0

PIERCED


When I was 7, my mom took me to the doctor to get my first pair of piercings. As soon as the doctor took out the gun, I bawled like a baby. I was begging Mama to make the doctor stop.

When I got to high school, I surprised myself by deciding I wanted to add another piercing on my left ear. But that was the time my Papa got mad at my younger brother when he found out he got his ear pierced. In other words, fear stopped me from getting another one.

Fast forward to the year 2016. I’m already 32 and married. I passed by Claire’s along Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich and saw the free piercing sign. I thought to myself, maybe it’s the universe’s way of telling me, it’s okay, go ahead, do what you’ve always wanted to do. You are old enough to decide for yourself.

And so I asked my husband what he thought of it and he said he wouldn’t mind even if I get 10 more piercings on both ears.

And so last March, before going on a vacation, I got my 2nd piercing on my left ear.

  
What I noticed though is that when my earring on the first piercing is big, the earring on the second one seems like it is attached to the first earring. That’s when I thought maybe a third one is necessary.

And so I went to Manor with my friend B to get a third piercing on my left ear.

   
    
 
I thought I would already stop at 3 but if felt like something is out of balance. B already has 4 on her right ear and 1 on her left. She told me she wants to get another one on her helix so just yesterday, I accompanied her to Giahi, a famous shop here in Zurich.

As soon as she got one, I decided that it’s time to get my cartilage pierced! I followed suit. And so now I have a total of 4 piercings on my left ear! Even I cannot believe it!

    

     


 2016 is definitely the year of multiple piercings. I don’t drink much alcohol. I don’t smoke. I’ve never done drugs. I don’t have a tattoo. But I all of a sudden have a total of 5 piercings now. 😅 It’s really not much of a show of rebellion as I’ve always played within the rules. It’s just something that I think is beautiful and I love the idea of being able to wear more than 2 pretty earrings once all of my “wounds” are healed.

It’s funny how some people (and I have been guilty of this) stereotype persons with multiple piercings or tattoos like they become less of a person because of how they look. I just got 3 more piercings than average but I am still the same responsible and hardworking person that I used to be before the piercings. I really think I have come to a point in my life when I already couldn’t care less of what other people think or say about me. I now know that life is short and we just have to find our bliss and express ourselves the best way we want to and know how. As long as we are not hurting other people, I don’t think why we shouldn’t dare do the things that make us happy. Here’s to staying true to one’s self!

Cheers!

d.

0

POST-ELECTION PROCESSING


I am home alone and I have time to think about the past few weeks of my life.

May 9 was election day in the Philippines. It was the most publicized campaign and electoral process we have ever had in the country primarily because of social media.

Before, people had a voice, too. But now, the difference is that everyone had their own platforms called Facebook/Twitter to share their valuable opinions on.

I am Atenean. A part of the middle-class, as most would classify me. The most logical choice for the presidency for someone like me is the candidate who is also Atenean and has brought forth economic reforms to the country. As a member of the middle-class who is not suffering from dire poverty, the more obvious route for me to take was to choose continuity over change. 

But why did I go for the candidate who was offering radical change? I know I do not have to explain my choice to anyone precisely because it is MY choice but I am still writing my thought process here for future reference and for posterity. I want to remind myself of the time I went against the normal flow and stood up for someone who was obviously flawed, crass, and somehow polarizing. 

I went for the candidate offering change and has a track record to show for because of the effect he had on the Filipino masses. I saw how even OFWs spend hard earned money to produce campaign materials for him. I interviewed taxi drivers, security guards, even salon personnel all inspired to do good because of what he stands for. 

I also personally felt that spark of hope reignited in my heart for the Filipino people. That hope that I lost a long time ago that made me complacent and very forgiving of our public officials (as my friend so eloquently put it). I rekindled that hope that made me think I am done giving excuses for the way we are and dismissing it as “ganyan talaga ang Pinoy”. 

I rooted for the one who can incite change and more importantly, can organically inspire the Filipino masses to change their ways. I supported the one who made me trust that our nation can be better once again because they have done it in Davao. I supported the one who made me think it is not yet too late to rise up from this quicksand of hopelessness, chaos, and complacency that we all just got stuck in.

I respect all of the other candidates especially the administration bearer. I commend his efforts and I believe in his economic reforms. But economic reforms will not be for long-term if we do not solve the root cause of the problem of the Philippines: lack of discipline/peace and order. More than lack of education, it is the lack of self-restraint that cripples the nation. Everyday, we see this flaw along the streets, in our local government units, in the farthest barangays and even inside huge and popular malls. Most government officials are corrupt. The police force is ineffective. The people are not disciplined enough to even respect the simplest of traffic rules.

We needed to solve this core problem first before genuine and long-term economic reforms can fully and inclusively materialize. It is not a chicken or egg story. It is one after the other. Some say that we need to provide more jobs first so that people will be more educated and that peace and order will follow after that. But how come even educated people in the Philippines easily and carelessly break traffic rules? It is precisely because lack of education is not the root cause. You can be highly-educated but still lack self-discipline. And an illiterate can admirably still manifest self-restraint. Integrity is what you do when noone else is looking. And this is something that I think Filipinos need to relearn and regain.

Look at all the rich nations. Before they even had a long-term economic boost, they first instilled discipline and regard for the law in their constituents. Before Subic got reformed, it took a Gordon to rally the people to volunteer and change. Before Singapore became a global economic leader, they needed a Lee Kwan Yew to discipline the citizens. Here in Switzerland, people have high respect for the police force and the government. They do not create crazy memes poking fun of their leaders.

Anyway, I voiced out my support because my own platform has a lot of followers. When my first cultural post became viral, my audience suddenly became bigger. And that’s why I felt I needed to participate and voice out my support. I NEVER forced anyone to listen to me or to follow suit. I merely shared what I thought was in my heart.

But there were people who couldn’t seem to respect my opinion. There were those who still continued to challenge my position even after I have clearly told them that it was a carefully though-out one and they need not even waste their time in dissuading/persuading me. I have never commented anything bad on any other person’s post supporting a different candidate. I wholeheartedly respected everyone else’s choice. But I had uncles, an auntie, and even a friend who cannot seem to control themselves. Some even used my mom to guilt-trip me into changing my position even when my mom herself is respecting my choice and yes, even my brother’s too.

But everything is all water under the bridge now. I have forgiven those who attacked me. And I have even directly apologised to the people who got offended because of my choice. The president I supported already won. The vice-president I also supported seems to have already won (as of this writing, they are still questioning the numbers for VP).

But here are my take-aways from everything that has transpired in the past few weeks:

1) Respect other people’s choices. There will always be someone more intelligent than you are. Never think that your logic is the end all and be all of everything. People base their votes on different parameters. You will never understand what influences your neighbor’s choices completely because you haven’t lived their lives and haven’t seen everything they have been through. If you cannot get them to agree with you, go beyond yourself and your ego and try to respect their choices by keeping quiet and getting off their pages. Just campaign peacefully on your own platform.

2. Never demean anyone. Do not call other people “idiots” or “retards” just because they are not voting the way you do. Inspire by uplifting others. Nobody got more followers by making others feel bad about themselves.

3. Have a forgiving heart. I had an uncle who attacked me and called me judgmental on Facebook. He even went straight to my dad to complain about me. I messaged him personally and told him that even if I felt like he was being rude to me on MY OWN PAGE, I will be the one to first say sorry because he took offense on my choice of president. He accepted my apology but he didn’t even bother to issue the same to me. But that’s fine. I have already forgiven him because I cannot allow my heart to be burdened forever by his actions towards me. 

4. You cannot control other people’s feelings but you can decide what you allow yourself to feel. I will always choose peace and positivity over pride and prejudice. I have learned at a very young age that I cannot please everyone. Even if I do my best and have the best of intentions, there will always be that someone who will not be impressed. I’ve learned that I am bound to disappoint someone along the way. My mom is a clear example of this. She has served her town for more than 18 years and there are still people not pleased with her. She cannot control what they feel but she can definitely manage her own feelings towards ungrateful people. And so I recognize those who got disappointed with my choice of candidate. But I will not allow my heart to despise all of them because I cannot be a bad person just because I have disappointed a few.

5. I have also learned early in life that politics is ungrateful and it is really just a game of numbers. But politics is not the point of all of this. It is about public service. And if you really want to serve the public, you need not be in office to do so. One can serve his public by being a mindful citizen. One can serve the public by helping and contributing in his own way. This goes beyond just typing our rants on social media. This means going out there and paying it forward. And even if you help and people still get displeased and disappointed, at the end of the day, there is a God, a higher being, that knows and sees your heart. And that is the true victory. When God is happy with what you did with your platform, there is nothing to worry about. In Him lies real and genuine triumph. 

0

TOKYO, JAPAN


Where do I even begin?

Japan is such an awesome country that I feel that even if I spend more than a month there, it still won’t be enough.

This was just a quick trip and so my soul is begging for MORE. I haven’t even gone to Kyoto or Osaka. I was just mostly at the center of Tokyo.

I tagged along with the family of my cousin’s groom. We were 12 in total with 2 pairs of senior citizens, 2 kids, 3 middle-aged couples, and 2 ladies (including myself).

I normally travel at a very fast pace. I hop from one tourist spot to the next. But this time, I couldn’t afford to do that because we were just too many. We all stayed at this quaint AirBNB house in Nishi-Shinjuku.

The highlight of this trip for me was the time I finally traversed the Shibuya Crossing. It made me realize how blessed I am to have crossed similar intersections all over the world– New York’s Time Square, London’s Picadilly Circus, and Sydney’s King’s Cross Road.

I also loved the cherry blossoms. I first saw these blooms in DC and then near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Just last year, I realized that there are also a lot of cherry blossoms here in Zurich. What made Japan’s blooms so special is that they are EVERYWHERE. In the mountains, at the downtown area, and some are even encircling the famous Tokyo tower.

I told my husband when he was complaining about how short my Tokyo trip was that my only goal is to taste authentic ramen from both Ippudo and Ichiran. After that, everything else is just a bonus. Imagine how I took my time finishing both bowls. I ordered iced cold Coke to go with it. I don’t normally drink soda but when I was in Tokyo, I took advantage of the chilled Coke they were serving alongside each meal. Ooooh Open Happiness!

We were also lucky enough to go outside of the city and take the bus to Ashi Lake. That was also such a beautiful and calming sight.

Sharing with you our video from the trip and a few snaps.

Japan, I shall return.

d.

 

 

 

0

HOMECOMING


After more than a year after I got married, I went back home to the Philippines.

I cannot even recount everything that happened during my almost one month break but here are the highlights:

  1. Hugging my family again

thumb_IMG_9527_1024

2. Checking all of the food that was on my list of what to eat when I get back home

thumb_IMG_0074_1024

3. My Anvaya trip with the “men in my life”

thumb_FullSizeRender_1024

thumb_IMG_0441_1024

thumb_IMG_0466_1024

thumb_IMG_0581_1024

thumb_IMG_0439_1024thumb_IMG_0770_1024thumb_IMG_0771_1024

4. My first cousin’s despedida dinner and grand wedding

5. My 2 cultural and political posts going viral on Facebook (One is explaining my choice for the Presidency and the other is this one questioning why Filipinos lack self-discipline)

3

Untitled42

I might have gotten my education in the UK, married and lived in Switzerland but Philippines will always be my home. Despite the heat, the chaos, and the quirks, I will always love spending time in my motherland. And so we will come back in November for our friends’ wedding. Looking forward to spending more quality time with family and friends.

d.

2

SINGAPORE


When the DHB told me he was about to book my flight to Manila via Singapore Airlines, I asked him to arrange it in such a way that I would be able to go out of the airport during my stopover.

It has been a few years since the last time I was in Singapore. My flight arrived at 5am and I went straight to the immigration for a transit pass. I then took a cab from the airport to the Quay food court.

The cab driver was very helpful. He suggested I walk all the way to the Fullerton Hotel to see the Merlion and the full view of SG’s skyline. 

I had time to be by myself and reflect on so many things. I was inspired by the workers I saw awake and starting their day very early. I was motivated by the joggers that were already running around the Olympic Walk even before sunrise.

I was there so early that the Merlion was still sleeping and not yet spewing water. I had the rare opportunity of seeing one of the wealthiest and cleanest cities in the world awaken. It’s the kind of sight that truly energised the traveller in me.


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
Apart from revisiting famous sites, I also wanted to shop at Sephora. I bought a few stuff in time for summer’s sun-kissed makeup look. Before going to Sephora though, I went up Marina Bay’s Sky Park to see the entire city from the top. I spent an hour at the hotel where I had my coffee and cookie. I really cherish alone time like this. I’m lucky I have a husband who understands my need to explore the world and to sometimes just travel by myself to find my inner balance once again.










0

BERN, SWITZERLAND


Bern is the capital of Switzerland. It’s an hour train ride from Zurich where we live. It’s my 4th time to visit Bern the other day but it’s my first time to roam around alone. 

I got my Japanese visa at the embassy. While waiting for it to open, I roamed around from the plaza to the Rosengarten. It’s cool coz my train ticket came with a bundled free 24-hour bus and tram pass. It made it easier for me to get from one tourist spot to the next. I took a few snaps. The highlight for me was seeing the overview of the city. It was such a beautiful and unforgettable view! 
d.
p.s. I am Singapore and Manila-bound this Monday after one year and three months! Woohoo!  
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

0

GERMAN AUTOBAHN


This blog is about cool detours. I don’t post regularly here but whenever I hit a milestone in my life or experience a cool detour, I make sure I mark the moment by writing something here.

I haven’t been driving for a good four years now because 1) I didn’t have a car in London and 2)I don’t really need a car in Zurich.

But just recently, I took driving lessons again because apparently, when we go on road trips, I cannot expect my husband to drive all the way to our destination and back coz that would just be too tiring. And they say that once we have a child, I need to be able to drive him/her to school. 

I already know how to drive in the Philippines but over there, the only rule is “take it, take it!” Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in one place. In other words, I had to learn the proper rules of driving. I need to practice staying at the prescribed speed, look at the proper areas of the road while changing lanes and directions, filtering bikes and other cars, etc.

So the first day of my class with my Swiss-Greek instructor, there was some serious snow fall. God knows how scared I was behind the wheel. I was literally praying “Jesus, take the wheel!”:) Well, I survived that and a few classes after, thank God!

My husband thought I was ready for a long drive so yesterday, he made me drive from Zürich, Switzerland to Singen, Germany. Yep, I drove from one country to another! That’s not as far as some would imagine though. The challenge was actually driving through the German autobahn where cars just have a field day because the speed limits are much faster than normal. 

We went to Singen to eat KFC and shop for food and utilities. I also drove all the way back. Achievement unlocked!

To unlocking a few more,

d.