Slow Down, Take It Easy.

The secret of living a happy life is to “slow down and do one thing at a time”, my grandmother once told me.

At this day and age what people call millennial generation, it seems that almost everything has been replaced by something “instant” or readily available. Various social media like Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, and the like have served as the mainstream and traditional ways are rapidly being put into oblivion. Disappointing as it may sound but the era of fake and unverified information or news are becoming the standards of truth.

Nowadays, one could order food, clothes or whatever material thing one has in mind, online. Pay it online, and after a few days, they are delivered at one’s doorstep. One could also meet people in certain dating applications and voila, you are up for a romantic date or more, at an instant. Even in schools, some institutions would require their students to submit their outputs through emails. In workplaces, one could conduct trainings virtually. True enough, these things are indication of progress, and comfort to most.

On a hindsight, I have noticed that because of these convenience, people have become more demanding, and have lost grip of the essence of waiting, and yes, taking things at a slower fashion. These things are very evident specially in big cities wherein most individuals seem to be racing with each other – where everyone is in a hurry to book a ride home thru transportation apps, in a hurry to finish work inorder to accommodate and accomplish more tasks, thinking that being able to do more at a faster pace makes one more superior, admirable, and incredible.

I am guilty of these claims. I am aware that I spend a significant time checking on my phone for notifications in my social media accounts, checking on the latest news/things in Twitter or in Instagram, and would just prefer a quick hi/hello in Viber, Whatsapp and messenger to friends instead of meeting them in person.

My recent travel to Europe served as a timely reminder that I should take time to genuinely experience what life has been offering me all along. Things like taking my time to eat and to actually enjoy the food I am eating, to not worrying of getting up really early and hurrying myself to be dressed up in the morning so as to accomplish alot of things, to appreciating long, leisure walks while talking to random people, exchanging views about many things — are just some of those that I have learned to value more.

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While I have learned to set aside checking on my emails and socmed notifications for a few hours,  I am still guilty of being a gadget-dependent individual.

It is true that grabbing every opportunity coming our way is a good thing, and accomplishing more seem a really impressive idea, but then again, we should remind ourselves to enjoy and notice the smallest of the things around us. We should not be too preoccupied with our destination. We should learn to appreciate the journey per se and keep in mind the possibilities of encountering U-turns and dead-ends, and of course enjoying every moment along the way.

“Take it easy” — I always say this in most of my posts, and maybe it is time to practice it more whole heartedly. I guess taking time, taking a few steps back shouldn’t hurt our way towards achieving our main goals in life. Who knows, if we do these, we might just end up being happier and more satisfied.

***This write-up is a product of my jetlag. Since I cant sleep and these thoughts have been racing inside my head the past weeks, might as well jot them down here.

Lester out.

Travel Memorabilia

Hello friends! It has been more than a month the last time I have made an entry here. I just came from yet another pretty tiresome, but definitely fun-filled series of travels. I will try to post some of these recent adventures sometime soon. In the meantime, here is a short sharing of what I love to buy and bring home during travel.

Traveling is a very rewarding experience. After a trip, one goes home with innumerable mementos — from incomparable life lessons to new found friends, to of course uncountable photographs, and memories to cherish a lifetime.

Aside from these, I have also developed a habit of bringing home a physical memorabilia that comes in different forms. Before, I would make sure I get to buy at least a keychain or a fridge magnet as a souvenir from my trip.

Today, i have gone beyond these usual stuff. Whenever I go on a travel, I alot a certain amount of my money to buy some of the things I personally collect. Some of these include miniature building decors/displays like an Eiffel Tower from France, a Burf Khalifa and Burj Al Arab from my Dubai travel or a Milad Tower I bought in Iran from a recent trip and many more.

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Also, I make sure that I have a paper bill and some coins to spare for my currency collection. Some of my friends actually like these as my pasalubong to them since some of them also have this kind of colkection. I happen to collect also Starbucks tumblers and diecast planes. I am even starting to collect some books and dolls unique to a certain place I have visited. And lastly, I also bring home some paintings which I plan to use as wall decors when my dream of putting up my own cafe comes into fruition.

I know these are just material mementos and the memories that go with the travel are still far more important. Nonetheless, it feels good to see tangible reminders as to how awesome one particular trip was.

 

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Philippines’ Beaches: What’s Not to Love?

The Philippines, being an archipelago, is dotted with innumerable pristine, sparkling beaches. Some white, others black, a few brown, and surprisingly pink too! We have beaches that are as fine as talcum powder to gritty, sandy ones, while others are pebble lined. Majority of these tropical paradise boasts off crystal clear water that comes in azure to turquoise colors. Regardless of the color and texture of beaches’ sand and water, Philippines’ seashores will make one’s “beach escapade” memorable and fun!

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Besides the obvious aesthetics of our beaches, here are other reasons why bumming around the beaches of the Philippines is a must doPhilippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches are home to various water sports and activities. From surfing, to snorkeling to SCUBA diving, kitesurfing, kayaking, island-hopping and many more. Plus, the marine life is teeming with wonders.  One will never run out of things to do. These activities can keep you fit and make your vacation more fun-filled.

Philippines’ beaches showcase some of the most jaw-dropping sunrise and sunset views. Everything turns into a picturesque, surreal nature art once the sun starts to rise. It is even more dramatic during sundown. Sunset by the beach is one thing I look forward the most.

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Philippines’ beaches are generally cheap. While some of our beaches are becoming more and more commercialized, I want to believe that majority of our beaches are still inexpensive, and some even for free. One could spend some time along the beach without worrying about spending much – paying for entrance fees or buying pricey food because again, the cost isn’t really high.

Philippines’ beaches are home to good and hospitable Filipinos. I want to think that Filipino hospitality is evident in almost all parts of the country – whether at the mountain villages, to seaside towns, and various rural areas. Most Filipinos are willing to lend a helping hand in whatever ways they could. Some families would invite you their homes, some would even cook the freshest sea catch of the day for their visitors to have a sumptuous meal.

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They say “life is a beach”. Whether you have a beach bod, dad bod or whatever kind of body figure you have, the beach is one welcoming place for you to experience life, to live life.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Hurts & Broken Hearts

Most of you might be surprised to see yet another entry that deviates from my usual posts. Let’s just say, I am trying to share a little more of myself. So here’s something I wrote some 9 years ago.

Loving, getting hurt, and loving again and getting hurt again may sound over-used as a blog topic and it may sound cheesy. But on second thought, it doesnt matter since its always relatable.

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We are all human. Even superheroes have there human side. No matter what our economic background, cultural standings and our chosen profession is — we all bleed the same color if we are cut. But more than that, we are prone to heart break and old battle scars from old relationships that somehow went wrong.

Relationship failures, if we knew why they went wrong or not, we still ask ourselves with “Why? What did I do wrong?” And this could be one sided or on both sides of the relationship.

Some affairs are made in heaven. And there are certain relationships that are simply not meant to be. They are doomed from the very beginning. Then there are those that start off as a storybook romance, and then they sour over time.

After being in a string of bad relationships, we start to wonder if we are defeated… defective… useless… It becomes hard to open our heart again to anyone and to trust someone again. Even if it involves trusting yourself to let go to love again.

BUT, if we don’t let go — how are we going to get over the heartbreak and turn it into another battle scar? Too bad they don’t award the purple heart of valor and bravery for surviving undesirably painful relationships.

“The only way to forget is to accept, and the only way to move on is to look ahead. And let the footprints of the past, be blown away by the wind of time. Only then can our hearts find a partner in the dance of life.” — This is one of my all-time favorite lines from Joe D’Mango.

BUT, again, we have to take baby steps in learning how to let go of the past and how to trust again, even with all the wounds and scars and broken hearts.For if we don’t, our heart would not heal enough to give ourselves another chance at the crazy roller coaster called love.

Perhaps, one difficult situation one could possibly be into is when two broken-hearted individuals collide. I wonder if together, it would help them heal each other. Sounds weird, but it could be something that could happen. Its about taking chances, its about taking risks, its full of uncertainty… but who knows… a sweet love story is on the brew.

I wrote (and first posted) this blog at my Multiply account on October 24, 2008. It was inspired by my bonding with some friends who have shared their love stories with me – most of which were tales of being broken-hearted. During those times, I was in a seemingly perfect relationship and so hearing their stories made me realize how fortunate I was with the person I have. Some 9 years after I wrote this one, it made me reminisce my personal “hurt and brokenness” experience 7 years ago. So I guess we all have our fair share of injustices when it comes to love. Nevertheless, I am still on high hopes that someday, I will meet that someone who will make me believe in love again.

***Photos used are 9 years old as well 🙂

If it is meant to be, our hearts will find each other when we meet. And if our hearts melt together so will our bodies and souls. Then every word and every touch will fuel our passion flame. I will be yours, you will be mine, and we will be one.

Of Rain & Of Tears

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.” — William Shakespeare

So today, I decided to post something different from my usual musings (triggered perhaps by the moody weather the past days). It was yet another rainy afternoon. It’s raining as far as I can see. It’s coming down unbreakable now.

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It is amusing how the rain is reminiscent of the times I wanted to cry. In some way, as we mature into adulthood, we stop thinking about the hush-hush of crying. We were taught that crying is for babies and that it is imperative to keep our sentiments inside. I was told that boys don’t cry. So, instead of learning to let go of my hurts through crying, I have mastered to numb it through self-anguish and unvoiced misery for several years now.

This is what I have done astray as a grown-up. I am too troubled to cry, and even when I am at the edge of breaking down, and actually shed some tears, I am over-shadowed with unease. I can’t seem to cry. But the downpours takes me back that one of the most prevailing coping skills has been stolen from me.

 

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It is okay to cry…

I have been a lot of painful experiences and many times too, did I attempt to cry it out… But the thought of it as a sign of weakness surmounts the thought that I am hurting.

I have to admit it. It doesn’t feel good… It does not feel good at all…

I gaze out of our window, the rain stopped. The clouds seem to have brought an end to its resentment… But suddenly smoke gets in my eyes, and I started to cry. I lost bottling up my emotions. And it started to feel a little better.

Lester out…

 

A Walk Through Singapore’s Southern Ridges Trail

Whenever I sense an overflow of negative emotions, I have always thought that it can be useful to “walk it off.” To me, walking is a cheapo, moderate peril and easy form of exercise. It is best combined with nature – verdant sights and scent of unsullied air – can be a very prevailing, under-utilized stress buster.

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On several occasions that I was in Singapore for work, I maximized my stay there by exploring various sites during weekends. One time, feeling the toll stress has brought against me, a few colleagues and I went to “walk off” along with The Southern Ridges.

The Southern Ridges is a 9-kilometre trail that connects various parks along the southern ridge of Singapore (hence the collective name). The trails boast off its greenery and connecting bridges. It is indeed a perfect place to go on a hike where one can enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors, and a majestic, panoramic view of Singapore City.

The Southern Ridges connect the following parks: Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Hort Park, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve – all of which can delight any walking, photography, and nature enthusiasts.

Mount Faber Park is one of the oldest parks in Singapore and probably one of the most popular tourist destination because of the cable car ride. The park is connected to Telok Blangah Hill Park by Henderson Waves Bridge. The park houses the Marina Deck, Palm Plaza, Jewel Box, and Faber Point.

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Telok Blangah Hill Park is a 34-hectare park which is said to be a favorite site for wedding couples. With its semi-circular terrace garden located at the top, no wonder it is a favourite for photo shoots and prenuptial events.

The Henderson Waves is my favourite spot. This 899-foot long pedestrian, wooden bridge suspended at 118 feet above Henderson Road, is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It connects Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. It is called such because the bridge has a waveform made up of seven undulating curved steel ribs that alternately rise over and under its deck. The bridge also has shelters with seats within.

Kent Ridge Park is a 47-hectare public park between the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Science Park. Due to its undisturbed habitat and abundant plant life. So if you are a bird-watching aficionado and a lover of plants, then a visit to this park might just amuse you.

There are several trails at the Southern Ridges. There are Marang Trail, Faber Trail, Hilltop Walk, Forest Walk, Floral Walk, and Canopy Walk Trails. Each of which offers a relaxing walk through foliage.

The Southern Ridges of Singapore is a “fresh air and greenery” personified. It’s probably all that and more. There is something about its great outdoors that gives walking, running a little kick. So when you find yourself in the Lion City wanting to commune with nature, and you want to feel more alive, energetic and optimistic – walk your way to the Southern Ridges.

Credits and Big thanks to a good friend and workmate, Allan (@kislap96) for some of the photographs used in this write-up.

Don’t be wasted soul, be “juan”derlust”. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Windswept Beauty of Muriwai Beach

Another thing I like to do is sit back and take in nature. To look at the birds, listen to their singing, go hiking, camping and jogging and running, walking along the beach, playing games and sometimes being alone with the great outdoors. It’s very special to me. — Larry Wilcox

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Muriwai Beach, a natural wonder on the west coast of the Auckland Region in the North Island of New Zealand, is a windswept volcanic black sand coastal wonder. The impressive waves rolling into the shore, the serrated landscape across the Maori Bay, and a fascinating colony of gannets are some of the highlights of a visit to this beach.

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This beach is just 40-minutes to an hour away from the bustling ‘City of Sails’. The ruggedly beautiful landscape and seascape are just beyond mesmerizing. A friend of mine suggested that I should visit this place for two main reasons. One, to wait for the magical sunset at this side of New Zealand; and two, be amazed at the colony of breeding gannets.

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According to what I have read, prior to my visit, between the months of October and February each year, the gannets hatch and nurse their young on the cliff tops of Otakamiro Point. This can be accessed after a short walk from the regional park’s parking area. There is a lookouts where one can view the nesting gannets and the Maori Bay. This also serves as a good vantage point during sundown.

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Various activities abound the area. It includes surfing, windsurfing, paragliding and hang gliding, fishing, bush walking, or just strolling along the beach. Muriwai is definitely one New Zealand beach that will make you want to be one with nature.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri”Juan”.