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LISTEN

When the boat docked that Monday midday, I didn’t have any clue that my body temperature would rise. It was only during lunch that I finally felt the fever I was scared about. “Too late, Aeman. You’re already on the island.” That’s what I told myself. Truly, it was a test of how much I know my body and of how I would take care of myself.

There are four skills in learning language: reading, writing, listening, speaking. We’ve learned so much about listening, and it probably is the most used skill among the four. But did we really learn how to listen to our body, or more importantly, to ourselves?

Some listen to themselves all the time, while some regard the wants of others as their own wants. Some deny the fact that they need rest, while some falsify the same need.

What I’m trying to say is that true listening to our body should also come with the honest communication of what it says. Say you’re hungry if you’re hungry. Say you’re tired if you’re tired. Get some rest if you need one. Sometimes, it’s not our bodies that lie to us. It’s the other way around.

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Also appears in my Instagram on July 27, 2017. Photo was taken at Mangrovetum, a mangrove sanctuary on the coasts of Masbate City. 

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GEAR

I always wear the same outfit for trips on the beach: a rashguard, a pair of running shorts (which is so versatile I also use it for swimming), a blue headwear (which has versatility level 999), and a gray summer scarf. A bunch of my travel photos I’m wearing those, and I don’t intend to buy and wear a new set anytime soon. I’m loving the comfort of that gear.

Also at the office, I’m momentarily gearing away from Fashion Fridays. I don’t despise dressing up, I despise not having enough clothes to use for dressing up. So I’d wear the company’s standard top instead.

Workmates initially found it odd, but when I tell them that “it’s less stressful, and more practical”, I could see subtle expressions of agreement in their faces. I need time to upgrade certain things in my life, and right now upgrading my wardrobe comes second to upgrading my career. Pretty logical naman, ‘di ba?

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Also appears in my blog on July 9, 2017. Photo was taken at Vanishing Island, Tabaco City, Albay. 

SIGNS

Trips to the countrysides always make me realize one thing—that the world is such an enormous place. Imagine, if two distinct ways of life (urban and rural) or numerous different dialects could exist in a small parcel of provincial land, what other fascinating lives could possibly exist in those places that I have yet to discover? The diversity is limitless!

On a recent working trip to the Partido District in Camarines Sur, I saw a traffic post along a road construction, manned by a young guy holding two flags. I figured, this was how traffic lights started out—signals of red and green tell us if we need to pause or go on, either because of pedestrians or other vehicles.

Some signs, we ask for. While some signs just come. Some are in a form of a blessing we’ve always prayed for or a crisis we didn’t know coming. But some come in a form of a person—who arrives, departs, and always leaves a mark.

No matter what form these signs use to reveal to us, they always do one thing in common: they make us pause for a while. And this momentary pause is essential because sometimes, “speeding fast” means missing out on the scenery, or worse: being lost.

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Also appears in my Instagram on July 4, 2017. Photo was taken at midday at a traffic post along the National Highway in Partido District, Camarines Sur, after our vehicle suddenly broke down,

REMINDERS

I would usually catch colds on the last days of February and the first days of June. When I was a child, catching a cold meant coughs + fever + increased attention from Mama.

During those days, drastic temperature changes occur as #TagInit enters, heats up our lives and then leaves. It’s not necessary that my body has to remind me when summer is coming or ending. It’s Kuya Kim’s job.

Children will go back to school tomorrow, and I will also go back to training. Truly, we’ll have to say goodbye to summer and its dreamy, laid-back, adventure-filled vibe. I remember a friend posting on Facebook that there are really no summer season in the Philippines. Only tag-init. But summer has become a state of mind, a lifestyle, a culture. And today I’ll have to let it go.

From Mahabang Buhangin, to Balagbag Island, to Camvias, to Quitinday Rolling Hills, to Quitinday Falls, to all the sweet warm days — till we meet again. I really enjoyed the ride.

This part of the year, we’re saying hello to wet roads and cozy evenings.

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Also appears in my Instagram on June 4, 2017. Photo was taken at my workplace, the Corporate Affairs Department of Camalig Bank, Inc. (A Rural Bank.

WARMTH

Good thing I was given an umbrella from the product launch at the office a while ago, because at 5:00 PM, heavy rain just poured out from nowhere, ignoring how hot the midday was. Evidently, dry season will soon end.

Just let the rain be, I told myself. I tucked my throw pillow in my tummy while I read The Atlantic’s article by Alex Tizon which went viral last night. It was hurtful to read. It moved my soul just enough that I forgot I was still at the office.

To be honest, I feel excited for the rainy days. I don’t know why, maybe because I had a number of (or just enough) trips this summer that I now crave cold winds. Movie nights, coffee nights, pillow-cuddling, human-cuddling — you know the drill.

Maybe it’s not the rainy season that I’m excited about. Maybe it’s the warmth that things, people, or memories give me, that I truly long for.

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Also appears in my Instagram on May 17, 2017. Photo was taken at Quitinday Underground Rivel Park, Jovellar, Legazpi City.

UPBRINGING

The midday was hot as I line up the laundry on the sampáyan. Then I suddenly thought about the possibilities of me ending up at a different situation today other than being under the sun.

I could still be on my bed (or on somebody’s bed), hungover from last night’s partying. I could be on the couch, playing computer games or binge-watching GOT. I could still be not yet home. I could be addicted to drugs, or sex, or DOTA, or shopping. I could’ve dropped out of school and wouldn’t find decent jobs. I could be wasting Mama’s time and money because I can’t earn them on my own.

Under the hot sun, I thought I had all the reasons to abhor having to do chores on weekends. Little did I know that the reason why I do it is that I’m being raised well. So, I couldn’t complain. Mama plays a huge part in guiding me to becoming the way I presently am. We might grow up and may want to be independent, but we could never be out of our mothers’ upbringing.

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Also appears in my Instagram on May 14, 2017. Photo was taken on a hilltop at Tinaga Island, within the Calaguas Group of Islands, Vinzons, Camarines Norte.

RISKS

We are the oil for the wheel that makes the economy turn — Our lady COO told us this during her lecture a while ago. Banking is the most heavily-regulated industry there is, that working for it just excites me. She told us about risk-taking as something that is intrinsic in our business, as risk will always be there for every credit transaction we make. Risks cannot be eradicated, it can only be managed well.

Like jumping off a cliff, we calculate the distance between the jump point and the water level, the deepness of the water, our skill-level to recover from the fall, and some other factors. Everything should be calculated.

Yesterday at Jovellar, I would wanna jump but I figured: the distance from the drop point is far from the nearest edge, and that my impact into the water can be too strong. Plus, I could get cramps. Some say it’s overthinking, but this is how I make my choices. I understand that risks are part of life and perhaps that is why I feel thrilled to be working for this industry.

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Also appears in my Instagram on May 8, 2017. Photo was taken at Quitinday Underground River Park, Jovellar, Albay.