My 2018 Update: Work + Travels

I welcomed my 2018 in Hong Kong with my family and friends, and I could say it was a great start. Right after the New Year, however, I had to say goodbye and went back to Manila, which is currently my base. The first two months of my 2018 were full of adventures. I was too busy working and having fun so much so that I completely forgot I had a blog. I felt bad when I realized I hadn’t written and published anything since the second week of January especially knowing that I promised my readers I would publish posts more often this year.

Apparently, I was already failing at that goal of mine and was breaking my promises. But you gotta cut me some slacks as this has been the only time in my life wherein I am enjoying every little thing I am doing and cherishing every single moment I am breathing.

WHERE I AM GOING NOW…

I am on the plane flying to Ho Chi Minh as I am writing this post. It’s gonna be my first time in this city and I am so excited to explore different spots in Vietnam. I’ll be in Nha Trang for three days and will be in Da Nang after that for five days. While staying in Da Nang, my friend Chelle (who I’ll be meeting once I land in HCM) also plan to go to Hoi An. After Da Nang, we will travel back to HCM and stay there for two more days until I fly back to Manila.

I feel so lucky and blessed to be able to do this: work and travel at the same time. As I was talking to my mom on the phone earlier, she told me she’d still get confused and wouldn’t know what to say when people would ask her what I do for a living. I laughed at her and had to explain it to her for the nth time.

WHAT I ACTUALLY DO FOR A LIVING…

I am a digital media strategist and a business development manager for a digital advertising company called TravellerPX. We work with independent luxury hotels by providing them a platform that helps them manage their businesses and helping them improve their online presence. I do all of my work online which means I work remotely. Working remotely means I can work anywhere, any time, depending on my preference. Some days I would just stay at home in my pyjama and work from my bed. But most days, I would either travel to a new place or go to a coffee shop where I can get a good Wi-Fi connection and work from there.

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I am so lucky to be able to travel for work. My company is based in Perth but my boss would often travel to South East Asia for business and oftentimes, I would also get included in the travels. I had traveled to Singapore and Bangkok for work and last month, I also had the opportunity to travel to Japan. My trips have always been paid for by my company which makes me feel so blessed as I am able to save up money for my non-work related travels.

WHERE I WAS…

In Mid January, I had to fly to Tokyo and then to Sapporo. I stayed in one of the hotels I manage, which is called Shiki Niseko. Shiki Niseko is located in one of the popular ski resorts in Hokkaido called Niseko. I was so happy to be able to work there even for just two weeks. I had so much fun visiting restaurants and bars and collaborating with shops and studios in Niseko. And of course, I enjoyed snowboarding so much! I loved the snow. I loved the powder! Snowboarding made me feel like floating in the air. Remembering this now makes me wish I was still Niseko! I loved it there! I didn’t want to leave. 😦

 

(More about my Niseko experience in the next blog posts)

After my Niseko work trip (you can see videos of it on my Instagram), I flew back to Tokyo and was there for a short while. Then, I flew back to Manila on the first week of February and waited for my next trip (this trip). Now, I am on my third International travel and it’s only February!

WHERE I’LL BE NEXT…

I am so happy that my 2018 has started out so well and is still going great. Next month, after my Vietnam trip, I will be flying back home to Hong Kong to see my mom and my best friends. It will also be my birth month. I always try my best to be with my family on my birthday so even though I always dread getting another year older, I am excited to celebrate with the people close to my heart.

That’s all for now. I can’t wait to land in the city of Pho Ga and drink buckets of Vietnamese coffeeee! I’ll update you again soon! Thanks for reading and for sticking with me! ❤


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How I Got Rid of My Insecurities and Learned to Love My Own Skin

I do not have to explain myself. I do not have to tell people why I am who I am and why I do things that are not normal. I am allowed to be weird. Everybody is. I am writing this post with regards to the photos I post on my Instagram page.


While growing up, I had a lot of insecurities just like others. I was skinny and my skin was naturally tan. In the Philippines, you are most likely to get bullied for having a dark skin. The society’s concept of beauty includes having a fair complexion, and when you don’t, you get mocked and called negative names such as “Ita” (short for negrita), “Ulikba” or even “Pangit” or “ugly”.

When I was young, I would cry a lot in secret because people in my neighborhood would make me feel bad about my skin color and even my hair. I also had naturally curly hair, so people thought I was the perfect description of a “negrita” or an “aeta.” A negrita is a member of an indigenous group (Aeta/Agta) in the Philippines who live in the mountains. They are scattered and isolated.

Aetas are best described as having dark skin, short, and curly to kinky textured hair. As a child, having been compared to them wasn’t a good thing. Because I was mocked and teased by my friends and people in my neighborhood to be similar to them, I learned to have a negative view of them. In my mind, they were ugly…just like me. And so I felt bad about myself. I hated how I looked. I dreaded looking in the mirror. I started wishing I had a fairer complexion and straight hair.

And it was so wrong. Teaching a child to view other people negatively is such a wrong way to educate. Fortunately, my dad’s mom, my grandmother, who I looked up to, taught me that the physical body is something that one should nurture, love, and take care of no matter of what it looks like.

My grandmother, Eleonor, was popular in our town for being that old woman who does not give a fuck. She came from another indigenous group in the Philippines called Batak. Traditional Batak women are usually half naked. They were used to it. They grew up with it. Batak people have the same physical features as the Aeta. I guess that explains why I look like them because my grandma came from them.

My grandma used to have a store and would go to the public market every Sunday to sell her products (which everybody loved). She was a successful businesswoman. But on regular days, she would just stay at home…completely topless. If someone came to visit, she wouldn’t even bother to get dressed. In her mind, why should she adjust to people who chose to come see her? In her mind, she didn’t have to be embarrassed in her own home.

I admired her so much. She taught me how to get rid of my insecurities and be comfortable in my own skin. Despite that, she also taught me how to act like a proper and decent woman. She was the one who taught me how to sit correctly. She didn’t want me to cross my legs when sitting down. She would always ask me to sit with my legs close to each other and slightly bent of the left side. She taught me how to eat decently and to stop putting my left leg up on the chair when sitting down while eating.

My grandma was very different from other women. While others would normally use so many beauty products to take care of their skin and how they look, my grandma only had one beauty product she used daily — coconut oil. She would apply coconut oil to both her skin and hair. And she had always had that beautiful, tan skin and black, shiny hair.

Growing up with her made me realize how important it is to take care of myself and stay true to who I am. It helps me learn how to love myself and to not give a damn about what other people think of me.

There are times when I come across people who would try to make me feel bad for my looks, and when I do, I remind myself of the times I thought I was ugly and my grandma was there to prove I wasn’t.

It is not okay to make someone feel bad and ugly. We all need to learn how to lift other people up and empower them. We need to learn how to make people happy for being who they are.

Whoever you are, who are reading this right now, I want you to stop criticizing and to start admiring. I want you to have the same confidence I have and get rid of your insecurities. Because when you start feeling good about yourself, only then can you also make others feel good.

I want to gift you the power of owning yourself, that when you look at your reflection in the mirror, you’d say, “Wow. This amazing person in front of me is ME. No one can compare to me. I am free. I love and I am loved. I am happy.”

I want you to keep your eyes and your ears open. See the world the same way you listen. I want you to keep your mind and your heart burning, that when someone tries to lower your value, you are able to lift yourself up, that when people tell you they don’t like you, you won’t bother to care because you know you’re able to love yourself without others having to like you. Attract the positive energy until you attract people who have the same energy as you.


 

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