La Vie d’un Connoisseur

Hey guys! I’m back. How’s 2019 so far? I missed you all!  

In partial fulfillment of my subject Understanding the Self, we were tasked to tell things and stories about ourselves—our fondest memories, our pains and struggles, our relationships with our loved ones. I am delighted to share with you all an anthology of how the past few years have been. In this post, I compiled all my photos from my childhood until present and you’re about to discover things about me that you’ve never heard before. If the question “Can you tell me something about yourself?” would be answered in a blog post, it would be this one.

PSA: This blog post is also my midterm exam! Here’s what I’ve been working on in the past few weeks. Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. 

Love, Andrei


Part 1. Brief Introduction of Myself

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Who is Andrei?

Andrei Paras is a nineteen year old blogger who started way back 2011. Years later, he decided to document his love for menswear and arts through his blog named Aeon. The name Aeon means timeless – just like his aesthetic.

He wears one too many hats. Andrei is a student writer, student leader, blogger, host, fashion expert, skin care guru, foodie, baker, entrepreneur and traveler all at once.

Andrei believes in classic fashion sense and he invests his time in dressing up well as he believes that it is a form of good manners.

He continues to share his sartorial adventures and personal life in this blog. Andrei also gives his readers a glimpse of his life through this website.

He graduated Senior High School in Holy Family Academy and is currently taking up Bachelor of Science in Psychology in Angeles University Foundation. Andrei wishes to pursue Medicine or Graduate school afterwards and follow his Culinary and Fashion dreams later on.


Part 2. Understanding Myself 

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My Self from Various Perspectives

  • Psychological – Last 2015, I took an MBTI Personality test and got ISFJ. I did the same in 2016 and got an INFJ. Fast forward to 2019, I’m now an ISTJ. I guess we can never arrive at solid definition of our personalities because experiences and things can eventually modify ourselves. One thing’s for sure, I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert! 
  • PhysicalI am not ‘physically fit’. I hate exercising. I dislike PE! I hate sports! I don’t even go to the gym. My physical activities would be baking, cooking, and going to school. Haha! Apart from not having the time to work out, I don’t have the confidence to actually enroll in a gym. I don’t know if I can but hopefully I can try it soon because I want to lose weight to fit into society’s standards lol. Maybe the only exception for my body would be my height, I stand at 6’2″ at 19 years old. I’m glad I didn’t grow taller in the past few years because I’m already contented with my stature.  Note that with this height of mine, I am NOT A BASKETBALL PLAYER.
  • Economic – For this part, I think we belong to the upper middle class scale. We have more than what we need and have a very comfortable standard of living. Albeit we have this privilege, we still work hard to sustain this kind of lifestyle and to prepare for what lies ahead of us. Maybe the least thing I could do is to recognize my privilege. 
  • Political – I am pro-people.  I stand with democracy. I believe that equality and equity are both essential in this country. On a political standpoint, I support anything that protects the lives and upholds the rights of men, women, and children as well as the different sectors and groups in the society. Moreover, I also support anything that will help protect the environment. International understanding and cultural appreciation are crucial elements in respecting and loving each other regardless of differences in status, gender, religion, and cultures. Concerning Philippine politics, I know that the Philippine government is a big big scam. Basta ayoko sa mga artistang humahabol, pati ‘yung mga epal na nakulong na dati tapos malakas pa yung loob na humabol ulit, ‘tsaka ‘yung mga walang maayos na credentials (like educational attainment) pero humahabol dahil lang sikat at mayaman sila. At mas ayaw ko rin ‘yung mga bobotante. Jusko, Pilipinas, you are your own poison.  Woke Twitter, spare me. 
  • Digital – I’m a certified social media junkie. You can see me across all platforms of social media and I try my best to keep them all updated because I am an open book. This blog is a perfect example. It’s my online diary where I post my thoughts, pictures, life events and everything in between. I also love to scroll through my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feed. However, with the amount of toxicity it entails, there are times when I don’t check social media at all. I do a social media detox from time to time because it really affects my mental health and distorts my perspective about life. I guess we just have to use it wisely. 🙂 
  • Social – There’s this term called ‘ambivertedness‘ which means a balance of introvert and extrovert tendencies and I believe I have it. I am an ambivert because I am reserved and quiet at first but once I get close to people, I get louder and more comfortable around them. It may take a while before I could socialize though. I’m very picky with people, if I don’t click with someone else, I’d back out and distance myself. I have zero tolerance for fake, toxic, and problematic people. I value personal space and privacy even if I socialize. 

 

My Relationships 

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  • As a son – My parents are blessed to have me as their son, and it’s also the other way around. Hahaha! Kidding aside, I am the eldest son so it’s a big responsibility. I’m also a little ‘boss’ at home. As the eldest, I always see to it that I don’t disappoint them and I always obey them, most specially my mom. My tiger mom. Haha! Iniisip ko na dapat  ‘di ako sakit ng ulo sa kanila, na dapat gumawa ako ng bagay na ikaka-proud nila, na iisipin nilang worth it lahat ng gastos nila sa’kin. My parents and I have a give and take relationship. I try to reciprocate all their efforts by obeying them, by doing my part in our business, and by doing well in school. They were strict when I was younger to the point na kapag may party dapat 8pm pauwi na ako, dapat ‘di ako ginagabi, dapat one month before a libot nagpapaalam na ako. Ganung level. But looking at it now, I’m thankful kasi ‘di ako napariwara, ‘di ako naligaw ng landas. You know what I’m saying? It just shows how much they care for me. Sana kayo rin! I make them proud always in all ways.

 

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  • As a brother – I never thought I’d have a brother for I was an only child for 10 years. Then Popons was born. Having him around made me realize a few things and learn a few lessons. I try my best to be a good example to him. As his kuya, I strive to be a caring, helpful, and protective brother. Kahit na naghahampasan at nag-aasaran kami everyday, I still help him in his school works and in his everyday activities. Nahahawa ko na nga siya sa mga capricho ko sa buhay eh, sana lang hawaan niya na ako ng confidence niya. Haha! 

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  • As a friend – I think I’m unable to fully describe myself as a friend because my friends know how I am as a friend  more than I do. In spite of this, I try my best to be a kind, trustworthy, caring, and loving friend. I see to it I have time for all of them even if we don’t get to see each other every single day. I am available if they need someone to talk to or just to catch up to. I love my friends so much I can’t imagine my life without them. 

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  • As a student or a classmate – As a student, I’d describe myself as very studious and organized. I love learning and just discovering new things. When I am given school works, I don’t do them half baked. I give my all in what I do because I love what I am doing. Amidst all the academic requirements, I manage my time really well so I can give time for myself. As a classmate, I am willing to share my knowledge and expertise to them. I aspire to be someone they can count on when they need me.

 

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  • As a Filipino citizen – I defy odds. I don’t want to be a conventional Filipino who is always late, just goes with the flow, manifests crab mentality, or exhibits a mañana habit, to name a few. As much as possible, I try to be a good citizen by following rules and regulations no matter how small they are. Our little efforts, once done by everybody, can bring a significant improvement in our nation. 

 

Milestones, Moments, and Memories 

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Andrei at 4.
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My favorite place as a child was the Kid’s Inn playground in the now defunct Holiday Inn Clark. I have fond memories playing here. 
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My Grade 1 recognition in Holy Family Academy. April 2007.
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First Communion in December 2007.
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When I was 9, I had my first pet dog named Ginger, a pure breed yellow labrador.  I named him Ginger because of his color which looks  similar to the rhizome.
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I also had my first newspaper feature because of Ginger! We were included in a lifestyle article about pets by Alya Honasan, sister of Sen. Gringo Honasan, in a November 2008 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
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In May 2010, I met former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in an event in Angeles University Foundation.
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Behind PGMA was AUF Chancellor Dr. Emmanuel Y. Angeles. He was my mom’s former boss in the university. Fun fact: Both of us share the same birthday!
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Dad and I strolling around Senado Square in Macau. August 2010. 
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My first trip abroad was in Macau and China. This was me inside our room in The Venetian. 
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Zhuhai, China. 2010.
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My first time in the happiest place on earth, Hongkong Disneyland, was in December 2010. I am a big fan of Disney and my childhood would be incomplete without it.
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Victoria Harbour, Hongkong. 2010. 
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(L-R,T-B) Gretchen Ho, Bamboo, Gary Valenciano, Alodia Gosiengfiao
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(L-R; T-B): Kiefer Ravena, Chef Rolando Laudico, Chris Tiu. There was one point in my life where it was my hobby meeting celebrities. Haha! 
  • Memorable experiences – I’m forever grateful for the beautiful memories I had when I was young for these are the memories I will forever bring in my heart as I grow older. I’m blessed to have a good childhood and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Elementary graduation day. March 2012. 
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Junior High School Moving Up Ceremony. April 2016. 
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Grade 12.
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Senior High School Graduation. April 2018.
  • Benedictine Education in Holy Family Academy – For twelve years, I considered HFA as my home. It was where I grew up, where I discovered my talents and capabilities, where I honed my skills, where I met the best people in my life, and it’s also where I became the person I am right now. Nothing can replace the holistic formation and quality education I got the Benedictine way. Once a Familian, always a Familian. ❤ 

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2012 – 2013 artworks. My very first pointillism portraits.
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I was only 14 years old when I had my first art exhibit. This was during HFA Funtime 2014 and my artworks were part of the collector’s item exhibit.
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As an advanced recognition day gift, I was given the opportunity to meet my favorite blogger Laureen Uy at an event in SM City Clark. I had the chance to give her one of my artworks and she even included me in her blog post! April 2014. 
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My first and biggest oil painting on canvas which I painted in the summer of 2014. It measures 24 x 32 inches and took a week to finish. This painting took three months before completely drying up. PSA: Spot my hand!
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Abstract landscape painting. 2014.
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Perhaps my most famous painting of all time. In line with Pope Francis’ Papal Visit in 2015, I made him a sketch and went all out on social media in hopes of sending this portrait to him. Unfortunately, it didn’t reach His Holiness.  It’s now displayed in my room and it’s one of my most valuable artworks.
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Some of my Pointillism artworks from 2015.
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My first two coffee paintings. June 2015.
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I emerged victorious from a broadcasting competition last 2017. One of the things I’m grateful for experiencing SHS was me discovering my talent for writing and public speaking. After all, I was a student journalist for four years.
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My awkward stage. This is how I looked like when I started Junior High School. Those days were memorable because it’s when I started my interest in fashion. Grabe ang transformation ko ‘no? Haha! Year 2012-2013.
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Slowly finding my own style by mixing and matching my clothes. Year 2013-2014.
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Experimenting different styles. The 7th outfit got featured on the Instagram page of Uniqlo Philippines last 2017!
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Style evolution. Fashion has become an essential part of my life and if it weren’t for this, my blogging career would’ve not happened.
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From a fashion sketch into real life. It was the first time I wore my own design. March 2018.
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My creations from 2018 in chronological order. It was in June 2018 that I ultimately decided to share them on social media and lo and behold, people loved them. The rest is history. 
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(L-R) First two photos are my signature devil’s food chocolate cake and a classic chocolate. The rest are profiteroles and eclairs from the choux pastry I made from scratch.
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(L-R) Some of my creations from late 2018 include cinnamon rolls, tin can chocolate cakes, and the very finicky French macarons. The cakes below were for Christmas parties which include another devil’s food and carrot cakes. For the record, I bake and design them all from scratch. I never use premixed ingredients for my products. The recipes are also my own and aren’t for sale. 😛 
  • Loving my craft – Being born with creative juices flowing in my blood, it’s been a worthwhile journey of finding my passion. I went from visual arts, to writing, to fashion, to skin care, to food. It’s amazing how my talent in arts make me see simple things as blank canvases where I could paint, design, write, or even pipe out my thoughts and feelings. I owe it to my parents for giving me this kind of talent. 

 

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The Classic Old Town Ensaimada.
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Yes, I’m a Psychology major but I also major in baking. Haha! So glad to be able to earn by doing what I love right at the comfort of my home. 
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This was during the blessing of our extension of Old Town in June 2018 with Rev. Fr. Mario Sol Gabriel. 
  • Old Town Ensaimada – I consider this the biggest blessing we’ve received in the last three years. Our humble beginnings in 2016 paved the way for something we are today. Because of Old Town, I’ve learned how businesses work and how they can provide jobs and opportunities to those who need it. It’s also because of this business that I found my passion which eventually became my own part time work. Old Town made me realize how difficult it is to earn money and how great things come from small beginnings. It taught me the value of hard work, persistence, and faith. Old Town also taught me that you should never stop pursuing your passion. At present, our ensaimadas are baked fresh and sold out everyday. Our products are continuously being patronized by both locals and foreigners and have satisfied even the most discriminating palates. They also get shipped to different countries worldwide. It’s still a work in progress and we can’t wait how it’s going to be in the years to come. 

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  • My website, WWW.ANDREIPARAS.COM – I started blogging in 2011 through WordPress and Tumblr, but I formally opened my digital diary to the public in year 2015. This website was home to my thoughts, musings, and journal entries. It was my outlet for my concealed feelings for it is in this website that I pour out all my emotions. In the course of my four years in blogging, I’ve already reached a global audience. I have readers from all parts of the globe and I reach thousands of readers annually. In 2018, I bought the domain andreiparas.com in hopes of reaching a wider audience, however, due to unforeseen circumstances, blogging took a back seat. I promise to write more and share more of my adventures this year if the odds will be in my favor.

 

My Influencers 

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  • My parents – They are the reason why I am who I am right now. If it weren’t for their discipline and smart parenting, I’ll probably end up somewhere else. I’m eternally grateful for both of them and I’m willing to do everything just for my parents. 

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  • My friends – They are my stress relievers and my constant serotonin boosters. Although I don’t see most of them everyday, I just want them to know I’m thankful for every single one of them. They’ve seen me at my best and at my worst.

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  • My mentors –  My sources of wisdom, inspiration, and support. It’s not just about the classroom lectures they teach but also the values they continue to apply in their lessons. They’ve helped me grow into a better and wiser person I am today.
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(L-R; Top to Bottom) Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Chris Martin (Coldplay), Adele, Paul Jason Klein (LANY)
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(L-R; Top to Bottom) Lee Min Ho, Lee Dong Wook, Lee Jong Suk, Sean O’Pry, Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray, Kelsey Merritt, Anne Curtis
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BTS, BLACKPINK
  • Favorite celebrities – These are just some of my role models, favorite singers, style icons, and life pegs. They have influenced my music taste, fashion sense, and overall outlook in life. I choose my role models wisely because I know that who you’re looking up to can actually influence your perspective towards life. Tell me who your role models are and I’ll tell you who you are. 

 

The Struggle is Real

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  1. Struggling to find real friends – Frankly speaking, I struggled finding my real friends. I was never part of any squad until I was in Senior High. I had no permanent “bestfriend” until I turned high school. It was always me trying to fit in into groups of people but I felt no sense of belongingness. Turns out, I’d meet them later on and everyone I met earlier still became my acquaintances.
  2. Whenever I see my family sick – It’s traumatizing to me. Seeing them in pain inflicts pain in me too. Whenever I see my parents or grandparents sick or visiting the hospital, it triggers my anxiety and brings back horrible experiences in the past.
  3. Losing people I love – Literally and figuratively. I’ve lost friends and family members in the past few years and it brought so much pain. But it made me stronger and made me appreciate my loved ones even more.
  4. Disappointing myself…academically – I had this “89 curse” when I was in high school. Every time I’d end the school year, I get a final average of 89 which indicates I’m not qualified for final honors albeit my other grades are marked excellent. It’s usually the subjects I’m not good at (like Math or Physics) that drags my average down. I get disappointed every time because I constantly feel the pressure around me (being in the first section for my whole life) and it sucks when I don’t get to fit in that academic standard. I feel like a failure every time this happens. Thankfully, I managed to break the curse when I graduated and now that I’m in college, it’s not a big deal anymore.
  5. Adjusting to college  – My first year, first semester in college was an enormous mess. When I started, I had high hopes because AUF has also been my home for years. But then again, you can never tell what happens next. It occurred to me that I am in a new environment but I’m still attached to HFA. It was a new chapter, a new journey that I’m about to embark on, but I am still uncertain about what college is really all about. I can’t move on from high school. In spite of feeling this confusion, I continued. Until another thing happened— my grandfather met an accident and slowly deteriorated. He was later diagnosed with a metastatic disease. In my daily visits to him in the hospital, I unknowingly acquired the varicella virus, hence I got chickenpox. I missed my Prelims, and got another set of exams. I was so anxious and confused about Psychology because I got relatively low grades in my major during my Prelim period. I struggled academically, I was so anxious about Psychology that I even thought of dropping out or shifting to HRM. These events continued until late 2018. It was so difficult dismissing these unfortunate events in my mind. They still continue to haunt me until present. But with my newfound motivation and hope for 2019, I see them as learning experiences and as God’s way of testing how much I’m willing to continue.  

 

Do you remember me?

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CAS Night 2019.

I’d like to be remembered as someone who is blessed to be a blessing. As someone who untiringly shares his time and effort to those in need. As someone who sees the positive side of every situation. As someone who is fueled with passion and love. As someone who overflows with gratitude for what he has in life. And as someone who is dedicated to embark on life’s adventures.

 

Be the Better You

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Remember that you need to find ways to get back up once you trip. And in times of adversities, remember to start strong, to stay strong, and to end strong. You have to keep up with the pressure, both from within and from the external forces around you. You just need to keep on getting better than you were before. Focus on your own race and stop looking at your competitors because YOU ARE YOUR BIGGEST COMPETITOR. I always preach that you need to compete with yourself, and that’s what I did. Let me say it louder for those in the back, instead of pouring your energy on other people’s lives, focus on yourself and your own progress. Focus on what matters. You have to remember why you are doing this and who you are doing it for. Is it for yourself? For your family? For God? Think about it.

– an excerpt from Veni, Vidi, Vici by yours truly (April 2018)


Part 3: My Self-Care Plan

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Turning 19.

  1. Physical Self-Care – As cliché as it sounds, taking care of your body makes a huge difference. Don’t forget to eat healthy, drink lots of water, take your vitamins, get a good night’s sleep, and always do your skin care. Do something today that your future self will thank you for. 
  2. Emotional Self-Care – Always be kind to yourself. When you feel like you’ve done something wrong, learn to apologize and then forgive yourself and move on. Learn from your mistakes. Learn how to love yourself and indulge in small pleasures sometimes. If you feel fulfilled, reward yourself with something that makes you happy. And please, stop comparing your life to others. Be grateful for what you have and focus on your life. 
  3. Cognitive Self-Care – Don’t forget to read, read, and read. You have all the resources, exhaust them all to get a fat brain. After all, having a fat brain is sexier than having six pack abs. When it comes to mental health, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Kung gusto mo ring maging healthy yung utak mo, ‘wag kang magbasa ng comments section sa Facebook, nakakasira ng araw ‘yung mga tao ‘don! Haha!
  4. Social Self-Care – Choose people who choose you. Stay away from toxic people. Edmund Lee once said, “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.” 
  5. Financial Self-Care – This is what we all need. In Bianca Gonzalez’ Paano Ba ‘To?!, I learned a clever way of saving money. She mentioned this formula: Allowance – Savings = Expenses.  It’s not Allowance – Expenses = Savings.  Deduct your savings from your daily budget. That way you can already spend the remaining money you have without worrying about saving up. ‘Wag ka ring magche-check kung may bago ba sa Watsons, Lazada, o Shopee ha? 
  6. Spiritual Self-Care – Pray. Meditate.  Pray. Meditate. Take time to relax. Spend some time alone para magmuni-muni or mag-isip isip tungkol sa life, effective kaya ‘yun! Whatever happens in your life, don’t forget to thank the Big Guy in the Sky! He got you!

 

The end.

 

 

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