City of Pines Day 1: Camp John Hay 📷🌲

Talk about summer vacations.

In our case, we belong to those who, hurriedly, moved pace due to a sudden appointment. Afterall, it’s no longer summer. The rainy season has started, yes. Yet, we, still, call this “summer vacation” as it covered the remaining days before another school year starts.

Inexorable.

We were unstoppable. Since Baguio City is a mountainside of homes and nominal skyscrapers, walking and climbing are parts of normal day-to-day activities. If you’re a workout junkie, the slopes can add to your routine. Oh, thank you! My muscles hadn’t, fully, recovered, yet, from my intense routine the other day.

My sister Shiella and my cousin Jesmin. Say “Hi” to them!

Like I said, “walking” because it’s part of everyone’s lifestyle here. Riding cabs could be impractical. And walking is fun, of course!

The city was in a drizzling condition when we arrived. It reminded me of Forks, Washington, D.C.

Flowers do bloom.

Cabs passed by but we didn’t care.

Finally, we’re in Camp John Hay. It was my first time to hiking at night. I had to admit, it’s better this time ’cause there are few who gather around here.

Another cousin, Mellyjoy (Jesmin’s sister), our tour guide.

By the way, Mellyjoy is a Tourism graduate from one of Baguio’s renowned learning institutions.

Please give these two the applause they needed.

Starlight, star bright. We need light for the night.

Warily, we were thinking of where to dine.

This was one of the photos where we utilized improvised camera flash (two phones use their LED flash to create a vibrant and balanced lighting) held by two efficient “kuno” assitants.

That was me. I got bullied a lot of times by my sister because I was too selfless to take everyone’s photo. When my turn comes, she, jokingly, leaves.

More photos are coming. Baguio City is not your ordinary place for escape. For what reason? Well, I hope the blog posts will answer that.  🙂✌🏻

Thanks for dropping by!

💌,
SAM

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Korean Food Haus (e.g. Gimbap, Ramen, etc.)

Last week, I had to battle the blazing sun with only an umbrella. As usual, I wasn’t alone. I was with my ever-supportive and generous sister.

“Are you sure we’re eating there?” I was doubtful, though, I’m a fan of KDramas.

“Surely, you’re gonna like the food.” Not minding the heat, we crossed the pedestrian line.

“Okay.”

I was surprised that the owner himself was watching over his own resto. Number 6, it was.

Nothing much fancy. Korean Food Haus is more of a “eat-to-go” restaurant (LOL! Was that even a word? Sorry).

Chopsticks! Because I am not ashamed to admit I don’t know how to use one, there you go. You, already, knew it by now. #FactsAboutMe

Didn’t we look too hungry?

Gimbap! Gimbap! Soon as the Gimbap was served, doubly, I was thinking if a piece tastes as good as it looks.

By the way, these fried dumplings are miiiiiiiiiine!

The Kimchi which I least like. No, I am not a fan of Kimchi. So my sister had to consume two servings.

Two is better than one. 

Simple flatlay of my meal.

“I want more Gimbap!” exclaimed by my sister.

Proof. Poof!

Melona Ice Cream for dessert. One of the best ice creams I’ve ever tasted. Thanks, Sissy, for supporting me with desserts.

Happy kid, I am.

There would have been more photos of this day, but some memories are captured, only, by the heart. Korean food, it was, it’s better than I thought. Part of me hopes that this is a goodbye to my prejudices for cuisines other than Filipino or American. Welcome to my universal-not-discriminating-taste-buds! 👏🏻😂 And yeah, thank you, Shiella and Inang Carling.

💌,
SAM

#RainyDaysDontCareFlauntThatPerfectHair

Hello there! It’s official: Rainy season has started in PH. How’s everyone around the globe doing? The last two weeks put me into a real hectic schedule. I started writing for Beauty Meets Fashion situated in London, UK. This was my debut article. As much as I want to maximize my introduction, I am so excited to bring this to you! Please don’t forget to click link where this post was originally published. Xoxo. :* 

Rain, rain, go away, come, again, another day. Seriously, don’t you like sizzling these droplets of heaven while wearing your perfect overall? Cheer up, Girl! We’ve got a bounty of playful and colorful surprises for you, perfect for this seemingly-gloomy-rainy-season. Maybe you’ll reconsider singing this nursery rhyme anymore and teach your younger sibling to sing, instead.

Hair is every girl’s crowning glory. Once in a while, it becomes damp due to occasional moistures, or it could be caused by running away from the rain because you declined granny’s offer of her own umbrella. Later on, tangled hair gives you an eerie feeling, which, later on, forces you to take a second or third bath. No problem. Here are few solutions:

  1. Hair Brush

Start ditching the rule of No combing when your hair is wet. With this brush, you can comb your hair without leaving strands on the floor. Due to its gentle bristles, kiss the knots and tangles goodbye without much pain.

http://beautybay.com/haircare/thewetbrush/wetbrushsugarskull/The Wet Brush Sugar Skull comes in three colors: Purple Rose, Red Rose, and White Rose. ‘Guess you’d be ready to attend Mexico’s Day of the Dead and meet your own James Bond after using this brush? Absolutely!

  1. Moisturizing Hair Conditioner

Consider using hair conditioners. When your hair is wet, it becomes more porous and prone to breakage. It needs extra moisture to protect itself from the stress it will take upon towel-drying. No one likes having frizzy hair after drying which results to hair fall. Chill. This is where moisturizing conditioner steps in – stress will be reduced due to the low friction. However, before attempting to use one, you should consider your hair type: Is it oily or dry? Remember that too much conditioner will damage your hair so use it only when necessary.

http://beautybay.com/haircare/sachajuan/moisturizingconditioner/Sachajuan offers a conditioner suitable for detangling to prevent further breakage. After a single wash, your hair becomes smoother, softer, and silkier. With Sachajuan, dismiss those haunting thoughts and flaunt that gorgeous hair, Girl!

  1. Styling Shimmer Spray

You’ve, always, heard what they say: “Celebrities can have it, but we can’t.” Didn’t Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Sarah Jessica Parker blow your mind when they walked on that red carpet with their gloriously, shiny hair? Well, not only them. Not only them, I repeat. Of course, you, too, can glister and rock the streets of style without heading to expensive salons.

http://beautybay.com/haircare/wellaprofessionals/eimishimmerdelight/Wella Professional’s Eimi Shimmer Delight takes you to a whole new trend of an after-finish effect, while keeping your hair UV rays-protected. Don’t forget to add this to your collection because it’s specially crafted to reduce your frizzy hair problems. So whenever you feel like going out, bring your spray out and rock the streets! Or even the red carpet.

  1. Hair Food Supplement

Now that you have the essentials to properly take care of your hair, improve your diet. Food intake plays a high role in your hair development so cut on spicy, salty, highly-processed, and all that unhealthy foods. Munch on a vegan diet and increase your protein-rich foods intake, instead. To revitalize hair growth, back it up with supplements: Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is an antioxidant which chiefly functions to promote eye health. However, it also helps produce sebum, an oil secreted by the scalp, to keep the hair moisture; Vitamin C, on the other hand, helps in building collagen, a long-chain amino acid and basic form of protein responsible for giving skin elasticity and hair strength; and Vitamin D, which functions as a hormone produced by the body from cholesterol when skin is exposed in sunlight, aids in preventing nutrient deficiency linked in having hair loss. Usually, people who live far from the equator have the high risks of Vitamin D deficiency without them knowing. But all hopes are not down for you if you lack one of these vitamins.

http://beautybay.com/haircare/hairburst/hairburstfoodsupplement1monthsupply

Hairburst’s Vitamin for Hair Growth gives you a month of supply, enriched with Vitamins A, C, and D, and minerals to compensate for inevitable vitamin loss. Since it’s formulated with all-natural ingredients, worry no more from artificials. If you’re a forgetful chick, this supplement can pardon you for not taking your daily dose of Vitamin C or A. Rescue yourself from your wildest dream of traveling in South Korea, Japan, Greenland, or any country far from the equator without compromising perks of sunlight – Vitamin D. Travel and conquer the world, Girl! Hairburst got your back!

Truly enough, your crowning glory drifts through monsoon seasons: every now and then, your high school friends would not mind the drizzles and meet you up at a nearby café (‘cause they hate naps and all that gloomy mood swings); your mom would, sweetly, ask you to wash up your li’l sissy or bro; or you would, constantly, decline your granny’s umbrella (due to the fact that non-foldable umbrellas are not so handy and they don’t add up to your porma). During these occasional drifts, your hair gets wet, which forces you take the shower more often. But since you’ve, already, learned dealing with minor problems, maybe you’d, really, stop singing the nursery rhyme to drive the rain away. Why not sing, “If all the rain drops were lemons drops and gum drops, oh, what a rain that would be!” Yes, you can sing with me and ‘tis the rainy season with these products!

(This is an original post from Beauty Meets Fashion)

💌,
SAM

Happy Mother’s Day!

More than it meets the eye, this woman depicted that ‘Love is not, always, holding hands side by side; it is looking forward in one direction’. 

‘Ma, who’d have thought we’d be closer to each other because of our devotion to God? During our younger years, I’ve seen how a woman – a spouse and a mother, grow from a diligent worker to a selfless servant. Those times, you’ve held my hand, along with Papa, every time we walk up the stage to pin my ribbons or receive my medals. Consequently, the wails of poverty were quashed by the hope of Divine Providence. Until I’ve reached the age of majority, slowly, I was led to the brighter side of life by knowing, deeply, who gave you to me – God. Again, we marched side by side, and walked up to receive my college diploma and honors.
Here comes the age of maturity. The inevitable cannot overpower the love that we’ve grown. Our conversation over the dinner table involved matters that were, for me, blabbers in the past. It must have been the passing of years, or maybe, the brief moments of soliloquy by walking side by side, but you, a woman of simplicity, has, finally, helped me set my gaze straightforward.

Thank you, Mama. If I’d live this life a hundred times, you’d, still, be the one I’d choose as my mother [if I ever get the chance to choose because, yes, I have high hopes God would, still, give you to me]. Let’s continue working onto the next life.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!

(This was, originally, a status update on Facebook. Since it’s a special occasion, I wanted to share this worldwide. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms! ❤️)

💌,
SAM

Who Controls the World

Is “GOD”, “human” or “Satan” in control of everything in this world? Let me share you this slippery-slope-kind-of-questioning-we-encountered today.

Along our usual afternoon track, we stopped at a nearby bench at the beachfront to quench our thirst and eat quail’s eggs. Suddenly, two young adults holding familiar pamphlets approached us (Of course, this idea of Christian Protestants is no longer new to my sister and I because some of our acquaintances do the same kind of mission).

“Do you mind if we get a short hold of your time?” The young man asked. A young woman was beside him, smiling, sweetly.

I was thinking of a tactful way to answer them “NO” so as not to offend them. As a speaker, I can feel the same pang of hurt when rejected.

“No, of course, not.” My sister, always, hospitable, answered.

NO! I didn’t even have the chance to say that. Truth be told, I don’t want to immerse myself, again, with vague interpretations of Bible verses. I’ve had enough. That’s why I committed myself to carefully picking the right references to deepen my faith while holding on to what is true. Our charismatic community speaker advised us to refrain those kinds of short conversations, if possible, because they detract us from the true faith – the Catholic faith. These kind of evangelization can’t attain its purpose because interpreting the Bible by portion, just like any other law, is not right. The Bible must be interpreted as a whole. However, our archbishop said it’s okay to entertain them if we are strong enough to make wise comparisons in order for us to stay faithful to our Catholic faith. Yet, since my sister already acceded, then, I had no other choice than to be polite and welcoming, too.

“Well, you can. We will not mind.” Then, I smiled.

“There’s this question I want you to think about and answer: WHO IS IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD?” He handed me a pamphlet while he asked this question.

“Hmmmn…”

It took me a long pause because I was trying to collate everything I’ve learned in my every day Bible-reading, Church teaching, prayer meetings, and conversation over the dinner table regarding God’s provision no matter how imperfect the world is. On the array of choices, only “GOD”, “human”, and “etc.” were included. Satan wasn’t included. So, I trimmed down my number of choices into those provided.

“Uh…I think, both God and human. Because…ah, sorry. I was supposed to answer a single question.”

“No, you can. You can explain why you chose those.”

“I answered them because I believe God created everything – the heavens and the earth so He is in control. However, part of what God provided humans was free will – to choose what is right or wrong.”

“That’s right. Free will. You can find that in the Bible. But can you reconsider this: If God is in control, then, why are there crises, crimes, imperfection in this world? Maybe, it is not God. It’s…”

Satan. This thought lingered my mind due to the slippery slope I was put onto. And because somehow, Satan is the father of all lies, I partly and temporarily believed.

“Right! I thought of that, too. Because it was also said, ‘To be friends with the world is to be God’s enemy (James 4:4).’ If we look closely to this kind of argument, we can see loopholes:

First, if Satan is in control of the entire world, then, we are succumbing to the final conclusion that we cannot do anything anymore. “Control” connotes “power”. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, control is to have power over. Hence, are we saying that we are slaves over Satan’s power?

Remember Job. God “allowed” Satan to test him (Job 1:12). It was said, “God allowed…” That meant, it was, still, God who took control over the testing of Job. Not the devil himself because the devil hadn’t and will never overpower God (Luke 4:5-8).

Second, the increasing evil attacks in the world even bolster God’s unending power. Why? Satan had to maximize all his efforts, work restlessly all day and night only to deceive both the faithful and the unfaithful – his ultimate job. When God’s voice and power become stronger, that’s when he deafens the world with his tempting and empty promises. When he does this, that means, God’s power is, really working (Job 9:4).

Third, this evangelizer’s reference, “We all know that we belong to God, while the whole world lies in evil (1 John 5:19)” could be right, but it doesn’t coincide with the question they posed.

According to Christian Community Bible Commentaries on 1 John 5: 19 (THE WHOLE WORLD LIES IN EVIL), First Edition by Claretian Publications, “As has already been mentioned, this world belongs to God who made it good. Nevertheless, this world is not simply a building site wherein we work. It is first the place where the evil one competes with God. The evil side does not side with any group, atheist or materialist or whatever else, but everywhere transforms the best things into destroying idols – even among those looking for a more perfect life life: keep yourself from idols (v. 21).” Hence, the devil, always, competes with God. He is the source of all that envy and jealousy, putting into human’s mind the urgency to win out of vain. Let us all remember that Satan wanted more than what God gave him. He wanted to be like God (Isaiah 14: 12-15).

Lastly, upon Jesus’ resurrection, it does not only mean “to return to life” but to begin a new and transformed life (Christian Community Bible Commentaries on John 5:19 and John 6:60). To say that Satan, is, still, in control of the world, makes it pointless Jesus’ passion, death, and RESURRECTION. When he was raised from the dead, he has proven that sin and even death had no power over him. Hence, we, as members of Christ’s body, can conquer anything with him – even the stings of sin and the horrors of death. There is nothing that we cannot do because our hope, Jesus Christ, is alive! He is alive! Death as a consequence of sin had no authority over him because he himself was not subject to sin. Satan, then, is now overpowered by Jesus, our only hope.

“Thanks for your time, Samantha and Ming,” said the young man who also happened to be a government employee. The young woman, again, smiled.

“No problem.” Then, we vanished.

As we rode our way home, I kept thinking about this incident. Since I’ve already undergone few confusions in the past regarding false ideas, I prayed before for God’s discernment and wisdom to know what is true or false not only through Bible verses, but through God’s communication in a language that we know and through the circumstances that surround His people. After all, God does not only communicate with us through Bible verses. He does it in human experiences. Furthermore, it is not apt to base our interpretation from verses of the Bible. It must be interpreted according to passages. You can download this Bible guide for the year 2017 – it was made by Bible scholars all throughout the world through thorough research and study of what transgresses time. It can be seen that our Bible readings are uniform; the 1st reading, 2nd reading and Gospel in Philippines are the same in all countries because the Catholic Church is ONE, holy, and catholic. Plus, the passages were well-chosen and they correlate with each other.

To conclude this post, I just want to make it clear that I am not against any religion or sect. I am just striving to protect the one true faith. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by! I’ve got more to share to you.

💌,
SAM

Position Paper: Suspension of Barangay Elections

Where are we now? As promised, I would go back to writing. This paper was, originally, our assignment in Legal Forms. I waited for summer vacation before I publish this to avoid plagiarism. Here it is:

I highly oppose the suspension of barangay elections for this year.

“Suffrage as conferred by the constitutional provision is not a natural right of the citizens, but a political right intended to enable them to participate in the process of government to assure it derives its powers from the consent of the governed (Pungutan vs. Abubakar, L-33541, 20 June 1972).”

To suspend the election is to deprive the Filipino citizens of their political right to choose who will govern them. Last year’s suspension was justified due to amendments on the qualifications of body politics of Sangguniang Kabataan, which can pave way to a more efficient election. Apart from this, the fear of having to elect leaders despite the drug parlance in the country was considered, for drug money might be used by candidates for their campaign. But does Philippines need another suspension to delay these envisioned prejudices? Are we, again, depriving the nation to choose its new leaders and the citizens, themselves, their privilege to run for public office? A single suspension was enough. We need not to enslave our minds from fears of the unknown.

First off, the ongoing issues in illegal drugs are being tried, unlawfully. Extrajudicial and vigilante killings have become an “acceptable, “speedy” way to eliminate who they thought were scraps of society [when in fact life is in the highest in the hierarchy in Sec. 1, Art. III of the Constitution] Life was less valuable than that of an animal in a slaughterhouse. I submit that this remedy of the present administration increased even the number of crimes that the nation needs to address – Murder and Homicide. After all, they are also heinous crimes, aren’t they? Do they differ from the felonies in the Revised Penal Code just because a public servant does it in one way or another? Absolutely, not. Hence, using illegal drug parlance as another justification to suspend the barangay elections is inutile, a mere repetition on the delay of the administration of justice.

Secondly, to suspend the barangay elections is to extend the service of the incumbent officials. Some, if not all, have been using their bestowed duty and power to propagate their evil motives. It cannot be said that the present elected officials are not amiss in their duties to the people. Not only drugs, but graft and corruption continuously affect the growth of the nation. These leaders can aid the facilitation on the flow of drugs in prisons and camps, using bribes to favour or persecute. Thus, if the government really wanted to cleanse itself from all impurities, it has to start looking to what’s in-front of it before stepping into what’s next. More aptly put, the government needs to sterilize itself from abusive leaders in position, first, by conducting an election [to give electorates the option to lawfully remove them in position or to retain those who need to be retained in position] before stopping the inflow of coming leaders. This way, we are following the dictates of justice and equity guided by the Constitution.

Lastly, suspending the barangay election would deprive the grassroots levels of decentralization. Leaders are bred in the smaller governmental institutions. It is in the barangay level where the seemingly miniscule proposals sprout and drizzle the far-reaching ideals of the larger institutions like the National Government. Ergo, to stop the aspiring citizens to serve his people is also putting an end to the free exchange and advancement of leadership.

The 2017 barangay elections must forego. Let our voices be heard. Speak and act, Filipino. I now rest my case.

💌,

SAM