My “Whys” for Writing

“He who has the WHY can bear almost any HOW.”

 –Friedrich Nietzsche

 

I was almost done with my second blog post which was about our experience in Coron. I worked on it for a number of cultivating-travel-writing sessions. It took me months before I finally pushed myself to write again on some portion of weekends and work on the blog after 5 months from the first post. (Yes, I got sidetracked that early. Sorry, Kiddo.) Then when I was about to finish it on a weekend, I LOST the seven-page drafted file! The external drive cannot be opened anymore. I asked for our company’s IT Department, but they cannot save it anymore. Sh*t happens.

So, here I am, postponing writing the same post again. It’s normal to feel bad about it, but of course, I will work on it again soon.

This experience made me thought of writing this personal post. Why do I need to work on it again? Why do I want to write about it? On a bigger picture, why do I want to blog? Why do I want to write my thoughts and share it to strangers even if the introvert in me feels creepy inside.

write

So, “Why”? Again, “Why do I want to blog?” I was able to list 10 reasons so far.

  1. Because I want to cultivate my passion for travelling and writing.

“Follow” is different from “Cultivate.” I learned this from an article entitled, “Follow Your Passion is a Crappy Advice” which I personally agree to. It says, “’Follow implies that you discover the passion in advance then go match it to a job. At which point, you’re done. Cultivate implies that you work toward building passion for your job. This is a longer process but it’s way more likely to pay dividends. It requires you to approach your work like a craftsman. Honing your ability, and then leveraging your value, once good, to shape your working life toward the type of lifestyle that resonates with you.

baguio strawberry farm

At this point in my life, I consider travelling, writing and my job in the Quality Management field as my passions. I included my day job because maybe I love doing it because I’m honing my expertise in it for more than 5 years already. I think I want the best of those worlds. Thus, I want to cultivate these passions. I want to immerse myself more to really know and prove that they really are.

Now, let me focus on travelling and writing.

TRAVELLING. I first loved travelling years ago when I was in high school, but I just acknowledged the desire to do more of it just 3 years ago. And now, my goal is to travel once a month, either local or abroad, depending on the availability of the resources- time and budget. So, why write about my travels? It would be a platform for me to reflect on my experiences, to organize my thoughts and to share them which would continuously spark my wanting to travel often. Does it make sense to you also? Because it is to me.

travel maranat

WRITING. I’m a late-bloomed lover of words. I remember I consistently tried to apply for our school’s newsletter or paper during high school but I never got in. I lacked the knowledge and skill of writing because I didn’t acknowledge it at a young age. Also, my simple reason of not pursuing it was that I cannot afford to buy books and I cannot afford to attend writing workshops at that time. (Pitying oneself at a young age.) I never got interested in pursuing it not until now that I’m adult. I rekindled my love for reading books, and I realized that I’m appreciating reading articles or blogs which sometimes I daydream of being the author of it. So, why not pursue it if there’s a free platform for me to do it? Again, I want to learn by doing it, by immersing myself in it, and then improve on it as I go along, as I make mistakes of not making sense or not having a cohesive thought on what I right. This is challenging, but hey, we all need to do something challenging in our existence, right?

  1. This will be my way of participating in the world through sharing my thoughts in my hamster ball.

I’m very much comfortable in my introversion, in living in my hamster ball. I’d rather live in my own thoughts than to engage in conversions that doesn’t give me enough reason to join to. I see things and process it in my mind, and I rarely speak about it. Sometimes it is good, but I think that it would be better if I spoke my mind on some instances. So maybe writing my thoughts and sharing it to people will loosen up the introvert in me.

travel coron

Blogging will push me to voice out my thoughts to people, to strangers. This is my silent way of participating in the outside world. I’m guilty of the fact that I think of this is a way also to communicate to my friends and to my family. I seldom share my life. This would make them understand me more. (Wheew! This is truly a challenge for me and Kiddo because we both have our own hamster balls.)

Maybe I’ll have new friends, eventually. Hello there!

  1. Because I want to understand myself more.

Among the intelligences in Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Kiddo and I both have Intrapersonal on top of our intelligences. We both understand ourselves and our innermost feelings. But of course, learning oneself is a continuous process because we grow, we mature, we change in our own pace and to the course that we would like to take.

travel art a space

Writing will let me document my key learning and wisdom from my experiences. This would not be just about travel guides. There’s so many of it already. This would help me process and organize my thoughts, and learn. Be the inspiration come from adventures, from travels, from mishaps, from mistakes or from dangerous experiences, I would gladly experience it, and I would document it, then be a better version of myself after. As one campaign of Nike says, Make It Count!

  1. This will be my public journal.

I started my personal journal which was triggered when I was lying awake at night after drinking coffee last 2013, then it became a habit. Only me can access and read it. Supporting what John Krakauer of Into the Wild says, I believe that happiness is most real when shared. He used “is”, but for me it’s “most.” So, there! I want to share my happiness, my thoughts and my life to you, to people.

public journal malapascua

This is my story, my online diary. This is our story, our adventure book which will live forever. It would be a surreal experience to read my posts 5 years after, 10 years after of 20 years after. One thing for sure, Kiddo and I will still be kids at heart by then.

  1. Eventually, I want to link it in helping in good causes.

I want to find and pursue a vocation. I already have plans in mind which I need to narrow down. I want to travel and help locals along the way. I want to read more books and share them to those who aspire to do the same but don’t have the resources to do so. I want to be part of an environmentalist group who take actions to address or reduce the impacts of climate change. I want to be an ambassador of an organization that I truly love and believe in. I want to mainly promote local tourism. Then, and maybe then, writing will be an instrument to find it and pursue it. Maybe I’ll add a dedicated category for this within the blog.

kythe

As what Steve Jobs said, “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?”

  1. I want to share my travel experiences to others in a way I can inspire you to do things that you want to do or to travel also.

I first thought that travelling is only for those who can afford to. I never consider that I could spend only P500-P1000 per day abroad,that I could travel alone abroad, that Hong Kong was way too expensive for me, and many other apprehensions. I am continuously amazed of what I can do for travelling and I want to share it and inspire other people who are having second thoughts to do it. Travelling is one topic that I get excited to talk to when being brought up in a discussion. Ask me and I’ll be very glad to share my wisdom to you. I’ll be your supporter whenever you have plans in mind. Let’s build on it and make those travel plans happen!

sunny bay hong kong

 

  1. This is new to me. This is me chasing novelty as what Jason Silva defined as what happiness means.

Well, I don’t consider it as my only way to be happy but it is more about the wanting to learn and explore new things. This may be a mistake but it will be a beautiful one, because I had the courage to take small action steps. But as long as I believe in my Whys of doing this, it can never be a mistake for me.

sunset batangas

 

  1. I want to have the freedom to travel to other places.

This is the end that I have in mind. I know it won’t be easy but this “end” should push me enough. How cool would it be if I became a digital nomad, eh? I could imagine myself becoming one. I look up to a bunch of Filipinas who are currently living a nomadic lifestyle. Whenever I read their articles, it inspires me to work towards the goal. If you’re interested to read one, you may also follow iamaileen.com, twomonkeystravelgroup.com, 365traveldates.com, wearesolesisters.com and psimonmyway.com.

coron mt tapyas

I want to have the freedom to work anywhere, at any time of the day and on things which are meaningful for me.

  1. I want to add value to my own life and someone else’s life.

I’m not quite sure of the “value” I’m pertaining to yet. The value which I can offer is sincere and heartfelt sharing of experiences and private musings which I think can contribute something to you as my reader, my friend. But I’m sure it will evolve into something which I’m not aware of yet.

stories not atoms 2

I want to make my life count, for myself and for others.

  1. Because maybe, I may eventually find my ikigai through writing.

“Why do I wake up in the morning?”

wake up coron mt tapyas

I don’t have a profound response to this question. It can be as simple as to contribute to the growth of the company I’m working for, to become a better version of my current self, to experience the world in different places, to enjoy living this life, to make each day count, etc. But I’m not sold to any of these yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X7LQZXllUk

I believe that I have a “purpose” in life.  The purpose which is the integration of what I’m great at (profession), what I love (passion), what the world needs (vocation), and what I’m paid for (vocation). It may not be clear to me yet, but eventually, I will be able to connect the dots and find my ikigai. Maybe this yearning to write is leading me to find it?

ikigai

There! It’s amazing that I was able to identify 10 reasons, which is actually many. Every time I need a motivation to write, I’ll read this. Every time I’ll question the outcome of this, I’ll read this. And every time things are not falling into place, I’ll read this. Because in everything we do, it all boils down to the reason/s why we are doing it in the first place.

 

LET’S EXCHANGE THOUGHTS: Do you share the same WHYs? Or do you have other reason/s why you write/blog?

Advertisements

WANDERING BOOKS | Let our Minds and the Books Wander

Cheers! It took me while but here goes a personal project which is my modest way of sharing my late-bloomed love for books and words.

THE “AHA” MOMENT

wb-logo

This is my WANDERING BOOKS! It is an idea that randomly came while staring at my modest shelf with just less than 50 books. I know it’s just a few for the bookworms out there, but hey, it is already a huge number for a minimalist like me. I love seeing packed but organized bookshelves but I don’t want to own one. Ironically, I feel sad at the same time to see the books just sitting there, collecting dust for a long time without people reading it or even touching it. For me, there’s a better way of owning them and sharing them afterwards.

While staring at my humble bookshelf, I remembered the book I read entitled The Wander Society by Keri Smith. It was a gift from Kiddo who immediately purchased it upon seeing it in the store thinking that I will like it because of my love for travelling, reading and ruminating. It’s a funny coincidence that I once named my instagram account as “wanderronnie.” The book, as the title implicates, is about the concept and practice of wandering, and an introduction to a group who are advocates of it.

wandering-books-1

My Humble Bookshelf

This is an excerpt from the book:

“Wandering. It is defined as the act of unplanned aimless walking/exploring/ambling with a complete openness to the unknown.

 Wandering is not about a specific place or destination, getting from one place to another, or movement as a means to an end. Instead, it’s about letting the soul and mind roam.”

wandering-books

The Wander Society by Keri Smith

THE WHYs

wandering-books-3

> This is my way of sharing what I have to the world. I know I can just donate the books to communities or libraries but I know there is a better way. Books have changed me in so many different ways. It widened my understanding and perspectives of things. One of my favorite books, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, pushed me to make my ideas happen because, “He who has the WHY can bear with almost any HOW.”  I chose the book as the first one to wander because of its significance to me as I’m on that quest for my WHY now. Maybe this project will be one of them.

> I love the books that I want it to spread its stories and its messages to other people. After reading the books, I always see to it that I’ll ruminate on what it is teaching me, on what it is communicating to me. And from those key takeaways, I make myself accountable to incorporate them in my life through my beliefs and actions. I learned the habit of Thinking Win-Win from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey.  As much as I can possibly can, I always make sure that in every decision that I’ll make, it will be a win-win for all parties involved.

> I’m curious. As a traveler, I’m curious on where the books can possibly wander to, on who are the people who will it come to and what stories or thoughts they will share, and on the possibility of getting it back after its wandering. Will it be returned to me after 10 borrowers? How long it take for me to get it back? I’m ecstatic to know the answers.

HOW IT IS AND HOW WILL IT BE

Written on the library card are the steps to complete each book’s wandering.

READ > WRITE > WANDER > SHARE > (RETURN)

  • READ. “The right books come into your life at the right moment when you are ready to read them.

I know you’ll agree with me on this. We may not know why it came to you at first but you’ll know the answer after reading the book until its last page.

  • WRITE. “Your written thoughts will be its art. ”

When reading, I write my thoughts in the book. It can be a note, an agreement, an idea or whatever I feel at that time while reading it. Highlights, writings and sometimes, doodles in it are beautiful arts for me. It is a way of getting involved in the writer’s thoughts, of communicating how it is impacting you. Go ahead; write on it on whatever way you want.

  • WANDER. “Let your soul and mind roam. Ruminate on the messages it is communicating to you.”

Decipher why it came to you in the first place. Books teach us life lessons which we may never hear from people, which we may not experience yet. I love those books which make me lay it down for a while and let me enter into my state of dreaming of possibilities and questioning the status quo. As what Keri Smith wrote, “To wander is to enter into a space of existing solely in the present moment. To wander is to access your true self.”

  • SHARE. “Books are not meant to live in just one shelf just as people also don’t. Gift it to a friend or a stranger or in any creative way you want. Continuously give life to it because they deserve it.”

Yes, totally. I believe that books shouldn’t be kept in the shelf for so long. It shouldn’t be read only by one person in its whole existence. Its stories should be shared to the world. You can leave it somewhere you know where someone will find it and pick it up. You could exchange books with someone. You could give it randomly to a stranger or to a traveler. However you want it to be shared, go ahead. The books will thank you for it.

  • RETURN. “If you are its last borrower, please RETURN it to its home.”

Now, this will answer all those curiosities. Find the contact details among the pages and get in touch with the owner of the book. If possible, I can meet you. I would love to know how you got the book, and personally discuss about it. If not, mailing it is feasible. I’m sure it will be blissful reunion with it. I’d like to hear its stories.

wandering-books-1

Initially, I wanted to start this project with just me sharing the books. I planned a one-year personal experiment to see if the books will really return. However, I would like people to start the cycle also because of two reasons-

One. I think it would be a slow progress for me in terms of the number of books which will be shared. I want to start from scratch. I wouldn’t immediately share my read books because I want to reread them again before including them in the project. This will take time, I know.

Two. It would be interesting to know if there are generous booklovers who will appreciate the project. Of course, a collective effort is always better. The more sharers, the more books will wander.

wandering-books-3

LOOKING FORWARD

So, are you interested to get a library card? Would you also like to start sharing your books also? Leave me a message and I would like to give you one for free. This will be limited to the first 50 library cards. Let’s both share the goals of the project and patiently wait for the time the books will be returned to us. Will it be?

I’m really thrilled on sharing this project. This is me discreetly participating in life and trying to be part of something greater than myself. Do something that scares you every day, right?

wandering-books-4

[To share with you the next phase for this project, I’m considering to sell the library cards where the proceeds will be used to buy children’s books or school books which will be donated to communities that need it most. This will promote our love for reading that we have. This is just a plan for now but I would like to make it happen. So much sharing and I’m excited for this! ]

LET’S EXCHANGE THOUGHTS: How do you like the project? Would you like to participate and share books to the world? What would be the book that you would want everyone to read?

 

I’m Glad I Stayed Longer This Time, Maranat

My friend and I was watching the dancing lightnings behind a cluster of clouds on our first evening in the mountain. “It’s beautiful,” we both said. The feeling was surreal for me seeing it first-hand.

It was just one of the highlights of my recent climb, or I prefer “stay” in Mount Maranat. We had the prime spot all by ourselves. This spot where we have an open 360 degree of what’s around us and the front view having the mountains, sky, clouds, moon and stars. Just like where we wanted to be.

Jpeg

Mt Maranat Prime Spot

We had a weekend trip here a couple of months ago, but as the trip was not ending yet that time, I planned to go back but with some changes in plans, itinerary and other things. It seemed like I said “Hello” then suddenly, “Goodbye” to her. It was a short meeting and staying. I guess I was yearning for a more local experience when going to different places, either climbing or travelling. I don’t want to just go there then immediate leaving after for the sake of checking it on my wishlist. I’ve realized this after a number of climbs and travels and I would like to acknowledge it as a good change in preference.

We had a weekend trip here a couple of months ago, but as the trip was not ending yet that time, I planned to go back but with some changes in plans, itinerary and other things. It seemed like I said “Hello” then suddenly, “Goodbye” to her. It was a short meeting and staying. I guess I am now yearning for a more local experience when going to different places, either climbing or travelling. I don’t want to just go there then immediate leaving after for the sake of checking it on my wishlist. I’ve realized this after a number of climbs and travels and I would like to acknowledge it as a good change in preference.

QUICK FACTS 

Mount Maranat is located in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Some says it is Rodriguez, Rizal, but Tatay Nestor claimed it’s Norzagaray so I’ll stick with him. The confusion may be because the range of the mountain lies between the provinces of (Norzagaray) Bulacan and (Rodriguez) Rizal.

It’s just almost 2 hours from Manila by commute so it’s near and possible for a day hike or weekend hike.  It has an estimated elevation of up to 840 meters above sea level and is a part of the Sierra Madre mountain range with neighboring mountains which are Mount Oriod, which is the highest peak of Rodriguez Rizal, and Mount Balagbag.

THE EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

Why I was glad to have stayed longer? Why I was happy I climbed it again?

>> Felt wholeheartedly welcomed by Tatay Nestor’s being a Tatay (Father) to us. Tatay Nestor is the humble owner of the campsite.  The place has a house where most would gather especially when Tatay is there, a sleeping place and a kitchen which can be used by the campers so it is easier to prepare and cook meals, but it has to be done responsibly by following the rules posted in one of the structures in the place.

Jpeg

Mt Maranat Plant books

I asked if I could borrow a hammock so I could stay in the prime spot with my friend, and he lent me one plus a linen and jacket because he knew it will be so cold at dawn. He set up a tarpaulin cover at our place so that we will not be awakened by the sun in the morning. He would wait for us to finish preparing our food so we can join the group, and share our meals and theirs together. And I can add more acts of kindness from Tatay but I would like you to experience it yourself when you go there. I hope I would meet more of him in my next climbs, but from my perspective, you have to be willing to give before you expect to receive. It has to be balanced and a two-way kind of relationship.

>> Woke up and slept with a beautiful view of the mountain and sky, and sounds of nature. I am always looking forward to waking up to nature during climbs. It always feels surreal and different from waking up in the city where you could hardly get to see greeneries, except when you purposely go to parks. We had the view to ourselves on the first two days that we are so “kilig” for those moments that we sometimes wiggle because of happiness. The feeling was just amazing because we are in our happy place!  And all I could say to nature is, “Thank you,” and nothing else.

JpegJpeg

Mt Maranat Moon

Our nights were spent watching the stars and appreciating the beauty of the moon which we could see on a closer view through Tatay’s telescope. We also watched the movement of the lights from night trekkers, checking if they’re still on the right trail or not.

>> Learnt new things and shortly experienced how the locals spend their time. We met Jun, Tatay’s son, and Aries, a frequent climber and a “Kapatid,” which is their term for mountaineers who are already ‘adopted’ sons and daughters to Tatay Nestor. Our free times were spent doing what the locals sometimes do. We harvested fruits like avocado, santol and mango. We collected wildlings of Mayapis tree which would be used for the tree planting. We were not able to participate in it on our last day because we already need to climb down. Did some bouldering which excites my sweat glands due to difficulty and fear. (I have fear of heights.)

Mt Maranat Harvest

Mt Maranat Planting

Jpeg

Mt  Maranat Tuko

Mt Maranat Mayapis

>> Fulfilled our 3-day-clean-diet goal. When my friend and I were planning our meals for the climb, she blurted out an idea of having a clean diet which means avoiding meats and processed foods during the entire climb. We both agreed to the idea and we accomplished it. Yey! We both didn’t have a hard time doing it, except during the process of carrying the weight of the mangoes, avocado, and banana during the climb. It was heavier than what we thought of compared to just bringing canned goods as our food. When we told Tatay about it, he just laughed at us because we can also find those heavy fruits in his land. We actually didn’t need to spend and carry them up because we can just pick it up on the ground or climb to the trees if we want them. Next time!

Jpeg

 

One thing I realized after trying out this goal was the benefit of carrying back less trash when going home because we can just throw them anywhere since it’s biodegradable which will eventually serve as fertilizers to the plants. Maybe it can be my practice in my next climbs. Healthy diet, less trash contribution, and biodegradable wastes that will serve as nutrients to soil microorganisms. So much win-wins!

>> It was a dolce-far-niente (“the sweetness of doing nothing) moment for both of us.  We need not to hurry, to follow someone’s itinerary and schedule, to be told what we need to next and when to do it. We enjoyed the time on ourselves. My friend will do things on her own, and I will do mine. She spent time alone in the falls, while I spent my time reading in the hammock. We both had our own worlds and we respected that. It was the one of the best climbs I had, and I loved it.

Mt Maranat Hammock

“I will do this again. I could and would stay here for a month once I can,” I whispered to myself when we’re packing our things to climb down and go home.

IF YOU WANT TO CLIMB MARANAT,

  • Go as early as you can to lessen the time to be under the heat of the sun. Allot at least an hour schedule of waiting for the jeepney from Tungko to Licao-Licao. If you’ll stay overnight, you could possibly get the prime spot in the campsite.
  • No need to bring snacks from the city. You could buy affordable homemade meriendas (Php 5-20) from Nanay Julma where you can rest and eat on the first part of the trail. It is your way also of helping the locals during your climb.
  • Prepare to get wet because you will be. Aside from the need to cross the river to get to the campsite, the falls is so inviting that you cannot resist but to plunge in it. You’ll not be there just to climb because you’ll be rewarded with refreshing streams of water after.
  • Bring a jacket or blanket. It can be freezing cold at night.
  • Save yourself some weight by not bringing too much water. The water from Nanay Julma’s store and Tatay Nestor is potable for drinking, except if you’re guts are too sensitive for it.
  • Climb with a purpose. Contribute to the tree planting project of Tatay Nestor and some locals. Bring some seedling bags or seeds of trees that they can plant.

Mt Maranat Falls

Mt Maranat Pasalubongs

OUTRO

If there is slow travelling, I will call this an experience of slow climbing. Ideally, I would always want slow, both in travelling and climbing. From the everyday fast-paced activities, we need to slow down sometimes, right? I prefer not doing the ordinaries of everyday when doing things which I love. And when I did it in Mount Maranat, it has given a new perspective in climbing which I would like to set for the next ones. Slow, intimate and purposeful.

Mt Maranat Climbers

Mt Maranat Chase These Kids

LET’S EXCHANGE THOUGHTS: Have you had any similar experience/s? Would you prefer stay for a while or hike the mountain/s in a day?

 

UP Los Baños: Travelling Within

“And it’s always you i run home to

Won’t you take me back,

Take me home away from here

Back to where

I am free

I am free”

-Los Banos by Sugarfree

bridge

There’s no better way to start our first post by sharing one of our firsts.

A number of years ago, Kiddo and I had our first trip together in a place where I can get to share my stories during my college days. I toured him around UP Los Banos (also known as “Elbi”), Laguna. This is one of the campuses of University of the Philippines, as a state university of the country. I am a proud Iska!

Living in the campus for four years (sometimes even summer), I learnt ups and downs of being independent. And I loved it! I guess I was up to the challenge of living freely and I was curious enough on how I could live away from the comfort of my family in the province.

From the time of our first visit, we already visited the campus again for another four visits. What keep us coming back are the greens, the foods, and the nostalgia of my laidback lifestyle during my college days. Let me share a rundown of our experiences.

SEE AND APPRECIATE378390_2474490616805_1096261389_n

The best way to explore Elbi is to walk. Yes, walk! Don’t worry, as long as you don’t do it at noon time, you’ll be fine. The trees got you covered. So, what are the ‘tourist’ spots here? What are the instagram-worth places?

The Oblation. This is the concrete statue by Filipino artist Guillermo E. Tolentino which serves as the iconic symbol of the University of the Philippines. It depicts a man facing upward with arms outstretched, symbolizing selfless offering of oneself to his country. This is also the paradigm which was and should be instilled in the minds of every Isko and Iska. These are the terms for the students of the university as Iskolar  (Scholars) of the country. A visit to the campus would not miss a stop in here.

387568_2474488896762_1078948319_n

(Trivia: There is a story that a student should never have his picture taken with Oble before his graduation because there’s a saying that he will not graduate if he did. But it wasn’t true, my dear students. I challenged the story and I graduated on time. I should’ve taken pictures of me every year to see my physical evolution as a student. LOL!)

384639_2474486056691_1892884392_n

The Belen. This centerpiece is a seasonal sight, which is an annual presentation of the Holy Family. I remember how it feels to have obligatory photo shoots during Christmas seasons. This work of art is located at the Carabao just after entering the campus front gate. The raw materials in creating the life-sized figures change every year. The year we visited, they used the woods of the trees which were “destroyed” during typhoon Ondoy.

260364_1957552853684_1699816_n

Old Colleges’Landmark. If you would like to see how university buildings in past looks like, you can definitely achieve it here. It’s better to visit during weekdays of the school year to be able to actually see the insides and experience how classes are going on in the campus. Since this is a state college, I admit that we cannot actually boast state-of-the-art facilities.

 Insider’s Tip: If you would like to really experience being a student in a class, you could actually sit-in. Just ask a friend if he could invite you. It would be easy, especially in big lecture halls where students are more than 50. I tried it before and the professor will notice it and they’re not strict about sit-ins. But of course, don’t sit-in during exams! Or you’ll most probably be stressed out!

387509_2474498016990_1430319114_n

Greens and Trees. This is what I appreciate most in living within the campus. It is surrounded by trees, so you’ll always inhale fresh air. Walking around the campus was my main means of transportation from point A to point B, except when it was raining and I was running late for my class. Take your pick from the scenery you would like to see- the wide open spaces of the athletic field and the Freedom Park at the lower campus, or the magnificence of the towering trees at the forestry or upper campus. If you’re a naturalistic person, you’ll love it.

DO AND ENJOY

What are the experiences that you can make memories from? More than sight-seeing, I’m sure all of us would like to be able to ‘participate’ in locals’ way of living. (In this case, students’.)

Walk around the campus. I’ll mention it again. Best way to explore is to walk. But in case you’re too tired to do it, there are jeepneys around the campus for just a minimum fare. You can do walking for just a number of hours for the lower campus. Just bring an umbrella in case the heat us unbearable. I heard that biking is becoming popular already in the campus, maybe you could tried it also. If you still have the energy, you could hike up to upper campus. Walk, rest, and be observer of events which can be currently happening. In our case of Kiddo, we stumbled upon a triathlon event for kids. Since it’s my first to witness it inside the campus, we stayed and watched the competition for a while. We saw how the kids competed against each other and we’re amazed with the fitness level of the kids. (Being a tri-athlete is one of my future goals someday.)
383164_2474486976714_925220012_n

Attend Art Exhibits. During one of our visits, we stumbled upon an art exhibit in the Student Union Building. I forgot the title but I was glad to see that there are already some showcases like that in the campus because I’ve never encountered one before. Or maybe because I was never involved in arts before I met Kiddo.

380443_2474494456901_405160922_n387314_2474492496852_115907875_n

Have your “Me” Time at the corners around the campus. If you appreciate “me” times which is just spending the time with yourself, do it. You could just sit on one of the benches around the campus or on the grasses of the parks, like in the Freedom Park, and do people-watching. You could also just lay out your picnic things and have one. I remember Kiddo brought sandwiches for both of us that we ate and enjoyed in the park. In that instant, we just had our picnic! It is cheap, but without compromising the experience.

Insider’s Tip: If you cannot feel the aloneness in the parks, you can walk up the University Library but don’t enter it. Just find your corner on the sides of the building. It’s very isolated but you’re still surrounded by the greens. I had my corner there when I needed my “me” time. Can you relate to the happiness, fellow introverts? Haha. Don’t judge, friends.

Attend the UP Feb Fair. This is the annual “fiesta” of the university celebrated on the days surrounding February 14. This is held in the vast open field of the campus, specifically in the Freedom Park. I can write a whole article about this but I’ll contain myself for this post. You can see and experience different things here- musical acts from popular bands, indie bands, solo artists; concerts from colleges and organizations; a pageant showcasing the beautiful ladies from different organizations and sororities; car shows; college and organizations booths, and the most tummy-filling part, the fair offers assorted ranges of food for all foodies.
381101_2474489216770_1433858530_n

Insider’s Tip: If you’re thinking of a sweet surprise to your partner, our choir, UPLB Lisieux Music Ministry, offers serenading services during this season. You can find their booth within the field. I joined this for two years and it’s a great experience to be an instrument to express someone’s love to his/her partner.

EAT AND BE FULL

There are so many choices of dining places inside and around the campus but I’ll only include the bests that we’ve been to together.

Cafe Maquiling. This is a good place for just chilling out and for a good coffee. However, upon searching for it at the time of writing, it was replaced by Chelsea. It is located on the second floor so you get a street view and may get noisy on rush hour traffic. The menu were a bit pricy for a student but can be affordable for the working class.

Bonito’s. I admit that I seldom eat here when I was still studying, maybe twice or thrice only. Because it’s pricey! I can now understand why there are always many  diners in the restaurant. Their dishes were really worth the price because they’re all delicious. I remember we tried a meat dish there but ot the specific name of the dish. You can just try what you want based on the menu. Surprise yourselves!

Papu’s Siomai. This is one of my cheap eats favourites when I was a student, because it’s way too affoooordable! Like a P22.00 dish with 3 pieces of siomai and 1 cup of rice. They say you have an incomplete student life if you haven’t tried it and I agree. It tastes average, it’s cheap but I can say it’s clean. I’ve never read or heard news of food poisoning or the likes from them.

vat

Vat Cave. This is a carinderia outside the campus where diners’ favourite is the LechonKawali. It was given such name because it was big and resembles the Batman’s Cave, in an exaggerated description. It was just a story but I think it isn’t. It is house converted to a restaurant. Maybe because it can be dark sometimes, I’m not sure. Anyway, if you’ll dine here, I definitely recommend their Lechon Kawali. It’s the common dish but in here, I think it was just perfectly cooked and it gives that homey feeling that the student misses back home. Kiddo really loved it here
and we left the place complaining because of the fullness from all the dishes we ate. Haha

392057_2474491536828_1180186818_nDTRI or PCC-UPLB Milk (pronounced as “di- tree”). Dairy Training Research Institute (DTRI) and Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) are two big names in the Philippine Dairy Industry and they’re both located in UPLB. Their carabao’s milk is a refreshing and healthy break from all the carbonated drinks that can easily be both in stores. You can have is as fresh milk or the chocolate milk which we prefer more. In DTRI. They also offer yogurt, cheese and other milk products. Every time Kiddo and I visit UPLB, this is a must-stop and he always buy bottles for his family who also loves it.

IC’s Bar and Cafe. This bar is one of the ‘institutions’ for the students. There’s no other nocturnal nook that embodies the LB culture than this place. Go here for the drinks and feels. I haven’t tried the food actually, but I heard their Quarter Pounder is good. I remember there was a period when I used to party there every Thursday nights. Oh, teenage days! But it was only during the period when I knew that I’m already graduating. Just to enjoy the last days of college life. You’ll never miss the playing of the “Elbi Nights” of Hemp Republic.

Insider’s Tip: Make sure it’s okay for you to really smell like a smoke when you leave the place. I think their exhaust is not good enough so we always ended up hating each other’s smells after partying.

IN CLOSINGelbitower

Nostalgic, meaningful, and soulful. Going back to UPLB always brings a nostalgic feeling for me as a student who lived here for more than four years. Since my love for travel came late, I could’ve explored more my beloved university. I could’ve climbed and camped in Mount. Makiling. I could’ve explored the upper campus and its green. But I guess it wasn’t the right time for me before since I was too focused to my academics. Now, I appreciate more all of what’s within it.

More than the memories, it really can be one of the places to explore and experience. I’m sure Kiddo and I will visit Elbi again. I want to show him IRRI’s rice fields, the mudspring, the flatrocks, the Arts Center, etc. Oh, how I love my alma mater!

LET’S EXCHANGE THOUGHTS: How about your school?  Where can you travel within it? Explore!