Sunday, January 26, 2014

You Would Not Know These Things About Baguio Unless You Visit the City

Must Visit Places in Baguio

The year 2014 started off really awesometastic! I got a chance to finally go to one of the places in the Philippines that I've always wanted to go - Baguio (the Summer Capital of the Philippines)

It was through the Youth Empowerment for Stronger Communities (YES-C) Program Workshop on Using Social Media to Empower Communities held at the Consuelo Center for Leadership and Social Innovation, CFSPI Baguio City.

This photo collage pretty much sums up my Baguio experience - nice weather (a little too cold for  me but hey it was cool!) and nice people!

I've got to meet and help mentor 71 aspiring youth leaders who attended the Youth Empowerment for Stronger Communities Program that was organized by the Child and Family Service Philippines, Inc in partnership with the Embassy of the United States of America - Manila.

Me speaking in front of the youth of Baguio reminding them of the importance of ABC when using social media - Always Be Checking

During their workshop, they've personally met the US Ambassador Philip Goldberg and got the privilege to ask him questions such as his favorite Filipino foods and even his message for the youth.

After the workshop, I've gotten a chance to explore some of the must-see places in Baguio like Burnham Park, Botanical Garden, Mines View Park, Wright Park and even stroll the streets of Session Road and noticed some of the things that I probably wouldn't have learned about Baguio if I didn't go there and see and experience for myself. 

1. The fruits and vegetables are really so fresh and so affordable!

Baguio supplies huge amount of fresh vegetable and fruits that's being consumed in the Metro Manila. On our way to the session road, I see some fruits being sold like grapes at Php 90 / kilo (normal seedless grapes are being sold Php 180 / kilo).

The cleanliness of the streets were so noticeable too! 

2. They have really breathtaking view!

Overlooking the Mines View Park - Appropriately names for its breathtaking view of mountain ranges and Baguio's "mineral bowl where gold,silver and other ores were once quarried.

 3. You can buy happiness for Php 250 half an hour!

Okay maybe not 'happiness' but horseback riding for half an hour..which to me is almost the same.

4. They may have the coldest temperature in the city, but they sure do have some of the warmest people!

The youth which I taught on how to use social media responsibly were kind enough to show me around the city and I learned  from them about the history of Baguio, about which places to go and not to go.

 5. They have this view...

6. And this one too...

And probably many other breathtaking places and more (that I didn't get a chance to go on the little time I spent there), plus I've only been to the 'touristy' places and not in the those path less traveled so it's not fair to say Baguio is really pretty because I know there are so many other beautiful places in that city that I've never been! If you're in the Metro Manila, plan a trip to go to Baguio because it's just worth it. 

It's definitely a different experience. 

Would love to thank the CSFPI Family for the warm welcome, US Embassy - Manila (special thanks to Jay de Jesus and Eren Joy “Ej” Bautista) for allowing me to take part in such a wonderful program that truly inspires the youth to become their best selves and to realize their potentials and really empower them and of course, thank you to all the mentors who helped in facilitating during the event.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Secrets of Chocolate: From Inventing Counterfeiting, Microwave and Weekends

The Powers of Chocolate: The Things You Didn't Know About Chocolate

Chocolates are naturally sweet, dark and intoxicating and its history and the powers it gave to those who have monopoly is truly fascinating. Below are some interesting tidbits about chocolate.

Chocolate fueled the Aztecs
Chocolate expanded the Spanish empire
Might just save the rain forest
 Chocolate invented counterfeiting
Chocolate invented microwave
Chocolate invented the weekends
In the US alone, the chocolate industry brings $13 billion a year
Chocolate fueled the lust for conquest

Props to my friend, Mary Jane of Fashion Travels for sharing me this sweet info! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

30 Things Before 30 - A Filipina's Bucket List

I'm trying to get back to writing so I'm starting with a list. Lists aren't usually so detailed and even if they are, people actually usually skip most words and simply want to read between the lines. List post is something I like to read but don't remember - but here we go. 

Once you communicate what you want, the world will eventually conspire to make them happen - of course, if you do something towards achieving it and not merely wishing. 

I grew up not really knowing what I want except that I once always wanted to become a lawyer. I'm twenty four years old now and I know better than trying to learn the laws of men most people actually seem to bend. For the past few years, I've met a lot of people. Most of them left, moved, got lost and some others still leave a memory in somewhere in my mind or heart and from them I've come to know what I actually do not like and love. To all these people, I'm so grateful for the impact you've done in my life. Thus, my 30 bucket list before hitting 30. 

At this stage I'm not entirely sure whether I would actually endeavour to make them happen. All I wanted to put them out there and perhaps I'll work my way towards them. People reading this list may believe I would actually do them, others may not. I've learned that bucket lists are like resolutions - people are so fond of thinking and collating them instead of focusing to actually doing them. 

1. Fall in love and never be afraid of getting hurt. 
2. Make out while scuba diving. 
3. Cook a dish for a hungry stranger. 
4. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain
5. Plant a tree. Preferably baobabs.
6. Pay off the second house. (Currently in progress) 
7. Visit the pyramids.
8. Watch the sun set.
9. Fire dance in some exotic island. Looking at you Palawan.
10. Get published in CNN.
11. Eat french fries in France.
12. Get lost in the service of others. Places without electricity. 
13. Build a sand castle.
14. Wear pink boots on a winter.
15. Get a book published by 28.
16. Speak at TED.
17. Tell the story of The Little Prince to the adults.
18. Travel the whole Philippines in one month. No plans of arriving nor leaving. 
19. Go to Dubai. 
20. Study forensics.
21. Learn sign language.
22. Bake blueberry cheesecake.
23. Master a poem I could recite to a crying kid. 
24. Live in a foreign country for a month. Preferably Middle East. 
25. Let go. 
26. Kiss during the New Year.
27. Skydiving. 
28. Eat lots of spicy foods without crying. 
29. Publish my autobiography. 
30. Live, not just exist. 

Image Source: Dirty and Thirty