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It’s #PaintDay Sundate

Who says the love month is only for lovers? Surely, not! Although Valentine’s Day is so commercialised, it’s still a good season to just celebrate LOVE.

Today, I went to a pre-Valentines date with two of my oldest –and craziest—friends, Jytjyt and Neil. All three of us live in Bangkok and yet we found it difficult to meet up. See how this metropolitan lifestyle is giving us so much excuses not to spend time with special people, no?


We spent a fun-filled afternoon exercising our right brain. With THB799 ($27), we got a 3-hour painting session complete with materials — and a pretty instructor/artist — at Paint Bar Bangkok. The painting of the day was sunset which Neil and Jytjyt did. But because I opted to paint another design, I had to do it on my own. I started with a mistake but I went on and finished my ‘masterpiece’. After all, it’s the fun while doing it that matters.

It was immense joy being able to do ART. Most of my weekends were spent at home reading a book –which is pure delight – but it’s still different when you are able to do something outside with people. As much as we need solitude to reconnect with ourselves and do some introspection, we also need human interaction to nourish our soul.

Visit them at:
PaintBar Bangkok
Piman 49,
46/4  Sukhumvit soi 49, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
E-mail: Paintbarbangkok@gmail.com
Tel: +6681-612-6105

Joy of giving

When was the last time you experienced immense joy from making other people happy?

The last five years, I celebrated Christmas in Bangkok. I still remember spending my first Christmas away from home by working because Thailand does not consider it a holiday. My colleague was kind enough to understand that I must have been missing home so she played Christmas songs from her old portable radio. It just made me burst to tears.

Last December, I decided to go home for the holidays. But I must have been away for way too long that I started to ask myself, how does Christmas feel? Holding my warm cup of coffee and listening to the sound of the wind chimes, I reminisced my childhood Christmas memories; the surprise upon waking up to see bundles of gifts which my mother convincingly said were from Santa Clause; the fun-filled games I played with my cousins; the apples and candies hanged on the Christmas tree; that’s how Christmas was like for a child that was me.

Then my thoughts went to the thousands of children who may not have had the chance to open a gift during Christmas; children who were deprived of the experiences I was blessed with. Then and there it hit me, I knew what I needed to do for Christmas.

I immediately informed my Hilot family about my plan of organizing a kid’s party for Christmas. Blessed with a loving and generous family, my siblings and cousins from across the world responded pledging their support and financial assistance. On Christmas day, we gathered about fifty kids in the chapel. Not all these kids are less privileged but regardless of what they have or don’t have, they deserve to have a childhood where they can play together and enjoy each other’s company.

Christmas in Bohol

And of course Santa Clause is part of the celebration so our cousins dressed up as Santa and went around distributing sweets.

Christmas Philippines

We also gave away two dozens of slippers to kids who need them most. The following day, one of the kid’s mom told us that his son kept his new slippers near the altar because he was scared that it will be stolen outside or the dog will play with it. Awwwwww (sniffs)

Filipino Children

We organized various games. We also let some kids showcase their talents so that they will grow up confident. It is important for children to feel that their abilities are recognized. I was thrilled when my cousin’s daughter who I thought was a shy girl turned out to be proactive, she even sang Elsa’s Let It Go! Before we ended our little party, the kids gathered to sing “Thank You, Ang Babait Ninyo”.

Estaca Pilar Bohol

We managed to give each of the kids a gift. The sight of their happy faces is just priceless. It made me feel guilty that I spend so much on expensive things I don’t really need when happiness is as simple as making other’s happy.

In the evening, I celebrated Christmas with my family. I have so much to be thankful for in life but what I am most thankful for is to have a family who showered me with so much love; a family who taught me that what matters is not money but charity; a family who values truth and fairness over fame and glory.

P.S the chapel is in the process of renovation. Donations will be most welcomed 🙂

Let some battles go

1Letting go… ahhhh two words with equal opposing intensity of pain and happiness.

If you put meditators in one room, you can expect a different kind of conversation; not only is it full of insights but also a kind where there is intent listening.

I had the chance to have a delicious Indian dinner with a diverse group of meditators, one of them was a former monk. At first our topics were mostly related to meditation and experiences from meditation retreats. It then gradually deepened into sharing life experiences including letting go.

Letting go of the monster in the mind

The former monk shared that he grew up fearing darkness. His fear of the dark was so severe he carried it with him until he became a grown up man. Perhaps through the practice of meditation he realized that the monsters exist not in the dark but inside his head. He made the brave decision to face it head on. One evening, he went to the forest and allowed all the scary things to surface in his imagination while mindfully observing his thoughts. It was a battle within that not many of us are willing to take. He emerged from the forest unharmed and victorious of freeing his mind from the monsters.

Letting go of the pain from being misunderstood or unheard

Through meditation we can learn to handle difficult circumstances better. Someone then asked the former monk on what for him is the most challenging situation. He found some people to be hard to communicate with. He mentioned instances when a difficult conversation with someone made him feel bad about himself. However wisdom from practicing meditation guided him in assessing when he is the one at fault or it is the other person who is not opening his/her mind or does not want to listen.

Being misunderstood causes us pain. I shared my personal experience of caring for someone so much only to be misunderstood and thought of as controlling. But I realized that what matters is we genuinely cared. If the person does not appreciate what we do, we should learn to let them be, respect their choices and not take it as a rejection of our love.


Talking to someone is at times very difficult. Some people would burst out in anger right away even before you are able to get your message across. When this happens, the chance for the other person to truly listen and understand is very slim. Although through patience and loving kindness, we can attempt to calm that person down and try to talk in a nice way, some people are just too closed they would shatter all the will to hear you out. If they’d let you talk, sometimes they end up misunderstanding what you said. This can be very painful.

A lot of relationships nowadays suffer from lack of heartfelt communication. We can be both the victim and the perpetrator. Sometimes it is our ego that hinders deep communication, sometimes it is our individual differences or biases. Whenever we encounter challenging discussions, it is important to check our own mindset on whether we are willing to listen and understand or whether we are subdued by biases or close-mindedness. If we have done our part and it is the other person who does not want to listen, then there is no reason for us to feel hurt if the conversation failed to reach an understanding. Let the pain go.

Some battles are not worth the fight

It is harder to let go when the people involved are the ones we love. They are important to us that is why it hurts when they misunderstand us and take us negatively. We always feel the need to keep the conversation going until we are able to clear things out. But our persistence can sometimes worsen the situation and I realized that we can also show our love by letting go and give that person time. Some things are better understood when that person process them on their own rather than us telling them.