Volunteering: Christmas Parade in Auckland


Taken at the Farmers Santa Parade 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand

Christmas in New Zealand is incredible. To kick off the festive season, a parade is usually organised every year where amazing floats, inflatables, and entertainment groups galore are showcased in late November to early December. There are two things you can do when in Auckland during this time of the year. You can either be part of the crowd as viewers or become a volunteer to put smile on people’s faces. Choose the latter at least once while in New Zealand if you can.

You can become a parade volunteer by taking the opportunity to dress in costume and participate in the Parade! This year, I had a privilege to help out in this activity. Everything is well-organised and not stressful at all. Yes, volunteering can be physically draining sometimes BUT personally speaking, there is enormous joy I have experienced in this. Having a privilege to put smiles on people’s faces is a way of giving love this Christmas.

If you want to touch the past, touch a rock.  If you want to touch the present, touch a flower.  If you want to touch the future, touch a life today! 🙂

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Travel With Me,
👣The Official Traveler


A Soldier’s Symphony in the Battlefield

via Daily Prompt: Symphony

We lie in the bush while you lie on your beds at the comfort of your home
We sleep beside our guns while you sleep beside your wives
You sleep in your house, we sleep in hemas
You wear nice hats, we wear heavy helmets
You wear designer’s vests while we wear iron vest

In the morning, you are awaken by sweet alarm tones while we were awaken by horrible sound of bombs and grenades
You move around town in range rovers and latest cars while we move in tanks and buffalos
We stay awake for you to sleep
We kill for you to live
We stand side by side with death itself so that the future of your generation can be assured

We sacrifice our today for your tomorrow
We are strong at heart, great in action, committed to our course, and loyal to our nation
We are soldiers with great zeal and gallantry
We fight relentlessly to win the battle
We continue to fight to fight to conquer insurgency and terrorism

If it is not too much to ask, please pray for us while we are here in the battlefield..
..to conquer in victory so that we can return to our dear family, friends, and loved ones
To the fallen heroes we pray they continue to live on while we fight to the end in victory

In God we trust,
-The Mighty Soldiers

Full-time Scholarship: The Schwarzman Scholar

If you’re looking for a full-time scholarship, you may want to consider this.
DEADLINE: September 28, 11:59 PM, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

According to its website, the Schwarzman Scholarship does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran status, or disability unrelated to job or course of study requirements.

The application should be completed online and submitted electronically once you have answered all required questions. You do not have to complete the online application in one sitting; you may access, save, and continue work on your application as frequently as needed prior to submitting the application to the Schwarzman Scholars selection committee. It is recommended that you SAVE your work often. The application form must be completed in English.

Please note that the email address provided to create your account will be used for ALL future correspondence about your candidacy. After creating an account, you will receive a system-generated email prompting you to verify your email. Keep your login information in a safe place, as you will need it to access your application in the future.

Currently enrolled undergraduate students should coordinate with their campus contact early in the application process. Some universities/colleges establish internal pre-application deadlines to ensure that all the application requirements are met prior to the September 28 deadline.

Check it out! You might be the next scholar!

Eligibility Requirements: http://schwarzmanscholars.org/admissions/eligibility/
FAQ: http://schwarzmanscholars.org/admissions/faq/
For technical support, please contact: SchwarzmanScholars.apptechsup@iie.org

APPLY NOW: http://schwarzmanscholars.org/admissions/

Sharing is caring ^_^


Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated in this organization. I am simply sharing what I’ve found worth-sharing 🙂

What Volunteering Has Taught Me ❤️

I love today’s prompt: Volunteer!  via Daily Prompt: Volunteer. It significantly flashbacks golden memories of my volunteering experiences. I live in a lovable country where volunteering opportunities can be found almost everywhere. Why?

First, it is prone to natural calamities such as earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, etc. Second, it is a developing country where at least 26.3% (12Million as of 2015) of its population were found to be living under the poverty line. Some people do not have a complete access to the basic needs: food, shelter, education, and health care. I mentioned only two but there may be a lot more. If you want to work as a volunteer in the Philippines, please feel free to do so 🙂 Not only you will help/save lives; you will realize you ought to be thankful how blessed you are.

Here are some of lessons I’ve realized based on my personal volunteering experiences:

  1. You cannot give what you don’t have–LOVE
    I visited Mindoro Philippines for the first time in 2012. As I hop from the city to the province, it is sad to easily notice that the rich and the poor exist side by side. I passed by huge buildings in the metropolis but upon reaching the other shore, there’s no electricity, poor sanitation, nipa huts which can be easily washed by strong rain away were standing in any way, mosquitoes are also ready to bite you–I recognized these during my stay in this particular province but I was not there to complain. I was there to help. Through volunteering, I’ve learned that you can have everything and give as much as you can–but without love, it is nothing.
  2. In volunteering, you will face unexpected circumstances. No matter what it is, carry yourself and deal with it.

    Although the Filipino schools are excellent on its own structure, many parents are unable to pay for the required school supplies and uniforms. This realization has caused me and my BS friends to gather our own resources and produce what we can to make these kids happy ^_^

    Adopt a School Project 2014 [Victory Group]

    Aside from the material gifts we distributed, we also taught them how to pray, read, and sing songs. One remarkable thing for me during this particular project is that, I met this little boy. He was very silent and apparently sad (while the other kids were loud and excited about the presents that they received), I smiled and went close to him. I asked his name. He hesitated to talk to me. I continued by introducing my name and told him I have a younger brother whose name is the same as his. That’s the time his face lit up and talked to me. Few minutes later I gained his trust. He began to show a picture of his family. I was surprised! How come this kid keeps a family photo in his school notebook at all times?  I smiled and asked him, “Can you tell me more about this beautiful picture?” Then he continued with a sad voice, “This is my mom, my dad, and me when I was a baby. I miss my parents so much. I want my mom to teach me my homework but I do not see them every day.” I could feel his soul. I couldn’t say a word. Honestly, I didn’t see that situation coming. So, I just asked his permission if I could hug him instead.I realized that you don’t necessarily have to talk all the time. Sometimes, all you have to do is LISTEN. ^_^

  3. Volunteers do not necessarily have the time.. they have the HEART (•~•)

    In Summer 2013, my schedule was so busy. I worked full-time during the day, went to school full-time at night, did some online work night shift after classes. But this situation did not stop me from accomplishing my commitment with my church mates in the Values Formation Project for Police Trainees in the Philippines.

    Every morning, these police trainees  wake up early for their morning physical and spiritual (devotion) exercises. Every Sunday, we gather together for a fellowship. It was during this time that we got to know more about them. Police trainees come from different provinces in the Philippines. Some of them signed up for this even if they are not police graduates because they wanted a job that could help their family survive (sad reality: they are willing to risk their lives for the sake of their family.  To protect the country is secondary). However with the help of the Values Formation Project which runs for 3-6 months, their mindset was reset: they are willing risk their lives for a better Philippines–to see every Filipino family secured and happy.

    After the labour and joy of serving, it pays to see these Police Officers in full surrender to the King of kings. I am blessed to be part of this volunteer work. It’s really nice how some people can make you smile just by thinking about them.

  4. You give what is best available not what is left. The good seeds you plant today will bloom and someday flourish.

    In 2015, my co-workers sponsored a project shoebox for the people in jail for Christmas. A jail is somewhere most people don’t want to go. Are you kidding me?–so you want to be kind to the lawbreakers?  Yes, it was not easy to love the unlovable but we were not there to condemn them. We were there to show that we hate sin but not the sinner. Our visit emphasized that they are valued and there is still a room for change. Most of them are victims, too.

    This is my first time enter a prison cell in the Philippines. The space is too crowded with prisoners. The sanitation is poorly observed. Family members seldom visit.  They have needs (especially women) that the jail management could not provide (i.e. toiletries, sanitary napkin, etc.). Thus, we paid a visit and give the best of what is available from us. In the middle of the consultation, a young lady suddenly became teary-eyed as she accepted my present to her. She told me she missed her baby but couldn’t go home. She’s been in jail for several months for a crime she never intended to commit. Unfortunately, she was not being accorded properly by her prison mates. I could not assure her safety but I led her in prayer. Justice shall be served.

    Few months later, I ran into this young lady. SHE’S FREE!! I didn’t recognize her at first, but she did recognize me. What an awesome surprise! She testified how good  God is. I couldn’t hide the way I feel–I’m  extremely happy for her. I’ve learned to never underestimate the power of kindness. It’s worth sharing a portion of your life to serve others. You gain.. you never lose.

  5. You have to feel you are making a difference not just doing something that has been thought up to keep you busy.
    In 2016, I visited Canada. I stayed there for two months. After traveling to places, I had to stay home however, I didn’t wanna kill time–I wanted to maximize it. So when I had the opportunity to be part of the Summer Camp as a Teacher-Volunteer for super funny and brilliant students, I immediately grabbed it 🙂 It was a remarkable experience to be part of the lives of Noah, Josiah, Madison, Elijah, & Joana 🙂  While I was with them, I’ve been thinking a lot about the kids in Mindoro, Philippines–I wish they could also enjoy their childhood the ways the kids in this city do–going to parks, face painting, reading books, etc. instead of going to the fields/mountains to look for food. 😦

    Lucky are these kids to have more than what they really need (tangible things). Moreover, I also witnessed how they were taught to give freely to the needy.  One example is.. they were given an arts and crafts project–to  build a paper house. With their own imagination, they could turn the plain paper house into a marvelous work of art. They were very creative!! The very simple paper house turned out to be an amazing piggy bank. Every day, they would put any amount in the paper house piggy bank in order for the kids who have no house in Kenya to buy tents. What an amazing way to teach children how to do volunteer work. Consequently, I also told them several stories about the kids in the  Philippines who also do not have beautiful houses or anything. They were very interested and engaged with the topic of helping others. Indeed, it was a quality Summer for them and for me. I want to meet them all again in the future 🙂

    Everyday is a season to plant seeds of LOVE. The seeds of kindness that you plant today will one day bloom in the hearts of all that you touch  Keep shining! VOLUNTEER WHENEVER YOU CAN, WHEREVER YOU CAN.

    Special Video Made with Love

    👣 The Official Traveler

Study Abroad: Jeanne Sauve Public Leadership Program

The Jeanne Sauvé Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2017-19 Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Program. The Foundation invites bright young change-makers from a wide range of disciplines and sectors from Canada and around to world to take part in a remarkable leadership journey.

The Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Program represents the beginning of a lifelong personal and professional development journey, as well as an opportunity to join a global community of public leaders.

Candidates between 25 and 30 years of age with backgrounds in advocacy, the arts, communications, journalism, education, engineering, governance, law, politics, security, social innovation and other fields related to public leadership are invited to apply to this program.

The deadline of Application is on October 21, 2016.

Click here to download a more detailed Application Instructions

Wish you best! ^_^
👣 The Official Traveler

#BuyLocal: Support Local Farmers


(c) Rey Pasion via FB

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local produce and that’s kind of the same thing. How so?  Locally grown food tastes better. The state of freshness is ensured as the time in transit is less and/or less time to sit around. Thus, it is more nutritious. The healthier you get, the happier you’ll be.

You help your local economy grow. Locally grown food helps build communities because when you buy directly from the farmer, you are building a relationship while also helping to support local farmers who are providing for you as much as they are providing for their own families.

If you choose to spend your money at the grocery store next week then you would never even notice you were gone. If you took a small fraction of that money and spent it on local products being sold by local farmers, you would help pay the rent or you could even SAVE HIS FARM, save his family.

So why not put a smile ◕◡◕ on our local farmers. Let’s patronize our local products.

While Mang Juan is watching his field on a dry spell, I could see his eyes hoping for a good planting season and a bountiful harvest. And when he could have it, he earnestly hope his produce will be sold out at a very good price. By then, he can pay his land rent, provide for his family’s primary needs, and can have something to invest and roll out for the next cropping period.

I cannot do much for the local farmers in my community who are patiently waiting for the rain to come so they can start planting rice, vegetables and other important crops. But if this simple writing serves as a reminder to all of us to keep their hopes up then why not? Let’s make it happen. 😊 #BuyLocal #SupportTheFarmers #SupportAgriculture

It’s Your Freedom and So is Mine


Freedom is a gift. Yet, we have enjoyed it too much that we tend to forget how valuable and precious it is.
I am a Filipino and  REAL CHANGE begins with me.

My Dear Filipinos,

I am not against who you will vote for on May 9 national election. I do not care if we differ in presidential bet, in VP, or any other national/local candidates etc. That’s your freedom and so is mine 🙂 BUT I want you to know that I care for the Filipinos and the future of our country. I hope you do too.
As I mentioned, I do not really care if we differ in candidates to vote …but I hope you can assure me that you will not allow evil to take power over your mind. Stay away from any and every form of bribery or deception brought my social media, all forms of advertisement or black propaganda. They are everywhere. Do not fall for them. Do not believe in everything you see or read on the news or on social media. Some are fad, untrue, or no substance at all while most are exaggerated or misinterpreted. Do not let twisted stories on media and false testimonies control you. Instead, do your own research–a quality one.
There are so many stories behind what we see or hear. Often times, we easily draw conclusions from a less than a second edited video that we watch from social media or an exaggerated story on the news just to make it popular . Why is it so easy to react yet so difficult to believe what is true? because it is really hard to distinguish which one is true. There are many truths in democracy. The next time you post or comment on a post on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, forums, etc., before you lambaste and hurt someone with your comments, and before you bombard someone you do not even know with your insensitive words.. why don’t you pause, think, research, reflect and pray for a moment ?

You may not be aware but you may be causing divisiveness among yourselves–your brothers, sisters, family, friends, co-workers, classmates, etc.–just because you differ in ‘who to vote’ or vary in opinions. Let us respect one’s preference and DECISION. This is our FREEDOM. Let’s use it properly while it lasts. What if you wake up one day and it’s gone? Can you imagine yourself without it? Our country truly needs a true and meaningful change. However, that change begins in YOU–in us.

Choose PhilippinesI hope I can trust you that you have scrutinized and pondered very well on who to pick from top positions to down the line As you exercise your freedom and right to suffrage, I beg you to choose someone whose leadership you know and you can willingly follow. If you already did, let me salute you for that. Good job! Truth is, gaano man kagaling at katalino ang ating lider kung hindi sumusunod ang mga followers both are looser.

I say it again real change is not a one-way ticket. The citizens play a vital role on this too. If you decide to be LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN or if you already are… then you have lesser problems in your conquest for REAL CHANGE. Real change begins in you. For no matter who the leader is.. the kind of change we want is not an effort of one but of many. Real change begins in YOU (and me).

Choose someone where your heart is at peace then picture yourself in the leadership of the winning president of the Philippines (whoever will that person be..parang marriage lang din ‘yan! Sino ang pipiliin mo mahal mo o mahal ka? 😀 ) Are you happy? If yes, congratulations! If no, you should act now, don’t you? 🙂

Choose someone whose leadership you know you will willingly follow.

If you are still confused, I’d understand. If by now, you are still undecided or president-less, I’d understand. It is not easy as no candidate is perfect (among them at least). As a citizen, are you perfect? I’m not–but I know what this country needs and I’m willing to be part of it 🙂 Make a checklist of what kind of leadership and political system this country needs.. and pray. PLEASE MAKE UP YOUR MIND and vote wisely on May 9!

If you are excited, I’m excited for you and for the Philippines, too. Yet, don’t stop praying and taking actions. Evil is still evil. While the election is getting closer, the devil is busy. You have the power to trample snakes and evil! IN JESUS’ NAME. Stay alert and vigilant.

Your candidate/s + YOU (law-abiding citizen)!!!! = BETTER PHILIPPINES


Freedom is a gift. I think we have enjoyed it too much that we forget how valuable and precious it is. Sadly, some even overuse it. If you are really craving for change and you see it in a form of dictatorship–so be it. BE PREPARED. Change is never easy.. but if we do our part in the equation with all our power, might, and soul.. it shall be.  Are you ready?

I am Filipino and I love Philippines.. REAL CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME.

…and also with you




Disclaimer: I am a Filipino. English is not my first language. If you see any grammar errors, please understand. I am still learning how to write better. All I need is a little practice. Behind the English vocabulary and grammar is a sincere heart for the Filipino community.

2016 Search for Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines



Good news! The search is ON for the 2016 Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines.
You may download the nomination kit here or here:


  • A Filipino citizen, not more than 30 years old, of excellent moral character, and without any record of criminal or unfavorable disciplinary case in school.
  • A bona fide graduating student for the current academic year (AY 2015-2016), from first baccalaureate degree (Health-related professions, Agriculture, Science and Math, Information Technology, Architecture, Engineering and Maritime, Humanities, Communication and Social Sciences, Teacher Education, Criminology, Business, Economics, Industry and Entrepreneurship, and Accountancy) or Doctor of Medicine and Bachelor of Laws degrees; and
  • An outstanding student in academic and co-and extracurricular activities with no failing grades during his/her entire study in college, Medicine or Law School.

For more inquiries, you may contact TOSP National Secretariat at (02) 634-5604/631-8101 loc. 7804 or at tenoutstandingstudents@gmail.com. Submit your bid books at your respective CHED Regional Offices.

APRIL 22, 2016: Regions II, III, IV-A, V, VI, VII, X, SOCKSARGEN, NCR, CAR
JUNE 10, 2016: Regions I, IV-B, XIII, IX, CARAGA, ARMM

Being one is just a short-term REWARD..
It is a long-term COMMITMENT.. no matter where you are ◕◡◕
-JYS, Batch ’08 😊


Think Globally, Act Locally

When I was younger I would hear some people jokingly say, “Go home and plant Camote” especially when someone does not want to study or when one performs low in academics. It seems farming has been looked down on ever since. As a result, young people tend to be inferior about themselves especially when their parents’ primary source of living is farming or when the college diploma is Agriculture-related.

Farming is considered as a tedious job and we think it doesn’t pay off well so we never tried to venture on it. Instead, some of us look for a different job or.. leave our homeland  to serve another.

“Dati, nahihiya pa tayong sabihin na ang kabuhayan ng ating mga magulang ay pagsasaka o kaya medyo hindi pa tayo proud sabihin na ang tinapos natin ay ‘Agriculture-related’ course. So kahit na madiskarte ka, medyo mababa ang tingin mo sa chance mong makakuha ng trabaho na may mataas na sahod. Sad noh? Kaya.. nag-abroad ka na lang. Sana ngayon, dapat magkaroon tayo ng positibong pananaw tungkol dito” –👣

Now that I’ve grown and have my own share of life and professional experiences, I realize we should not underestimate the power/potentials of Agriculture. There is a need to boost the prestige of Agriculture to entice young people to be involved into farming. With smart technology emerging swiftly, it doesn’t always have to be an inferior 3-D job.

If we do not invest on human capital and educate (with proper mentality) now, the future might seriously suffer. Let’s be involved 🙂

😊 Agriculture is a NEED not just a WANT.
No Farmers, No Food, No Future ^_^
👣 The Modern Farmers

What’s New?

Caleb Harper, director of the Open Agriculture Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, wants to change the food system by connecting growers with technology. Get to know Harper’s “food computers” and catch a glimpse of what the future of farming might look like.
Watch This Computer Will Grow Your Food in the Future and see how it works.

Little Things 😊 Done with Great Love

More often than not, people receive recognition from achieving big things in life but only a few are recognized for doing LITTLE things with GREAT love. In this blog, I want to commend one. He is Sir Mazakasu Nose..👷 ..a selfless Japanese man with a heart ♡. This man talks less about what he does but this is not the first time I witnessed him doing little things for Baguio with great love. Maybe you recognize him too.


Photo Credit: The Inquirer

Every morning, this Japanese man carrying a large garbage bag and a pair of tongs voluntarily picks up plastic containers, coffee cups, food wrappers and other trash dumped by undisciplined people passing by Magsaysay Avenue, Abanao Street, and Session Road. He originally came to the Philippines to study English but found love for Baguio–a reason to extend his stay. He started running a small food stall at a local mall to share his unique version of Japanese Takoyaki.

Recently, he was spotted painting a dilapidated overpass near the City Market for free. It seems that he does not want to draw attention but the little things he has been doing is a commendable act. This piece of writing is not enough to applaud him for his act of love and kindness.


Photo Credit: Querubin XD via Facebook  | The Cordillera Sun

On a side note, however, it’s a bit shame to let a guest do the work for us–the citizens. He may have sense of fulfillment and joy for what he is personally doing but this should not excuse the city government, the citizens and the TOURISTS to do what needs to be done:

“I hope Filipinos don’t throw away garbage,” he said.


As a manner of appreciation, we can thank him by dropping by his Takoyaki stall, “Masaya Takoyaki” at 3rd Floor Baguio Center Mall near City Public Market.


[“Masaya” is a Tagalog word for “Happy”]

Wanna go? 😊