Sunday, January 01, 2017

It has been great, 2016!

My 2016 takeaways: 

  1. Save a LOT of money before you quit your job to travel long-term. 
  2. Go quit your job if you have said money. 
  3. If you've run out of money, the universe will provide. Let me tell you a secret. We've run out of money a couple of months back already. We've done all kinds of pagtitipid there is in pagtitipid book but our money can only be stretched a few ways. The last time I had serious debt issue was between 2005 - 2007, my destitute years back in college. I make it a point to pay my debts or have none at all. Now, truth be told, I am neck-deep in debt šŸ˜­šŸ˜­šŸ˜­. I am not proud of it but I don't regret it either. I only regret not saving more. 
  4. In relation to #3: do not be afraid to ask for help. You'll be surprised on who ends up helping you. More often than not, they are NOT one of your closest friends or kin. But they believe in your cause and will not hesitate to offer their help. You will cry a lot because where did these people come from and why do they care whether you realise your dreams or not.
  5. Thank those people. 
  6. No matter how expensive stamps are, send postcards to your dearest friends/family (I'm sorry that you will have to choose among them šŸ˜†). You can always eat curry rice every day. Which leads me to the next.
  7. Always bring curry powder. Or instant soups. They are life savers!
  8. Not everyone will be kind/honest/helpful. Be kind/honest/helpful anyway.
  9. No matter how crap your Spanish (or whatever language you are learning) is, someone will always tell you your Spanish is great. It's not true but they appreciate that you are exerting an effort to communicate with them (PS: Parisians scoff at non-French speakers but if you try with your halting French, they'll answer your queries and like you a little for trying but that's the Parisians, South Americans are a lot warmer and nicer hehe). 
  10. Surround yourself with great support group. Be a great support system to your friends, too, even while travelling.
  11. Please leave tips for hotel/lodge staff. I mean if you can afford a 4- or 5-star hotel/lodge, I bet you can afford to dole out tips. Since I've been working as a kitchen help/waitress/housekeeper for 3 weeks now (4 more weeks to go! šŸ˜©), I now have a better understanding of the hardships that entail these professions. The owners don't always give extras (or the tips itself) to their staff—who works unbelievably long hours— so please hand them the tip directly. 

New Year's Eve 2016, I was being served food and alcohol by other people. New Year's Eve 2017, I am doing the exact opposite. What a reversal of role. Bilog nga talaga ang mundo. 

I know 2016 did not really go well for a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons, but mine has been awesome. It wasn't always rainbows and dragonflies (šŸ™ƒ) but really, it has been the best year of my life yet. I thought 2014 couldn't be topped but then 2016 happened so moral of the story: malay mo mas best pa pala ang 2017 šŸ˜¬

Feliz aƱo nuevo! Bienvenido, 2017!

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Volunteering Tales Part I

As usual, I feel bad about not being able to write anything here for over a month BUT STILL I don't do anything about it. So while I was able to snuck out a few minutes away from all the lesser important things I have in my life AND while still inspired, I'll have a go at it.

This has been in my head for a while I need to set it free. So.

Disclaimer: I'm not making this up nor being fastidious. 

I've been on the road for quite some time already that I've gotten used to Western behaviour and the ocean of differences that we seem to have (and by Western I meant European and North Americans). I'm not talking about religion, culture, nor belief here. These observations and experiences are based solely on working, OKAY, volunteering ethics.

Ever since JC joined me in Peru, we have been fortunate enough to have volunteered together in a backpacker hostel and in retired couple's private property (where I am currently typing all these thoughts). The work is simple and manageable, some days it can get busy but nothing that we couldn't handle ourselves. We do, however, seem to always run into a problem with fellow volunteers with bad working behaviour and annoying habits such as:

  • Lack of care with what they're doing. Tasks as simple as cleaning are done half-heartedly or not done at all which could mean double job for someone else. Ex: cleaning a wet, muddy bathroom floor with dirty mop, purposely leaving dishes unwashed on their shifts so the volunteer on the next shift would do it, etc. I mean you are volunteering in a backpacker hostel so you basically know what you got yourself into.
  • Not knowing the difference between distilled water and vinegar. Someone actually mopped the floor using vinegar I wanted to cry.
  • Not giving a fuck over clogged drains that they themselves created by throwing all the little stuff on the sink, not bothering to clear and throw them away on the garbage bin like any normal human being would.
  • Using kitchen sponge for cleaning non-dishes related stuff. *cringes*
  • Leaving unwashed dishes everywhere (Okay I have an issue with unwashed dishes if you haven't noticed yet).
  • Not cleaning up right after prep/cooking session.
  • Antsy to leave shift 30 minutes before it actually ends.
  • Working as little as possible. If left unsupervised, won't do what should be done at all. The annoying thing is they do get away with it which leads me back to what I previously said, double the work for someone else.
I am not perfect myself, I am also guilty of procrastinating sometimes but not to the point where I let someone else do the job that I know I should be doing. I may be a bit of a stickler when it comes to washing dishes and kitchen overall tidiness (everyone should, imho) but it's a common courtesy to clean up after yourself, right?! Are they insensitive or am I too sensitive? I'm not too sure about all this but I suspect our [different] backgrounds may have something to do with our work behaviour.

Back home I've always hated cleaning chores but after doing it for a few months now I've learned to appreciate, even liked (gasp!) it. We may not get paid for what we do but it's no excuse for doing a lousy job. 

Guess this post turned into a rant post, eh? Oops.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


In Manila I've officially turned a year older but since Peru is 13 hours behind, I won't be for another 2 hours here.

Walking in Miraflores to Barranco

It's weird. Ever since I turned 30 I made it a point to celebrate my birthday out of town. It's my first time to celebrate it out of country, away from JC, friends, and family (and by family I meant family of JC and a few friends' family). I have no idea what to do tomorrow but I'd really love to treat myself. Perhaps I'd finally allow myself a fancy meal (missing good Japanese meal badly!) or a slice of cake or finally watch Civil War if I find a cinema playing it with Spanish subtitles instead of it being dubbed. All these I have to do in the first half of the day before my cleaning duty starts in the place where I'm currently volunteering.

Or I could walk again to my favourite, secret park in Malecon. Sit, stare at the sea. Mull over what I'm doing with my life, map out my next route, agonise about money, give thanks for everything.

Belmond Malecon, Lima

Despite all the fears - founded or unfounded - I don't think I would change a thing about my recent decisions in life. Except maybe that time I still went, for the THIRD time, and typed an incorrect PIN code on my ATM card. I'd probably still have that card with me today.

¡Maldita sea!

Pierola residents

Spending versus splurging. What would it be?