Ever dreamed of studying abroad but you don’t have a clue how to do it? Don’t worry, Study Query is there to help you. They’ll genuinely guide you until you obtain your student visa.
They say that the best way to predict the future is by creating it. I am lucky to have met Ms Jestle Lavarias of Study Query as she helped me to be in the future I wanted. Now I am studying Bachelor of Information Technology in Deakin University Australia. I am blessed and grateful as this will help me in my endeavours.
First off, she helped me decide the course that I will take and in which Uni. Here in Australia, there are lot of options about the specializations and there are also lots of good schools to choose from. Those were quite overwhelming for the first time but Ms. Jestle recommended me the universities which offer courses that are aligned to my interest. That made it easier for me.
Then, she guided me how the whole process will go. She shared with me all of the vital information I need to know such as the requirements I need to submit and how much it will take to proceed with the whole thing. Also, it’s really convenient that whenever I have questions, I don’t have to go all the way to their office in Makati. I just send her a message through WhatsApp or email and wait for her response (she replies fast I tell yah) 😬
Sometimes, it’s stressing to gather documents. Or whenever you’re reviewing for your English exam. Or when you’re patiently waiting for your uni’s response. What’s good about her is that you can also talk to her about these as she knows how difficult things could be sometimes. She’ll give you encouragement and lift up your spirits. Surely, you can trust her 😉
When the day came that all of my requirements are done and we can already apply for student visa, she, together with Ms. Vanessa, submitted them online. They double checked, triple checked that all are good to go.
You know how anxious it is to wait for something you want and you don’t exactly know when it will come. It’s all you think about most of the time. Days came by, a week has gone. Hours go by and you sometimes count every minute. After two weeks, our good news finally came. Australian immigration has finally sent us an email confirming that our application for student visa has been granted. It was a bliss. I am filled with joy. I am thankful for the blessings. And I am lucky. I am grateful for the people who helped me and encouraged all the way, most especially to my family.
To future students abroad, I recommend Study Query as they provide quality service and will surely assist you with your plan. They are approachable, friendly and you can learn a lot from them.
To Ms Jestle and Ms Vanessa, an ocean of thanks to you. Cheers 🥂
Keep Calm and Carry On. Sometimes, things don’t go exactly according to plan. But what’s important is how you handle the situation and do something to move onward.
Fast forward to the morning of our hike. I was with my friends — Hazel, Luigi, RJ, Mark, Juvilyn— and other joiners of HappyFeet Adventures. We all arrived safely at Barangay Ampucao, Itogon for registration. Then, we prepared ourselves for the long day. We put our jacket on as the weather was cold.
Later on, Jettross of HappyFeet Adventures, our event organizer, introduced us to our tour guides. Then, they told us the do’s and don’ts which had already slipped my mind by the time they said it because I was already excited to start the trail and witness the sunrise. After that, we had a bit of stretching. The sun was already up and I was a bit sad because I didn’t have the chance to use the headlights I bought for my friends. Anyways, I couldn’t talk to the sun and tell him to stop rising and wait for me could I?
A few moments later, our hike to Mt. Ulap finally started. No more hiccup to stop us. Since then, magnificent views welcomed us along the way — slope of grassland ridges, sea of pine trees, stunning landscape of mountains. Most of us stopped in every possible point of attraction for an unlimited photo ops. We only had a limited time though. But then, our appreciation for this incomparable beauty is limitless.
Throughout the series of ascents and descents, crowd also accompanied us. Especially at the Gungal Rock, the visual highlight of the trail where we waited for hours just to have a fast 10-second picture taking because it also have to accommodate tons of other people. It wasn’t that marvellous that time because there was no clearing at all — clouds hid the view. Though we still didn’t miss the opportunity to take photos on it. Something to look forward to if I decided to climb this rock again for revenge.
While we were resting, I asked Jett a question, “Won’t you have enough of it? Going here in Mt. Ulap often?”. Without hesitation he said, “No. This is a beautiful place and I won’t get tired of going here”. He has a conviction on his voice and I believe him. He also told me about the humble beginnings of HappyFeet Adventures. Before, it was just a do-it-yourself event with his friends and co-workers. Eventually it grew bigger and also catered other people. His passion for travelling has turned into his business of helping others who also want to take a trip to various places. He mainly organizes packaged tours and let people in all walks of life to join. Travel, earn and enjoy.
We moved on to the trail. While at the camping site, we took more photos; several of them were jump shots. Our tour guide Ate Liza has already mastered the trick of capturing our mid-air stunts.
Time ticked fast. We have to go. The trail continued for another hour. There were chain of stores where we stopped and ate. It rained sporadically. There was a panic buying of a big blue plastic bag that could be turned into a raincoat for P20. I was over protected. I wore that plastic raincoat, jacket, and an umbrella. While walking, it was sweat which made me wet, not the rain. Should’ve had a good base clothe.
We stopped again in a sari-sari store. We waited for everyone in our group to arrive. One of the moments I was waiting for finally came: the raffle for a bluetooth speaker. At first I thought it was just a gimmick to attract joiners, that it was just an honestly misplaced information on the itinerary posted on Facebook. But then it happened. And I was surprised. Now I wanted to win.
Jett stood on the corner while holding his phone with a spinning wheel game containing all of our names. The person will be eliminated from the game once the marker of the spinning wheel stops on his name. Unfortunately, I was the first one out. Sigh. No more chance of winning. Then, our names were called one by one. Later on it came down to two. Eventually, Mark won. He was so happy to win this game of chance and receive the most coveted bluetooth speaker. It turned into one of the highlights of the day.
Then we descended. Aside from the hanging bridges, I was also able to glance at the simple way of life the people have in the villages. They must already got used to the flock of people going there. Furthermore, I think, tourism has become one of their main sources of income. Like the place where we had a cold shower for P20.
Few moments later, when everyone was finished taking off the mud and sweat from their body, Jett ask the group to gather round. Then, one by one, he asked us about our feedbacks — in our event, to our tour guides and to him, our organizer. Everyone openly spoke their mind. I like it how we were given a chance to discuss what went well and what went wrong. It was not just an open forum which allowed us to reflect and evaluate the event for our own improvement, but it was also a venue which opened a possibility for friendships to start. Unusual but really good.
Then, came the time for us to ride in our van again and depend our lives on the hands of our reckless driver. He was late last night. I became frustrated as the hour passed by without him coming to fetch us and take us to where we should’ve been hours ago. I was already at the brink of thinking that the event will be cancelled and all of us will go home brokenhearted. But Jett did everything on his power to contact the driver and his supervisor to send us another van.
Fortunately, two hours later, our original driver came. There was a bit of confrontation between the two but then everything got settled down. Then, as if the driver made up for the lost time, he revved up the engine. He accelerated every chance he got, almost never minding the other vehicles along the way. If there were speed cameras around, he might have been caught several times and never would’ve cared about it at all. Luckily we all arrived safe.
Good thing our organizer was quick enough to act during those unexpected times and he really knows what he was doing or else the whole event would’ve been a disaster. I am also glad with the other participants I met during our waiting time in McDonald’s. They were patient and understanding. We kept our cool and at the end, it went well.
Those twist and turn of events made our hike to Mt. Ulap a remarkable one. I’d certainly join HappyFeet again if there’s a chance.
I’m sure there are lots of other blogs that could give you step-by-step process of how Lasik eye surgery is done so I won’t add to that redundancy anymore. I’ll just share with you what made me decide to push through this gamble.
Wear eyeglasses. Take them off. Wear contact lenses. Take them off. And it goes on. Everyday. This endless cycle when you have an eye vision problem. Why can’t we just automatically see clearly?
There were inconvenient moments when I forgot where I put my eyeglasses and I have to find them with my naked eyes. Good luck with that. Or when I’m already half an hour in front of the mirror putting contact lenses on because they won’t cooperate. Making me struggle first before letting me see the world in HD. Worse when one of it suddenly slips down from my index finger when I’m about to put it on. Then, I have to spend more time looking for it and if by chance I’ve given up, I’d just buy another pair. Sigh. What a waste.
During the day, it was just okay. Although my eye vision was really unclear and I have to make an effort to see things, it was just fine. I can get on. I can get my job done. But at night it was a different story. There were times I can’t see clearly. Even though I was wearing my prescription glasses or contact lenses, they just won’t do the trick. There were bright lights coming from the buildings, houses, cars, but the surrounding darkness was more visible. And as I saw it, it felt like the dark was slowly enveloping me. It was scary. What if the time comes it eats me alive completely? A frightening situation, a miserable nightmare, a tragic future.
Let me tell you I have wanted to solve this problem in a long time since I have searched that such procedure exists and it successfully makes the eyes see normally again. Only that I wasn’t prepared yet — emotionally, physically, and financially.
Until one day I had enough. Making the same routine everyday doesn’t make sense anymore. I have to do it. So I went to Shinagawa Makati. From there an optometrist made sorts of examinations to my eyes. Yes, you have to undergo series of tests first. Not all people who have the means are qualified do it. Later on, after considering the results, an ophthalmologist said I was an eligible candidate for the procedure. I was excited, nervous and hopeful. And now it came down to money. Well, it is really expensive but investing in myself is a top priority. After all it was just a small price to pay compared to the comfort it will bring. So I said we proceed.
Some Goodbyes Are Good
I think a lot of people are hesitant to do it because they are frightened, like I was at first. Even if they have enough money for it, there are still uncertainty. What if it goes wrong and they go blind? But, what if it goes right? It’s a real gamble. Fifty-fifty percent chance. After all, we only have one pair of eyes. But technology is far advanced than it was before and it has improved a lot, specially in areas of medicine. Plus promising results are guaranteed by experienced and trusted doctors. It’s still worth a try.
The operation itself was quick. Only less than ten minutes for both eyes. The results are also astonishingly fast. Although still blurry, I can immediately see the difference. Of course they gave me anaesthesia so I won’t feel the pain. But after it wore down, I couldn’t stop myself from crying. I couldn’t even properly open my eyes because it really hurts. That was understandable because I just had an operation. So, I let it run its course. The next morning was fantastic! So bright. So clear. I’m so glad.
It feels like I am constantly wearing contact lenses. Only I don’t anymore. So it is a permanent one. Sort of. I can see them letters and numbers clearly. I’m so ecstatic. Even up to this day. After almost five months since the surgery. So this is what it feels like to have a normal eye vision. It’s so convenient to wake up in the morning and readily be available to see how beautiful the world is. And I think you should experience it too.
It is the end of the year again. Looking back, it has been a rollercoaster one. Sometimes amusing, sometimes tiring, sometimes exciting, sometimes appalling. There were times I want to give up. But I still kept going on because I have to. We don’t have any other choice but to move on, do we? Fighting to live everyday and doing my best helped me to achieve far greater things. I am where I am today because of the challenges I faced. It was really amazing how far you can go if you stretched yourself a little bit more. In right time all of your sacrifices will pay off. They will one by one unfold in front of your eyes. It is a dream come true. What an remarkable year this is.
Travel and Adventures
I went here and there with my family and friends. I’m grateful for all the happy memories these brought along. The pictures and videos these created which one day will make me say “Oh well, those were the days. I had a great time”. More travel and adventures to come!
Malaysia / Singapore
I’m thankful for the opportunity given to me to travel and do productive things in Malaysia. I went to several touristy places, ate various tasty foods, and used my expertise whenever necessary. Immersion with the local and foreign people had been fun and made me appreciate other people’s cultures. I never thought I would come back in this country again. Last year it was two months in Singapore and one day in Malaysia. This year it was more than two months in Malaysia and one day in Singapore! What an incredible journey it has been.
I’m grateful to my family and relatives who helped me and my sister to come here in Australia for a holiday. It is a great opportunity to be here and experience an Aussie life. Haha. There are still more months to come and I’m excited to explore more about this country. I actually want to stay and live here 🙂 Let’s see how things will unfold. 😉
Gadgets and Subscriptions
Trendy and necessity
I love music and what a better way to listen to them other than through a wireless speaker? I’ve invested on this CloudFox Bluetooth speaker and I’m happy I did. I use it often and it doesn’t disappoint. Though next year I want to upgrade to a better one 🙂
I bought this phone through a Globe Plan 1799 last 2015. After 24 months contract, I’m grateful that I finally finished paying for it! Yay. Now I was able to request for it to be open line so that I can use it with other networks. It has been a big help for me and will continue to be. Hopefully I can upgrade next year!
I’ve been wanting to buy myself a MacBook Pro for a long time. It’s not a lux. It’s a need. Fortunately I’ve saved enough money to buy one. I’m grateful for this investment I’ve made. For sure, this laptop can help me achieve more in the years to come. Praying that it will be usable for at least five to seven years!
I’ve wanted to accumulate memories through taking pictures and videos. My iPhone did its part. But I felt that I needed a GoPro to take it a step further. I needed it especially when I’m hiking with my friends or just exploring around. I’m grateful that I can afford to buy a GoPro Hero 5. With it, I can capture more candid remembrance of the moment.
iCloud and Apple Music
With iCloud, I can backup and sync files, pictures and videos. Then, Apple Music lets me stream and download on-demand songs. These services has been part of my lifestyle and I can’t imagine my digital life without them. I’m grateful that I can still afford to pay monthly subscription for these two. Hopefully they will be more affordable in the following years!
My three year introductory hosting plan for this site has ended last November. Fortunately, I was able to renew it for another year. I am grateful to still keep this. In the coming year, I might look for a more affordable hosting site and keep this going for life.
Health and Wellness
I am wealthy because I am healthy and I am grateful for that. My health has been very well this year and it enabled me to do the things I needed to do. Though I sometimes push it further, I make sure that I rejuvenate and take plenty of rest. I hope to have a healthier body and mind in the years to come!
I’ve been dreaming to undergo an eye LASIK procedure ever since I heard it can make my eyes better again. This year I made that come true. I am grateful to have a successful Z LASIK surgery at Shinigawa Makati. Now, my eyes vision are 20/20. This made me see clearer and better. I wish to maintain this very good eyesight for life.
Family and Friends
My family and friends are always there for me and I am really grateful for that. The unconditional love and candid moments they bring in my life, those I can treasure forever. I am lucky to have them with me. I’m looking forward to build a stronger relationship with them. More happy bonding and unforgettable adventures to create!
Work and New Begginings
I am appreciative to my work as a Web Developer which enabled me to earn, learn, save, travel, and achieve a lot of goals. Furthermore, my 9-to-5 job also made me reflect what else I want to do next and what I want to attain in the long run. I hope to do that kind of work that will make me happy, add more meaning to my life, and help me to reach new heights.
Earnings, Savings and Investments
I am grateful that I am financially sound this year. I earn, save and invest. Goods and services I need and want seem affordable and it’s amazing to feel that I can purchase them and still be financially stable afterwards. These give me peace of mind and more freedom to choose. I am really thankful and I want to have more investments, savings and earnings in the years to come.
Counting my blessings. I’m grateful for everything that have happened. The memories, experiences, dramas, revelations. I am looking forward for a more blissful and prosperous new year!
I asked you to come with me in that convenience store. Not because I want to buy something but because I want to tell you something. This has been going on in my mind for months now and I can’t hold it anymore. So that store will be my alibi to be with you, to get your time, and to tell you the truth.
My heart’s pumping out blood faster than it should. Beads of cold sweat, even though I’m wearing a jacket and the weather’s fucking hot as hell.
You willingly accompanied me even though you said there is nothing you want to buy. Not really sure why you’re doing this but it seems like my persuasiveness overpowered you. Thankfully it worked this time. Out of a million tries of inviting you to go out with me. This time is different. Thinking that the universe has conspired to make this moment happen.
We walked towards the store together. Me asking you random questions, not so that I can know more about you but to distract myself with what I’m about to do. I must not fail this mission as this might be the only chance that I’ll have.
I opened the door and held it until you come inside. Got separated a little later so that we can sort out and grab what we wanted to buy. I don’t really have anything. I was just thinking how I should approach you. My introduction, my speech. Ugh. I’ve practiced this on my mind a couple of times already but ..
You went round the corner and came towards me. You caught me staring blankly into a stall of soaps and dishwahing liquid. What in the world am i doing here?! You even asked me if I have to wash a lot of dishes. I faked a laugh to ride your joke. Haha. Shit. Then you asked me what will I buy. I don’t have an idea yet and you’re not holding anything. So I quickly walked towards the food section and picked whatever snack is there. Panick mode.
I’m running out of time. I walked in another aisle to pretend I’m looking for something, but there’s really nothing. All I really wanted to do is tell you how I really feel.
I’m in line for the cashier. You’re near the door already. Waiting for me, wanting to go back from where we were. I slightly look at you from time to time, trying decipher your mind. I tried to calm down. For five seconds, my mind was floating, I never realized that the cashier has already been asking for my stuffs. I beamed to my foolishness. I saw you smirked. Bar code done. I reached for my wallet and then paid.
Should I really tell you? Fuck it. I will. I will tell you the real reason why I asked you to go with me. I’ve waited for this day to come. I’ve gathered all the strength I got. No more excuses. This has to be it.
So this is it. We were already walking out and I said, “Hey, I’ve got to tell you something”. Your body language told me, “Ok. What’s it? I’ll listen”. So I blurted out, “I love you”.
I was on the edge of canceling this event. Tropical storm Jolina has been pouring heavy rains up north and it was also affecting us in central and south Luzon. Despite having second thoughts, I still want to push it through. I wanted to climb again and bond with my friends. It has been almost five months since we last climbed. I asked them one by one if it’s alright to hike even if it’s raining and they said it’s just fine. So up we go, rain or shine.
It was the second time we planned to climb Mt. Maculot. The first time was last April but it was cancelled because a natural calamity has happened weeks before: earthquake. We feared it will happen again so for our safety we cancelled it. Then, surprisingly weeks before this event another earthquake happened again. Coincidence?
I was able to get a contact number of a guide through the blog post I read. Still skeptical about going, I called him and asked how was the weather like in Cuenca, Batangas. He said it wasn’t raining anymore. But the weather app indicated it was. Doubting that the guy just want us to proceed. In the end, I just held on to the hope that he was telling the truth.
So at a cold 3AM morning we all gathered at McDo Buendia. After eating breakfast, we aboard the bus bound to Lemery Batangas. The fare was P147 each. We try to catch up more stories while we also catch some sleep. It was heavily raining when we left. It’s good they are still willing to go even if there was a big chance that it will rain.
We reached Lemery at around 6AM. It wasn’t raining like our tour guide has told us. Great! Mark left his umbrella at the bus. Regretful. Later on, we registered and met our guide. RJ got his own separate guide. We started ascending after a few minutes under a cloudy weather.
We headed first to the Rockies. There were 14 pit stops all in all. It was good as we can recharge from time to time. Mark showcased his app showing how high are we above sea level. Ram on the other hand shamelessly farted whenever he wanted then blame it to RJ! Haha. Wind of change!
While on our way, we can’t stop comparing this adventure to the one we had at our mother mountain Mt. Balagbag. That one was more challenging than this they say. Maybe? Perhaps because it was our first time and didn’t expect what it would entail. But now, three mountains later, we got used to the drills. We gained experience and were stronger than before. Our pacing was within the itinerary I set.
The tourists guides also told us stories about climbers who died in this mountain. Their bodies were just found several days later. The community wasn’t strict on hikers climbing without a guide. Since then, in order to prevent such regrettable suicides and deadly accidents, they required one.
The weather fortunately went from cloudy to sunny. Something that we didn’t expect. It was around 8:30am when we reached the infamous store called 7/11 by the people. Why? Because the price of products were incredibly expensive. We paid P40 each for a single serving of pancit canton, P12 for a hard boiled egg, P100 for 50ml water. We didn’t have a choice. But it was just fine. Somebody have to go all the way top to replenish their stocks so perhaps that puts the equation about the prices. They have to pay someone else which adds cost.
As we went along, Jayson got his head bumped by the low lying branches of wood several times. Three to be exact. One of the worst was the woods with thorns. Good thing his head didn’t bleed. Ugh. Be careful.
The rain was a blessing in disguise. Had it not rained, a lot of people would have come. Edwin our guide said sometimes it would take three long hours to wait for your turn to take awe-inspiring pictures at the Rockies due to the blockbuster crowd. Luckily only a few groups were with us. We took our time.
Rockies was the most popular spot in Mt. Maculot. You’ll be able to see the majestic view of the lake and also the mountains covered in flora and fauna. It was serene. We stayed longer and took a lot photos to our hearts content while appreciating the grand beauty of it. Truly spectacular. Especially when you’re experiencing it together with your close friends.
Later on we headed to the summit. Another rocky road. We rappelled to the steep ascents along the way. We held on to the ropes tightly while firmly stepping forward. It was quite fun and also made my heart thump, like when I was with you.
There was no clearing at the summit. Fog was all around covering the picturesque view of the lake. We went on the other side where a lona was spread on the ground. We seated there and then rested a bit. A charming lady we met earlier from another group took a picture with us.
Later on we took solo and group pictures at the summit. Rain suddenly poured. We wore our raincoats and then continued what we were doing. Few moments later we decided to descend and head to the grotto, our last stop. Intermittent drizzling and muddy footsteps ahead.
Random talks. Little chats. Quick updates. We try to reach out as much as we could, or rather as much as I could to them. Since I was no longer seeing them on a daily basis, I wanna squeeze any information they want to share. Haha. Five years, ten years from now or more, I’d still want to be close to them — hike, hang out, go to places. Aahhh. I’m just happy.
We reached Mama Mary’s grotto in no time. Down below we could clearly see houses and buildings which look miniscule. From afar are the cities and other mountain ranges. Another mesmerizing view from the top of the mountain. This grotto is a popular destination for people who penitent during the holy week. Stations of the cross depicting Jesus Christ crucifixion were built along the way. I prayed to Mother Mary. I hope it will become true one day.
Cemented stairs made it easier for us to descend. It was a long way going down. Some went first and others just followed depending on our paces. When Hazel and Luigi catch up, Hazel told us that Luigi went rolling down because he slipped. Good thing he wasn’t hurt badly. When we reached the end of the trail, we rode a tricycle going back to the site where we could take shower. Sore and starving.
Then, we paid our tour guides. Fee was P600 per guide for five persons for the Rockies-Summit-Grotto traverse and an additional P100 for succeeding people. We ordered food afterwards. Lomi and silog meals were served. Full and ready to go home.
In the bus going back to Buendia, Mark said his phone has an IR receiver which can control any IR enabled device as long as its brand is supported. I said he try to change the channel of our TV but he was feeling scared. I’ve also though them how to edit their pictures using Google’s SnapSeed app. So they were enhancing their photos while we were on the bus.
It was such a great day. Another planned event turned into reality. Til our next event!