Fave spots in South Korea I’ll never get tired visiting

One of the best travels I had was when we went to South Korea. Aside from their plausible films and music, the place has a lot to offer. I listed my fave places I’ll never get tired visiting below:

Garden of Morning Calm

An aboretum located at the east of Seoul housing different species of plants. I am a fan of all kinds of flowers and plants – they calm my soul. A must include spot to your itinerary.

Rose theme garden of Seoul Grand Park

Did I just say I love flowers? Nothing much to explain why this one is on the list. Here’s the story: this place was not in our itinerary that time (originally, it was a place with tulips but we learned that the flower was not in season during that time), but I badly wanted to go to a place with lots of flowers and Google brought us here!!! One of the best unplanned place.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

I am a big fan of the TV series Jewel in the Palace that I watched it twice despite the length of the film. LOL. Therefore, this one was a must visit for me. And when I was there I realised the place was too big and one visit won’t be enough. I’ll definitely go here again and again wondering and imagining the events that happened in the place during the old time.

Gwanjang Market

I always look for a new food from a new place. The perfect place? Gwangjang Market! The market has a lot of food to choose from that one tummy is not enough. Hence, you’ll definitely plan to visit this one again. We even visited this twice to eat our favorite fried soybean.

I just hope we can all travel again to visit our favorite places. 🙂

Just do it

This is not a commercial for rubber shoes. But, if you are looking for a sign whether to create your YouTube channel or not right now, then you are in the right place. I am telling you, sign up NOW and UPLOAD the content you’ve been thinking of for days. Even science will tell you to listen to your gut. Watch the video below:

Life is too short to waste your years thinking about all the uncertainties. You are 20 right now but in a snap you will be in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60, 70s, and find yourself asking what did I do with all the time I had? Regrets usually come from the things we did not do, not on what we did.

There are moments when an idea suddenly comes and you just want to jump in but then doubt and fear will try to pull you back. Most of the time we give in to these weaknesses we all have. It’s fine to have a little hesitation, move a step backward and weigh the pros and cons. And, if you think you are not hurting anybody, then do what you want to do. Do not think of what other people might say to your decisions, besides the choices you make today will determine who you will be tomorrow. Regardless of the outcome, at the end of the day the lesson/s you learned will allow you to grow.

JUST.DO.IT.

3 reasons why you should travel

I know we are still in the middle of a pandemic but when everything becomes ok consider traveling. Here are the 3 reasons why you should start exploring different places.

1. Say hi to new people

Growing with the same people is not bad but meeting new people is during your travel is a different topic. Below is the talk of Christa Awuor about going out and meeting new people.

I am telling you, getting to know new people during your travel is life changing. New souls from new places are gifts for our well-being.

2. Open your mind

Are you thinking of someone right now with a belief way different from yours? Sometimes you disagree with them but other times you will get into thinking that person has a point. Traveling is one of the bet ways to understand life further.

As you travel you will see different people, culture, beliefs and food (my fave part) that may be way different from yours and this will open up your mind on the diversity of life. Go out and explore.

3. Learn more about yourself

A lot of times we think we know ourselves fully. But wait until you travel from places to places. In each place you go, facing challenges and opportunities is inevitable. However, they are good parts of your travel as you learn things you did not know you are capable.

As you go home safely from a place you’ll realise you learn something new about your self and you are not the same person before your travel. Allow traveling to help you grow into a better person.

HAPPY WANDERING! *wink*

Love for preloved: 13 reasons why you will also love thrift shopping

Some people may find shopping therapeutic. An escape from their daily hustle. A way to detox. But, there are moments that we are just an impulsive buyer and sometimes it could hurt your purse. One of my to-gos shopping place is a thrift shop because if ever I see a good item and impulsively buy it, the guilt is lesser since it is way cheaper than in the mall.

Here are the 13 reasons why I love buying preloved stuff (you might also consider becoming one *wink*).

  1. Saves a lot of money

The number one reason why I love thrift shopping is that you try to get what you want without breaking the bank. I found a Zara white polo which I really really love to wear because its material is linen and I got it for PhP 50! It was a steal because I think that would cost me around PhP 700 above in the store.

2. Unique pieces

Looking for a retro, modern, minimalist outfit? The thrift shop gotchu! Let’s admit it, some stuff in the mall have lots of copy you’d sometimes end up getting a seatmate with the same outfit. There are a thousand unique items you can find in any big thrift stores and it is rare that someone might also be wearing that style.

3. Excitement of finding a treasure

Going to a thrift shop is like entering a mining site to find a gold. Several racks and shelves are places you’d want to explore. You might also enjoy digging in a pile of clothes. Regardless of brand, if you found an item that sparks joy, wouldn’t you consider it a treasure worth finding for?

4. Finding luxury item at a cheaper price

Are a fan of high end brands like Burberry, LV, Prada, Dior, Chanel? Or mid brands? We all know these pretty things will definitely hurt our savings. No worries. You can still enjoy these stuff at a lower cost. Go to your favorite thrift shop! Comment down if you experienced finding an authentic high brand you really liked in a thrift shop.

5. Bargaining challenge

I know. I know. Thrift shops offer cheaper stuff. Let me tell you a hack…some of these stores will allow you to bargain or get high discounts from the original price of the item you want. Just make sure to double check for flaws before you ask the seller.

6. Lots of old stuff (for those sucker for vintage items)

I am a sucker for vintage. Old style of clothes, watch and shoes should get out of my way if I am on a budget ‘cos I won’t hesitate to add them in my cart. If you’re like me who loves anything vintage, then let’s head on to a thrift store.

7. Shop til you drop

Thrift stores are so big you’ll literally drop your energy spending a hours finding good stuff. Aside from getting tired from shopping, the low price of the items would allow you to shop more stuff than when you do your shopping in the mall. So prepare your body and wallet. LOL.

8. The story behind the item

You know at this moment that I love anything vintage and it is because getting an old thing allows my mind to wander through time. For instance, I got a fully functional vintage watch produced 30 years ago; I had been imagining the story of the watch from the time it was bought by the original owner up to the time I acquired the item. Isn’t it interesting?

9. Quality stuff

I mentioned before that you have a chance to get a high end brands in a thrift store which are usually of high quality. But aside from the high end brands, there are also thousands high quality clothing there if you know how to spot one. There are a lot of cheap brand new goods in the market but have you considered the quality of those items?

10. Rare finds

Unique and luxury items are the things you could anticipate when you are going to do thrift shopping. There are brands that produce limited number of certain items and if you are lucky enough, you might be able to find these rare treasures. You might be one of the 20 people who have that kind of piece.

11. Unleashes your creativity

Because the thrift shop is a house for a lot of preloved items, you can do mix and match with all the pieces you found. With your creativity, you could get less than 10 nice and unique stuff to create a week or two of outfits.

12. You help people

You basically help the sales people and business owners of the thrift shop. I watched a documentary about some garment and textile industries that shows how people there are being exploited just to produce cheaper goods. And choosing preloved goods could be your little way to bring a message to those exploiting people for money from that industry.

13. Favorable to the environment

Thousands of clothes goes to landfill. To produce a t-shirt you will need gallons of water. These are just some facts about the possible impacts of fast fashion. Choose sustainable fashion instead. You are expressing yourself through your clothes without compromising the environment of the future generation.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: my 10-year breast lump story (details on cost, check up, duration of surgery, etc.)

Disclaimer: I am not a registered physician. This is just my personal experience and should not take the place of medical advice.

I’d been contemplating on whether I’d post this or not for months now. My hesitations I guess come from the what ifs inside my head. But, today, I am conquering my fear and finally writing this. It is not a big thing to others but thinking that I might be able to help someone with this post is one of the factors I am putting this out.

When did I first feel the lump of my life?

My mother and aunt had also a lump history when they were younger so it is highly likely that I’d get a lump in my lifetime. I was taught by my mother the most basic way to check for a lump – feeling your right breast with your left hand and your left breast with your right hand while lying down or standing up. I have been doing this I think 3 years after I had my first period every month. One day, I felt a circular hard lump in my right breast. I double, triple, nth time checked and I even compared it with my left breast but I knew back then that it was not normal. I could not remember the exact month but it was in 2007 I think because I was in high school that time.

What did I do when I first felt an unusual lump in my breast?

To be honest, I did nothing but I was scared. I did not even tell my parents about it because our family was under financial crisis and I was thinking that I should not add another burden to our existing problem. As a teenager trying to be a silent hero in the family I just thought that I’d rather keep it and die. And I realised later on that it is okay to tell it to your family because they will understand and find ways to find a remedy to the situation.

How long did I keep it to myself?

Are you going to give me credits if I tell you that I did not keep this secret from my family for 10 years? LOL. During my freshman medical exam, one of the requirements was to get a medical examination in which a doctor will check you for lumps. Of course I could not hide it from a doctor so she told me about it and advised me to tell my parents. And guess what? I told my parents about it. Look who’s obedient here. LOL. My parents told me to get it removed ASAP. But again, wonder woman wannabe here did not do what was needed to be done. I was not scared of the pain, I was thinking it might cost a fortune. I finished my college degree with my lump still in me. So basically around 6-7 years had passed already.I just hoped that it was benign.

When did I decide to get a surgery? (cost, pre and post check-ups, surgery duration, recovery period)

My first, second and third work did not require me to get physical examination and you already know what’s next…I still did not get surgery after 3 years of working. I had thoughts of what if this and that. I do not have a million in my savings yet. Just like a typical person who is not confident with the budget on hand, I did self research about lumps. I could not find the exact cost of surgery. Every blog I read would tell me to get a check up because that’s when I’d know how much would it be. But I needed exact numbers. I heard chemotherapy and radiation cost thousands and I was sure I could not afford it.

I did more research on signs of cancerous lump (WHICH BTW I DON’T RECOMMEND. JUST GO SEEK A DOCTOR WHENEVER YOU FEEL A LUMP IN YOUR BREAST). My parents were nagging me from time to time to get the lump removed but I was stubborn because according to my self research – my lump was benign (and again do not do it. GET A DOCTOR TO PROPERLY DIAGNOSE YOU!) which I was still not sure and anxious about.

I started my graduate studies 2 years after I started working. One of the perks of studying in that university I was taking my grad studies is you get cheaper to no cost of check ups and discounted medical procedures. I was thinking to get the surgery before I finish my studies to get big discount. So a year before I graduate I finally decided to undergo surgery, however, working and studying were never easy back then because both demanded large portion of my time. Good thing, every December we would get mandatory leaves starting from a week before Christmas and we would resume work after New Year’s Eve. And as every students know, this is also Christmas break. The perfect time for my surgery.

Here’s the timeline of activities before and after surgery:

First week of December: I asked a friend who was her surgeon when she had a breast lump surgery. She referred me to her doctor. As what she had told me, the surgeon was really nice. Never did she make me feel uncomfortable nor intimidated. Her initial diagnosis was it was benign because the margin was clean but she told me to get ultrasound. The check up was around 400 pesos.

Second week of December: I got the ultrasound and even the doctor who did my ultrasound was surprised to know that I had the lump for 10 years. She second the motion what my surgeon told me. I was happy to know that. I forgot the exact amount for the ultrasound but I am sure it was less than 1000 pesos. I went back to my surgeon to give her the results. She told me that I have a choice on whether I’d remove it or not. But since I already started the process might as well finish it. I had 4 check ups and 1 ultrasound before the surgery. I was also given 2 options for the surgery: 1. Local anaesthesia: I’d be awake and only the part where the lump was located will get numbed; 2. General anaesthesia is where you are totally unconscious and unaware of the procedure. I chose the first one because it was cheaper (~5000 pesos if you have PhilHealth) instead of the second choice (~13,000 pesos with PhilHealth).

Third week of December: I was scheduled for an out-patient surgery. Guess what again? I only told my family about my surgery a day before the procedure! I was planning to do it alone because it was just an out-patient. Good thing, they did not allow me to go to the hospital all by myself because before and after surgery I needed someone to fill out forms.

During the surgery: I was conscious. There was only one nurse that assisted my doctor in the operating room. Like in the movies, you’d see the lights that looked like honeycomb or the surgical light. I changed my clothes to a hospital gown. The skin where incision was done was sterilised first followed by the injection of anaesthesia. There was initially no pain but as the cut gets deeper I got to feel pain and told the doctor. She added anaesthesia and when I had my full dose and still felt a little pain I remember that they put metal plate under my leg which I think to divert the pain. It was a fast surgery – around 2 hours. My doctor even showed my the lump she got. After closing, I changed back to my clothes, pay the bills and bought the prescribed medicine (pain reliever and antibiotic).

Recovery: The lump they got from me was brought to a biopsy lab to get checked if it was benign or cancerous. I needed to wait for a week to get the results from the lab. The doctor told me that I will be able to go back to normal 2-3 weeks after the surgery. After 2-3 weeks I was able to go back to work and I even went to the hospital to get the results of the biopsy test and thank the heavens it was benign.

Bonus advice: SEEK A DOCTOR the soonest you felt a lump in your breast. Tell someone about it.

My favorite house plant (perfect for chocolate lovers)

I have been dealing with plants for almost a decade now. Plants are my source of income. I do not have much indoor nor food plants at my house because my work is al about plants. LOL. My family has a mini backyard garden which I am not too involved. But let me share this personal favorite plant of mine – mints!

I’ve been seeing a lot of people getting into tending plants and they often choose succulents and other ornamental plants like snake plant. These plants are not only aesthetically pleasing to the eyes but they are also easy to maintain. But if you are looking for other easy to grow and cute plants to add to your collection, why not try herbs? They emit aroma that can calm your nerves.

My personal favorite is mint. I am not a sucker for mints when it comes to food but what I really like is its scent. Mints are perennial plants that emit fruity and minty aroma. For chocolate lovers out there who also appreciate the scent of mints, you might want to grow chocomint plant. If you put this plant inside your room, expect the area to smell chocolate and mint. Mint leaves are also perfect with your fruit shakes, juices and teas.

Mints are perfect choice for both beginner and pro plant growers. They are easy to grow and requires minimal care. This plant likes light soil, good drainage, moisture, little to moderate sunshine (your indoor light will do), and small amount of fertilizer (if you are planning to grow them in containers). Good news if you love putting mint leaves in your drinks because this plant will benefit from you if you prune and pick their leaves from time to time.

Want to start right away? Ask your gardening friend for a 6-inch cuttings from his/her mint collection. He/she knows that it is not much to ask because mints can propagate easily from its cuttings.

Aguirangan Island (Philippines)

I can’t remember if I have listed this in my previous posts. But today is the day I will tell you why there’s a special post about this specific island in the Philippines.

The photo was taken 7 years ago as you can see in the picture above. That island is where I first put my feet on white sand and tbh my first time going to the beach.

Remember your first will be a standard to your next. Lucky me I was able to witness a very beautiful, quiet, isolated and rich island on my first beach trip.

I am a person who likes going to peaceful places after a stressful and chaotic moments of my life. An island or beach was never on top of my destination bucket list when I was young because I was scared of the unpredictable water level, waves and wind but this one changed the game. After going to Aguirangan Island, I couldn’t get stopped from hopping from beach to beach. This first time experience allowed me appreciate the beauty of going out of your comfort zone and conquering your fear.

Aguirangan Island is located in Lagonoy Gulf, Camarines Sur. There are a lot of beaches in Camarines Sur but if you are seeking solitude and a day walking on the sand this one is perfect for you. To get here, travelled by land using a motorcycle going to Sabang Port and from there we rode a boat that brought us to the island. Overnight stay is not recommended but we stayed for a night. I remember there are no decent accommodations that time and some of our friends slept on the sand while some in an open cottage. There are also no restaurants so make sure to bring your own food.

If you are looking for a new island to explore why not enlist Aguirangan Island? An underrated small island worth exploring.

Plantita and Plantito Starter Pack

Are you one one of those people who are starting to like growing plants? Whether you want horticultural or agronomic crops, here’s what you need to get that best plantita/a award of the year lol:

  1. Willingness to learn

There are different species of our favorite snake plant. Most of them in the market are low maintenance. But not because they are low maintenance, you can treat one species the same as the other. Being a person who will commit to growing plants need to be open to failures, corrections and willing to do research on their plant.

2. Resources

I am warning you, some beautiful plants will make you burn some of your savings. Removing the expensive plants from the equation, you will still need to allocate some of your resources to your plants’ need. You might need specific rocks, fertilizers, growing media, pots, etc. Just be practical so that planting is still worth doing.

3. Place

If you will look around, plants may differ in size, some are small and others are big. Regardless of the size of your plant you will still need a place where there is easy access to plants’ basic needs like water and sunshine. And if you find yourself enjoying being a plantita/o too much, I suggest you look for a bigger garden because I bet you will easily fill your small space with greens.

4. Time

Are you a busy person before pandemic and just started growing crops since the lockdowns gave you free time? Well, you probably know that tending plants will require you to give some of your time to weed, dig, plant, apply fertilizer, and more. A little time and effort are needed but in the end, doing these things is therapeutic.

Happy farming!

How to travel even if you are broke?

Have you ever wanted to travel but thought you are broke? Traveling makes you grow. Exposing yourself to different places with different culture will broaden your perspective in life. A lot of people are still hesitant to go to their destination dream because of the cost. It is true that traveling will require you to spend money. But, you do not have to be the richest person to travel.

But what if I am broke? Can I still be able to travel? The answer is yes! You can. If you really really want to travel for free why not apply for a job that will require you to travel? I was not born rich and traveling is luxury for me. However, heaven was good enough to make me land to a job that allowed to explore the whole country. It is hitting two birds with one stone. You get to travel while also being able to pay the bills.

If your work does not involve going on trips, then you might find other ways to travel for less. There are a lot of DIYs and budget friendly itinerary to choose from. The web is a big place to look into different options of travel package on how you want to spend your limited budget. Doing thorough research before you ride that plane is a must if you want to go back home with a lot of savings from that trip.

How about those who are still searching for a job and do not have savings yet? You can still travel, pips! Use your imagination. Search for tourist spots near your area. Ask a friend to give you a ride to go there. Pack your lunch. Enjoy! Your location might be housing several gram-worthy travel destination.

Traveling is not a thing I thought I’d do but things happened. The experience is very transforming. Going to places can be a luxury but with effort, one can travel the world for less. Happy traveling!

Last-minute tips for those who will take the licensure examination for agriculturists (LEA) in the Philippines

This year’s examination for agriculturists is scheduled on November 10-12 and some of you are already prepared and confident while others reviewed but still doubtful. Here are my 3 last-minute tips:

  1. Make sure everything is in place

– have you booked a place near the examination venue? Do you have the proper white shirt required during the test? Where is your exam permit, ID, calculator, pencil, and black ballpen? These may look basic but getting these prepared well ahead of time is one less problem you need to worry during the exam.

2. Sleep

– allow your mind to rest. It is normal to panic and try to review again everything overnight but it won’t make a big difference. During the time I took the exam, I brought small reviewers of each subject with me and planned to review them the night before but I just chose to sleep and it paid well. The complete rest of my body and mind helped me relax and think critically.

3. Pray

– just like what I told you in my previous tips to pass LEA, praying helped me a lot before, during and after the exam. A few days before your exam, anxiety can arise and you may question yourself with “Will I be able to pass the exam?”. At some point you may also consider not taking the exam even if you have prepared everything. In times like this, pray that things go well.

Good luck, takers!