New York: A Day in the City of Dreams

Nakaluwagluwag this girl and went to New York. But wait! I did not pay the full price of going to New York! HOW? PM is the key. LOLjk. I was doing an internship in another state and had some days off that I used to go here. I was able to visit several places in New York City in just a day with less than $200 budget!

I am a frugal traveler not by choice but by means. LOL. In short, walang pera pero gusto magtravel. So, to make this work, first, you have to plan a day or week ahead your travel and prioritize the places you wanted to allocate your time the most. Second, wake up early (so sleep early the day before your trip). Lastly, try to make the most of your time and try to stick to your planned schedule and budget.

HERE YOU GO! I hope it will help your day tour planning in the city of dreams.

MORNING: Statue of Liberty

6am – Wake up time

6:00-6:30am – Travel time to the port going the statue of Liberty (they have ports at New Jersey or New York, so depending on where you are staying is where your starting port). I was staying in my friend’s place at New Jersey so it took us around 30 minutes to travel to the port going to Liberty Island. BOOK YOUR TICKET ONLINE (Ticket price: $32 for a round trip ticket). You can stop by Ellis Island before heading to Liberty Island.

Liberty Island

An hour or two would be enough to roam around the islands. If you decide to stop at Ellis Island, you have to allocate an hour more since you will have to wait for the next boat ride that will take you to Liberty island. Seeing the statue was surreal. ❤

10:00-10:30am – cruise time from the island to Cape Liberty Cruise Port (MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE SCHEDULE OF THE BOAT so you don’t have to wait for the next one)

10:30-11:00am – travel time to Brooklyn Bridge (by car)

AFTERNOON: Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, The National September 11 Memorial Museum

11:00-12:30pm – LUNCH TIME (you may want to look for a good restaurant and get some real food before the adventure commence again because there will be a lot of walking)

1:00pm-3:00pm – walk and take pictures at Brooklyn Bridge then get more walking and go to Manhattan Bridge and feel the cinematic view in both bridges

Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Bridge

3:00-5:00pm – MET museum (for big art fans 2 hrs won’t be enough), but for me, seeing the building is enough (ticket is $30 that you can book online). Check the museum operation hours a day before.

The MET

5:00-6:00pm – Central Park (roam around and feel the nature before getting drowned by city lights).

Central Park

6:30-7:30pm – Dinner time! Get some food because night time tour around the city will require a lot of your energy!

8:00pm-11:30pm – This will vary depending on your priority. But basically, there are must-see places that are close to each other that you can just take the train or walk. These is the order of places I went to at night: The Edge, Vessel, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Times Square, Empire State Building.

The Edge (Ticket price ranges from $33-73). This is the top of a building where you can go to the edge and see the panoramic view of the city with all the city lights that look like stars from below. The day we went there, the line was so long that it took us 1 hr to get to the deck and an hour spent looking around.

The Edge

Vessel. This is a pretty structure that won’t take much of your time. I think you can climb this (which we didn’t do). It’s pretty enough from below for me at least.

Vessel

St. Patrick’s Cathedral. For those who like neo-gothic style, you will enjoy this place. We have this thing in my home town that whenever you visit a church for the first time, you can have 1 wish. I don’t know if it will work for you but it’s free and you won’t get harmed so why not, right?

Inside the St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Times Square. Be careful by people who will sell you random stuff (even a picture with a cosplayer may cost you some money). But this is one of the popular places in New York that you may want to stop by. It won’t take much of your time. It is a place where you can walk around and admire the big screens with all the lights, flashy billboard advertisements, performance arts and more!

Times Square

Empire State Building. Lastly, sing or play the Empire State of Mind song going back home!

Growth is painful but beautiful

Have you ever thought how that soft young tissue of the plant gets out of the seed and moves out of the soil? Technically, it’s germination or the start of plant growth. We don’t hear the plants cry but the process looks painful (at least in my perspective).

Which one will you choose?

I guess growth is when you keep learning and trying new things out of your comfort zone because your gut tells you to do it but your brain is too afraid to fail. It will require you to do things you’ve never done before and it will gonna be scary at first, painful on the way and beautiful by the end.

It is scary because of all the unknowns and uncertainties.

It is painful because you have to do things that you are not used of doing, it’s like learning how to read for the first time. Be patient. Good things take time. Practice. Practice. Practice. You’ll see, with time it will get better and easier. Commitment, consistency and perseverance are the key – these keys are not easily gained especially when you stayed stagnant and idle for so long. Even all the quotable quotes by known writers won’t work especially if you keep making excuses to start the change you’ve been wanting. I know it’s difficult but try small steps each day. I, myself is still struggling on this. There are days that I cry myself to bed because it’s too painful but I know this is the right thing to do. In my last post, I am trying to break my bad habits by documenting it virtually. And, I am back to day 1 again. It’s so tough to get out of this cycle but I still believe that I can, you can, we can. It’s really painful but you have to go through it so that you can get out of your shell and be the person the universe designed you to be.

Again, I am starting my day 1. I have a lot of excuses at my mind right now why I am going back to day 1 but it’s better not to make excuses but to start again and try until you get to where you are supposed to be at. It’s a matter of training your brain, body and soul.

In the end, I hope you and me will go back to see how much progress we had done and tell ourselves that we are not the same person from yesterday – that we are way better than our past self. And, I think that’s beautiful.

#breakingbadhabits DAY1: Begin NOW

How many times have you put that you’ll wake up early to workout before heading to the office in your new year’s resolution? I bet not just once. Well I am guilty beyond reasonable doubts. LOL. So many things that I told myself that I will start and stop doing and yet so many times I failed myself. I started Duolingo because I wanted to learn a new language but I ruined my 90-day streak in just a week! I told myself that I won’t eat chocolates when I feel so stressed and yet I ended eating chocolate every single day when I started getting overwhelmed.

A lot of times I am very impatient and get frustrated that I keep going back to my bad habits especially when things become sooo difficult (that’s because your brain will seek comfort. Yes. I always look for an excuse. LOL). But then I had to remind myself to be kind to myself and give it time. One step at a time they say and that saying is absolutely true! I have to persevere and say no to things that keep me coming back to my old nasty bad habits. It’s really really tough. It is a healing process. Years of having those habits won’t change overnight and you should understand that. They say to build a habit you should do it for 21 consecutive days and never miss it twice in a row. To some people it works and to others it doesn’t. Find your own way to do it. At the end of the day, maintaining that good habit that you established is tougher than establishing it. The important thing is to start now. And if you fail yourself, start again and again and again until you get that habit that you wanted to build. Your habits will save you on the days you feel so low and unmotivated. And slowly you’ll understand why they say your habits will create who you will be in the future.

The things you used to do for years are not easy to change forever. We need consistency and perseverance. Each day you have to choose the habits that will create a positive mind, soul and body. It is easier said than done but the important thing is to begin NOW.

A lot of self help books will inspire you and make you start creating those habits. It’s good if it works for you but understand that it is not for everyone. Let’s put myself as an example. I have read tons of top whatever self help books and seen reels on social media that inspired me to grow for the better but most of the times the inspiration only lasts for a day. But I am thinking that maybe if one or two people will start this journey with me I will be more successful in establishing these habits that I’ve been wanting to create. I am putting this up hoping that there are other people that might see this and will go with me on this journey of breaking bad habits and creating good ones. Day 1 is about beginning. You can comment here or send me a message on my IG if you wanted to start yours and together we can be buddies on this.

Today, I wanted to list here the habits that I wanted to create:

  1. Wake up early to journal and meditate before starting working
  2. Read 1 journal article a day
  3. Learn a new code in R a day
  4. Write a few lines for a paper each day
  5. I won’t take a nap unless I finish my to-do list of the day
  6. Plan the next day before going to bed

I will be posting my progress everyday for 30 days here or in my IG account to see if I am having any progress. I would be happy to find someone to go on this journey virtually!

An open letter to those who got their hearts recently broken

I miss you

I should not

But I do

And it’s ok

One day I’ll wake up

Feeling so okay

Thankful to be exact

That I met that person

And got my heart broken

A life lesson I will never learn from a classroom

Soon I will tell myself that things really happen for a reason

I have to savor the pain

Acknowledge that I am hurting

Cry if I feel like crying

Trust the process

I will make it

I know it’s tough

But I’ll get there

One step at a time

Be patient with yourself

Allow time to heal you

On your own pace

And one morning everthing will gonna make sense

I will fill in that void you once occupied

And smile again

I promise

What to do if you tested positive a day before your flight? (Philippines to United States)

Do you have an incoming flight going outside the Philippines? Are you anxious about your COVID test result? Worry not. Here’s my personal experience.

I tested positive to COVID a day before my flight to the United States – something beyond anyone’s control.

I had 2 questions running in my mind:

When will be the date that I have to rebook my next flight?

What if I get tested positive again the day before my rescheduled flight?

The new travel health protocol when traveling to the United States is to get tested for COVID no more than 1 day before your flight regardless of vaccination status. There are exemptions though which you can refer to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) website. ALWAYS CHECK THE TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS IN THE COUNTRY YOU ARE GOING TO BECAUSE THEY UPDATE THE PROTOCOLS FROM TIME TO TIME.

They accept either RT-PCR or antigen test. RT-PCR is the golden standard for testing. However, it is more expensive and aside from that it usually takes more than 24hours before the results will come out, some offer a faster result but will incur additional cost. An alternative test they accept is the antigen test which is relatively faster (15mins to 2 hrs release of results) and cheaper. MAKE SURE IT IS A VIRAL ANTIGEN TEST AND YOU’VE DONE IT WITH AN ACCREDITED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER. There are booths that do this in NAIA terminal 3.

A day before my flight, I did an antigen test. Results came out and it was POSITIVE. It is definitely stressful but try to calm down and go straight to your house. Isolate yourself from others. The first thing you have to do is report your positive result to your local health unit (can be you barangay health center). It’s much better if you report any symptoms of COVID before your test and start your isolation the soonest possible time. You do not just prevent the disease from spreading, you are also giving yourself a head start in terms of isolation requirements which we will learn later the advantage.

For the first question, when will be the date that I have to rebook my next flight? CDC requires at least 10 days (for asymptomatic to mild cases, refer to CDC website for a more detailed isolation protocols) of isolation from the date you tested positive or the day after you had no fever without using any medication or the start of the first symptoms. If within those 10 days you had fever again, you have to start from day 0 again. Here’s an example: if you tested positive on January 1, that day will be day 0. The start of day 1 will be January 2. Therefore, the end of your 10-day isolation is January 11. You can rebook your next flight on January 12. The reason behind reporting to your local health unit as early as possible is that they start the counting of your isolation days on the day you reported your result or symptoms. They have to monitor you for 10 days before giving you a documentation of recovery. But what is documentation of recovery?

That question is the answer to our next question: what if I get tested positive again the day before my rescheduled flight? Do I have to isolate again? In my personal experience, the answer is NO (this only applies to those who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms). According to the CDC website, it is not recommended to get tested again 90 days after you tested positive or recovered from COVID since there is a high possibility that you will still have the virus but you are not contagious anymore. This is where the documentation of recovery will come in. A documentation of recovery is a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official (e.g. licensed doctor) that says that you completed your 10-day isolation and you are being cleared to travel or go back to work/school. It is important that the letter either states that you can travel or go back to work/school. The letter needs to have the information that identifies you personally that matches the details on your passport or other travel documents (e.g. name, date of birth). It has to be signed on official letterhead with the name, address, and contact number of the licensed public health official who signed the letter. This document will be given to you by the local health unit upon completion of your 10-day isolation. You also need to attach the viral positive result you had before your 10-day isolation. If you don’t get any proof/documentation of recovery, you have to have a negative result the day before your rescheduled flight.

On the day of your rescheduled flight make sure to bring all the documents you need. A COVID-negative result no more than 1 day before your flight or proof of recovery, vaccination card, passport, visa and other requirements the country you are going to requires you. Make sure to always wear a mask. Wear it properly (covering the nose and mouth), and at all times especially when you are in an enclosed space and/or with other people.

Let’s be responsible for each other in times of a pandemic like this and follow the health protocols anywhere we go.

Disclaimer: I am not a COVID expert or professional healthcare provider. All the information written here are based on my personal experience and the way I understood the contents in the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) website. For more information you can check their website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/noncitizens-US-air-travel.html.

Surreal: when God tells you “IT’S TIME”/the look of a conspiring universe

April 7 2021 when I first arrived in the US (that’s why I told you in my last post that I’m gonna post something in two weeks but it never happened. LOL). I was scared and doubtful – am I gonna make it? I do not have any close friends or family members in that place. New culture, people, work place – basically a new environment.

I have always been afraid but as the saying goes – if it frightens you it is worth the risk. I took that leap of faith. I moved out of my comfort zone. Seven months later, I made it! Or should I say I am happy where I am now. Tbh, I still have a long way to go. Nevertheless, I made it – life adjustment wide. Small victories worth celebrating.

I was able to roam around NYC and NJ. Right now, I am in a flight going to North Dakota and I am getting overwhelmed with everything.

I am and will be forever grateful to God. He really is faithful to His promises. Who would’ve thought that I’d be in this position rn? Totoo yung mahirap maging mahirap kasi parang di mo maiisip mangarap dahil ang goal mo na lang ay to survive everyday (It’s true that being poor is tough as dreaming is your least priority because your goal is mainly to survive everyday). Pero totoo din yong libre lang mangarap kaya taasan mo na (But, it’s true that it’s free to dream so dream high).

It was never easy.

I was never part of the rich kids club. Grepa kung grepa (hanggang ngayon haha) (Financially struggling (till now haha)). Naranasan naming kanin-toyo meal sa buong araw (We experienced eating just rice and soysauce for the whole day). Tapos (Then), I remember back in high school and college I had to walk 4kms going home kasi wala akong pamasahe pinambili ko kasing pagkain, and nag1-2-3 nga din ako once for the same reason (because I do not have money for transportation as I spent it for food, and did not pay for the transportation once for the same reason). Coz food is layp (life) haha. Sakto lang kasing round trip na pamasahe baon namin (We only had the exact amount for a round trip fare). Dati di ko maintindihan bakit yong mga classmates ko may bagong gamit kada simula ng school year tapos kami laging recycled from last year (I didn’t understand back then why my classmates had new school supplies every school year whilst we always recycled last school year’s supplies). But now I fully understand how my parents strived and gave the best of whatever they had back then for us to live and finish school and I will be forever grateful for their life. 

I was never the smartest in the room. I failed a lot of times in life. I was never a straight A student. Ang mahalaga nakagraduate (The important thing is I graduated). 🤣

I was never the prettiest (based on society’s standard). Pero, alam ko, ng pamilya at mga kaibigan kong ako ang pinakamaganda (please walang kokontra haha) (But, I, my family and friends know that I am the fairest of them all (please do not object haha). If I only conformed with that standard prolly I’d be in Hollywood and will say no to Ryan Gosling. Love you, babe. Haha

Totoo din yung everything happens for a reason (It’s also true that everything happens for a reason). I was an NGW for n years na hindi tumataas yong sahod, walang bonus, walang benefits, walang anything (no salary increase, no bonus, no benefits, no anything). I applied for several permanent positions locally pero, shuta laging (but, shit it was always), “we regret to inform you…” – heartbreaking and kakainin yung confidence mo sa sarili (it will eat out your self confidence). Pero, ganun pala yun, sa isang daang bagay na tatanggi sayo, ay may dadating na isang bagay na tatanggap sayo nang buong buo (shet kung it also applies sa jowa, need ko pang 100 jowa haha) (But, I realized, even if you get 100 rejections, you will get fully accepted by one thing (shit if it also applies to romantic relationship, I still need 100 relationships haha). .

It’s truly frustrating when you see others getting their goals faster than you do. But as cliché as it is, life is not a race. We all have a unique timeline designed based on the desires of our heart. We just have to believe, be patient and keep working on it.

When God starts to say “it’s time” or when the universe starts to conspire for you (whichever you believe in), everything will work amidst all the inevitable chaos. Nakakatakot na nakakaexcite kasi parang naaayon lahat ng pagkakataon para sayo (It’s scary and exciting at once because it seems that all the odds are in your favor).

If you are reading this now, losing hope and getting tired of life, it’s normal to feel that way but never give up. Listen to your gut feeling, trust the process, and keep living. One day your heart will be filled with pure joy na mapapabulong ka na lang randomly ng “salamat” (you’ll randomly whisper “thank you”).

I hope you don’t get tired of waiting for God to say it’s time or for the universe to conspire. Never be afraid to dream the impossible. Be patient with yourself and one day you will see that it pays to work on what your heart is craving for.

How a conspiring universe would look like?

Ever wonder how this conspiring universe would look like when it happens?

It looks like everything is going smoothly the way you imagined things would go.

It is scary.

It has been a set-up where everything is against you and then one day you’ll wake up everything is in your favor.

It seems magical.

It may sometimes look impossible.

It will happen.

Just be patient and keep on dreaming.

I will tell you my own conspiring universe in a week or two…

5 signs to tell if you are a practical plantita/tito

Are you still into plants after the hype? Well, hello again plantitos and plantitas! I am still a plantita cos that’s what my day job requires me and I am not complaining. Have you ever thought if you are being practical with your newly found habit? Being a plantita/tita is not a joke nowadays; I have seen people buying plants at an enormous amount! But how much is too much if we enjoy our plants? Here are the 5 signs I think you should look out to see if you are still a practical plantita/tita:

  1. Acquiring new plants moderately. As an agriculturist, I have seen different plants from different places. Some of them grow easily others do not. Some you can easily get others are rare. If you have budget go and splurge and buy all the expensive plants. But you are not being practical if the plant you acquire out of impulse can be bought 10x cheaper.
  2. Doing research before buying. You want that cute pot? New soil mix? Different rock cut? Wait! Have you done your research? Because you might buy something your plants do not want. Some media are not suitable to some plants. Pots without holes can cause waterlog condition to your plants. So before you check out your cart, do your research first.
  3. Using whatever available resources you have. I know you want the best for your plant but as our basic science plants are independent creatures as they can make their own food. Plantitos/titas need only to provide the optimum condition the plants require. Look around you before you buy something. Do you want to pregerminate seeds but you do not have planting media? Try asking for a little amount of sand from a nearby construction site, that would work in pregerminating selected seeds.
  4. Considering edible plants. Most plantitas/titos grow plants as decoration to beautify their place or make it more relaxing. It is also their way to release stress. But why not plant some edible plants so that you release your stress and expect some healthy food you can consume later on. Check out my previous posts on edible plants you can easily grow.
  5. Happiness with your plants. Bottomline is that whether you spend more or less with your plants, you should find that you are happy with what you are doing. You should also see yourself not abandoning a single plant. If you see a plant of yours wither because you simply do not have time to look for them, maybe you are not being practical and consider giving them before the others die too.

Dating yourself this valentine’s

I have been dating myself every valentine’s since the beginning of time. LOLjk. I recently watched Jollibee’s valentine special short film and reminded of the number of times I dated myself during valentine’s week. Here’s the link of that commercial/short film by Jollibee. Sorry for spoiling you. 😛

If you ended your relationship just before the love month (nice timing) or haven’t found the one you may consider dating yourself. When my friends heard that I consistently date myself they wonder how I do that because they feel like walking around or eating out alone are not something they’d want to do. But, to be honest, it is one of the things I look forward every month. Dating yourself is like dating someone but with this set up you get to know more about yourself. You will have time to evaluate and reevaluate your life – past mistakes, achievements, challenges and opportunities. Aside from that, you get to go to places and eat foods you want without using extra energy considering your date’s wants. So, whether it is your first or nth time celebrating the love month alone, I hope you will have a well-spent Valentine’s Day.

Conquering insecurities amidst society’s standards

I used to be that shy type girl in class not because I was born this way but because the society told me to. My environment’s standard of beauty is having clear skin, pointy nose, on-fleek brows and almond eyes and because of that I thought I was not beautiful. Insecurities swallowed me whole back then and I thought I’d never gonna conquer the monster.

Growing up, people would say that beauty is subjective and I did not know that the day would come that I’d agree to that. Before going to how I redeemed my confidence back, let me share to you these words from Emily McDowell, “‘Finding yourself’ is not really how it works. You aren’t a ten-dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. ‘Finding yourself’ is actually returning to yourself. An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you.”. This quote may seem not appropriate as it looks like a quote for finding yourself but here’s the tea for those still in deep pit of self-doubt – gaining back your confidence is to find your true self first.

To be able to conquer your insecurities in your society’s standard you have to go back to yourself before they got you. One of the things I did is to go out of that society I grew up – I traveled. My younger self knows that my first few travels were for leisure and pictures purposes. But, as I wander from one point to another, I was able to see life in a broader perspective. Travelling will allow us to learn and relearn things, to discover people living way differently but still function and not hate themselves. The challenges along the way will unleash potentials and skill you didn’t know you have.

This is me conquering the strong waves. LOL.

Boracay may be beautiful to you but not to your friend. Mt. Pulag is worth the trek for others but to you it was a usual mountain climbing experience. Durian is probably comfort food to others but not to you. You see, travelling to a place far away from your home town is life changing. It is a subtle way of stabbing your insecurity monster and finally living out the life you’d always wanted. That experience made me see myself and others being equally beautiful in our own different ways. And if ever you are reading this thinking you are not beautiful enough for this world, you are wrong – rediscover yourself and find that you are more than enough to deserve all the best this life has to offer. *wink*