Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Abe's Farm - a getaway to farm life

During my growing up years, my family and I would shuttle to San Jose City, Nueva Ecija where my mother's family lived. After all the members of her family passed away, we stopped going "home".

It's been quite awhile that I've been to the northern part of the archipelago. The long weekend holiday was an opportune time to strike a difference - family bonding, a relaxing getaway to what life used to be when I was growing up, and good company.

Our destination - Magalang, Pampanga. Home to Abe's Farm.

Abe's Restaurant, part of the LJC group of chain of restaurants is home to Manilenos for great Filipino Kampampangan cuisine. The restaurant Abe started in their farm home in Magalang, Pampanga - a trivia unknown to many of the urbanites in Manila.

A sleepy laid back town in Pampanga, Magalang was home to Abe's Farm. It was as authentic as one could get - of course, this included the smell of cow dung as you dined. But the ambience of the place and the food was truly Kapampangan and nothing could come as home cooked as you could get.

After the excellent meal, you can always choose to stay overnight in one of their cottages and go around Angeles, Dau and San Fernando City. Or just relax in one of their spas where they offer therapeutic massages for a very affordable price.

The next time you and family decide to get away from it all, or just want to have a great road trip...here's a place you can spend half the day in. Good food. Family bonding. Good company. Relax and unwind. And get an experience of the provincial life.

Life is great and more fun in the Philippines!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Borrowed happiness

What does it take to make you happy?

I have a friend who never told me that there was something lacking in their five-year relationship with her partner. After awhile, it got to be kinda funny that they've been together for the longest time and yet have not tied the knot. Over a cup of coffee, some delectable macarons and a lazy afternoon - she casually told me that she was looking for a more "permanent happines". I was dazed and asked her what her problem was. I mean, you gotta hand it to her - a job that pays great, a lot of friends that like her, and a fiance that's good looking and seems to love her to death.

In this story, my friend happens to be the other woman.

Human nature dictates that in our lifetime, we search for love. More often than not, lust takes the better half of that search. While sex is part of a relationship, it should not be the centerpiece in it.

I do not prejudge people who are in a complex relationship. After all, as individuals, we make our own decisions...and should be responsible for its consequences. I told my friend that in any relationship, we need to understand the "I" factor. This means that we take hold of respect of self as the first and foremost goal. We cannot make others - whether they are our relatives or friends or acquaintances - respect us if we cannot seem to take a grasp of our own lives.

It is easy to drum up excuses for holding on to what I call "borrowed happiness". Happiness, is, after all something we all deserve. But being happy at the expense of the misery of another party is selfishness on our part. Some people like being the "other woman". It's like being appreciated more than the "true" better half. But men can be animals. They throw their attention to you in order to get laid or prove that their waning libidos are still working.

Gay relationships are just as cruel. Most gay men and women are attracted with the physical attributes and are more promiscuous than heterosexual couples. Irregardless of sexual preference, each relationship comes together in the search for the "happily-ever-afters".

There is no love in a crowded relationship. I don't believe in the BS that sharing a marriage or a relation ends up in a win-win situation. All parties end up hurting each other and we lose respect of self. There is no winner in this kind of relationship and the few hours of happiness are simply "borrowed" so to speak.

The ultimate goal is to challenge ourselves to learn to walk away when there is nothing left in a relationship to begin with, or to salvage.

One of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho puts into perspective what love is. "Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused." In reality, love is not to be understood. It is to be attained, but only if we work hard to overcome the challenges in searching for the right person, by finding self-respect in ourselves first.

And the greatest lie in the world is when we make believe and rationalize on "borrowed happiness" at the expense of other peoples misery.

“After all, what is happiness? Love, they tell me. But love doesn't bring and never has brought happiness. On the contrary, it's a constant state of anxiety, a battlefield; it's sleepless nights, asking ourselves all the time if we're doing the right thing. Real love is composed of ecstasy and agony.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Witch Of Portobello