Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dumaguete's Best: The City of Gentle People

It's good to travel where you can unwind and feel the serenity of the place, and perhaps that's the reason why I was brought by my wishes to the city of gentle people--Dumaguete. 

Back in Manila, I was thinking of a place where I could rejuvenate and regain my energy, and I am lucky to have a friend who can share something about his beloved city, and the desire was unstoppable--turned into reality. 

In the first few days of my stay, I have met friends who toured me around. The boulevard can become a busy street but with a relaxing ambiance, and it is where I spent some time meditating in front of the bay. Sitting on a bench while observing the surroundings made me feel the spirit of gentleness in people. The smiles, laughter, kindness, and hospitality make this place truly beautiful and worth remembering.

In every city where they offer specialty food, Dumaguete has its different tastes to cater to every visitor.  'Casablanca' has a Mediterranean feel as they serve tasty soup and salad. In C&L Bayview, you can have a relaxing view from the roof deck overlooking the mystical Island of Siquijor and the southern town of Cebu. There's also a certain glow at night as you feel the cool breeze from the bay and the view of the mountains from its neighboring town. 

At Rizal Boulevard
Near the boulevard are bistros and cafes where I tasted mouthwatering pastries and a cup of coffee. 'Sans Rival bistro' is a good place to dine with friends. Their old-time favorite silvanas and sans rival made me come back several times at any time of the day. After a meditation class at the stadium, there's Gabby's bistro to offer a good breakfast while having some chat. An evening chill at 'Hayahay" treehouse had a wonderful candlelight experience with relaxing music and a natural sea breeze. On a multi-tasking day, I've spent lunch in 'Kyosko' with a friend and at the same time working on my computer for a writing task. In 'KRI', a cup of warm ginger lemonade is soothing just before giving a talk to a youth group in Silliman. A sumptuous meal together with new friends and enjoying the stories and experiences shared. 

Since I've known a good friend at Silliman University, I am lucky to have been allowed to deliver a talk to 'Rennaisance Youth Leaders Forum" which is an outstanding youth organization in the country. It's always good to inspire young minds to become active leaders having balanced energy to unleash their potentials and eventually becoming world-class leaders. 
I had a campus tour with a friend and we walked from the facade and hallways of each department and visited old structures like the Silliman hall which is the oldest structure in the school. There's a huge auditorium used for cultural shows and other events and they boast a 3-story building library which is full of historical documents. 

Outdoor, they have a good playground where students can sit or play frisbee. From the central ground overlooking the bay, there's an open-air amphitheater facing the church, and the acacia trees in the promenade offer a calming effect. This is truly one of the best Universities in the country offering world-class education not only for Filipinos but also for foreign students who trust the quality of education they offer. A brief tour of the campus had given me nostalgic moments from the past and I had learned something about the history and culture of the university which is incomparable. 

At the Silliman University Campus

There's a reason to come back again and experience all the good things that the city has to offer. There's something more to explore and experience since Dumaguete is also a gateway to several natural wonders and scenic spots. There's an Apo island sanctuary to experience abundant marine life with corals, fishes, and sea turtles. Also, the Island of Siquijor would be a good summer escapade to experience unspoiled beaches and fresh air. Another activity which is snorkeling with the whale shark would be an exciting experience in the southern town of Cebu. All these are worth experiencing as everyone would talk good stories about it. 

Dumaguete is one of the best destinations I've visited in the country. With all these wonderful places, it is the gentleness and hospitality of the people that summarizes the overall experience and wanting me to come back.  I've been to places in the region but the city of gentle people is truly fascinating and worth remembering.

© 2014 Del Cusay

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Resilience of the Filipino Spirit: A Year After Typhoon Yolanda

"Today, we remember the innocent lives that were lost, the cry for help, the desperate actions, but we also remember the unsung heroes who have sacrificed in helping our countrymen to start another chapter of their lives. We thank those who have shared their sympathy and delivered humanitarian services to our people. We are not alone and we are blessed by your kindness and generosity."

It was a year ago when the Philippines experienced one of the worst catastrophes ever experienced. Typhoon "Haiyan" with the local name"Yolanda" became the deadliest calamity that hit our land. Thousands of people risked their lives, however, some were not lucky enough to survive. Several families lost their loved ones. They also lost their homes, properties, and sources of living. It was perhaps the most unforgettable and painful emotion ever felt by those people who were greatly affected by the tragedy.

November 8, 2013, was the day when almost the entire Visayan region was severely hit by a massive and destructive force that others wouldn't have expected to happen or even experience in their lives. Even when there was enough preparation by the local government and the announcement of the weather bureau, still the effect was so strong that has washed out the coastal village and have destroyed the entire city of "Tacloban" in the province of Leyte located in the central Visayas region. This was the place that was severely hit by the onslaught of the typhoon. 

I was in a foreign land when the calamity happened and what I could do is to offer a prayer to the people and the place and also to my loved ones who are also residing in the affected region. It could break a heart to see images and videos on the television about the aftermath of the typhoon. Some people might have survived, but they are not totally a survivor since they fought for food, water, shelter and died from hunger. Although they may have survival instincts, others have sacrificed dignity and virtues and they resort to looting and fighting just to feed their family to survive.

No matter what calamities we may be facing, Filipinos will still rise up and continue to live as true survivors. Two weeks after the calamity, I described how Filipinos fought one of the greatest challenges in their lives. The Resilience of the Filipino Spirit would have proved to the world that we are brave enough for any battles in life. We may have been deeply wounded from within, however, the painful mark will leave a lasting memory of bravery and valor. 

There was a destruction phase experienced, however, a year after, we've built our land again. We've put a smile on our face, we learned to laugh hard as if we have forgotten the worst nightmare. We are now rising above adversity and even prepared for a much stronger force beyond our control. 

We have witnessed the signs of destruction happening here and there and we are learning something from all of these things. This may only be the beginning, but we must prepare for the worst thing to come. We are now dealing with uncertainty and we may never know when shall another life will be lost. If there are lessons we need to learn, then we have to ponder deeply and do our best to share. We are not only responsible for our own lives, we have something to do with our environment, nature, our precious land. There's a greater message why we need to learn adversity and to reform. After all, we don't want to risk thousands of lives again and experience miserable lives. 

Today, we remember the innocent lives that were lost, the cry for help, the desperate actions, but we also remember the unsung heroes who have sacrificed in helping our countrymen to start another chapter of their lives. We thank those who have shared their sympathy and delivered humanitarian services to our people. We are not alone and we are blessed by your kindness and generosity. 

The Philippines may be a small archipelago, but Filipinos have bigger dreams and significant global contributions. We are becoming stronger and wiser, and when we join hands together, we will rise up again. In our hearts, we do not commemorate struggles and misery, but we celebrate a life full of gratitude and mercy.

© 2014 Del Cusay

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Moving Forward and Awakening the Power Within

If you have a talent and ability in something, you must learn to share it for others to emulate and be inspired by your ways. Inherent talent can launch you into something maybe in the distant future if you just realize your potential and the awakened power of your soul. 

In the society where we live, how many have real talents and skills to offer and contribute to the betterment of the people? who has the capacity to speak up and start the real change? We may have a lot of potential talents including you. 

In a material world where there is greed and lust for money, people start to lose trust in some of our leaders who are entrusted to deliver basic needs and services. Someone must arise to offer help to the people and you can do your share by tapping into your own powers. Just like what Mother Teresa of Kolkata once said that we should not just wait for leaders, but we can do it on our own person to person. 

You will notice that our societies are becoming sick and it needs to be healed from issues of corruption, conflicts, wars between countries, and even the calamities that the world experiences; natural or man-made. We have experienced lots of catastrophes as a result of global warming; droughts resulting in famine, strong typhoons/ hurricanes that strike at any time and any place are becoming common occurrence through the years. 

There is still a chance to renew and start to build up to something good. If the foundation seems to be weak, this is the time to correct it and build a stronger one. We have been stuck for a long time due to our psychological traumas and insecurities; we dealt with fears and phobias that could be real enough for us not to move forward.

We are all suffering from the ill-effects of our own actions and there is a destruction phase for us to realize our faults and begin a life that is wiser and having a sense of satisfaction and gratitude.

Life purpose: why on earth are you here for

Back to our real-life purpose, it is not to achieve personal satisfaction alone or your deepest desires, but it is your commitment to serve with your big heart and good intentions. Whatever profession and passion you may have, it does serve your dharma or life purpose and you can even go beyond by reaching and touching their hearts to a higher level.

When you start to become closer to people who are in need of help, you will realize the goodness of your soul and the greatness of your spirit to bring significant change to society. Reaching out to people is a good way of uplifting their conditions and it will create a ripple effect of goodwill as they start to stand up on their own and begin the transformation in their lives. 

© 2014 Del Cusay

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I have A Dream

When I want something, I ask for it. This is a fundamental law of life; we attract things that we give too much attention to. When we think of something and go into a much deeper state of consciousness, we are becoming closer to make it a reality. It is magical for some, but the experience is truly wonderful and real.
Perhaps one of the things that fascinate me from the past until the present time is when I get things that once I have just imagined. It is a daydream; hence, it is fiction. However, everything in life starts with a single wish, our so-called desire for something. We become what we think of ourselves, and we get to experience the reality of once a creative imagination.
In my past journey, I have met people who have challenged my life's perspective. I could go deeper in life but received criticism for not having experienced what life truly is and not wise enough like an experienced adult.
The fact that I am young and who may not have attained certain level of maturity in life, I could say that people no matter how young they are, have inherent capability of knowing what life is about only if we are reflecting on ourselves; our ideals and philosophies. We learn each day not much, from what we already know, but from the mistakes that we have done. It is through imperfections that we challenge to become a better version of ourselves. We strive hard to make things right despite the wrongful deeds and decisions committed.

I may be young, but I have the capacity to influence people in my own ways based on what I believe is right and what I think is good for them. In a not-so-distant past, I have met wonderful people who were in trouble, and a simple understanding and philosophy of why such misery could happen in life guided them. I have not learned counseling subject in school back then, I learned it in real life as I encounter several circumstances that I could turn into wisdom.
Yes, I have a dream; it was a simple dream of inspiring people to live a fulfilling life, and now it comes closer to reality. Through motivational speaking, certain emotions can touch people. It is not just intellect, but also a heart that feels that connects people together.
Previously, I received advice to be careful of what I wish for, and I must agree to that since I have my limitations. I know for myself when to stop and to persevere. I listen for my instinct that guides me of what is right and wrong and again that is common to everyone.
In our lives, we listen to different voices that could inspire or harm us. Nevertheless, we have the inner voices that always direct us towards the right path in life. We cannot be certain of what lies ahead in life, but one thing is for sure, that we believe in ourselves no matter what voices we are hearing.
Looking back on my previous life, I am still young and I still have wishes, and this soon will come true because I have proven it now. I was there before and it was a fantasy, now I am here and living my own reality.
© 2014 Del Cusay

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Road Ahead: The Rising Challenges Along The Way

"Time to heal and to start another chapter of a more meaningful life. A life that gives us second chances and letting go. Life that gives unlimited potentials and opportunities for growth. There will be challenges along the way, however in the end, it is indispensable to keep our flow and to live life in harmony and with sense of fulfillment."

That was a long break and now back to writing again. It's been several months of untold memorable stories; events that would have been special and worth remembering through writing. There are times in our lives when we slow down a bit and needed much inspiration and will to do something we love. Inspiration comes anytime, and the will to do things would be the most important one. 

Action is indeed necessary to get things done and no matter how much hard we try in the planning phase, still we get stuck- up and remain stationary. We do things with much gratitude for starting into something, but in the process, we also encounter the signal to slow down until we are out of sight. It's not that we lose, but we're starting to get back on track and regain things missed. 

Writing on the 2nd quarter of the year would be nice to reflect on the latest journey that keeps me alive. Perhaps one of the most favorable time of the year is summer; although hot and humid, still we endure and continue to have fun and experience this wonderful season of the year--the preservation phase. 

In this season, there may have been down moments, but have enough will to rise up again. Life has become tougher as we move along in another milestone of a not so distant future. After all, we have proven to ourselves how resilient we are and keep moving on when the road seems rough. We learn best through experience and it keeps us stronger than ever no matter how hard it may seem. 

Some of the most wonderful moments this summer was when I got the chance to travel with family and friends. Enjoying precious time with loved ones is incomparable and something to cherish and worth reminiscing. 

Travelling and exploring places is something that would nourish my mind and body as I do meditation in different places; from the cool and turquoise water of Guimaras Island, to the green and relaxing ambiance at the foothill of Mt. Arayat-- such a pleasant surprise.

Not so far away from Manila; there could have been a better escape from the hustle and bustle city living for Lenten reflection. From the glorious Christ the Redeemer in Monasterio de Tarlac going to the mountainous and highly spiritual place in  Lucban, Quezon. These places offers not so overrated experience, but the memories are worthwhile and will truly remain in our hearts. 

Time to heal and to start another chapter of a more meaningful life. A life that gives us second chances and letting go. Life that gives unlimited potentials and opportunities for growth. There will be challenges along the way, however in the end, it is indispensable to keep our flow and to live life in harmony and with sense of fulfillment.