Setting Sun : Hellos and Goodbyes

Magical display of nature’s beauty.

Romantic hues that stretch across the horizons.

Fading warmth.

Flickering radiance.

Everything seems to end with the setting of the sun.

There is something captivating as it reminds us of another day ending.

We like to stop it and extend our days.

Yet we long for it when we grow weary.

Sometimes, we keep on chasing on endings,

Fearing beginnings.

We shut our eyes.

Scared of the blinding lights the sunrise brings.

We cannot hide from it.

Goodbyes are meant to be embraced just like the passing of each season.

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Sunset at Biliran

 

Over The Moon: Happiness in the Modern Times

“I’m okay.”, this is our usual response every time someone asks how we are doing. A primary reflex that most of us have used to avoid being faced with the thought of our own happiness. People have subjective definitions on what is happiness and where we derive it from. Happiness could be a good job, complete family, perfect health or it could simply be delicious food.  As the world celebrates International Day of Happiness today, we are again faced with the question: “Are you truly happy?”

Happiness and Reality

At an age of anthropocentricism, where human beings are considered the central or most significant species on the planet, all of our actions greatly affect everything else. While a small percent of the world are worrying over “first world problems” such as having WIFI connection or the latest Iphone, the rest are fighting just to live another day with dignity and basic needs. We are now facing a depressing reality that as society is getting richer and more technologically advanced it is not making the world happier. In fact, never have we experienced such great inequality and suffering. We witness wars, hunger and natural calamities. We start forgetting our connection and start thinking that we can exist as islands focusing on ourselves and no one else, thinking that another person’s misery will not affect us, but it does and there is no escaping it.

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Formula for Happiness

Action for Happiness has developed the 10 Keys to Happier Living based on a review of the latest scientific research on happiness.

The research suggests these Ten Keys consistently tend to have a positive impact on people’s overall happiness and well-being. The first five (GREAT) relate to how we interact with the outside world in our daily activities*. The second five (DREAM) come more from inside us and depend on our attitude to life.

           G IVING Do things for others
           R ELATING Connect with people
           E XERCISING Take care of your body
           A PPRECIATING Notice the world around
           T RYING OUT Keep learning new things

           D IRECTION Have goals to look forward to
           R ESILIENCE Find ways to bounce back
           E MOTION Take a positive approach
           A CCEPTANCE Be comfortable with who you are
          M EANING Be part of something bigger

For us to realize our own happiness, we must ask ourselves these questions:

  1. What do you do to help others?
  2. Who matters most to you?
  3. How do you stay active and healthy?
  4. When do you stop and take notice?
  5. What new things have you tried recently?
  6. What are your most important goals?
  7. How do you bounce back in tough times?
  8. What are you feeling good about?
  9. What is the real you like?
  10. What gives your life meaning?

Happiness is quite complex if we keep on postponing it, yet simple if we take the time to answer the questions honestly.

Make Your Smile Contagious

Happy People Means Better World

It is important that we take the time to check if we are happy with our lives. Several research have shown that happiness doesn’t just feel good, it has a lot of benefits for our performance, health, relationships and society. An extensive study in the British Medical Journal followed people over 20 years and found that their happiness affected others in their networks across “three degrees of separation”. Happiness is  contagious, making yourself happy means making your friend’s friend happy too. Countries with happy citizens have better GDP’s and standards of living. It is your obligation not only to you and your loved ones but to the world in general.

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What are you waiting for? Stop denying yourself of happy days.

Do what makes you go over the moon.

Pursue happiness.

Reluctance and Risks

Mamihlapinatapai n. the wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.

Take risks.

Make tough decisions.

Live on the edge.

Make a difference.

Do you prefer safe?

Does it make you happy to lose opportunities?

Have you really lived?

Find Your World

I chanced upon this video while I was travelling around the worldwide web, feeding my insatiable thirst for new articles. This video spoke to me because I have always shared the same belief, to not stick to one thing.

Maybe I just have commitment issues or have this Peter Pan complex that always needs to live like a kid seeing a candy store for the first time.

Being a science geek I’d like to think that life is one big science experiment and everyday is a chance to try new things. It is too short to stick to what is safe. Imagine eating the same meal thrice a day for a month?

Life is all about the risks and adventures. If you never try, you never fail or win. Nothing could be worse than a life of what ifs. Do things that scare the hell out of your soul. Take my challenge. Go out and find your world.

Levelling the Playing Field in Tacloban: Empowering Women and Girls through Football

“Why shouldn’t we play? We have feet to use, eyes to see, mind to think and the confidence to win. Everything that a boy can do, we also can.”, 12-year-old Cresil Mae Penachos of Borongan said during the LFA Women’s Day Football Festival last March 8, 2014. Cresil Mae, together with 77 other girls and women went to University of the Philippines Visayas – Tacloban College football field to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Participants all lined up during the opening ceremony
Participants all lined up during the opening ceremony

Throughout the course of history, women have always been considered as the weaker gender. Football, being the most prominent team sport played by women, played at the professional level in many countries throughout the world with 176 national teams take part internationally.

Women’s football has faced many struggles throughout its history. In 1921, The Football Association initiated a ban that disallowed women’s football games from the grounds used by its member clubs and it stayed in effect until July 1971. Despite being a developing country with an immense history with European countries, football never won the hearts of the Filipinos.

Waiting for the games to start.
Waiting for the games to start.

Mention ‘AZKALS’ to any Filipino and they would immediately say “Men’s National Team for Football”, and yet when you ask them about ‘MALDITAS’, they will only give you a blank stare. It is because unlike the men’s team, there were less media exposure for the women until the recent years when our women’s team won the 2012 LA Viking Cup. Although the Women’s National Team for Football has competed since 1981, the country has yet to give equal opportunities for women seeking to have a career in football. While there is a men’s national league for football, there are no leagues for women.

Teams warming up
Teams warming up

The case is no different for Tacloban, Fundlife International however is creating a positive change in the field of sports, with their ‘Football for Life’ (F4L) programme wherein they conduct daily training sessions in nine sites across Tacloban. As a show of support for International Women’s Day, Fundlife Int’l encouraged girls under the F4L to join and was not disappointed. More than half of the participants at the festival were from the programme.

Freedom wall celebrating womanhood.
Freedom wall celebrating womanhood.

It was a fun-filled yet competitive day, where girls shared their love for football and meet new friends. One of the few sport moments, where boys and men were the sideliners ad spectators. Among the teams that joined the festival were the Tacloban Pintadas, an all-girl team formed last January to inspire the participants to actively engage in the programme. Coming back from their first competition in Thirsty Cup held in Cebu, where they managed to make it into the semi-finals beating more experienced teams, the girls once again showcased their skills during the event where they secured a 4th place finish.

F4L girls sharing their smiles
F4L girls having their Kodak moment

Fundlife International sees the vital role that football can have in a woman’s life. According to the United Nations, when girls get involved in sports they are more likely to attend school and participate in society. When women and girls can walk on the playing field, they are more likely to step into the classroom, the boardroom, and step out as leaders in society.

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Women’s football has huge potential in the Philippines, with the Malditas currently rank 80th in FIFA despite the recent fiasco which stopped the women from participating in international competitions last year. Filipinas are the most undervalued talents in Philippine football. Let us not indignation or despondency paralyze us from pursuing women’s right to football and sports in general. We need to prove why we rank 9th in world for gender equality.
In spite of the limited promotion and opportunities across the globe, popularity and participation in women’s football continues to grow. Women’s football around the world tends be a mere speck of dust compared to the men’s but we can turn this massive stumbling block into a golden opportunity. A massive transformation has yet to happen for Filipina football players. Filipinas can excel in football given their performance in the international matches but to secure the winning formula in the global arena in the future, we have to start improving local women’s football as early as now. We can help these girls in their paths to success and equality.

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Very few girls who play Football will make it to the top-level, but more than producing champion female football players, Fundlife International’s aim is to allow girls to believe they can become champions in any career they choose to pursue. Football provides a visible stage for girls and women to stand equal to men. If we can inculcate that message to all girls to take off the field, then we’re on our way to ensuring a farer, more gender unbiased future exists.

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For now, let’s play, smile and continue to share and work on our dreams, both girls and boys, as one.

Story behind Life List

John Goddard, one of the world’s most famous anthropologists, explorers, and adventurers, passed away Friday, May 17th in Glendale, CA, after battling a rare form of cancer known as Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia.

Called “the real-life Indiana Jones” by the LA Times, Goddard will be remembered as the world’s greatest goal achiever and survivor of numerous edge-of-death experiences through his 88 1/2 years of life. He documented his adventures on film and showed them to thousands of youth and adults across the globe, inspiring them to set and achieve goals. His motto was: To dare is to do – to fear is to fail.

John Goddard
World’s Greatest Goal Achiever

One rainy afternoon an inspired 15-year old boy named John Goddard sat down at his kitchen table in Los Angeles and wrote three words at the top of a yellow pad, “My Life List.” Under that heading he wrote down 127 goals.

These were not simple or easy goals. They included climbing the world’s major mountains, exploring from source to mouth the longest rivers of the world, piloting the world’s fastest aircraft, running a mile in five minutes and reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.

Now, a generation later, he has accomplished 109 of these quests, and has logged an impressive list of records in achieving them.

Click here to view the list of goals.

Rabbit Nightmare and Turtle Dream : How I Became A Licensed SCUBA Diver

Little lines of rabbits tied up on top of a huge conveyor belt, all heading to a machine where they would go out lifeless, I was panicking, trying to find where the switch was to stop the killing machine. As a hit the stop, I realized my footprints were blood imprints. I looked around to see all the lifeless animals surrounding me, crying heavily with the horrendous sight, then I woke up. It was my one of the first nightmares that I’ve had as a 4-year-old kid.

Playing around at school
Playing around at school

I grew up with animals always near me, I had 3 dogs, couple of fishes, cats and white mice. Every afternoon, I would spend time to feed them and would even talk to them. Meanwhile my parents raised chickens, quails and pigs in our backyard. My dad loved joining cock fights. There were times I would try to skip meals after my father killed one of the chicken for our dinner. I would beg them not to kill animals but they always explained that it is natural for humans to eat them. I played with my dogs most of my time after school. I was alway fascinated by animals that there was one time I asked my mother to buy me a horse for my grandparents’ farm, which she of course immediately declined. I even dreamt of being a veterinarian and would play a doctor to our sick pets.

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It was when I got over my fear of the deep-sea when I started loving underwater life and by the end of high school, I wanted to take up marine biology but for a country where practicality wins, it was not an option. The course needed expensive dive equipment and my parents were not well off. I took up nursing instead and moved to another city, leaving my pets behind. Up until graduation, my dream of becoming a marine biologist never left my mind. Just when I though all hopes were lost that I saw one competition posted in Facebook that would include free diving lessons for the grand winner. Without anyone to help me, I went alone to screen and qualified. It was during the discovery dive when I met my scuba diving instructor. Finals day came and I finished second place. I was sad knowing that the opportunity to have sponsored dive lessons slipped through my fingers.

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The next year, the founder appointed me to compete internationally where I eventually had my sponsored dive lessons plus new dive equipment. Just when you think things will never go right, it did for me. To top it off I almost won the competition, I finished right after UK. I got to dive in amazing sites and talk to different people about marine conservation. Not everyone is lucky enough and each day I do my best to prove that I earned it. They teased me as Pawikan (Filipino term for green sea turtle) when I was young. In a way, I am a turtle. I had to fight through a lot of things to make it into the waters. It took time for me to reach my nesting grounds and now I am back to lay new dreams. Whatever it is you dream of, have tremendous passion and perseverance, and everything will fall in the right place.

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