Spread Happiness

We're all in this together, whether you feel it or not, whether you like it or not. In this day and age, love, peace, happiness may seem hard to find, but in reality, little things make us smile every single day.

Tell us your stories. We'd love to hear them. Email us at kaya.ananda@gmail.com and we'll post it on the blog for you.

Let's keep each other inspired, grateful and loved.

Peace :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011


So my first year in grad school has come to an end. Last night, we ended our class in group therapy on a dramatic note with the exchange of letters. We decided to read the letters in private and so after a round of drinks with my grad school friends, i went home to snuggle in my bed and take time to read the thoughts and prayers of my classmates.

Letter after letter i read about how my story made such a big impact on their lives and how this has changed the way they’ve perceived the world. the tears came rushing as I realized that my story had moved farther into the hearts of other women and away from my blogging platform.

I cried in both sadness and joy. I cried for the pain I once felt and yet I cried in gratitude for the freedom that I now experience. I thanked God for giving me a mission in life and having carried out this mission as I made my way through my first year of grad school.

I want to make a difference in the world. Most of all, I am hoping that through my experience I can help ignite change.

I read everything from, “i never imagined that beneath your smile was a woman who had gone through so much” to “you story made me think about whether i was actually abused myself”.

Abuse is no joke and although it’s been long since I’ve last felt it creep up on me, I have remained firm in dealing with the world with my new strength.

Last night was an affirmation of the healing I could feel happening within me and for all that my first year of grad studies has been, I am thankful for everything and everyone that I have encountered.

This semester in particular, I have 13 wonderful women to thank for helping me build myself up again.

For every woman who needs to be reaffirmed, know that you are never alone. You’ll be surprised what writing about your story can do for you and how many women out there will flock to support you. I found my initial support on tumblr and facebook; and i hope that you do too.

Sending love to the universe,



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Manila Minds

I was fortunate enough to be invited to this session of "mutual inspiration" with some people I know, some I didn't but would like to know better.

There were two main questions asked.

1. Define Change and Progress:
My answer- Change is doing something you've never done before- Progress is possibly failing but getting up to try again. Change is EVOLUTION, sometimes a REVOLUTION and progress is finding real SOLUTIONS.

2. What do you do and why do you do it?
My answer- (This took me awhile to answer. In the last 15 minutes this is what I ended up writing down)
I do everything I do so my daughter, and all your children can live in a world I would have wanted us to live in.

A little something to inspire you to maybe have your own group brainstorming sessions, mind melding and just generally opening you up to other ideas as well as those ones you never expressed.

Peace, love and happiness,


Friday, April 1, 2011

Mind over Matter

Sometimes you just gotta do things you wouldn't normally want to do in order to reach a bigger goal.

Growing up, I never saw my dad for breakfast. I never saw him in a business suit, or carrying a briefcase. He wasn't that dad that would take work-related calls at dinner or have to cut his hair in a nice work-appropriate style. I grew up with a dad who would meditate for 30 minutes with his door closed, and then head over to host his noontime variety show, record songs in the afternoon and philosophize with us for hours at the dinner table.

My mom was always an artist. She never had an office job, never was one of those women who came home stressed and tired and having to cook dinner for the family. She did pottery for hours on end, helped us study for exams, took us to our gymnastics or ballet lessons, on shopping sprees behind my dad's back and to get our teeth pulled out. I would see her painting, drawing or doing some sort of crafty activity on a regular basis.

Here I am now, working a 9-5 job-something I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever do. It was never a dream of mine to work in an office, or to do anything BUT what I was passionate about. My points of reference where both artists, both working on their own time, to their own beat.

I always worked that way too, and for the first time, I decided to try something new, which was insert a bit of structure in my life to balance myself out. I won't lie, it's been a difficult time adjusting to knowing you need to be in one place for 8-9 hours a day. It's frustrating to not be able to attend weekday get togethers and brainstorming because it's at 4 pm and you can't leave, or to not see your daughter except on weekends because she's asleep when you get home.

I know millions of people have been in this rat race for decades, but I guess I still need time to get used to it. Despite the growing pains, there are, of course, many things I am still grateful for.

My daughter and my boyfriend are two people that have been extremely patience with me during this indulgent post-Saturn depression I've been going through. I am more than grateful for my daughter's after-work hugs and wide excited eyes. I'm thankful for my boyfriend's late night, 2 hour phone calls where it's mostly me talking and him making me feel better.

I'm grateful for the slow and steady living here in the South, and although I miss seeing my friends all the time, I find myself wishing they would all move here instead of me moving out there.

I'm grateful that I HAVE a job. Even if I complain about not having time to do what I want, feeling caged in an office and all that, I have a job. Some people spend months, even years trying to find one, and I have it. It has it's compromises for sure, and things I wish were different (I still wish I could work from home) but at the end of the day, I'm dong what I gotta and working for my daughter's future. Can't hate on that.

So even if life isn't always perfect, even if I can't always be the happy go lucky hippie I've always been, life IS good.  And now more than ever I understand the words "The struggle is the blessing"

...because really, it is.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ink and Stories

It's been quite awhile since I wrote in this blog- even thought of it I must admit. Things just got so busy, and life got in the way of all the entries I wanted to post, and all the photos I wanted to share.

This does not mean, of course, that my gratefulness has waned or my positive outlook has turned bleak. On the contrary, I feel like I have been too busy just being happy than talking about being happy. I will stop making excuses for my being AWOL though, and give my sincerest apologies for not continuing this blog as I should have. In any case, I will re-start now and hope that people will follow my lead and decide to start sharing again.

All my tattoos mean something to me. Now, at 31, I have 11.

11 tattoos. I know some of you are cringing. Some are secretly wishing they were brave enough to get one, and others just think I'm plain crazy. 

Here's the thing. These tattoos remind me, time and time again that I have stories. I have been through situations both good and bad, happy and painful, to get to where I am right now.

I have stories. Isn't that enough to be thankful for? Can you imagine living a life of boredom, or too much safety, of not being able to have anything exciting to say about your past because you were too afraid of being hurt, rejected, made fun of?

I say screw that. When you are hurt, you become stronger, when you're rejected, you become more creative, when you're made fun of, you probably have the best damn idea out there--nurture it.

So anyway, I am thankful I have stories. I have reasons for living, lessons to look back on, hopes for the future.

Oftentimes, that's all you really need.

Erica, Manila

Sunday, February 6, 2011

He will always be that Baby Boy

Last September my dad and my sister’s family were here in Cebu for my brother’s church wedding.

Spending time with my family is something I really hold dear since I hardly go home in our hometown in Mindanao. So I always grab the opportunity to spend time with them even if I’m dead tired from school.

My sister’s eldest son, Yco is like my best friend/mortal enemy. I babysat him when he was 3 years old while my sister was having a difficult pregnancy on her 2nd son. And so we had a lot of moments together. Both good and bad. We just love to hate each other and after a minute we’re like inseparable! We would play together and he would always want to go with me whenever I leave the house. But when it’s hating time, the house is a total chaos. We would just drive everyone nuts! Its like I’m not an 18 year old who is supposed to take care of a 3 year old boy.

Anyway, im 23 and Yco is now 8 years old. Before September, we haven’t seen each other for months! The last time I was able to spend time with him was last Christmas and before that, I haven’t seen him for 2 years! There are just a lot of changes. He’s not a baby anymore. He has a crush and would blush whenever I mention the girl’s name. He doesn’t want to be hugged or kissed in public and even inside the house, he would squirm and push me away.

It was a struggle for me to get a hug from him when he came here in Cebu. I can only kiss him when he’s fast asleep. Hold his hand when were crossing a street. So one night on our way home from going around Cebu and Lapu-Lapu, he stayed at the back of the van, in the compartment area. I was tired and falling asleep. Then I felt these tiny arms making its way around me from the back. Yco was hugging me and gave me a kiss on the head thinking I’m asleep. I wanted to blurt out, “Ha! You missed me!” but I chose to just pretend to be asleep and savor the minutes of him being sweet again. Gladly, my sister was able to take a shot before he goes back to his i-don’t-like-you moment.

And yes, I’m wearing my uniform. Followed them in a restaurant after my class and I didn’t know that they’re still not done. I still had so much fun anyway.

When he lay down and started humming, I looked down on him and said, “I love you, Yco!” and he just continued doing his thing like he didn’t hear anything. He just took my tiredness and sleepiness away!

Agnes Pasco, Cebu City

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Untitled Love

I never really realized
how much you meant to me
until we have become miles apart

It is only now I've come to realize
how every moment with you is special

Every word uttered
Every touch of your hand
Every loving embrace
Becomes a good memory in retrospect

I've lost count on how many times
we fought of our differences
or I cried because I rebel
or simply because I failed you

Our relationship may have grown over the years
Withstood a lot of storms
Tested by time and circumstances

There may be only one thing I am certain of
That even beyond your last breath
Or even beyond mine
I will forever be grateful to the Man above
That He sent you to me

Happy Birthday, Mommy.
I love you.

 Keep Shining!



Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Sometimes people say things
that they don't really mean.
They just might call you names
to lift their self esteem.
But soon enough, they'll realize
that it'll never work.
Because inside they're trying to hide
how much they really hurt.

But as long as you know who you are
and what you're about
Nothing they say can shake your pride
and make you doubt
The beauty you have in you
and when they give attitude
you can tell them like this.

Say, I'm beautiful and spiritual
and I think it's about time to tell you this.
I'm gonna be the best me
that I know how to be.

One day you learn how much it means
to believe in yourself.
So take these words and share these words
to help somebody else.

You never know. Anything's possible.
You just might make a friend.
So when they try to make you cry,
tell them again and again.

Say it like this- I'm beautiful and spiritual
and I think it's about time to tell you this.
I'm gonna be the best me
that I know how to be.

Say it again my brother- I'm beautiful
and spiritual and I think it's about time
to tell you this. I'm gonna be the best me
that I know how to be.

I'm beautiful and I'm spiritual and I think it's about time to tell you this.
I'm gonna be the best me that I know how to be. [till fade]

-- "I'm Beautiful" - Aloe Blacc

Sarah, Manila
Ever thankful for the music.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Look

weddings always bring out the hopeless romantic in the hardest of hearts. let's face it. we're in this world looking for our other half. we might be comfortable being by ourselves most of the time, but in reality, the thing that scares a lot of people the most is being alone. at the end of the day, we're in this world wishing we don't grow old by ourselves.

taken in august of 2008 at tina and tony's wedding.

in my family, it's rare to find someone who's not walking around with a heavy-duty dslr. so while everyone was scrambling to take as much photos of my cousin walking out of the church a married woman, i caught this aww-raising moment. this is my cousin, cynthia. she had just gotten married maybe 10 months before this photo was taken. sure, newly-weds will always have that sparkle in their eyes, reminiscing their own special days. but there's something about watching cynthia look so lovingly towards her husband. it looked so much like they were sharing a silent inside joke, and we were so unfortunate to not be in on punchline. i didn't feel left out though. in fact, i felt fortunate still to witness how sweet it was that even without words, they were on the same page.
my family has been fortunate enough to be blessed with great marriages. sure, everyone's had their ups and downs, but after the storm, everyone's managed to hang on, survive, and grow stronger. i can only hope that someday, i would receive the same blessing. and that further into my old age, i can still look at my husband this way.

--pat enriquez, new york

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It was written

I thank God and the Universe for my gift of being able to translate my ideas into writing. It saved my life several times in the past, kept me company through out life and now the urgency to have it in my life is at the strongest its ever been.

Thank You.

---Erica, Manila

Thursday, July 1, 2010

More than Friends

Sometimes, if you are lucky enough, you find friends that unexpectedly and amazingly become like family.

-Erica, Manila

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Godfather

Sydney Elena Yapes Albano, born June 20, 2010, 8 lbs w/ proud Ninong JC

JC Albano, New York

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Food and Love

I'm not going to lie and say I have always been into cooking. In fact, when I was younger, my idea of cooking was opening a can of corned beef or spam, frying it and eating it with fried rice mixed with Knorr seasoning. That or Instant Ramen.

It was only when I moved out of my house that I actually had to learn how to whip up something more substantial then canned food. Learning this lesson wasn't easy though, as I was blessed (and cursed) with a flatmate who could put together a great meal in 10 minutes, a mom who would send me off with her special spaghetti sauce (to be put in the freezer until I needed to eat it) and an uncle who, weekly, would buy me all sorts of ready made food from Milky Way.

Even though I was surrounded by everything that practically assured me of never learning to find my way around a kitchen, I persevered and started making omelets for breakfast, learning 4-5 ingredient quick cook recipes and stopped eating out. I think the real learning experience for me though, was moving to Australia where my family had no choice but to cook for ourselves. By then though, I enjoyed cooking so much I did not need to be prodded to do so, plus the amazing selection of meats, seafood and fresh fruits and veggies was dizzying and fun.

Now I can't imagine not tinkering about in the kitchen. My love for cooking used to be about my love for food and experimentation. While it is still that, I also realized that at the core of it is my love for seeing people happy, enjoying a good meal and good conversation. I love how meals always bring people together and how in my life, my family gatherings were always centered around the dining table. Perhaps this is where all of this is coming from.

I am thankful to have been blessed growing up, being in an environment that encouraged family togetherness. Eating was a big part of my life, and still is, and the joy of cooking and sharing this with my friends is one of the things that makes life worth it.

Caramelized Onion, Anchovy, Garlic, Mozzarella and Parmesan Pizza
Baked Chicken with red wine reduction and 40 cloves of garlic.
Steak (done Medium) with Onion-Rosemary Gravy.

Spread the love :)

Erica, Manila

My little man

I miss being a full time mom. I miss being able to just hug my baby whenever I can. There were times before, where I fell in love, thought I felt in love...at least it felt that way. But this is better. I feel like the intimacy I share with my son sometimes is indescribable. He can just look at me a certain way and understand how I feel, read my thoughts, see through me. I don't have to force him, cry..argue with him...to see me, even when I try very hard to hide it from him..even in those moments when I don't say anything at all but it's just getting to hard to take. I miss that. 

I miss the pinch of his nose, the way he cups my face to, "give Mommy a kiss-kiss". I've never felt this close to anyone before. I never had anyone this linked to me about how I feel, how I think...I've never sacrificed so much for one person. And when I am with him, I feel so free. I feel this euphoric sense of delight...and it's real! I have been with others before, even in the romantic sense, and there were times that it felt burdensome, like you were trying to make a moment happen, instead of letting the moment happen. Sometimes when I call him, from all the way here, I get nervous and think that, now that we don't see each other, it'll be coerced...that awkwardness where you try to come up with things to say. But it is never that way...talking with, sharing with him is no burden at all...it's effortless. Okay, okay, he's 4 and of course there is that thing about bond between mother and child. But I never expected it to feel like this. I never expected to feel this loved? happy? grateful...to be a mom. I truly, honestly love it...even those late nights when I didn't know what to do to make him stop crying...even during those times, when we are in a public place, and everyone and God is looking at us, like a spectacle, a mockery of why not to bring your child out in public...and I find myself sweating in place, this weird smirk of apology and shame on my face to everyone ogling, trying to figure out why this kid is screaming, crying and carrying on like so...and truth be told, yes..I did think at some points during those moments, "I am going to kiILLLl lyou...oh! wait til we GET HOMMME!" but even then I find myself surrendering...and instead of getting mad or trying to get even, I find myself trying to find ways to make it better if not just okay for him.

In that temporary moment of insanity, I still love him...O, I don't really want to kill him...how can I? someone who's brought such good things out of me..who's the essence of the hardship paying off...with all the things, stuff I chose to/did not choose/didn't really know any better at the time so I would just endure and hopefully things will get better at the other end....and still manage to love me, as I am...how can I want that out of life..that even at my worst, he still manages to show me/give me love...telling me stories that only a 4 year old fully understand but is trying to sympathize with me by coming up with stories only a 4 year old would understand so that Mommy can hear his voice...how did I ever, why did I ever hesitate for a moment with that? Why did I...I cannot believe I truly struggled with that... Thank you God. You could have brought anyone, anyone else in my life...and you did bring, have brought some pretty amazing people to my life...and I know there are more out there coming but thank you for this... thank you for him. I really am so 100 zillion times grateful...I love you..You are THE MAN. I love being a mom...I miss it...now, about that little girl... into Your Hands o Lord...

Tara, Manila

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Angel in Disguise

The Angel in Disguise

It is such a joy when you come home after a long day and be welcomed by the kisses of your enthusiastic dog. And how endearing is it that the very thing they're so enthused about is that you just arrived home?

That's Rafaella. You wouldn't say she's a Rottweiler if you weren't looking because of her sweetness. I named her after the healer amongst the archangels, St. Rapahel, 'cause I knew at the first sight of her, she'd be doing exactly that in my life and boy, I was right. She came right about the time I was in and out of the hospital because of my Lupus. I believe she's one great channel of love from God to our family. When I'm down and I feel like crying, I'd sit beside her and it's as if she knows, because all she'll do is hug me and accompany me until I feel better.

She just never fails to cheer me up and bring light in my life.

It's been 6 years since I was diagnosed with Lupus and I believe I've been putting up a good fight. And with me through all of it is a kick-butt support system, one of which is a sweet, loving, always vibrant dog, Rafa. Life is good. =)
Samantha Timbreza, Manila

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How sweet it is...

Last week, my workplace hosted Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. The largest, most successful fund raising event of the Cancer Council

This is what I contributed... 

❤ Red Velvet Cupcakes ❤ 

And of course a gold coin donation.

We raised $400. It may not seem like a lot, but a little goes a long way to help the fight against cancer.

P.S. Cupcakes made by moi.

P.S.S. They were the first to be wiped out. :)

Camille, Sydney.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mama's Love

I'm a workaholic.  My day always starts off with putting my glasses on, changing and feeding my 2 and a half-month old baby Holly, going down to eat breakfast, giving the angel a bath, and turning on my computer to get some work done.  It's usually fun and fulfilling since I get to work and earn from home, but it can get really stressful especially when the little darling would wake up and start wanting attention, milk, or to be carried around even while I'm in the middle of time-crunching.  Other than that, I also have to tend to other important matters like this NSO census thingy, the application form of a cable company, and keeping the folks updated on life here in the city.
It's tiring, especially for a 20-year old who just transformed from student to freelancer to work-at-home mom.  But hey, I love my life and where Fate has brought me.  I'm happy that I have a baby girl who warms my heart each time she smiles, a husband who works hard to not only support us financially but who takes the time to figure out why I'm so silent or what I'm thinking about, and family who never stops thinking about how we're doing, if we're eating well, and if things are okay here in Manila.  I'm happy I have friends on Plurk who keep me from going insane out of isolation, my freelance work to keep my mind occupied, social media to keep me in the know-how of our crazy world, and music to soothe my nerves whenever I feel like the walls are closing in and the silence's constant urges to make me want to jump out of the window (there's a big one right in front of me at the moment). 
In the end, all I have to do is get up and stare at Holly with her tongue out while she's sleeping so soundly and all the stress goes away.  And remembering all the challenges I had to go through to bring her into this world, I just want to scoop her up in my arms and whisper in her tiny ear, no matter what Mommy will always love you
Your browser may not support display of this image.

Steffi, Quezon City

Friday, May 28, 2010


As we approach the mid point of 2010, I just want to thank God for all my blessings especially the roles that he has me playing. 

I love being a father to an intelligent & beautiful daughter. I love being a husband to an incredibly gifted & soulfully creative wife. I love being a son to the world's greatest parents. I love being an older brother to supportive siblings that are with me each step of this awesome journey - even though we're (s)miles apart. I love being a part of a dynamically dope family. I love being a part of several closed-knit circle of friends. I love being on HIS team! God is good all the time =)

I'm thankful for my health, wealth, & happiness.  I wish you all peace & blessings in every aspect of your life.

Love & be loved!

Shine on!

- Banj, Manila

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


For me it's really unexpected to meet someone like him, my best friend. *grin*
We've been friends for almost 10 years now. We had our ups and downs but we're strong enough to hold on to our friendship and never let anything break us apart. :)

We don't have a picture that only the two of us in it coz it has always been with our friends. But, in the pictures it's either he's at the back, on the side or in front of me. so would that mean we're inseparable? nah! we don't hang out that much but if we do, it's always fun. he do have his other set of friends and i have mine too. we don't really limit ourselves to just us. we're not committed to each other, you know, so why would we. *lol* Between us two, he's the friendliest. He's too friendly that he often forget about me. :(

But a lot of changes happened last year that make me realized how special i am to him. I was taken for granted a lot of times but there was this one thing he did that make me forget about all the disappointments i had coz of him. :)

We're not that open to each other but we care for each other more than what people know. And i just realize right now that just the thought of not having him as my best friend, make me sad and just the thought of him being a best friend to someone else, make me jealous. i don't want to act selfish but if we're talking about him, that's a different story. *lol*

thank you so much for letting me share this. :)

God Bless!
 -Stephanie Taojo, Manila

Thursday, May 20, 2010


/rɪˈzɪlyəns, -ˈzɪliəns/ Show Spelled [ri-zil-yuhns, -zil-ee-uhns]

1.the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2.ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

Sometimes all it takes is a little (or maybe large and horrendous) bump in the road to wiggle you onto the right path. After a two week seminar with some of the country's most inspiring individuals, I've learned that for anyone who might have had it bad once, twice, thrice, or more times in their lives, there's always the comfort of being given a "second chance".

Second chances, I learned, are hardly ever really needed from the people in our past. Though some of us may want to rally backwards to relive a long forgotten life; I believe second chances begin when we can look into ourselves and say, "will you give me a chance?"

--Gisa Paredes, Manila


So, I have been in the air again, traveling hours and hours away form Manila for work. I know I have plenty to be thankful for, but I realized that every time I post a travel photo on Facebook, and I  get comments like "I want your life." and "You are so lucky" -just how lucky I really am. When I say work, I mean photo shoots, and interviews and exploring and enjoying whatever place I am in. I love doing all of that, so my work is like play. Plus, I get to choose my team during all trips and shoots so I am always working with people I can have fun with. It's easy to complain about living out of a suitcase, not seeing my boyfriend and daughter enough...but at the end of the day, this kind of travel is the the kind that keeps me alive, keeps me wondering and excited about what else life has to offer-and I know there is a lot and I haven't even seen half of it!

Looking through my newest passport, I noticed a few weeks ago that I only have two more pages before it gets filled up with stamps. That is just my new passport and does not include every other passport I've had since I was born. I know not that many people get to travel as much so I am truly grateful to have had so many opportunities to see different parts of the world. It is my obsession and addiction to read travel blogs, look through websites, check airfare, hop on and off planes and daydream about the next destination I would like to visit.

Thank You Universe, for answering my travel prayers every single time. Thank You. Hopefully you feel I will be deserving of many more.
- Erica, Manila (via Baros Island, Maldives)