To My Childhood Bestfriend

The most first vivid memory I had with you was when we used to play as an office clerk of a laundry shop or gown rental shop. My screen name was Jenny Lopez and yours was Alex (I don’t know what your last name). Mama was so supportive that she even made us a personalized stamp, so we don’t have to write our name all over again in our “receipt”. We had our invisible customers and invisible items. It was hard to think and invent names of our customers. We used to play that at our attic where the ocean was our view. We would peep through the small window and how we would always hope that Papa’s ship will pass by just to say hello to us. Our attic was so memorable to us. In fact, it was our playroom, our hideaway. If there is a storm, we would come right up to our attic to see the big waves of the ocean and we would pray together for Papa to be safe. When the light blackouts, we would stay at our attic and hear Mama’s scary stories with only the light of the candle with us. Oh, how I love our attic so much.

Of course, just like any normal sisters, we fight. A lot. I remember blaming you about my torn paper dolls. I don’t really know why I blamed you but I was hurting you with an umbrella and our nanny was stopping me. You were just there crying. I was so mean, I know. Every time we fight, Mama would let us choose who will step out from our house and it was you who always volunteer.

After being the youngest child for eleven years, our little sister came. My world turned upside down. You were at your teenage years. Always with friends having fun. You were at your exploration and experimentation that time. I cannot blame you on that. So I became the big sister/mom to our little sister. I took care of her while Mama’s not around. Changed her diapers, fed her, put her to sleep, bathed her, played with her.  There was a time when I thought, “Maybe, if I am still the youngest daughter I can have all things I want instead of buying milk and diapers for you. And maybe, I am free to play with my cousins and classmates after school instead of looking after you.”

Our life will be boring without our youngest sibling. We have no one to play with because we are old enough. But because we have to play with her we must enjoy arcades, fun parks, Cartoon Networks, and Disney Channel. We even have to consider the movie we have to watch in the cinema. I also remember she was used to be our model whenever we want to practice our make-up and fashion skills. She was our Barbie Doll. She’s a blessing, indeed. Without her, no one will meddle between us if we fight. If we are feeling lazy, we have no one to ask to do it for us. If we want something, no one will ask from Mama or Papa on behalf of us. She was never our nemesis. Our love for her was unconditional. We saw her grow from that innocent infant to a now very talented young lady.

Now that we are growing apart, I want you both to know that you are always in my heart. I may not always say nor show it, but I would catch a bullet for both of you. We might fight so many times for so many petty reasons but my love for you will always be the same.   I never thought that this time will come where we have to be busy and focused on our own lives. I thought we are just going to think about of each other forever. But we have to set our priorities as an individual.  Grow independently. After all we are still sisters forever. My helping hands are always ready to reach out for you even if you don’t need it.

Happy National Siblings Day!

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Time is gold.

Time is gold.

The world is moving fast. Time is running faster than before. We need to double time. We need to do what has to be done. Everyone around you is getting married, having kids, becoming a businessman, reaching their goals, traveling the world, setting up their career, and becoming the person that they want to be. We are all too busy until we realize that the time passed by with a wink of an eye. Your kids grew into teenagers that want to have all the good things in life. You lost your dogs that you used to run with when your bones can still run 10 miles. Your hair turned to white that shows your wisdom. You already lost someone you love and how you could wish you spent more time with them.

So, pick up your phone when someone you know is calling. It might be their last call to you. Open that message and reply even it makes no sense at all. Attend all the school activities of your children. They might be waiting for you. Listen to people’s explanation. You never know the reason behind their actions. Ask the question that keeps haunting you. You can never get an answer not until you take the courage to ask.

Do not take time for granted because it is not a privilege.

Cliche as it may be but time is gold. Time is the most precious gift that you can give to a person. There is nothing to regret when you spend your time with a wrong person. It has been always worth your time. One day, the time that you have valued and put an effort to will make sense.

Adios, judges!

Funny when people judge you on a situation they have never been or pain they never felt. Jumping into conclusion that makes you look the bad person as if you’re the villain and they are the oppressed. But the truth is, they are the culprit of what you have become. They can only hear you scream but never asked why. They can only see how you get mad but they never knew the story behind. What they can only see is you being so shallow on things but never knew why you came into that point. These people can only see the effect but they will never understand what you’ve been through to get into the peak of your emotions. Giving advice as if they know the whole story. Judging you like you’re the most shallow and unreasonable human being on earth. Giving unnecessary comments that will never help. These are the people you should never have in your life. Instead knowing the facts first they will abruptly judge you.

A boss once told me, “Never be sorry of your emotions”. It seems true because no one will ever understand your situation unless they are in your shoes. Cry if you want. Rant if you have to. Scream if it’ll make you feel better. Seek sympathy from those who know how to empathize. As far as you handle your emotions properly and you cause no harm to other people there is no need to apologize. Don’t worry about these kind of people and instead wish them that things like these won’t happen to them.

Love,

Aira

Sampung Bilang. 

Sampung Bilang. 

Sampu – sampung taon ang agwat natin sa isa’t isa. Maraming beses akong nagtanong sa sarili ko kung tama ba na piliin ka. Hindi ko na inisip ang sasabihin ng iba. 
Siyam – siyam na buwan bago mo ako tinanong ng, “can u be my girl friend?” 
Walo – walong oras ka pang nagtatrabaho noon. Pero lagi kang nag-OOT para may pera tayo papunta sa pinakapaborito kong lugar. 
Pito – pitong beses sa isang Linggo tayo nagkikita. Walang mintis ang pagka-miss natin sa isa’t isa. 

Anim – anim na beses mo akong pinaniwala sa mga kasinungalingan mo. 
Lima – limang babae lang ang pinagmumulan ng away natin. 
Apat – “apat na taon na tayo nang niloko mo ako” ang sabi ni Lea sa pelikulang “Kita Kita”. 
Tatlo – Tatlong araw akong di makakain nang maayos at laging walang tulog. Ganito pala ang pakiramdam ng buhay na patay. 
Dalawa – Dalawang buwan bago ko nalaman ang pinakasamakit na katotohan. Shet. Huli ako sa balita. 
Isa – Isang pagkakataon pa ulit para sa ating dalawa. Kahit ang dami ko nang sinabi na, “last na talaga” gusto pa kita bigyan ng pinaka-isa pang pagkakataon dahil dun ako masaya. 

Please Don’t Feel Bad…

If sometimes I don’t want to talk to you.

There are memories in the past that keeps haunting me and I just don’t know how to handle the pain it caused me. Knowing that it was you who hurt me.

If sometimes I am so sensitive.

I have felt how to be unimportant before. I experienced the struggle of wanting the attention from the person I love. I know the feeling of being zero value.

If sometimes I ignore you.

It’s just that I don’t know how to express what I really feel. It’s hard for me to tell what I truly feel scared that you might not understand it.

If I am overthinking the situation.

I am just scared that I might disappoint myself again that’s why I am thinking the worst instead. My instincts are mostly true based on my experiences, trust me.

If I find it hard to trust again.

I may have forgiven but the pain is still there. I am still trying to understand why it happened and why I let it happened. I once blamed myself for what happened but I learned that it was never my fault but rather it was your choice. It was your choice to betray me. However, I am helping myself to trust fully again even I am afraid that you might break it again. But that won’t break me. I know how to value myself now.

All I want you to do is to help me. Help me to overcome my own insecurities and trust issues. Just don’t feel bad.

I went to: Mt. Pinatubo

Mount Pinatubo became well known because of its destructive volcanic eruption back in 1991 and was the second largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century. In fact, its massive eruption contributed to ozone depletion and worldwide decrease in temperature. Affecting 30,000 lives and billions of properties, Mt. Pinatubo was really felt. Devastating as it may be, but Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption left us stunning sights to which most of the tourists are enjoying up to this day.

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Mt. Pinatubo is located in the middle of Zambales, Pampanga, and Tarlac. It is a two-hour drive from Manila to Capas, Tarlac town proper and another 30 minutes travel to Municipal Tourism Satellite Office of Sta. Juliana. Registration starts as early as 5 A.M. and cut off time is at 6 A.M. In the registration area, you have to fill up an information sheet and sign a waiver as well. This is where you have to pay for conservation and tour guide fees. Now, don’t get confused because there will be another fee that you are required to in Botolan area as you go your way to the crater since it’s a different municipal already.

You need to rent a 4×4 jeep to reach the drop-off point going to the crater and be ready for an hour bumpy ride! But worry not, because the sights along the way are stunning! Every view will capture your attention and you’ll get puzzled on where to look. It’s like you’re in a different world, seriously! While we were on our way, I kept telling to myself, “grabe, ang ganda!”.

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4×4 Jeeps parked at drop-off point

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From the drop-off point, you will start to trek for 2-3 hours depending on your pace. It’s better to start as early as 7 AM so that it’ll not be too hot to trek. There will be a lot of river crossing going to the trek but it’s not as hard as you imagine. There are some parts that are rocky road so you have to be extra careful to avoid tripping over.

Drop-off point

After an hour of trekking, you’ll reach the Botolan station, which is the boundary of Zambales and Tarlac. This is where you have to pay different conservation fees. There is a sari-sari store available in Botolan station and you can also rest your feet before proceeding to another one-hour trek to the crater.


After a short trek from Botolan station, you’ll reach the stop over area going to Mt. Pinatubo. There are rest rooms and cottages available where you can catch your breath before proceeding. This is also the area where you can spot the famous Mt. Pinatubo’s signage.

Which one are you?

The trail from here going to the crater itself is cooler since there are trees along the way and there will be more river crossings as well.

Ascending to the peak of Mt. Pinatubo is not that hard since there are already concrete stairs going up. You’re adrenaline rush will suddenly boost once you see the welcome sign of Mt. Pinatubo!

From that point, a breathtaking view will welcome you. When I got there, it was like I’m in a different place at all! It was a scenic view that you can’t take your eyes off once you laid on it. You’ll be amazed by what the eruption did to the place. It’ll take your worries away.

There are cottages in the area where you can have your lunch or you can do it under the shade of tree if you want. It’s free of charge, anyway. Just be mindful of your trashes and don’t litter anywhere. The tour guides bring their own plastic bags but still, you have to be responsible with your own trash. Also, don’t forget to share your packed lunch with your tour guide or whatever snacks you have.

Swimming is not allowed so don’t try to break this rule because your tour guide might get suspended if you do so. When we were there, some foreigner still broke the rule and it’s really disappointing since there is already signage saying “No Lifeguard. Swimming is not allowed”.

You can stay there long enough to recharge your energy for another 2-hour trek back to the drop-off point. You can take your photo ops or just enjoy the view since there is no cellular signal everywhere. Perfect time to spend your muni-muni time.

Pinatubo trekking fees:

3,000 – 4×4 vehicle rental (maximum of 5 passengers)

500 – local guide (group of 5 pax)

Fees charged per person:

300 – conservation/maintenance fee

700 – Botolan, Zambales Fee

Additional information:

Guests ages from 40 years old to 59 years old are required to present their proper identification such as passport or government issued IDs. For those who are 60 years and above, they have to present either medical certificate and health insurance or medical practitioner or travel insurance together with their identification cards.