Philippines summer 2018, the highlight of my summer.

June 18th – July 11th.

For the very first time, all five of us got to visit the motherland, and it was by far the most memorable family trip we’ve had. 

 

We got to see both sides of the family and even had time to bond with them and travel to some of the most beautiful places of the Philippines. We ate the most delicious food together, from street-foods to the restaurants with the most breathtaking views. We got to stay in Manila city itself (my dad’s side) as well as the countryside (of course, where I grew up). 

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Views from Subic.

The nature views here were unbelievably beautiful. All I can remember is how fresh the air felt against my skin and smelled.

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One of the most beautiful places to live in the Philippines.

I remember all my family talked about the entire time we were in Tagaytay was buying our own vacation home here someday. It truly is one of the most beautiful cities in the Philippines if you asked me.

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Spontaneous day trip to Subic.

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Tagaytay roadtrip with both sides of the family.

Nothing could have been more perfect than our trip here. We were all complete.

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Agustin Family Reunion.

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Treated my childhood friends/cousins for a day in Tarlac city.

Seeing the big smiles on their faces that day was all I could remember from this day, and that’s all that matters.

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Family charity feeding at Kalangitan School.

This was probably one of the most unforgettable moments of the entire trip. The smiles these kids had on their faces was definitely the most heartwarming feeling I’ve felt. I can’t wait to see these kids grow up in the future. I don’t wish for them to remember us, but I do hope for them to remember to do the same and give back when they can.

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Cousins from my dad’s side. Hinulugang Taktak falls.

And of course, the coolest and goofiest kuyas and ate ever. Much love for them.

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to your sad self, there will be better days.

you might feel as if the world is just against you now, but it’s not. you might feel like you’re not as strong as you thought to be, but you are. it’s okay to cry it out. it’s okay to feel the way you’re feeling right now. those are all valid. it simply makes you human. what’s not okay is letting the littlest things affect your day or how you feel. those little things should be negligible. those things should be ignored. you might tell yourself, “but those little things” eventually pile up until you finally explode. yes, that’s true. but honestly, there are bigger things out there in the world that you should be thinking about. no need to waste the energy on those little things because you can use all that power inside of you for better and bigger things that may come ahead of you. people will talk and say things. people will leave you. people outgrow you, leading to an end to some friendships. people won’t always be there for you even if all you want is for them to listen. people can be selfish too. and it’s okay for you to be selfish at times. put yourself first. then, you can achieve your goals, from small to big ones. who cares what other people think and say about you. as long as you stay true to yourself, are content with yourself, happy with what you already have, then all I can say is you’ll be okay. okay. okay as in getting through it all day by day. okay as in smiling at strangers as you pass them by. okay as in you’re still going to the gym because it makes you feel relieved and happy. okay as in knowing that your family will always be there for you. always. even if you feel like your friends aren’t, your family is. just think of what you already have. don’t focus on what you can have, unless those are dreams you aspire, of course. just keep in mind the good and positive things that exist in your world. you’re still young. there’s still so much more in life waiting for you. more experiences. I mean you still have to go to your first ever concert or festival. still got to visit the places you really want to go to. still got to eat all the different brands of chocolate there are in the world. still have to see and ride an elephant. you get what I mean. this is where you can begin. begin with things that you can look forward to. just gotta go infinity and beyond. go beyond your limits. go outside your comfort zone. all I can say now is you got this. better days are coming. promise,

Senseless mistakes.

We all make them. As humans. If there was a way to for such mistake to be irreversible, I’d be delighted to know. 

I recently made one.

I regret it. I know though, that the only one to blame here is myself. Not realizing I was hurting someone important to me, I regret it all.

It was selfish of me. I only thought about myself at that time. Now, the tables have turned. It’s hurting me too. Out of all the people, the one important to me is the one I’ve hurt. I’ve never felt more sorry. 

Forgiveness.

Yes, I can be forgiven. I was forgiven, but I just don’t feel the same way.

All there is as of now is silence.

All there is now is myself just thinking of you. How you are. If you are okay. 

I despite this silence.

The worst part is I could not even tell you. I could not tell you because I was not brave enough. I could not tell you because of how scared and freaked I felt. Childish, I know.

These senseless mistakes we (I) make are something I wish I had consciousness about before even making them.

I never knew that I could feel this kind of sadness within me. I’ve cried many times before this, but this one feels different. 

Eventually I’ll get over it, I know. Time can only tell. 

…that does not mean mistakes are no longer going to be made by me.

Like the thin air, mistakes like this one come and go.

However, thinness does not define power. There will be mistakes that I will make that either I will simply regret and cry about that become scars or simply move and and learn from them.

This one…

One that I cannot take my mind off of because I just feel terribly sorry, so I apologize.

smile.

Smile, they say.

Smile because you deserve to.

Smile because you are stronger than a frowny face.

Livelier than tears streaming down your face.

And better off when you just smile.

 

It could be worse, but it’s not.

So smile.

Believe you are happy.

And someday you will be.

No worries, doubts or simple saddening thoughts.

Just smile.

Add a couple laughs here and there.

Maybe even a touch of tears of joy.

 

 

Walk with a smile on your face.

Spread it.

By the time you see others with smiles on their faces,

You’ll easily catch yourself smiling here and there.

 

 

Just a reminder for you…and me of course.

Keep smiling,

love AJ

Botanical Garden

They say a close connection with our lovely Mother nature is a way to a healthy mind and heart.

I have never felt happier in life when I started to appreciate more of what’s around me. The trees. The fresh air we breathe from them. The blue skies. The sound of birds chirping and singing. The waterfalls. That is why summer will always be one of my favorite seasons next to autumn. It’s just so beautiful to look at either with eyes open or eyes closed.

Today, I got the chance to go to the Chicago Botanic Garden. I was beyond excited to see the different/unique sceneries, so I wanted to share with you some of those.

Most are candids of my little sister took…

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tears speak with eloquence.

They say tears come from sadness or despair

Tears can make a person feel vulnerable and incapable of doing anything other than crying

But they also say tears can come from joy

Tears can fall down from one’s cheeks as a symbol of happiness from unlimited laughter

Tears don’t always mean sorrow, heartache, and pain

There is such thing as: tears of love, tears of joy, and tears of success

Tears are not a sign of weakness

But simply a sign of strength and power

Tears speak with eloquence

 

 

One simply wipes their tears away to get back up and fight again

…or one can cry some more and create their own shore

For the one whose tears go to waste, could it be worse?

As they flood their own shore with their tears, where does it lead them?

 

 

But that’s the beauty of tears…

“The most beautiful smile is the one that struggles through tears” 

Tears are words that come from the heart but can’t be spoken

Tears are a beautiful thing one can have

…no eyes are beautiful if they haven’t shed tears

 

 

In the end, it’s okay to cry

Let it out even if you have no idea why you feel that way

It doesn’t make you someone who’s weak

…but if it does make you feel vulnerable and weak, just simply wipe them away

And sunshine will find its way just like after the rain

Anne Jelica

 

 

 

Life Reminders for Myself.

God is always by your side

Do the things that you enjoy the most and make you happy

Find new hobbies or habits to keep yourself busy

Always remember that the world has so much more to offer

Things eventually will get better as time goes by

The time will come when things finally start to fall back in their places

You will always have your family and friends’ support

You can do so much more

When you feel weak at one point, just think that it will only make you stronger in the future

Try to be positive even when the negativity dominates at times

It’s okay to cry

There’s always sunshine after rain

You are stronger than you think you are

Never lose sight of what truly matters

Sometimes it’s okay to be alone

Don’t shed tears over a guy who doesn’t deserve them

You don’t need a man to be happy

It all matters on what you think; what others think is irrelevant

Never give up

There’s always hope

Don’t let fear win

It’s okay to be lost; you don’t have to know every answer

Be you

You are simply human