresh air, the sea breeze, the virgin forest and the people. Everything you see rejuvenates the soul. It relaxes the mind. It wiped off all the stress we had. Neil and I felt like new people. More relaxed. No worries. No anxiety. The surroundings and the mood of the people are very contagious. Everyone just seemed so happy. They laugh freely, they smile here and there, they greet us nicely. We felt their warm hearts. Everything and everyone was just amusing and gratifying.

grocery in the philippines

The above photo is a grocery shop in our province. That’s me and my cousin in the picture. The market there is a one huge open space wherein each stall is privately owned by individuals. Meat, fish, poultry and vegetables are all fresh, harvested in our very own province land. They are very cheap as well. A kilo of pork will only cost Php100 which is $2.50. Vegetables are even cheaper. Though people there loves meat a lot. Well, who doesn’t. Pork is always on top of a grocery shopping list. The trend is “A family who has pork dish on the table for dinner has earned good money.” Every after harvest season, there’s always pork meat for supper to celebrate.

farmlands

I missed the province life. Neil and I would definitely go back soon. I miss the family, the surroundings, the people, everything. The warm welcome, warm hearts, beautiful smiles, nature talking, the ocean breeze, the great waves, happy meals. People are genuinely happy, no stress, no drama.

Life brings simple pleasures. Simple pleasures are the most satisfying that life has to offer. The morning coffee, being outside under a blue warm sky, hanging out with love ones after dinner, a beautiful view, having a good laugh, sleeping in on a rainy day. There are lots of things to be satisfied about. The province life is living a simple but carefree life.

Why don’t we start making wonderful memories with the simple pleasures life gives us every morning, everyday?

Blessed Day to Everyone!

Holidays in Boracay

Here comes the most awaited holiday of my life. I have been living in the Philppines for 24 years yet I have not seen the stunning beach of Boracay which is now the number 1 tourist destination of the country. I have been away from home for almost 4 years now and I just cannot wait to see my family.

Neil and I arrived in Ninoy Aquino International Airport at around 11 o’clock of February 2nd. I cannot believe my eyes when I saw my mom and dad. They look so much older than when I left the country. I did not know how much I missed them until I hugged them. Oh I have missed them ever since I left home. Love them so much. And we are back together for the meantime!

And then our Boracay Adventure.

Why life is better in Boracay?

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As you can see, the beach was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was shining into the crystal clear water. The fine white sand felt like velvet beneath my feet.

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Food is GORGEOUS and CHEAP.

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I have never witnessed such beauty in a sunset. There are times where the sky is colored neon yellow, orange and pink then it becomes more of a gradient color scheme blending into the wispy clouds and sail boats on the horizon. It looks as if the sky is filled with different tones and texture coming together to form a mass of beauty that is pure and untainted.

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Banana Peanut shake is just heaven! Even the Mango Fruit shake is just divine. Must try Jonahs Fruit Shake as they are supposed to have the best shakes in the island.

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There are so many fun activities to do like the Banana Boat Ride, Parasailing, ATV, Island Hopping, Snorkeling, Helmet Diving and more. I really enjoyed ATV and Banana Boat Ride since the whole family is doing it. It’s just absolutely pure fun!

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This is one of our favorite alright. You can get a good massage for Php 250.00 which is only $ 6 CAD.

My family had lots of fun. We stayed in La Carmela de Boracay at Station 2. The hotel staff are awesome. The hospitality is just priceless. The rooms are nice, clean and well ventilated. We stayed in an Executive Suite for the whole family and the room was spacious.

We had no expectations upon arrival but we fell head over heels in love with this island. I have never seen my mom and dad so relaxed in their entire life and i am so delighted to see them like that. Between the amount of things to do on the Island and such a small price tag associate with the activities, Boracay is the perfect place to go for a beautiful tropical holiday for the family and even honeymooners on a budget.

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Absolutely!

Do you agree?