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Love, A Choice

6 Oct

Love is a choice. 

We often believe that falling in love is all that it takes to maintain a good relationship. But maintaining a mature and loving relationship takes so much more effort than falling helplessly in love with someone.

I read an article today that made so much sense to me. This man wrote about his lost love and how he failed to choose this woman every single day. Instead, he was fixated on their differences and the “what-ifs” he had about other women out there, the freedom that he thought he was missing. With that said, instead of focusing on the good that this woman was bringing into his life and the happiness they had together, all he could mostly see was the life he could have had, without her.

He further shared that love is a choice and to be exact – love is a choice you make every single day. When I read this line, it brought me back to the first date I had with the guy I’m with.

Of course at that point of the relationship, we were seeing everything through rose-colored glasses, as is the case with every new relationship. What was odd about that first date was as we were so giddy and all over each other, this man in a shiny shimmery blazer who we had casually met as we were seated next to each other, said “Don’t give up on each other.” We looked at him as he said, “In relationships, there will be things you won’t like about each other, people give up too quickly nowadays and I see how connected you two are, don’t give up on that quickly and see beyond your differences.”

It was quite unusual to get that piece of advice on the first date, but three months into the relationship, this piece of advice is proving to be quite helpful.

Finding someone you like and you’re connected to can be easy these days, but keeping that connection alive is what proves to be challenging. Sometimes people these days forget the hard work that needs to be put into relationships, due to how easy it is to find yourselves in one. With how online dating is now, finding a person to love is as easy as swiping to the right.

I end this day with a reminder, thanks to that article and thanks to that serendipitous moment with the shiny shimmery dressed man three months ago.

See the good in the person you’re with, the good traits, the irresistible smile you had first noticed about him/her, how beautiful/handsome he or she is, how he/she looks at you. See how he/she makes you laugh. See how he/she is able to be the person in your life that you can constantly talk to and be honest with. See how he/she is able to bring out the best in you, or the bliss in your day-to-day routine, how every day seems a little different, a little more pleasant with him or her around. See that, instead of looking for the answers for the what-ifs and instead of magnifying the differences, you can focus on the good.

Know how you can make a difference in his/her life. Know how you can make him/her happy. Know how you can make his/her life better. Know how you can be the person he/she can talk to and be honest with. Know how you can be the person he/she adores, by always trying to be the best you can be individually. Know how you can bring more good into his/her life, rather than complications. Know how you can make his/her heart feel secure and cared for. Know how to show him/her how much he/she means to you every day.

At the end of the day, the writer of that article is right and the man I met three months ago does have a valid point. Love is a choice you make every single day, yes.

So each day you wake up, ask yourself that question and whatever your answer may be, know it and live it. 

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My Artwork: Grief

5 May

 
 I finally found time to draw/paint this morning. As I was thinking of faces I could quickly sketch, one face stood. On May 3, I saw a picture on FB taken by my HS schoolmate of a man grief-stricken due to the earthquake that happened in Nepal. In one picture, I could see all the pain and loss and it broke my heart.

And on that day, I promised that I’d paint him one day. 

On April 25, the most powerful disaster that struck Nepal since the 1934 earthquake, took away 7000 lives and injured more than twice as many.

Let’s not forget to keep them in our thoughts and do all that we can do to #HelpNepal. 


What we do to help, no matter how small of an act we think it is, matters.

I’m giving this artwork of mine the name that my HS schoolmate Christopher Luke Hipona named his picture, Grief.

Charcoal and Acrylic

-Jcaf, 5/5/15

Travel Finds JCAF Bags: Thank You!

19 Apr

I’ve been getting messages about how my friends have stumbled upon our JCAF ladies in #Intramuros. 

Can’t say it enough, years ago I would never have imagined that I would be able to share my art, my passion, in this way.

Jayme (@travelfindsshop) and I had one goal: to share our love for both traveling and art with all of you. 

2 years, 4 collections.

Thank you for the continuous support and love you show for this passion project of ours. Let’s continue to support our local workforce (yes, these bags are handsewn in Cainta) and more importantly, let’s continue to spread the love for the art. 

A big thank you once again to all those who have been posting their adventures with our #TravelFindsJcafbags. I am eternally moved!

  

Blog: A Letter

9 Apr

 To the next guy who tries to win my jaded heart over,

 

If there’s one thing I am certain of, it is that aside my severe case of Katsaridaphobia and mild case of Acrophobia, I have recently come to realize that I am slightly fearful of feeling the need for another human being, of missing someone, simply-put, I am, my friends, fearful of falling in love.

 

Philophobia. Yes, apparently the fear of falling in love has a name. Of course, you must understand, this is obviously self-diagnosed in my case. The obvious disturbance of the normal circumstances of my life has suddenly left me to conclude that I may, indeed, have this. This pretty much explains the rollercoaster ride of emotions I go through whenever the walls of my heart are knocked down by a charming and persistent fellow.

 

But then again, I guess, after some time, most of us end up feeling this way. I look back and remember the 17-year old me who fell in love for the first time, and this older 2014-2015 version of me is greatly different from her, the innocent hopeful 17-year old. She is but a distant memory, a ghost from the past, haunting my memories here and there. She loved being in love. She loved the butterflies. And man, oh man, she was far braver than the woman I am now when it comes to love.

 

So what has changed? Or I guess the more appropriate question is, why do I now feel differently about love?

 

Simple, it’s quite easy to see from any perspective. When you get your heart broken several times, you end up building your very own protective armor. This armor is masked as  “well I don’t need love,” “well I don’t need anyone,” “well I’m okay,” “well I’m not that into it anyway.” In a nutshell, getting your heart broken can often make you extra cautious of those that try to get to know your heart again, as you are aware of the fact that it has been broken and, yes, it could be broken again, quite easily in fact.

 

The first thing you should ever bear in mind is this: All that is not true. Secretly, I do miss the feeling of falling in love. I do long to be needed and to need someone. And sometimes, yes sometimes, I do get tired of always having to do everything on my own.

 

Secondly, it will be seemingly hard to break down the wall I’ve carefully built around my heart through the years. I’m going to wait for you to text first, at all times, especially in the beginning. I’ve seen it one too many times. I fall for a guy, only to realize he was not as into me as I thought he was. So forgive my careful heart for taking its sweet time to see if you really know what you want, and if it really is me. I’ve grown mature enough to understand that I no longer have room for fillers, no in-betweens, no I “kinda” like her kind of deal. Either you do, or you don’t. And, my dear, I am persistent in training my heart to know the difference between a man who KNOWS he wants you and a man who simply is there to go with the flow, or just because. I’m not a maven at it yet, but I do, thankfully, pay attention to the red flags at this point of my life.

 

Know this though, once I know my heart is secure with you, if that should ever be my conclusion, you will see how I’ve always wanted to fall in love with you in the first place. You will see me carefully letting my guard down, and opening up to you. I will slowly inject I miss yous in our conversations, the I-kind-of-want-to-see-you clues, and I will slowly let you know that I do like having you around in my life.

 

Lastly, please know that despite my self-declared fear of love, I am looking forward to the day that I meet someone who calms my fearful heart down. Someone who can let me know it’s okay to let myself go, and fall, fall hard, and love completely.

 

 

Love,

J


  

 

 

Painting and Poem: Chaos

16 Jan

I felt him sneak into my life, like sunlight slowly invading the room on early mornings. But the sunset came, just like any other day…and the sun, and him, were gone before I knew it.

Chaos – Poem and Painting by Jcaf

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Shoot w GridFrame Photography: Chasing Sunsets

10 Jan

“It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream.”

– Bern Williams

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Dream, dream away lil girl…

Photos taken by Ernest Castro of GridFrame Photography
HMUA: Regine Nailga

Top from: Romwe (www.romwe.com)
Shorts: Cotton On
Shoes: Call It Spring

Wanderlust: Phuket, Thailand!

21 Dec

Where do I even begin?

I have about roughly 1000 pictures from this trip, a few videos, wonderful memories, soulful new friends, and battle scars to document out of this 7-day trip of mine.

My traveler friends always find it slightly shocking when I say that this has been the longest trip I’ve ever taken this year. Out of the four out-of-the-country trips I’ve taken in 2014, this is indeed the longest. Most of the time, I escape only on weekends. And, sometimes, when I’m lucky, I get to add another day and have three days all in all. Status quo for my trips is always fly out on a Saturday, come back on a Monday.

So why did I go for it? I celebrated my birthday last month, and despite knowing how busy my December will be, I decided to give myself the gift of time and disappearing in a place I’ve never been to before.

I’ve gone to Thailand twice, but never to Phuket. The first time was in Pattaya and the second, in Bangkok.

I have to say, out of my three Thailand trips, this side is my favorite. I have, however, yet to see Chiang Mai. This place I surely must visit for the lantern festival in the near future.

Anyway, back to my Phuket trip.

I went barely with a plan in mind. I had two thoughts, get to Patong, then head to Ko Phi Phi.

This is the route I ended up taking:
Phuket town –> Patong (Barely a day) –> Ko Phi Phi (3 days) –> Railay (1 day) –> Kata Beach (2 days)

This is what it visually was like for this route:

Stop 1:
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Stop 2:

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Stop 3:

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Stop 4:

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There are other islands that I hear are good that I could have visited like Ko Lanta and Ko tao that would have been nice stops, but I guess it only means I have to head back.

The only way I can probably talk about this trip of mine is to talk about each place, each stop, and all that I enjoyed (and didn’t enjoy) doing while I was there.

Let’s start with the infamous… PATONG!

Even before I flew to Thailand, one of my friends had already warned me. Don’t go to Patong! “It’s a red light district,” he said.

Considering I got to Phuket at about 10ish, I was in a rush to choose a place to head to and Patong seemed to have a good hostel there so I ended up choosing that as my first stop.

From the Patong airport, you can take a cab which is about 700-900 Baht. I opted for the mini-van, because it’s only for 150 Baht.

Although, the first indecent proposal I got there was at the airport where you are tasked to book the van ride. “You come with me, and ride free…”

Uhmm tempting (…not), but no thanks.

The van ride is about an hour and maybe 30 minutes or less. I remember getting to the place, Bodega hostel, at about midnight.

The only thing I could pretty much do aftet that, according to the nice receptionist, was head to Bangla Road. You see, I never knew what Bangla Road was prior to my field trip there. I had asked the receptionist where I could get street Pad Thai and he quickly said “Bangla Road.”

Excited for my street pad thai, I freshened up, left my bags, and headed to the streets.

I stopped at a pharmacy and asked where Bangla Road is and one guy who was buying medicine as well chuckled and said “You won’t miss it…it’s the noisiest part of this area.”

And he was absolutely right. Bangla Road was just about 5-10 minutes away from where I was staying. One thing that surprised me, though, was how it transported me back to my shocking trip to Pattaya.

“Ahh, so this is what my friend meant,” I thought to myself.

I felt rather uncomfortable walking around, so I quickly found my spot, which is highly disappointing for my first meal during this trip, but I ended up in Mcdonalds, ordering what I normally get, Mcchicken and fries.

I cannot be blamed, though, as a female lonesome traveler, all I wanted to do was eat and be gone!

And that I did.

Below are some pics of my hostel in Patong and Bangla Road:

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Recommendations for those who plan to stay in Patong:
– If you’re the type who likes hostels, I give Bodega 3.5 stars out of 5. I like that it’s artsy and the beds are comfortable (except for the pillows), the lockers in the room, and most of all the really helpful and nice receptionist.
– From the airport, if you take a mini-van, they will take you to a tour company. Please do not avail of the trips there unless you know it’s the cheapest. I got talked into buying a van+boat ride to Phi-Phi deal for 500 Baht. Had I read Bodega’s thank-you-reserving-a-room-email, I would have known I could have gotten it for only 350 Baht. Oh well, lesson learned.;)
– Go eat at No. 6 Restaurant. That’s probably the only place I got to eat at because I had to leave for Phi-Phi. How did I find out about it? I asked one of the guards in one of the streets in Patong, and he said that was one of the best. They were good, yes, but I still heartily missed the street food in Khao San Road in Bangkok.
– Go see the beach! I certainly wasn’t able to go.

Next stop… Ko Phi Phi!

Oh beautiful Ko Phi Phi. It wasn’t much of a hassle to go there. For 550 Baht, I was able to get a van ride and boat trip to the island.

I didn’t know what to expect, all I knew was everybody, and I mean everybody, told me to make sure I won’t leave Phuket without a trip to Phi Phi.

As an obedient girl (hah!), I did exactly that and boy am I glad that I did! The minute we caught a glimpse of the island, everybody was obviously in awe of the place. Picturesque. The beach. The longboats. Everything
was just so lovely!

Here are a few pics of Phi Phi:

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Things to do in Ko Phi Phi:

1. Go on tours! I went for the Ibex Tour which outlined about 4 stops, including Maya Bay. I only got to enjoy about 2 since I got myself into a bit of a predicament after cliff diving. Despite this, I absolutely enjoyed the experience! Well, admittedly, it could’ve been better without my injured eye and back.:p

Below are some pictures to show you how beautiful this tour was for me (and the whole group):

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2. The only other thing to go for aside from going to the other islands or on tours is to check the night life and the restaurants or food stalls there.

The best bar I got to go to there was Banana Bar. Rooftop. Big screens. Music Videos. Good drinks (Loved their Hawaiian Margarita). Great vibe!

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Other party places are lined up mostly by the beach. Stones. Blancos. Ibiza. And the list goes on.

You’ll see electrical rodeo bulls there. Fire dancing. Fire limbo rock. Buckets for drinks.

If that’s what you are after, Ko Phi Phi is the right place for you.

Here are some pics of my first night there:

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3. Food. For those who’ve read my other travel blogs, you’d know I’m not a big eater. I did, however, enjoy some of my favorite Thai dishes while I was there. My favorite spot is but a stall on the way to the beach called Ko Phi Phi Fast Food.

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Other places to try are Grand PP Arcade and Capu Latte.

Aside from those two, I must say it’s quite easy to find an eating spot. There several food stalls and restaurants all over the place.

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4. Enjoy the beautiful beach! I stayed at Stones Hostel so it was quite easy to do this. Stepping outside was all I needed to do to enjoy the sun and beautiful view.

There are lots of options for accomodations and it really depends on what you prefer.

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Next stop: RAILAY!

Oh beautiful Railay! I moved to another island because three days in Ko Phi Phi was enough for me. I had seen and done all there was to do.

I’m so glad I chose Railay because I saw the best beach there. I spent only a day there, but, boy, was it enough!💗

Beautiful scenery. Lesser people. Quiet hideaway. Peaceful. It was a welcome change, after spending three days in Ko Phi Phi.

Here are some beautiful pictures of Railay:

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The highlight of this stop was the trip to Phra Nang Beach.

The walk to the beach itself was already amazing. The beach, even more mindblowing.

Despite carrying my backpack (with my fractured spine–an unknown fact then), I still loved every minute of it!

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Oh and when I saw the beach, I completely fell in love. I’ll let the pictures show you why:

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We stayed at Diamond Cove Resort, by the way. Beautiful and serene place:

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By the way, I paid about 350 Baht for a boat ride from Phi Phi to Railay.

After my Railay stop, I had to decide on where to go to be near Phuket for my flight back to Manila.

I didn’t want to go back to Patong and it seemed like the most logical thing to do was head to Kata.

Kata is a lil more quiet than all the other spots I went to. I would say it’s more of a family or couple destination.

I had fun though, thanks to the wonderful folks I met. I stayed at FIN Hostel. I loved how it looked; it was so vibrant and beautiful. I loved their rooftop pool and common area.

One of the highlights was seeing another lonesome lit lantern up in the sky! My newfound besties and I tried to look for one while I wasn’t there, but to no avail. The sweethearts found one on the night I left though and lit and let it fly for me!

Oh such sweet friends they are!

Anyway, here are some pics from Kata:

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Here are some pics of FIN Hostel and my newfound besties there:

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Countless beautiful islands. Wonderful beaches. Soulful new friends from all over the world. Sunsets. Swimming with planktons. Lanterns. Amazing, precious memories.

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Thank you, Phuket!

Will I ever head back? Definitely! Sans cliff diving and injuries, of course.;)