“Ruffae, hindi na kita iha-hug kasi alam kong hindi ka hugger.”

After that statement, my classmate left and went hugging more people. Honestly, that kept me thinking. Am I really that detached to everyone? I totally disagree. Maybe there was one time when she hugged me, sensed that I felt uncomfortable and then she decided that I don’t like hugs. But that is so not true. I am a hugger, just for the right people. If you try to hug me, I won’t stop you; but it would certainly feel uncomfortable if you are not in my “To Hug List”. I believe that hugging is one of the most affectionate things in life. You have to earn it first.


Not your typical dayhike to Mt. Maslow

It has been more than a year since I quit my job, left the world of fun and travelling and decided to enter medical school. Every now and then I get to ask myself where I would be right now had my decisions been different. Would I have finally reached the peak of Mt. Pulag or set foot on the hills of Batanes? What would my day job be? Would I have continued as a researcher or entered an entirely different field, like hospital dietetics or food service? Would I have stayed in Laguna or found a new place? Would I finally be in a romantic relationship? The questions are endless, but it will be left unanswered because I already chose a different path.

I am preparing for an exam two days from now, but there is something about nights like this that make me want to assess my life, my current situation. As of this moment, I am sitting in my room, with the clutter on top of my study table, wondering how far I have gone from my original plan. You see, I never really thought, ever, of entering medical school. I even remember myself telling a classmate back in college that becoming a doctor is just for the super intelligent ones. Moreover, my family doesn’t have the means to send me to another five years of schooling. But here I am, trying to remember when the turning point happened.

During my interview when I was applying for a medical school, I said I wanted to be a neurosurgeon because I don’t want other families losing a member just because no one is able to operate and save that member’s life. Maybe I was just bitter because that was how I lost my father. A little drama will always win the interviewers’ hearts, right. But If I am to answer that question honestly, I’d say selfishly that I want to become a doctor because it’s the only reason for me to attain self actualization.

It was in summer, 2009 when I encountered Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Probably not the first time, but this time, it struck me deeply, especially the topmost level. How do I attain self-actualization? That moment, I thought the answer was to graduate on time, find a perfect job as a nutritionist dietitian, have a family and then grow old with the person I love. Cliche it may sound, but I was 16 then. Only four years later had I realized what I really wanted to be. I saw myself as somebody that I never even imagined of becoming. I wanted to be a doctor, and not just a doctor,but a kickass neurosurgeon. I’m still actually trying to remember why, of all possible options, I wanted to be a doctor. Maybe there really is no perfect answer, it just strikes you in the heart and that’s it.

That is why here I am, hidden behind these pile of notes, trying to study for my exams. I may not be travelling or hiking right now, but I know that this is the most adventurous trip I have been so far. And this is going to take for a while. Probably forever, since doctors never stop learning. But I am happy, because finally, I am nearing that summit of Mt. Maslow.



Mini Adventure: Sumlang lake

I have always been a dependent traveller. Mostly because I have a very little sense of direction and one of my greatest fears in life is getting lost. I have this scenario in my mind wherein once I get lost, even if I ask the people, they will point me to the wrong way, making it worse, until I run out of cash then I become a taong grasa and nobody will find me ever and I will just grow old with a sickness and just die on the streets- something like that. Therefore, I see to it that when I travel, either I have someone with me, or at least I have a recipe of how to get a place in full details.

Sometimes though I realize that my fear of getting lost is hindering me from seeing the world. Because I am so anxious of getting to the destination, I somehow forget to enjoy the journey. This has to stop, and only I can solve this problem. I need to be brave and just let go of my worries (and try to block that scenario that keeps on building in my head).

Earlier this week, I went to Brgy. Sua, which lies within the 6km permanent danger zone of Mt. Mayon in Camalig Albay, to gather data for my research. Since I decided not to have a partner for my research, I had no choice but to do the data gathering alone. Why didn’t I accept that partnership a classmate offered?

After I collected that necessary data for my research, I thought it was yet too early to go home. Besides, I was already in a place where I have heard good stuff about. The weather was also pretty perfect for an escapade. But before that, my stomach needed some food.  I tried looking for an air-conditioned restaurant (I had been walking in an oven for almost four hours already), unfortunately, there was none so I ended up in this 5-table eatery beside the municipal hall. While enjoying my lunch, I had a little chat with the owner and inquired about Quitinday hills. That was where I was planning to go. It’s like a local version of Bohol’s chocolate hills, only they were smaller. I was told that to get there, I needed to rent a tricycle with the usual rate of Php500. After hearing that, I realized that Quitinday hills and I weren’t going to meet that day. It was just too expensive for a solo traveller. Moreover, the owner kept on emphasizing that I shouldn’t go there alone, not that it’s unsafe or something, just because.

So much for planning a solo adventure. I needed a back-up plan so I went to the tourism office for more information about Camalig’s other  destinations.  They showed me a list and found out that it has more to offer (Hoyop-hoyopan cave, ancestral houses, old chapels, etc) and they also have this sort of tour where I can just rent a tricycle and it will bring me to all of the tourist destinations for a little less than a thousand bucks. I thought it was a good offer, unfortunately, my pockets weren’t prepared enough.

Just so the afternoon wouldn’t end up adventure-less, I chose to go to the nearest tourist spot which will cost me the least. To Sumlang lake it is. The tourism officer instructed me about the way. I listened carefully and noted everything he said. Good thing the place wasn’t actually that far (according to him), making my anxiety issues a little less. He told me to ride a jeepney and get off the boundary between Daraga and Camalig, where there was a monument of Pinangat, the municipality’s famous product. Then from there, he told me, I could just ask the locals for more directions.

A few minutes later, I was in a jeepney telling the driver to get me off the said boundary. Little did I know that not all jeepney drivers were familiar with the boundary and the Pinangat monument. Panick attack. I remembered the tourism officer that the boundary was only around two kilometers away from their office. After like three minutes (my seat wasn’t even warm yet), the driver pointed me to a corner where he said was a way to the lake. I asked him three times if he was sure, he nodded. Fine then, I got off and hoped that he was 100% sure of that nod. There was a sari-sari store at the corner and asked if that was really the way to the lake. I received an affirmation, however, they told me that it would have been better if I got off at the boundary and walked from there. Great, the famous boundary again. I didn’t want to waste another centavo and time to look for the boundary so I asked if I could still get to the lake from where I was currently standing. She said yes, and that was all I needed to hear. I asked her if I can walk from there to the lake but she suggested that I ride a tricycle. Tricycle it is. There were no tricycles around so I started walking. Some five minutes later, I asked a few locals if I was already near the lake. They said that it was still far and that I should just ride a tricycle. Silly hard-headed me. But there are no tricycles! A few seconds later, a tricycle magically appeared and the locals instructed the driver to bring me to the lake. Finally! Ten minutes later, the tricycle driver was asking another local of the way to the lake. Seriously? The locals pointed us the way. Good thing that there were many houses around and the barangay seemed alive; if it were not, and if it looked like a dead forest, I would have backed out. Another five minutes later, I was finally relieved to see the lake.


Sumlang lake wasn’t really the type that will put one in awe. The tourism officer said that this was the only body of water that catches Mt. Mayon’s perfect reflection. It wasn’t my luckiest day however because the sky and Mt. Mayon were covered with clouds and it started to become pretty gloomy. But I was happy, really happy that despite the odds, I still made it to the lake. It was somehow refreshing to arrive to the place with almost no people around, just a few children hanging out. Good, no crowd to ruin the solitude of my solo trip. For a few minutes, I watched the children play with the bamboo boat floating on the lake. They told me that I can ride the bamboo raft. Maybe later, I thought. For a few more minutes, I was just sitting on a bamboo bench thinking of anything I could think off.

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It was actually a really good place to reflect on life. After around fifteen minutes of staring at the lake water, a group of local boys arrived. They approached and told me that they saw me while I was riding the tricycle and asking for direction. Normally, I would have just ignored them and pretended to hear nothing, but I realized that it wouldn’t hurt me to be friendly this time. Besides, the children know the group of boys so I guess it was fine to have a conversation with them. They asked me if I wanted to ride the bamboo raft. At first, I declined, afraid that it might rain while we were in the middle of the lake; but they insisted, so I agreed. Besides, they were offering the ride for free, which usually wasn’t according to the children. The boys maneuvered the raft so that we could go to the center of the lake (it was a small lake so it took no time getting there). They said that the waters of the lake used to be really clear and that its floor didn’t use to be muddy until Mayon volcano erupted some years ago. I somehow felt bad hearing that.


It was starting to get dark so I decided to leave the place. But I promised my new friends to go back so that I can see Mt. Mayon’s perfect reflection on the lake. Besides, they also promised to take me to the hill nearby.


I learned many things during this mini-adventure but I am not going to talk about them one by one for this post has already gotten pretty lengthy. Go figure. haha


Complicated Me

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I used to believe that I am a simple person, like most people out there. As I grow older and more mature, however, I realize that I am far from being one. I am complicated right from the very start and I continue to be one each day.

Everyday I am faced with situations where I can just choose the simpler option, the easier one and just get it done and over with; but life would be too much boring if I did. I seek adventure. I thirst for that feeling of going into the unknown and finally getting out of it, successful. The rush keeps me alive. Moreover, it becomes more exciting because I am not the bravest person out there (plus I have anxiety issues); therefore, if I get out of a difficult situation accomplished, that is the best feeling in the world. It is the fuel that keeps me going.

So, if you are not in for a crazy ride with my complicated self and life, you might as well get off the bus. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you. XD



I had a long late night talk with friends last night and it made me realize something that I never really thought of before. I am in denial. I have been fooling myself of how I really feel and that it is actually weighing me down all this time. Now, I just want to let it out.

* * *

I am wondering if I did the right thing back then, if I said the right words. Thinking so much about it, I know I was wrong. Totally wrong. I have been playing in my mind all the possible scenario had my answer been different, and it just makes me regret more. Sigh. Oh well. What is life without regrets and lessons, right?

Anyway, I am aware that I can still do something about it before it entirely drifts away. It’s just that, I don’t have the courage to do so. I am one big coward. I guess, if it’s meant to be, the universe will find a way.

PS: Just because a person tells you s/he doesn’t like you, doesn’t mean that you should totally stop trying. You never know, the person was just being irrational at that time being.

PPS: This is my way of telling you that I am finally falling for you.

PPPS: Yes, I am talking to you.


Monthly Highlights of My 2014

I may not have the flashiest life out there, but I believe, in my own terms, that I have had a wonderful year. For a simple girl like me, I guess simple things are enough to make me happy. Therefore I am truly grateful to have experienced so many beautiful and unexpected things for this year.

January. I finally reached the highest peak of Mt. Makiling. I remembered when I first tried to accomplish this back in college; the rain was getting really heavy so our guide decided to stop the trek for our own safety. Fortunately, this year, together with my newly found friends, I finally did it. This month, I decided that mountains are going to be my thing now. They have this calming effect on me, especially every time I realize that I am hundreds of meters above sea level. It feels like flying without having to leave the ground.

February. This month, I was introduced to Mt. Mabilog, Lake Pandin, Lake Yambo, Sampaloc Lake and Bunga Falls. It always brings me joy to see new places.  What’s more is that this month I officially became a backpacker. Me being impulsive and having read a lot of travel blogs, I decided that it could be a great experience to travel with only a backpack. Luckily, I have two friends to share my crazy ideas with, so we planned a backpacking trip around central Luzon. Unfortunately, the other friend wasn’t able to make it- unfortunately for him. This backpacking trip sort of started in a not-so-very-good way because of bus problems; however, it was perfect overall and I’m never going to change any of it given the chance. From Nueva Ecija to Benguet to Bontoc to Sagada to Baguio to Pangasinan and then back to Los Baños. I am actually happy that we had problems along the way, it couldn’t have been more fun and memorable without them.

March.  I conquered another mountain this month, Mt. Daguldol. What’s different about this one is that the trail was actually by the seashore. It was like putting me between my two lovers, for I love the sea as much as I love the mountain. What made this trip more exciting was that we had to sleep under the stars, and since we were on the mountain’s peak and it was so dark, the stars seemed to be nearer and really shone that night.

April. This month I experienced hiking a mountain (Mt. Balagbag) that almost made me want to stop and just turn back. Well, it wasn’t really the mountain’s fault. Actually, the trail was really wide, and the grasses looked very welcoming. It was the heat of the sun that really put me to test. Good thing I didn’t stop, and having arrived at the peak, I was in love with the majestic view of mountain ranges. It was all worth it. Moreover, this month was my first time in Visayas. I needed to go to Iloilo to apply to a medical school so I took it as another opportunity to travel. Although I wasn’t able to get into the school, I have no regrets that I went there. It was actually really tiring on the way to Iloilo because I travelled by sea and by land- imagine it took almost 24 hours getting there. But I had fun during my stay there and even met a new friend. Plus, got the chance to go to the neighboring province, Guimaras, which is only 15 minutes boat ride away from Iloilo. It was so much fun! But I decided to ride the plane going back to the main land.

May. Hello Baler! Yes, another travel adventure for me. This was a really “sulit” travel because I only spent so little for so many things I have enjoyed and witnessed. Here I was able to witness a century-old Balete tree and a lot of falls (not the verb, but the noun). Also, I had a beer with a friend by the seashore, and it was relieving because I was actually having a bad weekend for receiving a bad news that I didn’t make it to that medical school in Iloilo. Thank you for calming my soul, Baler!

June. I have had so many adventure trips for the past months; however, this month marks the end of it (for the mean time) because of some big changes. Yes, I was finally accepted to a medical school in my region, so I had to instantly stop living my current world and start a new one. It was a hard decision since I love where I was then, but I guess I had to start living for what I love more- becoming a medical doctor. It was really painful when I had to ditch another travel adventure to Dumaguete. But then again, I have new priorities now. Medical school it is!

July. This month I spent most of my days being a good medical student. I really missed studying and I am grateful for having this opportunity to learn again. This is definitely for the people, and of course, for self-actualization.

August. This month, a typhoon hit our province so our school decided to help the affected communities. In our province, people from the far-flung areas aren’t privileged enough to see a doctor if they need one. For reasons like they are not capable financially, or there’s no one available to attend to them. It was a wonderful opportunity for us medical students, even though we were just first years, to be able to help these people to the most of our capabilities. I am grateful for the experience, and I am truly happy that I was able to serve them as early as this.

September. This month’s highlight was the college’s activity called Medicine Day. The doctors within the college decided to give free consultations to the public for one day, and the students were tasked to make it as fun as possible. I was tasked to head the Health and Wellness Team since I am the only registered Nutritionist in our batch. Together with my team members, we really put the best of our efforts to make the best possible booths and exhibit so that our guests will actually enjoy. We actually had sleepless nights just to finish on time. True enough, it was a very successful activity for us having seen the happy faces of our guests as they leave our booths and exhibit. Well done team!

October. It’s my birth month! I really am not the type who celebrates birthdays with a big crowd and extravagant event. This birthday, I celebrated it by having lunch with new friends and it was enough to make me feel special for making it into this world. I am really grateful for another year with awesome people to share it with.

November. It’s that time of the year to remember all the people who were brave enough to walk this earth, which includes my father and my grandfather. I thank my life for them.

December. I can’t believe it’s the last month of 2014 already! There were just so many things going on that I hardly noticed the time passing. I will spend the last few days of this year being grateful for all the experiences I have gained for the past months. With that in my heart, I am looking forward to another awesome year coming.

It has been a crazy year for me. I guess this is my best year so far. Hopefully, 2015 will be so much better, and I only have a few days left to find out. J

Thank you 2014! And I thank all those people who have been part of my 2014 and made it even more fun and exciting. Let us have another wonderful year together!

PS: I actually wrote this in the middle of writing my research proposal because I was starting to get really drained. Nothing beats the happiness brought by looking back to fun memories. Okay, back to research work then. 😉


Dark clouds

She has never seen the clouds this dark before. She has witnessed thunderstorms but not with clouds as heavy as this one. She’s lost, out there, vulnerable. It hasn’t rained yet but it feels like she’s already soaking wet and shivering from the cold. She’s screaming from the inside, Save me! Save me! All the thoughts of regret are flooding her mind now. I should have… If only… what if… I need you.


What I call Art in Med School

I figured that we are responsible for our own learning. We decide what to learn, so as what not to learn.

Today, I decided that that I am going to learn the metabolic pathways by heart. And so I ended up with this little art project now attached to my wall. This is just probably one of the pieces of art (or whatever you may want to call it) that I am going to make while I am in medical school.  I can now literally stare at the wall when I forget something. I should probably put some on the ceiling too.10

Who says learning has to be boring?  I am actually excited of the idea of filling up the empty wall spaces of my room and make a gallery out of it. XD


Over-analyzing: Of having pets (or not)

Whenever I see people having cats or dogs as pets, I would always tell them that it is impossible for me to have one. For reasons like: (1) I don’t like them at all, (2) they shed to much fur around and they smell, (3) they are just so active playing around following you and I am sure it will definitely annoy the sh*t out of me.

So I decided that if ever I will be required to have a pet, I’d get a fish. They will just be doing their business in their tank as I do mine in my room. That’s the kind of relationship I’d like to have with a pet. It’s there but it doesn’t require attention. Yes, they need to be fed and all but they would not scream for it like cats and dogs do.

Which makes me question myself: maybe I am not capable of loving? Isn’t love a prerequisite so that one can effortlessly put time, energy and what not on another living thing even if it’s not human?

Last night, when I arrived home, a puppy was happily wagging his tail as he finishes the meal my mother gave him. Initially, I thought he was cute. But instantly I heard myself say that I couldn’t possibly like this puppy, because I don’t like puppies. So I ignored it and went inside.

This morning, the puppy was running around doing his thing (whatever it was that he was doing), and again I tried to ignore it. But there really is something about him that’s really cute. Okay, so I ended up playing with him. And I guess I liked it.

Maybe I am capable of loving, after all.

It’s just that, I am afraid to show the world that I am. Maybe because it is a sign of vulnerability. Maybe because I don’t want to end up the one loving and not being loved.

Or maybe, I am just over-analyzing stuff.

Oh well, I should probably just go out and buy fish and make a pet out of it.

Illustrations, Thoughts

Can someone please just grab my hand?

6Today is one of those days when I just want to get away as far as possible from where I currently am. It has been a routinary life for me and it feels like I’m losing my sanity for not doing something new. I need to go somewhere far and experience life.

For the past months, all I did was study and read books. I know I chose this path, but think I deserve a break. I don’t want to lose the part of me who loves adventure and spontaneity. If only I can replicate myself and do so many things at the same time.

I just want to feel the sun on my neck again, the dirt on my shoes, the catching of my breath. I just want to not think for once.

Can someone please just grab my hand?