Tag Archives: experiences

I Did Come Along to Batolusong  

Credit to Dhan for this stunning, award-winning photo! 🙂

I really love the sky

But I don’t want to fly 

I want to climb a mountain 

But to think of it makes me sigh


I want to feel so high

But the fear of heights makes me cry 

The irony of it all

Simply makes me ask “Why?”


But real friends make me strong

And help me address what’s wrong 

They help me see nature

In ways that will make me mature 


Hiking up a mountain

Taught me to fight 

To walk and climb 

With all my might 


To carry the littlest burdens 

Make the travel light 

Enjoy the journey 

Breathe in the sight

 

No matter how scary

Is the mountain’s height 

The birds all learn 

To enjoy the flight

 

The sun will continue 

to shine bright 

No matter how many times

Day turns to night

 

Friendships are strengthened 

As we reached Mt. Batolusong’s height

Our perspectives widened

Our horizons broadened


Friends, nature, and life 

See their beauty altogether 

Put your heart into your travel 

Decide to wander, wonder, and ponder

*****

This post is reminiscent of two challenges that I overcame with the help of my favorite people in the world. First, I got to write a poem (which I last did way back in high school) for a travel photo contest (when I never really take pictures when I travel). Second, as the title of this post stated: I did come along with friends to Mt. Batolusong, Tanay, Rizal. Cheers to my first real mountain hike! I did not imagine that I would be able to fulfill my dream of mountain climbing. Despite all my hesitations, my closest of friends succeeded in hiking all the way to the very peak with me. What a heavy baggage I must have been! Haha.

Really, I’m grateful to God for friends who challenged me to go out of my comfort zone, and never left me behind when I thought I couldn’t make it. I had a recent realization that I am not as nice as I thought I was. But, these crazy friends never gave up on me but were compassionate toward me and highly motivated enough to inspire me during the low points of my life. They don’t tolerate me but always bring me closer to the Lord so that I may change and be the person He wanted me to be. Indeed, making dreams come true is so much better when you’ve got real friends to do it with you. ❤

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“Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” Proverbs 18:24 (MSG)

Keep You Proud

I used to think tears would keep falling every time the 22nd of August comes around. But then I realize, what is there to keep grieving for? It’s not the number of years that matter after all. A life that had been worth living is a life worth celebrating. Even if it has been cut quite too short, it nevertheless leaves an impact on people who had been a part of it. So, in remembrance of Mama, despite some sadness and deep longing, I give emphasis on high esteem and due recognition.

I have always admired you for being strong and passionate, Ma. You have stood firm beside Papa. You had always been his solid support. You could have been the best pastor’s wife. It is my prayer to be as loving, dedicated, and goal-driven as you are — as a mentor, a teacher, a wife, and a mother. Thank you for investing in my education, for making me the kind of person that I am. I’ll always be proud of inheriting your wit and your genes. I will always keep on making you proud.

Courageous Kimmy

Does friendship end over two lost concert tickets? Well, it could have been.

I was astonished when one of my closest friends sent me a text message telling me that it is her goal for our relationship to level up this year. I thought, are we not that intimate enough? Didn’t we just practically spend almost our entire college life together? Then I realized that yes, there is more space to grow in our relationship.

Apparently, on the day Kim and I lost two expensive (well, this adjective is relative considering that at the time we were stretching our personal budgets) tickets to a local concert, we almost lost our patience on one another. Almost! And that’s when I saw clearly that there is still more to know and to love about this beautiful lady that we fondly call Kimmy.

aug 9 2011 kim and keren
Our first picture together, taken around 2011 (or I think around an earlier date?)
kimandkeren
Second picture together (just the two of us!) taken around 2012. Is the rule one photo a year, Kimmy? 😉

Before plunging into the depth of what I still have to know about Kimmy, let me tell you a few of what I know–and like–about her. Well, she was born on the Day of Valor. At first, I took this fact for granted; only lately did I realize that maybe, God has indeed given this person a gift of courage worthy of inspiration.

Kimmy did not want to celebrate her birthday with many people. Lately, she preferred spending Christmas and her birthday alone at home in her room–spending time meditating on her life and her relationship with her God. It was a little astonishing at first, but on a deeper level it shows how she takes life seriously and not just play around. It shows how grounded she is in her faith in God, and how that faith directs her life on a day-to-day basis. I know a lot of people experience a lot of pressures from different sources each day. And I know it takes courage to accept defeat today, but striving to better tomorrow. I believe that Kimmy has this kind of attitude. Kimmy has the inner strength, that inner courage, to face each of them head on, determining to know each difficulty in detail and overcoming it.

I remember what I wrote on the college yearbook for Kimmy:

One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears, says Dean Rusk. Kim knows this best and proves it by what she does.

Kimberly Giel Joanne Fiecas is known to be a silent person, but deep inside is a person worth knowing, and worth cherishing. A listening friend, a persevering student, a reliable person, she knows where to invest her resources: her time, her effort, and her words. Kim treasures her family as priceless; she treats her friends as family; she considers her teachers her friends. People who see her in school perceive her as a silent, serious, and structured girl, but aside from her academic life, she has got a fun, social life too. She loves parties, sleepovers and movie marathons. She always aims to balance things up in her life, and knows it’s not always a score of perfect one. Life in UP means both victories and struggles, but Kim has decided to learn from both, and with every failure she is determined to rise up again and do better, all for the First Love who has given His life so that hers would be meaningful.
Life in UP ends so soon, but life itself continues, and for Kim, learning, living, and loving keep going on, as long as there is one soul around her left for her to love.

This beautiful, strong lady might be going through tough times lately, but I believe that she will make it through and emerge stronger after all the trials. I believe that in her silence is her strength. In her silence is her dependence on God. There is so much more to know about Kimmy, but one thing’s sure: deep inside this person is someone worth knowing, and worth cherishing.

I miss you, Kimmy! Hope to see you soon. We’ve still got a lot of pictures of ourselves to take! 😉

This year's goal: more photos together! And a level up in our friendship, of course. :D
This year’s goal: more photos together! And a level up in our friendship, of course. 😀


Your chance of becoming a hero

The most important trips aren’t about getting somewhere. They’re about getting to someone. (via Elliott.org) This is one statement that struck me one morning as I was browsing the news online. You can actually read the Time article here written by William Lee Adams. As I was reading this article about a Southwest Airlines pilot who risked his job and the credibility of his company by delaying a plane flight just to give way to a passenger whose grandchild just died, three insights came to my mind:

1. Relationships matter most.

When was the last time you had to put off some serious talk with a parent or a close friend just because you have some project or office work to do? Sure, we have to know our priorities. And there are times when we have to draw the line between our relationships and our tasks that have to be done. But in the end, on our deathbed, what we will be longing for are not our awards and achievements, but the people we, hopefully, have invested our lives on. Beyond the school/office policies and the deadlines our schoolmates, students, teachers, employees, bosses–they are people, too. They also need ears to listen, hands to give them a pat on the back, arms to hug them, and eyes that would give them genuine attention. People matter more than issues, and much more than papers.

2. Blogging reaches the world.

Well, at least for those who have  a good share of followers or readers. But it does not matter, anyway. The Internet is one wide avenue to share your thoughts and ideas–all the more when they’re worth sharing. It’s amazing how people across the globe who do not even know you and would not care to know about you would actually get interested in a topic you write about. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and experiences; good memories are often too good to be just hidden for your self. One good word might mean nothing to you but a whole lot for someone out there who’s needing it badly.

3. Heavy losses are big opportunities to learn significant life lessons.

When I lost my phone,  I realize that material possessions, no matter how much you treasure them, will perish. It’s when I lost my phone that I realize there are a lot of wonderful things to focus in the here and now. With my phone I used to think I manage to communicate with people physically far from me. But then I forget the people I actually share the same room with, these people I can actually see and feel. When I lost my phone, I felt my world quickly became smaller, but realized it also became richer in terms of my relationship with people close at hand.

When I lost a set of friends who are very dear to my heart, I initially became so bitterly disappointed. But later on I learned the value of moving on, but at the same time never giving up on loving them. You move on and decide to be happy despite the bad experience, yet you remain a friend to them–caring and praying for them even when they fail to do the same for you.

When I lost my mother, I learned that life is not meant to be lived for one person alone, or for a few. This is because no matter how hard it is to accept the truth, these people we love would have to leave us–whether they choose to or they have to. Life, rather, is meant to live for Him by whom we exist and for whom we are made.

Now back to the article about a Southwest Airlines pilot turned hero.  He did a small thing for an ordinary man because of an extraordinary purpose–and is then looked up to as an online hero. Actually, we ourselves are heroes in the varied roles we fulfill in the lives of people we touch. Whether you are a student, a teacher, an employee, a boss, a leader of only one follower, a follower who listens to only one leader, there will always be at least one person who looks up to you and whom you have an influence on. Every word you say then and every move you make matters. And the choice depends on you, whether to bestow good or bad influence. The moment you step out of your comfort zone to make life brighter even to just one single person is the moment you become a hero.

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“A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around.”  –Edgar Watson Howe

Letter to Dan

Dear DAN,

(Digital Age OrganizatioN)


So we’ve had a break up. And I still honestly believe it’s your fault. You didn’t talk to me personally on a deeper level. You didn’t hang out with me. You barely listened to what I’m trying to tell you. You don’t even seem to care about what I feel. I just didn’t feel the relationship.

But you know what? I can feel your efforts to win me back again. And I’m loving every single part of it.

Now, we’re starting to have conversations. We’re beginning to have real talk, because you’ve started to listen. You respond promptly now, and I can feel you care. You’re now paying attention to what  I say, care about, feel, or even think about.

And you certainly care about what I think about! Before, it was you who dictated what I should buy or eat or watch. You’ve been giving me only two options: Yes or No. But now, you’re giving me the choice to pick what I want when I want it. But this doesn’t mean I’m leaving you out of the options. Because you now give me the freedom to choose, I’m still considering to choose you–yes, you.

I love it when you finally gave me a chance to voice out my critical assessment of your stuff–some sort of curation–, finally getting the point that those comments and reviews are not only for my emotional release, but for your betterment as well. See, I still care about you. I want you to become better.

And, thank you for allowing me to discover different, new ways on how I can express myself. This creation of an alter-ego or multiple personalities make me feel more human. I can now be myself more. But don’t worry;  I promise to create ways on showing you and the world just how much I appreciate the stuff you make, the services you offer, the advocacy you work for. I’ll be your No.1 Advocate.

Most of all, thank you for quitting on doing all the efforts yourself to make this relationship work. You see, every relationship is a collaboration. Won’t you give me a chance to do something to make things better? I can make things easier for you. Besides, help is made ready by people out there who just care and simply want to help. The truth is, this relationship isn’t supposed to be only about you or only about me.  It’s more fun and meaningful when we include others, say, my family and friends, in our relationship. Why not include them in our talks and ventures? They will surely love you as part of the family and won’t fail to involve you in every bonding experience. Trust me, this way they’ll learn to love you more–and forgive you more easily when you fail.

You see, relationships also call for community–it involves everyone else who cares, supports, and helps us in the growth of our relationship. And guess what. I’m beginning to love the people connected to you as well–your sister, your manager, that friendly customer service assistant  in your office. It seems so easy to do so; they’re just so like you.

So you got it. You’ve won me back.


With love,

AA

(Active Audience)

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“But the best part of the day was I got another chance to fall in love with you AGAIN.”

-Shrek 3

Indispensable

You are being watched. You’re being heard of. You’re being searched–that is, online. In one of our 152 class discussions, we talked about managing online reputation and the importance of listening. Sir Barry pointed out that we need to know how other people ACTUALLY think about us. These perceptions are affected not just by the words we say, how we act and behave, but also what they get to know about us online. Sir Barry shared three points on managing online reputation (not just personal online reputation, but also online corporate reputation). These are listening, analyzing, and engaging. We need to know what people actually tell about us, and incorporate those feedback in our efforts to better improve our organization. Listening also helps in keeping an eye on how our competitors are doing. We need to analyze where these people are coming from, and engage them–personally contact them, explain things to them, thank them for being part of the organization’s growth, and a lot more creative ways.

Khris Marc Ronquillo, in his article, Tell Your Story Well published as part of the July 2010 Entrepreneur magazine, shared some worth-considering points from an interview with Brad Geiser of GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications, Inc:

It Starts with Reputation

People want to hear a good story. We can use this as we build our organization’s reputation–make stories that relate our brand with the daily, cherished experiences of the community. It has to be relevant to events that people view as important to them–moments with loved ones, milestones in their lives, and countless more memorable experiences. Our organization has to make the community feel that it has been there along; it has belonged to them for long. Geiser also noted that our story has to be “shareable”–something people would want to talk about with their friends, and with anyone else. According to him, this would help people be aware of our brand and enable us to win their favor and earn the benefit of the doubt in case we fail.

Know Thy Business

We have to know what we are about as an organization and whom we want to reach out to and form a relationship with. This way, determining what message to send becomes a lot easier–and more effective. People demand authenticity, and we can be authentic only we know who we are and what we’re about.

Train and Learn

It’s not enough to have to have the right message. We need to know how to communicate it the best way, so that it would reach the target market efficiently and create the desired impact. We need to know our tool, which is strategically NSM, and be really good at it. We must learn who our target market are, and how to best reach them. We should be competent in our industry and be updated about the trends and stay above our competitors.

Well, the bottomline is simply this: be ourselves and shape up. Unlike the time when valuable insights and life-changing revelations have to be written in papyrus with the use of ink and were very difficult to preserve for future generations, our works–specifically our online works–will last forever. When people see and feel that we are credible enough not just because we are updated with what’s currently happening but also because we speak and act genuinely, then that’s when we become indispensable.

Pondering you

If it’s anything about people important in our lives, it’s worth thinking about not just once, twice, but a hundred lots of times.

My friend recently had sessions of heart-to-heart talk with her leader. One minute she’s laughing, another she’s crying. Being friends online enables her leader to get to know her more–not just the logical side and the good side–but also what goes deep inside her. These are things left unsaid but showing subtly in the back scene, like being implied in a wall post.

One line in a few seconds. One line, but sometimes it reflects more than what three hours of light conversation over food could simply give.

My “Almost Best Friend” and I could talk about almost anything, from prof’s to crushes to acad’s to dreams to petty wishes. But when last Saturday I unintentionally hurt her feelings, talking about it was hard. But thanks to Yahoo messenger, we were able to chat about it while struggling over a communication blog. Good enough, we were able to resolve the issue before the day ended. I wasn’t able to finish my communication blog, though.

There were many times that the Internet “buffered” my relationship with people dear to me and kept those relationships from being broken. Or nurtured a growing relationship. Or gave emphasis on a dwindling one, so that I could devise more ways to rescue it.

Basically, the Internet complements my interactions with people around me, even people across the globe.  I can reconnect, chat, share memories, post what I think or feel, and give my comments. But what about giving someone a wide smile? A warm hug? A pat on the shoulder? A chuckle? A sweet whisper?

You could do

🙂  😀  ;D  😄  *hugz*   lOl  ….  and a whole lot more.

But without the personal relationship, even imagining the person doing so becomes difficult. One still needs that physical interaction for a strong foundation for a relationship. One still has to feel the warmth of that smile, that tight hug, the comfort that comes with that pat on the shoulder, that amusing sound of a chuckle, and that sweet whisper in the ear.

For me, the Internet can only be a complement to our existing relationships. Great relationships can start from online beginnings, but online relationships cannot stand on their own. We cannot stay behind SNS accounts, code names, avatars and the like forever, no matter how much we reveal of ourselves online. Besides, what we reveal online won’t have much meaning if the viewer cannot interpret it using any background about the real us. There has to be an avenue for physical interaction.

Sometimes, it feels so cheesy to be relational. But one of the things I treasure most is when, even though I am far away, I can connect real time with my loved ones, and, even though I am far away, I can imagine so vividly Jen or Karen or Pam laughing out loud (not just simple letters staring at me blankly)–and cannot keep myself from laughing hard, either.

(Btw, thanks Internet for allowing me to stalk my crush online–though that does not mean I can escape stuffing myself up with courage and a smile whenever I come to meet him in the hallway. 😀 )