travel, Word prompts

Basilica de San Martin de Tours | Heritage

In response to this week’s WordPress Challenge – Heritage

For over 300 years, the Spaniards have built thousands of Catholic churches in the Philippines. Among them is The Basilica de San Martin de Tours, which is known as the oldest Catholic church in the Philippines and quite possibly in Asia. Sitting atop a hill, the colossal Baroque towers over the famous Taal Volcano as well as the old heritage town of Taal, Batangas – where my father was born. The church channels Visita Iglesia, an old-age tradition observed by the Catholic faithfuls during holy week, wherein they visit and pray at seven separate churches to reflect on the Passion of Christ.

The façade of Basilica de San Martin de Tours in Taal, Batangas, Philippines

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Express Life, Word prompts

Moon over water | Reflecting

In response to this week’s word challenge – Reflecting.

A shot of the moon taken by my best friend of ten years who has mental illness. « Sometimes, we get caught up in the process of trying to find who we are — our purpose and value in life — that we tend to lose sight of what’s important, » she says. « But what we often forget is that our light has already been made for us long before we were even born. »

FUN FACT: There is actually a word to describe the road-like reflection of the moon on water — MANGATA — and it’s Swedish!

(c) jodiepages 2017. All Rights Reserved

Express Life

Dreams: Reaching for that « something big. »

Two thousand fifteen, the year when all your big dreams will come true – how inspiring and motivating it is to hear this phrase, especially when you feel like one of your biggest dreams is about to come into life.

As human beings, we all dream. We are constantly seeking for fulfillment. Something big and something different from our every day mundane lives – be it queuing behind a counter at a local convenience store, ready to swipe that card for a lotto ticket and hoping to wake up a millionaire the next day. Or pulling an all-nighter to finish a spine-breaking essay about how you would be an excellent member of the Ivy League. Or standing in front of a travel agency, staring at a poster of the immaculate white snow, capping the mountains of Grossglockner in Austria, or the toe-wiggling sand that surrounds the beautiful beaches on Nassau Paradise Island in the Bahamas (or is this daydreaming?)

There is something unnatural about dreams and what I’ve learned about them is that they have a cycle. Yes, people dream and if they want to reach that « something big » they have to go through a cycle of hard work, which could be, perhaps, the most beautiful thing in the process. Working hard and doing your best is the most important thing as it is in this stage where you get to know yourself thoroughly – how far you can go and how willing are you to take risks and challenges. Moreover, this is an opportunity for you to determine your true peers as some will stay and others will go. If time comes and you end up with that « something big » in your hands, you know hard work has really paid off. That’s when you give yourself a pat on the back because sweet dreams are made of this.

Everything’s perfect, you’ve finally reached it. Nothing can possibly go wrong and you could stop dreaming right there, right?

Unfortunately, not all dreams end in a fairytale-like fashion. For every yin, there’s a yan.

Often, our dreams don’t go as planned. Sometimes, the worse could even happen and that’s when, say, you did reach that dream, but for some odd, personal reason, you cannot fully grab it and go for it. It’s rather unfortunate because it makes you hopeful and think and say, « oh there must be chance! ». But then, that ‘hopeful feeling’ slowly fades away, only to be replaced by pain. Unfathomable pain. I mean, seriously, you’ve worked hard for it, skipped a few lunches and stayed up all night just to get a little taste of that « something big. » You furrow your brows, scratch your head and go back a few steps to reflect, « If this dream wasn’t for me, then why was I able to reach it? » In all honesty, this is the question I have been asking myself for the last few months.

Earlier this year, I was accepted to study in Groningen, The Netherlands for five months. I was ecstatic – I mean, who wouldn’t be, right? It’s the Nether-freaking-lands! This was, perhaps, one of my dream cities! Upon receiving my letter of acceptance, I realized how worthwhile those hard-working days were. The essays, the interviews, the meetings with our international staff. Everything I’d done leading up to this event was so worth it because being able to study and experience a different culture firsthand was something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was only eight years old. Thus, months of planning passed and in those months, I had a huge grin painted across my face. However, last month, something personal came up out of the blue and all my exchange plans suddenly faded away.

So did my huge grin.

And I thought, that’s it. Dream’s over. I got a little taste of it but I couldn’t go for it. I couldn’t grab it.

You’re saying what a shame, right? and thinking about it now, I still don’t have the answers to the whole situation. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this, it’s that if you reached rock bottom instead, the only way to go is up. In other words, dream again!  If you end up in this stage, don’t ever feel bad. Of course, this is hard to fight off. But at least, you gave it a shot and you shouldn’t regret that. And if they say, « sorry kid, better luck next time, » take it as an opportunity to dream again. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be much bigger this time. Only time will tell.

I guess what I’m trying to get across is, either you reach that « something big » or not, life still goes on and you have to keep dreaming. It’s all one big cycle of dreaming and working hard.

LA FIN.