What July 4 Means To Me

I remember vividly it was early morning 8 a.m., all set to go to the University with my all white uniform. My mom hailed a taxi and said goodbye to me. It did not set in to me that day, that she would be gone for years.

She braved through tiring flight and landed in Los Angeles on July 4, wearing a sweater to hide her bruises and a fractured rib. She traveled far from us to give us the American dream.

Freedom
Freedom is never Free

Most of us Filipinos celebrate July 4, the Filipino-American Friendship Day or Philippine Republic Day. While most Americans celebrate it as Independence Day. It is also Liberation Day for Rwanda. For us it is the day when Philippines commemorate the official recognition of Philippine independence by the United States of America. The irony is after my mom left for U.S.A, this day just reminded me how many OFW’s are suffering with loneliness and other things just to give their children a better life. Each year, I hope that it would finally be our year to see her. The immigration has not been on our side. This year is our 8th year that we did not get to see our mother. She has been through a lot from accidents to operation and we could not do much for her. It pains me being halfway across the globe with my sister, both nurses, and yet we could not be there for our mother.

I pray that this will be the last year that we will celebrate July 4 wishing and that finally we will be with her. July 4 will always be reminder of sacrifice for love, love of freedom, love of better life and love of family.

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Labor Day Dive : Exploring El Capitan and USS New York at Subic Bay

For months, I have put off my plans of diving! I was probably meant to have my 20th dive in the place where I learned diving (courtesy of Boardwalk Dive Center).

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Subic Bay is home to a lot of wrecks! When you go wreck diving, you have to make sure that you have a good trim or else silt will ruin the visibility. If someone calls you a seahorse while diving, that means you suck at doing the trim. Day in and day out, people from different countries would visit to test their skills. I have always been lucky enough to go diving with people who had more experience and who were of higher levels: technical dive masters and rescue diver while I am still an advanced adventure diver.Anyways,I probably suck more at selfies underwater than on land (my rate of success on land is 1/20) so I hope you forgive me for my futile attempt at underwater photography.

First dive was at USS New York, one of the most popular wrecks in Subic. If you want to explore the entire wreck, you will need to have excellent technical dive skills. The wreck is not for the fainthearted. It will test you and bring out the claustrophobic in you. Three divers have died exploring inside the USS New York – which indicates significant hazards and the need for advanced technical wreck training. My bottom time was 30 mins. since I was just using air. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Depth: 16 until 32 Meters

Length: 116 Meters

Position: Port Side

Current: Generally Calm

Suitable for: Advanced Open Water/Experienced/Technical Wreck Divers

Perfect for: Intermediate-Technical Wreck Penetration, Historical/Heritage Appreciation.

Diving Information:

Basic Divers – Lower than average visibility (due to proximity to the Olongapo river mouth) and deeper water makes this site more suitable for divers who have gained experience beyond entry-level training. The top of the wreck lies in 17-22m depth, covered in soft and whip corals with many reef fish. Lying slightly deeper (~59 ft (18 m) deep) divers can examine the uppermost barrel of an 8 in (200 mm) primary gun. The 361 ft (110 m) length gives plenty of area to observe. Corals, sponges and fish life that have had over 60 years to convert it into home. Scorpion fish are common around this wreck and divers are reminded that contact with these fish is dangerous. Experienced Wreck Divers – More advanced divers can explore the propeller, conning tower and deck areas. There are some areas of relatively easy penetration, with open-spaces and sufficient height to stay clear of major silt deposits. These include the following. The mess deck (2nd deck down) has an interesting penetration 197 ft (60 m) with port holes above allowing light, but no exit. The boiler room can be explored within recreation diving limits. Due to the nature of the wreck, with low light/viz and the risk of silt disturbance; redundant gas supplies and guideline deployment training are recommended for penetrations.

Advanced/Technical Wreck Divers – Three divers have died exploring inside the USS New York – which indicates significant hazards and the need for advanced technical wreck training. Divers with proper decompression and advanced/technical wreck penetration training can reach the engine room, machinery spaces and lower decks. These are in excellent condition, with huge pipes, machinery and valve wheels. Spaces are extremely confined, with many restrictions and high risk of silt-out. Penetration is generally made on twin tanks, whilst deploying a constant guideline to the exit. Both engine room entrances have notices, warning of the dangers to the untrained.

I am no stranger to the second dive site El Capitan (USS Majaba). It was where I did my first and second dive. Unlike USS New York, I was unlucky because the go pro ran out of battery while we were exploring inside! It was a beauty and I will definitely go back to take good videos and photos. I forced the gopro and somehow it worked and I got to take photos of the school of jacks at the end of the dive! We also got to see a spotted ray and not-so-giant clams.

Depth: 5 until 21 Meters

Long: 90 Meters

Wide: 16 Meters

Position: Starboard side

Current: Generally Calm

Suitable for: All Levels of Divers Perfect for: Novice Wreck Penetration, Fun

Diving Information:

At a depth of slightly over 18 meters the outside of the wreck provides an excellent site for divers. The forward hole is wide-open allowing entry by even novice divers. The top side (starboard side) is at 5 meters, which eliminates the need for an extra safety stop. This area is alive with a variety of fish. From the forward hole, additional areas of the ship may be accessed. One route takes you to the accommodation area and on to rear cargo hold. Wreck History: Normally referred to as the El Capitan the USS Majaba (AG 43) was built as SS Meriden by Albina Engine & Machine Works, Portland, Oreg., in 1919; acquired by the Navy under charter as SS El Capitan from her owner, E. K. Wood Lumber Co., of San Francisco, Calif., 23 April 1942; renamed Majaba and commissioned the same day. She was placed out of service 14 March 1946 at Subic Bay.

How To Get There From Manila:

Take the Victory Liner Bus from Cubao, Quezon City. Take the one via SCTEX, it is a lot faster. When you get off the terminal, you can ask around where to take the jeepney that goes to SM Olongapo or if you have a lot of cash, you can take a cab into Subic Bay for P300. From SM Olongapo, you can just walk through the gates into Subic Bay Freeport.

Victory Liner Bus Schedule
Victory Liner Bus Schedule

Where To Stay When In Subic Bay Freeport:

If you are on a budget, you should check-out The Cabin by Subic Park Hotel. It is one of the cheapest accommodation than you can find.

A practical place for practical people. The only Backpackers Hotel inside Subic Bay Freeport Zone. It is located along Schley road, Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Owned and managed by Subic Park Hotel. The Cabin has dormitory type accommodations with (5) five bunk beds, individual cabinet, fan, and fully air-conditioned. We also have twelve (12) Private Rooms with air-condition, LCD Television and Coffee Table available for single or double occupancy. You can also enjoy our homey type reception area where you can feel and enjoy the warmth hospitality of our accommodating staff and its country side atmosphere. For as low as Php 430/night to Php 750/night you can now avail and enjoy the most affordable country style service with free Wi-Fi access everywhere.

You can book here: http://www.thecabinsubic.com/

If you want high-class accommodation, you should try The Lighthouse Marina Resort. It is the best hotel in Subic Bay.

The Lighthouse Marina Resort is a three-floor, 34-room boutique hotel capped by a lighthouse. The hotel is sleek and ultra-modern in its Palafox-designed architecture. Done in almost austere Italianate architectonics with its elegantly simplistic hotel facade, the hotel main building provided a perfect compliment to the 20 meter light tower done in surprising detail very faithful to naval architecture specifications. It’s exclusive location hidden in the midst of the busy Waterfront Road makes it the ultimate haven of retreat. The Lighthouse established back in 2007 to provide transient residence to executives of business locators of the Subic free port zone; and for tourists who frequent the port more for its sailing and eco-tourism than its business.

You can book here: http://www.lighthousesubic.com/ or through agoda.com

After the dives, I realized I need to save up for a better underwater camera, my wing (the one I used for Miss SCUBA was just borrowed), my torch and jet fins for the love of having a more streamlined dive in the future! I also need to practice more on taking better selfies and perfecting my trim! Also need to ask someone else to take photos of me so I have full body ones. It sucks when you are the one with the camera, you barely have decent photos!

It is always a good experience to dive at Subic! It is easy access and you can go to a lot of wreck sites.You should not miss diving there!

Now: How To Fight Thoughts of Uncertainty

Walking Through The River

I read my previous notes in Facebook recently and I stumbled onto this free verse that I originally wrote August 4, 2012.

Standing in front of two eternities, sadness and happiness accompany me.

Trying to hold on to the dusts of yesterday, losing grip of what used to be.

Confused with the now as future is pounding at my door.

A bleak promise of tomorrow awaiting outside.

Fears and worries prevent me from moving further, for thoughts of you still linger. Time why do you change things?

Weak and weary but I will trudge on.

Now is my only possession, for the past is dead and tomorrow is unborn.

I sometimes I end up worrying too much about things that it ends up temporarily freezing up my life. I guess not knowing will always bothers us. The fear of not being totally in control of our life is an ongoing disease. Sometimes I resort to emotional eating or running. I always tend to run away from it. Realizing that it will never stop bothering me , I confronted it head on and accept reality.

Having peace within one’s self is never easy. As social beings, we tend to use others or things to solve problems. It takes a lot of strength to fight our own demons. There is nothing more debilitating than self-doubt.

They say that fear is one of man’s formidable enemies. We do a lot of things that tend to be destructive to ourselves and relationships. Do not let something non-existing win over your life. Decide to be positive and active. You are given enough time to make the best out of you.

The most freeing thing you can do for yourself is to never lose hope. Believe in your capabilities and know that things happen for the better

Do you have these moments too? How do you get over them?

 

An Open Letter to the Broken-Hearted Girl

Dear Broken-Hearted Girl,

Say hello to those days of staring blankly and those nights of tears falling. You will hate yourself for being vulnerable and weak. You wish you could go back in time and drop each memory or fast forward everything to cover the past. You will doubt everything and fear a lot of things because of this. Picking up the pieces is taxing. With every broken piece, you make cut yourself again.

Forget all the hurts and just look back on what was good. You may not see it now but in time you will know why it happened. One day, you will realize why you got hurt. You will grow up and learn from your mistakes.

You will learn to love yourself and heal your own wounds. Only you can truly heal the wounds.

Do not let the demon in you win. Revenge may seem sweet but it is just sugar-coated. It has a bitter after-taste that will rob you of tasting what is good in the present.

As for now rest, there are more battles waiting ahead. All I ask is that you never lose hope. Fall in love with life, it will give you all the strength you need.

In a world where lies are common, know who to trust. Be ready for anything the moment you wear your heart on your sleeve.

Somewhere in the narrow prickly path, you will find your Armour. He will protect you and help you through life. He will give you amnesia, make you forget all the past hurts and make you appreciate the present.

You will see a bigger world and realize that love is a lot more than being in a relationship. It is grasping every second that you breathe and making the most out of it.

Be brave! Everything that is worth living for is never easy. Do not be scared to get wounded again. Love like you’ve never been hurt but guard your heart.

Dealing with the paralysis is difficult but you will live through it. Standing up after a fall is never easy but you are strong.

You cannot instantly take away the hurt. Do not think using another person will make things better. Everything will take time.

You always have the choice. Choose happiness over sadness. Choose forgiveness over hate. Choose love over apathy. Choose life over death.

This is not your first time and it will not be your last. Love is a gamble. It will be crazy, you might lose a part of your soul in the process. If you should kill a part of you, make it a birth of something better.

Every defeat has its purpose. I am telling you this because I was also wounded. I know how it feels like finding out that the very person you trusted was a lie. I know how it is to have one’s soul ripped out and shattered like it meant nothing. You will not lose out on real love, you will be victorious. You will soar and appreciate the beauty of it all.

“Love can be so hauntingly beautiful, waking up past selves that have been wandering aimlessly through the corridors of our soul, for far too long. When someone else can take us from the ghost-town of our inner-selves, to exciting new landscapes, it’s worth the risk, just to feel reborn.”

― Jaeda DeWalt

 

21 Things That Everyone Deserves To Experience

1. Having a friend who does not judge you or look down on you, no matter what, and who really listens when you tell them something important or difficult.

2. Finally going on the one ride at the amusement park that you were always just a little too scared of, but which left you disappointed every time you didn’t get up the courage to ride it.

3. Having a picnic out by the water on a day where it’s just sunny enough to feel warm on your face but not so hot that you can’t enjoy sitting still. (And where the bugs all miraculously leave you alone.)

4. Swimming in clear water, where you can see the bottom even when you are chest-deep.

5. Kissing someone you have really, really wanted to kiss for a long time, and having that whole tingly-body sensation when you realize that it’s just as good as you thought it would be.

6. Sharing your favorite music with someone and seeing the look on their face when they realize that they love it, too.

7. Sneaking a drink when you can’t legally get it yet, and feeling that buzz which comes as much from the danger of it all as it does from actually being intoxicated.

8. Making a mistake that you feel you can’t recover from, and hearing someone tell you — in all sincerity — that it’s okay, and they forgive you.

9. Seeing a city that you have always dreamed of visiting in person for the first time, and feeling like you might faint because it’s so much more beautiful and rich and real than you could have ever imagined it to be.

10. Being so overwhelmed with your new surroundings that you want to photograph every last rock and leaf that you see, and ultimately realizing that you are not going to be able to take it all with you, so you might as well enjoy it while you have it.

11. Going to see a movie by yourself and feeling so connected with what’s going on on-screen that you forget you are alone.

12. Finishing a book that leaves you feeling like you’ve just made a whole group of new friends that you will keep with you for the rest of your life.

13. Falling in love with someone and realizing, in a way you never have before, that they actually love you back just as much — that sometimes, it really is just as simple as that.

14. Holding hands under the table when no one else realizes, because almost everything between the two of you has become like some kind of secret language that only you can understand.

15. Overhearing someone say something nice about you when they don’t know you can hear them.

16. Having a group of friends around you after a breakup which makes you come back to life and understand that things aren’t over, and they are going to get better.

17. Being proven right in an argument in a bar over something meaningless (like the name of an actor in a movie) which is somehow incredibly meaningful in the moment.

18. Running into an old friend completely unexpectedly and feeling like not a moment has passed since the last time you two saw each other, because everything is still so easy and comfortable.

19. Re-watching an old movie you used to love and seeing it as though it were completely new, because you had somehow forgotten about all your favorite parts.

20. Having a really great professor in a class that makes you passionate about a subject you never thought you would care about.

21. Making a difficult decision about which you can say afterwards that, no matter how hard it was in the moment, you made the right choice — and that you don’t regret it because you would not be the person you are if you hadn’t.

Reposted Article from http://thoughtcatalog.com/chelsea-fagan/2013/07/21-things-that-everyone-deserves-to-experience/