Sunday, December 27, 2020

Year in Review 2020: Overcoming Great Odds


What a challenging year it has been! Full of surprises, chaos and unmet expectations. A year of lost hopes and breaking barriers. That's how I sum up the year 2020.

No matter how good the year 2020 had started, there would always be obstacles along the road. That's an uncertain moment of what the future holds. 

How the year started

Celebrating New year 2020 with my family was one of the best moments. It brought happiness and joyful spirit to be with my love ones.

We've shared lots of meaningful conversations, short travels and family gatherings that bonded us strongly. We don't get to celebrate yearly together as one big family, and whenever we do, we make it sure to be very memorable ever.

Meaningful moments were extended with a special person in my life. I had a great time and sweet memories that I always reminisce.

The Great Challenge

The end of the first quarter of 2020 brought misery to our lives. The pandemic caused by Covid-19 knocked us down. It made us paralyzed for a moment. It made us worry, fear and angry over the unknown enemy.

Covid-19 made a global freeze. No local and international flights, some travel restrictions, closed businesses and bankrupt companies. 

It had separated countries by closing the borders, made us feel disconnected through physical distancing and taught us to set boundaries for our own protection and of our love ones.

Prior to lockdown in March this year, I was able to share meaningful journey with special people in my life. Never have we thought that the worst is yet to come, but we celebrated triumph with courage, faith and love.

Despite this centuries' surprise, we're able to survive and thrive. No matter how challenging the situations are, still we keep a fighting spirit to live a good life on a new normal.

The Lessons of Pandemic

Lots of meaningful lessons are thrown to us. This current pandemic is just a preview of a series of disastrous moments to come to the humanity. We're being prepared to experience the worst, so we can better prepare for the next to come. Be better and be bold.

That's a great lesson for mankind, but the pandemic made us realize that we're all globally connected and can feel people's suffering wherever they are in the world.

However, it's not the end of the world. We had to do something. We don't have to feel miserable, lonely or depressed. Instead, we have made things possible.

In times of pandemic, food is the most important thing to survive. When people in the cities are challenged in having their food supplies, people in the countryside or rural areas have a reason to be more grateful.

Integrated farming lifestyle

My parents decided to make use of their time while on lockdown, and so they started to develop our farm land to be our new lifestyle.

With integrated farming, it has converted our farm into a mini forest, with different kinds of trees. This is where I do forest bathing every time we visit the farm. Its healing effect is just wonderful as it helps to be more grounded; to be connected to the natural source.

We've also started to plant vegetables and fruits and have made farm-fresh harvest for our food on the table.

This time, health must be an utmost priority. We have to strengthen our immunity against diseases, and so it's good to eat organic fruits and veggies that's more healthy and keeping us tronger and having more energy.

Overcoming challenges

We've had enough of the Covid-19 and we help to defeat it. It can never break us and kill us, as long as we keep the faith.

When travel restrictions were lifted and quarantine status is on the lowest level, we rejoice that finally we are back to normal, although some health protocols are still in place.

We've had some simple family gatherings to celebrate precious moments and religious devotions. This time, no kiss and hugs, but a little distance to ensure safety. It's a edited feeling, but we have to get used to it.

Christmas in our hearts

Our world brighten up when the 'Ber' month started. We're on a festive mood and celebrating Christmas early on.

From September to December, a very long Christmas season unique among Filipinos. It brings hope that we can always be cheerful and win any battle of life's ups and downs.

And so, we celebrate Christmas. It may not be the merriest celebration this year, but we never fail to bring the light of hope and higher aspirations. 

This Christmas in times of pandemic,is a reminder to be with the people who truly matters, to celebrate with simplicity and with highest gratitude. It's a time for introspection about our purpose and our continued journey in life. To give hope and bear the light.

Christmas time is the most anticipated moment, and so we make a peace with our self over wrongful actions. This is the time for a soulful evaluation of the year that was, and the planning for the next year ahead.

So many turn of events. Some unexpected moments. Some unimaginable happenings. The year 2020 may be the beginning of a new earthly changes, but it's also the beginning of a new personality and a more refined and stronger energy.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

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πŸ‘‰ Year in Review 2019: The Greatest Love

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Stairway to the Ruins in Macau


The former British colony, Hong Kong brought a wonderful surprise for my parents as we explored the vibrant cosmopolitan in the East. And so, at the end of the 4-day trip, we had one last stop, and that was a-day visit and tour in a neighbor special administrative region, Macau.

Just an hour and a half ferry ride from Hong Kong and we were greeted with "Bienvenido" or welcome in Portuguese language. Macau is a former Portuguese colony and its preserved buildings and other structures are reminiscent of European heritage.

I always love cultural and heritage preservation, and Macau is home to a famous World heritage site, the Ruins of St. Paul.

On the early morning before heading to the airport for our flight back to the Philippines, we had a walking tour from our hotel going to the Ruins. It was just a close proximity of about 15 minutes walk until we've reached the Senado square; just few steps away from the Ruins.

That was in September 2016. A surprise made possible in  celebration of the 64th birthday of my Mother. That was our first travel abroad as a family and so it was truly memorable.

The St. Paul Cathedral in Macau was built in the 17th century and was destroyed by fire in the 19th century, leaving the façade as the Ruins.

But even on its ruins state, it's still beautiful and truly a work of art, just like the great churches of European craftsmaship. People of different creed come to visit, and it attracts both local and international tourists eager to see and know the history behind the ruins.

Most of the Churches destroyed by natural and man-made disasters were rebuilt or restored, but the Ruins of St. Paul in Macau had just preserved a piece of the structure. 

With the heritage preservation effort, it was not demolished for the people of the world to see and appreciate the once largest Cathedral in Asia.

Macau may have been transformed into a bustling metropolitan, with the beautiful lights from its mega and ultra modern structures, but it didn't forget it's history and culture.

Macau felt like a cultural city, where its people live in simplicity amidst modernity. In the years to come it may completely transform to be much progressive metropolis, but it will have a unique identity with a blend of cultural influence from the East and the west.

We may not have explored much about other interesting sites in Macau, but we've seen one of the greatest image structures of our faith. 

The stairway to Ruins of St. Paul will always be a memorable travel experience. It leaves an imprint in our hearts and it makes the whole experience worth remembering.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Kathmandu Valley and the lost Kingdom


The check-in counter was almost closed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport when I arrived in a hurried mode. That was like an episode of amazing race. The good thing is, I'm able to check-in and board the plane successfully. And my destination was, the old Kingdom of Nepal. 

I got excited upon leaving India to see its neighbor country in the north after my 6 months of stay in India. For almost a week-long stay, I'd imagine how it's like to live in Kathmandu valley surrounded by the wonderful Hilamayan mountains. And that was awesome to have a glimpse from thousand feet high above and upon descending of the plane. 

Kathmandu City was a bit dry and dusty as I took a cab from the airport going to the downtown area for a hotel check-in. I needed to prepare for a walking tour within the vicinity just to see and observe the daily living of the Nepalese people. 

Since I've stayed in the heart of the city, places of interest were almost walking distance. The mall, park, pond, temples, street bazaar and durbar square were nearby and I've started my journey on my first day.

My impression of Kathmandu, is a city of friendly and kind people. From the hotel staff, the sales people in the mall and street bazaar, the kids in durbar squares, the security personnel in tourist sites, the cab drivers and the random people I've met were all friendly and conversant.

I was thinking that it's their character to be congenial since they rely heavily on tourism and they have to give that great impression to every tourist they meet. 

The other cities like Lalitpur and Bhaktapur is what comprises the Kathmandu valley, and it's overlooking on the heritage site on top of a hill. The Swayambhunath offers a breathtaking view of the Kathmandu valley on a bright sunny day and clear blue skies.

Swayambhunath was my first stop among the World heritage sites recommended by my tour guide and I was amazed by the old structures and the presence of monkeys everywhere, hence it's also known as the Monkey temple.

I was happy to have visited one of the oldest heritage sites built in the 5th century, long before the birth of Buddhism in Nepal. But then, I've known that Nepal was an old country just like India, and so they have these heritage structures back in the early days of civilization.

Nepal is great nation, and once ruled by a King when it was still an absolute monarchy. However, it ended in 2008 on a constituent assembly creating a federal democratic republic.

I've learned about the culture, tradition and the way of living of the Nepalese people. It may not be as extravagant and as developed as other world cities, but it has a natural charm and a calming presence to the tourists.

In as much as I'd want to discover more about Nepal, but my almost week-long vacation ended, and time for a re-entry to India.

I've created meaningful memories on a short visit and it has a lasting impression on my heart. Nepal is simply amazing, its charm is everlasting.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

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Sunday, December 6, 2020

Wellness in the Green Village


If there's one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it would've been a shift to a futuristic mindset. 

To create the next big thing out of soulful desire to live a better and a more comfortable life in a rural setting; a peaceful and green environment.

I call it the next big thing, since sustainable farming is one thing that would thrive on the next pandemic or any financial and health crisis that may come in the future.

On this time of pandemic, we've awaken the power of our intuition and creativity to make use of our productive time while on quarantine. It may not be easy, hence it requires passion, endurance and perseverance to accomplish the plan, and to make things possible even when times get rough.

And so, after 8 months of quarantine, we've started to create a green village that would be our additional source of sustainable farm  living.

We've built 2 traditional Filipino farmhouses that serve as a rest house whenever we make a visit and do some farming activities. In the near future, we're planning to build other farm infrastructures  such as concrete roads, multi-purpose hall, villas, ornamental garden and a tree park.

It's my parents' dream to have a place where they could live a simple, serene and meaningful living, and they're making it possible with their strength, will-power and Divine guidance.

When I was living in Manila, I would always think of coming back home and present to my parents some dream farm ideas, and fortunately they've accomplished some of it. Even if there's more to develop, still I'm happy of what they've started.

Within the decade, we're looking forward to see a growing family and we're also hoping that the green village would bring us closer; with a deep love of nature and a deeper connection to the Divine and its creation.

I may be living away from home, and may not be able to see the development physically in the years to come, but I'm happy that I've seen how it was planned and started, and how it would be like in the future -- such a futuristic glimpse.

This pandemic might be a blessing in disguise, because we learned to keep on going and believing that there's always a great opportunity in adversity.

The making of a green village is not just about health and wellness, it's also about building a lasting legacy, with our environmental responsibility and contribution. A Greenville country farm built with love of nature, and a conscious connection with the Divine love to nurture.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

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