Tag Archives: nature

Evergreen

5 Jun
Sharing with you today a set of beautiful photos care of this rustic resort found at the peak of a mountain somewhere in Batangas. The place is called Canyon Woods and is located in a very far flung part of the said province. It was a long drive to get there but it was worth it for me.

P_20170519_093303_BFLovely, lovely place!

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Being at Canyon Woods for three days was a good break from the hustle and bustle of the city life, especially for me because I’ve been wanting my days to slow down  and my 24 hours to double. Since I have to work and study for the bar exams at the same time, I feel like I don’t have enough time in one day to do everything I need and want to do. Pressure gets to me easily, and this breather right here has somehow calmed me down and stopped me from totally panicking.

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P_20170519_085552I particularly liked the rustic ambience of this place. I’ve always loved nature – I think that is quite evident in this blog – so imagine my delight when I found this glass-housed pool that boasts of this spectacular view of the  pine trees outside, and is surrounded with even more flowers and plants inside. 🙂

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IMG_20170520_073441_151I just had to instantly do a pictorial, you see. With the help of my phone camera that times itself, my considerate audience (kids that refrained from coming to this Jacuzzi and stayed at the bigger pool instead, to indulge the crazy me), and my very cooperative tummy which all of a sudden hid its bulge and made some non-existent abs magically appear  instead, I was able to take  some pretty good shots – one for the blog! yeah! haha

IMG_20170519_091858_262Can we all take a minute to appreciate the natural beauty that is so present here? And how the sun easily illuminates the place? And how those giant vines spreading at the ceiling just makes it all feel more whimsical? 🙂 Whoever thought about this whole architectural design gets hundred thumbs up from me!

P_20170519_090650This building is actually pretty massive. As i’ve said it has a very wide swimming pool aside from that Jacuzzi in the corner. I was only interested in the Jacuzzi area though. Haha. It was a little piece of paradise, within a paradise. 🙂

IMG_20170522_094550_796Did you know that pine trees stay alive and green even during winter? Yeah, I never really thought about it too! Didn’t realize it but sure in the movies they do cut pine trees to turn into Christmas trees and they stay green for a while even after having cut it right?

Pine trees withstand the harshest season, just when all other deciduous trees wither away.  That’s why they’re usually taken as a symbol of wisdom during hardships, of longevity and patience, and of life and hope amidst a wave of death. I just learned today that the pine trees are classified as Evergreens. Well, now we all know why. 🙂

This quick lesson on pine trees is quite timely for me.  Reviewing for the bar exams is giving me a hard time, not because reading per se is hard, but because I keep on questioning whether what I’m doing is enough. Indeed, the Bar Exams is more a test of character  than a test of one’s legal knowledge. Success in the Bar Exams relies on one’s discipline and optimism which I unfortunately think I don’t have enough of. I always make the mistake of comparing myself to other bar reviewees and ending up feeling so inadequate. I’ve always considered myself a smart woman but every time we talk about law school, my confidence shrinks into a tiny useless bud.

P_20170519_092020canyon woods“In the midst of winter, I found there is within me an inevitable summer.” – Albert Camus

It’s been a month of dark days for me but I hope to find that inevitable summer within me. I know I need to keep on living my life despite the less ideal weather, and I have to keep on reminding myself that I am enough regardless of the outcome of this bar exams. I’m scared to fail this one – but if it so happens, should that mean the end of my life? and the death of my worth as a human?

IMG_20170520_215031_551Pine trees remain boastfully tall, and thus alive despite the worst of conditions – And I think I can do that too. If I only succeed in believing that life will remain the same regardless, then maybe I could put some of the pressure off my shoulders, and maybe I could relax more and study better.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

P_20170519_093437_BFI know that in this tough journey that I somehow allowed myself to be in, I must not lose sight of what’s important. Maybe this whole ordeal is not so much about me passing the bar and becoming a lawyer, but rather about teaching me to never abandon myself even at the most impossible times. I have to keep on pushing myself up, and to keep on believing in my own worth. I have to understand that failure does not and will  not define me, so it must not scare me so.

“God took pattern after a pine tree and built you noble.”

That’s all for today! Have a lovely Saturday afternoon and enjoy the rains. 🙂

In Awe and Acceptance

10 Dec

My Beloved is the mountains,
And lonely wooded valleys,
Strange islands,
And resounding rivers,
The whistling of love-stirring breezes,

The tranquil night
At the time of rising dawn
Silent music
Sounding solitude,
The supper that refreshes and deepens love.

– St. John of the Cross

15073449_1874143209487798_6838534828767081427_nOne fine weekend, my family and I went to Tagaytay for lunch in celebration of my brother’s birthday. We went to see the only branch of Bag of Beans in the said city (there are 4, i think) that we haven’t been to yet. The resto was lovely just like the other branches, but this one is  the most in touch with nature. The alfresco area was much bigger than the air-conditioned part, and it consisted of two levels/stories, extending even farther from the main premises and near a sort of cliff.

15179232_1874142702821182_2494052493202345696_nNeedless to say, I liked it. Nature evokes a certain feeling of awe and gratitude in me. Indeed, in it i see a form of divinity. Does it ever happen to you — where passively observing the earth gives you a sense of humility in that you are suddenly reminded that in the grand scheme of things, we  and (what we perceive as) our problems OR our so-called status and accomplishments in life, are mere specks of dust?

15171259_1874142826154503_2027985949918804858_nThis morning I had the chance to read about and reflect on another Taoist teaching. The 72nd verse of the Tao Te Ching speaks of “Living with Awe and Acceptance”. The translated version goes like this:

When people lack sense of awe,
There will be disaster.
When people do not fear worldly power,
A greater power will arrive.

Do not limit the view of yourself.
Do not despise the conditions of your birth.
Do not resist the natural course of your life.
In this way you will never weary of this world.

 Therefore, the sage knows itself
But makes no show of itself
Loves itself
But does not exalt itself
It prefers what is within to what is without

15179158_1874142792821173_5779028431834192975_nAccording to the annotations, there are two components that work together for a harmonious life: a sense of awe and total acceptance – without the combined forces of which we will be unlikely to see the presence of the Tao (or of God, of the universe, of the Source, of a supreme being, of an energy that animates us all– no matter what you wanna call it, it pertains to the same thing.)

bag-of-beansThe first part of the verse encourages us to notice and feel the power in our beautiful surroundings: The vibrant colors of the flowers in the park, the relaxing chirping of the birds, the soothing flow of water, the blue skies, the intricate design of a wood grain of a table, the misty air, the smell of a freshly cut grass. According to Lao Tzu, nature is where we connect with the Tao, or with divinity.

recently-updated27This is especially apt given our current political situation in the Philippines. When our facebook newsfeed is drowning us with unending battles of virtues and ideals, as well as the resulting civil divide, perhaps it is better to retreat to something that will remind us of how beautiful and majestic the world is supposed to be, and still is.

“The earth has music for those who listen”

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I guess it is also important to emphasize that we, humans, are part of nature. We are natural beings just like the trees and the animals. This is where the part of acceptance becomes very crucial. The second part of the  TaoTeChing verse tells us to accept ourselves for who we are, totally abandoning the labels we’ve created in our heads (I am not as rich as him/her, I am not as educated, I don’t have a perfect body, etc). It tells us not to despise our circumstances because in the end, every human being is a natural creation and every natural creation is in itself divine. We are all equal. We all have God in us.  It is only upon acceptance of ourselves that we will able to be in awe of it. Self-love.

Ultimately, the Taoist verse urges us to shift from looking for miracles to seeing everything as miraculous, and to change our view of the world (ourselves being part thereof) to one of awe and bewilderment. It says that by being in a state of awe, we won’t be able to mentally experience boredom or disappointment. And then,“We can live the mystery and in divinity by beginning to perceive what average eyes fail to notice.”

bag-of-beans5I couldn’t agree more with what I just read. I knew there was a reason I gravitate towards nature. All of us do, as a matter of fact. Some just get caught up with the hustle and bustle of the “modern world” that we’ve come to think of as comfortable but is in truth, very limiting.

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bag-of-beans3Wearing a dress i got from my fave thrift shop in Intramuros for only P180.00

15171025_1874143386154447_3110809273984522946_nBag that is locally made, which I got for P350.00

15095698_1874142852821167_6078186447094595535_n“The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes. It has enough lush forests, flowered fields, and sandy beaches. It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it.”Michael Josephs

bag-of-beans2A bit off-topic, but I just have to mention: Bag of Bean’s chocolate banana latte was to die for. Best version i’ve ever tasted. Make sure to try it when you visit the restaurant. 🙂

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bag-of-beans1As I’ve said time and time again, Tagaytay restaurants are special because the food that they serve are much tastier (unlike those in Manila). Why? because their ingredients are almost always grown/produced naturally, sans chemical fertilizers (for vegetables and fruits) and preservatives (for meat). They don’t need this kind of harmful stuff because most ingredients are locally sourced. For example, you can actually taste the freshness of the salad’s pineapple vinaigrette.You could tell it did not come from a bottle sold at the supermarket. This basic example of well-tasting food affirms the idea that by keeping our ways as in touch with nature as possible, the best of things are created.

15056382_1874144049487714_7064675006302812311_nWe were all satisfied with the food that we ordered. The restaurant’s serving size is quite big but we finished everything.

15095526_1874144499487669_2843450279392771011_n“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, a society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not [Hu]man the less, but Nature more” – Lord Byron

(ugh. mejo nakakainis ang mga quotes na hindi gender sensitive! haha)

We can learn the Tao by being in perfect harmony with the environment, and by loving ourselves yet not making any show of ourselves. By quietly remaining in awe and acceptance, we transcend our ego’s prodding us to become insecure or entitled, bored and disappointed. Now, doesn’t that make perfect sense? 🙂

15178994_1876825062552946_7929293834481757644_nThat is all for today! Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 🙂 Go see a park or a garden or dine in an alfresco restaurant! hahaha ❤

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