Measure of success

OK, real talk. Answer me this: how do you measure success?

Is it in the number of zeros in your bank account? Or your title at work? Is it in the number of boxes you’ve ticked in your list of finely curated life goals? What is it exactly that makes one successful?

I ask myself the question and find that I have a very different opinion about success. While others may judge success based on stature or money or achievements, I measure my success based on my satisfaction on the life I am living.

True, I save up and aspire to be in a better standing in society. But this is just to prepare myself for when I finally hang up my gloves and stop my fights in the corporate world. I do not do these things so others can come up to me and tell me how successful I’ve become because I have a specific title or wear a suit. I do these so that someday I can sit back, relax, put my feet up, and have a cup of tea while watching the sunset without a worry in the world.

For me success is measured by how much I have lived my life. Success is when I am able to look back ten or fifteen years ago and be amazed at how a young man didn’t drown on the tide that consisted of nine-to-fives and overtime and meetings. It is about how I am able to leave my footprint around the world – exploring, getting lost, finding my way, learning about different cultures, tasting the world menu! It is when I am able to share my blessings and enable others to stand on their own. It is about knowing that I am able to balance my life between work and leisure. It is about not having a routine that I have to stick to every single day. That I can be spontaneous and do things when I want to.

Success for me is more about growing as a person. A holistic person. Someone who could not care less about people’s opinion on where one should be at a certain age. Up yours, people. I want to be able to look back each time and smile and see that I have changed not only myself but also the people around me – even just a single one. 🙂


Curtain Call

All good things must come to an end. Well even the bad ones do, too. And as something ends, another begins.

My time here down under is drawing to a close. And although I’ve made it pretty clear that I never planned to stay here for long, I still feel a certain amount of loneliness knowing that I am saying farewell to the place I called home for the last year and a half. It’s kinda like a vacation coming to an end – knowing that you’ve had an amazing time, that you can always come back to it, but also inevitably having to go back to your real life.

I’m not going to lie. I will miss Melbourne, definitely. The creature comforts that I have grown accustomed to – good coffee, walking around the city, afternoons in the park, free tram rides, light traffic. The conveniences of first world lifestyle. These are probably the hardest things to let go knowing that I will no longer have these when I leave. But my excitement about going back home drowns any sense of melancholy that attempts to spill over me.

I miss home more than anything else. I miss the chaos, the noise, the feeling of familiarity, the feeling of knowing that you are not a stranger. That sense of belongingness that I never got living in a foreign place. I miss the love of my life.

I am amazed with people who are able to take root in a place completely different from their own. I’m not at that point yet. Or maybe I haven’t found the right place to plant my feet anew and stay for the long haul. I have been questioned so many times about moving to Melbourne and my answer would always be no. This is not home for me.

For now I am certain of one thing: I’m going home. And I can’t fucking wait. 🙂



Failure is part of life. It is one of the many things that enable us to learn and grow. It is a wonderful teacher in that it gives us first-hand experience of where we went wrong and how we can fix that wrong so that we do not do it again.

I’ve had many encounters with failure. Whether it be in love, career, family, or just life in general. More recently, I set a target that I was not able to achieve. See, setting targets give you a clear goal. A vision of yourself and where you want to be. These targets give you direction and purpose, so that conscious effort is directed towards achieving your goal. However, as much as I did not wish it to be, I failed.

I have to admit it was hurtful. I hate failing. And, as expected, my initial reaction was denial. It is very hard to accept failure.  It always is. But the optimist in me would always try to see things from another perspective.

Sure, I was hurt. It took me a while to move on even if a lot of people were consoling me and telling me that everything will eventually be OK. I thank these people and I am happy that I am surrounded by them because the simple “it will to be OK” from them gives me a push to keep going. But see, I don’t move on easily although that’s what I project to the world. I need to acknowledge my feelings. If I’m happy, I will be happy and if I’m sad, I’m going to be sad. I need to allow myself to wallow in these feelings so that I can experience them before I can move away from them.

Failure gives me that opportunity. It allows me to experience sadness, anger, bitterness, denial so that I can deal with them better. It jolts me back to reality and shows me that there are a lot of people who care about me and how I feel. It gives me so much negativity that I can focus and turn into something positive. It tells me never to give up and try again.

Failure is important. It keeps me on my toes so that I do not take life for granted. It is a reminder that not everything in life will go my way, and that I will have to keep working and improving myself to get what I want and be where I want to be. It scars me with important life lessons that I take with me wherever we go. It hurts me so bad so that I do not want to experience the same pain ever again.

Failure can be a positive thing. It just depends on how we look at it. (^_^)v


We’ve all heard it before. Change is constant. Cliché but true. And the very nature of change is complex. It is a delicate combination of forces that come together to bring about transformations.

A spot in a butterfly’s wing. The greying of the hair. The shedding of leaves.

From the minuscule to the most elaborate – change is present.

To change is to adapt. It is brought about by need. A need so powerful that even the entire universe cannot escape from. A need that has caused the evolution of single-celled organisms to complex beings. A need that caused a moth to change its color. A need that continuously expands the universe.

As humans, we hardly notice change happening around us. Everyday we wake up and go about our day in a routine. But in every nanosecond from the beginning to the end of a day, change is behind every single action that moves us.

But whether we notice it or otherwise is irrelevant. Change happens and all we have to do is accept.

Tropical Queensland!

How time flies.

It’s been more than a month since I came back from my vacation in Cairns but I’m still hung-over the trip. Going to Queensland was like going back to my native Philippines. No kidding when they call it Tropical Queensland. Sun, sand, surf, palm trees, rain forest – it’s all there. I must say I was surprised to see how different Queensland is from Melbourne and Sydney.

Queensland is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. And these two were what brought me to this state.

At first glance you wouldn’t think that Queensland has that much to offer. It’s rural pretty much in every sense of the word. Unlike Melbourne or Sydney, this place does not have skyscrapers and busy city streets. However, that simplicity serves as a prelude to the adventures that Queensland holds.

About 2 hours away from Cairns by boat awaits the Great Barrier Reef. This place has legendary status in my mind. People talk about it in very high regards that’s why I had to be there myself. And it didn’t disappoint. The only other place I’ve ever gone diving to was our very own El Nino in Palawan. It was breath-taking so I had a very high expectations with the Great Barrier Reef. And boy it didn’t disappoint.

The slow descent to the bottom of the ocean was the build up to what awaits. Slowly as you get closer and closer to the ocean floor, your vision becomes clearer. It’s so surreal to be under water. To be almost weightless and floating with schools of fish and surrounded by colourful corals and anemones that sway with the ocean current is an experience that compares with nothing else. It was amazing to see that the Great Barrier Reef still pulses with so much life.

The dive was short but it was sweet. I didn’t get to see a shark which is an experience that I was really looking forward to but what the hell, I was in one of the most bio-diverse places in the world. So yeah, shark or no shark, it was an experience that I will never forget.

The next place that we visited was Cape Tribulation. Don’t be fooled by the name. I know tribulation means hardship and shit, but the place is such a stark contrast to the name. It’s all about balanced relaxation and adventure in Cape Tribulation. You can either while your day away in the beach and just soak up the sun or go jungle surfing for a bit of adrenaline rush. It all depends on what you want. In my case, I wanted both.

It’s not easy getting to Cape Tribulation. It’s about a 4-hour bus ride from Cairns but trust me, it’s all worth it.

Cape Tribulation is home to the Daintree Rainforest. It’s the largest rainforest in Australia. And by that I mean you will feel tiny once you step into the forest.

We had the chance to do a night walk in the rainforest and the experience was exhilarating. Imagine the darkness of the forest swallowing you with no light except for your torch. You’re in the mercy of the forest and at any point in time you’re at risk of being attacked by drop bears. Don’t know what drop bears are? Google them. They’re scary. :p

Kidding aside, walking tin he forest at night was an awesome experience. You get to see what actually happens when the sun comes down, in the cover of the night. Plants glow in their own light and the forest is still abuzz with the sound of nocturnal animals. Our guide was very specific in telling us to keep the noise down so that we don’t drive the animals away. Nocturnal animals are not very visual but they have very, very sharp hearing. Something that they develop by being in the dark much of the time. I was amazed at how much the forest was still so alive even at night. Point your torch light in the right spot and you’ll be surprised at the things you’ll discover – reptiles, insects, glowing mushrooms. Take your pick. Nature truly is amazing. 🙂

The next day we got our harness on and glided our way through the rainforest. They call it jungle surfing and basically it’s a series of short zip lines that course through the Daintree. This gives you a chance to be so high up in the trees and have a different point of view of the forest. From up high, you see mountain and ocean views. And you realise that this makes the Daintree so special because it actually spills out to the ocean. It’s enormous. It’s beautiful.

On our way back to Cairns we stopped by Mossman Gorge. This was my first time to visit a gorge of any kind and I’m now so glad that Mossman was the first I visited. Towering tress, giant boulders, and raging rapids give the gorge a life of it’s own. And to be in the middle of it all is a privilege like no other.

This trip has reinforced my respect for nature. It’s beautiful and magnificent but also fragile. And it is our duty as humans to take care of it. 🙂

Cats: The Meow-sical in Melbourne


One of the longest-running musicals. One of the classics. I wasn’t going to miss it.

I’ve always wanted to see this musical ever since I heard that they were visiting Melbourne last year. Unfortunately, I was in Sydney for most of December so *almost* missed out seeing this. But the feline gods were on my side and I finally got to attend the Jellicle Ball on its final night in Melbourne on the 24th of January 2015.

And oh what a ball it was. There was dancing and singing and fight scenes and magic and more!

I must admit I struggled a bit in understanding what the story was because I thought it wasn’t that fluid. I’m used to seeing musicals with clear storylines where I know what was going to happen next and each scene progressed to the next, and Cats was not anything like that. I knew it was about the Jellicle Tribe coming together to select the one cat who deserves to ascend to the Heaviside Layer and be reborn to a new life, but I somehow didn’t see that in the beginning. What I saw was the introduction of one cat after the other with their own unique characteristics.

And then it hit me. I finally understood. That’s what it was. The selection process of the one cat told through the introduction of the different cats! I must say I was disappointed at myself for not catching this sooner. But there it was before me, the different Jellicle cats very distinct from each other, all with their endearing-annoying-fascinating facets vying to be the one that Old Deuteronomy will choose to be sent to the Heaviside Layer. Ultimately, it was Grizabella The Glamour Cat who was selected (although I must say I liked Victoria the White Cat and Skimbleshanks better :p).

I can easily why this is one of the most-loved musicals there is. This debuted decades ago and I can only imagine how it wowed the audience as it still does now. Glad I got to know the Jellicle Cats!

Now who wants some caviar? ^_^


Looking Forward and Looking Back

First off, Happy 2016! =)

I’ve already started taking the year head-on but I think 2015 deserves a proper look-back simply because it was awesome. As excited as I am for things to come, there were some pretty amazing things that happened last year that I want to remember and go back to.

2015 has been very good to me. As many of my fans know, I am now in Australia – Melbourne to be specific. In a very unexpected twist of events, I found myself packing my luggage and moving here in the final quarter of last year. But before that, a lot of things have happened that I am very happy about.

As far as I can remember, I think 2015 was the year where I traveled most. 3 countries and 2 continents. That’s not much for the hard-core travel junkie but for me, that breaks my personal best.

I spent most of my year in the Philippines. Before I left for Australia, my first official wandering mission was off to Palaui Island in the northern region of the Philippines. For those who are not familiar with the place, this is Palaui Island:



Palaui Island in Sta. Ana, Cagayan

She’s a beauty, isn’t she?

What made the trip special for me was that, it kind of was a pilgrimage back to my roots. I was raised in Cagayan, albeit not in Palaui, but going back to the region was like going back home. There was a certain feeling of familiarity that made the travel more relaxing, so to speak. People were friendly and the food was great, what more can you ask for? And oh, I saw the very last kilometre post in the north of the Philippines:


The last one standing

Awesomeness overload!

Next stop was the surfing haven Baler in Aurora. It was also my first time going to Baler so I didn’t know what to expect but the place didn’t disappoint.

The town was quaint and that’s where it keeps its charm. It gets busy on some days when tourists flock to it, but in general, it was a quiet little town that offers respite for the weary city dwellers.

And it turns out Baler has a lot more to offer than just surfing 🙂


Clockwise from the top left: Baler shoreline, rock pool, Dicasalarin Cove, Mother Falls

Also in Baler is this awesome Balete Tree that is the largest that I’ve ever seen!


Dwarfed by a Balete tree

Baler surprised me and it was great. Sometimes a place is known for one thing but when you take a closer look, you get new experiences that are beyond the usual.

After Baler, I headed due south to one of my favourite destinations in the Philippines – Boracay Island.

Ah Boracay. This place never ceases to surprise me. Despite having visited it multiple times, it always has something new to offer each time I come back.


I am never, ever getting tired of going back to this place. =)

After this, it was time to go international. Destination: Melbourne.

Ok, this was a job assignment. However, it’s never just work when I get sent on business trips like these. All work and no play? Where’s the fun in that?

Being new to Melbourne, everything was exciting. Every street, every building, every park, the coffee shop around the corner, the train stations – everything! It’s like a whole new dimension was unlocked and it’s just waiting for me to explore it.


Clockwise from top left; Rod Laver Arena, Flinders Station, Tulip Farm, Royal Botanic Gardens, Twelve Apostles

I feel like I still have a lot to discover in Melbourne and I couldn’t be more excited.

From Melbourne I flew back to Asia for my next destination: Singapore.

This was my third time going to this country but with different people every time so the experience is never the same.

Despite being relatively small in terms of land area compared to others, there is always tonnes of things to do in Singapore.


I finally got to try the Battlestar Galactica ride where you sit down and your legs are dangling and you get catapulted at breakneck speed. I was seated right out front, too. It was scary as hell and awesome at the same time. Exhilarating, I think, is the proper term. Will I do it again? Most definitely.

When I got back to Australia, it was almost time for the holidays. There was a 2-week shutdown at work which meant 14 days of vacation for me. 14 glorious days! What to do? I headed down to Sydney.

At this point I have to pause and give a shout-out to my good friend Kath of who inspired me to go out and travel, and who so graciously welcomed me to their home in Sydney. It was one of the best vacations I’ve had in a long time.

If Melbourne is exciting, Sydney, on the other hand, is lively. There’s so much to do within the city itself and you don’t really feel the need to go anywhere else. And if you ever venture outside the city, there are heaps of interesting places to visit like the Blue Mountains, Kiama, Manly and Bondi beaches.



Sydney was also where I spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve and I am so thankful to all the then-strangers-now-friends who welcomed me and made me feel so much like I was back in the Philippines.


Boodle fight dinner =)

For New Year’s Eve, it was off to Cockatoo Island for some camping and to watch the firework displays in the harbour area. This bit surprised me because people actually camped-out to watch the fireworks. Apparently, the harbour area was the only place in Sydney where fireworks are allowed so people gather in nearby areas and islands to watch.



New Year’s Eve 2016

There was food and drinks and dancing in the island so there was plenty of things to do while waiting for midnight. And, yeah, we danced to the DJ’s mix. That was an absolutely fantastic way to welcome the new year =)

So there you have it. My action-packed 2015 in a nutshell.

My key take-away? My selfie game is now on-point. Oh yeah! You can’t argue with the photos, right? Teehee. :p

But really, more than anything else, 2015 has taught me not to stand still. To keep moving, keep exploring, keep learning. That there is so much waiting for me and all I need to do is make a move. I’m really looking forward to making 2016 great.