Shoestring Adventures (A Teaser)

I am off to a different continent with one of my bestfriends in a few days. To say that I have prepared for this well won’t be true. I may write about the trip upon our return, and I’m sure highlights will be in my Instagram stories, but at this point  I’m practically not ready in many aspects. The only thing good to go is myself; as in the body and the willingness to explore.  Maybe for now that would suffice.

I may feel that it’s really happening when I’m almost there. One of the first phrases I need to learn and will probably use particularly when dining is “No onions, please” but in Spanish. I’ll then take it from there.

Six Months of Itchy Feet

bitmoji-1452480305The first half of 2016 didn’t fly as fast as the past years and I can attribute it to opportunities to travel since January. Hindi pa din naman jetsetter levels but knowing me and my attachment to sleeping in and my catatonic extent of TV and movie marathoning, this has been a welcome change.

I was ready to book my solo trip to Penang for my birthday in January when I learned that my office bestfriend R was being sent to DC for training. We had talked about going to NYC for years so I definitely had to join her! Looking back, my first decent lunch on that trip (we were graciously hosted by R’s sister’s friend) was in Penang Malaysian Restaurant in downtown Boston so it’s like saying, “Sorry Penang, this shall do for now!”

It was all fun and new adventures from Harvard, Boston Commons, Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, the 4-hour Amtrak ride to Penn Station, snowy tour of the common NYC touristy spots, the Hamptons, more DIY tourist walks, to my forever love affair with San Francisco and its famous spots, wineries in Napa, burgers and more burgers, Tselogs (which serves the best Pinoy comfort food in all of the West Coast), and basically more food and time for friends and family. Some photos below:

BOSTON

NUEVA YORK

SAN FRANCISCO

April saw me in Bangkok for a leadership training. I skipped the usual Thailand tourist activities because I did them 10 long years ago, when without wise counsel I booked a flight to Bangkok because it’s my birthday. It was all kinds of, “What the hell am I doing in this area of Bangkok?” and “I’m naively stupid, let us just charge it to experience.” So when I went back, it felt familiar, save for impressive urban developments (which made me slightly jealous). I didn’t pay for it so I was housed in a fancy hotel with an incredible view while having breakfast, kung saan a fancy buffet breakfast had me eating their anchovies for seven straight days. I tried almost everything in the buffet spread AND PUT DILIS ON THEM. Ang sarap ng anchovies nila doon, I swear — even the ones I bought at a 7-Eleven to munch on at night! Dilis-cious. Ay, ang corny.

We’re lucky my office observes legal holidays of two countries, so when we chanced on a cheap fare to Guam, kaladkarin as usual, off we went. With all these traveling I also had to make it up to my mother, so from a big Cebu Pacific sale in March I scored HK tickets for almost 6K. Yes, 6K for two adults, round trip. Hindi ka pa ba pupunta? By the way, I am about to finish short travel tips in both places, as my very small way of giving back to the blogosphere where I got many of my valuable itinerary tips from.

“Travel now, pulubi later,” said this one funny photo I saw in Facebook. Traveling, while not necessarily expensive all the time, still requires you to spend. And with very little gaps in between trips, tipid mode ka talaga, to the level of jeep na lang and carinderia after each one. 🙂 But is it worth it? YES. I’ve known it for so long and I remember one guy I had a super crush on telling me that I should travel more because the experiences will last longer than a good book, a hearty meal, or a great outfit. That was nine years ago. I didn’t heed it until three years ago. God always provides naman.

I will be quieter this second half although there’s one booked trip long ago (mura eh, sabi naman sa inyo, just be on the lookout, and have a friend with a credit card, LOL) which I can save up for until it’s time to go.

If my budget permits, I still intend to pursue Penang before the year ends. I have researched it and I think I am ready. If I delay it, baka mawala yung momentum and all the information I mapped out eh. Maybe it’s also because I conditioned myself I will go and I didn’t, so closure, I guess? Mga ganung first-world personal dilemma. Let’s see.

A big part of me still wants to travel more locally, solo or otherwise. There have been plenty of tourism jingles but what’s stuck in my head until now is Regine Velasquez singing Biyahe Tayo whenever I travel within the Philippines.

Anyway, that’s six months of relieving the itch of my feet. As always the case when something itches, kamutin lang! Pero sa pagkamot alalay lang, para walang damage, only relief. Naks!

Judayski’s Best of 2012 (And A Few Unfortunate Events)

The year is about to end so what better way to bookend it than a list of great, wonderful things I experienced this year.  I may have had setbacks which I took really seriously but overall, it’s a very blessed year for yours truly.

best of lifeBest Event: Turning 30.  It’s just a number, yes, but it’s a big one for me.  I threw the  imaginary blueprint I formed in my twenties and created a new one in my head.  It didn’t feel much differently, save for new emotional depths I now have (I swear, hahaha).

Best Work-Related Event: More stability within my team, compounded by the addition of a new member.  I suffered a great loss toward the end of 2011 but five months later, I knew I made the right choice, considering all aspects surrounding  the dynamics of my immediate workplace.  Ah, basta.

Most Wasted Opportunity: I wasn’t able to sustain my social media volunteer work with Visayan Forum Foundation.  I thought it’s going to be breezy and handy but it didn’t come easy.  Maybe it’s the subject matter; maybe I chose an advocacy that while very timely and worthy, isn’t necessarily my cup of tea.  Sayang.  But now I know, and I can cross it off my list.

Best Azkals/Local Football Moments:  (1) Advancing to the semi-finals of the Suzuki Cup  (2) Global FC’s UFL championship game vs. Loyola Meralco Sparks last June — oh, my emotions that night, (3)  winning the Peace Cup.

Terrible Football Moments: (1) Loss to Singapore in the semi-finals stage of Suzuki Cup.  If we were trampled early on, it would have been easier to accept.  But I know everyone did everything they can.  (2) The sexual harassment case against Angel Guirado and Lexton Moy.  Come on, I’m a woman who will fight you to the death if you offend me, but I can also see what’s overreaction when I see one.  Enough said., (3) Global FC’s loss to Stallion FC in the United Football Cup championship.

Best Outcome of Football Fangirling: My football core group.  We dearly call ourselves Fandesals, the meaning of which will be kept to ourselves. 🙂 I love the friendship we formed that transcended football (o, Rach, transcend!).  I love all the games we watched together but the better part of it is our “debriefing” sessions.  I love you all, guys.

best of futbolBest TV show discovery:  The Newsroom.  Consider this: Aaron Sorkin.  News.  I don’t need to say more.  Runners up : Suits, seasons 1 and 2.  The Walking Dead season 3, after a crapfest called season 2.

Best (and Worst!) Physical Activity I Participated In:  Merrell Trail Run on June 2, 2012.  I thought my Corregidor experience was it but no!  For this one, we braved 10 kilometers of extremely muddy, mountainous trail in  Timberland Heights.  For four freakin’ hours.  It’s like a military bootcamp.  Immediately after that, I can barely feel my lower extremities.  When I got home after the event, I slept for 14 hours straight.  But the best part? The experience with my friends.  I will do it again, if the chance presents itself.  Seriously.

Best Out of Town Trip: Bacolod, last June.  Sure, it was for football, but it was also a chance to explore that interesting city.  We had an amazing host who brought us to most of the worthy spots.  The best part was the food trip.  I think I gained the size of a toddler after that trip.  Runner Up : Baguio in March with my Mom.  We stayed inside the Embassy compound.  The fact that Baguio is my second favorite city in the Philippines is why it’s great to begin with.  No ghosts, contrary to rumors, so it’s cool.

Best It’s-Long-Overdue Action:  I had glasses fitted.  I no longer squint just to read all my correspondence!

Best Charity Work Out of Just Using My Big Mouth: Sending five scholars to UP from the proceeds of our The Avengers screening.  I just sold tickets to a movie people wanted to watch anyway.  I’m so proud of my book club, Ex Libris Philippines, for staging this project.  Next year ulit!

Best Achievement:  Successfully going through a six-month book-buying ban.  I’m so proud of myself.  I didn’t die!  However…

Tiny Bibliophile-Related Setback:  I was allowed to buy books on July 1 so between that time and this writing, I amassed 77 books already.  That number excludes the books generously given to me by my former boss, I won on giveaways, and given by friends as gifts.  I don’t know what to say.  This is my eternal love, in case you just met me today.

Worst Losses: Deaths of an uncle and an aunt who loved me dearly.  My familial setup is not your boring and conventional kind so growing up, having people who care for you genuinely is one of the best coping mechanisms. One of my bestfriends also lost her mother and as I said, this kind of loss for us is a different league of its own.  My mentor’s husband, with whom I shared the same birthday and never failed to make me remember it, also passed on.  A consolation in my heart is that I know, they are with my father now in heaven.  They can swap stories up there.

Worst Abandonment Experience: Denoy leaving for a new job over at the other compound — five kilometers away.  I know, abandonment is over the top, but what do you want me to use?  I was left behind?  Okay, that will do.  Seriously, when he left in July, I thought it’s going to be easy.  My friend got a job he actually wanted to do!  But hey, it wasn’t easy.  Imagine losing the most constant, everyday fixture in your life for five years.  It helped that I avoided going to the 2nd floor since he moved.  For a time I was at a loss, even if I know he’s just a phone call away.  It sounds corny, but even if we annoy each other most of the time, he’s like a gum under my shoe that just won’t go away.  I still miss him especially when there’s something — serious or shallow — I want to tell, a guy problem I want his opinion on…and then I’ll realize he’s not there anymore, available by 11:30 a.m.  I have other male friends but they can never replace him.  Anyway, lately, I think I have accepted it fully.

Best Full-Size Aortic Pump Moment: I have moved on from SG.  After a year.  He’s not coming back and even if he does, it’s better this way.  I never regretted the last seven years (especially since not every single day of those seven years was just about him — I had diversions, LOL).  But seriously, it’s fine now.  I know that the lines will always be open, and he constantly proved that to me, so I take comfort in that and I’m ready to face the other direction.  Time to find a new one.  Pwede na. Bigyan nyo na ako ng listahan ng pagpipilian.🙂 I have short-listed names.  Hahaha.

Super Duper Bestest Part of 2012:  I’M STILL ALIVE.  Healthy, employed, loved.  Nothing can beat that.

So, how’s your 2012?