Saturday, December 20, 2014

Giving Back during this Season of Giving

Giving back to the country which has given me much! This is my 2nd December in this country and also the second time I have done this. I wish I could give more but I only had little to share; however, it didn't matter, what mattered most was the fact that I made them happy just for a day! I was so touched by their preparation, the parents and leaders were all there to greet me and to witness the activity. 

Ms. Aydel Welcome to our village. This is Mary, the daughter of one the community leaders who welcomed me to the village with a garland of flowers.

The processional to the make-shift small hut
Traditional Dance in Dua community, Kubuna Village, Central Province

The band with their traditional music instruments.
One of the boys! They are born singers!

Sharing the little food we prepared.
Fusion of native and commercial food. Instant noodles with fried fowl egg. 
Banana with green veggies. .
Kao-kao (sweet potato) with chicken and instant noodles. 
Buai relay. Adopting to local situation the traditional relay game. 
You'd think that buai relay is easy? Nope! Children have to go back to their base several times before reaching the end line.
It was a fun statue dance contest! more than the prize was the smile on children's faces.
Queuing for the gift distribution
A pose withe the kids who were part of the traditional dance presentation. 
This time with the teens! they were also part of the traditional dance performers.

Packing my simple gifts for the children.

Thank you Ms. Aydel! Everyone approached me for a hand shake.
It was much appreciated! This inspires me to do more! 

To those who are giving me presents next year, you can give me anything for children so that I could share it to those who are in need. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

What Does Life Begins at 40 Really Means?

According to wikipedia, Life Begins at 40 is a self-help book with the general thrust that, given the current conditions of the world, one could look forward to many years of fulfilling and happy existence after age 40, provided that one maintained the proper positive attitude. As I celebrate my 40th, it's not just about looking forward but looking back to many years of fulfilling and happy existence. 

It may sound cliché but there’s nothing more I could ask for, as I reach the age of life begins… God has been very good to me. I feel so blessed. He granted all my prayers. Where I am now, especially my career was because of Him. It has not been an easy journey but every rugged road I passed through was all worth it.
I successfully crossed my college days with an allowance just enough for my needs and nothing extra for dining-out or watching a movie but with the end goal of completing my studies, earn a degree and find a job, I pushed through with whatever little I had. Eight months after getting my university degree, including review and licensure examination, I found a job. Barely 2 months in my job, I got my license as a Social Worker. My first job led to another one and I was never unemployed since then.   

At the strike of midnight...thanks to someone for the effort 

During one of my field monitoring trips in Zambia
All these jobs molded me to who I am personally and professionally. I was lucky to be given the opportunity to perform my best and excel in whatever I do. Over and above doing my best, I enjoyed and still enjoying the work that I do. My career direction was very clear, and the whole universe conspired for me to get it. I was able to work overseas, in five countries actually! get an INGO employment without any placement fee and without undergoing the normal recruitment process from DOLE-POEA.  Being in my current position is already a bonus because what I wanted was a paid job in the development sector only. Getting a secured job led to other dreams getting realized. 

Before reaching 40, I was able to travel to places I wanted to visit both abroad and in the Philippines, be it through official or personal trips. There is still plenty in my bucket list but seeing those places was already so much to be thankful for. Another dream realized was traveling with mama (my mother) overseas. There’s nothing more fulfilling than taking your mother on a tour overseas.

Trip to Singapore with mama

Love life has never been perfect.  After a few attempts of being in a relationship, I finally found the best fit for me.  Indeed good things come to those who wait. The 40th celebration of my birth was one of the best. It was not just a celebration of my birth date but a celebration of life.  Thanks to those who have been with me in this journey and to those who would still be with me as I continue this journey.  

Celebrated my 40th at Burubudor

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The first six months of my journey to the land of unexpected

Six months ago, I touched down in the land of unexpected with all the well-wishes inside my heart and the scary stories at the back of my head. It was a mix of emotions. I was looking forward to my new job, new work environment and new people to work with. My touch down in Port Moresby started on a good note with the kindness of the Filipinos on-board Air Niugini.

I stayed in a hotel for almost 4 weeks where things slowly unfolded as I get to find my bearing in Papua New Guinea (PNG). It was the start of building relationships which opened up doors for meeting new people and opportunities. I couldn't ask for more in the last 6 months while discounting the given factors in the living and working environment of PNG. Everything fall into the right places through the unfailing intervention of the divine master. This quick and easy adjustment wouldn't be possible without the support of people I was destined to meet. The Order of Carmelites priests helped me navigate myself around Port Moresby and introduced me to the culture of PNG. They played the role of my induction facilitators. It was more helpful in the sense that their orientation is aligned with development work being themselves missionaries in this country. Meeting them led to meeting more Filipinos in PNG. There are many other assistance they have extended that I don't want to enumerate here but to sum it all, they are a great support to my adjustment. People I can call my family in PNG.     
The Order of Carmelites in PNG
The Order of Carmelites were instrumental in introducing me to the Santa Cruz family whose help and kindness are immeasurable. They have treated me like a family and they are indeed another family in PNG. Regular meals at their place, movies at the cinema, trip to the salon and Sunday masses wouldn't be possible without them. The Santa Cruz family was one of the pioneering Filipinos here and they are a good source of knowledge and information about PNG. Meeting them led me to finding a comfortable house in probably the safest place in Port Moresby, called Islander Village. It's a small village at the center of PoM where freedom can be enjoyed which is a rare opportunity for most expats here. Freedom means walking and jogging around without worrying about my safety and security. I can sleep soundly without any fear of house break-ins.    

The street to my house 

I have restricted my mobility due to a couple of major reasons. Hopping on a taxi is not advisable due to safety and security risks and as an expat employee of an INGO with limited resources, I am not provided with a car though I get picked-up and dropped off from home to work.  Moving around Port Moresby is difficult without a car; however, even with a car, driving around is also limited since you have to know the safest roads to take and places to visit. Besides, cars are very expensive and I don't have any plan of buying one in the near future if I will only use it for grocery runs. As a person with an outgoing personality, staying indoors is a big change for me. However, this restriction brought positive things because I am able to cook my meals properly including packed lunch at work; I am able to harness my skills in baking and I am able to save because there are no regular dine-out, unnecessary expenses or other activities to spend to.

All the necessities to keep a person live a decent life are available. There is a good stock of food at the groceries, from imported to locally produced foods. Seafoods and fresh vegetables which I enjoy so much during my meals. Items which you will find in Filipino houses back home are available in all major supermarkets. You won't crave for Filipino dishes unless you are too lazy to cook! Fine dining restaurants and coffee shops are also available if you want to eat out. 

All the anxieties I felt before coming here are slowly gone and everyday I am more inspired to do something different for my organisation because this is the reason why I am here. It may sound idealistic but that's just being me! there are occasional ups and downs, moments of highs and lows but these are all part of the normal cycle of emotions. I have yet to learn and discover more about this culturally diverse country but so far, so good and that's all that matters for now!