Saturday, February 21, 2015


I always start my year with a post about my most favourite pictures that I've come across during the previous year. But I had to dedicate the first post for this year with the most important lesson I have learned in 2014, "Life is too short". So I was attracted to a lot of excerpts, articles, clips, stories and most especially pictures pertaining to life.

As I spent time in compiling my best pics for 2014, I have noticed that I had put a high regard on life and so, almost all of the photos are about it. In addition, personal, original and authentic ones (not undergoing any form of filter) had more impact than ever.

Here you are, my yearly photo diary.


1. A project, a plan, a journey... They all have one thing in common. It all requires a huge step. And it's usually, the "START" that is the hardest to do. Though they may say that once you are able to surpass it, everything becomes alright, the starting point could also be a precursor to which outcome it may lead to. Once you start something wrongly, 90% of the outcome would also end up faulty.

With that being said, this photo of mine finding out that I was more than 3 weeks pregnant was the start of a beautiful journey to motherhood. Excitement, Anxiety and Gratitude filled my heart as I read the result. I was excited that we are expecting, anxious because of the long 9months (plus recovery) that I may be facing sans the previous experiences and diagnoses) and lastly, gratitude that God had blessed me.

2. Many in our society nowadays are offended when seeing breastfeeders in public. A lot of people don't accept post birth bodies of women to be described as "beautiful". And never would you see a billboard featuring a mom's extra skin on the tummy "ANYWHERE". This is how awful most of the people's perception of beauty had become. Despite the fact that post birth bodies of mothers are what nurtured the entire population, they remain hidden from the mass and are labeled "UGLY".

Reading about Jade Beall who had started a campaign in addressing the beauty behind stretch marks and extreme bodily changes amongst women partaking the journey of being a mom, the more I admired every single mom I know. To pay tribute to the guardian angels who we call "Mama", I am supporting her in hailing the wonder women's bodies could make.


3. A follow up to that comes as I choose this photo for the month of March. It is a planned project and this photo is for future reference.

I would be one of the supporters who would be more than thankful and boosted of self esteem if I see a billboard like this someday in the city.

You see, living in Hong Kong (and I believe it's not only in this country) makes this dream far fetched because culturally, they hail being skinny, flawless and white as the only traits one should have to be considered beautiful. Most of the products' models are so. Once that changes into accepting diversity in every person's perception of what's beautiful, including considering the reality behind the "excess skin" in which lives had been held protected for 9 months by every mom, a lot of women's self esteem would be empowered with respect to their bodies ability to procreate and nurture.

4. All these resolutions and bucket lists call for one thing and I'm going to say it out loud. It's nothing but that huge CHANGE. The change that you'd been longing to do, the change that your soul calls for and that change that's calling out the real you to get unleashed. It is also the change that you've been delaying, the change that has to be done and the change you believe will make a difference. For me, being a mom "transformed" me into a new individual as everything becomes clear to me in terms of living with a purpose. I have earned skills that you wouldn't be able to acquire if you're not a parent as far as effective prioritisation, practicality and spending time wisely is concerned. I have a reason to stay home and  I now have a purpose instead of just going with the flow. My daughter is the best CHANGE that happened in my life.

This photo grid reminds me of how my body had adapted to these changes. Seeing the effects of pregnancy like stretch marks and widened hips remind me of battle scars that had aided the only way to assist for a miracle to come forth to this world. I may not have tattoos that could remind me of an experience but I have these as proof of bringing forth life. It is a good change.

5. In the Philippines, one of our customs is acquiring your husband's surname for your own when you get married. I intend to carry Filipino customs with me even when I'm abroad so my featured photo for May is having that change of name applied to my identity card.


The funny story goes, I didn't know I had to change the former one to the latest one right away.  The "lady" in me called for a powder break at least. Ending, I had my fat pregnant face on it.... Hahaha! But the immigration officer was so nice complimenting on my pregnancy, saying Congratulations and all. And right before he clicked the button for the photo to be taken, he said, "Don't worry about it, it's a good change." Bahahahaha! He was right.

6. I never knew how mammary glands could be such powerful tools. It feeds, it soothes, it heals and it puts babies at peace. Breastfeeding had been such a great accomplishment for me since a lot of mothers aim to do so but not all are privileged to attain success. For the first 2 days that I was in the hospital after giving birth to my baby, I, along with more than 40 moms line up per feeding schedule to introduce colostrum to the newborns. Colostrum is the first yellow-thin fluid produced by the breast as you give birth and usually precedes lactation. It is packed with maternal antibodies that could help your newborn to be protected during its first months as they develop their own.


I saw how these moms remain committed as they truly go every 4 hours to the nursery room. Even though we sit awkwardly next to each other with one boob out as we wait for our babies, you could feel that some are feeling anxious, some are feeling determined and some are feeling frustrated. I for one had felt all three. My gynaecologist encouraged me to rest as much as I can so I may have missed a couple of feedings during 2am. I was even watchful of the post partum blues as this could affect milk flow. But all I felt was the gratitude that my baby came out alive and kicking. We bonded well on the first attempt with the breastfeeding. But my heart cried when I saw one mom who was struggling with her baby who had a cleft palate. The baby was trying very hard to suck milk but the breast couldn't perceive the totality of it because of the baby's limiting condition. That very picture plus this one I'm featuring aches my heart. My daughter gets milk "on demand" and I go back to being grateful for both of us are blessed with good health. This goes for my supportive and helpful husband as well. He considers the rest I truly need to be able to take care of my daughter the whole time.

7. Since I was young, I was already drawn to the "Phoenix". As I named my daughter so, I've read and read about it and I gained some enlightenment to my unfathomable fascination with it.

I learned that the highest totem of a Scorpio (which I am) is the Phoenix. I do not base my beliefs solely to Astronomy. In fact, I became more interested to it because of its spiritual inclination to some religions. I have posted some of the things I've researched about it. Call it a coincidence. But it somehow speaks of a Scorpio recovering from its hardships, burning then rising from its ashes, transforming into THE PHOENIX. I chose this photo in particular because I was dreaming of my daughter's hair to be as corse as the girl's in the photo with Disney's Princess Merida. Hence, Her 3rd name is Brave.

8. I am more than thankful to my gynaecologist, Dr. Rebecca Tang for assisting my husband and I all the way from recovering from a loss the first time into giving birth to Brave.

It's amazing that she had guided us into understanding our baby's development since she was just a tiny being. Every time she makes us see the changes monthly, I am in awe with God's way of creating this miracle. With the help of ultrasound imagery, which wasn't available during my Mom's time, it had eased our worries and inspired us every time.

9. Last year, my prayer had been answered. I had a baby girl and alongside that prayer, I have always asked God to use me as a tool of His will and He did. This is one picture of my daughter and I that had made me aware of my purpose and my reason for living.

You see, it's a newborn's instinct to grip on when you put something to their palms. From a mom's perspective, it is more of a communication. When I feel her grip, I know that she lets me understand that she's thankful of her life and that she needs me in its entirety. And for some unfathomable way, it's ok and even feels honourable. You have a huge responsibility with what's holding on to you but you don't see it that way. You see it as a gift, more so, a miracle. This also marks a milestone in my life that stands up for something new. This photo reminds me that I am in a state of beginning a life of purpose.

10. Our life is challenged from time to time. Sometimes, a hardship disguises a blessing. And sometimes, we don't perceive a blessing as so until we witness others wishing the very same thing we have. This photo extremely hits me as how some people in the other side of the world could be so deprived yet I find myself complaining still sometimes when I have most of what I need in abundance.

It's good to come across these kind of shots because beyond the fact they are real, it keeps me grounded and it reminds me of the blessings I should be thankful of keeping negativity about silly stuff not too much of a priority.

11.  It is amazing to see how my best and Hogan's best have come together in Brave. Everyday, my child is a delight, a source of overflowing happiness and representative of both of us. The month of November is my birth month and my wish goes for my child's health to be at its best


12. Going back to work is a pain in the ass for every mom most especially if your maternity leave only consists of 2 months. But you know what's even worse?

Getting back in shape.

At first, I was truly in denial that I had to come back sooner. Being a dancer and being in competition with young kids are truly a bitch after gaining 25-35 lbs. during my pregnancy. But this photo got stuck in my mind and since then, I motivated myself to the best of my ability. I choose not to compete with anybody else but except myself.


Everyday is a struggle to run, everyday is a struggle to keep up with the routine and everyday is a struggle because there's always somebody who'll  put you down or tell you that you can't, but once again, it's not for anything else, nor for anybody else...

Related posts:

1. PHOENIX SEILEAFI BRAVE - how we came up with my daughter's name.
2. WHICH DO YOU EAT MORE - Some of the eating disorders that you may not realise you have.
3. 2013 BEST PICS - My photo diary for 2013.

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