Tagum City: Of Tests and Side Trips

Let me just start this off by saying that the past week has been A LOT!!! I was neck-deep with stress. It was unexpected, the kind you want and hate at the same time. And it was truly, truly worth it. So worth it that no matter how everything turns out, I’d still look back at it with a smile.

So a few months back, I enrolled to study the Japanese language and finally the dreaded Japanese Language Proficiency Test has come and it was time to head Davao City where the exam will be held. My classmates and I, along with our Sensei, hopped on a van to drive for hours to Davao City. But instead of staying in Davao City, we opted to drive further to Tagum City to stay and visit at our Sensei’s place.


Tagum is a city and the capital of Davao del Norte. It is about two hours away from Davao City itself, give or take. For some crazy reason, I pictured Tagum to be a “small” city. But then again, I have wonky, unreliable imaginations, so forgive me. 😀


The looming horror of the much awaited and equally dreaded exam did not stop us from going out for a sight-seeing with the very little time we had. Mesmerized and intrigued. That’s how I felt the entire time I was there. I don’t know whether it was because of the breezy, cloudy afternoon (a welcome balm from the heat in CDO), the fact that I was in the company of great friends, or it was purely Tagum’s charm.


One of the stops we made was to their city hall, a magnificent thing of beauty. It was wide and spacious, exuding a sense of power and might with its grandeur. I especially loved the long stretch of paved road, lined with towering palm trees that led to the city hall. Definitely Instagram-worthy. And if I hadn’t been afraid of getting hit by a vehicle and embarrassing myself in the process, I would’ve asked for my photo be taken there.


The other place we visited was Energy Park. A huge area with lots of trees, perfect for afternoons with family, friends hanging out, and couples on a date. The park also rents out bicycles which one could use to ride around the park. You could walk around, of course, but it’s twice the fun when you’re on a bike, riding around pretending like you’re a worry-free eight-year-old again.


Tagum is also home to the world’s largest holy rosary, which we didn’t have a chance to see as apparently the place only opens on Sundays and we were there on a Saturday. Bummer. But hey, next time maybe? 😀 Anyway, it was getting dark and was just about time for dinner so we headed to The Palm City Food Park. I’m not a fan of food parks mostly because I’m a very indecisive person and I get dizzy trying to decide what I want to eat. I loved it there though! It was indoors so the occasional unexpected rains are a non-issue, yet it was also open air so it still that outdoor vibe, which was terrific. Its ambiance was cozy and very welcoming. And hey, they had these light-up chairs which were pretty cool. 😉


Overall, the whole trip was fun and memorable. The only sad part about it was we had to cancel the side trip we planned to Samal Island as we had to be in Cebu shortly after the JLPT exam. I loved Tagum and how spacious it seemed and I felt like I was so near the skies there. I will cherish the time I got to spend with classmates turned friends. Also, the van moments were simply one of the best. On the way back, somebody suddenly started singing with a portable microphone karaoke-style. Hey, you can’t help but sing along. Of course, I’d also never forget my first-time ever taking an exam without a word of English in the test itself and the headache I had after and during the test. 😀


The couple days prior to the trip were somewhat insane and it was as if the universe wanted me to move heaven and hell to make this happen. And so by the time I got on that van, I was just like, “Whatever, let’s get this over with.” Surprisingly, I had fun. Really had fun. I guess it was just nice to get away for a teeny, tiny second. To discover and learn about a new place, to laugh as if you’re beyond all your worries. To realize that some things are not there anymore, in a good way. Very good way. 🙂 So all in all, I’d say it was an unexpectedly wonderful trip. That is why I’ve decided to no longer stress about this. (Well, I won’t stress about it for as long as I can. Knowing myself, I will stress about it. Eventually. But I’ll save that for another day). So pass or fail, life is great. 😀 I’m leaving it all up to a higher power.


Days Like This


I long for days like this

Sky covered up in clouds

Cold breeze on my skin


I long for days like this

Knowing life isn’t perfect

Yet I’m not falling apart


I long for days like this

Keeping my anxiety at bay

And not losing myself


I long for days like this

Where life’s uncertain

Yet there’s burning hope in me


I long for days like this

Where I may not be happy

Yet I’m not in a pool of tears

Here’s to more days like this




First Time Visiting an Elderly Home

“Some students get emotional and cry when they visit.”

Those were the words of one of my instructors in the caregiver training course that I’m currently taking. I laughed it off at that time not knowing I’d be one of those students.

“Grabe pud ni si Ma’am,” I said to myself.

It was a few weeks ago when our Care for the Elderly module came and our teacher decided to bring us to St. Joseph’s Golden Home Foundation, Inc. SJGH is a non-profitable foundation serving as a home for indigent and abandoned Filipino men and women aged 65 and up. It is, I believe, the only elderly home in the city of Cagayan de Oro.


Up until then, my only knowledge about elderly homes was based on what I see on movies and TV. I’ve never been to one. And if I hadn’t taken this course, I wouldn’t have known about there being one in our city. #CluelessGirl


Before we could walk through their doors, we were greeted enthusiastically by a very sweet and jolly lady, one of the residents there. Upon seeing the joy on her face, the genuine welcome she extended to us, I could feel my heart swell up for some unknown reason and I started to tear up. I tried controlling myself. I really did.

But before I knew it, the first of my tears fell as I desperately made my way to the back of our bunch. Luckily, I was not alone in taking refuge in the back while wiping tears away. A classmate, who upon seeing the Lola, remembered her own grandmother also made her way to the back in hiding.


Lola in the middle was the one who greeted us (Hate myself for forgetting her name)

Honestly, I don’t know what it was that made me cry. I had grandparents but, unlike my classmate, I was never super close to them. I went in there completely emotionless. I came out feeling like a different person.

Maybe it was because I expected to see grumpy old people who would love nothing else but for us to leave. Maybe I saw my grandparents and saw how much I missed and how much effort I didn’t make to get to know them. Maybe I saw my parents and my fear of them growing old and leaving me just overwhelmed me.


And… maybe I saw myself in them.

Old. Alone. No family.

I always tell myself that it’s totally fine to be alone. And a good part of me genuinely believes that. However, that day, I realized that I’m also terrified to spend the rest of my life alone.

Filipinos have a tight-knit, family-oriented culture. I grew up hearing people say that one should have kids so you won’t be alone. I get raised eyebrows whenever I tell people that I’m not sure if I want the package, husband and kids. Parents break their backs raising their children. Yet we have people like the lolos and lolas of SJGH who were abandoned by family and probably by their own kids. Really, this is a sore topic that has no exact and concrete solution.

I guess it was everything. All the reasons written above were what made me cry. You’d think that you’ve accepted the inevitability of old age until you see yourself in the eyes of the very warm lola who greeted you like you were her long lost grandchild. It’s truly heartwarming.

That day, I looked at my parents as if with a whole new set of eyes and I thanked God for them and prayed fervently for more time with them, for a chance to make them happy, for a chance to be a better daughter to them. And that night… I also prayed that maybe, just maybe, somewhere in this huge, chaotic world someone out there is waiting and praying for me.

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 30


Day 30 – A Song That Reminds You of Yourself

Unpretty by TLC

Year Released: 1999

So this song is about trying to change oneself for someone or society’s standard of beauty. And really… it’s sad and just so wrong. I guess I see myself in this song because my whole life I’ve been told that I’d be prettier if I lost a few pounds or the classic “You’re beautiful but…” And honestly? It’s a nightmare I haven’t gotten away from. But it’s all up to me, right?

My outsides look cool
My insides are blue
Every time I think I’m through
It’s because of you
I’ve tried different ways but it’s all the same
At the end of the day I have myself to blame


Aaaand… it’s a wrap! I’ve done it! 30 straight days of blogging for this song challenge. As much as it stressed me out having to post every day, I loved doing this challenge as it made me do a little reflecting and a ton of reminiscing. 🙂 Most of my songs in the challenge are on the old side because for the life of me, I could never keep up with all the trendy and hip stuff in music. Nevertheless, I had fun sharing with you guys the songs that mean something to me! To all those who spent time to read my entries, thank you!!!

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 29


Day 29 – A Song That You Remember From Your Childhood

Fixing a Broken Heart by Indecent Obsession

Year Released: 1993 (?)

So this song may be a little heavy to be a childhood memory. There’s a story here. 🙂 I used to visit father’s hometown during summers as a kid. And there were days when I’d stay at grandparents’ house. Actually, I stayed there most of the time while my dad went to work. I had an older cousin who played a guitar and this was his favorite song to play on his guitar. I loved this song even though I had absolutely no idea what it meant. I was six or seven, I didn’t know anything about broken hearts let alone fixing it. Heck, I don’t even know how until now. 😀

You really know where to start
Fixing a broken heart
You really know what to do
Your emotional tools
Can cure any fool
Whose dreams have fallen apart
Fixing a broken heart


So I’m curious… what’s a song from your childhood? 🙂

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 28


Day 28 – A Song By An Artist With A Voice That You Love

Lost Boy by Ruth B.

Year Released: 2015

So Ruth B. is a recent addition to my list of singers whose voice I just looove and may or may not envy. 😀 Her voice just sounds so calm and soothing. Perfect for a cold night under a blank and just looking out the window and thinking about things like where to find happiness in this cruel, cruel world. Okay… I’ve gone too far. 🙂

Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free


30 Day Song Challenge: Day 27


Day 27 – A Song That’s Breaks Your Heart

Out of Reach by Gabrielle

Year Released: 1999

Out of reach, so far
I never had your heart
Out of reach
Couldn’t see
We were never
Meant to be

For someone whose heart breaks easily, it was tough to pick one for this prompt. I guess I’m just going ahead and picking the one I can relate to the most. Haha! 😀 Here are other choices though!

I’m Not The Only One – Sam Smith

I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raitt

She Used To Be Mine – Sara Bareilles

Someone Like You – Adele