Do you believe in the power of the universe and the signs it sends when you least expect it or when you most need it?

I turned 28. This year I don’t only wish to be a year wiser but I also wish to be a year happier wherever the next chapter of my life takes me.

The trajectory of my life during the first half of 2018 is honestly.. flat. Maybe there’s a little bit of curve somewhere in between but nothing momentous. It has been 8 months since I came home from a supposedly 3-month teaching upgrade to a 2-week “detour” in Vietnam. Eight friggin months that feels like a lifetime already haha.

I’ve never celebrated my birthday en grande style. A simple chow and get together with family and friends are enough for me. To be honest, my celebration last year (followed by an unforgettable trip to Bali) is quite a tough act to follow. This year, my day was spent with my family in Tagaytay to hear mass in one of my favorite chapels and to have lunch in a Spanish-inspired restaurant with a lake and volcano view.

It was a downpour while the mass was ongoing. Last year, it was raining cats and dogs in the 5 days I spent in Bali. See, rain holds a very significant meaning for me because I always believe it’s a shower of blessings or confetti from the sky. I may have secretly prayed for rain that day to remind me of my “element” but what I did not expect was the subtle epiphany from the heavens during the homily.

What was the sermon about? Healing.

Brick facade of the chapel under a gloomy sky.

The priest said: “Healing is not just about our physical ailments, there is healing for what we feel inside as well. We need healing because we’re broken. We need healing because we’re frustrated. We need healing because we’re not all-knowing. We need healing because we failed in our expectations and because we’re controlling. Above all, we need healing because we deserve a happier life ahead.”

If it’s not a strong enough message from the universe, I don’t know what is.

I tell you, I broke into tears while my mom embraced me from behind. Every word spoke to my soul. It’s like being in the right place at the right time to be ultimately healed inside out, something that I’ve been honestly praying for not just for myself but also for the people around me who honestly need it more than ever. Prayers move in selfless ways.

How fated as this chapel, Caleruega Transfiguration Chapel, is famous for its stained glass design altar which symbolizes the transfiguration of Jesus or the process of suffering to healing.

As soon as 3 days, my “healing process” was put to test. Last week I submitted an application to an MBA scholarship in Sweden. A week later I received an email bearing the unfortunate news that I’m not among the finalists for the grant. I was devastated because the program fits perfectly in my entrepreneurial ambitions and because I want it so badly. But just like the last line in the rejection email says: “It might not have gone your way this time, dreams are realized every day. Believe and tomorrow might be your day!” In this context, acceptance that there’s something better beyond the spectrum of my European education desires was the best way to heal. Woosah and move on.

Last April, I launched Likha Manilenia. It’s my shop for hand-embroidered pouch bags, aprons, and hoops. Ever since I opened it, I never stopped dreaming on how big and possibly far it could go as long as I continue on practicing, stitching, and embroidering even if my fingers are tired or regardless of the location. See reference below 🙂

Best location to embroider so far, not to mention the outfit I’m in as well! No complaints here 😉

This business has been my source of inspiration and personal satisfaction. There are times when I’m really clueless on what to do next but I always remind myself not to hurry or to control what will happen next. Trust the process. Like the rain, it will pour and fall in the right place in its own time 🙂

And so, I promise myself to be open in trying again, to be bolder, and to be forgiving moving forward to embody full healing. I have major decisions to do for the better half of this year and it would take high-level of courage to risk again but still arrive on a logical and flourishing path.

No matter what happens, I will always remind myself never to lose sight of what truly matters: my happiness in the next 28++ years.

Cheers to life,



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