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Osaka, I love you

Hi, I’m back.

2017. 22 years old. first time to live in a city and alone.

I was full of life and adventure when I first move in. Until reality happened, I struggled a lot during my first 3 years, had my ups and downs, felt happiness, sadness and all in-betweens. I almost gave up because I felt like I don’t belong in here. I thought this city is too big for a small town girl like me. I had nothing but my dreams, hope and faith that the universe put me where I am supposed to be.

2021. 26 years old. contented.

I don’t know what changed but one thing I know for sure is that finally, I am embracing the life I have. I was living in my past where I didn’t realized how blessed I am and how I am robbing the people who wants to know me just because I am scared to trust. The only constant thing in our life is change. It’s either we learn how to go with the flow or go against it and drown. I met genuinely people, fell in love with city, move in knowing zero names and probably one day, leaving it knowing hundred names.

My greatest adventures happened here. I was able to laugh, cry and grow. Osaka will always have a place in my heart. Who knew that a small town girl like me will be able to survive this big, loud and fast-paced city? As the saying goes, our fate is already destined even before we were born.

Kobe Port 2021
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Falling in love

Falling in love can be also about places. One thing for sure is that I don’t know where I’m gonna be in the next 5 years. So, I learned how to live my life in the moment.

Over the course of years, I have this love-hate relationship with this country but I’m so grateful for the opportunity to know and experience Japan.

A lot of people thinks Japan is all about cherry blossoms, matcha and sushi. However, it’s more than that…

It can be so deep it makes you feel like your drowning. Life is so raw that sometimes you even forget how to laugh and smile. And at the end of the day, silence can be your only friend.

But at the same time, you appreciate silence when the world is tiring. You love how raw life can be cause you learned how to stand up at your own feet. And lastly, you understand happiness is a proactive choice and you will define it on your own.

It’s like falling in love with a person. Sometimes, we hate their flaws but we accept it because we love them. For the last 5 years, I didn’t realized how attached I become with this country. Now, I know that I will be always torn between two lands. Japan is home. Philippines is home.

Hakone, Japan
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The hardest part of living in Japan

It’s almost 4 years now since I moved to Japan and this year is nothing but amazing. I was able to got home in Philippines last month for two weeks, my friends visited me here in Japan and it is their first time to travel abroad. It’s just March of 2019 and I can already say that this is gonna the best year ever. 2018 was really dramatic for me, depression, anxieties because of all the calamities happened in here that I had to face alone. But thank God I can say all the tears I cried was all worth it cause I am at my happiest right now.

Living and working in Japan for a quite while now, everything got so much better because I got used to the life I have right now. I built routines, met new people, more settled and got more matured at handling my life. There will always be mistakes and stupidity it’s part of life.

Being away from all your love ones is the hardest part, missing out important occasions like birthdays, weddings, Christmas, New Years and not to mention holidays that you always celebrate alone. Friends you want to see and hang out with were thousand miles away from you. Sure, I met new people and made some new friends but you know, you’re ‘go-to people’ ‘homecourt friends’ will always be different. They get you, the real you, you get each others humor that nobody else will understand but them.

I wrote this to give highlight to my friends who kept in touch for the last four years and made an effort to stay in my life even though I am already thousand miles away from them. It means a lot. I consider myself lucky and blessed enough to have people in my life that is so supportive that I can turn into when life is kinda overwhelming. They keep me grounded and reminds me of who I was before I came here. Life in Japan can be tiring sometimes and it is important to not lose yourself while living in this fast-paced life.

‘Keep swimming’

xoxo

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24. soon.

Every time it is year-ending I can’t help but to feel sentimental cause it means I am one year older again and it makes me reflect what the whole year has brought me. I am going to be 24 soon, mid twenties is coming and I don’t know what to feel. I admit I felt the pressure at first when everyone around me is either getting engaged or having babies. My facebook timeline is full of people found ‘the one’, someone to share their lives with and friends asking me to be their babies Godmother.

I was afraid to be alone. I was terrified to live this life alone and no one to share it with. I was hopeless romantic always searching for the one great love. Until I realized, it is way more scarier to get married with the wrong person just because you don’t want to be alone. I decided to change my perspective. I am living independently for almost 2 years now. I can completely do this life alone. I underestimate what I can do just because I relay my happiness with looking for someone until I realized nobody can make me happy except me.

23. 24 soon and finally I can say I am now emotionally independent. I am taking my time to know myself and I am not pressured anymore that I am alone because so what? I love my life. I am embracing this life alone the good and the bad and actually enjoying it. I am not bothered anymore if no one is out there for me because for me I am already enough for myself. This isn’t easy journey a lot of trial and error but you know what it’s all about mindset and perspective. Love yourself hard and when that love is full that’s the time to share it with someone else. As of now, I am contented with where I am and happy. I never felt this peace in my entire life. If someone is gonna be out there for me in the future, I will think of it just a bonus from above.

Braver 2019! Let’s go!

xoxo

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Conquering Mt. Fuji

Summer time in Japan means climbing season for Mt. Fuji. I was caught in the middle of my life so stressed, depressed and unmotivated to do anything, so I decided to book a tour to climb Mt. Fuji last minute, it was a spontaneous trip with my friends who also just want to get away with the routine of life.

I took overnight bus from Osaka to Tokyo where the meeting place is. I was part of a tour with other tourist from all different parts of the world. Our tour guide explain to us the guidelines while climbing the mountain and they said we are very lucky cause the weather at the mountain is perfect cause the typhoon just passed by the other day.

11:30AM. Our tour bus took us directly to station 5 where the climb will start and we have to climb until station 10, sounds easy? No. Station 6 is okay but station 7 until 8 is very rocky and stiff, I suggest rent trekking pole it will save your ass from sliding, falling and it will give your more stability while climbing or walking.

6:00PM. When we reached station 8 where we will stay overnight, have dinner and rest before we reached the summit. That’s the only time I somehow properly wash my face, used bathroom and clean myself a bit cause I still can’t take a shower. They offer post cards which is exclusive only at the mountain where you can send to your loved ones or yourself.

1:45AM. The most difficult part for me climbing at dawn with 4-5km/hr wind and 5 degrees weather. The way to the summit is very stiff and dark it took us 2 hours before we entirely reached the summit.

4:15AM. The most rewarding part waiting for the sunrise! As the sky clears and you can see all the clouds beneath looking so soft and fluffy that I actually want to dive in feels so unreal. Then, me watching the sunrise at the summit of Mt. Fuji I just can’t think of anything. It might sound so cliche but as I watch it, everyday is literally and figuratively a brand new day!

That moment in my life will definitely be one of the books and I will always look back at when I’m so tired with my life. Imagine everyday the sun rises for all of us and me as a night person personally watching it, I never knew how amazing it can be! It feels like magic and surreal. I felt completely happy, high, positive and energized after I witnessed it. There are no words and adjective to describe how great it was.

xoxo

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Adulthood. Since when?

2017 is the plot twist of my life cause this is the first for me to be independent. I grew up with strict and conservative grandparents that’s why I always crave for freedom. When I got the chance to move out of our house and live by myself without second thoughts I grabbed it right away. So at 22, I am that ‘independent woman’. I create these image inside my head of what am I gonna do once I have my own apartment. All of it was beautiful, exciting and fun. I thought it will be look like college sleepovers but reality hits me like a truck. I don’t know why I have this habit of making major decisions without really thinking about it.

At firsts it was a struggle, the emotional aspect of it is tough. I can’t sleep cause it doesn’t feel like home, getting home with no one to talk to my family is big I’m not used to silence, eating alone all the time. Even the day-to-day living was hard cause after long of work I have to take out the trash, cleaning dishes, laundries, cleaning, cooking, understanding your taxes, paying your bills all by yourself which I took for granted before.

This whole adulthood phase is all new to me that’s why I am so overwhelmed. I still fucked up, missed work cause I’m too drunk (don’t tell my mom), hitting snooze button for 100x, eating junk for the whole week to make ends meet, panicking over petty things. In short, I still don’t have my shit together I think we all do. No one have it all together. It’s bullshit some are just better at acting like they do. No matter how old you get life will always be a bitch but that’s what makes life interesting and worth living for. Well, my point is don’t be too hard on yourself as long as you’re trying world will understand.

I am not ready with adulting and I will never be. It’s fun but in a different way. The accomplishment when all your bills are paid, all laundries are done, sink is empty . It’s the little things that counts and don’t forget to celebrate it cause nobody will understand what does it takes you to get it done. The fulfillment finding out you can actually feed yourself and completely getting in control of your life. All the decisions big or small without the influence of anyone. It’s still tough but I won’t trade it for anything else cause I won’t have it the other way around. 2017 is life changing, indeed. Be grateful always!

‘Adulting is realizing we’re just children with taxes.’

xoxo

 

 

 

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5 things I always miss about Philippines

It’s been so long, Dear Philippines. How are you? I might not be there anymore but I always wish all the best for my beloved home. I remember my first year in Japan, I don’t want to accept the new culture and norm I’m surrounded with cause my system can’t take the reality I’m not in the Philippines anymore.

I guess no matter how long I stay here, truly there’s no place like home. Yes, I’m surviving but there are days homesickness will hit you hard and you can’t do anything about it but cry and remind yourself to be strong. I believe this is a common struggle for all expats. They are not kidding when they told me living abroad are only for those people who has strong heart and mind, cause you will make a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes, I wish my reality now is just a dream. But no regrets, I’m just homesick so bare with my drama tonight and I really miss home right now. So here it is:

5. Weather

I miss the days where I woke up with sun beaming into my face and the sound of rooster saying it’s already morning. It’s still bright even if it’s already 7pm, the beautiful sunset with shades of pink, sky blue, purple and orange.

Philippines has only two seasons: wet and dry. As you all know, we are tropical country. All year round, you can hit the beach cause there’s no winter but beware of typhoons. I remember during my college days, even if it’s December we hit the beach at night, drink cheap spirits and BBQ. The good old days of my life! (okay. I want to cry T.T)

4. Street Foods

Filipinos loves to eat. I swear, we eat five times a day: breakfast, snack before lunch, lunch, ‘merienda’ and dinner. All of our festivities and parties equals to food. When you go to Philippines, you will notice a lot of food stands that sells street foods. If Japan has lots of convenience store at every corner, we have food stands.

Street foods are really cheap perfect for students budget. It has been part of my highschool life, after school we buy siomai, kwek-kwek, buko shake forever, ihaw-ihaw and stories we shared over it. I miss how life was so simple back then.

3. The Filipino Spirit

Filipinos are jolly people. We love to smile, throw punchlines and laugh. It’s part of our culture. No matter how big the problem is we still manage to laugh and shrug it off. This is the one thing I’m really proud of about us. I was surprised when I came in Japan, where the news is all about suicides. I wonder why? I want to tell them how lucky they are to be Japanese, their government gave them everything they need. Unemployed? Single parent? You can receive money from the government. Senior citizen? free of charge from the hospitals and medicines. Do you have kids who are minors? They can receive allowance from government quarterly. Public transportation? very fast and efficient, no traffic jams. Unlike in our country, everything is the opposite of it.

If they only knew how lucky and comfortable their life is. In the Philippines, a lot people has no work and living in the poverty lane. But it’s so rare for us to give up on life. I know I’m in no position to judge. I just don’t really understand why? I’m saying all of these cause I already saw two perspectives of it.

 2. Simplicity of life

Sure, life in the Philippines is not extravagant. It is actually the opposite of it, you can see the face of poverty at every corner but even though it’s like that, you can feel the warm, harmony and happiness. I miss the days where neighbors will hand you a plate of dish she cooks for you to taste. It’s always been like that and common for Filipino neighborhood. ‘Sharing is caring.’

Most of the time, I miss the simple life. You don’t need to spend much just to be happy and have fun. Street corners, good friends, good music,’bangketa’, anti-repellent for mosquitoes, cheap spirits and chips will do the magic.

Filipino kids don’t own expensive gadgets. Streets and rice fields were our playground. We climbed trees to get fresh fruits, climbed the roof to watch stars, and played in the rain even though we’re afraid of thunders. I miss playing in the rain, I swear. And of course childhood would not be fun if you didn’t experienced to chase by a dog.

1.People I love

Of course, this is already given. The people I left behind to pursue greater ambition in a strange land. My friends, cousins and grandparents they are my reminder that I can always come back home and they will welcome me with open arms. It feels like no matter how far I roam around or how my life has been changed for them I’m still the same ‘Hana’ and why it’s important not to forget it. It’s nice to know you have people in your life, you can always count on when life seems so restless.

See you soon, my beloved. Philippines has a lot of flaws but there’s more love in here that’s why I will always come back to you. If I had the chance to choose what nationality I want, I will always choose to be a Filipino cause I can’t have it the other way around. Exactly one month to go! yatta!

Proud to be kayumanggi. xoxo

 

 

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How to deal with homesickness?

Time check: almost 11PM and I can’t sleep due to homesickness.

Living abroad sounds fun and exciting until you have to deal with homesickness. I believe all immigrants can relate. This is the toughest battle we have to face.

When you scroll down on your facebook timeline and see your friends hanging out without you or receiving video calls when they go out, for a while you can forget the thousand miles distance from them at the same time you want to cry cause you miss them. It makes you realized how your life has been changed since then.

When you crave your local food or homemade meals and you can’t do anything about it. There will be no grill joint at the street corner, no more midnight snack lugawan, 24/7 Panaderia that serves hot pandesals, fresh coconut juice and taho early in the morning.

Even the hot weather cause I’m really getting tired of snow and winter. Missing my tropical home. I know you can feel me, right?

Most of the people who know me are amazed how fast I adjusted my life here, but they have no idea what’s really going on inside my head. So, how I deal with days like these?

1.Reminiscing the good old days

You can say I’m masochist but yeah, when I’m feeling down and missing home I always browse old photos. Those photos means a lot. Old but golden, the good times and happiness where we’re just having the best time of our lives and we don’t care about tomorrow. Photos that will make you smile no matter what’s going on with your life.

2. Calling my grandparents or love ones

Talking to my grandparents always makes me happy. They raised me, so when I’m feeling sad I always talk to them they are the only one who can give me warm and fill my heart too cheesy but true.

3. Watching favorite shows, anime or kdrama

I consider myself as an ambivert. I like going out with people but I need alone time cause it exhausts me, most of the time I watch my favorite shows to uplift myself. Sometimes, reading my favorite book also do the magic. Just do whatever makes you feel great and happy.

4. Good food, Good bath, Good sleep

The three combos that can solve anything. I know you get me.

So there you have it. The best advice I could give is only you, yourself can make you feel good. Always remember why are doing these? Who are your inspirations? Never lose of that sight. Life is tough and much tougher away from home but always remember why you started.

You are entitled for all of those emotions. It’s healthy to release it once in a while, but don’t be stuck there. You have to keep going and don’t let life defeat you. After all, living in a strange land is not that bad. Have a mindset of this is actually an adventure, a roller coaster ride so might as well, enjoy it while it lasts!

P.S. For all immigrants, I’m so proud of you.

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‘Little Miss Too Nice’

This blog post is very personal to me cause it is dedicated to all those people who let me down. This will be the first and last time I’m going to talk about it. I just want to express and let go all the pain I’m feeling right now.

I bet all of us know what betrayal feels like but I never expected it will come from those people who are really dear to me, who I knew for so long, who I trusted so much. I can accept everything if it comes from people who hated me rather than for those people who I treated like siblings. I was speechless.

My problem is I always care, I always do. Even for those people who don’t deserve it. If my friends need me, I’ll be there in a heartbeat cause I know what it feels like to have no one. If you need a listener, I’ll be there to listen and comfort you cause I know what it feels like to have no one to talk to. When I love, whether it be relationship or friendship I tend to give myself too much to the point, I was being taken for granted. I put too much trust on people even higher than Mount Everest cause I never had a single doubt about the friendship we had. But surprise! I know now that just because you treat them well with all your honesty and soul it doesn’t mean they will also do the same for you. Life is unfair. Why do I always need to learn things the hard way?

You can never really trust people these days. Even the people you thought will be there for you until the end will drop you down. I swear. So from now on, I’ll do what’s best for me. I will let go all the people who taken me for granted and never really appreciate me. The show is end, my dear ‘friends’. I don’t deserve all of these bullshits cause all I ever gave was only love and genuine friendship. My hands are already full with so many things going on with my life right now. I don’t want to waste another time for fake people.

So lesson learned, at the end of the day all you’ve got is yourself and your faith. Don’t put too much trust on people. Learn to be silent and be your own hero. I can’t kill all of you literally but I will treat all of you like a dead person. I will just completely ignore you like you never existed in my life. You won’t hear a thing from me starting today. You all made me look so stupid. I just can’t believe what you did to me cause you’re the least people I thought who will ever betrayed me.

I know now who are really true to my face. I really appreciate those people who says the truth no matter how hard it is than to comfort me with lies. Thank you for saving me from the people I thought who cares for me. Truth hurts but I’ll always choose pain and honesty than faking it. So fuck fake friend, fuck fake love. For one last time, TANGINA NIYONG LAHAT.

P.S I’m so sorry for the cursed words. I just badly needed an outlet to vent all my emotions but I’m fine now.

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OFW Diaries

So my blog today is all about OFW on the point of view of a daughter. For those who doesn’t understand, OFW stands for Overseas Filipino Workers, according to Philippine Statistics Authority there are 2.4 million OFWs as of 2015. So imagine how many Filipino children has no parents? has no husband/wife? has no son/daughter? It’s heartbreaking to know due to poverty in the Philippines, many are forced to work outside the country just to provide for their families. 

Since I was 2 years old, both of my parents had to work abroad. So apparently, I grew up with my grandparents together with my siblings and cousins. I had an awesome childhood cause of my cousins, imagine we’re six children living under one roof. It was instant bestfriends, ‘barkada’ and enemy at the same time. Even up to now that we’re all grown ups, we’re really close and hang out once in a while. It actually felt awkward the first time we have to live together with our parents abroad cause it means we’re going to live in different houses from then on.

What does it feels like to be an OFW’s child? When I was a kid I’m used to it, my parents going and leaving the country. I don’t even remember that I cried when they leave. I didn’t even look for them cause growing up, I am happy and contented with my life. I have grandparents who love me dearly, cousins who are always there for me, friends who truly cares for me. What more should I asked for? But I admit it was still hard, as a kid I just had questions why I don’t have parents during PTA’s at school, why I don’t have a mother who supposed to teach me how to comb my hair, why I have no father to protect me from all the bastard who will promise you all the grandest things in life and turned bullshits. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not angry at them. I completely understand why they had to leave. I just don’t know what to feel for my parents cause my entire life they are not with me physically. I pretty much learned things about life and love the hard way.

At the present, I lived together with my parents here in abroad. The whole adjustment to different country is not a joke. But the most difficult part for me was actually living together with them. I know they are my parents and I am their child, but they don’t truly know who I am. They don’t know what my favorite food is, how lazy I am in the morning and why I don’t like coffee. They don’t know what annoyed me the most and what makes me happy. They don’t know who my bestfriend is. They just completely don’t know me and what’s makes me. You get me,right?

So for the parents planning to leave their child for the greener pastures abroad. Think thrice because you know, you can’t turned back all the lost time you have for your children. I can’t tell my mom who the person I like, when was my heart first broken, when I cried alone at nights. I can’t asked my dad, how to know if a man is serious with me. You know the conversations and wisdom they should give to me. Now that I am an adult, I promised to myself if I ever get married and have children, I won’t leave no matter what. No amount of money can make up for lost time. I will take care of them personally cause I know how hard it is growing up having no parents. I understand life in the Philippines is hard. I’m actually thankful to Japan and my parents cause without them I probably won’t even finished highschool. I even graduated from one of the pretigious universities in the Philippines because of them. They provide everything I need and lived a very comfortable life. I am forever grateful for that. But weigh things, do you really want to be strangers to your own child? I am speaking through experience.

xoxo

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