2018





I often use this time of year to reflect on the year that was, put those reflections into words and post them here.

I kind of don’t feel like doing that this year.

The reason is simple: I’ve done a lot of reflecting throughout the year about everything that’s happened: while they were happening, after they happened, long after they happened. Suffice to say, it’s been exhausting. My brain is tired and maybe I just need a break from all the thinking.

That’s saying something, because I like to think. It’s a weird thing to say, but I like to mull stuff over, analyze and overanalyze, come to conclusions, figure out what I’ve learned from all of them, and save them for later use.  

But I’ve done my fair share of that this year, and for these last few days as we wind down 2018, I’d very much like to take a breather from all the…thoughts.

The other reason is that many of the things that happened which ultimately defined 2018 for me were very, very personal matters that not only involved me but many others, and I’d rather not air them out in public here (to my 2 readers, haha).

The most I’d say is this: 2018 taught me to be there for friends and to be there for family. I was happy to be there for them through everything that 2018 threw at us, and if I had to, I’d do it again in 2019. 

You know who you are – I love you guys. I’m here for you. I hope there won’t be a need for you guys to be there for me in 2019, but in any case, I’m thankful we’re all in this together, through whatever.  

Of course, there are things that happened that I am comfortable to talk about, and I will briefly mention them here.

In September this year, I closed down Love Monday CafĂ©. A brief passion project that taught me many things. It didn’t quite work out the way I planned, but I tried, and it was fun while it lasted. I have no regrets. I only remember the good times. 😊

As if it were a metaphor for my life this year in general, this year has been a year when I was able to come to terms with my life choices: career, passion pursuits, future path. I’d rather not dwell on them anymore because as I said, no more deep thoughts until 2019, but my friends know all about it. I’m putting this here more as a note to myself, if I’m being honest, so I don’t forget this memory.  


On a lighter note, then there are the usual travel stories: if this were a different year, I’d probably be raving about my 2 week-long UK solo trip on this year-end post. And maybe I should a little bit because it was epic.

I was there for a couple of days for work, and then I was there for a holiday. IT WAS LOVELY. It was the bubble I needed this year.

I stayed in the Cotswolds for five beautiful days where I lived in a converted old sheep wagon in the backyard of a lovely family’s quaint farmhouse. There was a stream nearby. I could hear the water flowing and owls hooting at night. The church bell would toll to signal the start of every hour. There would also be the occasional vroom of the fancy sports cars always zooming around because apparently, it’s a luxury to live in small, quaint English towns (I later found out my host is the daughter of a big-named former member of parliament).  

Every morning I’d wait for the bus at the Blockley bus stop that would take me to the other towns: Chipping Campden, Moreton-in-Marsh, Broadway. I’d be waiting with the same group of people, most of them Blockley residents in their 50s or 60s. The most memorable among them were a quiet man who was always impeccably dressed in a light-colored suit, slacks and a hat, who didn't say much but always had a smile, and a chatty gentleman and his wife.

On my last day in Blockley they noticed the luggage I had with me and, realizing I was already leaving, encouraged me to carve my initials on the bench we would sit on every day while waiting for the bus. The chatty gentleman even let me use his pocket knife to do it!

On the same day, my last in the Cotswolds, I decided to spend my morning in Broadway. I had a little bit of time to kill and came upon their village museum. Turned out that the artist Willard Wigan was there and so were his amazing microscopic sculptures. Literally microscopic - as in the exhibit was a table lined with microscopes you had to look into to see his work. That's one of his sculptures in the picture - created inside the eye of a needle. The eye of a needle! Can you imagine?

There weren't a lot of us, less than ten or so at the exhibit, and the artist was patient enough to answer our questions and tell us his story.

The most amazing thing is that he mentioned that he is actually on the autism spectrum. He said that even as a child he lived in a microscopic world, having been fascinated with ants and insects and all sorts of little things. He had trouble learning in school and often retreated to his tiny world (isn't there a Dr. Seuss book about something like this?).

It was inspiring, seeing him being so engaging, telling us his story, talking about his work. The incredible amount of focus, resilience and discipline it must take to do what he does! A testament to how one's difficulties are actually one's gifts, when seen in fine, microscopic detail.

After my adventure in the Cotswolds I spent a couple more days in London, in a log cabin in what my Londoner co-workers said was the dodgy part of the city, but it was a nice, quiet place, again by a stream.

I met my host’s neighbor, a guy taking his PhD on African studies and his Korean professor friend and her Korean student-friend. I joined their Saturday evening barbecue where they were talking about Grizzly Man, the documentary about Timothy Treadwell who was killed from an attack by the bears he loved – it was captured on video (but not shown in the documentary, don’t worry). 

ANYWAY, my host’s neighbor had an impressive beard, kind eyes and an eclectic taste in music.

Also while in London, I got to go to Wimbledon, a childhood dream. AND I GOT TO SEE RAFA NADAL PRACTICE! It was insane. I felt like a kid going to Disneyland for the first time. Rafa is a gladiator. He was gorgeous.

ALSO, I got to watch The Book of Mormon, which was hilarious. BUT I ALSO GOT TO WATCH HAMILTON! It was beautiful and I cried a lot.

My West End experience was quite an adventure and a story in itself, actually. When I watched Book of Mormon, I made friends with the lovely American couple sitting next to me who said they reminded me of their liberal, free-spirited daughter, and they were my adoptive parents for the duration of the play.

Meanwhile, at Hamilton, I wasn't able to get tickets online but I thought I'd take my chances at getting one at the theatre. I lined up for the resale queue and got lucky! So for the play I was mom to two teens from Glasgow who were twice my height. Their real mom wasn't feeling well and couldn't make the show so their dad, George, resold the ticket.

I thought the fangirling for the year would end in London over musicals but little did I know I would double down on it towards the end of the year, for an entirely different type of music: Kpop. Went to Taipei to watch iKON in concert in September as a birthday gift to myself and because I needed a break from aforementioned drama, and it was a great long weekend and a great show. THEN I saw them again in Manila in November WHICH WAS AMAZING! My fangirling hasn’t let up since. 

And I don’t think I want it to let up soon – Kpop might seem like a trivial thing, but fangirling over iKON has been the escape and little spot of untainted joy I needed this year. I’m so thankful I’ve been supporting them since their trainee days on Who is Next! Best decision of my Kpop life.

I realize I was quite the Scroogette at the beginning of this post, but it’s nice how it turned out quite happy in the end, somehow. Things always work out still, maybe.

I don’t have big wishes or dreams or goals for 2019. I’m on my way to finishing editing my first novel, and I hope that by the time this goes up, I would’ve already finished it.

On top of that, in 2019 I hope to learn how to bake scones, make clotted cream and learn how to play the ukulele. That’s it – plain and simple.

Happy New Year!

Visit Glasgow for a Weekend Away





For anyone a weekend away can really break up the regular routine, where ever you visit there will be things to do, but in Glasgow, there’s more. You could use it as a spa or golf weekend, or simply visit some of the wonderful sites that the city has to offer.
You might be thinking that you could do all that somewhere else, but there is no place on earth like the Scottish city. Below we have included a number of examples of just some of the activities that you can find yourself doing when in Glasgow.

Have a Spa Break

While you can go away to any place for a spa break, very few places have a relaxing atmosphere. With all the country views and relaxing areas Glasgow is the perfect place for a spa weekend away, you could even look at spa hotels in Glasgow.

If day-to-day life is causing you to feel stressed then some rest and recuperation in the relaxing environment of the spa might be the perfect thing. Wherever you go, there will no doubt be various treatments available so choose something that will suit you.

A Round of Golf

If you’re in to golf then there is no better place to be than Glasgow, surrounded by the picturesque Scottish countryside. Rather than going to your local course and playing a few rounds, a course in Glasgow will off you the opportunity to take in some beautiful views whilst playing your favourite game.

Compete with one another on the golf course during the day and visit some of the city’s bars and restaurants during the evening. You really couldn’t ask for anything better.

Sightseeing

If you’re visiting a new place, then exploring must be on your to-do list. Even if you only visit a few locations, you must get out of the hotel and see some of the wonderful sights that Glasgow has to offer.

Glasgow has a very rich culture and while you’re visiting you will surely wish to enrichen yourself by experiencing it for yourself. Immerse yourself in tourist activities, such as taking a trip around the city on a tour bus. Not only learn the history from the locals themselves, but you’ll find out what else the city has to offer.

Take a Romantic Trip

A romantic couples weekend away might be your idea of paradise, and why not? You can mix it up and have a romantic spa weekend away, or if you’d rather, why not visit some of Glasgow’s more romantic sights, such as the Royal Theatre or take a trip along the river on a Waverley Paddle Steamer Excursion? Whether it’s a blossoming romance or keeping the old flame alive, we are sure the stunning views will have you falling heads over heels in love not just with each other, but with Scotland, too.

However, if your idea of a romantic break is enjoying some of the finer things that can be found indoors, then you must at least visit some of Glasgow’s restaurants. There are so many, so you are guaranteed to find something to suit you, maybe even think about trying something that you’ve never tried before. What better city to do it in than Glasgow?

Eid-ul-Fitr Traditions Across the World





As we find ourselves at the end of Ramadan, now is the perfect time to look ahead and consider what the future will bring. Regardless of our faith, equality and generosity are things we should aim to include in our daily lives. Of course, every faith has its own traditions, events and special occasions – for those who frequently travel the world, it is important to ensure that you are fully clued up and aware of the cultural traditions in the countries you will be visiting. 

In Islam, the Holy month of Ramadan is one of the most important times of the year. It is a time for fasting, prayer and reflection, and is observed in many predominantly-Muslim countries. However, once the month of Ramadan comes to an end, it is time for Eid-ul-Fitr.
Eid-ul-Fitr is another important occasion in the Islamic calendar. It is a festival of celebration, commemorating the end of Ramadan and the breaking of the fast, and is a time where Muslims across the world join together to celebrate.

Although there are certain traditions that are common throughout the world on Eid-ul-Fitr, there are many others which can vary by country and region.

For those who are planning to travel or visit these places during Eid-ul-Fitr, it is important to ensure that you are aware of the customs and traditions of the particular area you will be visiting. Not only is this an important way to be respectful and considerate of the local’s faith and beliefs, but it is also essential to guarantee that you don’t fall foul of any localised laws or customs.

To get started, here are some common traditions which take place on Eid-ul-Fitr.
On the morning of the first day that Eid is celebrated, Muslims will bathe and dress in their best clothes before visiting their local Mosque for congregational prayers. Following the prayers, the traditional greeting of “Eid Mubarak” (have a Blessed Eid) will be used to greet friends, family members and other Muslims.

Many Muslims will then spend the day visiting loved ones, eating traditional dishes and sweets and spending time together. In addition, children are commonly given gifts at Eid.
When it comes to traditions by country, there are understandably certain variations and differences in the way that Eid is celebrated. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but here are a few traditions from around the world.

Indonesia
Indonesia is home to 12.7% of the world’s Muslim population – the largest Muslim population in a single country. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to learn that Eid-ul-Fitr is a significant occasion in Indonesia! During the festival, locals participate in parades, watch fireworks and go shopping for gifts for their loved ones. When it comes to food, traditional dishes like Rendang (a spicy meat dish) and Brongkos (a traditional soup dish) are usually enjoyed.

Tunisia
Eid-ul-Fitr is a real celebration in Tunisia, with many people spending the occasion enjoying time with their families. The youngest members of the family will be given money or small gifts like toys, and traditional Eid cuisine like biscuits, Kaak (a type of cake) and Baklawa (a sweet pastry dessert with chopped nuts and honey) will be eaten.

Morocco
Traditional Eid breakfast foods in Morocco include delicious treats such as cookies, Baghrir and Melwi (types of Moroccan pancake), washed down with refreshing mint tea.

India
Although Islam is not India’s main faith, Muslims throughout the country celebrate it in a number of different ways. Women wear traditional clothing and decorate their hands with henna designs, and the night before Eid, many Indian Muslims go out shopping. In this country, a traditional sweet Eid dish is Sheer Khurma – a milk pudding with dates.
As the month of Ramadan draws to an end, make sure that you are fully clued up about Eid-ul-Fitr and everything that this special occasion means to Muslims around the world.

2017: The Love Monday Movement in Review




It truly has been a year like no other.

Usually I would write my year-end posts by recounting my travels from the last twelve months, some work milestones and a few personal anecdotes. But I will remember 2017 as a year of personal pursuits.

This time last year, Love Monday CafĂ© was just an idea I had scribbled on a notebook, written in emails to myself and put together on a few Pinterest boards. It’s been a great journey, bringing it to life, and throughout the process my emotions have ranged from truly inspired and encouraged to downtrodden and defeated to grateful and fulfilled. Somewhat surprisingly, a value I learned from my corporate life was what kept me going throughout the year: resilience.   



Another motivating factor were my friends and family, who continue to support my crazy self and my crazy ideas. I can only imagine how frustrating and worrying it can be sometimes to be friends with an ENFP, and I’ve never been so much of an ENFP in my life as I was in 2017. So a lot of love and a thousand thanks are in order to all of you who have been with me all these years!

There’s a lot to look forward to in the new year when you’re coming from a year of first steps and new beginnings. I’m excited. There’s still so much I want to do. Bringing ideas to life and – excuse the clichĂ© – turning dreams into reality can be quite addicting. It’s not always easy, it’s not always going to work, but doing it is always worth it, no matter what happens.

I also feel a new perspective coming to life throughout all my experiences in 2017: a preference for simpler things, a penchant for minimalism, a different set of priorities. I’ll write more about it once I’ve put them all together in a more coherent way in my head.

If I’m being honest, I struggled writing this year-end post. Not because I had nothing to write about - there were plenty. But everything I wrote would sound like some sort of clichĂ©, the kind of repetitive, formulaic story written about in a Thought Catalog article or on some motivational or inspirational blog with questionable credibility: I was a girl who quit her job and gave up her career to pursue a far-fetched dream.

Except it isn’t a clichĂ©. Because it’s been a deeply personal and one-of-a-kind journey, and I lived it, and I have the entire 2017 to look back on to remind me of it, and I will continue to live it in 2018.

I guess it’s still a little hard to believe sometimes. I really did it! I really took the plunge and did it, and it’s been a whole year since of taking plunges, breaking through obstacles, and moving onward to pursue my purpose and my passions, with supportive and loving friends and family around me.

So what more could I ask for in the new year? Not much else, really. Perhaps health, a level head, and a lot of heart so I can make the most of the good graces that have been given to me. Excuse the clichĂ©, but there’s no other way to put it: hashtag-blessed. Happy new year!



















Dream Destination: New Delhi, India




My travels have taken me all over Asia, having explored amazing places like Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan, and of course, my home country of the Philippines.

But there is still so much of Asia left for me to explore, and one that for now remains a dream destination is the area of South Asia, in particular, India.

Its capital, New Delhi, seems like a magical place that can leave any traveler in awe of its history, culture and food.

Among the numerous destinations within New Delhi that are worth visiting, I’ve listed my top dream destinations here. If you’ve been to any of these places, I’d love to hear what you think of them in the comments!

Of course, researching about a travel destination should include a hunt for the best places to stay in that city. The Imperial Hotel Delhi is one I’ve found that’s in an excellent location in central New Delhi. Definitely worth checking out.

On to the list of my dream destinations in New Delhi! Let me know what you think of them in the comments section.


Humayun Tomb


This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the tomb of a former Mughal emperor, which was commissioned by his first wife. Designed by a Persian architect, it was built in the mid-1500s and is the resting place of several Mughal rulers.


While not as universally known as the Taj Mahal, the Humayun Tomb has the unique distinction of being the first ever garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent. Some would even claim that its construction inspired other architectural marvels in India, including the Taj Mahal itself. Its beauty and grandeur is definitely not to be missed by a traveler in New Delhi.  



Lodhi Garden


Originating for the mid-1500s, this historic garden complex also houses the tombs of several rulers.

Entrance to the Lodhi Garden is free, and the massive park is a favorite among locals. If you go on an early morning visit, you will find joggers, yoga practitioners, and other fitness aficionados all around the area. The park is also an ideal spot for having picnics. 


India Gate


Formerly known as the All India War Memorial, this impressive structure was built to commemorate the over eighty thousand Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.

Built in 1931, the monument is over 40 meters long and has several inscriptions, including the names of over 13,000 fallen soldiers. Interestingly, one of the names on the gate belongs to that of a female nurse killed during combat in 1917.


Where to Stay in New Delhi

As to be expected, there are numerous hotels to choose from at India’s capital. In particular, you shouldn’t have any trouble visiting any of the destinations I mentioned in this article if you’re staying at the Imperial Hotel Delhi given its central location.    

Have you been to New Delhi, and how was your experience? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Happy travels!  

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