Category Archives: Everyday Living

10 Ways Solo Travel Changes Your Life

It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.

A lot of people travel solo. Perhaps each person dreams of doing so even once. And for good reason. Solo travel is such a life-changing and eye-opening experience. It leaves you with a certain high and a strong desire to pack your bags and go on to the next destination. It’s also the best way to self-discovery.

Ever considered traveling alone? Here are some ways it can transform your life. 


1. You will become more independent 

From the planning of the trip, to the activities, the transportation, and the hotel, they’re all on you. You, alone, plan your trip. And whatever glitch happens along the way, you’re on your own. Either you solve them or you get stuck.

What if you get mugged? Or you’re faced with the challenge of talking to locals whose language you don’t speak or understand? Being alone forces you to face those problems head-on in your own ways and styles.

2. You learn to be comfortable by yourself. 

Humans are social creatures. They always have a group or a circle of friends they hang out with. Most people avoid being alone. This is one reason people cancel their travel plans–they’re friends flaked out on them. When you take that leap and buy that ticket, you’ll learn to love being alone. There’s nobody to please, argue, or compromise with. It’s just you. And it’s a liberating experience.

3. You will take risks

The fact that you booked a ticket to go somewhere you’ve never been before by yourself is already risk enough. But there’s something about being alone in a place that makes you want to do new and crazy things. You will be less pabebe. You’ll want to try their native food, visit hidden places, and join crazy activities.

4. You will surprise yourself 

There was nothing I wanted to do in Sagada before I went there. It was a Banaue-Sagada-Baguio trip. I only wanted to take photographs in Banaue and pick strawberries in Baguio. I did not know what to expect in Sagada, except for the coffee that Angelica drank at “Gaia”. It was, then, surprising that I found myself in a cave full of slippery rocks and bat poop. Even more surprising was me joining in a trek when I initially wanted to just stay in, relax, and eat lemon pie.

The point is, you will surprise even yourself by what you can and can’t do. And you’ll learn that there’s actually less of the latter. 😉

5. Speaking of surprising yourself, you will test–and surpass–your limits 
If you think you’ll live the rest of your life in a couch, then travel solo. You think you’d never be able to climb a mountain, but you actually could, with a little (okay, a lot) of effort. You will get down and dirty, and nobody would care. It’s such an exhilarating experience to be able to push your limits.

6. You will become more confident and outgoing

See, when you’re alone, you become more fascinated by the people around you–their stories and their motivations. What brought you together? Why are you here at this place right now?

You also tend to sell yourself more. You want them to see you at your best and most open.

7. There are no rules but yours

You planned the trip and you’re the only participant. There’s no one to tell you what to do. You can decide to go somewhere or to not go somewhere. You can scrap all your plans for the day and just get lost in some side street. There’s no limit but your imagination. In that sense, you will become more flexible.

8. You will make new friends

The thing about travelling in groups is that you tend to stay in your own group. There’s a vulnerability and openness to being alone that makes you want to meet new people. The best part about this is that you will meet like-minded people in your fellow travelers. These friendships may or may not last long, but they will widen your circle and experience.

9. You will strengthen your faith

Looking at nature in different places and perspectives will make you wonder: “Who created this?” Surely, these did not randomly appear out of the earth. If you don’t already, you will believe in a Creator. 

7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:

8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? 10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:7-10, KJV)

10. You won’t want to stop traveling

The world is has become your oyster. The moment you step in your front door, you’d want to go out again and explore the farthest corners of the world. Home does not that strong of a hold on you anymore. Your feet will itch and your neck will tingle until your next destination.

So, swallow that fear and brush aside those anxieties. Pack your bags, book that trip, and lose yourself in a journey to find yourself. ❤ AYA



Do you think you’re going crazy? You might be a victim of gaslighting

Before I start, I should probably state a disclaimer that I am not a medical professional. I just find this concept really interesting. It’s something that’s not commonly discussed in the Philippines. In fact, it might even be the subject of science fiction. More often than not, victims do not even know they’re being abused. I want to make this tactic widely known. Also, I am writing from the female POV, as they are more likely to be victimized by this than men.

You may think that you’re going crazy. You feel that there’s something wrong, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. You feel like you’re in a happy relationship, but you feel so miserable. So what’s going on?

Gaslighting is defined as a means to manipulate someone by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.

It destroys one person’s perception of reality.

The term comes from the 1938 stage play Gas Light where the husband constantly makes small changes in their home environment. It first starts by the dimming of their gas lights, which the wife notices. However, it is denied by the husband making her question her perception.

Q: Who uses gaslighting?

A: Sociopaths and narcissists often use gaslighting to manipulate their victims. These persons tend to be manipulative and often charming; and show no remorse nor empathy to others.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Q: What’s the purpose of gaslighting?

A: Gaslighting is committed to make the other person doubt their own sanity and perception of reality. It often comes with physical, emotional, and mental abuse. It is also used to make the victim more dependent on her abuser, thus continuing the cycle of abuse.

Q: How is gaslighting done?

A: It usually comes with manipulation. An abuser, for example, physically abuses his victim–which may be his wife or child–and then denies that it ever happened.

An abuser’s ultimate goal is to make their victim second guess their every choice and question their sanity, making them more dependent on the abuser. A tactic which further degrades a target’s self-esteem is for the abuser to ignore, then attend to, then ignore the victim again, so the victim lowers their personal bar for what constitutes affection and perceives themselves as less worthy of affection. (7 Signs You’re a Victim of Gaslighting)

He may degrade you constantly, then praise you. He may make you feel loved, then ignore you again. He will constantly criticize your choices, your friends, and your family. He will always make you second-guess yourself, make you feel guilty, and constantly apologize. He will make you feel that the reason he acts or reacts is because of you. If he lies or cheats, for instance, he will make you feel that it was your fault that he lied or cheated.

I encountered this term in the novel and movie The Girl On the Train. Rachel, the protagonist, fell into depression after her miscarriage, taking to drink. During her blackouts, Tom, the husband, tells her that she often becomes violent, trying to hurt or kill him. Even after he cheats and leaves her for another woman, she constantly pines for and chases after him and apologizes for her behavior. All throughout the novel, we are made to believe that Tom had been the longsuffering husband during their marriage and the most patient and understanding ex-husband after their divorce.

I’ll just put the Wikipedia synopsis:

“Rachel Watson is a 32-year-old alcoholic reeling from the dissolution of her marriage to Tom, who left her for another woman, Anna Watson. Rachel’s drinking has caused her to lose her job; she frequently binges and has blackouts. While drunk, she often harasses Tom by phone and sometimes even in person, though she has little or no memory of these acts once she sobers up.

Rachel trusts her own memories more, and she realises that many of the crazy things Tom told her she did while drunk, but that she doesn’t remember doing, never really happened. He had been gaslighting her for years, which affected her belief in herself and made her question her sanity.”

Q: Am I being gaslighted?

A: Read these signs that you’re being gaslighted.

Gaslighters usually:

  • tell blatant lies
  • deny they said something, even if you have proof (such as text messages or e-mails)
  • they confuse you
  • they use positive reinforcement after all the negativity
  • they criticize you and make you question your self-worth

Are you a victim of abuse? Speak up. Seek help. It’s always available. ❤ AYA

Next: Abuse in connection with the Anti-Violence Against Women Act (R.A. No. 9262)


NBI Clearance? Get it in 2 easy steps

UPDATED: NBI XI has returned to their old office at J.P. Laurel Ave. Davao City 😊

Hello, Tuesday, my 2nd day of bedrest!

As much as I wanted to sleep in and help my body recover, I had to #adult.

I don’t think anybody finds it pleasurable to keep going back to the NBI to get their NBI Clearance for whatever purpose. Let’s not focus on that, though.

Last year when I took the Real Estate Board Exam, I had to get an NBI Clearance specifically for that purpose. It was pretty straightforward. They’d started implementing the scheduling system so I scheduled it online through their website and paid P140 at a local LBC branch. I then went to the NBI Regional Office at J.P. Laurel Ave., lined up, had my picture and fingerprints taken, and waited for my printout. Overall, that took me around 2 hours. Because of my name, I never get a “HIT”, so that helps.

This time, I didn’t want to spend 2 hours at the NBI, I learned that they’d transferred to Magsaysay Park. I also didn’t expect to be sick on the day of my appointment. I just planned to take the afternoon off work to take care of it.

Anyway, I just followed two easy steps. Mind, I got my NBI Clearance at NBI Davao City, so I can’t say the same for other branches.

All it took me were two easy steps–well, three, if you count the payment.

  1. Go to, create your profile and schedule an appointment. I chose the PM sked.
  2. Pay Php 140 at any Bayad Center outlet. (in my case, I paid at an SM Department Store Bills Payment Counter) List of Bayad Center Branches Here
  3. Proceed to the NBI branch and have your biometrics and photographs taken. I went there at around 4:00 p.m. and there was nobody else there. So I had my biometrics, photographs, and printout completed in around 2 minutes. 😀

NOTE: As of today, July 18, 2017, the NBI Davao is still located at Magsaysay Park. I’ll update this post when they return to their J.P. Laurel office.

Hungry? Davao Eats for P200 or less

Hello, Sunday! While I would usually be spending the entire day at Church; today, I’m sick. So, that means bed rest and Netflix (or Youtube, actually). I definitely have a lot of time in my hands.

A friend from Cebu visited me recently. I wanted to host her properly because they own the school my sister studies in. Hahaha. Anyway, my little dilemma was where I was supposed to take her. I only know of one thing to do in Davao: living here. Cos Life is here, of course. 😉 Somebody else ended up touring them and I got off the hook, but it really got me thinking. So for future reference, I’ve made a list of cheap, good, local food I’ve tried over the years. Most of these were hole-in-the-wall types until their popularity surged. Have any other suggestions and additions? 😀

  1. Majid’s Kabab

Majid’s Kabab is located at Rizal St. beside Las Casitas Hotel. It used to be run by the late Majid, himself, a former Hollywood stuntman-turned-restaurateur. They specialize in Persian cuisine. They’ve actually been featured on TripAdvisor as one of the go-to places in Davao. Try: Beef Kabab and Chicken Biryani.

2. Kamo Japanese Restaurant

Kamo is a small outdoor type restaurant in Damosa, Lanang behind the Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku. It’s run by Nobu-sensei, a Japanese expatriate, who prepares most of the dishes here. It’s the cheapest authentic Japanese restaurant I know within the city. Just be prepared for a more casual type of environment. Try: everything, really, but I love their Ebi Tempura and sukiyaki. Their ramen and broth are also always freshly prepared.They also have a small-sized serving of okonomiyaki, which is good if you just want a taste.

3. Kushiya Japanese Restaurant

Located at the same compound as Kamo, Kushiya is known more for its grilled and fried meats. It’s a more popular hangout for students and yuppies because of the affordable prices. Try their grilled and fry set and okonomiyaki (which comes in only 1 size).  Good news for folks at the opposite side of town, they now have a branch at Quirino Ave. in the compound with Backyard Burgers. Try their beef wagyu cubes grilled and sprinkled with a little salt.

4. Lachi’s Sans Rival

A small pastry shop at Ruby St. Marfori Heights, Lachi’s used to be known for their specialty Sans Rival. Now, they’re a go-to place for nice meals and affordable desserts. For meals, try their Unforgettable Pork Spareribs, lechon kawali, meatloaf, and laing. For desserts, their sans rival and cheesecakes take the cake. Make sure to make a reservation as the place gets full very easily. If you just want to have cakes and coffee, they have a new branch in Tulip Drive for coffee or cake take-outs.

5. Hito-an in Los Amigos, Tugbok

This is a far travel from the above places, but if you’re giving a tour to visitors, you’ll surely go to Philippine Eagle Park.

I’m an alumna of University of the Philippines Mindanao so this place is just a stone’s throw away. There are actually several restaurants in this area serving hito in different ways: grilled, deep-fried, sinigang, adobo, etc. The best part is eating with your bare hands, kinamot-style and finishing off your meal with a glass of ice cold soda. Yum!

Bonus: Junex Tuna Place (idk the name, actually)

Located at Cordillera St. Central Park, Subdivision, this place is known to those who live in the South and pass through our subdivision as a short-cut. This hole-in-the-wall place used to only sell tuna and other frozen fish, until they started serving grilled tuna. They’re enjoying a boom now, with people wanting to try out their affordable meals. Try their grilled tuna panga.

So there you have it, just 5 cheap places in Davao to satisfy your food cravings. I know we have a LOT of other restaurants here, so feel free to drop me a hello and a suggestion. I’d love to try them out and recommend them to others! Ciao bella! AYA ❤