#WheninElNido

Philippines is known to have some of the best tourist spots in the world; and when it comes to the word “paradise”, there couldn’t be no other place than El Nido, Palawan.

One summer getaway that my colleague and I went on was this gorgeous place in Palawan, Philippines called El Nido. Traveling there was never easy, since we had to travel by land for six hours from Puerto Princesa Airport which is one hour travel time from Manila by plane.

But nonetheless, the exhausting travel time will all be worth it once you get to see the beauty of the place!

We had this gorgeous view from our place, Casa Cecilia. You’ll see the true beauty of nature and how it is being preserved by the province.

There are a lot of packages and tours being offered but we chose the Island hopping which consists of going to the five most highlighted places in El Nido: 7 Commando beach, Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon and Shimizu Island.

7 commando Beach

Photo: panoramic view of the 7 Commando Beach

One of the highlights of El Nido are their Small and Big Lagoon.

Since our boat is too big to get into the core of Small lagoon, we had to cayak ourselves in. And it was fun!

Small LagoonPhoto: outside part of the Small LagoonPhoto: Cayaking around the Small Lagoon

Big Lagoon

And for the Big Lagoon, it is said to be three times larger than that of the Small Lagoon. We also had to ride the cayak to tour ourselves around. What amuses me is how the waters were so crystal clear that corals are still beautifully visible even on the deep parts of the lagoon!

Photo: Clear waters and visible coral reefs around Big Lagoon

Photo: Panoramic view of the Big Lagoon

The Secret Lagoon

Photo: Panoramic view of the outside part of Secret Lagoon

We also get to do snorkeling around Shimizu Island, had our lunch over the boat, and there’s also a lot of great restos around the city, and some chill place if you want to relax over a glass of wine by the beach.

Truly, El Nido is a must visit for those adventure seekers! You’ll fall in love with the view and its crystal clear waters and how the rock formation and coral reefs were preserved.

Photo: Panorama shots from our El Nido Experience

This trip is one of the most amazing that I had! The place was breath-taking, the food was sumptuous, the people were acommodating, and the experience is unforgettable.

Looking forward to going back to this paradise soon. ♥️

#AskHarley


Years of writing and thousands of readers around the world. Everything started from just a past-time hobby, hoping to help and inspire others. 

Truly out of words for the wonderful comments and number of daily views despite of not being able to write and update everyday. I just want to thank you all.

As I want to be able to connect with every reader that I have, I have decided to launch this #AskHarley here so that those who would want to ask for advice, tips, or questions, I’d be able to address. 

You can ask about anything, and I’ll be sharing them here, with your consent of course. 

You can leave a comment here or message me, or email me at askHC@harleychua.com! Looking forward to answering your questions! 😘

From your Future-self


“If you had the chance to talk to the younger you, what would you like to tell yourself?”

We’ve all made mistakes, crossed the wrong bridge and chose the wrong path. Oftentimes, we think of it as something we shouldn’t have done; saying that “if only” statements, realizing how things could have been different.

Like what I’ve said on my previous posts, I never thought I’d be the Harley that I am now. Growing up, I used to be scared and vulnerable of the things that I don’t know. I used to be weak. I used to be shy talking to people. Everyone knew how afraid I was of making my own choices because I didn’t want to fail.

If only I was stronger, everything will be different; I can do the things that I’ve always wanted and won’t feel afraid of deciding for myself.” That’s probably what my younger self was thinking way back. 

But given the chance to talk to my younger self and go back, I wouldn’t change a thing of me being weak and afraid. I won’t change the times on how I’d feel hopeless on making choices. Because if it wasn’t because of those things, I wouldn’t strive to become better.

We often try to think of our past through our mistakes that we forget how it helped us with our present. Being weak doesn’t mean you can’t be strong, being vulnerable doesn’t mean you can’t make it. And so does making mistakes.

Answering the first line, I’d tell myself that I’m on the right track and I’m more that what I think, I know that my younger self is probably on the verge of giving up, but don’t. 

One’s weakness doesn’t define who he is. What’s important is what you choose to become. So be the best version of yourself . 

“If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be better that what you are.” 

#TwentyThree: Life of a Fil-Chi

Growing up in a Chinese family with Chinese culture and traditions in the Philippines is really hard because you have to be Chinese yet adapt to the Filipino community. And let me tell you they are totally different. They had different views with life, family and love.

Chinese had a different view of life and it’s something that I’m actually proud of growing up instilling to myself. Life is success. And if you want to be successful, you have to strive for it. We all know that most of the successful Chinese businessmen today came from nothing, they all strived to make it this far. They see life as an opportunity to grow and look at them now.

Family on the other hand, this is actually something that my Chinese-Filipino friends talk about, how it’s like in their family and it turns out Chinese families all have something in common –  and that is to maintain the family’s reputation. I could still remember how my grandmother used to tell me when I was younger that if you want to earn people’s respect, you should act like you’re worthy of their respect.

For Chinese, well most of them I’d say, reputation is the most important thing as it reflects how powerful they’ve become. Comparing it to a normal Filipino life, it has less drama and more focus on what do you want to achieve in the future.

Going back to me, because I could get a little conceited sometimes, I was pretty much brought up that way. Studied in a Chinese school from pre-nursery to High School, had our own driver fetching us, same old routine of house – school – house – school every single day. You’re now probably thinking how boring my life was, and yeah I thought so too. But of course this article isn’t. Coz little did I know that I’d end up to have a not-so-boring life after high school.

#TwentyThree: The Beginning

They say, age is just a number. Well that’s very much true except for a fact that we can always go back to numbers but not our age. Twenty-three… well that’s me right now. Twenty-three years of existence and happy of course! I’ve decided to title this article my age not because I couldn’t think of anymore titles, but because it’s basically going to be the story of my life. And I want you guys to be part of every journey that I’ll be along.

Funny how I used to wish to grow older when I was young, and yet now that I’m older, I remember the days when everything was just simple. Maybe things have been really different these days… long gone are my childhood days where I used to play outside home with my brother, it was quite an adventure.

I didn’t grow up exactly how I think everyone else did. Everyone else had their parents, or at least one of them, but I didn’t. They separated when I was five and it was the last time that I saw my mother. I honestly didn’t feel anything, maybe I was too young at that time. But as I grow old, people started asking questions for which I didn’t know what to answer. I don’t know where or how or why, I was five for god sakes.

I’ve always felt different and I actually know that I am. Different in a way that whenever we go to the toy-store and most kids at my age go back to their parents holding the robot boxes, I’d carry with me coloring pens, and painting kit. I don’t know. But I’d rather go to the bookstore and buy some books rather than spend time thinking which toy I’d want to take home.

I grew up with my grandparents by the way, and they were actually amazing, except they could get a little over-acting when it comes to me and my safety sometimes. But nonetheless, I still love them. I love being Chinese, the colorful traditions, beliefs, how they think of things and how they see life on a different perspective.

#PiliPinasDebates2016: Choosing the Right Leader

philippines-flag

Few months before the most awaited National Elections on May 2016, the first National Debate was held and hosted by GMA7 in partnership with Philippine Daily Inquirer

The official hashtag of the event #PiliPinasDebates2016 trended worldwide on Twitter and amassed a huge volume of reaction from netizens in Social Media all over the world.

It was the first time that I saw all the presidentiables together in an event so kudos to GMA7 for being able to host such once in a lifetime event, even though there was not enough air-time and it felt like the candidates wasn’t able to express themselves as much as what the Filipino people are expecting of them.

The five presidential aspirants, namely DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Grace Poe and Miriam Defensor Santiago, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and Vice President Jejomar Binay, stood up the stage and braved their way through the series of questions from rounds one to three.

The debate tackled current issues that the country is undergoing – crime, political dynasties, illegal drugs and one main problem of the country today, corruption.

Senator Grace Poe answered the questions gracefully with all her idealistic approach and strategies. She is aware that of all the candidates, she is the most inexperienced when it comes to governance, only on her half-term as senator and former MTRCB chair, but nonetheless, she believed that the country needed a new leader that saw the issues that were not resolved over the years. She believes that it’s time for some new eyes in the government that knows what the solutions are and acts fast. Her being new to politics triggered doubts from some whether it is the right time for her to run the country.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago answered fiercely, just what everyone was expecting from her. Senator Santiago is known for being one of the toughest Philippine senators in the history. Her level of professionalism, knowledge of the Philippine constitution and experience on good governance stood out during the debate. Her health became an issue that was taken against her to which she countered recently saying that she is already free of cancer. We all know that Senator Santiago has the highest influence when it comes to the youth and social media but sadly, only a little percentage of the youth are qualified to vote.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte answered comically, combining both wit and humor at the same time. Although known as a “womanizer” and used to kill criminals during his term as Davao’s mayor, he answered the questions being thrown at him with all honesty and didn’t find his doings wrong. He promised to solve the problem of the country including drugs, criminals and corruption within the first three to six months of being in service. Although I can feel Mayor Duterte’s sincerity for running the country, I am just really not a fan of killing, even though they are criminals. I just think that it’s not the solution for the country.

Secretary Mar Roxas answered his questions comparatively, always pertaining to what the current administration has already done and what he will be doing for further improvements. Known as the Liberal Party’s standard bearer, Secretary Roxas had years of service as former secretary of DOTC, DILG and Philippine Senator. He believes that his experience is enough and is more than ready to take on greater challenges ahead. Although, having to compare the recent administration to what he’ll be doing made him lost his individuality and look as if he’s just going to be the shadow of the previous administration.

Vice President Jejomar Binay answered conceitedly, trying to point out what he has done on the City of Makati, regarding it as the richest city in Metro Manila. Vice President Binay served as the mayor of the City for decades and is currently facing corruption cases. Vice President Binay, whose daughter Nancy Binay is a senator, son Junjun Binay was the recently ousted Makati Mayor, and Abigail Binay, Makati Representative, doesn’t believe on the Anti-dynasty bill recently filed in the Senate, saying that everyone should be given the opportunity to help the country as long as it fairly wins the elections.

If you were given the opportunity to make things right for your country, who would you choose? Would you choose someone new but has the heart to help, someone who believes that strict discipline should be implemented although it may result to killings, someone who embodies brains but could affect her health and therefore won’t be able to run the country properly, someone who seems to be the puppet of the previous administration, or someone whose able to make it to the list of ten most corrupt government officials in the world and the only Vice President to be joining the list?

We all have one vote, one chance to make things right, let’s not vote out of popularity or out of what the candidates are sugar-coating, let’s vote for someone who could actually make the difference. Choose a leader that you won’t regret voting six years from now.

5 Lessons: Pacquiao & the LGBT Issue

  
Lately, I’ve been reading different sentiments and views toward the recent LGBT “statement” by Manny Pacquiao and different opinions of  those people who are either with him or against him. 

My blog’s really not into these kind of topic but since it has come to a point where people are really making this issue as big as it is actually, I’d like you guys to understand some points. 

First, don’t believe in everything that media shows you. Clearly, this issue worsened because of the media trying to dwell more about it. Always remember that scenarios like these can always turn out the way how the media wants it to turn out, and most of the time it’s negative. 

Second, your negative comments doesn’t help. Really, why would Pacquiao’s family be involved with people’s curses in the first place? All of a sudden it revolved around the Pacquiao’s being called “ugly” and looking like “monkeys”, does it make you feel more human by saying it? Come on.

Third, you can’t pull yourself up by bringing others down. You just can’t. Defending yourself is totally different from trying to look for others’ mistake and making them feel like they are wrong. Doesn’t that make you less of a human too? 

Fourth, religion doesn’t define a person’s character. Someone who goes to church everyday but says negatively of others doesn’t make them lesser of an evil. In the end, it’s not how you want others to see you but how God sees you that matters anyway. 

And lastly, diversity will always be a part of our lives. We are all born equal and driven by God’s purpose. If we can’t accept one’s preference because of our beliefs, then let’s just give respect to each other as human beings. Because that’s exactly what God want’s us to do. 

Yes, sometimes we get hurt. But would hurting those who hurt you make you feel better? I don’t think so. 

#Forever

forever

The word “forever” has always been the term used to describe an infinite thing, situation, time, and feeling.

In the Philippines, the hashtag #WalangForever became an instant hit, after the Filipino rom-com movie “English only, please” was shown last December 2014, where “Wala” or “Walang” in Filipino term means “None”, or there’s no forever in short. Since then, the hashtag was often used to describe single people’s bitterness towards other couples. Of course, the term was just a joke and not intended to offend anyone.

Actually if you look into it, at the end of our minds, we really do wonder if it exists. We often tell our partners that we’ll love them forever, married couples made vows to love each other forever, the term has always been used to describe an infinite love toward each other.

It’s really nice how things have changed as everything else advances. From one’s view of a relationship and others’ view of how to keep one, everyone now falls with the word “Forever” when they define love.

But defining love and keeping a relationship are totally different things. Defining love is basically how you see yourself in a relationship while keeping one is a long process and not learned overnight. But one thing’s for sure: to keep one, you must learn how to make yourself worth loving – by being true to yourself.

Always remember that relationship doesn’t only come from one’s effort, it should work both ways. You and your partner making it work, no matter how difficult the situation might get. Love is accepting one’s flaws and weaknesses, and it does not force you to change who you are for a person.

I think that the two most essential element of how to keep a relationship are the two T’s: Time and Trust. Time because you are not supposed to rush things – like what they say: one of the best feelings in the world is to fall in love with your best friend, well not literally but someone whom you’ve known for quite some time perhaps. Someone who already knows you well and knows your craziness within. Because that person loves you the way you are.

And Trust, because basically it encompasses everything that a relationship should have. You must trust your partner to make it work, right? For me it is the most important element of how to keep a relationship on going because like what the quote says, ‘I trust you’ is a better compliment than ‘I love you’ because you may not always trust the person you love but you can always love the person you trust.

And if you are going to ask me if I think Forever exists, I’d say yes. Because I know that I will always love and trust my forever.🙂

New Beginning

 
Year after year, people always look forward to something as new year comes along… New set of clothes, new shoes, new gadgets, new goals, new career for some, while for others, it’s a new beginning.

365 days have passed and it’s always good to look at how you’ve been, how far you’ve accomplished and how close you are on your goals. You’ve made it through 2015 and now, you have another 365 days of 2016 to focus on your next move, to know what you want and what you need to do to get it.

If there is one thing that I learned from 2015, it’s to actually do what I want and say what I feel; to say that “no, I am not okay” when I’m sad, to laugh even at the silliest things, to go travel and get lost in different places, because in the end, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do and the words that you should’ve said.

No matter how you want to go back in time and be back to the best days or months of your life to redo things, you just can’t. So cherish every moment as it is. Because that’s the only time that you have to appreciate it most. 

Now is the perfect time to let go of the things and the memories that hurt you. Move on and be better. 

It’s time go beyond your expectations and set your standards higher.

It’s time to focus on the things that is ahead of you. 

It’s time to know what you deserve.

This time, no more what ifs and should haves, only what is and what should. 

Make 2016 your year.

Happy New Year everyone!

Holiday Lessons & Happiness

  
Season’s Greetings everyone!

Well, it’s that time of that year again where everyone seems so busy: doing their Christmas shopping and buying gifts, sending cards to loved ones, bonding with relatives and friends over  a simple yet feast-like dinner. It’s this time when people get to show how their year has been so far, and sharing all the blessings that they’ve gotten together with their loved ones. 

Always remember that the real meaning of Christmas is about appreciating the things, the people, and the experiences that 2015 has given you.

Appreciate the things that made you smile, laugh and be happy. Thank the people who has been there with you ever since, who has helped you and guided you all the way. And learn from all the experiences you’ve had.

Life & Ley wishes all of its readers across the globe a Wonderful Christmas! All of you are a big blessing that has inspired me to write more. Thank you everyone for the love and support and may your coming year be as merry as ever. Cheers! ♥️