Friday, April 20, 2012

Travel Memories (Part I): Fun In The Sun From A to E...

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Summer months could mean differently depending on locations. For example,  summer in  Australia and countries in the southern hemisphere (south of the Equator)  is from December to February; here in the Philippines, summer is from late March til May while  in the United States and the rest of the northern hemisphere it is from late June to August
Despite the differing times, Summer has a universal appeal - it means longer days, more sunlightwarm temperatures, and varied opportunities for having FUN IN THE SUN -being outdoor!  
Through appropriate planning, a traveler can actually enjoy A Loooong Summer, yea  as long as eight (8) months from December to August!  Well, that is if you quit your job for full time traveling, and be in the right place at the right time. I didn't have that luxury, but for having traveled for more than a decade now, I have a  collection of favorite, fun summer activities from A to Z that I was privileged to taste as I travel around countries... 

Here's my list from A to E...

A- Aspen Summer Culture Immersion

Summer means spending more time outdoors and nowhere, does it more culturally sensible than in Aspen,Colorado (USA). I was immersed in plenty of ways to take in little culture -from doing a picnic at the listening lawn during the annual Aspen Music Festival, to learning more about contemporary arts through the rotating exhibits at the Aspen Arts Museum and finally getting awed by the John Denver's Sanctuary, which is my so-called "Songhits on the Rocks"! But Aspen still has a lot more to offer than my time can afford and get cultured! 
B - Blueberries Picking in Ackerson, Sweden

Summer is also known as the Berry Harvest Season in Sweden since swedish mountains yield delicious wild berries from July to September. Picking wild blueberries in the mountain of Ackersjon is one of my unforgettable summer activities, that was both fun, and oh! delicious!

C Cruise Vacation in Northern Euope 

As a water enthusiast but not- so- fond of cold water, I prefer Cruise vacation in Northern Europe in the summer (although more costly), since temperatures are warm for swimming. Also, with sunny sky and warm temperature, there is so much more exciting wildlife and vibrant surroundings to feast on without freezing cold out in the deck while aboard the Silja Serenade, European's 6th largest passenger cruise ship.  Well, I surely can't afford even a low season return tickets Stockholm-Helsinki-Stockholm in the winter, but having a generous friend means having my dream come true - a summer cruise vacation

D – Diving (SCUBA) in Boracay
Diving with Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) for pure enjoyment (or recreational diving) has been one of my favorite summer activities since I first tried it six years ago in Boracay. Wearing (and looking better in)  a wet suit (lol) is one of the reasons I love scuba diving over free diving. Nah, it is really because I don't like cold water! And since there are tons of dive spots around the more than 7000 islands of the Philippines, summer is officially my dive time! 

E – Easter Fun with the Family

In the Philippines, Easter Sunday always happen in the summer, that's why many of my happy memories in celebrating this joyous season involve my family and our summer activities in the beach, at a campsite, at a resort or even at home (during the Holy Week which is a holiday in the Philippines), then in the Easter morning we teach the kids the connection between the traditional egg hunting and egg painting  and the true meaning of the celebration -  the triumph over death of our Savior Jesus Christ!

To be continued: Part II - From F to J

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Travel Essentials: Staying Fit While On The Go...

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
I admit. I gain some love handles when I travel. It is no surprised coz, while waiting at the airport,  I eat junk food, more than what I would normally consume when I am not traveling
Oh well, not that I particularly love the salty chips and sugarly cookies, but hey, I have no choice! Fast foods are typical of airports to cater to the passengers on the go,  so the unhealthy food are the ones within easy reach while waiting. 
But Not All Fast Foods Are Junk Food, according to this  travel friendly advisory that I spotted at a courthouse in New Jersey (of all places! lol). I was happy that most of my favorite snacks - a piece of fruit, celery with peanut butter, yogurt, and nuts- are actually healthy foods and is an "easy & quick" fix.
Since then, packing some grapes, celery with peanut butter, almonds and yogurt is one of the first thing on my Travel Essentials checklist whenever I travel.  As Pamela Peeke, M.D., Ph.D., author of Fight Fat after Forty says "These days, the food you put in your carry-on bag is every bit as vital as the clothes you put in your suitcase"!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Finding Solace in a Poem and In Songs...

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
I don't have to tell the world the details of what happened but I won't be in denial as well coz it will just prolong the pain. My beautiful relationship with my recent singular someone for almost 5 years is over. It wasn't because of a fight coz we didn't fight (at all) except admittedly I got mad at him over petty things on month end (lol). He has been a perfect boyfriend, that's why letting him go hurts so bad. But I understand him, he has been really confused about the "us" in our relationship and that he had been praying about it for a while. But he doesn't know how long it will take to feel ready and doesn't want me to wait around. That's fair, so I don't blame him for it. 
I am a bit ok now. Not completely coz it has only been three nights ago. But I want to start anew tomorrow so I am writing this to leave the past behind and face a new day. Prayers (much of it), crying (drums full), family support (by letting me be alone in my room and respecting my silence), phone calls from BFF and someone who has recently experienced what I'm going through, a poem  "Reason, Season, or Lifetimeand four upbeat songs from You Tube helped me be optimistic and able to handle my emotions much easier. 
Excerpts from the "Season, Reason and Lifetime" Poem
When someone is in your life for a REASON,

it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part
or at an inconvenient time,

this person will say or do something
to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. 
Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met,
our desire fulfilled; their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered
and now it is time to move on."


— Unknown 
He is indeed godsend. And so now that he walked away, it is time to move on. But yes, it is difficult. it's heartbreaking. So my mantra is in this song "Someone Like You" by Adele which was sang superbly by Charlie Puth and Emily Luther.
"Someone Like You"
"I had hoped you'd see my face 

and that you'd be reminded

That for me it isn't over.

Never mind, I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don't forget me, I beg
I remember you said,
"Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead"

He said he won't forget me, so I guess I don't have to beg him to not forget me. In fact he said he loves me and will continue to love me (maybe only until he found the girl who will make him feel ready). And that makes this song "Something About Loveby David Archuleta plays in my head...

Something About Love :

"There's somethin' 'bout love that breaks your heart
Woah, oh, oh, oh. It sets you free
There's somethin' 'bout love that tears you up
Woah, oh, oh, oh. You still believe

When the world falls down like rain
It'll bring you to your knees
Somethin' 'bout love that breaks your heart
Woah, oh, oh, oh, But don't give up
There's something 'bout love

Your day will come, The past is gone
So take your time, Live and let live

Hang on

Hang in for the ride of your life

It's gonna be alright

Hold on tight"

I will hold on tight. Take my time and let live, although I don't know exactly how to carry on without him, as this song "Breaking Againby my fave duet Charlie Puth and Emily Luther...

                                             Well I'm crying And I'm dying

                           Cause I really thought that you would be the one

                                                  And I tried to stand beside you

But it was over way before it had begun

I like to think it's all ok

And one day you'll come back and stay with me
Come and stay with me

But now you're gone
                                  And I don't know if I can carry on (carry on)
Lately, everyday now
I go to bed and sleep my life away 'till four
Cause I don't know (cause I don't know)
What it feels like (what it feels like)
To not wake up and run a mile right to your door"

The final song captures exactly what I want to tell him. But since it would be better not to communicate while we are both grieving, I know I will have to keep my feelings for awhile. Not if the song will tell him - "Wasn't It Good?" by Tina Arena. Being with him for so long was the best years of my life, planning our dreams, hopes and lives together, having someone to trust with my deepest thoughts and feelings... it was great. I hope he feels the same way!

                                           "Wasn't It Good"
Wouldn't you know it I've lost my courage
Isn't that funny, me lost for words
Not that it really matters, 'cause I know you know
And you would have told me yourself if you could

Remember the first time, we met each other
You were in your world and I was in mine
Breaking down the barriers, we broke all the rules
But wasn't it good, wasn't it fine
While I took for granted, you took your time
Longing for love oh how we tried
It's over now that's understood, but wasn't it good

So long together, two would be lovers
Caring for flowers that just wouldn't grow
And in all of our tomorrows, we'll have yesterday
And wasn't it good, wasn't it fine
While I took for granted, you took your time
Longing for love, oh how we tried
It's over now that's understood

But wasn't it good?"

xxx THE END xxx

Monday, April 16, 2012


by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

OPTIMISTIC.(being hopeful, positive and able to see the glass half - full instead of half-empty). I know that this is better said than done esp. in the midst of a discouraging time in life as when we feel brokenhearted with a loss of a loved one. But I find a sure hope in the healing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ that can remove pains, however extreme! As I sing my favorite Church Hymn entitled "Count Your Blessing", I can focus on the good things in my life that helps me take my mind off the negatives and have a better frame of mind - to move on, knowing that my "future is filled with opportunity and gladness". 
*(highlighted is from words of President Gordon B. Hinckley in the book My Dear Sisters) 


1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done.

          2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
Count your many blessings; money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.
4. So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,

Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
(Text: Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856–1922, Music: Edwin O. Excell, 1851–1921)
*This is part of a series of 2012 Monday post inspired by Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant's Stop DoingStart Being article on Family Circle Magazine April 1, 2005 issue. What she said about having so many "to-do" list and trying hard everyday to check off the list hit so close to home! I agree with her that what I need is a list to help me be who I want to be, both for myself and others. Click on START BEING Monday Series to see other list of cool virtues we could emulate!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Our Christ-Centered EASTER 2012 Celebration

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Easter is one of the celebrations that my family look forward to each year. Oh how the kids (and adult alike) love the food which means "eggs" and the traditional activities of (colorful plastic) egg hunting, and turning the ordinary eggs into something egg-straordinary by painting, marbleizing, decorating or dyeing, and then getting  jelly beans, chocolates, coins and the decorated eggs itself as prizes for their work of art. It was a  yummy, fun tradition, except that, we rob the kids of the real meaning of this religious holiday!
That was before 2009,  when we thought of meaningful ways to celebrate Easter to help the kids see the connection between the common Easter traditions and the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His final triumph at the end of His earthly mission when He overcame both sin and death. Since then Jesus Christ became the center of our family's Easter Celebration.
This year, we were lucky that our family scripture reading schedule 2 Nephi 6-10  and the 182nd General Conference Broadcast earlier set the stage for this meaningful celebration. The main discourse of Jacob (brother of Nephi) in Chapter 9 & 10 is about the Atonement which is what we celebrate during Easter time. 
I used that for the Question and Answer game and in the Scripture Chase. I also explained to them that  Atonement is what we call Jesus Christ's suffering for our sins and his resurrection (the power to live again after he died). We talked about Jacob's teaching of the temporal death  (death of the body) and spiritual death (separation from God because of our sins).
Jacob taught that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all people will be resurrected  or saved from temporal death. However, not all people will be "saved in the Kingdom of God" unless we do something - Scripture Look For

(1) Believe in Jesus Christ, the Holy One of Israel  and come unto Him (2 Nep. 9:18)
(2) Endure the crosses of the world (2 Nep. 9:18)
(3) Despise the shame of the world (2 Nep. 9:18)
(4) Hearken to the voice of the Lord (2 Nep.9:21)
(5) Repent, be baptized, and endure to the end (2 Nep.9:23-24)
(6) Be spiritually minded (2 Nep. 9:39)
(7) Feast upon that which perish not (2 Nep. 9:50-51)
(8) Remember the words of God (2 Nep. 9:52)
(9) Pray continually and give thanks (2 Nep 9:52)
After the scripture games, we had our tradition egg painting and of course the awarding of winners. 
Most Meaningful - Papa
Finalists for Most Meaningful - James, Jay-M, Frannie and Mama Modesta  
Most Original - Allan
Most Creative - Imee
Most Childlike (1st place) - Justin
Most Childlike (2nd place) - Jay M
Most Childlike (3rd place) - Jay A
Nominees for Most Childlike (all kids) - Mitch, Ian, James, Kyle, Frannie, Shane, Shan, and Alliune                                                  Most Laborious Design - Kuya Mike Nominees for Most Laborious - Mama Modesta, Frannie, Allan, Ian
Most Promising Artist (1st place) - Jay A
Most Promising Artist (2nd place) - Shane
Most Promising Artist (3rd place) - Ate Amy
Nominees for Most Promising Artists - all non winning entries
Budding Artist Awardee -(the two 4 year old who did their own eggs) - Alliune and Shan

For our dinner: Mama prepared Chicken, Pork Adobo With, drum roll...EGGS and lots of it!!

We concluded with expressing our gratitude for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to always "CHEER UP OUR HEARTS"  because the Lord remembers His covenant people.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

EASTER 2012 Greetings!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Many years ago...a writer for a newspaper was asked an important question,
"What would be the most important news the world could receive?
The writer thought and thought about the question, he talked to many people,
and read all he could in an effort to find an answer for himself.
And finally, he printed his answer,
 "To know that Jesus Christ lives today
would be the most important news the world could receive.
In fact, if He lives today, then we too will live eternally as He said"
(as related by Elder Paramore  in Sunday School New Testament Teacher's Manual) 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dream Destination: New Zealand

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

"February 17, 2012.
Dear Mhe-Anne,
We are immensely proud of your receipt of the Franklin S Richards Award this year. It is a well earned credit to you personally and to your chapter. Congratulations!
You will no doubt have gathered that is fast becoming about the time of year when we have our annual regional conference. This year, our conference will be held in Hamilton, New Zealand over New Zealand's Queen's Birthday weekend, commencing Friday 1 June and concluding Sunday 3 June, with the Monday being a New Zealand public holiday. We would like you to come and speak to us on a panel that will be discussing the rule of law and the role of Society members in implementing and upholding it. 
We would love to welcome you among our honoured guests this year. Please let me know whether you can be a part of our programme. 
Kind regards, Neville"

Wow! Watching this lovely video and reading the email invitation took me only a few seconds to say "YES, I AM COMING!" In fact, I was so thrilled that I did a cartwheel before replying! hahaha

Seriously, I have always wanted to visit New Zealand for the longest time since the traveling bug hit me.  I guess, that desire was sparked by my wanting to reunite with my friend Melody Ann (who moved in this Pacific Island more than a decade ago), which is the same motivating factor that brought me to travel to 23 countries and 446 cities so far, including the  22 states of the United StatesSouth KoreaChina, Sweden, AmsterdamFinlandNorwayFrance,  MacauHongkongGuamJapanMalaysiaVietnamTaiwanSingaporeThailandAustralia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, GermanyUnited Kingdom and 62 of the 80 provinces of the Philippineswhere my family, many of my closest friends and my singular special someone (at one point) live.

Over the years, however, my wanting to visit New Zealand has changed. The above video gives you a clear picture of why this  remote and the last lands to be settled by humans is my dream destination!

 have dreamt of being in the city, and in half an hour I have the soft sand beneath my feet to the sway of a Polynesian culture. Yes! Its pastoral setting, pristine deserted island feel and turquoise horizon captivate me.  I like the fact that I can be in this beautiful island where time seems to slow down as I lose myself to a vacation mode.

I imagine how cool it is to begin a quest of conquering Middle Earth with hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) after seeing the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was shot in several locations around New Zealand!

I have longed to be in Auckland to "feel" like ‘the maiden with a hundred suitors’ and find out for myself why this region called Tamaki-Makau-Rau in Maori language  is being coveted by many tribes.

I have a longing that one day I will be able to check off my so-called Pacific Triangle Dream!

Pacific Triangle Dream is my goal of visiting the three countries bordering the Pacific Ocean -  Guam, New Zealand and Hawaii. I have this Heart Map where I connected the three countries by dots and it actually forms a triangle. 

And so it was. I have visited Hawaii in December 2000 and then six years later in January 2006 I stepped afoot in Guam. But New Zealand remained elusive, despite many attempts, largely because Qantas flights cost me an arm and leg. 

This year 2012 is the sixth year after my visit in Guam. I am determined to go into great lengths  to embrace my dream destination and complete my Pacific Triangle Dream by  visiting New Zealand. I will not let this chance slip away or let the plane tickets be in the way. So, since February 17 email invitation, I had been on a  constant, regular search for flights that I can afford. I immediately told my prince about it who promised to find me a ticket (and possibly join me).  I also implored the help of Pinoy Travel Bloggers community for ideas on cheap flight options and received good leads from Rain Amantiad and Nina Fuentes.

Happily, the chance presented itself last April 2! Jetstar Airways has a ticket sale from  Singapore to Auckland, New Zealand for only US $521.11  (Php 22,407.73) with luggage allowance.  This is almost half of a regular priced ticket, so I wasted no time to book it even borrowing my friend's credit card coz mine didn't work that time! Then I found a promo ticket from Clark to Singapore on Tiger Airways for only Php 2,779 with baggage allowance. The next day, I found a return ticket to Clark on Cebu Pacific Airlines for US $99.44 (Php 4,275.92) with baggage allowance too. I am so happy to have the plane tickets. Next week, I will apply for the visa which is free because I'm staying  less than 59 days! 

Yippee!! I am so close to turning my dream destination into a reality!

This is an entry for the April 2012 Pinoy Travel Blog Carnival with the theme "My Ultimate Dream Destination and My Pledge To Turn It Into A Reality" being hosted by Robx Bautista of The Traveling Dork! 

For previous Blog Carnival topics please visit Estan Cabigas' Langyaw.

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Trotting The Globe

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I've been to 446 cities in 23 countries
Mhe-Anne is an explorer that:
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