Pagudpud: Familiar Life Lessons Learned in Foreign Lands

The past three weeks have been extremely busy. Juggling two to three part-time jobs isn’t quite as easy as I thought. : | But anyways, it feels good to be blogging again. I absolutely love how this past month has been such a fruitful one. I taught Creative Writing to a bunch of bright and talented kids, and I am a part-time writer for an online article company. Despite having to deal with the crushing truth of not being able taking post-graduation studies as of the moment, life still goes on. There is a reason for all this, and I am quite happy with the course of things. : )

I was also blessed enough to partake in an amazing 4-day trip with some of the most respected professors in my college. Though I admit, I wasn’t able to take any of their classes during my Ateneo days; it felt like I was a student all over again. I learned so much about growing up, the importance of sticking to your values, and most importantly, about life. It was really unexpected, the learning-more-about-life-part. But nevertheless, I am grateful.

During New Year’s Eve, I prayed that I would end 2011 as a changed person—someone with a more positive outlook on life with a newfound appreciation for the simplest of things. I prayed for more opportunities to travel around the Philippines (the farthest I have been was only Baguio at that time), and hopefully, visit a new country. I also prayed for a renewed faith. I know that I may question religion in general sometimes, but if anything, I believe in God and I have my faith. I may raise my eyebrows when it comes to grey areas in Catholicism and Christianity, but whatever. I think that most of the religions, except Hinduism, are monotheistic: it all boils down to one God. My perspective may be a bit askew, but that’s what I am praying for: clarity and a firm belief. But I digress. Despite my pessimism, thinking that I wouldn’t be to pursue any of these traveling plans, I have been proven wrong. And surprisingly, my first of these trips have been woven with an opportunity to have my faith renewed and strengthened.

The trip was truly an unforgettable experience. Despite the beauty and the richness of this remote area in the Philippines. It was busy during the day, but at night, a blanket of tranquility and peace wrapped around me. This was just what I needed: a break from everything. A moment to tune in and to reflect on life, on the person I was becoming, the person God wanted me to be. My professors also imparted so much valuable lessons during those 4 days. During our free time, we talked. They shared their experiences to us, and how faith is such an integral part of their lives. : )

I believe that God’s hand was at work throughout the entire trip. He knew I needed a serious break from the whirlwind of tasks I had to do. But even though this trip meant work, it’s surprising how God gave me a clearer perspective on life—allowing me to realize how rich it truly is despite the hurdles and troubles we constantly face. It has definitely been one of the most memorable trips I have ever embarked on. I feel so much gratitude and respect for my brilliant professors, and the lessons they taught me that made a striking impact on my life; an imprint that won’t go away any time soon.

Ilocos was very beautiful, and so were the hearts the people I was with. I know God wanted to give me a nudge on the things I was missing out on because I was very ignorant. The weather was freezing and our hotel room’s heater was broken, and despite that, I know my ice-cold showers were worth it. ; )

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