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 that may be 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. 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 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 beautiful and worth remembering.

In every city that offers specialty food, Dumaguete has 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 were bistros and cafes where I tasted mouthwatering pastries and a cup of coffee. 'Sans Rival Bistro' is an excellent 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 spent lunch in 'Kyosko' with a friend while 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 with new friends and enjoying shared stories and experiences. 

Since I've known a good friend at Silliman University, I am lucky to have been allowed to deliver a talk to the '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 with balanced energy to unleash their potential and eventually become 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 Silliman Hall, the oldest structure in the school. There's a vast auditorium used for cultural shows and other events, and they boast a 3-story building library full of historical documents. 

Outdoor, they have a good playground where students can sit or play frisbee. From the central ground overlooking the bay, an open-air amphitheater faces 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 gave me nostalgic moments from the past, and I learned something about the university's history and culture, which is incomparable. 

At the Silliman University Campus

There's a reason to return and experience all the good things the city has to offer. There's 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 beautiful places, the gentleness and hospitality of the people summarize the overall experience and wanting me to return.  I've been to places in the region, but the city of gentle people is 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 are blessed by your kindness and generosity."

A year ago, the Philippines experienced one of the worst catastrophes ever experienced. Typhoon "Haiyan," with the local name"Yolanda," became our land's deadliest calamity. 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 greatly affected by the tragedy.

On November 8, 2013, 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. Even when there was enough preparation by the local government and the announcement of the weather bureau, the effect was so strong that has washed out the coastal village and destroyed the entire city of "Tacloban" in the province of Leyte located in the central Visayas region. This place 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 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, and shelter and died from hunger. Although they may have survival instincts, others have sacrificed dignity and virtues and resort to looting and fighting to feed their family to survive.

Regardless of our calamities, Filipinos will still rise and live as survivors. Two weeks after the catastrophe, I described how Filipinos fought one of the most significant 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. 

A destruction phase was experienced; however, a year later, we built our land again. We've put a smile on our faces and learned to laugh hard as if we have forgotten the worst nightmare. We are now rising above adversity and even prepared for a more substantial force beyond our control. 

We have witnessed the signs of destruction happening here and there and are learning something from all 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 may never know when another life will be lost. If there are lessons we need to learn, we must ponder profoundly and do our best to share. We are not only responsible for our own lives; we have something to do with our environment, nature, and our precious land. There's a more powerful message about why we must learn about adversity and reform. After all, we don't want to risk thousands of lives again and experience miserable lives. 

Today, we remember the innocent lives lost, the cry for help, and the desperate actions. Still, we also recognize the unsung heroes who have sacrificed to help 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 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; we will rise again when we join hands together. In our hearts, we do not commemorate struggles and misery but 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 in the distant future if you just realize your potential and the awakened power of your soul. 

In our society, how many have natural talents and skills to offer and contribute to the betterment of the people? Who can speak up and start the actual change? We may have a lot of potential talents, including you. 

In a material world with greed and lust for money, people lose trust in some of our leaders 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 Mother Teresa of Kolkata once said,  Mother Teresa of Kolkata said that we should not just wait for leaders, but we can do it individually. 

You will notice that our societies are becoming sick and need to be healed from corruption, conflicts, wars between countries, and even the calamities that the world experiences, natural or man-made. We have experienced many catastrophes due to global warming; droughts resulting in famine and strong typhoons/ hurricanes that strike at any time and place are becoming everyday occurrences. 

There is still a chance to renew and build up to something good. If the foundation seems weak, it is 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 actions, and there is a destruction phase for us to realize our faults and begin a wiser life with 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 help your dharma or life purpose, and you can even go beyond by reaching and touching their hearts to a higher level.

When you become closer to people who need 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 we give too much attention to. When we think of something and go into a much deeper state of consciousness, we become closer to making it a reality. It is magical for some, but the experience is remarkable and authentic.
Perhaps one thing that fascinates me from the past until the present is when I get something  I have just imagined. It is a daydream; hence, it is fiction. However, everything 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 met people who challenged my life's perspective. I could go deeper in life but received criticism for not having experienced what life truly is and needing to be wiser like an experienced adult.
Because I am young and may not have attained a certain level of maturity in life, I could say that people, no matter how young they are, can know what life is about only if we reflect on ourselves, our ideals, and our philosophies. We learn not much each day from what we already know but from the mistakes that we have made. We challenge ourselves through imperfections 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 can influence people in ways based on what I believe is right and good for them. In the 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 had not learned to counsel in school back then, but I knew it in real life as I encountered several circumstances I could turn into wisdom.
Yes, I have a dream; it was a simple dream of inspiring people to live fulfilling lives, and now it is coming 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 since I have limitations. I know for myself when to stop and persevere. I listen to my instinct that guides me in what is right and wrong, which is familiar to everyone.
In our lives, we listen to different voices that could inspire or harm us. Nevertheless, we have inner voices that always direct us toward the right path in life. We cannot be sure of what lies ahead in life, but one thing is sure: we believe in ourselves no matter what voices we hear.
Looking back on my previous life, I am still young, and I still have wishes, and these will soon come true because I have proven them 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. A life that gives unlimited potential and opportunities for growth. There will be challenges along the way; however, it is indispensable to keep our flow and live life in harmony and with a sense of fulfillment."

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

Action is necessary to get things done, and no matter how hard we try in the planning phase, we still get stuck- 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. One of the most favorable times of the year is summer; although hot and humid, we still endure and continue to have fun and experience this wonderful season of the year--the preservation phase. 

There may have been down moments this season, but they have enough will to rise again. Life has become more challenging 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 more vital than ever, no matter how hard it may seem. 

Some of the most beautiful moments this summer were 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 about. 

Traveling and exploring places would nourish my mind and body as I meditate in different areas, from the calm 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 from Manila, there could have been a better escape from the hustle and bustle of city living for Lenten's reflection. From the glorious Christ, the Redeemer in Monasterio de Tarlac, going to the mountainous and highly spiritual place in  Lucban, Quezon. These places do not offer such overrated experiences, but the memories are worthwhile and will remain in our hearts. 

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