Adventure, Food, Learning

Firsts

I really don’t have a fear of heights. A few years back, I tried the zipline and was forty feet above the ground. Easy-peasy! Flying was another matter. I delayed traveling via plane for the longest time not because of acrophobia, but because of responsibilities.

I’m not sure why I applied for a passport last year. I wasn’t expecting to go out of the country, not to mention ride a plane this year.  I thought that my first plane ride was to go out of town; perhaps Cebu or Davao to attend a conference or to go on a vacation with my loved ones. Surprise, surprise. My destination was Phnom Penh, Cambodia for an education fair. Duty calls and I must answer.

Being the worrywart, highly-organized, obsessive-compulsive person that I am, I prepared for the trip physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I admit that the thought of being 34,000 feet above the ground scared me because I was traveling alone; no colleague to chat with and no beau to coach me on what to expect next. I was also worried that if the plane crashes to the sea, I will surely drown as I don’t know how to swim. But what scared me more was that I will not be able to attend the education fair due to a missed flight because of the horrendous EDSA traffic or that I wouldn’t be able to answer the Immigration Officer’s questions due to my anxiety.

I had a lot of firsts during this trip.

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First plane ride: The plane that I rode in was an Airbus A320. My travel agent booked me a window seat. Thank goodness he did!  From where I was seated, I saw the wings of the plane and the flickering red lights that I only see from down below. Aside from this, I saw the lights of Manila as the plane gathered speed.

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First meal: I’ve read about airplane food not being the best kind of meal there is but I wouldn’t know until I’ve tried it myself. After one hour into the flight, we were served our meal. I was served Roast Beef with vegetables and Banana Cake for dessert. I wasn’t that hungry because I managed to grab a bite at Terminal 1. Overall, I liked the fact that despite the short trip, meals were served.

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First stay at a hotel outside the Philippines: I was billeted at Hotel Cambodiana, a hotel loctated 15 minutes away from the Phnom Penh Airport and 3 minutes (literally because I timed myself going there) away from the venue of the education fair that I attended. I had a king-sized bed all to myself!

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First amazing international tourist spot: One former student of our center and a local resident of Phnom Penh informed me that the river behind my hotel traverses through six countries. That fact is impressive enough for me as a first-time traveler. However, seeing the sunrise by the Mekong River was beyond words.

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First breakfast buffet outside the Philippines: I usually eat breakfast in a rush before I go to work. For me, buffets are reserved for gatherings or team-building activities. By mid-day, I usually have worked up an appetite. The breakfast buffet is a freebie attached to my accommodation so it needs to be consumed. The restaurant usually opens at 6:30am for the buffet breakfast; this was what I was told as soon as I checked in. For two days, I started off with bread and cold cuts. To keep myself full for the entire morning, my second meal consisted of meat and veggies.

At my age, I wasn’t expecting to experience a lot of firsts as these would have been normally experienced when I was a decade or two decades younger than I am today. But I was wrong, especially for travel as I would rather stay home and read books. Traveling broadens my horizons and allows me to get out of my comfort zone. As one saying goes: If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” Indeed. Traveling alone did challenge me and it surely changed me. Now, I want more stamps in my passport. cat-seat-skin-body-animal-512

 

 

 

Adventure

Forty-something

Before I turned 40, I was a bit anxious. What is in store for me in this decade? In my 20s, it was about adventure. In my 30s, it was about acceptance.  In my 40s? I’m not so sure.

They say life begins at 40. However, one of my old friends who is 2 years older than me said that nothing much has changed since he turned 40. So what is this big hype about being forty and then some?more-inspirational-quotes-40

In one leadership training I attended, we were asked to create a timeline listing down our life and what our priorities were. We also listed our life expectancy. I wrote 70 years old. I was 43 at the time that I had the training. Comparing my priorities to the years left to my existence, I realized that I was running out of time. This made me more anxious at the time. What would I really want to achieve in 27 years?

Stephen Covey, a famous educator, and author said that one of the seven habits of highly effective people is for one not to prioritize what is on one’s schedule but to schedule one’s priorities. This was the answer that eluded me all along. I tried fulfilling my priorities all at once that I felt overwhelmed and burned out.

This year on my birthday, I promised myself to schedule my priorities and to achieve balance in my life. Being forty-something and what I will learn for the rest of this decade of my life is still a mystery.  I am looking forward to it as all will be unraveled in the end as I tick off some things on my bucket list. cat-seat-skin-body-animal-512

Image credits: https://www.museuly.com/blog/30-most-inspirational-quotes-ever/

 

Adventure

Forty Feet Above the Ground

Fly 40 feet above the ground? Extreme Sports? I’ve done all these things. But only in my dreams. Nope, I’m not a sporty person. I’m not crazy about flying either. Though something about these activities seem so appealing.

During the Team-Building Seminar, I don’t know what came over me but I tried the Zipline called Fly Pinoy at Caliraya Recreation Center in Lumban, Laguna. I was in the swimming pool when I saw people having the time of their lives sliding from one end of a cable line to the other. “I want to try that.” I told my colleagues who were with me at that time.

After a sumptuous buffet lunch, we made our way to the cottage and prepared ourselves for the Fly Pinoy. Two of my colleagues and I climbed the stairs to get to the top. The steps seemed endless and each one added to the excitement and anxiety I was feeling.

There was already a long line of people waiting for their turn. In front of us, were a group of Germans and Filipinos joking around, probably diverting themselves from the butterflies that they too were feeling inside. There was a pail that was being pulled up with the helmets and the harnesses and I wondered who was bringing them there. Well, whoever it was, he was probably tired from running from one end to the other. Then later on, I found out that a guy in a motorbike did the trips back and forth the zipline stations.

I was prepped for the zipline. A helmet was placed on top of my head and a full body harness was strapped to me. After at least 30 minutes of waiting, it was my turn. I let my two colleagues go ahead of me.  I thought that I’d be braver when there was no one to goad me or cheer me on.  I made a prayer that I’d make it to the other end safe and sound. You’re crazy! I berated myself.

I tried to feel nonchalant about the whole thing. At that time, I wasn’t scared to fly high up into the air. When the zipline operator at the other end radioed the other operator at my end, the gate was opened. I was strapped to the pulley and was requested to put my weight on the harness. Then I felt it… my knees felt like cooked spaghetti. This is it! I told myself. The operator gave me a gentle push and I was on my way down the zipline.

In the few seconds that I was up there, I wanted to tell the operator to pull me back. But he suggested that I shout. Shout to get rid of my fear! ( I didn’t want to because the fear was gone. I was enjoying it. Halfway through, the rope twisted and suddenly it was my back facing the other end. I tried to propel myself to spin I can see the other end of the line. But I couldn’t, I was flying so fast.

Ang sarap! ( It felt really good!) I said to myself when I was almost at the end. I was having the time of my life when it all ended abruptly. I was already at the other end.  As I stepped out of the harness, I felt a sense of accomplishment. It wasn’t bunjee-jumping or rapeling like I’ve always wanted to do but it was close enough.  Now I know how it is to fly…

Adventure

Manila-bound

I am not a resident of Manila. I was born and raised in Quezon City. Going to Manila always made me feel like there were butterflies in my stomach. I’ve been there but on fleeting occasions. Manila is like a tourist spot for me. I always have a map with me when I go there. Being lost in a bustling city on a hot summer day with the scorching sun above me is not my idea of fun. I’m all for adventure especially if I have a bubbly and daring companion like Judy with me to traverse the streets of Manila under the sweltering heat. Manila is not Manila without the historical places to visit, the narrow but busy streets, the crowded LRT trains, the peddlers and of course, the drama. I was very fortunate to see a glimpse of the nation’s capital in the three days I attended the seminar with Judy.

On the first day, Judy and I took a cab from Katipunan and told the cab driver to bring us to U.N. Avenue. (Mind you, we researched about the venue of the seminar-workshop. Judy researched about the LRT Stations.) I wasn’t going to Manila without the maps, knowing anything can happen. If I did, it would be like going to war without artillery. No way Jose! The cab driver cruised along Quezon Avenue; treated the whole ride like a car racing event, swerving from left to right, right to left while Judy and I held on to dear life! When we reached UST where there was moderate to heavy traffic, the cab driver snoozed. (This is the second time this happened to me! What is it with this area that makes cab drivers sleepy?) He turned right at U.N. Avenue and went straight all the way to Mabini. I told him to take us to U.N. Avenue corner Correa Street. But he pretended not to hear or not understand at all. So we got off. Then we saw the sign that said Roxas Blvd. “Okay, okay.” I told myself. Roxas Blvd meant we’re near Manila Bay. “Geez.” I thought. I felt like Dora the Explorer finding places and consulting the map, only that our map doesn’t talk. The most logical thing to do was ask for directions. The first security guard we asked was as clueless as we were. He took a look at our map and stared back at us, speechless. We thanked him and walked toward the other direction, the one going to the UN Avenue LRT Station. Luckily, a guard at Philam Life figured out our map and showed us the right way. When a pedicab driver shouted “Pius, Pius” at the intersection of Taft and U.N. Avenue, without a moment’s hesitation, we jumped into his pedicab. The cool breeze kissed our faces as we leisurely journeyed along U. N. Avenue. We arrived at the venue, safe and sound but with crazy wind-blown hair. Hahaha! Imagine the shock of the people at the Registration Area when we entered.

The following day, we decided to take the LRT than risk our lives with a reckless driver. It was faster anyway. We also took that opportunity to walk (a.k.a. to exercise). We anticipated a lot of train passengers and we were right. If not for the segregation of men and women, we wouldn’t come out alive from the sea of people. Though we were already late, we still took the pedicab. It was heaven in contrast to the train ride. The pedicab driver took his sweet, sweet time pedaling. (Hmm… was it because he had two calorie-challenged girls for passengers?) If it was so, Manong did his best to be modest about it. During the seminar, the speaker’s voice lulled us to sleep. After lunch, our feet led us to the dining hall and we almost jumped for joy when we knew they served coffee, the legal stimulant. Judy and I took our coffee to the lobby and relaxed on two narra chairs. That 3-in-1 coffee got us through the rest of the seminar.

On the last day, the third and last day was when we saw most of the drama. The day started off great because the LRT was not as jampacked as the previous days. This time, we savored the interesting view we saw from inside the LRT. We again took the pedicab when we got off the U.N. Avenue Station. We made it to the venue fifteen minutes early. Since we were tired, we rode the pedicab from the venue to U.N. Avenue. The pedicab driver was probably a close relation of the cab driver from the first day. He swerved from left to right and right to left. At this point, Judy and I were out of our wits because we saw ten-wheeler trucks passed by. Then another pedicab driver came from behind and tried to overtake our pedicab. This irked our pedicab driver and started yelling profanities at the other driver. They exchanged profanities for a couple of minutes and the other driver who probably thought that it wasn’t worth it, pedaled away. Our driver still ranted and raved like a lunatic and decided to follow the other pedicab driver. I requested him to pull over so we can get off but he didn’t listen. The traffic light changed from green to red and we took this opportunity to pay him and get off the pedicab. We hurriedly walked to the sidewalk and made our way to the U.N. Avenue Station under the blazing sun.

Our seminar in Manila lasted only three days. Those three days, were an eye-opener for a Quezon City resident like me. Though we got lost, we saw the drama that is Manila-the small city streets, the jam-packed LRT trams, vendors of all sorts. All these had a great impact on me. I don’t see Manila as threatening anymore. There were no more butterflies in my stomach when I left Manila. The butterflies probably flew off to Rizal Park or the Manila Zoo

I am not a resident of Manila. I was born and raised in Quezon City. Going to Manila always made me feel like there were butterflies in my stomach. I’ve been there but on fleeting occasions. Manila is like a tourist spot for me. I always have a map with me when I go there. Being lost in a bustling city on a hot summer day with the scorching sun above me is not my idea of fun. I’m all for adventure especially if I have a bubbly and daring companion like Judy with me to traverse the streets of Manila under the sweltering heat. Manila is not Manila without the historical places to visit, the narrow but busy streets, the crowded LRT trains, the peddlers and of course, the drama. I was very fortunate to see a glimpse of the nation’s capital in the three days I attended the seminar with Judy.

On the first day, Judy and I took a cab from Katipunan and told the cab driver to bring us to U.N. Avenue. (Mind you, we researched about the venue of the seminar-workshop. Judy researched about the LRT Stations.) I wasn’t going to Manila without the maps, knowing anything can happen. If I did, it would be like going to war without artillery. No way Jose! The cab driver cruised along Quezon Avenue; treated the whole ride like a car racing event, swerving from left to right, right to left while Judy and I held on to dear life! When we reached UST where there was moderate to heavy traffic, the cab driver snoozed. (This is the second time this happened to me! What is it with this area that makes cab drivers sleepy?) He turned right at U.N. Avenue and went straight all the way to Mabini. I told him to take us to U.N. Avenue corner Correa Street. But he pretended not to hear or not understand at all. So we got off. Then we saw the sign that said Roxas Blvd. “Okay, okay.” I told myself. Roxas Blvd meant we’re near Manila Bay. “Geez.” I thought. I felt like Dora the Explorer finding places and consulting the map, only that our map doesn’t talk. The most logical thing to do was ask for directions. The first security guard we asked was as clueless as we were. He took a look at our map and stared back at us, speechless. We thanked him and walked toward the other direction, the one going to the UN Avenue LRT Station. Luckily, a guard at Philam Life figured out our map and showed us the right way. When a pedicab driver shouted “Pius, Pius” at the intersection of Taft and U.N. Avenue, without a moment’s hesitation, we jumped into his pedicab. The cool breeze kissed our faces as we leisurely journeyed along U. N. Avenue. We arrived at the venue, safe and sound but with crazy wind-blown hair. Hahaha! Imagine the shock of the people at the Registration Area when we entered.

The following day, we decided to take the LRT than risk our lives with a reckless driver. It was faster anyway. We also took that opportunity to walk (a.k.a. to exercise). We anticipated a lot of train passengers and we were right. If not for the segregation of men and women, we wouldn’t come out alive from the sea of people. Though we were already late, we still took the pedicab. It was heaven in contrast to the train ride. The pedicab driver took his sweet, sweet time pedaling. (Hmm… was it because he had two calorie-challenged girls for passengers?) If it was so, Manong did his best to be modest about it. During the seminar, the speaker’s voice lulled us to sleep. After lunch, our feet led us to the dining hall and we almost jumped for joy when we knew they served coffee, the legal stimulant. Judy and I took our coffee to the lobby and relaxed on two narra chairs. That 3-in-1 coffee got us through the rest of the seminar.

On the last day, the third and last day was when we saw most of the drama. The day started off great because the LRT was not as jampacked as the previous days. This time, we savored the interesting view we saw from inside the LRT. We again took the pedicab when we got off the U.N. Avenue Station. We made it to the venue fifteen minutes early. Since we were tired, we rode the pedicab from the venue to U.N. Avenue. The pedicab driver was probably a close relation of the cab driver from the first day. He swerved from left to right and right to left. At this point, Judy and I were out of our wits because we saw ten-wheeler trucks passed by. Then another pedicab driver came from behind and tried to overtake our pedicab. This irked our pedicab driver and started yelling profanities at the other driver. They exchanged profanities for a couple of minutes and the other driver who probably thought that it wasn’t worth it, pedaled away. Our driver still ranted and raved like a lunatic and decided to follow the other pedicab driver. I requested him to pull over so we can get off but he didn’t listen. The traffic light changed from green to red and we took this opportunity to pay him and get off the pedicab. We hurriedly walked to the sidewalk and made our way to the U.N. Avenue Station under the blazing sun.

Our seminar in Manila lasted only three days. Those three days, were an eye-opener for a Quezon City resident like me. Though we got lost, we saw the drama that is Manila-the small city streets, the jam-packed LRT trams, vendors of all sorts. All these had a great impact on me. I don’t see Manila as threatening anymore. There were no more butterflies in my stomach when I left Manila. The butterflies probably flew off to Rizal Park or the Manila Zoo