Monday, November 1, 2010

Why I blog?

I havent't realized that I would be writing again a post after such a long time of three months. Yeah, last post was July 22. I was still in India back then. At the end of the same month, I went home to Bacolod and after two weeks, I went back again to India. The rest was history from that point until now. I don't wanna go back to what's in between but I can say it was a tunnel I had victoriously emerged from; that is, in one sentence, I survived! Thank God! Not really a very dark tunnel, but somehow, I considered the experience quite a challenge that tested my determination and fighting spirit.

The ability to write, I believe, is something that deteriorates over time if not practised. It becomes tarnished and eventually loses its shimmer if not rubbed and polished with the appropriate chemicals. These chemicals come in different forms, may it be your efforts, actions, or experiences either directly or indirectly. Just like in any other field, your skills are your arms in this competitive world if you were into expanding and growing your career. Well, I'm not really destined to be a writer but I had once thought of becoming one. But even though I'm on a different career path right now, I still have interest in writing and would want to improve in this particular skill, the reason why I'm blogging. Aside from that, blogging is also a form of stress relief! You can get to have emotional downpour if you want anywhere and anytime as long as you have access to www. Blogging is also one way of sharing your own ideas to the world! Well, if they could read this. I can say there are a lot of wonderful benefits blogging has to offer and I couldn't think of anything negative (aside from plagiarism perhaps or spreading gossips) especially to an introverted person like me. Aside from that, blogging is free form! You don't have to have perfect grammar or use highly intellectual words in order to write a blog post. As long as your readers can understand what you want to express and you can translate your ideas in a clear and colorful way, blogging is not something very complicated. In fact, it becomes enjoyable and gives you opportunities for self-reflection or introspection. You don't also have to write a post everyday or you may want to if your drive is strong enough to keep the sounds of the keyboard in harmony. As long as you can keep the engine running, blogging can help you a lot in self developement. Whatever ideas you come across everyday, you may want to write a post about it. A post may not be necessarily very long and you can keep it short and simple. There is a form of blogging nowadays called microblogging. If you have a Twitter account or Tumblr (I haven't used it though), you can start your own venture into microblogging. I hope I would have much time for that as well.

Oh, at the time I publish this post, I hope it's November 1st. And I'd like to greet everyone Happy Halloween, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day! I'll miss the celebration back home but I think for now I'll just be lingering onto memories such as going to the cemetery, lighting a candle for mother and grandfather, eating sticky food, going to aunt's place, feeling the spooky environment, texting friends and forwarding scary messages, and others. November and December for me are the best times of the year back home! I hope I could make it on Christmas there.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Unwind Island

There was no Internet connection in the apartment for the past three days so this post is delayed but I want to give it a space here. Well, I just wanna talk about the team party we had last Friday, July 16. It was a nice and fun get-together of teams for the Singapore Airlines Project at Sapient and one of my fresh experiences in the corporate world. I like the fact that the company does not only care about the effort put by the employees in their jobs day in and day out but it also cares about making the workplace exciting and stress free for each individual. The company ensures that the stay and experience of an employee are always memorable and worthwhile.
Before the aforementioned party which is only exclusive for teams belonging to Singapore Airlines Project, Sapient had also organized another fun activity on the same day - a Sing-Along or more known to us as Videoke. It was very nice only that I was shy to sing a song. Had I joined, it would have been a Charice-like moment for me. Kidding aside, I didn't have the guts to sing a Hindi song and I could not bear the rowdy audience composed mostly of Indians of course. So I just sat down at the back and watched the cheers and applauses roll. I can only remember one song in which I actually sang along. That is Bon Jovi's "Always" among the many Hindi ones. I had hoped for Jai Ho though.

That activity was held at the cafeteria on the 7th floor. We only went there to at least witness the event but I had no intention to join the singing spree whatsoever. After a short while, we went back to our desks. At around 6:00 P.M. we went down to the bus that will take us to the place where the party would be held. It was my first time also to ride a company bus that passed through a different route in the city. Like half an hour later, we all arrived at The Unwind Island. The mood of the place is like a beach resort, if you're a person with good imagination, less the beach itself and the scorching sun. Nevertheless, it was the place to unwind! How I wish I could go back to Boracay. Maybe one of these times when I have money. I always have time I guess. The party was not quite a party as I expected technically speaking. It's because we were dressed in the same work clothes, women didn't have makeup, and men didn't put hairsprays. Everyone who attended just wanted to have fun and to get to know each other. There were even games!

Yes, there were in fact three games. I don't know the exact name given to these games but I could devise something. The first one is a Counting Cirle. One of us was chosen to start the game. That person told us the day he was born, for instance, he was born on the 15th, and then the 15th person from him will go out of the circle and tell something about himself like name, country, among others. He will then reveal the day he was born and from him, the loop begins. It was a good getting to know activity. The second game was called Bono. It's a game in which you pick a paper from the lot and a name of an animal is written on that piece of paper. You will then try to make a sound like that of the animal you have picked. Let's say you picked a cow so you will go "Moooo." Everyone will wear a blindfold and will try to produce that sound and find each other until all are grouped together accordingly. The last game was simply Balloon Bursting. It was nice to play those kinds of games for awhile and to be away from the seriousness and exigency of our jobs.

I really thought it was a typical party. I planned not to attend if it was so. But to my delight, it was not! I don't like typical parties where everyone is so dressed up. It was a kind of party I liked. The things worth memorable for me are the games, the eating, and the drinking. Dinner was served, everyone ate heartily, and went away with a bottle or two of beer or a glass of vodka mixed with fruit juice or soda. Others played beach volleyball presuming there was indeed a beach. And I joined those who walked around for sightseeing. It was truly a rewarding treat for all the hard work everyone has done! As for me, I am very grateful for the four months I have stayed in the company. Fingers crossed for more to come.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Let Go

It's Saturday! Yes! This week wasn't a busy one for us because most work in the office had already been done. There were even a lot of idle time. Now, I'm just counting the days! I'm feeling excited to come home. 20 days to go?! It really feels so difficult to be away from home.

Yeah! Again it's Saturday. It's time for some leisure. Firstly, we planned to go to the Foreigners' Registration Office to inquire about the status of our visa extension and then off we would go for some strolling. Unfortunately, we didn't get results so I was little bit disappointed because we were told to come back the following week because the officer-in-charge for the Philippines wasn't there at that moment. So perhaps we need to take a leave from office work to inquire whether our visa extension has already been approved. If still not, Ellen and I must need to secure an exit clearance. But no worries! Why do we have to worry about that? I believe we can pull it through. After that, we got to go for some malling as usual! We went to Mantri Mall and it was my third time to go to that mall. I'm still hooked by it.

The good thing when we go out is that we don't plan out anything. I think that if you don't plan out something that is for fun or leisure, it becomes more enjoyable. You don't get frustrated when things go awry. We just did the common and usual things when one goes malling. That includes walking, looking around, eating, window shopping, shopping (1% probability?!), watching movie, etc. Most of the time, we go for eating, window shopping, and watching movie. This time I didn't plan to watch a movie because I didn't find interest in any currently shown movies which makes me contradict my statement above. Truly, I have proved that if you plan out something for fun, sometimes it doesn't turn out to be fun at all. Thanks to peer pressure, I was convinced to watch that movie. If I didn't watch, I would have just gone home alone.

The movie we watched was the The Last Airbender in 3D. My first impression... wasn't it just another kind of kiddy movie? Yes, I was right. But still it was fun to watch. It didn't have superb animation or special effects but surely it was a pleasure to watch. The lesson I got was "Learn to let go of your emotions like the flowing water." (Loosely quoted) I've realized that there were times when I held on for so long to my emotions. Eventually, I couldn't let go of those emotions that's why today I'm kind of an introvert person. But I'm trying to find my old self again, the more energetic and expressive self. I have liked my old self and it seemed to me that that old self was already buried deep inside me. I can say there were events in my life that changed me a lot. Some people may not know it but last year, I had been living with myself. I slept alone in the house. I had no one to talk to. At that time, I got to see my sisters living in my aunt's house and had a chance to talk to them only on weekends.

Well, back to the present, the day ended well for us. I was a little bit tired (perhaps from walking) but I ate too much that my energy was overflowing. Imagine I ate two cups of English Strawberry Ice Cream! That ice cream was really creamy and delicious. I'll surely miss all of these things when I come home. These will all be part of my memories.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Deutschland fails to advance to the Finals

I am sleepy! I slept at 2:00 A.M. and had barely 5 hours of sleep. What did I do? I watched the game of Germany vs Spain in the semifinals of the World Cup. Yet, to my disappointment, my fave team Germany failed to advance to the finals versus the Netherlands. Yay! Still up to the end, I screamed for "Deutschland!" Resurrect Hitler! (Grrrr)

Anyway, the performance of Spain was truly laudable. But the defense of Germany was unshakable! But there was someone missing in their team which, as I can see it, made their play against the Spaniards a little bit tougher. The absence of Thomas Mueller made most spectators doubt Germany's chances to grasp at the coveted cup. The 20-year old midfielder was yellow carded from the previous clash against Argentina when he (accidentally) hit the ball with his left arm. What an error! The poor fellow just watched the whole time at the bench and in the 76th minute of the intense game, the Spaniards luckily scored a goal, leaving the Deutsche desperately scrambling for a counter attack to tie the score! The match finally ended with a score of 1-0 in favor of Spain.

Not to mention, the infamous octopus from Germany, from the very beginning, predicted the result of Germany's every game! Funny to say but based on my readings, that two-year old octopus had a 95% accuracy. How can the octopus tell who's gonna win? Oh well, they just place two boxes with food inside an aquarium, one box with the flag of Germany, and another one with the flag of the opponent country, for instance Spain. They then put the octopus inside that aquarium and let it decide which box it's gonna open. Interestingly, the octopus first landed over the box of Germany but it changed its mind and opened Spain's box instead! Legendary octopus! It could be a traitor but it could not be a hypocrite! I couldn't believe the Germans have that kind of idiosyncrasy. Could that prediction of the bizarre creature have a psychological effect on Germany? Well, I don't think so. Nonetheless, it was a fight well fought! At least they were not pounded and it was a close fight! If Mueller was there, could it have turned things around? Probably yes. I can only assume. For me, Germany is definitely a force to be reckoned with!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It is a Hat!

As you grow up, the more you don't get to understand things.

That keeps me thinking. I believe it's true. As we get old, our horizons become wider. Everyday, we are exposed to a lot of things, ideas and information. The experience of the so called psychological bombardment becomes a routine. It forms the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Some of those impact us in many positive ways but some give us shaky knees. Tsk. Stop. I sound like a textbook.

As I grow up, my understanding of life is getting somewhat hazy.

Is it because I'm a complicated kind of person? Well, I can say I'm not a happy-go-lucky type. I don't believe in luck either. But I believe in a quote I have read somewhere that luck is a point where preparation and opportunity meet. I strongly believe that if a person works so badly to attain his goals and ambitions in life, despite of lack of skills or wits, nothing and no one can get in his way. Certainly, a grown up kind of thinking. But in the perspective of a child, getting what he wants is desperately not ceasing to cry until he gets to touch a toy he is badly longing for. It is being persistent and insistent. You might think it is a spoiled child's ways but think of it like a grown up. The child is unripe for reasoning and reaching for a toy he wants is beyond his capacity. The only thing he can do is to cry. If he doesn't want a thing so badly, why do you think a child will cry? A child's world is just all about what he wants and what he doesn't want.

It's not that I am stupid enough to simply understand life. But each of us sees life in different angles. What our left eye can see is different from what our right eye can see. We see differently if both of our eyes are open as well. With your two eyes widely open, what can you see with this picture? What do you think it is?

Yes I heard you! It's a HAT! Oh no, you did not read the text. It's actually a boa constrictor that has just swallowed an elephant!

It is so wonderful to know that the great truths and the beauty about things are obviously hidden. I am still a crusader. Indeed, I am one of those people who ride an express train without knowing where I am going to. But I believe that in due time, I will be able to know.

As I was writing this, I have my earphones plugged to my ears listening to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Listening to classical music always remains a great mystery to me evoking a deep flowing emotion. It's so beautiful!

Sometimes I want to go back to childhood. Childhood is a stage in your life in which you had once been vulnerable but you knew very well what you want. A child also lives in his simple world and has simple happiness, a piece of candy perhaps.

I take delight in the beauty of things that are yet unseen. Lately, I have found and bought a book entitled The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery. It is definitely my most favorite story of all time. It is a very short story you can read in one sitting but reading it is incomparable to reading a whole encyclopedia. It is full of simple truths about the world - love, friendship, and life.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Sweet Taste of Home

With this picture at the left, I recall a song of Owl City, Umbrella Beach. I like a part of the lyrics that says, "Home will always be here, unseen, out of sight. Where I disappear and hide." That states my longing to come home! But even for quite a short while, I consider India as my second home. Here I learned to be independent. I have actually become braver and bolder.

Anyway, this picture was taken at the Food Court of Mantri Square, one of the malls in India and the largest mall, they say, in India. Indeed, it was huge with a very classy interior design. I cannot compare it to SM Malls in the Philippines, but this mall is truly fascinating! It is one and a half hours away from Whitefield, the place where we are staying, but the long trip is worth it all!

Well, it was Saturday and a non-working day so we planned to go to this mall to simply unwind! But, mind you, we somehow endured the walking. It's alright since we sit all day five days a week facing our computers. We didn't do something special in this mall. We just went around and looked around a.k.a. window shopping. We entered technology stores, the hypermarket, and anything else we can see. But for me, the best part is our lunch!

If you don't know it, pork and fish are uncommon in India. Their main diet can be classified into two categories: Veg and Non-Veg. Non-Veg is usually chicken or any other meat such as mutton. Of course, veg is a vegetarian diet. Due to that, we don't eat pork or fish here often. I personally miss fish or seafood a lot!

So for lunch, we decided to eat something we haven't eaten for so long, which is either fish or pork! We haven't found any restaurant serving pork but we have found seafood! Heaven! I can't describe the food very well so I'll just put a picture here. I ordered fish fillet, fried rice, french fries, and a chinese sauce which name I forgot! It was very delicious. It's like being at home. I can taste a close resemblance of Filipino food with this meal even though the manner of cooking was more of Chinese. Well, I ate heartily and my stomach was so full! This was the happiest day of my tongue!

Friday, July 2, 2010

I was a Cyclop

Another not so good morning for me. I always feel tired every morning. It's not because of anything but I am really moody during mornings. I don't know why. I don't feel like talking to anyone. Most of all, I feel sleepy and I feel bad because I don't want to wake up and I want to sleep more. I am sleepy not because I had something to do the previous night but because of my own fault. I just stay late doing nothing! I'm staying awake all night without doing anything but to think about a lot of things and do crappy stuffs like surfing the Internet, reading online articles, chatting, etc. Sometimes, I stay late to watch FIFA or read inspirational Christian books or literary books. Well, it depends on my mood! At times, I end up frustrated, startled, confused, or emotional until I can't fall asleep anymore! I try hard to close my eyes but the thoughts keep on coming back. They even haunt me in my dreams. I don't understand it but lately, I have been experiencing a lot of sleeping problems. And this morning is one of its consequences!

I woke up on time at a decent 7:30 AM. We usually come out of our rooms to eat breakfast at 8:00 AM. But it wasn't a problem for me. I'm a morning dasher. I do stretching or exercise for 5 minutes. I take a shower for 20 minutes! LOL. Oh, that includes changing clothes and all my personal rudiments. I wasn't really hurrying but as I was putting on the second set of windows of my body (I mean my contact lenses), I dropped one of my contact lenses to the basin! So bad because the faucet was still running and it got flushed by water deep down the pipe and it was gone! Sigh! Now, I only have one left. Despite of that, I still put the other one on my left eye and that makes me a CYCLOP!

Lousy story. My morning was bad as expected. But it couldn't be worse. Anyway, my mind is so easy to adapt to radical changes so it wasn't a big deal for me. In fact, I've just considered it as an additional expense because I have to buy a new set. But it's not a problem after all.

Funny to say and obviously, it is really hard to wear only one contact lens. If ever you'd have a chance to wear contacts, don't ever attempt to do what I did unless the same twist of fate happened to you. One eye has clear vision while the other one is blurred. Technically, I'm not a cyclop because I have two eyes but practically, I am a cyclop at that point because one of my eyes is useless even if it is there. Thus, I considered myself a CYCLOP! How might it feel to be a cyclop? I'd rather be a real cyclop with one eye rather than to be a human with two eyes but the other one is dysfunctional.

I've always loved metaphors and I like to think in terms of metaphors. I think some of us tend to be a cyclop. We may have two eyes but we tend to close one eye to hinder ourselves to see clearly the truth. It always happens in our society. There are many cyclops in our society. They see the obvious and deliberate evils in the society but still they choose not to disclose those. Is it because of fear, ignorance, or security reasons? I am not sure. But for me, it is better to be either wrong or right than to have no stand at all, assuming there is no in between. I always wonder why some people are afraid to commit mistakes. In my part, committing mistakes and accepting them are all part of growing up and of our journey towards maturity. It makes us more human also. I don't abhor them but I don't like people who don't take risks and who are always playing safe.

Literally, I experienced to be a cyclop for about four hours. And I couldn't take it. I went to the mall and bought contact lenses because my head was spinning with only one. I also learned to always try to brighten up my morning because it is the start of the day and the most important part of the day just as the breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I should try to be energetic. That would be my only defense.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What took me so long?

My last post was April 23. Today is the first day of July! Time flew so fast that I didn't even notice it. One month to go and I'll be going back to the Philippines. It has been three months since I came here in India but for me, it seems like years. I'm not just a vocal person but deep inside, I feel longing for my friends and family and of course my country and Bacolod! Nothing compares to home. All your memories and all events in your life, be it good or bad, happened in a place you call home. And it's not just the place but all the people that surround you. I'll never forget everything that happened in my life there and if I was given a chance to change any part of it, I would definitely decline it. I never had regrets in my life because everything was out of my choice. It was my volition! I felt happiness, sadness, disappointments, failures, success, and all sorts of emotions in the past 21 years of my life, but none of them I was ever angry or disgruntled about. I accept God's will for me and whatever decisions I've made, good or bad, I don't blame anyone for it. And for my mistakes, I also humbly accept them and I promise myself to be better. I never got tired of improving myself because I think I'm a kind of person who desires to be better and better everyday. I believe I am NOT perfect but I am a work in PROGRESS.

If you would ask, why did it take me so long to write a blog post once again? Well, I don't know the answer. Really. One factor could be being busy at work but everyone is busy. But now, I think I'm not busy so I was able to take the time to write. Two months of working was tough and we even spend so much time at the office to finish our task so that we will never fail their expectations. But different people have different expectations. And I too have my own expectations. And the expectations of both parties will never meet. But the most important thing is that you never failed your expectations to yourself. You are still happy because you know you have given more than your best shot. I don't know but these past few days, I keep thinking about a lot of things. Maybe, I'm trying to find myself again. I can't point exactly what's wrong with me. I can feel there's something missing inside me but my mind doesn't know what it is. I'm trying to find myself. The questions is, for how long? Indeed, happiness is hard to mine. But then, happiness is a choice and you can only get it if you work hard for it. For now, I hope I could find the real happiness that would lighten up each day of my life. I pray to God to help me.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Busy Week and a Hodgepodge

I have had a busy week this week. On second thought, it's not that I am always busy but I kind of like to get the hang of feeling the busy day. And making the most of the day. If you are busy, you get away from two things: old habits and vices. Well, for me, I was able to get away from the old habit of spending a lot of time in social networks. Before, every time I feel the skin of my computer, I always see to it that I check out my e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. I even installed a program called Digsby so that I can access all my IM accounts, mail boxes, and social sites in just one client application. Now, I ask myself the question "Why do I have to?" I was able to manage to live a day without these social sites before so why can't I today? When I finally got the answer to that query, I decided to limit myself (but not entirely) from this kind of practice so that I can shove the addiction before it eats me away. I knew I have conquered this thing in the past. How much more now?

Going back to the present, I do not only like but most appropriately love the things I do today. This whole experience of going to India and being able to work in a large I.T. company is a huge feat for me. I consider this as a great accomplishment. I realize that I am destined to be part of the I.T. industry. For one, I love to think very hard. Second, I love to create and recreate. Third, I love to solve problems. Yes, problems! Right now, I don't have any problems such as a financial problem. I have money more than I need and I'm just saving it for a very important future use. It's certain that we don't know the future, do we?

Going back to social sites, one friend posted on my wall "Busy kna?ala kna mau pabatyag FB hw?" (Busy? You don't get in touch on FB anymore). Last time, my cousin also tweeted something like this: "Pa batyag batyag kman" (Get in touch). I know he was talking about getting in touch with my family which I seldom do. I'm not sure if "seldom" is the right term. Maybe, "once in a blue moon?" (Haha) I'm kind of guilty but it doesn't seem to be true in a strictest sense. We don't have to say a word to make someone feel he's special. I am not the type of person who is going to say the sweetest words because I believe I'm a person with few words. Words are precious and according to a quote, "You are a slave to your own written words." It is said that one word could either make a woman fall in love or break her heart. Words could also either change a person's life or make it miserable. Words could create another dimension and they could wrap you into an entirely different world. I am always marveled to watch a movie based on a book. According to Bo Sanchez, "Words become your reality."

I think I'm a kind of person who is emotionally attached with things. I cried and grieved when our two dogs were murdered. I walked very fast and covered my laptop as hard as I could when I got caught in the rain. I keep on thinking for a couple of days when a friend doesn't talk to me. I know I am emotionally vulnerable. I consider it as a weakness sometimes but I also consider it as a strength at the same time. I don't know how to explain it in a lengthy manner but I can just feel it. Lately, I just felt that a friend doesn't want to talk to me. I sent a message over FB chat. I waited for several minutes for her to respond but nothing came. Disappointed was I. Maybe, she was away from the computer. Or maybe she don't just want to talk. Maybe. Just maybe.

If you'd ask me, do I miss you? I may say not. I may say I do. This whole experience of being in India is incredible. I got to be independent and self-reliant. I got to be more outgoing perhaps. I like that I'm on the field. I perform my niche. On the other hand, I miss Bacolod. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I will miss the Presidential elections! OMG. It would be my first time to vote supposedly. The next time I can vote for President of the Republic, I will be 27 years old! I couldn't believe it. It's going to be one generation for the country. I always pray that the Filipino people will choose the right leaders. I always have high hopes for my country. Even if my vote will not be counted, I will say that Gibo is going to win. Words become a reality, right? I hope so.

2GB Random Access Memory is not a luxury, it's scarcity! With three to five big programs I need to run on my computer, I would at least need 1GB more. One remedy is not to buy cheap RAM at the moment (funny to say), but to remove some start up programs (programs that start at boot up) and uninstall some apps. As far I can remember, I have removed a set of start up programs on my computer. One of them is Digsby. Hmm, what else?

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Friday night is probably the time when I can oversleep and yes I did it! When there's no work the following day, why not? Kidding aside, the reason that I woke up late earlier this Saturday was that I'm not used to sleeping alone in a very silent room! Killer silence it is! Noises and disturbances from outside (if there's any) could not reach you while inside the room, thus, I've had a very nice slumber and I just woke up on time for our malling day!

Today is the day that I have received my first pay for my contractual work in India. Yes, it feels nothing ordinary. The three of us ramped up our opportunity to enjoy our salary by going to malls, eating, shopping, and roaming around city. It was so much fun!

Bangalore City, India is a place where you can find a lot of malls. These are malls where people don't just stroll but shop! The funny thing is that (and I know it) in the Philippines, most people go to malls to breathe cool air, meet with friends, or simply roam around, but in India, people usually go to malls to buy stuffs. This time, we had our own glimpse of malls in India justifying these malls' purpose by of course spending a few of our cash. Oh yeah, only a few because I'm sort of saving money for something else important.

First, we went to Forum mall to claim our money at Western Union. And then, we had our lunch at KFC for the nth time again! We were like patrons of KFC because we have already eaten there three or four times already. It's really finger licking good! We relieved ourselves from the hotness and spice of Indian food and KFC is subjectively the only affordable solution around. We ordered a bucket of chicken, fries, rice, and Pepsi. It was delicious food. We entered Megamart, a shopping store there. I bought a shirt and that's all about it.

Next, we went to Lifestyle mall. We didn't do anything special there. We just went around for some sight seeing. We then proceeded to Garuda Mall. We almost got lost on our way because we went another way instead of taking the same path we've had the first time. But making your own way, even though you're doubtful about it, could lead you to a new perspective. So true! Treading a wrong way, we've seen a Catholic Church named Sacred Heart. It was a beautiful church if I'm going to judge it. We've been looking for an accessible church before and now, we have found it! We have taken some pictures of ourselves there and then off we went to the Garuda Mall riding instead an Autorickshaw. An Autorickshaw is similar to a tricycle but Rique (my officemate) said - and he probably witnessed it - that the Autorickshaw can move backwards while the tricycle cannot.

In the Garuda Mall, we have again roamed around for some sight seeing. We went to department stores and tech shops. We window-shopped for iPods, Blackberry, iPhone, cameras, Nokia 5530 (unfortunately I've not seen one), among others. We then decided to go home but outside the mall, we saw some men doing promotions about Staples, a bookstore and tech shop. We got attracted to it and felt excited so we went back to the 5th floor, which was supposedly the 6th because the ground floor is - in a bizarre way - zero, to see what's in store there. We saw an array of gadgets, laptops, MP3 players, headphones, and mice. (It's mouse if you're confused). I remembered I had a crazy mouse that malfunctions at times, hence, I decided to replace it. I bought a mouse and I loved it! It has an artistic design and it's light and small enough to fit in my hands. Cool!

We thought the Central Mall was nearby, thus, we also went there for another sight seeing. After that, we went out and then I saw some books being sold at the sidewalk. I attempted to look at those books and saw some very good ones like John Grisham's, Einstein's, and other classic books. I bought John Grisham's novel "Playing for Pizza" because I like Grisham's legal thriller plots. Rique bought a book entitled "The Secret." I was kind of ecstatic because that was an excellent life-changing book according to reviews and I thought I should have bought that one. But I've already paid mine so maybe, I'll just borrow it from Rique. Those books were nice but I've just observed that they look photocopied from the original one. However, it doesn't matter as long as I'm able to read it and besides, they come at a very cheap price!

We took the 335E Bus going to Big Bazaar. We bought groceries, fruits, and personal stuffs. We then went back straight to our flat riding an Autorickshaw.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Faithful Friend

What makes a friend? Is he someone who can make you laugh and cry at the same time? Is he a kind of person who is willing to leap with you from a high cliff hoping that the net will appear? Is he someone who knows you better than yourself? And the most common of these cliches: Is he a kind of person you can count on?

I don't have friends more than the count of my fingers. But I am sure that few of my friends won't leave my side in the same way that my countable fingers would never be detached until I run out of life. We all have our own circle of friends. Even the loneliest person has a friend. He may just be unconscious about it. I don't believe that nobody cares in this world. No matter how numerous our friends are, reality-wise, there are only a handful of them we can probably depend on. Am I right?

To all of my friends I can depend on, I dedicate this song to you. I know I've heard this song somewhere but I can't just remember the title a long time ago. But now, I know it. This song has a beautiful lyrics. I didn't have intentions to write a blog post tonight but I was just so inspired and I wanted to contaminate you.

When I was in high school, my most favorite lesson in literature was the story entitled "The Little Prince" written by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. It was a story that taught me something about friendship. Here is some excerpt from the story. I really like this story a lot the reason that until now I could still remember it. (Not word by word of couse. I just copied the below text from a website.)
The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

"Please--tame me!" he said.

"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."

"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . ."

"What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.

"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . ."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Thousand Mile Journey

Have you ever gone to a certain place for the first time by yourself?

Oh well, I had not actually gone all by myself but I had another person with me who felt the same as I did! Ellen (my officemate) and I had gone to a long journey to Bangalore, India for a two-month contractual work as a TIBCO Consultant.

It was our first time to travel abroad and visit three cities at once, namely Bangkok, Thailand, Mumbai, India, and finally, Bangalore, India. Around 5:00 in the afternoon of March 27, I came too early to Silay Airport for the domestic flight from Bacolod to Manila. I was kinda excited with the long journey and I was primarily thinking of beholding a lot of great sights, seeing and meeting lots of people of different nationalities, and reaching the place where I would expect to taste the dream career for me.

As I've said, we were too early for the flight. After we had checked in at the terminal, we just blew time off by talking about anything we can think of. At 8:45 in the evening, we had at last reached Manila and we were fetched by Tracy (my boss' girlfriend) from the airport to the place where we would be staying for a night. It took us about an hour cab ride before we reached Oyster Plaza in ParaƱaque due to some traffic on the way. We saw a huge number of El Shaddai devotees having a procession on the street (which of course caused the traffic) in preparation for the traditional Palm Sunday.

We had somehow managed to have a good sleep that night in spite of reaching the place so late and having to wake up the next day as early as 6:00 A.M. We had a brisk breakfast at McDonald's nearby and we readied to set off to the international airport. We told the cab driver to head onto Terminal 1 of the airport. We found that there were many people lining up, so we also did. When we finally came to the inspecting officer, we showed our respective passport and ticket but the officer said, "You got the wrong terminal. Go to Terminal 2." Oops! Wrong number. We scurried to Terminal 2 and thank goodness, we were able to reach the airport on time.

There were still a lot of things to do before we can enter the terminal. First, we had to go to the POEA and show the documents stating that we were travelling for a temporary work and that we were not directly hired by the foreign employer. Second, we had to pay the required travel taxes. And finally, we had to undergo a brief interview by the immigration officer. I felt like going through a long, dark tunnel considering we had a heavy luggage and we needed to deal with a few people who might not be too affable and congenial. But no matter what, we have to make it through. We have to survive! And we did!

We checked in our luggage and we waited patiently for the trip to Bangkok. Since we were on a connecting flight, we had a chance to land in Bangkok, but unfortunately, we didn't have a visa and we were just tagged as transit passengers, thus, we just stayed at the airport for an excruciating 6-7 hours waiting for our next flight to Mumbai. It was not good enough. Good enough if we had a lot of cash, we could have gone to a city tour that costs $50. So we just waited patiently, slept, chatted, roamed around, and sort of amused ourselves with the redundant audio speaker of the travelator sounding 'Si si kang yen' which means 'end of the walkway,' followed by our soft chuckles. It has a sensor that automatically detects whether someone is nearing the end of the walkway.

Two hours before the flight, we were able to claim a boarding pass and we decided to get into the terminal. The terminal was one floor up and admittedly, the security was stricter. They checked our hand-carried bags and we passed onto their scanners. After that, we were back again to the waiting part but this time, we were inside a more civilized world! The terminal was a more delightful place to see! There were lots of stores, money changers, and restaurants. Bangkok airport was a good-looking one. I was just shocked to know that its age is just 3 years old. It was a recently-built airport.

In the terminal, I decided to exchange my $100 to Thai Bahts so that we can buy something there. I got around 3,200 bahts. We found this one store where they sell souvenir items. I got to buy a key chain that has a shape like a teardrop and has an image of a Thai god. It costed 100 bahts. It was made of some metal and I found it very nice. Now, it is freely hanging in my bag and every time I see it, it reminds me that I've been to a place I never thought I could ever step my feet on. The same goes with the next destinations.

After long hours of waiting, we were ready to set off for Mumbai. We rode in Jet Airways, an Indian airlines, and I found the inside of the airplane fantastic. It was cool because each passenger has a touch-screen monitor in front of him, and this interactive entertainment gadget enables you to choose a movie you want to watch, music you want to hear, or games you want to play. It was already late in the evening. After I overindulged myself with the gadget, I decided to sleep. It was still 4 hours flight though. After an hour, dinner was served. In mind, I had already expected some Indian food to be served which is known for being spicy. The passenger attendant asked me, "Do you want Veg/Non-Veg?" Clueless, I said, "Non-Veg." But she came back again and said that they only have one Non-Veg left, so I decided to give that one to Ellen and I took the Veg instead. Later on, I found out that the difference is that Veg is a Vegetarian food while Non-Veg is of course not. As expected, the food was hot and spicy but I thought it was delicious.

We reached Mumbai after about four hours. I was dazed because I saw a tremendous change on how the people look. Most of them have a darker complexion, much bigger and taller, and they speak a different language or if not, a different tint of the English language. I still had a longer time understanding the accent but I think I can catch up now. I saw that people there looks sternly. They had a stricter security policy than that in Bangkok. The cops were scary and they looked like Hitler. We had a little problem. Our luggage was mishandled probably because it was automatically transferred from Manila to Mumbai. Some Indian attendants helped us with the problem. They were very nice and accomodating. According to them, the luggage might have been transferred in a flight to London then back again to Mumbai. Wow! Our luggage had a longer journey than us! After about an hour, we were able to claim our luggage and how pity to find out that there were some petty damages to our bags. Anyway it was forgivable, so we proceeded on our way to the domestic airport where we would be taking on our final destination to Bangalore!

But our final destination would still be too soon! We still had (again) to wait for another 5 hours. It was very early morning past 1:00 A.M. I was really very sleepy but I thought I could not afford to sleep because the airport might be a dangerous place. Someone might take away our luggage and most importantly, our laptops. We rode a bus to the domestic airport. The Mumbai airport was also incredibly huge but it was not yet fully furnished. There were still construction works going on and I found it a little bit unorganized. There were some men who carried our luggage and they kept on saying 'Can you give me a complementary?" First, I was intrigued and thought maybe I forgot to give thanks. So I responded, "Thank you!" When we reached the domestic airport, some men also got our luggage and they asked the same thing about giving a complementary. Later on, I realized that they might be asking for some tip. But even if I liked, I could not give them any since I didn't have rupees at that time!

At quarter to 7 in the morning, we were aboard the Jet Airways flying to Bangalore. I could not remember anything there except that I just slept during most of the duration of the flight. When we reached Bangalore airport, we looked for some phone to call Rajesh (the one who hired us). Instead, we were greeted by a guy who offered his service to take us to our place. We were not sure about him so we just said that someone was already sent to fetch us. Definitely, he was the wrong one. He offered his cellphone to us so I used it and I was able to call Rajesh. I thanked him for his goodness and we went out of the airport. We saw the right guy outside. I was relieved but I was just too tired to think of any other things. I was momentarily amazed by how different India looks like. Later on, I fell into unconsciousness and slept during most of the duration of the ride.

For me, this whole journey had taught me three things:

1. Being a decisive leader. You don't have anyone to rely on. In every situation, you have to decide on your own and you have to be firm on your actions, hence, you'll get lost.

2. Being courageous. Going somewhere in a foreign place for the first time is tough. You don't know the right directions. You don't know anybody there. If you were not determined enough, you will not get to your destination. I knew that I'm not good at directions but I was courageous and determined enough to reach places. I know I can do it!

3. Being communicative and asking when in doubt. People are strangers and I was hesitant at first to ask. But I learned to be open and ask people who knew the place much better than I am.

The same goes with every situation. All of these learning from the trip I was able to apply now at work or in dealing with people. Indeed, no one beats experience. It is the greatest teacher! In our lives, there will be a lot of first times. Let us not be daunted to try out new things. We could not stay in our comfort zones all the time. If we want to win, we need to sail outside and take on every challenge even though how hard it is for us! I believe I'm always a dreamer. But a visionary dreamer. I'm amazed by the following quote from Carl Jung:

"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."