This blog post is dedicated to my manager who gave me this book as a parting gift when I left my day job for 5 years. Her mentorship has been invaluable and I am full of gratitude for all her guidance.
The story began with a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago, whos recurring dream about a hidden treasure in the Pyramid of Egypt persuades him to seek more in life, and set for a quest to find his very own personal legend.
According to the story, an Alchemist is a mysterious and very powerful being who, through alchemy, can turn metals into gold. Alchemist is said to spend so much time close to the fire that purified metals that they gradually gave up the vanities of the world which resulted in the purification of themselves.
There is so much to learn from this book so let’s get started.
#1 THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS
The story goes that a young boy seeks the counsel of the wisest man on earth about the secret to happiness.
Instead of a direct answer, the Wiseman simply asked the boy to take a stroll around his palace and to come back to him after 2 hours. The boy obliged but before he left the Wiseman handed him a teaspoon filled with 2 drops of oil. The goal is to come back to him with no oil spilling out.
In his return, the Wiseman asked the boy if he has seen the magnificent gardens or any of the beauty found only in his palace. Embarrassed, the boy confessed that he sees none. The Wiseman sent the boy for another stroll but this time asked him to observe, enjoy and to truly explore the palace.
With the new goal in mind, the boy had a wonderful time discovering beauty after beauty, however, the boy came back with spilled oil.
The Wiseman told him:
“Well there is only one piece of advice I can give you’ said the wisest of the wise men. ‘The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon”
Have you been too occupied by a dream, a goal or a career that you forgot to relax, to play a little, and to enjoy your life?
Are you too busy or distracted by the world around you that you forgot your dreams, your purpose, and your responsibilities?
Somewhere in between lies the answer…
#2 SECURITY vs PERSONAL LEGEND
Paulo Coehlo (author) strongly portrayed how Santiago valued his sheep and selling them for his quest marked the boy’s first step to manhood.
“Here I am, between my flock and my treasure, the boy thought. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have.”
The excerpt above is a dilemma that is very common in our generation. How many times have we asked ourselves if this job we’re trading your precious time with is worth it? How many times did we let an opportunity passed us because of complacency and fear of uncertainty?
Santiago eventually pursued his dream but time and time again his perseverance and faith were tested. One major set back in his quest is when he was robbed with all the money he collected from selling his sheep. In order to get by, he works for a local crystal shop where he learned a lot in the art of business. After earning a decent amount of money Santiago is again faced with a threat far worse than the robbery. A seed is starting to take root in his mind, an idea that questions his intention to continue his quest. Santiago wants to stop searching for his treasure and with his new earned money he thought of getting back to Spain, buying a new flock of sheep and abandon his personal legend.
Through the story of unfulfilled personal legend to Mecca of the crystal merchants that hired Santiago, he learned that not all people realized their dreams the same way and that he must continue with his quest.
But the greatest force that almost stops Santiago from getting into the pyramid and his treasure is Fatima, a beautiful lady from the desert oasis of Al-Fayoum.
At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him. When he looked in to her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.
Several pages later, Fatima confessed:
I have been waiting for you here at this oasis for a long time. I have forgotten about my past, about my traditions, and the way in which men of the desert expect women to behave. Ever since I was a child, I have dreamed that the desert would bring me a wonderful present. Now, my present has arrived, and it’s you.
The two fell in love with each other but Fatima’s personal legend is not in Egypt. This brings a huge conflict in Santiago’s heart:
One day, Fatima tells Santiago that she has been waiting for him her entire life, but insists that he continue on to Egypt after the war to pursue his Personal Legend. She says if they are meant to be together, they will meet again.
This same love is what sustains Santiago in the rest of the adversities he encounters thereafter.
How many stories have you heard of someone not reaching his/her best potential because of a wrong partner in life?
How many people have become successful in honor and appreciation of their partner in life?
#3 WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING, ALL THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRES IN HELPING YOU ACHIEVE IT.
This is the main lesson that caused me a paradigm shift, a statement that resonated with my soul. And my challenge is for you to join me in finding, using whatever it takes, the meaning behind those words.
If we really want to see the path the universe is cooperating in aligning us to who we are; only if we allow to let go of the resistance.
— END —
If you find this book interesting, I strongly recommend to grab your own copy at Amazon store in the link below:
Batangas is a travel destination jam-packed with white beaches, gorgeous mountains, coves, and diving spots that is only a few hours away from the buzzing streets of Manila.
As a Batangueno, I take pride in my native province, and it just so happen that one of my favorite vacation places is found in its vicinity; specifically 14km away from the shoreline of Nasugbu, Batangas.
So what could you expect from an Island fortuned with the gifts of nature? A surreal holiday experience that will keep you coming back!
As a starter, its crystal clear water is so lustful that it will keep you away from your mobile devices. It will make you forget about those notifications and you’ll simply choose to submerge in its cold enticing water, perfect beat for the summer heat!
2. The Sand
Its fine-grained milky sand makes swimming in the salty cold water even more enticing. Each step will bring a sigh of relief and solemnity that will make you wish for an extended holiday break.
3. The Grecian Pillars
The Acropolis with Grecian inspired pillars overlooking the sea is one of the reasons why Fortune Island is a bucket lister. And it’s not a surprise! The structure complimented very well, adding depth and mystery, to the natural beauty of this one of a kind place.
4. The Cliff Dive
If you want to go extreme, you can satisfy your adrenaline thirst by cliff diving. There are several spots where you can jump and summon your inner courage. Just remember, courage only follows when faith takes the lead. So I guess its time to take that leap of faith and start jumping into action?
5. The Underwater world
You have never been to Fortune Island unless you have seen the vibrant beauty of its underwater world. From the play of colors of the coral reefs to the graceful dances of the sea creatures, this place will definitely take your breath away. Oh! Have I mentioned that the Island is also a haven of the sea turtles?
6. The Gorgeous Sunset
Of course, any beach getaway is far from complete without gazing at the wonders of the sunset. I can guarantee the gratitude you will feel just sitting idly watching the sun part ways with the Island. It has the power to put you into a trance and look back to thank life for bringing you in this place, right at this magical moment.
7. The Silhouette Shots
Sunrise or sunset you will perfectly manage to get a cool silhouette shots. The Island offers the physical translation of the golden hour. This is the best time for rest and reflections.
8. The Milkyway Galaxy
Thanks to the Islands location, the light pollution is very minimal allowing us to have a glimpse of our very own home, the Milkyway galaxy. This is the moment where you will be reminded of how small we are in the scale of creation yet plays a critical role in the greater scheme of things. Just imagine having your back laid in the comfort of the sand gazing in the magnificence of heaven while counting tailed stars. How insignificant the egoistic issues of life are, don’t you think? A scenery like this validates that you are loved, you are blessed, and you are highly favored! Photo credits to Mark Angelo.
9. The Friendship
And the best part of it all? The people you spend the laughter/struggles with. These are the people whom I called upon to, short notice, yet did not hesitate to spend their weekends with me. I have a lot to share about this amazing people but I’ll let these pictures paint the thousand words.
10. The Freedom
Day 1, and I was already strucked with awe and wonder when our boat docks at the Island coast. The video below fails in comparison to the real beauty of this paradise. With the first leap off the boat, a sudden realization of freedom burst into my consciousness – a freedom to do just about anything, to be anyone, without guilt, without rules, the freedom to chase dreams, to travel, to love and explore this journey and gift called life.
Thank you for reading and subscribing!
To help you prepare for your Fortune Island visit please refer to our itinerary below.
DAY 1 (SATURDAY)
5-5.30am Call time (Gising ng maaga Guys!)
5.30am ETD from Buendia Terminal
9am ETA to Brgy Wawa, Nasugbu.
9-10am Buy groceries in Nasugbu Market.
10-11pm Lunch time (KKB muna sa Jollibee para Maiba naman)
11-11:30am Waiting for the boat (Eto na! Prep your aura swim suits)
11:30 ETD from Nasugbu.
1pm ETA to Fortune Island. (Touch down!)
1-2pm Tent set up (shaded area)/ Food prep/ Snack/Rest
2-4pm Explore the Island/Swimming/Free time/Aura time/photo shoot
4-4:30pm change set up the for the tent (move near the shoreline)
4:30-6:30pm freetime/Aura pa ulet/sulitin ang bagong goggles
6:30-7pm prepare dinner
8 onwards freetime/games/bonfire/
2-3 am Astro photography (Everyone is invited)
DAY 2 (SUNDAY)
5:30am wake-up call
6:30-7:00am Preparation for breakfast
10:30-11am prep lunch
12-12:30pm pack up
12:30 ETD from Fortune Island
2pm ETA to Nasugbu
2-3pm Bath in the Fortune Island Resort
3-3.30 ETD from Nasugbu
6.30 ETA to Buendia
Optional Lomi before going to the terminal.
- There is no fresh water so you have to bring several gallons and cooking utensils.
- There is no cottages so you have to pitch your own tent.
- There is no shower room but you can take a bath in the resorts in Nasugbu.
- There is a common CR but don’t expect it to be pleasant.
- It is recommended to sail early as the wave is treacherous in the afternoon.
- Don’t forget to bring a medicine kit.
- Remind your contact person in Nasugbu to be quick to respond just in the case of emergency.
- The heat can be too much during the afternoon so you have to find temporary shading.
- Boat ride (two way) is 4000 pesos for 10 pax whilst resort entrance fee is 400 per head. Please leave a comment below if you want to get the Fortune Island resort contact info.
- Please only leave memories but no trash behind.
Lent is coming, how’s your itinerary?
Travel light? Checked!
Camera gears? Checked!
This season is one of our favorite time of the year.
And those are just a few.
While you are in your long awaited, much deserved holiday break, join me as we update our lent itinerary to include this activity called, “Reflection”.
Cool! If you’re still here, then let’s begin with a story of LOVE.
Do you remember the out most feeling of love you’ve experienced in your life, so far?
Some remember their wedding day.
Some remember the first time they held their newborn child.
Some remember a mother’s care when they are sick.
Now hold that thought of love. Do you remember where it is coming from?
As ironical as it may sound; love is not a feeling but deliberate and consistent actions as demonstrated in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others; it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. . .
I have a few what if’s about love. Though the answer is as elusive as a mist is to the physical eyes, the thought experiment is provocative enough to resonate with our inner beings.
What if love already exists even before the creation? What if God who is an infinite being gave up part of His infinitude to give way to something that is finite. And in the process, what if part of His infinitude was engraved on us. Maybe that’s the reason why you don’t kill, you don’t steal, and you don’t cheat on your partner. Not because institutions say it’s wrong, but because you know, deep down, it is not loving. What if love is God engraved on his creation.
After those what if’s, this one I am certain; God is not just the source of love, He is love! (1 John 4:8)
But because of sin, man has become ashamed of one’s self and felt unworthy of God’s love. God is not interested in your sin. He is interested in serving you, in loving you, in helping reach your best potential. All this is because God is love.
At this point, I want to reintroduce 1 Corinthians 13 but with the context of who God is.
God is patient.
God is kind.
He does not envy.
He does not boast.
He is not proud.
He does not dishonor others.
He is not self-seeking.
He is not easily angered.
He keeps no record of wrongs.
God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
God never fails.
Through the passion of the Christ, Jesus has proven that despite the pain and fragility of a mortal body, man can still respond in love. When people are spitting at him, cursing him, shamming him, he responded in love. When people are angry at him, he never resorted to anger. He demonstrated that love is the only force that defeats sin.
Let me share a simple story of how one ordinary man became Jesus to his colleague.
His name is Andrew.
Every day, he gets a dose of bullying from Fletcher. Everyone in the office has there own story of Fletcher’s unforgiving nature. Andrew barely got a friend because people are afraid to be on Fletcher’s radar by getting close to him.
Though Andrew gets frustrated, he never let Fletcher’s bullying ruin his life. To him, he is just another man helping him grow in character. He never thinks ill of him, in fact, he prays for him.
One day, Fletcher’s son was diagnosed with severe disease, and nobody in the office is willing to help him. He was screaming inside and been stretched to find means to pay the hospital. When Andrew heard about this, he never hesitated to help. He went to visit Flecther’s son and offered to help pay the bills. Fletcher’s eyes got swollen with tears, and his voice is filled with the sound of repentance asking for Andrews forgiveness. At this moment, Fletcher was caught in a deep sense of gratitude. He experienced love, first hand, from the least person he expected.
That day marks a big change in Fletcher’s life. Everyone in the office witnessed the shift in Fletcher paradigm. Andrew suddenly became invincible, from a bully man, Fletcher is now Andrews best friend.
Guess what happens when you respond in love; people change.
From the moment of Jesus death up to this present day, his love is still changing countless lives. If only we choose to accept that love.
And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
Like a vintage song
Your love calms my soul
When in debt I soar
You transcended to bring me home
My strongholds are melted
like chain into snow
like a river
my awareness flows
in awe of you
How amazing is that
to made it all by design
My heart is consumed
with a love far greater than time
The traffic hits the road. We were hustling up to go to Every Nation in Brisbane, but because we were late, we ended up going to Hillsong Church.
Before the service came to close, I saw individuals getting out of the comfort of their seat. They walked towards the pulpit and asked for prayers. In no time, the space in front of the church is filled with young people being prayed over. This happened after the pastor asked the parishioners of late age to go in front and challenged the young generation to get something from them.
Then a lady excuses herself to get into her seat just a couple of chairs away from me. But before she got off, she told me that she wants to pray for me. And that prayer put me in a state of gratitude. Every word in her prayer are the exact things I’d like to be prayed for. She’s like reading my heart. It was amazing how she was able to do it. Everything is just spot on.
So the night ends with so much inspiration. Then the words in the poetry above offered themselves to me. I posted it on social media where a friend (of a friend) made a song out of it.
Special thanks to Nessa for driving me around Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Warrick. Shout out to Eunice, a new found friend, for making the song and for bringing me to the highest point in Warrick, Australia.
Love is a language we all speak. It is universal. It is visceral. It gives us a sense of significance. But a love misunderstood with ego destroys a life of purpose.
I was once a boy. I was once in love. And I was attached to the feelings. It was addictive. It was self-centered. It was unquenching. It was a zig and zag road. My entire existence I have mistaken it for truly loving. It was painful. It was dull. And it was unnecessary.
When you love, it is about giving. It is self-sacrificing. Emotion is not the basis of your commitment. It is not about what you can receive, but always about what you can offer.
Do you love her or are you just in love with her?
When you love her, conversations flow easily and naturally. You are yourself. There is no pretension. It is one of the things that you look forward to every single day. Talking to her is like conversing to yourself. Your eyes illuminate the feelings that words fall short.
When you love her, you do not put her in charge of your happiness. Though undoubtedly true that she makes you feel happy, you know that she is not the one in charge of it. This is to say that she will not be at fault when life leads the road downside. You know that life is a tide of emotions, and you chose to sail every bit of wave with her.
When you love her, you are not afraid to let her go. You do not want to own or control her. You are not an emotional baggage. To you, she is a flower you will tend to in every season until she blossoms into her full potential. To you, she is the most beautiful flower in the garden. And you don’t pick the flower because you have a gorgeous vase. Because in the garden, the flower belongs.
When you love her, you don’t beg for more. More time. More attention. You realized that yearning for more is like chasing a mist. You can never get there. It can never be satisfied. You simply give the undivided time and attention that each moment with her deserves.
When you love her, she does not become your world. Your existence does not suddenly measure up to wanting, needing or pleasing her. Your world stays the same yet different. You respect her uniqueness. You respect those moments when she needs to do things on her own.
When you love her, you realize that she is not perfect. Your beloved is far from being perfect. But when you are under the trance of being in love you see no fault nor blemish. But when the hype is gone it leads to confusion. You felt out of love. But love is the deliberate decision to stay despite all the imperfections.
When you love her, jealousy is a foreign emotion for you. Trust is never an issue. You let her be. You let her explore. You are not holding her back because of jealousy. You know that you are simply giving back the trust that she has for you.
When you love her, you do not always put your best foot forward. You do not have the need to show off. You are not afraid nor ashamed of your flaws. There is a knowing inside you that she accepts every bit of your being. You give her the freedom to love you just as a man without superhuman expectations.
When you love her, you do not try to love her, you do not prove you love her, you just simply love her. You recognized that she is a mirror to your soul. It offers no resistance; it feels right, it simply is the manifestation of the nature of your soul.
[Photo credits to pexel.com]
May this open letter give justice to what my soul longs to articulate. May it give life to the language of love as it navigates its way to your heart.
Happiness is dancing in the rhythm of your soul. That is why I encourage you to fill your life with experiences that will nourish your inner being. I urge you to be whole in the love of God. I know life may throw a different game at you, and I am sorry for not being there (yet). But take heart and grow in faith. Let us find our path towards maturity that we may never rely on each other for validation. Neither you nor I can complete each other for in the love of Christ; We are already made whole.
Your absence no longer causes me sadness because I know we are on the same path of equally desiring to meet each other. I know we are at this stage of curiously knowing ourselves in search for spiritual, emotional, and financial maturity until the day when the universe conspires to make our souls meet. I don’t know when or how but when that day comes our souls will recognize each other and will communicate in a language only our souls can understand. And then we will never bother asking why it took so long because the only thing that matters is that – it was all worth it.
If we have already met, I would like to apologize for drifting away from the kind of man you deserve. But let us keep on trusting. The hand that authored great love stories will sure have our paths cross again, and it will be different. Our souls will finally find that hiding place in God’s hand. From then on we will experience the fullness of life, in all seasons, while turning the chapters of the book of life, together.
All of our life experiences will lead to this moment of resonance – when our souls vibrate in the same level of being where God is the sustenance. When we can love freely and give one another the empowerment to be the best version of ourselves. Then, and only then, we can genuinely dance in the rhythm of our soul.
So this is my prayer: that our love will flourish and that we will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. We need to use our head and test our feelings so that our love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.
– Philippians 1:9-10
[Photo credits to pexel.com]
They said it is sad to be alone,
let me count the reasons why…
When I am alone I write,
and my dream blog shed some light.
When I am alone I dance,
and my body undergone a trance.
When I am alone I pray,
and sing worships all day.
When I am alone I travel,
and I am now a backpacker.
When I am alone I draw,
and the pastel became my law.
When I am alone I read,
and inspiration is the new greed.
When I am alone I play guitar,
and the strings pluck a melodious war.
They said it is sad to be alone,
But that statement is only true,
When I am alone and I think of you.
Recently I’ve been on an emotional downhill. For several months, my mind was a battlefield of conflicting thoughts. I was depressed and my productivity at work is a testament to that. Sleeping had become a struggle and daily waking up was tiring routine. I always wanted to go out. I became an impulsive buyer (the very thing I denounce). I tried to cope up with stress eating. Playing badminton had been a sigh of relief. A bit of jog makes me forget, at least for a while.
I will not put into detail as to what had happened, but I’ll try to put into words the gems hidden on that experience.
It’s not the thing that happened that caused the struggle, It’s my response to it. It’s how I orchestrated and conceived the problem that caused the problem. I dwelled too much on the “what if’s”, “if only’s”, and “why’s”. If one have invested time, energy, and have built dreams around a desire, you can just imagine how frustrated one can become if life throws a different game.
But the universe always has something superb for us. I sense the love and favor of God when He gave me two mentors (I consider them mentors who help me grow in maturity). During the struggle, I was comforted by two wonderful ladies. They have strongly different character one is soft, caring, and gentle while the other is tough, frank, and choleric. They are two opposing sides of a pole, but their message is the same. It’s like a wisdom being observed from two different lenses. One is under a tough love and the other is from a caring form of love.
Let me share with you a life lesson I learned by this simple exercise (I can still remember how Shai wowed me with this exercise).
Imagine yourself holding a centavo coin. Or simply get a centavo in your pocket. Try to feel the texture, you can flip it if you want. Just observe the coin, its color, the engraving details, you can even smell it if you feel so. The goal here is to focus your attention on the coin.
Now, imagine it’s a beautiful summer night and the moon is just glazing its enchanting light towards you. What would you feel? Will you not be amazed? Will you not feel a higher vibration in your heart?
This time, imagine stretching your arms towards the moon with the centavo coin on your finger. Then close your left eye while gently zooming in the coin towards your right eye. It’ll come to a point where you will no longer see the moon because the coin is clouding your vision of it.
The moon in that exercise is our life’s everyday blessings. It’s beautiful, majestic and enchanting. On the other hand, the centavo coin is our life’s temporary problem.
Which one do you think has a greater value?
Remember how you focused your attention on the coin?
Sometimes that is how we deal with our problems. No matter how microscopic a problem actually is, we make a substantial effort immersing ourselves in it.
In real life who’s holding that coin?
Who maneuvers that hand and made that deliberate decision to bring the coin closer and closer to your eyes?
Here’s the surprising fact. We still have a left eye that if we only chose to open, never will we take our blessings for granted – again.
That right eye? It’s a grateful heart.
One last thought
An emotional battle can be caused by different adversities. When coins took residence inside our head we became problem conscious.
The truth is we are living in a world of blessings, there was never a shortage of it. But if our vision is obstructed by coins we will never realize its abundance. Put it this way; scarcity lie’s in eyes to see, and hearts to receive, never on God’s blessing (“How to turn thoughts into passion“, by Bo Sanchez).