grateful for 2018

Thank You for the Ups and Downs, 2018

2018 has been a year of extremes. I’ve had the hardest battles at one end and got answered prayers on the other. But for the mountaintops and setbacks, I’m grateful. I’m grateful because more than anything else, His grace abounds.

I’m grateful that every time I make stupid decisions, my Dad up there embraces me with discipline and unfathomable love. I’m grateful because I don’t deserve everything I have, yet God continuously opens His hands generously. I’m grateful that even if I’m a work in progress, I can still be used somewhere somehow. I’m grateful that I have Jesus because even if I’m just a speck in a world filled with trillions of people, I still exist because I have a purpose.

I’m grateful that I have strong, supportive loved ones who see the best and worst of me every day, yet choose to love and back me up nevertheless. I’m grateful for all the people I’ve encountered this year — those who left and those who’ve chosen to stay.

I’m grateful for new experiences, new cultures explored, and all the opportunities that came unexpectedly. I’m grateful for the humbling failures which reminded me that learning never stops, and that traversing life isn’t easy.

I’m grateful for this year, for every minute of it, because He has designed my days and made them all worthwhile.

Thank you, 2018. Praise God.

❤️
bali indonesia itinerary

4D3N Bali, Indonesia Itinerary

Tourists from different continents have been flocking into Bali, Indonesia in recent years, and as a fellow Asian, it made me wonder why. My sheer curiosity led to actual flight tickets from Manila to Bali last August 31, 2018.

There’s so much to explore in this region, but because two of my friends and I only had four days to wander, we’ve decided to explore just three of the most popular districts in Bali: Ubud, Buleleng, and Kuta.

Meanwhile, if you’re planning to visit Bali, Indonesia anytime soon, you can save this Ubud-Baleleng-Kuta itinerary for reference.

Let’s get straight into the tourist destinations, then I’ll share with you the budget or breakdown of expenses before the blog ends.

4D3N Itinerary

DAY 1 – Ubud

We started our DIY tour in Ubud, one of the most culturally-rich regions in Indonesia. You’ll see temples, statues and worship places almost everywhere in this city, even at the hotel you’ll be staying in.

Balinese are immensely religious people. You’ll notice them putting incense at their doorstep. They also have “dance worship nights” that you can easily watch across the street. Ubud is aesthetically pleasing and colorful as well, especially because of its picturesque Hindu temples and palaces such as Ubud Royal Palace, Pura Desa Ubud, Pura Tamaran Sarasuati, and Ubud Water Palace.

Aside from temple-hopping, we’ve also tasted some of their famous cuisines, including Nasi Goreng, Satay and Nasi Campur. My favorite restaurant in Ubud is Warung Biah! Biah! This restaurant has a TripAdvisor badge, serving reasonably-priced, authentic Balinese dishes. I’ve noticed that most of the diners here are Europeans.

We also went to The Blanco Renaissance Museum, owned by the Filipino Artist Don Antonio Blanco. You’ll have to pay IDR50,000 or P180.55 to enter, inclusive of a free drink. It has become a landmark in Ubud because of the museum’s attractive architecture and Blanco’s collection of alluring paintings of women.

We also went to another temple that offers sarong for rent for only IDR10,000 or P37.00.

Tourist Spots Mentioned:

  • Ubud Royal Palace
  • Pura Desa Ubud
  • Pura Tamaran Sarasuati
  • Ubud Water Palace
  • The Blanco Renaissance Museum (Entrance Fee: IDR50,000 or P185)

Day 2 – Buleleng & Ubud

On the first half of our second day, we drove all the way to the northern part of Bali via private car for rent. This region is called Buleleng, which is 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Ubud center. To be honest, we came here for the ‘gram. We didn’t see anything different, except for the Instagrammable spots in Handara Golf & Resort Entrance, Wanagiri Hidden Hills and Ulun Daru Beratan Temple.

After taking hundreds of photos in Baleleng region, we went back to Ubud to see Goa Gajah, a famous elephant cave that also serves as a sanctuary. Then, we moved forward to Tegalalang Rice Terraces, also located in Ubud.

Aside from trekking, you can also go for a swing on top of Tegalalang Rice Terraces, grab some snacks or simply enjoy the relaxing, green landscape.

Our second day ended with a fine dinner at Bumi Bali, and by watching a band perform on a park near the hotel.

Tourist Spots Mentioned:

  • Handara Golf & Resort (Entrance Fee: IDR30,000 or P111.00)
  • Wanagiri Hidden Hills (The amount you’ll pay depends on the photo package that you’ll avail and the number of tourist spots you’ll visit.)
  • Ulun Daru Beratan Temple
  • Goa Gajah (Entrance fee: IDR15,000 or P55.5)
  • Tegalalang Rice Terraces

DAY 3 – Ubud & Kuta

It’s our last day in Ubud so we dedicated it for shopping. We searched for rattan bags, crafts, and other unique pasalubong items at the Ubud Art Market. After that, we checked out from our hotel and left for Kuta.

Kuta is a district in Badung Regency, Indonesia. It’s been famous for its surfing-friendly beach, and world-class resorts. I haven’t tried surfing before so I was very excited about this part of the trip.

We checked in at Lusa Hotel, freshened up, and went out for a walk. We ended up at Beachwalk Shopping center, the popular mall with vibrant architecture just across Kuta beach.

The rest of our day was spent chillin’ by the beach, talking about life, our dreams, heartaches, etc. In fact, we’ve enjoyed this day so much that we weren’t able to take as many photos as we did on the previous days. And that’s not a problem after all.

Tourist Spots Mentioned:

  • Ubud Art Market
  • Beachwalk Shopping Center
  • Kuta Beach

DAY 4 – Kuta

Surfing day, finally! We’ve spent half of our last day braving the waves in Kuta Beach.

My first time to surf

We had a late lunch at the Beachwalk Shopping Mall, and watched the releasing of turtles at Kuta Beach c/o the Bali Sea Turtle Society. After that, we went straight to Ngurah Rai International Airport to catch our flight back to Manila.

Hotel Accommodations

  • Ubud: Dono Guest House (with FREE breakfast)
  • Kuta: Lusa Hotel (with FREE breakfast)

Budget/Expenses (per pax)

  • Roundtrip Airfare: P8,540 via Cebu Pacific & Air Asia
  • Travel Tax: P1,620
  • Dono Guest House: P908/pax (Total bill is P2,722.6 for two (2) nights divided by three (3) pax)
  • Lusa Hotel: P433/pax (Total bill is P1,400 for one (1) night divided by three (3) pax)
  • 10-hour private car rental with driver for Buleleng tour: P710/pax (Total is US$40 divided by three (3) pax)
  • Transpo from Airport to Hotel: P196/pax (Total bill is P587 (IDR160,000) divided by three (3) pax)
  • The Blanco Renaissance Museum Entrance Fee: P184 or IDR50,000
  • Goa Gajah Entrance Fee: P165 or IDR15,000
  • Handara Golf & Resort Entrance Fee: P110.00 or IDR30,000
  • Wanagiri Hidden Hills: P518 or IDR140,000
  • Transpo from Dono Guest House to Lusa Hotel: 370/pax (Total bill is P1,110 (IDR300,000) divided by three (3) pax)
  • Surfing Board Rentals + Lessons: P2,035 or IDR550,000
  • Food: ~P2,000
  • Transpo from Lusa Hotel to Airport: P185/pax (Total bill is P555 (IDR150,000) divided by three (3) pax)
  • Pasalubong/Shopping: ~P5,000

Total: ~P22,291

I hope you’ve learned a thing or two from this itinerary. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask away, or message me on Instagram. Thanks and have an awesome trip ahead!

 

SML,

Patchicha

batanes itinerary

4D3N Batanes Itinerary with Wakay Tours

My cousins and I wandered across Batanes for the first time last March 23-26. The province is composed of three islands namely Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat islands. We’ve explored the first two islands only because apparently, the boat ride from Batan port to Itbayat would take around four hours per way. We didn’t have enough time.

We availed almost everything from Wakay Tours – airline tickets, accommodation, tours, van transfers, and some of our meals.

Disclaimer: Our Batanes itinerary was not sponsored by the travel agency. We just really appreciate their efficiency and their kind people, especially our friendly and polite tour guide Kuya Charles. The details of our trip are as follows.

Day 1: Batan Island

Departure from Manila: 6:15AM via Skyjet Airlines

Arrival at Basco: 7:20AM

Check-in + Breakfast at Casa Feliciano: 8:00AM

Start of Tour: 9:00AM

Tourist Destinations

Vayang Rolling Hills

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If Ivatans have a “hideout,” probably it’s the Vayang Rolling Hills. You’ll hear nothing but the grass being swayed by the wind as well as the goats, water buffalos and cows. It’s composed of crumpled terrains that occasionally receives splashes from the West Philippine Sea.

Rakuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country)

basco batanes

Look at that view! For me, this is the top tourist spot in Batan because of its clean and mesmerizing landscapes, plus its evident New Zealand vibe. The view was a humbling sight. It reminded me how small I am compare to our majestic and incomparably artistic God.

Mahatao Shelter Port

port batanes

This shelter port has always been a part of the South Batan tour. It was built in 2007 to protect Batan Island’s boats from the temperamental weather. 

Basco Lighthouse

basco batanes lighthouse

Located at Naidi Hills (Na means past and Idi means settlement), this lighthouse is overlooking Mount Iraya. You can also enjoy a panoramic view of Batan on the fifth floor which is accessible through the staircase.

Honesty Coffee Shop

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It’s not just a coffee shop without a cashier; it also has souvenir shirts, keychains, ref magnets, food and more. While tourists can just drop their payments in the box, the owners also left a notebook where people can list down the items they got for bookkeeping purposes.

Valugan Boulder Beach 

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Our free lunch was scheduled at a restaurant in front of Valugan Bounder Beach. But we couldn’t just sit and enjoy the view. We went closer to the beach, and started hopping from one boulder to another. By the way, Valugan is an Ivatan word which means “east.”

Catholic Churches

Our tour guide also introduced us to some historic Catholic churches in Batan such as Sto. Domingo Cathedral, Mt. Carmel Chapel, San Carlos Borromeo Church, and San Jose de Obrero Church.

More Viewpoints

The tour guide also brought us to several viewpoints that offer equally astounding views of Batanes. We went to Paredes Viewpoint, Chawa View Deck, Mutchong Hilltop, and the Alapad Hill & Rock Formation.

Tukon Radar Station

We just passed by this radar station which was once used as a weather station of the United States. It also served as a lighthouse before.

Ruins of Songsong

We also passed by this so-called “ghost barangay.” It’s a long stretch of roofless old stone houses facing the beach. They were abandoned because of the tsunami in 1950. Some of the ruins are currently being restored by the locals.

Day 2: Sabtang Island

Breakfast: 5:00AM

Start of Tour: 6:00AM

Boat Ride from Ivana Port to Sabtang Port: 7:00AM to 7:40AM

Tourist Destinations

Savidug

sabtang batanes

We did a walking tour around Brgy. Savidug where we saw the original and modern versions of Batanes’ trademark, the bahay na bato (stone house). The Ivatans built this sturdier version of nipa hut to withstand strong winds and heavy rains that they regularly experience. Aside from stones, they’re also made of Kugon grass and corals. 

Chamantad Viewpoint

29541326_10204360221362414_4519128581396320272_n.jpgSpectacular view, fresh air and some sun – I have no words. Every adjective is an understatement for this beautiful creation. From the viewpoint, you can also see the Ivatan’s idjang. It’s a fortress that the earlier generations built and used to hide from their enemies and invaders.

Chavayan

sabtang batanes

Brgy. Chavayan is another village of old stone houses – some are more than 100 years old now. According to the tour guide, the bahay na bato was introduced by the Spanish men in the late 1800s.

Sabtang Weavers’ Association

At the association’s “headquarters” located at Brgy. Chavayan, you’ll find Ivatan women weaving some vakul. It’s a traditional headwear that Ivatan women use to protect their heads against the sun, wind and rain.

Morong Beach/Ahao/Natural Stone Arch

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Compared to other beaches in Sabtang, the waves in Morong are more tamed which makes it a friendly place for swimming. It has also become a tourist favorite because of the unique natural wonder and photogenic Nakabuang Arch (the one on the photo).

Biking at Basco

batanes bike rental

We had fun biking around Basco! We felt safe, and the people are warm and helpful. I remember we were talking that one of our bikes needed air, when suddenly, a local guy approached us with an air pump. He said he heard us talking about the flat tire so he came to help. How kind of him! <3 The rental fee of each bicycle is only P25 per hour.

Day 3: Batan Island Part 2

The third day was tagged “free” day on our itinerary but my cousins and I decided to avail another Batan Island half-day tour for the prenuptial shoot of one of my cousins and her then-fiancé (they got married last June 9).

Fundacion Pacita

fundacion pacita

This wasn’t really part of the tour we availed, but thanks to our tour guide, we were able to visit this famous hotel in Basco. Aside from its luxurious rooms and colorful architecture, the hotel was featured several times by different media because of their museum and coffee shop.

Dipnaysuhuan Japanese Tunnel

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Historic as it is, this tunnel was built by the Japanese, when they occupied the country. It has five entrance holes and is complete with a bunker, a water reservoir and a few chambers. It served as the home of the Japanese soldiers.

Marlboro Country + Rolling Hills Take 2

We revisited these sites solely for prenup purposes.

Pasalubong Shopping + Biking

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We bought most of our pasalubong from Tolledo’s Souvenir Shop located a few blocks from Casa Feliciano. They sell shirts, keychains, ref magnets, handicrafts, bags, mugs, wallets, food items and more.

Day 4: Departure

We left Basco at 8:00 a.m. We’ll see you again soon, Batanes! <3

Expenses/Budget

Allocated Budget: P21,500

Expenses:

  • P16,900 – Airfare, Accommodation, Day 1 & Day 2 tour, Breakfast, Lunch (2 days only via Wakay Tours
  • P1,200 – Budget for the food not covered on the package
  • P500 – Extra half-day tour (day 3)
  • P300 – Two-day Bike Rental (25/hr)
  • P2,600 – Other expenses (Tip to tour guide, souvenirs, pasalubong, etc.)

 

Feel free to message/comment if you have questions. God bless!

SML,
Trish

From Benham Rise to Philippine Rise: First Anniversary

I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to play a role during the first anniversary of the renaming of Benham Rise (the 13-million-hectare underwater plateau in Aurora that China was claiming theirs) to PHILIPPINE RISE.

Because of this event, I’ve witnessed head-on how genuinely patriotic and selfless Filipinos are, especially the Army, the Marines, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Air Force, and the volunteers. I mean, Northern Luzon Command organized this event to remind us Filipinos that Philippine Rise is ours, and that every reef matters. The organizers even invited scientists and divers for us to know the hidden underwater gems in store for the future generation.

We used the ships of the Philippine Navy and many of these men and women slept on the floor to provide rooms to the civilians. The touching part is, to them it was nothing because they’re doing it for the country. Many VIPs and officers also stood under the sun holding their flags, setting aside their high profiles for the Philippines. Nakaka-proud. Nakaka-iyak. Nakaka-taba ng puso.

Meanwhile, I was one of those who stood in the formation for about an hour (see pic), wearing blue shirt and cap while holding the Philippine flag. It was a simple role compared to others but it’s a big deal for me because of what Colonel Quemado said: “Konting pa-init lang po para sa bayan.”

PARA SA BAYAN. This phrase made me realize that indeed, these men’s labor is not in vain because they simply want to claim and nurture what God has blessed the Philippines with. This is God’s gift to us that’s why we’re fighting for it, and as General Salamat said, we will be good stewards of it. Ergo, even if I only stood and waved the flag there, even if my role was nothing compared to what everyone else did, I FELT SO PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO.

It’s a privilege to be a part of this historic event. I’d like to thank the Colonel (anonymity for security reasons) and GoShare for inviting us here. I’m looking forward to more mission trips with all of you. PARA SA BAYAN, PARA SA PANGINOON. 🙂

GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!

why I'm still here

There’s a Reason Why I’m Still Here

There were times when I would feel so little and incapable, when I would feel unable to pass trials, when I would feel alone, or when I would feel discouraged; and I would ask God to just take my life. I know these thoughts are irrational and impure. Yet my melancholic heart would cause me to cry so hard at times, and ask the Father to bring me to His kingdom so I won’t experience pain again –  no more hardships, no more drama – and so I can sing praises to Him forever, just as it’s written in Revelation 21:4. I still pray, though, for the negative thoughts to never come back.

Jesus hasn’t come back yet because of 2 Peter 3:8-9.

I remember one night when my impatience and unreasonable thoughts dominated again. I asked God: Lord, why can’t you just come back now and get me? I’m too weak for this world. A few days later, He answered my inquiry through my devotion. “With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)” These verses reminded me how selfish I can be. Life is not just about me after all. God wants to give others more time to come to repentance. He doesn’t want to settle with the number of Christians today. God wants multitudes of people – everyone, in fact – to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and be sealed with the Holy Spirit.

And I’m still here; I’m still alive.

Although it’s hard to believe at times, the truth is there’s a reason why I’m still here. God still wants to refine and sanctify me; God still wants to use me in bringing people to repentance; God still wants to send me somewhere to serve His people; God still has a purpose for me. And he has a purpose for you as well.

If you are like me, if you’ve also asked God to just take your life for whatever reason, I pray that you and I would be reminded that God has a purpose for us, and that purpose is related with His own purpose. If your specific/personal task is yet to be revealed to you, please know that generally and ultimately, our purpose is to glorify Him in everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31), and to obey Him and be purified by His blood (1 Peter 1:2). We are to love God above all, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Mark 12:30-31) Also, He wants to use us in bringing the gospel to the nations and in making disciples.

His ways are Higher than ours.

For now, even if it’s hard to trust the uncertainties, let us rest in the fact that His ways are always higher than our ways, and His plans are to prosper us and not to harm us. Therefore, no matter how cruel things could get, no matter how draining the circumstances are, let us rely on His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). The Holy Spirit is with us in our battles. We can talk to Him and seek comfort. And I know it’s easier said than done, but please let us not be discouraged, and just continue fighting the good fight of faith. One day everything will make sense when we hear God say: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

Let’s also pray for God to help us think only what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), so we could get rid of negativity and suicidal thoughts. It’s possible in Jesus’ name! 🙂

I hope this has encouraged you in some way. May our good God comfort and remind you of His love and promises every day. 🙂

 

With you in Spirit,
Pat

financial advisor

8 Perks of Being a Sun Life Financial Advisor

If you’re looking for a job or planning to change careers, feel free to apply as a Sun Life financial advisor. Here are some of the perks:

1. Living with a Purpose

Apart from personal goals, Sun Life financial advisors know they exist not just for themselves. They share the same purpose: to spread financial literacy and guide Filipinos towards financial freedom and a brighter life.

2. Free Financial Trainings & Seminars

Before sending them to the battlefield, Sun Life educates its own financial advisors about investment trends, life insurance, stocks, mutual fund, and economic challenges. Therefore, financial advisors get the privilege to immediately apply everything they’ve learned and also secure a brighter future for their loved ones.

3. Travel Incentives & Recognitions

Sun Life is a generous company. The management gives credit and awards to whom they are due. Aside from medals and plaques, they also give local and international travel incentives to top financial advisors. In fact, in 2018, Sun Life awardees flew to Switzerland, Japan, and Henann Resorts Bohol.

4. Unlimited Income

A financial advisor works like a freelancer. Your income depends on your diligence and determination to succeed. The sky is the limit but it entails consistency and patience.

5. Flexible Working Hours

No time in, no Bundy clock. You plot your own schedule, so you can also decide what time to sleep or wake up. You have bottomless leaves and time-off provided that you’ll be able to achieve your set goals. You can meet clients in the morning; submit the application at Sun Life’s office after lunch; then go to the gym afterward.

6. Enlargement of Network

Congeniality is a requirement for a Sun Life financial advisor because you meet new people almost every day. Your network expands as you earn referrals and as random strangers ask you for proposals on social media.

7. Fast Career Growth

Age and tenure are not an issue for a financial advisor’s career growth. If you can tick off the requirements for promotion in less than a year, the company will surely give it to you.

8. Close Encounter with Papa P every year (hahaha)

Whether you’re a fan of Piolo Pascual or not, you’ll surely see him, plus other Sun Life endorsers every year at Sun Life’s events. The company throws a free concert every year to motivate and thank its financial advisors for their hard work, loyalty and commitment to secure the lives of Filipino people.

If these perks ring a bell to you, you’re welcome to apply as a Sun Life Financial Advisor! Maharlika Sales Team is looking for new additions to their high-performing slate. Kindly send your CV to pattyhisugan10@gmail.com to get started.