Life, now

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I’d like to be honest about my current situation. Although it is something that I should talk about with someone, I don’t think it’s exactly the kind where another person would truly understand. Just think about how lucky someone could be if they had a person who would go out of their way to truly listen to their every word no matter how good or bad those things are, but I think I’m just not so fortunate enough in that department. I’m the one who reaches out so much so, that I would detach myself from my own miseries so I could make other people feel alright.

So, I’ll write instead, because it is the only way that liberates me. Even for a little while I know that my pen and paper won’t budge, squirm, or even judge my seemingly inconsequential messes.

You see, I’m not in a really good shape right now. I can’t tell you exactly the reason why but life for now is making me exhausted and uninspired.  It doesn’t show, but what’s inside is an entirely different chaotic story. Beyond all these, at the end of the day, I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world. I used to have so much fire in me but that light seems to be slowly losing its flame knowing that my head and my heart are wrestling between telling myself that everything will be okay and living under the ubiquitous presence of endless worry and anxiety.

Once, my mother told me that I was a strong girl- that before I was anything else I was strong. And I liked that word. I liked knowing that I had the ability to stand up after a setback or the strength to swim through the current. But I don’t think I’m the best person to be known for being strong now. Maybe I’m just as vulnerable and weak as I thought of myself to be.

I am uncertain of what the future holds but I do hope good things would come around in all of our tomorrows.

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5 reasons why ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ has been the best thing that happened to Netflix thus far

By now, you’re probably obsessed as I am with To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, a film adaptation of Jenny Han’s popular young-adult novel on a girl named Lara Jean whose letters to all the boys she had crushes on got sent out by her sneaky little sister. I’ve read all three books before and if the movie has gotten you smitten, trust that the book would ultimately bring out the love-struck teenager in all of us.

Though there were slight changes in the film, I still think we can all agree that our expectations have been met. Here are 5 reasons why To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before has been the best thing that happened to Netflix thus far.

 

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  • An Asian lead character..

Female Asian characters in Asian-themed films centered on racism and war are now ancient history, thanks to this light-hearted, romantic comedy  where we get to witness a normal Asian teenager go through high school and fall so hard in love the way we see white female leads do. I mean, it’s so rare to see a woman of color star in films with the same genre as this. The fact that’s hard to swallow is that Asian female characters are almost always playing the sidekick and the geek but with Lara Jean (Lana Condor), I guess she broke that glass ceiling right above her head. I’m glad the filmmakers stayed true to the book and did not, in any way, whitewash the characters in it. Atta girl!

 

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  • Well, Lara Jean of course… 

In the most subtle moments in the film, we hear the gentle voice inside Lara Jean’s head. We simply see an introverted girl who is confused, imaginative, and young, and more than that, none of it felt forced nor exaggerated. Right before the film started where I had only carried the imagination with me from the book, I had already identified so much of my teenage self to Lara. Like her, I am introverted and would tend to keep to herself. I was so in love with the idea of love that when I am confronted by it, I end up feeling frightened. I wrote so much but as opposed to letters, I had journals filled with poetry.

Lara Jean just really gets me, you know? This role for Lana Condor was probably already written in the stars. I couldn’t imagine any other actress who would play as Lara Jean than her.

 

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  • Noah Centineo as Peter Kavinsky…

If you’re a Disney child like me then you’ve probably seen Noah in Austin & Ally and How To Build A Better Boy, but it’s his portrayal as Peter Kavinsky now that instantly skyrocketed his name to fame. True enough, he is this year’s rising star. He had the right touch of everything a loveable jock could be. He could be funny yet serious, sexy yet act like such a dork, manly yet a big softie. I admit, Noah truly did Peter justice. I mean, after seeing the film I was in love with him! Yup, I, a strong, independent, adult woman, still hopes for my own Peter Kavinsky to show up at my doorstep. But if the universe would extract him right out of the pages then I’d be glad to welcome him with open arms. I can’t believe that the movie made me wish for a parallel life where I was Lara Jean so I could be Peter’s human pillow.

 

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  • Watching it felt good…

 Unlike many other teenage films filled with the chaos of cliques and bullies, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before had a certain softness to it. I couldn’t describe it concretely but the thing is, we see young people in a different light in this fictional world of love letters and Korean yogurt drinks. It didn’t make me roll my eyes at the cheesiness but it was pure escapism in the midst of this already very cynic world. Watching the film made me feel like I was a giddy sixteen year-old again. Watching it just felt good and nice and warm, don’t you think? If John Hughes had been alive right up to this day, I guess this is one of those films he’d make in a heartbeat.

 

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  • The Covey family…

Nothing is as heartwarming as the Covey family. Even when the Coveys had a single dad to raise all of them three girls, the film lets us in on a family that’s  close-knit and still pays respect to the culture they were born into. And let’s not forget about sweet, sassy Kitty. It’s because of this feisty little kid that brought Lara Jean and Peter’s world together.

If you have not read nor seen To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, then you should start by now. A little protip? Guard your hearts coz you’ll fall in love right into it.

Camiguin Island: A Quick Getaway

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After all the days we spend burning out at work, the only thing my friends and I were craving for was to spend our weekend in the Island Born of Fire- Camiguin. Since we only had a weekend to travel because of our work schedule, we were able to visit almost all of the significant places in Camiguin for just a day and a half. Believe it or not, you can actually circle round the island in just a single day if you had all the time in the world.

Before getting there, we carefully planned out our time of departure, itinerary, and budget. We left last  Saturday at noontime right after our duty hours. We packed up so quickly so we could get to Agora Bus Terminal in just a few minutes. By 12:30, we were already leaving for the Port of Balingoan. To get to Balingoan, you need to ride the bus and travel for approximately 2-3 hours. It was unusually gloomy that day thus we were quite alarmed of how our travel will go but thankfully, the sun eventually shone! I guess the odds were in our favor. After all, we just couldn’t bail out on our much-awaited weekend trip out of the city. To get to the Port of Benoni in Camiguin, we waited for an hour of travel via ferry. I thought we weren’t going to make it to the last trip but luckily, we so did. We finally arrived in Camiguin at nearly 5 in the afternoon!

We settled in to the place we were going to stay in at Paguia’s Cottages. I wasn’t really able to take photos of the place because I was dead tired and hungry but for a price of P1400 (good for 4 people), our room was very much lovely to stay in. For our first night, after our dinner, we made it to Ardent Hot Spring which was located in Mambajao. We rented a motorela to tour us around and pick us up. When you’re in a tight budget like us, you’ll find even better ways to save up and savor your trip such as foregoing a package tour for a motorela drive and blend in with the locals. Yet again I wasn’t able to take pictures of our first location, because I was so focused to relaxing on a warm spring. Not to mention, the place was filled with slippery rocks and the night was quite dark, so taking a picture wasn’t really a choice for me.

The main highlight of our trip was our planned island hopping before we leave for the last ferry trip. We woke up as early as 4 am the next day to prepare for our trip to the island at 5:30 a.m. It took us only about 15 minutes to get to where the White Island was and man, what a sight it was.

 

I’ve actually been there before but the memories were quite vague since I was just in high school back then. But the view we were able to see was magnificent and I was reminded of how beautiful it was. The place was unusually crowded even in the wee hours of the morning considering that it was a summertime and it was a weekend. To avoid the damaging heat of the sun by noontime, you can enjoy the cold breeze when you take a dip first thing in the morning.

 

Soon after our breakfast, we visited the Sunken Cemetery and Old Church Ruins. The places don’t charge tourists anything. The two were just located nearby as well that is why it didn’t take us a lot of time to stroll around before we get to the last leg of our quick trip.

 

Before leaving, we made sure to visit Mantigue Island. Because we were going to try and catch up with the last ferry ride, we placed Mantigue last on our list considering it was just near the port. Like the White Island, you need a pumpboat to get there. Unlike the previous location, Mantigue is a lot farther as it took us about 20-25 minutes . But the view and the crystal clear water were worth the wait! Mantigue was more divine-looking when we got to snorkel underwater. It was even probably better than White Island since the water boasted shades of brighter emerald. We truly didn’t want to leave but we had to! After eating our lunch and rinsing off as swiftly as possible, we finally bid adios to the wonderful, quaint Camiguin Island.

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Though the trip was short-lived, the time we had made it even more exciting. I got to spend the best time at a beautiful island and wonderful friends, and I couldn’t have asked for more. Camiguin is just one of the many other islands we have in our country that deserves to be explored yet nurtured. Upon leaving, I realized how badly I wanted to return knowing we had more reasons to come back. See you later, Camiguin!

Saying hello, again: Why I haven’t blogged in nearly 3 months

I know, I suck at updating my blog. That is why I never consider myself a “blogger”, because I feel like it does a disservice to all of the legit bloggers out there who truly take the time in giving you good and interesting content. If consistency were part of the general criteria, I might really fail at that. This is one of the rare times that I actually have when my hands aren’t really full so consider this a rather decent post in nearly 3 months.

You see, my life had been pretty hectic. Since I work in the academe, things got crazily busy over the previous months. Though I tried my best to face the busyness head-on, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a rut. To say the least, I was in a slump. I couldn’t recall how many times I locked my office door and cried like a baby inside. It sounds funny, but well, there are days when you just can’t bring yourself to hide things anymore. My motivation was zero and my mind was constantly thinking about my classes in graduate school, which half the time, sucked out so much energy and time from me. I had a lot of things to do! I swear to God, I was going nuts! My friends and family witnessed exactly how stress got to me. I never liked stress. I never liked wearing exhaustion and lack of sleep as a badge of honor. If this is is what I get from all this, then I realized I wasn’t exactly working smart enough, I was just working hard. Trust me, there’s a huge difference.

There were days when I couldn’t finish my tasks in the office because I was preoccupied with my class requirements on the other hand. If I could sleep in every time I stay at Starbucks to finish my work, I would, but that would just be weird enough for everyone. I stayed countless of days in my favorite coffee shop just so I could finish everything. Sometimes, my dad would accompany me or he’d leave me alone and pick me up until closing time. Oh what I’d do without my parents, I’d be  lost if they hadn’t been this supportive. I’d gotten sick several times and my anxiety levels shot up so high it was difficult to sleep sometimes. Guess my body isn’t really made for long days and nights anymore; I figured I needed some rest.

After that grueling semester, I was able to finish 9 units (Research, Theories of Personality, and Abnormal Psychology). 9 units in college seemed so easy but now that I’m getting older, they’re no longer a breeze. But thankfully though, I was able to get really good grades this semester. I didn’t expect to get grades higher than my expectations, but God sure did make things possible. I’m still busy at work for now, but I’m treading on like I usually do. I don’t know if I’m entirely prepared for the next semester, but here’s hoping I’ll regain strength and a newfound motivation to hustle once more.

We must keep the fire burning, mustn’t we?

 

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If seconds are all I have,
let me memorize
the way
our eyes spoke
in a language
that didn’t
need words-

all
we have were
glances
that painted
a universe
miles
away from home.

If seconds are all I have,
allow me to remember
how you looked
at me
as if you knew
exactly
the wars waging inside my head.

If these are all I could
hold on to-
after our chance
encounters on the busy
streets of our
small city-
let me hope
for our lives to circle
around each other
once more,
because there isn’t anything
else I’d want
than for me to know your name
and see you
yet again.

Falling in love with a Stranger // Alve Aranton

Begin Again

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As I look back on the year that was, I can’t help but describe 2017 as a year that moved by fast enough. Funny how it seemed like it moved in a speed of light and now here we are towards the end of it. I can’t wait to tuck away 2017 in my back pocket and welcome 2018 with open arms.

Recalling, I’ve had quite a year, like most of you. It was something that I’d want to remember yet somehow also forget. I want to vividly remember the places I never knew I’d go to with the best people I could ever ask for and try to  erase the not-so-good memories as if they went by in a blur. You could say that though there were great things that occurred, a lot of the time in 2017, I felt pretty down. I’ve had to go through too many tasks at hand, juggling things like I had four arms attached to my body. I’ve wrestled with the idea of wanting to stay through all of this and wait for great things to happen to me or just leave- giving up and foregoing everything else for my dream, because maybe then if I would do that I’d be happier, more content, but I guess that will all just be a part of a great mystery.

I’ve had days when I didn’t speak with God but when I did, I’d fall down on my knees and break down as though I’ve never surrendered before; He understands, He always does. I’ve had people try to break me like I was shock-proof. I’ve heard negativities than I would most days but I treaded on. I was criticized for my softness as if it was nothing else but a declaration for weakness, and was called out for my size, as if I was big enough to fit in. I grappled with my self-doubt, insecurities, and uncertainties. 2017 felt like I didn’t have a voice but I fought hard and won over, still.

Over the course of the year, I got to write beautiful things too without being disturbed by anyone’s approval. It was a year I opened up to my own solitude and held it like treasure in my hands. I met new people who I resonated well with and helped me nurture my ability to sustain passion projects- projects that cared about art and life in general. I didn’t fall in love romantically this year, but I fell in love with people I met, who’ve had stories inspire me to my core. In 2017, I poked fun at my love life, embraced my singleness, and most of all, learned that love comes in different forms and dimensions.

God knows how much I’ve laughed and shed tears in 2017. I was in a rut yet I got out of bed everyday to face life head-on. I don’t know what the next year holds but here’s what I know for now: it brings along a newfound hope that I can always start all over and begin again.

 

Holiday Detour

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I know, I’ve been away from the blogosphere (if that’s stil how you call it these days) for quite a while. I guess this is my first entry in months, don’t you think? Well, a  lot has happened actually and now I found myself towards the end of the year.

A few days back, I was nowhere near the city. I left for a while to spend the holidays over at my grandma’s house. Then I returned just a few days ago to spend 30 hours at a rehab facility. The last thing I would do is spend most of my holidays in on a rehab facility but that was before when I didn’t know half of the things I ought to learn now. Honestly, I wasn’t confident with the idea of having to immerse myself in any mental/rehab facility on my own, for 30 hours, as a requirement for my elective class this semester. I was hesitant and scared to be going to a secluded place such as this but  I guess my self-doubt has knocked in on my door again because I think that after my four years of undergraduate studies, I still consider myself half-cooked and unprepared to face the harsh realities Psychologists have to deal with. I’ve had experiences in college but I consider those minor ones- just the tip of the iceber compared today.

I spoke with my client and got to know him over the past few days. I conducted lectures and activities to the entire group no matter how nervous I was. I’d spend afternoons with the persons involved with the facility, settled in well with them, and talked about great things. Man, I haven’t had good conversations in a while. After all of those, I feel pretty proud of myself for overcoming yet another wave of anxiety. More than that, I got to hear them out and listen to all their wounds, flaws, insecurities, past mistakes, and fears, that amidst those they’re trying, doing their best, to become better versions of themselves. To be able to know their stories, well, it does take empathy and an insane amount of courage. You see, it’s hard to make out who they are but when you dig deeper and look past their walls, you’ll know they’re just as beautiful and human in every way. 

I think I had the best time to cap off the year! I’ve learned so much in just a matter of days and feel immensely blessed for the experience. Until now, I still don’t get it why others would think Psychology’s a piece of cake, when it’s far from it. Not even close.

 

For Chingkee & Josh

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Prior to Chingkee and Josh’s wedding preparations, the couple had personally asked me to write a short poem for their wedding invitation. Just the thought of it made my heart swell, so in an instant, I took the opportunity with zero hesitations. But I was somehow a little nervous about it since it was my first time writing for a wedding. I mean, this is their special day! The least I could do was make the words both perfect for them. So with some thinking, tossing, and turning, here came the final output of it.

Chingkee simply wanted something concise yest complete in its entirety, symbolizing their love story. What I liked most about working with the couple was that they gave me creative freedom with my words. More than that, I am just utterly grateful for this rare opportunity given to me.

For collaborations and other projects, contact me at: arantonalve@gmail.com

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Photo by Michelle Kim

Wrote this poem for a friend.

There you go
going on and on
telling me about your dreams,
there is a wonder in your voice I hear
that sounds like a plan
I can only yearn to be a part of.

You smile
and my mouth pulls up too
but here I am by your side
dying little by little
haunted by the words
I could never tell;

held up by my heart
that has always been
enamored by every tiny speck
that makes up of you.

But I guess I’ll forever
remain this way-
torn between the fear of
me finally saying
and you
truly knowing

so I’ll just spend
days and nights hearing you out
instead of freely falling
as much as I would want to.

The Story Of You (And I) // Alve Aranton

Songs You Should Listen To Vol 1

A few days back, Pearl was posting songs from a youtube channel called, TheLazyLazyMe, which features rare songs from independent musicians. Just a few minutes into the first song I clicked into, and I instantly fell in love. I listen to independent music more than I listen to mainstream music and upon discovering that youtube channel, I knew I was going to be floating above the clouds. Here are a few song recommendations I think you should listen to right now. They are a guaranteed ear-candy!

Dancing by Mellow Fellow

Listen when: you feel like slow dancing in a sun lit room with the one you love. Or just dance alone by yourself, that’s fine anyway.

 

Candy Wrappers by Summer Salt

Listen when: you’re out for a drive or a walk eating popsicle sticks on a hot and humid day.

 

Power of Love by Kacey Johansing

Listen when: you’re sad for no reason and you just need to hear something mellow.

 

I Love You So by The Walters

Listen when: you’re feeling so in love you feel you’re heart’s going to burst.

 

Stomp The Yard by Fantasy Guys

Listen when: you’re feeling lazy at home.

 

 

Glowing Brightly by Florist

Listen when: you’re in the mood to cook something up in your little kitchen.

 

falling for u by peachy

Listen when: you’re sipping your favorite cup of coffee.

 

Love these tunes? Tell me what’s your favorite!