Thursday, January 18, 2018

My Macau and HK Sojourn

No, I have not finally decided to convert this online space into a practical travel weblog after I got hooked on trips abroad recently; there are just too many online travel blogs which I thankfully used as my travel guide. Therefore, don't expect me to share about my favorite places in this post. I still want to keep this space sound personally and hopefully more reflective. What brought this writing into introspection are my personal insights as I went in this journey.

Anyway, every friend back home and each stranger I met abroad always find this trip surprising as I traveled solo. Yes, I traveled SOLO and abroad! And take note, these are Chinese territories where English is scarce both in print and spoken. As a matter of fact, I experienced some locals shooing me away like a fly once they hear me speak. Thankfully there is a huge presence of Filipino workers in these territories I could ask help when finally lost.

It takes balance between the elements of preparation and excitement. Of course, as preparation, I had to research all these better ways to visit the tourist destinations, but the detours actually led to more wonders and surprises. I must tell you that I did not accomplish all my trip plans right; the rest were mistakes, but definitely great! It reminds me that is important that we lay the cards of our desire open but still we must be receptive to grander plans above.

This trip also changed my perspective in a way  that not every one who wanders is lost but is actually found. Others may think about it as just some fancy thoughts they hear from showbiz people. But hey, I am serious!  I think that I learned about myself better in the emotional aspect such as the realization that I can be happy with wonderful thoughts alone. It was the first time I felt genuinely happy because I found and learned a better aspect of myself through this travel.

Reflecting on this whole trip, I realize much as other people said that it was very brave of myself to ever travel alone in these distant and foreign places. Indeed, gone are the nights as a kid when I had to fight the monsters under my bed and in my head. I realized I have grown up that I can wrestle with the real challenges in life. I felt as though no valleys and aches can stop my dreams, are there? This should inspire more outward sojourns in the future.

Serene and contented. Pictures taken at Hong Kong Disneyland
and Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral in Macau. 

At the end of this trip, I can only thank God for the traveling mercy and for all the learned things. Travels, indeed, are teachers that impress valuable lessons meaningfully.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Black Butterflies

And truth must be told... I decided to give it a try...  I got tattoo etched on my left wrist last December 30. 

At least to me, it was one of the hardest decisions I made to consider the profession that I am in. I expect some stern eye brows would ask: And why butterflies? 

A butterfly symbolizes serene transformation.  I feel like I have gone through and still going through many changes at this period of my life; some wonderful and others outrageous. But in all these changes, I have willingly surrendered and experienced for the better, just like the butterfly in its stages of metamorphosis.

And I remember freedom as the needle kissed the surface of my skin. It was pain that I allowed to kiss my soul, too. I endured the prize, not consequence, of such freedom! I proved to myself that I can stand to my decisions and that no pain that I cannot endure out there. 

I know that in the code that I pledged allegiance, I am bound to show decency including in how I appear physically. But who must define what is decent and not? I am a human with the right to self expression and I remain resolute to such right as long as I do not harm others. 

Let the butterflies fly....

And truth must be told... I have not one but three tattoos ... The other two are mine to keep and your nosy minds to figure out where.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tall Orders and New Journeys

If I will describe the immediate past year, the title of this post would best capture it all. It was the year of turning points, characterized by tall orders that I needed to conquer bravely and new journeys to an exciting spectrum of experiences. I can only look back at all those memories with a smile at this moment, knowing that such events made me a better person today.

Here are my six tall orders and new journeys last year that I will forever cherish as part of my summer years:

Getting my Ph.D. Curriculum Studies in UP. When I was removed by destiny from the comforts of home away to a "foreign land", all I could muster were a sigh of shock. I was shocked that all of a sudden I had to get out of my comfort zone out to the unknowns. I never expected this scholarship too soon and I started packing my things and emotions early last year. But I thought about the confidence of my university to my capacity, the prayers of my family and friends, and my passion for the profession that I share with the humanity. Voila!

Learning the ropes of curriculum. An advantage when you are in a top university is the access to knowledge. When I was teaching a course in curriculum development in the college, I have always wondered how is curriculum developed from scratches. Books would tell the theories and principles but not the process based on the experience. Being a curriculum apprentice, I learned the process of planning the curriculum considering the different sources and influences. I got the chance to learn from reading books in curriculum development, workshops in our classes and frequent observations in the curriculum reviews of my program adviser. "Kung babalik ka na sa MSU, marunong ka na gumawa ng curriculum," my program adviser once told me. But honestly I am not still very confident that I feel there is still really so many things to learn out there. More!

Meeting my maternal relatives in Abra. There was another point in my journey away from home: to meet my relatives in my mother side. Some people are nostalgic about sciences; others about cultures. Are there people like me who are nostalgic about family relationships? It was truly a wonderful time finally meeting people I have never seen in my life but are people who belong to my "family". Xoxo!

Organizing international conference in curriculum studies. It is nice to rub elbows with people who are passionate about their discipline. This year, I am truly grateful for having the opportunity to head one of the committees of the 1st Asia Pacific Conference on Curriculum Studies and Instructional Designing. I learned so much about my discipline as it is one of a kind conference that is solely dedicated to discuss trends in curriculum studies. I knew great people like Dr. Murray Print who was our keynote speaker and actually the author of Curriculum Development book. The conference also opened opportunities to learn from the curriculum researches of presenters. And most of all, valuable lessons from event as organizers are well taken to experience. Longlive!

Sitting on two ancient civilizations in Thailand and Cambodia respectively.
Conquering borders of Thailand and Cambodia. I have always been a culture junkie but I really have not traveled abroad to experience the culture of the world. Our travel to Thailand and Cambodia was a blast to consider that it was a single journey but hitting two countries. My favorite historical place in Thailand includes the Grand Royal Palace located just right at the heart of the city. It boasts of old palaces and temples that show the culture of Thailand. When in Cambodia, it is like never having been to Cambodia without roaming around the ancient complex of Angkor Watt. It is big complex of cities that depict the history of the country and perhaps of the region. Traveling is education!

Moving on and a closure. Late last year, I finally had the guts to talk to the former love of my heart. Moving on from that person is one thing but I will admit that I have not really moved on from the affair. I think time and distance have their own ways of healing broken hearts, and it did to mine. After a lot of heavy ruminations on nights I spent alone, I have forgiven the person and importantly myself in that journey that had to end. The light feeling over our serious conversation recently must be a sign that I am in the right path of my emotional state. Alas!

For all these things, I thank God for all His goodness to my life and the lives of the ones I dearly love. My fervent wish for everybody is very simple that:

May our new year be filled with wonderful dreams and good madness. I wish we travel to places, hug people who think we are awesome, and read good books and stories of inspiring people. And I hope to hear surprises from everyone. 

Thank you for everything! Keep the new year awesome as you are!