What I learned on my first Surfrider Cleanup

I joined my very first Surfrider Trail Cleanup. They teamed up with Patagonia, and a bunch of people came out on a Saturday to pick up garbage! We went on a lovely little trail, to garbage pickers and large buckets. This is what I learned:

  1. Drinking beer and going to the forest is very common, according to all the beer cans we found
  2. Tree stumps apparently look like perfect garbage cans to throw your Starbucks cup in and bottles of water. Plastic bottles and chip bags really do last forever
  3. Everyone thinks doggy poop bags actually biodegrade, (They don’t! So stop throwing them in the forest!)
  4. All the garbage just ends up rolling down the cliff and steeps hills and into the waterways.
  5. I hate balloons (okay granted, I already knew this before I did the clean up, but seriously your helium balloons and the string its attached to that are released into the sky just end up in a forest or beach, only to be eaten by animals! ugh!)
  6. You will find odd things in the forest, like a pink disposable razor, a broken bowl and a frying pan.
  7. You can inspire people about helping the environment just by being there.

#7 was a lesson learnt from a lady who walked past us telling us we moved her. She said next time she comes she will bring a plastic bag and do the same thing. We offered her a plastic bag and her kids and her family excitedly staring at the ground looking for garbage. It was really really heart warming to see that by vocalizing her opinion, her children followed in her footsteps. When she passed us on her way back from her hike, I saw her bag filled with some garbage that she and her kids found. Amazing.

Most people who we ran into, were very pleased and thankful for what we were doing. I almost wanted to say that I wish we didn’t have to do it, that people should just really learn how to use a garbage can, but it felt good to know so many people saw the importance in it.


Thanks to Surfrider for making this all possible. I can’t wait to join the next one!

Much love,



Austin the Inspiration

I’m approaching my last semester of my undergrad and hoping to go into the Education program. With a busy schedule and applications stressing me out, I forget the reasons why I’m doing what I’m doing.
I watched this video after I just had a wonderful conversation with a close friend about one of my students in dance. She told me that the student continues to freestyle at home, something I tried to constantly encourage all my dancers to be comfortable in, especially the girls who are afraid of judgement. I try to teach my little dancers, that dance is a safe place, its where you can be who you want to be. And It warms my heart that she carried what I said in class to home.
Today because of this video, 2 hours of teaching shy (and some crying) 6 year olds hip hop, and the news about my student, I am reminded that I strive and work hard for small rewarding moments. These moments, moments where I witness my students understanding the kinds of lessons I teach in class, are so worth every little stress it takes to run a program on my own. 
Whatever struggle I might have in planning my classes or being nervous about parents opinions or any other stresses. I just have to remind myself:  believe in yourself and know that everything you do, youI do with the intention of educating your students.
I want to continue to inspire my students that they are capable of everything they put their mind to. EVERYTHING.


Thoughts on my first few lessons.

My very first lesson was about three to four years ago, my friend taught me the boxing stand and we did some conditioning in his backyard. I am not a very fit person. The only thing that made me really move was my once a week hip hop dance class. So learning technique and sweating  was a lot of fun. About a few months to a year later I tried another lesson with him again. This time I almost threw up. I guess it was the heat, or the lack of exercise I had during that time. However, I still wanted more.

Boxing always interested me, because I found that boxers trained so hard, and were always so persistent. They were all around fit and I admired the type of focus it took for the individual. It was different from a team dynamic sport, and very different from dancing.

When I finally tried kickboxing at a gym in the Philippines, I was anxious to step into a small area where everyone was focused and you can hear their hard hits in the background. It was both exciting and terrifying. I went with my cousin, who just started boxing and she tried kickboxing (Muay Thai) with me. We had one trainer, whose name is Henrik. He taught us some basics, but really dove into the drills and one on one training. He also made me hit the speed ball and threatened to keep me there until I got it right (Unfortunately, I still didn’t get it right). He was the perfect combination of rewarding me for good behaviour with his “ayoon” sound (which was a way of saying “correct”) and his teasing when I did something wrong. I’m more determined when someone tells me I’m doing something incorrectly. Especially if they tease me in a way that alludes to them thinking I can do better. It’s like they’re saying “why are you making this mistake, you can do better than that, lets go.” I find this a lot more motivating than a cheerful encouragement for everything that I do, just because I’m a beginner. I know this kind of encouragement works for most people, and it can for me at times, but sometimes I like a little more tough love.

One of my favourite moments during my first kickboxing class was Henrik telling me that I was a fast learner. That to me was the biggest compliment someone could give me on my first day. It felt good to know that he saw some improvement from when I feared kicking the pads to when it was the last round, on the third hour of training with each punch I gave it my all.

I have never really gotten “runners high” or that feeling of adrenaline after a good workout before, so this was all new to me. This first lesson made me leave with such a high, I wanted more. I knew I found something special that I liked. It was an amazing feeling, and even days of soreness later thinking about it made me happy.

One thing I fear is that the excitement of going to the boxing gym will go away but that shouldn’t be a fear because whatever happiness it gives me now should be worth it. Even if my schedule gets busy, I still can say that I tried something new and stepped out of my comfort zone. But for now, I’m still not that high and looking to continue and fulfill this need to go kickboxing again.

So I’m curious, whats your version of a “runners high?”

With love,


Travel Lesson: Outer Beauty

The travel bug. I think I caught it when I was younger from my parents. Recently, watching YouTube videos of people travelling just intensified my wanderlust. From an early age, travelling was a treat for the family, to visit relatives and friends. Now it means something different to me. It’s an adventure, a chance to test myself, a form of education. What I’ve learnt from travelling has changed the way I look at who I am. I learn more and more as I travel.
Lately in my past travels to Mexico and the Philippines, I’ve learnt that I need to appreciate the beauty that I hold. I’ve taught myself not to care what I looked on the outside, because I wasn’t gonna try to stretch myself thin to satisfy the western definition of being “hot.” I’ve taught myself confidence in my own skin by accepting that physically, I’ll never be the one who stands out from a crowd. So I’ve worked on my personality and making that the characteristic that makes me different from the rest.
What I learned in travelling is that there is nothing wrong with also appreciating your outer beauty and being proud of it. Being a foreigner automatically makes you different, whether it’s your facial features, body size, the way you walk or your accent. You’re different from the locals and that’s considered exotic and beautiful. Through travelling, I learned that It’s okay to love your body and your outward appearance. You’re not vain or cocky for knowing “hey, this is who I am. Maybe I can be hot. Maybe I can be sexy.” Those titles are all defined by the individual, and the definition of those titles vary by place and by person.
I’ve gotten a few genuine comments on my outward appearance through my latest travels. My first instinct and reflex is to reject all of it, thinking that it’s not true and that I can’t accept it or else it will go to my head. And that it isn’t proper to accept these compliments because I do not want to look vain or over confident. I don’t want to lose my humility. However being humble doesn’t mean you have to deny the opinion of others. Being humble is accepting their compliments with grace and gratitude. Everything comes in a balance.We spend so much time despising the idea of loving the way you look, but we forget that it’s okay to accept someone’s compliment or be comfortable in your own body. Be happy that someone has taken time to notice something awesome that you possess. Whether it’s the colour of your eyes, the way that you smile, or your natural body shape. Embrace it, enjoy it. You’re beautiful on the inside and the out.
Much love,

My Gardening Journey Pt. 1

Okay, so maybe I’m not the best gardener in the world. I probably have been responsible for multiple plants dying, only to be saved or recovered by my green thumb mom. I’m not incredibly proud of this failure and its steered me away from gardening for a long time. But now that I’ve sparked at interest in being handy and eco-friendly and I thought I would give it another go.

The other day I sparked an awesome conversation that turned from talking about mindfulness, zero waste living,  and then to bees. After my older sister came home from high school early, passed out on the living room floor because of her exhausted feeling after she was stung by a bee, I was never really a fan of bees. However, WE NEED BEES! To live, to eat, to grow, to breathe! They pollinate all of our plants and trees that allow us to do all of those things, and sadly there has been an alarming shortage of bees. So, I’m not going to go in full detail of this, since you can probably google that but essentially we need to do our part to help the bees!

So my friend and I decided to take a very exciting trip to a garden shop (my first time in a real garden shop that wasn’t attached to a hardware store). We were so overwhelmed with the choices that was provided for us and the potential of things we can bring home!

After an hour of attempting to make decisions with our indecisive brains, we finally chose our plants! So because I wanted to start a bee friendly mini garden, and because I love the smell, I chose a lavender plant!

Meet Lala the Lavandula Anguvstifolia Blue Cushion!
(yes I have named her).

I also bought some really inexpensive Cynoglossum (Chinese Forget me Nots) seeds because I heard they are easy to grow and you only have to buy them once since they produce more throughout their lifetime!

Anyways I had this fear of gardening and choosing the plants because I knew there was this high potential that I won’t take care of them properly. However I realized that if I want to continue on this journey or improving myself and the environment I live in, then I have to start somewhere. Even a few plants die out on me here and then, as long as I’m trying really hard and learning throughout the process then I can only get better.


So, What are your spring plans?